The week at a glance...Americas
Guatemala CityCabral is killed: Facundo Cabral, an Argentine folk musician and one of Latin America’s most famous protest singers, was shot to death last week in Guatemala City. Cabral, 74, had given a concert two days earlier and was en route to the airport when three carloads of gunmen surrounded his vehicle, spraying it with machine-gun fire. Authorities believe Cabral’s concert promoter, who was wounded in the attack, was the intended target. Cabral rose to fame in the 1970s and fled to Mexico during the 1976–82 Argentine military dictatorship. In his performances, which included references to spiritual leaders and poets, he called for peace and social justice. He was best known for his 1970 song “I’m Not From Here,” which was covered by both Neil Diamond and Julio Iglesias.
Quito, EcuadorNew crime capital: Ecuador is becoming a hub for international organized criminal groups, the country’s El Comercio reported this week. Last week, authorities announced the arrest of one alleged Russian arms smuggler, and at least two others are believed to be hiding in the country. In recent months, authorities have also nabbed suspected Colombian drug lords and African human traffickers. “We have cases of Albanian, Ukrainian, Italian, Chinese organized crime all in Ecuador, all getting their product for distribution to their respective countries,” said Jay Bergman, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official in charge of the region. Ecuador’s easy visa requirements are part of the draw.
Caquetá, ColombiaHorse bomb: Colombian rebels strapped a bomb to an unfortunate horse this week as their latest tactic in a stepped-up campaign of violence. Two soldiers were wounded and the horse was killed when the bomb exploded. That attack came just a day after a car bomb and a bus bomb went off in neighboring Cauca, killing two police officers. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that he would send reinforcements of police, army, and special operations forces to Cauca to take the region back from drug gangs and FARC rebels. “From now on, security personnel will destroy any house that is used by terrorists to attack government forces or civilians,” he said.