Mexican Drug War Heats Up Over The Weekend; 25 Dead in Juarez & “El Grande” Captured
September 13, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — As Mexico celebrates the bicentennial of its independence from Spain this year, it is also in the midsts of a violent conflict.
Over the past weekend the country saw a proliferation of violence, including the slaying of 25 people in the border city of Ciudad Juarez and a prison break that saw 85 inmates escape.
Also in Ciudad Juarez, Mexican authorities carried out the controlled detonation of a car bomb, after receiving a phone tip leading police to a dead body in a car and ultimately a second car containing the bomb.
On Sunday, Mexican marines captured an alleged leader of the Beltran Leyva Cartel in the central state of Puebla.
Sergio Villarreal Barragan, also know as “El Grande”, was arrested along with two accomplices in the city of Puebla.
Mexican President Felipe Calderón on Friday said that the United States was responsible for much of the security problems that plague Mexico.
“We live next to the world’s largest drug consumer, and all the world wants to sell them drugs through our door and our window. And we live next to the world’s largest arms seller, which is supplying the criminals,” Calderón said, according to CNN.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A legal defense fund established by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer in May to help Arizona fend off lawsuits challenging its controversial immigration enforcement law has received donations totalling $3.6 million from about 41,000 sympathizers across the country. The sum is well more than the $440,000 known to have been spent defending the law so far.
- Mexican police carried out the controlled detonation of a car bomb Saturday in the troubled border city of Ciudad Juarez, across from Texas. A phone tip around midnight led authorities to a dead body in a car in a shopping center parking lot, the federal Public Safety Department said in a statement. In a second car, police found the bomb.
- A prison in a border state that already had a history of escapes suffered still another — perhaps the largest ever in Mexico — on Friday when 85 inmates used ladders to scale the 20-foot-tall walls and then disappeared.
- Mexico led a so-called Death Watch with 10 journalist fatalities through the end of August, followed by Honduras with nine and Pakistan with six, the International Press Institute said. Allegedly a total of fifty-two journalists lost their lives in the first eight months of this year because of their jobs — four fewer than during the same period of 2009, a global media watchdog said Sunday.
- Edgar Valdez Villareal, a U.S.-born alleged drug lord who was captured in Mexico last week, wants to return to his roots in Texas to face trial rather than stay in a Mexican jail, his lawyer said.
- The Los Angeles police officer who shot and killed a Guatemalan immigrant who authorities said was threatening people with a knife is being sued by a man claiming he was unlawfully shot by the officer in 2008.
- A team of U.S. scientists and environmentalists met with Cuban officials this week to discuss a proposed alliance to protect the Gulf of Mexico’s declining shark population.
- Two percent of the quake debris in Haiti has been cleared since the earthquake that took place 8 months ago.
- Juan Mari Bras, a leading advocate for Puerto Rican independence who took his fight to the U.S. Congress and the United Nations, died Friday at his home in Rio Piedras, a suburb of San Juan. He was 82.
- President Mauricio Funes of El Salvador said Friday he doesn’t blame Mexico’s government for the massacre of 72 mainly Central American migrants, and called for a joint effort to fight drug cartels.
- Salvadoran police say they have found a third oil drum stuffed with millions of dollars in cash that they believe to be drug trafficking profits.
- Costa Rica will not block Nicaragua’s plans to dredge the Río San Juan despite claiming that the project is severely underbudgeted and would reduce the flow of water in the river.
- Moody’s Investors Service raised Costa Rica’s government bond rating into investment-grade territory, saying the nation’s debt metrics have improved significantly over the past few years. A number of Latin American nations –including Brazil, Chile and Peru — have been praised by ratings agencies in recent months as they were less affected by the global economic slowdown than nations with more developed economies.
- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday he would “redouble” the military’s offensive against leftist guerillas after attack killed 40 police and military officers.
- Venezuelan intelligence agents have apprehended three suspected members of a Colombian paramilitary group, including a police officer from a town near the countries’ shared border.
- Leftist rebels firing homemade mortars killed at least eight police officers and wounded four in a pre-dawn attack Friday on a police barracks near the Colombia’s border with Ecuador.
- Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile, is expected to lead a new U.N. post created to promote women’s rights.
- About 150 Brazilian agricultural workers living in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais were found working in slave-like conditions last month.
- Former Argentine president Néstor Kirchner underwent a successful angioplasty on Sunday after a routine checkup the day before.
- Oscar Tabarez renewed his contract as head coach of the Uruguayan national soccer team until 2014 after the team reached the semifinals in June’s World Cup.
Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.