Posts Tagged ‘Sinaloa Cartel’

Mexico: El Universal claims DEA-Sinaloa deal in Fast & Furious

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Business Insider posts: CONFIRMED: The DEA Struck A Deal With Mexico’s Most Notorious Drug Cartel

An investigation by El Universal has found that between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs in exchange for information on rival cartels.

Sinaloa, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, supplies 80% of the drugs entering the Chicago area and has a presence in cities across the U.S.

There have long been allegations that Guzman, considered to be “the world’s most powerful drug trafficker,” coordinates with American authorities.

But the El Universal investigation is the first to publish court documents that include corroborating testimony from a DEA agent and a Justice Department official.

The written statements were made to the U.S. District Court in Chicago in relation to the arrest of Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, the son of Sinaloa leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and allegedly the Sinaloa cartel’s “logistics coordinator.”

On Fast & Furious,

Zambada-Niebla also alleged that Operation Fast and Furious was part of an agreement to finance and arm the cartel in exchange for information used to take down its rivals. (If true, that re-raises the issue regarding what Attorney General Eric Holder knew about the gun-running arrangements.)

Is any of this true?

Ace asks,

True? Bullshit? I don’t know. As far as partisan/presidential blame, the narrative goes like this: The agreement (about permitting Sinaloa drugs to get through to the US in exchange for tips on rivals) is struck by Clinton. It “peaks” under Bush, in 2006, through Obama, in 2010, but at that point we seem to still be talking about laying off Sinaolo [sic] drug deliveries. I’m not sure if there is anyone blamed for the “arming the narcogangsters” by this narrative except for Holder and Obama.

It strikes me as hard to believe… and yet the government does things which are hard to believe.


Former ATF Special Agent John Dobson made similar claims in his book The Unarmed Truth: My Fight to Blow the Whistle and Expose Fast and Furious. Agent Dobson is the agent who originally blew the whistle on Fast and Furious.

Last November Holder appealed a judge’s ruling allowing the House of Representatives to continue with a contempt case stemming from his refusal to turn over documents related to the Justice Department’s response to the Operation Fast and Furious gunwalking controversy.

Rep. Darrell E. Issa, chair of House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is vowing to keep up the heat in the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious

Mexico: Why the Sinaloa Cartel {hearts} Chicago

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Jason McGaahn reports on Why Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel Loves Selling Drugs in Chicago
Chicago is key to a business moving tons of drugs for billions of dollars. Here’s how the whole operation works
.

In Chicago, the cartel has a near monopoly. “I’d say 70 to 80 percent of the narcotics here are controlled by Sinaloa and Chapo Guzmán,” says Jack Riley, director of the DEA’s Chicago office. “Virtually all of our major investigations at some point lead back to other investigations tied to Sinaloa.”

Because of four factors: transportation, ethnic makeup, size, and gang culture.

Chicago is the transportation hub of America, a fact not lost on the Mexican cartels (just as it wasn’t on Capone and his fellow bootleggers almost a century ago). It’s ideally located within a day’s drive of 70 percent of the nation’s population. Six interstate highways crisscross the region, connecting east and west. Only two states (Texas and California) have more interstate highway miles than Illinois.

As for rail transport, Chicago welcomes six of the seven major railroads and accounts for a quarter of the country’s rail traffic. Water? The Port of Chicago is one of the nation’s largest inland cargo ports, and the city is the world’s third-largest handler of shipping containers (after Singapore and Hong Kong). And let’s not forget about Midway and O’Hare: More than 86 million passengers and 1.5 million tons of cargo passed through these airports combined in 2011, the latest year for which data are available.

Second, the Chicago metro area has a large Hispanic immigrant population, making it easy for Mexican cartel operatives to blend in. (Only Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Houston have more residents of Mexican descent, according to the 2010 census.)

Because many of these immigrants—especially those who are here illegally—are poor or underemployed, the area provides a fertile recruiting ground for cartel operatives.

