Top Stories

  • Bolivia approves downing of drug-smuggling planes

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — A new Bolivian law authorizes the country's military to shoot down planes suspected of smuggling cocaine, though it cannot yet be put into practice because it doesn't have sufficient radar coverage. The law signed Tuesday by President Evo Morales requires that before starting the plan, Bolivia must first purchase and install radar systems, which its borders lack. Bolivia is the world's No. 3 cocaine producer and has also become a key transit country for partially refined cocaine from Peru, which has the biggest coca crop. Other countries in the region with similar shootdown policies include Brazil, Colombia, Honduras and Venezuela, all cocaine transit countries. Peru had a shootdown policy, but

  • Hundreds in Mexico protest telecommunications law

    Updated: Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hundreds of students and activists marched in Mexico's capital Tuesday to protest a telecommunications law being debated by the Senate that they say will allow the government to arbitrarily censor Internet content. Protesters carrying signs that read "No to Censorship" and "Freedom of Expression" walked along Mexico City's main Reforma Avenue on their way to the Senate building after organizing the demonstration on social networks. The government says the proposal seeks tools to combat illegal activities on the Internet, including child pornography.

  • Chile amends constitution to allow expat voting

    Updated: Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Chile has reformed its constitution to give voting rights to citizens living outside the country. The measure was more than 20 years in the making, and is seen as a major victory for the many Chileans who left the country during its long dictatorship. Tuesday's Senate approval came after a deal between the center-left ruling coalition and right-wing politicians. The House of Deputies passed the measure last week. Voting by expats will now begin with primaries for the next presidential election in 2017. These voting rights have been debated ever since Chile restored its democracy in 1990 after the 17-year dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

  • Colombia court reinstates ousted Bogota mayor

    Updated: Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A Colombian court has ordered the reinstatement within 48 hours of ousted Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro. The surprise ruling by the Superior Tribunal of Cundinamarca department is the latest twist in an ongoing legal saga pitting the embattled leftist firebrand against Colombia's more conservative political establishment. Petro was removed from office in March after President Juan Manuel Santos refused to heed the Inter-American Human Rights Commission's call for a stay on the Inspector General's ouster of the mayor months earlier for alleged administrative missteps. The former guerrilla hailed the ruling on Twitter as a victory for the political will of Bogota's residents.

  • Violence erupts in Rio slum near Olympic venues

    Updated: Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A Rio de Janeiro slum erupted in violence late Tuesday following the killing of a popular local figure, with angry residents setting fires and showering homemade explosives and glass bottles onto a busy avenue in the city's main tourist zone. Intense exchanges of gunfire were heard when members of an elite police moved into the Pavao-Pavaozinho slum, which lies a few hundred yards (meters) from where Olympic swimming events are expected to take place in 2016. It was the latest violence to hit one of Rio's so-called "pacified" slums — impoverished areas that for decades were controlled by drug gangs. Police began an ambitious security program in 2008 to drive the gangs from such slums and for th

  • Websites probed for unauthorized Borges downloads

    Updated: Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — An Argentine prosecutor is pursuing a criminal investigation against the owners of the social network Taringa! and another website for downloads that he says violate the intellectual property of the late writer Jorge Luis Borges. Prosecutor Ricardo Saenz said his initial probe followed a complaint by Maria Kodama, the widow and only heir to the rights of one of the greatest Spanish-language writers of the 20th Century. Saenz said Taringa! and the Portal Planeta Sedna "constantly and systematically violate intellectual property." Taringa! issued a statement saying that it's open to an out of court settlement, and meanwhile has technology that can "reduce practically to zero" any exchanges

  • Brazil investigators: death of ex-pres. accidental

    Updated: Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil's National Truth Commission says its probe into the 1976 death of former President Juscelino Kubitschek has shown no evidence to support claims that his fatal car crash was the work of the country's then-military dictatorship. Members of the commission said in a news conference Tuesday that their two-year analysis hadn't revealed any proof to suggest the car crash was anything but an accident. The crash also killed Kubitschek's driver on the highway linking Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The head of the Truth Commission of the Sao Paulo city council said late last year the organization's probe had shown the accident to be a setup ordered by the 1964-1985 military regime.

