Mexico, Today in Latin America

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.”

Read More From The Washington Post.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Caribbean

  • 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.

Central America

Andes

  • 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.

Southern Cone

Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.

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