Third, the city is a huge market in its own right. Chicagoans’ taste for drugs is as big as—if not bigger than—that of most other Americans. For example, according to a report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, 86 percent of people arrested in Cook County in 2012 tested positive for at least one illegal narcotic—the highest percentage of any big city. Twenty-two percent tested positive for more than one.

Finally, Chicago’s deeply entrenched street gangs offer a ready-made retail network. Law enforcement officials estimate the number of street gangs in the city at more than 70 and the number of members at between 70,000 and 125,000. The DEA’s Jack Riley likens them to “100,000 Amway salesmen” for cartel-supplied drugs.

Read the full article here.

The city of Chicago registered more homicides than any city in the nation in 2012.

Mexico: 120-yard tunnel near the Nogales entry into Arizona

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Mexican Authorities Find Smuggling Tunnel Equipped With Electricity Near Border

Mexican authorities have discovered a sophisticated smuggling tunnel equipped with electricity and ventilation not far from the Nogales port of entry into Arizona, U.S. and Mexican officials said Friday.

The Mexican army said the tunnel was found Thursday after authorities received an anonymous call in the border city of Nogales, Sonora, south of Arizona. U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed that the Mexican military had discovered the football field-long tunnel with elaborate electricity and ventilation systems.

U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Victor Brabble said the tunnel did not cross into the U.S.

This is not the first, nor the only; in fact,

More than 70 such tunnels have been found since October 2008, most of them concentrated along the border in California and Arizona. In Nogales, Arizona, smugglers tap into vast underground drainage canals.

In other drug war news, the war is not only against law enforcement, it’s also cartel vs. cartel, for territory:Nine slain in Mexican town as cartels clash in Sinaloa

A group of armed men stormed a town in the mountains of the western state of Sinaloa on Christmas Eve and shot nine men to death with assault weapons, then dumped their bodies on a sports field as part of a war between Mexico’s two most powerful cartels, officials said Wednesday.
Sinaloa state prosecutor Marco Antonio Higuera Gomez said the town of El Platanar de Los Ontiveros had become part of a dispute between the Sinaloa cartel controlled by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted man, and remnants of the Beltran-Leyva cartel who have allied themselves with the Zetas, a paramilitary organized-crime group founded by ex-members of the Mexican special forces.

Another cartel fight is raging to the south, along the border between the state of Jalisco and Michoacan. At least seven people have been killed in the area since Sunday. Officials in both states said Wednesday they could not confirm local media reports of more than a dozen new deaths in clashes in the area. Michoacan authorities did report the slaying of a mother and her three children in the capital, Morelia, which has been mostly spared the worst of the state’s drug violence.
Prosecutors said 41-year-old Maria Elena Lopez Bautista and her 19-year-old daughter and 18- and 13-year-old sons appeared to have been tied hand and foot with wire and burned to death inside their home on Monday.
Officials did not speculate on the motive for the crime, but the border with Jalisco has been hit by clashes between Michoacan’s dominant Knights Templar cartel, and the New Generation cartel that operates in much of Jalisco.

With the PRI back in power in Mexico, and marijuana legalization in the USA, 2013 will be an interesting year.

Cross-posted at Liberty Unyielding.


Mexico: No Iran or Hezbollah here

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Last week the US House of Representatives Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management issued a report updating its 2006 A Line in the Sand findings.

The new report (pdf file), A LINE IN THE SAND: COUNTERING CRIME,
VIOLENCE AND TERROR AT THE SOUTHWEST BORDER
found (emphasis added):

 Although the United States tightened security at airports and land ports of entry in thewake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S.-Mexico border remains an obvious weak link in the chain.

 Despite the near doubling of Border Patrol personnel, the Government Accountability Office found that only 44 percent of the Southwest border was under operational control.

 In 2012, National Guard presence on the Southwest border was reduced to 300 soldiers.

 Since October 2008, 138 Customs and Border Protection officers or agents have been arrested or indicted on corruption related charges.

