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SundayFebruary 12, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Ecuador Serving as Gateway to Brazil for Haitian Immigrants

Ecuador Serving as Gateway to Brazil for Haitian Immigrants

Photo: Haitian Immigrants in Latin America

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Ecuador has become the door of South America to Haitian immigrants who want to go to Brazil in search of a better life than living in their country, devastated by the earthquake of 2010, because the Andean nation does not ask for visa: this is the information released from the NGO, “The Jesuit Service for Refugees and Migrants” (SJRM) in Quito.

In early January, in just three days, 500 Haitians arrived in Brasilia, a town of 20,000 inhabitants in the Amazon state of Acre, in Brazil, where about 700 countrymen lived in temporary housing. According to Brazilian government figures, about 4,000 Haitians arrived in Brazil after the earthquake in January 2010.

The deputy director of SJRM of Ecuador, Juan Villalobos, said that the majority of Haitians want to go to Brazil and the French Guyana from here, to arrive in France. Villalobos explained that they enter South America through Ecuador because it is the only country in the region, together with Chile, where visas to enter is not asked.

However, Chile requires for entry into its territory that one has economic funds, so many decide to go to Ecuador, which does not ask them. The Caribbean nation still “comes from a historical crisis” according to Villalobos: even before the earthquake there were two million Haitians abroad and natural disasters have accentuated this escape. The majority of Haitians who leave the country are young people between 18 and 35 years of age, who want training or a job abroad to send money home to family in Haiti.

They leave from their country towards the Dominican Republic or Cuba, then to Ecuador and from there take different routes to different countries to arrive in Brazil, said the representative of SJRM. However he warned that “in Brazil there is no work for them” and also “the country has imposed a restrictive policy regarding the Haitians entry who cannot leave the state of Acre”.

Another concern for SRJM is that many of them “come through the networks of trafficking or human trafficking”, in large groups, forced to travel long distances in the region. Villalobos cited as an example the 500 Haitians who were left to themselves in Leticia Tabatinga, an Amazonian city of Colombia, on the border with Brazil and Peru.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Death Squads Take Over Where Striking Brazil Police Left

Death Squads Take Over Where Striking Brazil Police Left

Photo: Brazil Death Squads

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The strike begun on Jan. 31 by police officers in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia has resulted in an increase in the number of murders committed there by death squads, the press reported.

“Those groups are taking advantage of the strike, which reduced (police) patrolling, to ‘cleanse’ the area and kill those who are inconveniencing them,” Bahia police homicide division chief Arthur Gallas told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.

“There is evidence” that the so-called “militiamen,” most of them police officers operating outside the law and former officers, murdered 38 of the 157 people who have died violently during the 12 days of the strike in that region, the police chief said.

The strike by police to exert pressure for more pay began to lose steam late last week when 245 officers who had holed up inside the Bahia state legislature, among them the strike leaders, last Tuesday abandoned the building, which had been surrounded by about 1,000 army soldiers.

In Rio de Janeiro, meanwhile, Militarized Police officers, Civil Police officers and fire department personnel also announced an open-ended strike for the same reason on Friday morning, a week before Carnival is scheduled to begin.

There were no serious incidents reported on the first day of the work stoppage and there was only minimal adherence to the strike by the almost 70,000 emergency services workers, who are demanding a pay hike, the Rio de Janeiro state Public Safety Secretariat said.

The low strike adherence was partly in response to the fact that the state legislature last Thursday approved implementing a 39 percent salary increase for police that had been scheduled for October 2013, although the strikers were demanding a larger pay boost.

The police command arrested 50 officers who refused to work and ordered the arrests of the 11 officers who had organized the strike, nine of whom had already been taken into custody.

The majority of the arrested officers were subsequently released, but 17 of them remain under detention while a judicial decision on their situation is awaited.

Less than a week before the start of Carnival, with most tourists and Brazilians who participate in the revelry flocking to Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, the capital of Bahia, state officials intensified the negotiations to normalize the situation and guarantee security at the popular festival.

