Top Story — A former minister on track to run for president in Peru has been charged with the murder of a journalist 26 years ago during the country’s internal conflict, according to prosecutor Luis Landa.
Daniel Urresti, a retired general, has been charged with the murder of Hugo Bustios, a correspondent based on the town of Huanta — at the time a major conflict zone in a dirty war between the government and leftist Shining Path rebels. Bustios was probing the human rights abuses perpetrated by both sides of the conflict when he was shot and then targeted with a grenade explosion — the latter killing him — in November 1988. At the time, Urresti operated locally as an army intelligence chief.
Urresti was the minister of the interior under President Ollanta Humala until last month, when he stepped down after a clash between protesters and police left one dead in the Peruvian Amazon.
Two people have already been convicted over their involvement in Bustios’ murder. Both are former soldiers and are serving 15 years for the crime. One of the convicted murderers pointed the finger at Urresti, accusing him of participating in the killing of the journalist.
Urresti has protested the charge on Twitter, calling it politically motivated and asserting his innocence. Humala also insinuated that the charges were politically motivated.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
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- Former U.S. President George W. Bush and former vice-president Dick Cheney are among the U.S. officials banned from entering Venezuela by President Nicolás Maduro in a series of measures laid out Saturday night, which also included limiting the size of the U.S. embassy in Caracas.
- Maduro’s move comes mere hours after the release of four U.S. missionaries in Venezuela, who had been detained by Venezuelan authorities since Wednesday.
- The municipal ID program launched in New York, aimed at providing those who lack government-issued identification including some 500,000 immigrants, has proven to be more popular than officials anticipated, with New York residents making over 260,000 appointments in the first month since the ID became available.
- Both U.S. and Cuban diplomats say further progress was made as talks to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries continued Friday in Washington, though the issue of opening embassies still remains unresolved.
- Meanwhile, officials in the Major League Baseball Association suggested Cuba might soon become a new destination for spring training after the concept was considered but ultimately turned down for this year.
- Dominican President Danilo Medina defended his country’s internationally criticized citizenship and immigration laws on Friday, saying that no international organization or foreign country has the right to demand the Dominican Republic “make sacrifices to its migratory system,” in a speech that marked the Dominican Republic’s independence from Haiti.
- A U.S. Department of Labor report released Friday detailed alleged inadequacies of Honduras’ government in enforcing its labor code, noting that the practice of illegal child labor is widespread.
- The Presidents of Guatemala and Honduras signed a customs union agreement that makers the first step of a regional development plan that aims to improve economic opportunities in the country and curb immigration to the United States.
- Elections were held in El Salvador for new legislators and local officials Sunday, in the first election where voters are able to select candidates from any party rather than be forced to vote for a single party with a set list of candidates, a change that could result in delayed results.
- A top intelligence official and the chief of staff under Former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe have both been convicted of spying on political opponents in 2007 and 2008, a practice Uribe says he was unaware of.
- As preliminary peace talks with the government are ongoing, Colombia’s ELN guerrillas have released a mayor they kidnapped in December, a decision a military source says the group made on its own, without any pressure from the government.
- As hundreds of thousands of supporters staged a rally nearby, Argentine President Cristina Fernández said in her final state of the union address on Sunday that her opponents are using the mysterious death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman as a “political instrument.”
- Brazilian authorities on Friday arrested a U.S. fugitive accused of molesting several young girls in the state of Minnesota, where he ran a religious program which he would use to coerce and manipulate his victims.
- Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Saturday paid a hospital visit to an ailing 14-year-old girl, whose pleas for assisted death have been rejected because euthanasia is illegal in Chile.
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