 The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reports that there have been 58 incidents of shots fired at Texas lawmen by Mexican cartel operatives since 2009.

 Experts believe the Southwest border has become the great threat of terrorist infiltration into the United States.

 Iran and Hezbollah have a growing presence in Latin America.

 Hezbollah has a significant presence in the United States that could be utilized in terror attacks intended to deter U.S. efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.

 Latin America has become a money laundering and major fundraising center for Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s relationship with Mexican drug cartels, which control secured smuggling routes into the United States, is documented as early as 2005.

If Iran’s assassination plot against the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, D.C. had been successful, Iran’s Qods Force intended to use the Los Zetas drug cartel for other attacks in the future.

Long-term readers of my blog are certainly not surprised by this information, as I have been blogging on the subject for years. Neither would the readers of Jon Perdue’s excellent book, The War of All the People: The Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism.

The Mexican government, however, strongly denies the report’s findings: Mexico disputes House GOP report alleging Iran, Hezbollah are using Mexican drug cartels

A spokesman for Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhán, told The Daily Caller his country’s government disputes a recent House GOP report alleging that Iranian and Hezbollah terror operatives are using Mexican drug cartels as a conduit to infiltrate the United States.

As Matthew Boyle points out, on October 11 last year, two men were arrested in New York and charged with taking part in an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US. You can read the full details of the plot in the Department of Justice’s report.

While its government denies these findings, Mexico is the deadliest country on earth for journalists.

Also last week, the head of Mexico’s organized crime unit stepped down on Thursday, just weeks after announcing that members of his team had been charged with having links to the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Cross-posted at Liberty Unyielding.


Seals vs El Chapo?

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

The UK’s Daily Mail has this today,
Is the U.S. sending Seal Team Six to capture top drug cartel kingpin? American military ‘plotting military operation similar to bin Laden mission’

  • Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman is one of Mexico’s most wanted drug cartel kingpins
  • He escaped from prison in daring breakout in 2001
  • Mexican President Felipe Calderon reportedly reached out to U.S. for help in taking out Guzman in military raid
  • U.S. agencies have allegedly grown frustrated with Mexico’s inability to catch Guzman
  • Bin Laden killed in Seal Team Six raid in Abbotabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011

It’s an extraordinary story in many levels, not the least of which is this,

Mexico’s Procesor magazine (English translation) reported that a new plan to get Guzman was hatched by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who felt the only way to catch him was through a military raid.

But when Calderon was turned down by Mexico’s army and naval forces, he turned to the U.S. government, which has made catching or killing Guzman a priority.

Sources told Procesor that the U.S. has grown increasingly more frustrated with Mexico’s failure to bring Guzman to justice – especially after a joint effort by U.S. agencies provided the information needed to catch him.

The original article on Proceso is based on unnamed sources in the US and Mexican military. Apparently the mission has been delayed because the US insists on going alone, which the Mexican Marines and Army flatly rejected. Felipe Calderón will soon be out of office as Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, is scheduled to take office on December 1, 2012,

And then there’s the fact that the politicians in Washington are running for re-election. Who’s going to want to stir another hornet’s next now?

In all, color me skeptical.

UPDATE,
Linked by The Mex Files. Thanks!
(“The far right-wing Latin American website”? Hah!)

Mexico: The big business of oil theft

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

The big business of oil theft

According to an Excelsior newspaper article, the value of the theft ascends to nearly half a billion dollars, just a fraction of Pemex’s $100 billion annual revenue but still a lot of money. Other estimates say the value of the losses are higher.

The states with the highest number of holes punched in the pipelines are Sinaloa, Nuevo Leon, Veracruz, Puebla and Tamaulipas.

The story said in a one-year period ending in November, thieves relieved Mexican taxpayers of revenue from 2,986,563 barrels of oil, 52 percent higher than the 1,959,439 barrels that went missing in the previous year. Read here and here to find out more about oil theft in Mexico (in English). Much of the oil appears to be stolen by gangs linked to Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel

Apparently 5,026 places along the Pemex pipeline are used for syphoning off nearly three million barrels of oil.