In Salvador, where some 2 million people are expected to attend what is considered to be the largest street party in the world, several thousand soldiers were deployed to strengthen security, while in Rio de Janeiro authorities, for now, have ruled out any massive presence by the army to guarantee public safety during Carnival.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Controversial Ad Selling Baby for Its Organs in Mexico Pulled

Controversial Ad Selling Baby for Its Organs in Mexico Pulled

Photo: Mercado Libre Lists Baby for Sale

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An apparent attempt to sell a baby on the MercadoLibre Web site has sparked indignation and heated controversy on social networks and has forced the company to deny its responsibility in the matter.

The ad that appeared on the Web site said “Beautiful Baby On Sale For Organs…What You Need Is Urgent!” The message was soon uploaded to the social network Twitter and became a Trend Topic for several hours this Friday.

MercadoLibre, a company that facilitates online buying and selling among individuals, said in a communique that the advertisement “was taken down immediately and the user was eliminated from the community, because such a message is not permitted on the portal.”

The Web site issued a note in “answer to the concern expressed by different media and by society in general.”

According to the media, the ad showed the vendor to be located in the Mexican capital and set a down payment of 20,000 pesos (some $1,570) and a period of nine days to make an offer.

Twitter users expressed their indignation and rejection after one of the tweeters passed the word along about the ad.

Users of the social network uniformly repudiated the offer with tweets like “sickie sells baby and its organs on MercadoLibre”...“They can’t do this! It’s outrageous!”...“the filthiest of society sells baby on MercadoLibre.”

The online company said its conditions establish that “the offer and/or sale of persons, human bodies, corpses, organs, human members or remains are prohibited.”

It also repeated its commitment to society and collaboration with the authorities to preserve an Internet community “that users can access with confidence while honoring their values and the law.”

MercadoLibre said it exercises constant vigilance to eliminate from the site any articles that go against its policies.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Oil Spill that Caused Emergency Declaration in Venezuela, Now Contained

Oil Spill that Caused Emergency Declaration in Venezuela, Now Contained

Photo: Venezuela Oil Spill Contained

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Venezuelan Environment Minister Alejandro Hitcher said that the oil spill in the eastern state of Monagas has been brought under control after an emergency was declared due to a pipeline rupture at the Jusepin Complex operated by state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA.

“We already have complete control of the oil spill. Ninety percent of the crude is already confined by the containment barriers and is being extracted with the different systems the petroleum industry has to deal with this type of accident,” Hitcher told Telesur television.

“Every effort is being made and teams of 1,500 people have been activated to continue cleaning up the waters of the Guarapiche (River) and its surroundings for the time that may be necessary,” the environment minister said.


An emergency was declared in the eastern state of Monagas due to an oil spill caused by a pipeline rupture at the Jusepin Complex operated by state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, media reports said.

Monagas Gov. Jose Gregorio Briceño declared a state of emergency on Friday, a week after the pipeline ruptured, because crude spilled into the Guarapiche River, which supplies drinking water to a number of communities, the Correo del Caroni newspaper reported on its Web site.

Residents say the oil is spreading and fear it could pollute nearby rivers and reach the Orinoco River, the Ultimas Noticias newspaper reported.

About 80 percent of the residents of Maturin, the capital of Monagas, are without drinking water because oil got into the water plant.

Workers are making progress in keeping the oil from flowing into the river, PDVSA environmental affairs chief Ramiro Ramirez told the official AVN news agency.

“Up to now, the crude residue has not left the river, and as of this time, it has not reached the last control point,” Ramirez said.

PDVSA personnel have deployed containment booms to control the oil spilled into several parts of the river, extraction equipment and pumps, Ramirez said.