  • Mexico editor: Garcia Marquez left manuscript

    Updated: Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez left behind an unpublished manuscript that he chose not to print while he was alive, an editor told The Associated Press on Tuesday as the writer's compatriots held a musical tribute to him in his native Colombia. Cristobal Pera, editorial director of Penguin Random House Mexico, said that Garcia Marquez's family has not yet decided whether to allow the book to come out posthumously, or which publishing house would get the rights. Garcia Marquez died at his Mexico City home on April 17. The manuscript has a working title of "We'll See Each Other in August," ("En Agosto Nos Vemos").

  • Mexico arrests 46 suspects posing as vigilantes

    Updated: Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    MORELIA, Mexico (AP) — Mexican police have arrested 46 people who worked for criminal gangs but posed as members of vigilante "self-defense" groups. The vigilante movement sprang up last year in the western state of Michoacan to fight the Knights Templar drug cartel. The heavily armed vigilantes wear white T-shirts with slogans demanding freedom from criminal groups for their hometowns. The federal envoy to Michoacan said Tuesday that the arrested gang members were wearing similar, but fake, T-shirts. Envoy Alfredo Castillo said the arrest occurred Monday in the town of Huetamo, near the neighboring state of Guerrero. The suspects were found with 23 guns, three grenades and a grenade launcher.

  • 500 Bolivian soldiers on strike over dead end jobs

    Updated: Tue, Apr 22, 2014

    LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — About 500 Bolivian soldiers have gone on strike to demand they be given the option of rising to the rank of officer and to protest the dismissal of four of their leaders. Such a strike is unprecedented and Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra says it is illegal. The enlisted men are demanding reform so the 11,000 non-commissioned officers in Bolivia's military may study to become career officers. They jogged through the streets of La Paz on Tuesday to the applause of passers-by and did not return to their barracks. The four protest leaders were fired on Monday. The striking soldiers are also demanding medical benefits on part with officers. Bolivia's military has some 40,000 members.

  • Mexico food labeling rules draw fire on sugar

    Updated: Mon, Apr 21, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's new food labeling rules were supposed to help fight an obesity epidemic, but activists and experts said Monday they may actually encourage the public to consume high levels of sugar. The debate over sugar has grown bitter, in a country with one of the highest obesity rates in the Western Hemisphere. The new label rules unveiled last week list the amount of sugar and other contents as a percent of recommended daily intakes. The new labels will no longer list the weights of the ingredients, instead simply listing them as calories and percentages of recommended daily intake. But the labels assume that an average acceptable daily consumption of sugar is about 360 calories, equivalent to about 9

  • AP PHOTOS: Nicaraguan town drags chained 'Judases'

    Updated: Sun, Apr 20, 2014

    MASATEPE, Nicaragua (AP) — For 130 years, the people of Masatepe have observed Good Friday by dressing up in colorful masks and costumes and dragging chained "Judases" through the streets of their town in western Nicaragua. Some dress like Roman soldiers. Others don masks designed to inspire fear, although the masks aren't what you might expect in a Holy Week event — they're macabre, post-apocalyptic creations. Long chains are attached to the participants portraying Judas and people drag them around, sometimes symbolically kicking and beating them, to punish them for betraying Jesus Christ. On this day, the "Judases" are known as "the chained ones." Organizer Israel Gutierrez Ruiz says more than 900 people par

  • 8 dead in northern Mexico plane crash

    Updated: Sun, Apr 20, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — A private plane has crashed in a northern Mexico city, killing all eight people on board. Civil Protection official Francisco Contreras says the Hawker 800 luxury jet slammed into the roof of a warehouse as it approached the airport in foggy conditions in the city of Saltillo. It burst into flames, crashed into the ground and broke into pieces that scattered over 400 meters (437 yards). On board were the two pilots, two married couples, the 10-year-old son of one of the couples and a woman. Contreras says said firefighters took an hour to put out the flames. Emergency personnel were trying to recover the bodies and the black box. The cause of the crash was not yet known, but Contreras say the