This is not a few people stealing small amounts. This is another way organized crime spreads across Mexico, beyond drugs: Oil Theft is Big Business for Mexican Gangs.


Mexico: Sinaloa’s top hit man hoarding #FastAndFurious weapons

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, the “top enforcer” in Ciudad Juarez for the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world, had this in his basement,

Fast and Furious weapons were found in Mexico cartel enforcer’s home
Guns illegally purchased under the ATF operation were found in April hidden in violence-plagued Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, court records show.
(emphasis added)

High-powered assault weapons illegally purchased under the ATF’s Fast and Furious program in Phoenix ended up in a home belonging to the purported top Sinaloa cartel enforcer in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, whose organization was terrorizing that city with the worst violence in the Mexican drug wars.

In all, 100 assault weapons acquired under Fast and Furious were transported 350 miles from Phoenix to El Paso, making that West Texas city a central hub for gun traffickers. Forty of the weapons made it across the border and into the arsenal of Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, a feared cartel leader in Ciudad Juarez, according to federal court records and trace documents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Torres Marrufo is still out there, somewhere.

Apparently the weapons purchased in Phoenix, Arizona, made their way through Texas,

Three months into the program, El Paso began to emerge as a hub, perhaps the central location, for Fast and Furious weapons. On Jan. 13, 2010, El Paso police stumbled upon 40 firearms after following a suspicious dark blue Volkswagen Jetta that backed into a garage at a local residence, according to federal court records.

At about that time, the Justice Department’s No. 2 figure, directly under Attorney General Eric Holder, was being briefed on Fast and Furious,

Documents recently turned over by the Justice Department to Congressional investigators indicate that then-Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler received a detailed briefing on Fast and Furious more than a year and a half ago.
“Deputy Attorney General” is the Justice Department’s No. 2 figure, directly under Attorney General Eric Holder.

Grindler moved from Deputy Attorney General to a spot as Holder’s chief of staff last January.

The briefing Grindler attended was on March 12, 2010, six months into ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed thousands of weapons on the street in an attempt to track down Mexican drug cartels. Portions of the documents are redacted.

In handwritten notes about Fast and Furious that are not all legible, Grindler writes about “seizures in Mexico” and “links to cartel.” He also noted “seizures in Mexico” on a map of Phoenix, the home base for Fast and Furious, and Mexico locations where some guns ended up. And Grindler made notations on a photograph of several dozen rifles.

Holder continues to deny any involvement.

The bigger issue is, why is there no special prosecutor appointed yet?

UPDATE
Linked by Scared Monkeys. Thanks!
Linked by Sister Toldjah and Public Secrets. Thanks!

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Who is La Barbie?

Friday, September 10th, 2010

The New York Times has a report on US born and raised Edgar Valdez-Villareal, known as La Barbie, the U.S. Student who Became a Mexican Drug Kingpin

He is the only American citizen known to have moved so high in the command structure of the Mexican cartels.

Five years ago, Mr. Valdez played a key role in the battle between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Gulf Cartel for control over the lucrative I-35 smuggling route into the United States, the Drug Enforcement Administration says.

He is also believed to be the person most responsible for pushing that conflict into central and southern Mexico, taking over the city of Acapulco.

Last week, Mr. Valdez was captured by dozens of federal police officers after a firefight at a rustic house in the mountains northwest of Mexico City. He had eluded the authorities for years despite having multimillion-dollar bounties on his head, and his capture was considered a major blow to the remnants of the Beltrán-Leyva organized crime group, law enforcement officials said.

For months, Mr. Valdez had been fighting for control of the gang since its leader and his mentor, Arturo Beltrán Leyva, was killed in a gun battle with the Mexican Marines last December in Cuernavaca, just south of the capital.