The state-owned oil company should immediately investigate the spill and explain why it happened, opposition Congressman Hiram Gaviria, who chairs the National Assembly’s environmental affairs committee, said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pedro Almodovar’s ‘The Skin I Live In’ Winner at BAFTA

Pedro Almodovar’s ‘The Skin I Live In’ Winner at BAFTA

Photo: Almodovar's 'Skin I live In' Wins BAFTA

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The Skin I Live In” (La piel que habito), directed by Pedro Almodovar, on Sunday evening won the British film industry’s BAFTA award for Best Film Not in the English Language, beating out the night’s great favorite, Iran’s “The Separation.”

This is the fifth BAFTA for the Spanish director, who won the prestigious award for “All About My Mother” in 1999 and another for “Talk to Her” in 2002, for best film in a language other than English and best screenwriting, respectively.

Almodovar did not attend the ceremony on Sunday evening in the Royal Opera House in this capital, and the presenter, Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor, accepted the prize on his behalf, reading a gracious thank-you and acceptance message from the director.

One of Almodovar’s muses, actress Penelope Cruz, was present at the BAFTAs, however, and she was scheduled to present the award for best actor in a leading role.

The favorite in the best foreign language film had been “The Separation,” the winner of the Golden Bear award in Berlin and a Golden Globe award, and which is also up for an Academy Award within the next two weeks.

The other films vying for best foreign film at the ceremony - often dubbed the British Oscars - were “Pina” by Wim Wenders and French films “Potiche” and “Incendies,” the latter a drama set in the Middle East.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Leader of Shining Path Guerrillas Captured in Peru

Leader of Shining Path Guerrillas Captured in Peru

Photo: Shining Path Leader Captured

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“Comrade Artemio,” one of the leaders of the remnants of Peru’s Shining Path guerrilla group, was captured on Sunday, Defense Minister Alberto Otarola said.

“Peru has won,” the defense minister said.

President Ollanta Humala arrived in Santa Lucia, the town in the Upper Huallaga Valley where the guerrilla commander is being held, to get a firsthand look at the situation.

The guerrilla commander “is being treated for his wounds, mainly in an arm,” Otarola told the N television channel.

“He is alive, very seriously wounded, he has practically lost his right arm,” the defense minister said.

“This is a great day for the country,” Otarola said, adding that the operation to capture the rebel chief was conducted by the army and the National Police.

“He is in our power at this time, in a safe place, he is alive, he is receiving the necessary medical care, this subject is going to be turned over to the authorities,” the defense minister said.

The security forces launched a search this weekend for Artemio, who some captured rebels said had been killed.

Officials said Friday that the security forces were in pursuit of Comrade Artemio, who was identified by the government as Florindo Eleuterio Flores, in a jungle area in the Upper Huallaga Valley.

Comrade Artemio, who commanded the Shining Path’s remnants in the Upper Huallaga Valley, admitted in an interview published last December by the IDL-Reporteros Web site that his insurgent group had been defeated by the government and called on officials to begin a dialogue for a peace agreement.

Comrade Artemio said in an interview granted to journalists Gustavo Gorriti and Romina Mella on Dec. 1 that the war declared against the state more than 30 years ago had ended in defeat.

“Yes, it is true. We are not going to deny it,” Comrade Artemio said.

The group still has the same “political objectives,” but “in practice that’s not possible today,” the rebel commander said.

Artemio proposed a “military truce” with the government to open the way for negotiations.

“We honestly want to make our position clear that we want a political solution. We want it to end, but through the methods of the negotiating table,” the guerrilla commander said.

The Shining Path also operates in the coca-growing Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, or VRAE, region under Victor Quispe Palomino, known as “Comrade Jose.”

The rebels have joined forces with drug cartels and producers of illegal coca, the raw material for cocaine, officials say.

The government has made the elimination of the Shining Path’s remnants a priority.

The Maoist-inspired Shining Path launched its uprising on May 17, 1980, with an attack on Chuschi, a small town in Ayacucho province.

