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A reported blog on happenings around Latin America.

Gunmen kill ambulance driver in Mexico, 4 die

Another spate of violence for Ciudad Juarez amid this never-ending drug war
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More murder comes to Ciudad Juarez. (JESUS ALCAZAR/AFP/Getty Images)

An ambulance driver was killed on Wednesday in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexico border city that saw a massive uptick in violence as cartels compete for territory.  

Gunmen ambushed the ambulance by crashing into it.

They then shot the driver through the head, killed two patients and a woman who was riding with them. 

Officials think that the driver was the target of the killing, but they have no motive.

Do they ever?


US syphilis experiment in Guatemala created more victims

A Guatemala investigation found more victims than before, and a handful of survivors
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Guatemala President Alvaro Colom said he wants the six known survivors to be compensated. (JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A US syphilis experiment in Guatemala, in which prisoners, mental patients and others were deliberately infected with the disease, affected more victims than previously thought. 


Capital flight doubles in Argentina

Capital flight hits its highest level in 10 years in the third quarter.
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(Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images)

Capital flight in Argentina doubled in the first nine months of the year.

A total of 8.4 billion dollars left the country between July and September, the fastest pace in at least 10 years, reports MercoPress.

That brings the total for the year to $18 billion. The Central Bank's capital reserves have shrunk to $48.6 billion, from a record high of $52.6 billion in January.

Inflation and a weakening peso have fueled fears about South America's second-biggest economy.


US approves loan for Argentina

The Inter-American Development Bank will lend Argentina $400 million to improve infrastructure in poor neighborhoods.
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Villa 21 shantytown in Buenos Aires, on Oct. 4, 2011. (Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images)

The Inter-American Development Bank has approved a $400 million loan to Argentina to improve infrastructure in poor neighborhoods.

The United States voted to approve the loan, even though it has said over the past several months that it opposes loans to Argentina because of its failure to meet international financial commitments, including payment to creditors, reports La Nacion.

“Up to 70,000 families will benefit from infrastructure improvements including the provision of drinking water, sewers, gas, lighting for streets and homes and public spaces,” said Argentina's Planning Ministry in a statement.


Shining Path defeated, leader says

The tireless rebel group has finally given up
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Remains from a mass grave in Peru's region of Ayacucho. A truth and reconciliation report said 123 people were massacred and buried in the town of Putis. Victims' relatives said men, women and children were murdered by the Peruvian Army in December 1984 under false accusations of being sympathetic to the Shining Path. (Hugo Ned/AFP/Getty Images)

Peru's Shining Path rebel group has been defeated, according to an interview with one of its leaders.

Once one of the most powerful groups in Latin America, the Shining Path murdered tens of thousands in its quest to found a communist state.

In all, an estimated 70,000 people were killed in the rebellion and the government's resulting anti-insurgency campaign.

The group was seriously diminished after the capture of Abimael Guzman, its leader. Thousands of fighters surrendered. 


Mexican soldiers tortured American

El Paso man freed after two year ordeal
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Mexican soldiers fighting the war on drugs (Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)
Accusations of police or soldiers in Mexico torturing and wrongfully imprisoning suspects are so common that they rarely make news. But it does make a splash when the alleged victim of the abuse is American. Shohn Huckabee, a 24-year old from El Paso, was released from prison after almost two years when the U.S. Justice Department determined that he had been tortured in Mexican custody.

Gaddafi's son tried to make it to Mexico

A shady international plot to smuggle him to Mexico predictably failed. Still, a shady international plot!
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You can't blame a guy for trying. (AFP/Getty Images)

There was actually an international plot to smuggle one of Gaddafi's sons into Mexico. 

This sounds a little bit far-fetched, but there it is, coming from Mexico's interior secretary, Alejandro Poire.

Saadi Gaddafi was considered the playboy of the family, and he's still wanted by Interpol.


Elian Gonzalez turns 18

The 5-year-boy rescued from a raft off Florida is now studying at a military academy in Cuba.
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Elian Gonzalez during the 10th-anniversary celebration of his return from Miami, on June 30, 2010. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

Remember Elian Gonzalez, the 5-year-old Cuban boy who caused a major international incident between Cuba and the United States?

He turns 18 today.

Cuban nightly news broadcast images of Gonzalez, who is studying at the military academy on the island, celebrating with his father in his hometown of Cadenas, reports the AP.

Gonzalez was 5 years old when a fisherman found him floating on a raft off the coast of Florida. He went to live with relatives, but his father claimed Elian's mother had taken him without consent and demanded the boy be returned to Cuba.


UK wants to extend marine protection zone in South Atlantic

Such a move would likely anger Argentina, which claims sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.
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Falklands veterans march in London, on June 17, 2007. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Britain wants to extend the marine protection zone around South Georgia Island, located near the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.

The 386,000-square-mile zone around South Georgia Island is full of penguins and killer whales, as well as walruses and seals. It would be one of the largest marine protection zones in the world.

“Argentina, like the United Kingdom, is a signatory of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Resources so we would like to think that common interest in conservation will carry more weight than the dispute over sovereignty,” a Whitehall source told The Times of London, which first reported the news.


China announces largest investment yet in Costa Rica

China will pay nearly $1 billion to modernize an oil refinery.
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The new Costa Rican National Stadium on March 26, 2011. Six hundred Chinese engineers and workers took part in the construction of the stadium. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

China announced its largest investment to date in Costa Rica this week, agreeing to pay between $800 million and $900 million to modernize an oil refinery in the Caribbean port of Moin.

The refinery currently processes 25,000 barrels of oil a day, reports the Tico Times. The project, financed by China's development bank, is expected to expand the capacity to 60,000 barrels.

The project is expected to be completed in 2013.

In June, China and Costa Rica signed a free trade agreement that benefitted about 70 percent of Costa Rica's exports.