The week at a glance...Americas
Mexico City A cartel’s generals: In a case that underscores drug gangs’ penetration of Mexico’s police and military, Mexican authorities have charged three generals and a colonel with providing protection to a cartel. One of the generals, Tomás Angeles, now retired, was an assistant defense secretary from 2006 to 2008. Another, Ricardo Escorcia, was the head of a military base near Mexico City. All four officers were charged with aiding the Beltrán-Leyva cartel, which trafficked cocaine, heroin, and marijuana until the 2009 death of its leader. The highest-ranking army official ever convicted in Mexico was Gen. Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, who was head of Mexico’s anti-drug agency when he was arrested in 1997.
Havana Spaniard charged: Cuban authorities have charged a Spanish citizen with manslaughter for the car crash last month that killed leading dissident Oswaldo Payá and another activist. Angel Carromero is accused of speeding and then losing control of the car; he faces 10 years in prison. Payá’s relatives had insisted that the car was purposely run off the road by another vehicle, but this week authorities released a video clip of Carromero, in custody, calling the crash an accident. In a news conference, Swedish political activist Jens Aron Modig, who was also in the car and was in custody for several days, said he had “no memory of any other car” and apologized for coming to Cuba and meeting with dissidents.
Buenos Aires Evita devalued: Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner last week unveiled a new banknote featuring former First Lady Eva Perón, but critics are complaining that the denomination is too small. The new bill replaces the 100 peso note, the highest denomination; economists were hoping for a 500 peso note. A 100 peso bill is worth just $22 right now, and high inflation erodes its value more each month. Argentinians are forced to carry huge wads of cash to buy anything, and it’s hard to keep ATMs stocked. “This devalues Evita by putting her on a bill of 100 and not recognizing the phenomenon behind all this, which is inflation,” said former Central Bank chief Alfonso Prat-Gay.