A truth commission appointed by former President Alejandro Toledo blamed the Shining Path for most of the nearly 70,000 deaths the panel ascribed to politically motivated violence during the two decades following the group’s 1980 uprising.

The guerrilla group, according to commission estimates, also caused an estimated $25 billion in economic losses.

Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman Guzman, known to his fanatic followers as “President Gonzalo,” was captured with his top lieutenants on Sept. 12, 1992, an event that marked the “defeat” of the insurgency.

The guerrilla leader, who was a professor of philosophy at San Cristobal University before initiating his armed struggle in the Andean city of Ayacucho, once predicted that 1 million Peruvians would probably have to die in the ushering-in of the new state envisioned by Shining Path.

The group became notorious for some of its innovations, such as blowing apart with dynamite the bodies of community service workers its members killed, or hanging stray canines from lampposts as warnings to “capitalist dogs.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Univision Spanish-Radio Rasies $5.25 Million for St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Univision Spanish-Radio Rasies $5.25 Million for St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Photo: Univision Radio Raises Millions for St. Jude

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Children with cancer from around the world received the support of special angels this past week as thousands of Univision Radio listeners joined a nationwide effort to battle childhood cancer and other deadly diseases during the annual St. Jude Promesa y Esperanza (Promise and Hope) Radio Event, on February 2 and 3, benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Univision Radio, the leading Spanish-language radio group in the United States, partnered with St. Jude, one of the world’s premier pediatric cancer research centers, to bring the nationwide effort to its listeners, resulting in more than $5.25 million in cash and pledges.  Univision Radio stations across the country and in Puerto Rico dedicated two days of programming to raising funds for St. Jude and its lifesaving medical research.

The St. Jude Promesa y Esperanza radio event has brought the hospital’s mission to life for millions of Univision Radio listeners across the country through moving patient stories, like Emilio’s.  Emilio is a 14-year-old patient who was treated at St. Jude for astrocytoma, an aggressive and life-threatening brain tumor.  Today Emilio is able to enjoy his favorite activities such as playing the guitar, singing and composing songs.  Emilio, along with more than a dozen St. Jude patients shared their stories with millions of Univision Radio listeners who were encouraged to become Angeles de Esperanza (Angels of Hope) by making a donation of $20 per month.  The funds raised during the two-day event help pay for treatment and research developed at St. Jude. Additionally, the funds help provide housing, transportation, food and services such as schooling and rehabilitation to help improve the quality of life for St. Jude patients and their families.

This year, Univision activated 360-degree support of the event via its radio, television, online and social media platforms.  Additionally, Univision personalities supported the effort via social media including El Show de Piolin’s Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo; Sabado Gigante’s Javier Romero; Despierta América’s Poncho de Anda, Raúl Gonzalez and Karla Martínez;  Primer Impacto’s Pamela Silva Conde; El Gordo y La Flaca’s Lily Estefan and Raul de Molina, Julie Stav, Dra. Isabel, Raul Brindis, Ilia Calderón from Noticiero Univision Edición Nocturna, Intimo’s Alberto Sardinias and more.

The Promesa y Esperanza event was further supported by a number of Latin celebrities who reached out to their fans through live interviews, recorded Public Service Announcements (PSAs), call-ins and continuous messages through their social media networks. Supporting celebrities included Luis Fonsi, Gloria Estefan, Daisy Fuentes, Luis Enrique, Prince Royce, Graciela Beltran, Karen Martinez, Dulce Maria and Natalia Jimenez.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentina Police Arrested for Leaking Corpse Photos of Model Jazmin de Grazia

Argentina Police Arrested for Leaking Corpse Photos of Model Jazmin de Grazia

Photo: Controversy, Deceased Photos of Model de Grazia

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The Argentine government has fired 11 Federal Police officers for their alleged responsibility in leaking photographs of the corpse of model Jazmin De Grazia that were published earlier this weekend in a Buenos Aires newspaper, police said Sunday.