The internecine struggle had pitted Mr. Valdez against Mr. Beltrán Leyva’s brother, Hector. More than 150 people have died in the struggle, many of them mutilated or beheaded and left with grisly messages for the other side.

In videotaped statements to the Mexican police, Mr. Valdez said that he managed a smuggling route from Panama to Mexico and that he transported cash in tractor-trailers back from the United States.

He also admitted that he had ties to many of Mexico’s most wanted drug lords, including Joaquín Guzmán, who has emerged from the last three years of gangland warfare as the most powerful cartel leader in Mexico.

And a total sociopath.

The NYTimes portrays him as “sucked up” into the drug war:

After graduation, Mr. Valdez turned down an offer from his father to attend college, saying he wanted to make money, his brother said. According to a federal indictment in Laredo, the next year he joined a group of smugglers who were moving hundreds of pounds of Mexican marijuana through Laredo to cities in Massachusetts and Missouri.

His brother said Mr. Valdez fled across the river into Nuevo Laredo in 1998 to avoid arrest, opened a small shop and never lived in the United States again. Detectives in Laredo say he quickly became affiliated with a local gang known as Los Chachos, one of four groups that controlled the city’s drug trade in those days.

Over the next years, the Gulf Cartel and its commandos, the Zetas, moved into Nuevo Laredo and started taking over the drug and extortion rackets from local gangs. Mr. Valdez was sucked up into the conflict.

Instead of simply “sucked up”, Valdez is a ruthless killer

By 2003, Mr. Valdez had been placed in charge of Mr. Beltrán Leyva’s squads of hitmen, known as Los Negros, law enforcement officials say. And a year later, he took over the gang’s operations in Acapulco, eventually pushing the Zetas of the Gulf Cartel out of the city with a bloody campaign that included beheadings and grenade attacks on police stations, Mexican officials said.

The war rages on.

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La Barbie caught, now what?

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010


Will Mexico’s prize catch La Barbie’ stand trial in U.S.?

While speculation surged that Mexico would deport Edgar Valdez-Villarreal, a 37-year-old former football star from Laredo, Texas, to stand trial in the United States, where he’s still a citizen, there was no immediate sign of action by Mexico or the U.S.

National security spokesman Alejandro Poire described Valdez-Villarreal as “highly dangerous,” a reference to his drug cartel’s practice of beheading its enemies.

The accused drug lord “has one foot in the airplane bound for the United States,” the usually well-informed El Universal newspaper reported.

Security officials paraded the handcuffed Valdez-Villarreal before the media early Tuesday in an airplane hangar. Hooded security agents stood at his side, and a black helicopter provided the backdrop. Valdez-Villarreal smirked, and even chuckled, at the assembled journalists.

Federal Police Commissioner Facundo Rosas said the capture of Valdez-Villarreal, who’s known by the unlikely nickname of “La Barbie,” came after a yearlong hunt that involved as many as 1,200 law enforcement officers.

By Monday afternoon, a ring of security officers encircled the rustic mountain house in Salazar, about 20 miles west of Mexico City, where Valdez-Villarreal had holed up, Rosas said. Mobile phone service in the area was spotty, and the target and six underlings couldn’t summon backup to fight their way free, he said. They were detained around 6:30 p.m. without any gunfire.

“Intelligence information indicates that ‘La Barbie’ trafficked 1 ton of cocaine each month,” Federal Police counternarcotics chief Ramon Pequeno said at the news conference.

Valdez-Villarreal’s capture gives a boost to President Felipe Calderon, who declared war on drug cartels after taking office in late 2006. The death toll, which recently soared past 28,000 people, has soured many Mexicans on Calderon’s tough drug enforcement policies. Valdez-Villarreal is the third top drug lord to be arrested or killed in nine months.

Government officials seemed to be seeking to regain support by offering abundant details about Valdez-Villarreal’s background and capture.

