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Latin America: Week in Review, Mexico, North America

Mexican Military Helicopter Shot Down Over Jalisco State

May 4, 2015 By Staff

Top Story — A Mexican military helicopter was shot down on Friday by gunmen seemingly affiliated to the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG), highlighting the group’s increased prominence as a target of the government’s ongoing crackdown on criminal organizations.

At least three soldiers were killed when the helicopter was shot down over the state of Jalisco, according to The New York Times in a report which did not mention the CJNG by name, although one analyst told The Associated Press the attack came amid violence that resulted from a broader official crackdown on the cartel.

Local media reports suggest the CJNG blocked major highways with burning vehicles and torched businesses on Friday, in anticipation of a major deployment of federal security forces as part of the so-called “Operation Jalisco.” At least six people were reportedly killed and 19 were injured in related violence.

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office, according to The Associated Press, filed charges on Saturday against 10 people in connection with an assassination attempt on Jalisco state’s top security official, which was followed by a brazen attack on a police convoy in which at least 15 officers were killed, the deadliest attack on the authorities in recent years.

Search efforts, as of Sunday, were reportedly ongoing for three soldiers who went missing following the downing of the helicopter, a rare incident in Mexico’s ongoing conflict between the authorities and drug cartels.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • A mayoral candidate in Mexico’s Guerrero state was killed in an apparent shooting Friday afternoon, a slaying condemned by the local government.
  • Alan Gross, a U.S. aid worker held as a political prisoner in Cuba for five years, is returning to the island for the first time since his December release to promote freer trade and travel between the United States and Cuba.


  • The governor of Puerto Rico signed an executive order Sunday to authorize the use of medical marijuana on the island, with a report detailing the orders implementation and future steps expected in three months.
  • Cuba has begun to prepare its infrastructure amid a surge of illicit U.S. tourism, according to the BBC.
  • The economic impact of the Caracol Industrial Park, a U.S.-backed complex aimed at helping Haiti recover after the 2010 earthquake, still remains to be seen as job growth has yet to reach its promised levels and unemployment remains high in the country.

Central America

  • A ship carrying 200 tons of chemicals sunk off the coast of Costa Rica Sunday, resulting in an emergency alert and temporary ban on fishing in the area.
  • This weekend marked the opening of a $4 million new border crossing between Nicaragua and Costa Rica that hopes to draw more commerce and tourism to the two countries.
  • A youth protest movement has been sparked in Guatemala, according to an article in PRI, where youth planned marches on social media with the #RenunciaYaFase2 or “Resign already, phase 2” hashtag, referring to a recent government corruption scandal involving 20 senior officials.


  • Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced on Friday that the country’s minimum wage will be raised by 30 percent to counter the effects of steep inflation amid an economic crisis. Maduro’s Friday announcement marks the second time this year that the minimum wage has been raised.
  • Former chief of Colombia’s spy agency María del Pilar Hurtado was jailed for 14 years after being convicted of spying on journalists and political figures — mainly opponents of then-President Álvaro Uribe.
  • The Venezuelan public struggles to gain access to accurate information collected by the government, according to the Miami Herald, in large part because of weak public-access laws in the country.

Southern Cone

  • A report by Brazilian magazine Época that former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is being investigated over influence-peddling related to his business ties with construction company Odebrecht has rattled the Workers’ Party loyal political base, at a time when Silva’s successor, current President Dilma Rousseff, faces calls for impeachment from the opposition.
  • The family of Rodrigo Gularte, a Brazilian citizen executed by firing squad in Indonesia on Wednesday over drug trafficking charges, are campaigning to have him posthumously pardoned on mental health grounds. Gularte had reportedly been mentally unstable since adolescence, and was twice diagnosed with schizophrenia.
  • Amnesty International has urged Paraguayan authorities to allow a 10-year-old girl, pregnant after being raped by her stepfather, to receive an abortion, which is illegal in the country.

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