Fugitive Police Official Captured Over Mexican Students’ Disappearance

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Top Story — The former deputy police chief of Cocula, Guerrero, has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of 43 students from nearby Iguala, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office announced on Friday. César Nava González had been on the run since Sept. 26 — the night of the students’ disappearance — and was apprehended on Nov. 16.

According to the attorney general’s office, Nava González went into hiding in Mexico City, and then in the city of Colima. He is currently detained in a maximum security jail in Jalisco state.

The former deputy police chief is a suspected member of Guerreros Unidos, the local drug cartel accused of murdering the students and incinerating their remains. Nava González was allegedly summoned from Cocula to nearby Iguala on Sept. 26, where he reportedly aided in rounding up the students and handing them over to Guerreros Unidos members.

Thus far, 75 people have been arrested in connection with the students’ disappearance. The suspected leader of Guerreros Unidos, Sidronio Casarrubias Salgado, was arrested in October, while the mayor and first lady of Iguala were captured Nov. 4, in Mexico City. The governor of Guerrero resigned over widespread criticism of his slow response to the disappearances. He has since been replaced by an interim governor.

Authorities have yet to capture the Iguala police chief.

Nava González’s arrest comes amid continued protests. On the anniversary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution on Thursday, tens of thousands marched in Mexico City, in the biggest protest over the students’ disappearance thus far. Several journalists were injured and over 30 protesters detained.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • A U.S. marshal was injured while working with Mexican navy personnel in July, the Mexican navy confirmed on Saturday, though it denied allegations put forth in a Wall Street Journal report that the marshal was taking part in a field operation and dressed in the Mexican navy uniform.
  • In a speech on Friday, President Enrique Peña Nieto commended President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform, referring to it as “an act of justice that recognizes the large contributions that millions of Mexicans have made to the development of our neighbor.”
  • VICE News has a comprehensive photo essay on the major Mexico City protests on Thursday.

Caribbean

  • Felix Baez Sarria, the Cuban doctor who contracted Ebola last week in Sierra Leone, is in stable condition, according to the Swiss hospital where he is receiving treatment.
  • Puerto Rico experienced a slight drop in its unemployment rate for the month of October, though at 14 percent it was still far higher than the overall U.S. rate of 5.8 percent.

Central America

  • Cuban migrants are increasingly foregoing the heavily-patrolled Florida Strait in favor of reaching Central America by sea and attempting to enter the U.S. by land. The U.S. “wet foot, dry foot policy” allows Cubans entering the country by land to stay, while sending back those who get caught trying to enter by sea.
  • Around nine percent of Costa Rica’s population is comprised of immigrants, the largest percentage in Latin America according to a new study (in Spanish) by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Andes

  • Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has indicated that the five captives held by FARC rebels could be freed this week, allowing suspended peace talks to resume.
  • The booming global market for quinoa has placed traditionally organic Bolivian growers in bitter competition with larger, commercial Peruvian farms, as Peru is expected to overtake Bolivia as the world’s top exporter of the popular grain.
  • Hackers in Colombia have gained access to at least 350 private cameras connected to the internet, according to local media.

Southern Cone

  • Two former Chilean military colonels were sentenced to two and three years in prison respectively over their roles in the torture and killing of current President Michelle Bachelet’s father, Gen. Alberto Bachelet, in 1974.
  • Argentina and FC Barcelona soccer superstar Lionel Messi scored three goals on Saturday to become the all-time leading goal scorer in the top Spanish league.

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