Poire declared that Valdez-Villarreal maintained ties to drug gangs operating in the U.S. and Central and South America, and a series of arrests during the day in Colombia appeared to bear out that claim.

Born in Laredo, Valdez-Villarreal moved to Mexico City, where in 1998 he met Arturo Beltran-Leyva, a drug lord working for the surging Sinaloa Cartel, Pequeno said. As the Texan worked his way up the criminal chain, first in Nuevo Laredo along the border, then starting in 2004 in the Pacific Coast resort of Acapulco, he nurtured a reputation for extreme violence, including frequent beheadings of the Beltran-Leyva group’s enemies.

The grisly reputation contrasted with his unlikely nickname, given because of his blue eyes and fair complexion – reminiscent of Ken, the Barbie doll’s companion.

By 2007, Valdez-Villarreal ranked senior enough to take part in a meeting in the weekend getaway of Cuernavaca in which bosses of the Sinaloa, Juarez and Gulf cartels – along with the Gulf Cartel’s armed wing, Los Zetas – gathered to hash out an end to conflict between the rival groups, Pequeno said.

Valdez-Villarreal had many enemies, but one of his bitterest feuds dated to his stint in Nuevo Laredo, where he battled the Gulf Cartel and its henchmen, Los Zetas, for smuggling routes, Pequeno said. His hatred of the No. 2 Zetas leader, Miguel Trevino Morales, alias “El L-40,” was so severe it nearly caused a falling out with his own boss, Pequeno said.

Eventually, Beltran-Leyva and his underlings broke from the Sinaloa Cartel, and when the drug lord died in a shootout in December with Mexican marines, his gang was ripped apart by violence, with “La Barbie” seizing control of a faction and becoming a major trafficker in his own right.

Valdez-Villarreal entrenched himself in Guerrero state, surrounding Acapulco, but also had operations in the states of Morelos, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Quintana Roo and in Mexico City, police said.

Narcotics agents hunting “La Barbie” got a lucky break in a raid on Aug. 9 in the elegant Bosques de las Lomas district of Mexico City, which turned up evidence leading them to the accused drug lord’s mountain safe house in Salazar, Rosas said.

The State Department had offered a $2 million bounty for Valdez-Villarreal and Mexican authorities held out a similar reward of around $2.2 million.

Valdez-Villarreal faces numerous federal narcotics charges in Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, the earliest dating back to 1998 and the most recent announced in June in Atlanta.

The Economist:

The capture of Mr Valdez, like that of Teodoro El Teo García, an ally of Mr Guzmán, and the killings of Arturo Beltrán Leyva and Ignacio Coronel, Sinaloa’s third-in-command, show that Mr Calderón has successfully transformed his security apparatus. The government has vastly increased its intelligence capacity, and improved its cooperation with United States authorities. And its agents have now proven they can conduct sensitive operations without advance warning leaking to their targets (although Mr Valdez did reportedly escape capture by a few hours earlier this month). Mr Valdez was the first top-tier drug lord to be captured by the federal police, which Mr Calderón has made into a credible security force, as opposed to the army or navy. The government announced on August 30th that it has dismissed 3,200 federal police officers this year for suspected corruption, almost 10% of the total.

I’ll talk about this news in today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern.

Related:
As drug violence escalates, entire length of US-Mexico border to be patrolled by unmanned drones, h/t Instapundit.

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Fidel’s busts’ Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Welcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. Today’s Carnival is named after those busts of Fidel Castro Hugo Chavez is planning to install in Caracas while Cuba continues to hold political prisoners and harass their wives.


