Mexico’s Calderón Meets With Sicilia & Other Victims; Defends Drug War Policy
June 24, 2011 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Mexican President Felipe Calderón met Thursday with poet-activist Javier Sicilia and other relatives of people who have died or disappeared during the country’s four-year old drug war. Calderón expressed remorse for the loss of almost 40,000 lives, but said he would not apologize for deploying thousands of troops to cities and towns where the cartels operate. When told by Sicilia that he was obligated to apologize to the nation, Calderón responded that he was not sorry “for having acted against the criminals that are acting against the victims.” Sicilia, who recently led a 3,000 km march in protest of the violence, demanded Calderón take the military off the streets and instead focus on cleaning up police forces and strengthening institutions. Calderón said he regrets not deploying troops and federal agents sooner, but he did promise to consider reviewing a strategy. He added, however, that if there is no clear alternative to the crackdown, the government would continue “fighting criminals.”
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican President Felipe Calderón confronted U.S Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton about the shooting death of a Mexican man by a U.S. Border Patrol agent earlier this week.
- A tough new immigration bill in South Carolina awaits the signature of Governor Nikki Haley, but the American Civil Liberties Union says it will sue if the measure becomes law.
- The police chief of the violent northern Mexican town of Praxedis G. Guerrero is in critical condition, along with her husband and son, after being assaulted with a knife by a masked man.
- Cuba is getting more visitors, including a 20 percent uptick in the number of Americans, but tourism income hasn’t recovered from the sharp downturn caused by the global financial crisis.
- Political squabbling is impeding efforts to rebuild Haiti following the devastating January 2010 earthquake in the Caribbean nation, a key member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Thursday.
- Protesters were removed from the House gallery and arrested after yelling about torture in the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
- France will decide by the end of June on whether to extradite former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, after the U.S consented to a Panamanian extradition request.
- The Honduran government approved a new tax package in an attempt to boost revenue for security forces fighting organized crime in the country.
- Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes finished his visit to Mexico by calling for the strengthening of democratic institutions to fight drug cartels.
- Bolivia is set to withdraw from an international narcotics convention in protest at its classification of coca leaves as an illegal drug.
- Nearly two weeks after surgery in Cuba, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has yet to specify when he will return home.
- Ecuador’s Finance Ministry sold $88 million in treasury certificates up to one year in maturity in the domestic market during the first half of the year, brokers told Dow Jones Newswires on Thursday.
- A U.N. report released Thursday shows Peru is just shy of overtaking Colombia in coca cultivation, demonstrating the ‘balloon effect’ that drug war watchers always warn about: when pressure is applied in one area, production ‘balloons’ in another.
- Hackers attacked Brazilian government Web sites on Thursday and temporarily shut them down, a day after an apparently separate hacker group promised to take down Chilean and Peruvian websites.
- Hollywood director James Cameron warned that members of the Kayapo tribe would resist if the Brazilian government began construction on controversial the Belo Monte dam project on the Xingu River.
- Italian police announced Wednesday that they had recovered $8.5 million in stolen jewelry that belonged to Eva Perón, former first lady of Argentina, in an undercover operation.
- French experts revealed that flight data recorders recovered from the undersea wreckage of Air France Flight 447 have survived intact.
Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.