-While Mexicans try to cope with the damages of the 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck on Tuesday, there is some silver lining. Although structural damage was not-insignificant, nobody died in the quake, suggesting Mexico is “better prepared” for an earthquake after 1985’s disastrous 8.0 earthquake pointed to real design and structural problems with building codes.
-On behalf of the government, Uruguayan President José Mujica accepted responsibility for the death of Maria Claudia Garcia, the daughter-in-law of Argentine poet Juan Gelman, during the Uruguayan military regime of 1973-1985. The 19-year-old died while in custody of Uruguayan troops who had arrested her under the auspices of regional collaboration between right-wing military dictatorships in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil in the 1970s (with assistance from the United States) .
-A new report says illegal logging in Brazil is threatening the Awa people of the eastern Amazonian basin, one of the world’s most “endangered” indigenous groups.
-Colombian armed forces killed 33 members of the FARC guerrilla movement yesterday as part of a new governmental strategy that targets financial and military targets, rather than focusing on the FARC leadership. There is no word yet as to whether this attack will derail the FARC’s pledge to release 10 police soldiers the guerrillas had taken hostage.
-Ex-soldiers who served in Argentina’s Patagonian region during the Malvinas War occupied the Torre Monumental in protest this week, demanding that they too be recognized as official war veterans for serving during the war even while not fighting directly in the theater of combat.
-Mexican courts have rejected a Frenchwoman’s appeal who says her 60-year sentence for kidnapping was unjust. In 2005, Florence Cassez was convicted in helping a kidnapping gang led by her then-boyfriend, though she insisted she knew nothing of the kidnappings. The case has divided the French, who believe Cassez has been unfairly punished, and Mexicans, who generally support her conviction and sentence, even as the case is one of several that also has forced Mexicans to ask questions about the ways in which the arrest- and sentencing-process is carried out in their home country.
–Reuters has a profile up on the Brazilian prosecutor behind efforts to charge Chevron executives for offshore oil spills that have recently struck Brazil.
-Finally, Mexican tequila mogul Julio Gonzalez Estrada has died at the age of 87. Estrada, who began making tequila as a teenager trying to support his family, ended up being one of the key figures in making premium tequilas popular outside of Mexico.