Mexican Politician Diego Fernández de Cevallos Freed After Seven Months
December 21, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — After seven months in captivity, a Mexican politician and former presidential candidate was was released Monday.
Diego Fernández de Cevallos, who was kidnapped back in May, said he was well but gave no indication of who his captors were.
“I’m fine, thank God. I am strong,” he said outside his home in Mexico City, according to The Miami Herald. “I will not respond to any questions.”
Fernández, a leading member of the ruling National Action Party (PAN, in Spanish), was taken from his Hummer in the state of Querétaro in May, where prosecutors said they had found “signs of violence” in the vehicle.
“As far as the kidnappers are concerned, as a man of faith I forgive them. But as a citizen, I believe the authorities have a job before them,” Fernández said, adding that he would provide details of his captivity later on, The Miami Herald reports.
Fernández was photographed with a large, Santa Claus beard when he appeared before cameras Monday morning.
Weeks after he was kidnapped, his captors released several photographs of him blindfolded, shirtless and holding a dated copy of the investigative weekly magazine Proceso, which tracks Mexico’s ongoing drug war and organized crime.
While this is a happy ending, the battle between the Mexican state and drug cartels operating in the country is responsible for the death of over 30,000 people.
“Impunity allows these groups to operate…. Today it is Diego, tomorrow it could be anyone,” said Jose Antonio Ortega, the president of the Citizen’s Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice in Mexico City, according to The Christian Science Monitor. “We are all exposed.”
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican officials have begun investigating a gas explosion that killed 28 people and laid waste to parts of a central Mexican city.
- Mexican authorities said Monday that Manuel Monge Amparán, relative of murdered activist Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, has been found dead.
- The Obama administration has quietly begun to resume deportations of Haitians for the first time since the earthquake last January.
- Beginning next month, a group of hundreds of Haitians with criminal records will face deportation back to their home country.
- Two U.S. cargo pilots who say they were inadvertently caught up in a drug smuggling operation were released from jail on Monday, pending further investigation.
- A U.S. National Guard helicopter crashed with six people aboard in Puerto Rico en route to Vieques for a drug raid, authorities said Monday.
- Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega said Monday he hoped the Cuban authorities would free the remaining 11 prisoners of a group of dissidents that the government had agreed to release.
- Ray Suarez and the PBS Newshour Global Health Unit kicked off a three-part series Monday about Cuba with a report from Havana about how the country is reforming the socialist economy (watch the first installment below).
- The number of Guatemalans deported from the United States reached a record last week only a day before the Senate rejected the DREAM Act that would allow young illegal immigrants to avoid being sent home.
- An earthquake that registered at magnitude 5.6 hit El Salvador Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
- Sea turtles get assistance while laying eggs at a Costa Rican wildlife refuge.
- Somali pirates on two skiffs seized the Panama-flagged merchant ship MV ORNA after firing small arms and rocket-propelled grenades at the vessel, the European Naval Force said on Monday.
- A U.S. official Monday warned the government of Venezuela that it faces “consequences” for formally rejecting the White House’s choice for envoy to Caracas.
- A Colombian judge has refused a request by the family of slain rebel military commander Victor Suarez to bury him in his hometown.
- A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable written in 2006 said that it was generally agreed that Peruvian President Alán García had “a colossal ego” and cited rumors he could be afflicted by manic depression or bipolar disorder.
- A delegation from Yale University has traveled to southern Peru to inspect the building that will temporarily house some Machu Picchu artifacts once they are returned to the Andean nation, said the president of the National University of San Antonio Abad in Cuzco.
- Bolivian lawmakers on Friday approved a bill placing firm restrictions on indigenous traditional justice, responding to public indignation over the lynchings of allegedly corrupt police in Indian communities.
- Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who ends two terms in office this month, has not ruled out a running for a third term in 2014.
- Argentina’s president said she will send 6,000 border guards to police the streets of Buenos Aires amid a wave of protests from homeless squatters.
- Chile’s blue-chip Ipsa index ended lower Monday with investors selectively booking profits on sectors that have posted strong growth recently.
Image: El_Enigma @ Flickr.