Alleged drug lord nabbed: Mexican police captured another suspected drug kingpin this week, the fourth this year. Sergio “El Grande” Villarreal Barragán, an alleged leader of the Beltran Leyva cartel, was arrested just a week after the capture of Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez, an American with whom Leyva was competing for control of the cartel. The arrest provided a boost to President Felipe Calderón, who has poured resources and troops into combating the drug trade, just as Mexico prepared to celebrate its bicentennial this week. Nearly 30,000 people have been killed since Calderón launched the crackdown in 2006. Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton likened Mexico’s drug war to the “insurgency” that rocked Colombia in the 1980s.
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Public jobs slashed: In one of the most dramatic turnabouts in its Communist government’s history, Cuba is cutting
1 million of its roughly 5 million state jobs. The official trade union federation announced that half a million workers would be laid off over the next six months, and the rest over following years. The government will assist the laid-off workers in finding jobs in the private sector, helping them to form cooperatives, join foreign companies, or establish independent businesses. It’s Cuba’s most significant move toward private enterprise since small businesses were nationalized in 1968. “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore,” said Fidel Castro, who ceded power to his brother Raúl in 2008.
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