LATIN AMERICA

Via Real Clear World Video: Greg Grandin, Michael Shifter, Kevin Casas-Zamora and John Coatsworth discussing Latin America

Médicos cubanos en Venezuela huyen por Colombia de la tiranía castrista


Henry Kissinger ‘cancelled warning against political assassinations’
Henry Kissinger cancelled a warning against carrying out international political assassinations just days before a former Chilean ambassador was killed in Washington, according to a newly released State Department cable
, via The Latin Americanist

A Study of Productivity in Latin America

ARGENTINA
Federalismo pisoteado

BARBADOS
US pledges help to fight Caribbean drug trafficking

BRAZIL
Lula to decide on Battisti
Brazilian president gets court papers on ex-terrorist
, via Gates of Vienna

Judge allows start of bids on controversial Brazil dam

China and Brazil sign trade deals at Bric summit

CHILE
El Nuevo Tablero Territorial: reconstrucción anti tsunami

COLOMBIA
Rural poverty in Colombia

CUBA
Chilean Businessman Found Dead in Havana Apartment

Los Estefan hablaron con Obama sobre la situación de los DD.HH en Cuba

Cuban security agents again halt march by Ladies in White
For the second time in as many weeks, security agents denied the female relatives of jailed dissidents permission to hold their protest Sunday.

Héctor Larroque Rego, Cuban Political Prisoner of the Week, April 18, 2010

The Other Interview

Intransigent Cuba
Protest songs
Grumbling is not the same as dissent

ECUADOR
DiCaprio and Norton attend eco-conference

Ecuadorean threat to oil giants
The Ecuadorean government has threatened to take over foreign oil concessions if the companies resist growing state control of the industry.

Ecuador May Begin Mine Royalty Talks Next Month, Chamber Says

HAITI
Michelle Obama Visits Haiti

Justice for Haiti

Rebuilding Haiti
Dreaming beyond the rubble
While a barely functioning government struggles with a huge refugee problem, the world has agreed on money and a plan to turn a “Republic of NGOs” into a state

HONDURAS

Congress vs. Honduran Democrats
American liberals are still sore about the ‘coup’ that ousted Manuel Zelaya.

La Gringa’s Mango Ice Cream Recipe

MEXICO
Robin Givhan examines Michelle Obama’s first trip abroad alone

Oklahoma Taxes Money Orders to Mexico: Mexico Threatens Oklahoma with Trade War

Adios Amigos. Hola Czarinna de Diplomacia

Obesity in Mexico? Sra. Calderon should remind Mrs. BO no one is getting killed on the border because they are fat!

The “Other” Side of the Mexican Border

Fleeing Drug Violence, Mexicans Pour Into U.S.

Proceso en la guarida de “El Mayo” Zambada

Mexico’s culture wars
Metrosexuality
As the capital grows more liberal, conservatives are rallying elsewhere

NICARAGUA
Political battle brews in Nicaragua as 2 judges refuse to surrender their gavels
The refusal of Sandinista judges on the Supreme Court to step down after their terms expired is the latest effort to thwart democracy in the Central American country, opposition leaders and analysts say.

PANAMA
Chiriquí Center is Getting Closer

PARAGUAY
El caso Grütter

PERU
Peru town copes with being devoured by mine

Peru’s Machu Picchu ruins reopen to tourists

PUERTO RICO
Cuban Revolutionary-Turned-Critic Carlos Franqui Dies in Puerto Rico

VENEZUELA
Unveiling of bust in Caracas is postponed

Chávez pays 1-day visit to Castro brothers

Colombia blasts Venezuela’s detention of fishermen

We despise you and dislike you, but please gringos send some dollars, the arepa project ain’t working well

Of course, hackistry plays a role too…

19 de abril as a dysfunctional holiday

Via Jeremayakovka, Boxer Edwin Valero found dead in jail

The fighter was a household name in Venezuela and had a huge image of President Hugo Chavez tattooed on his chest, along with the country’s yellow, blue and red flag.

US POLITICS
GLORIA ESTEFAN: ‘Our Gloria’ Betrays Cuban Fans, Jumps On Obama Bandwagon

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Free Trade’s Friends
The case for Free Trade with Latin America
Let them eat sushi
The incredible Colombian travel advisory
Chavez Rallies to Defend His Government

At Real Clear World:
Flyin’ High with Evo