  • Costa Rican a celebrity after certified miracle

    Updated: Sat, Apr 19, 2014

    TRES RIOS, Costa Rica (AP) — On a warm spring day, Floribeth Mora was in her bed waiting to die from a seemingly inoperable brain aneurysm when her gaze fell upon a photograph of Pope John Paul II in a newspaper. "Stand up," Mora recalls the image of the pope saying to her. "Don't be afraid." Mora, her doctors and the Catholic Church say her aneurysm disappeared that day in a miracle that cleared the way for the late pope to be declared a saint on April 27 in a ceremony at the Vatican where Mora will be a guest of honor. For Mora, the church-certified miracle was only the start of her metamorphosis from an ill and desperate woman into an adored symbol of faith for thousands of Costa Ricans and Catholics around the wor

  • Colombia hopes to share Garcia Marquez remains

    Updated: Sat, Apr 19, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — The final resting place for the ashes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez remains unclear. It could be Mexico where he lived for decades or his native Colombia. Perhaps even both. Colombia's ambassador to Mexico says it's completely up to the family of the Nobel laureate who died Thursday in Mexico City. And the family so far has not revealed its wishes. Ambassador Jose Gabriel Ortiz says Colombians from President Juan Manuel Santos on down would like to see the remains divided between Mexico and Colombia. He notes that while Garcia Marquez wrote many of his novels in Mexico, "he never stopped being Colombian.

  • Deadline lapses in Peru for illegal gold miners

    Updated: Sat, Apr 19, 2014

    LIMA, Peru (AP) — The clock has run out for an estimated 40,000 illegal gold miners in Peru. They had until Saturday to legalize their status in a region where fortune-seekers have ravaged rainforests and contaminated rivers. Now the government's vow to enforce a ban on illegal mining is raising fears of bloody confrontations. The miners already have been clashing with police while intermittently blocking traffic on a vital highway to protesting government attempts to squeeze them out by restricting shipments of the gasoline they use for their machinery. One miner has been killed and more than 50 wounded. Officials insist they're serious about combatting the multi-billion-dollar illegal mining trade that accounts for

  • Mixed feelings for Garcia Marquez in hometown

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    ARACATACA, Colombia (AP) — Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his homeland had a relationship as conflicted as any in the Nobel laureate's twisting and impassioned novels. Colombia inspired and dismayed Garcia Marquez in equal measure, and the feeling was often mutual. Nowhere is that ambiguity more evident than in this sweltering hamlet that was the inspiration for the fictitious Macondo in "One Hundred Years of Solitude." Since the author died Thursday at the age of 87, residents and holidaymakers have been flocking to the zinc-roofed home where he was born and raised by his maternal grandparents until the age of 8, paying their final, tear-filled respects to a man who was a symbol of pride for a country long torn by violen

  • AP Photos: Latam Catholics pay tribute to Christ

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Roman Catholics throughout Latin America and the Caribbean are paying tribute to Jesus Christ in Holy Week traditions that go back centuries and range from religious processions to self-flagellation. From Brazil to Haiti, the faithful staged processions that recreate the final days of Christ on Earth and held other religious events. Residents of Antigua, Guatemala turned their town into a biblical Jerusalem complete with Roman soldiers on horseback and trumpets marking the coming of Christ. Residents prepared for months for their Holy Week celebrations, which include dozens of processions.

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez hailed as literary giant

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — His death mourned around the globe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is being hailed as a giant of modern literature, a writer of intoxicating novels and short stories that illuminated Latin America's passions, superstition, violence and social inequality. Widely considered the most popular Spanish-language writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century, the Colombian-born Nobel laureate achieved literary celebrity that spawned comparisons to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. He died at his home in Mexico City on Thursday afternoon at age 87. His flamboyant and melancholy fictional works — among them "Chronicle of a Death Foretold," ''Love in the Time of Cholera" and "The Autumn of the Patriarch" — outsold

  • Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

    Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake at about 9:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m. EDT; 1430 GMT) was centered on a long-dormant fault line northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday. It was felt across at least a half-dozen states and Mexico's capital, where it collapsed several walls and left large cracks in some facades. Debris covered sidewalks around the city. Around the region, there were reports of isolated and minor damage, such as