The Security Ministry dismissed commissioner Ruben Miño - the head of the police photography division - two officers, five police experts and three security and defense auxiliary officers, all of them with the Federal Police.

Meanwhile, prosecutor Justo Rovira summoned the head of the Internal Affairs division of the Federal Police, Alejandro Rom, and the head of Station 17, Marcelo Repetto, to provide an explanation for the leaking of the photos.

Judge Raul Botto said in a communique that “the corresponding complaint will be made with the aim of investigating the alleged commission” of a crime regarding the leaking of the photos, which are part of the file in the investigation into the model’s death.

“Our hands will not tremble in separating from the force those responsible” for handing over images of De Grazia, who was found dead in the bathroom of her Buenos Aires home on Feb. 5, Argentine Security Minister Nilda Garre said Friday at a press conference.

De Grazia’s boyfriend said a few days later that the 27-year-old model was “under psychiatric treatment” and took “sleeping pills.”

“We’re going to punish with the maximum severity the officials who have failed in their duties, violating at the same time judicial procedures, the right to privacy of a person and the relatives of the deceased young woman,” Garre said.

The autopsy performed on Jazmin De Grazia confirmed that she died of asphyxiation after ingesting psychiatric medication, local media reported.

De Grazia catapulted to fame in 2002 as a participant on the “Super M” reality show on models’ careers, after which she continued her career as a journalist on several television channels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Kidnapped Musician Found Dead In Spite of Family Paying Ransom

Kidnapped Musician Found Dead In Spite of Family Paying Ransom

Photo: Founder of Bronco Kidnapped, Killed Mexico

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A singer who was kidnapped in Monterrey, the largest city in northern Mexico, was found dead even though his family paid ransom for his release, state officials said Sunday.

Erick Garza Garza’s family was contacted by the kidnappers, who killed him gangland-style.

The body of the 56-year-old Garza, who founded the band Bronco, was discovered on Friday by the Nuevo Leon State Investigations Agency, or AEI.

The singer’s body was found in the Villas del Poniente section of Garcia, a city in the Monterrey metropolitan area, and positive identification was made on Saturday.

Garza was blindfolded with duct tape and shot once in the head, the AEI said.

The body of the singer, who played keyboards for Bronco, was identified by relatives.

Garza left the successful band in 1986 due to health problems and went into the auto parts business in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon.

The singer was threatened by members of a criminal organization because he refused to pay protection money, relatives said.

The former Bronco member was abducted a week ago as he was leaving his business in the northern part of Monterrey, which has been plagued by drug-related violence in recent years.

The violence has surged in recent weeks despite the presence in the city of federal security forces.

Monterrey and its suburbs have been battered by a wave of drug-related violence that has left about 2,500 people dead since March 2010.

Los Zetas has been battling an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia drug cartels, known as the Nueva Federacion, for control of the Monterrey metropolitan area and smuggling routes into the United States.

Read more by HS News Staff →

H1N1, Swine Flu, Making Comeback in Mexico - Over 1,000 Cases Reported in January

It was just about three years ago that a strange new strain of flu first appeared in Mexico, then spread across the border to the United States and eventually much of the globe.

The H1N1 “swine” flu strain didn’t behave like a “normal” flu, because it proved particularly dangerous to children and younger adults—the very groups of people who usually have the strongest defenses against seasonal flu.

After a quiet couple of years, more cases of the pandemic H1N1 flu are circulating again where it all began—in Mexico.

But infectious disease experts says Americans shouldn’t be overly concerned.

In January, there were 1,623 cases of flu reported in Mexico, and 90 percent of those cases were H1N1 flu. There were also 32 flu-related deaths, all but three caused by the H1N1 strain, the Associated Press reported.

“It appears that H1N1 in Mexico is circulating at a higher level than in the United States,” said Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We have seen some H1N1 here in the U.S.,” he added, but the more familiar H3N2 strain is predominating here this winter.

The flu season in the United States has also gotten off to a slow start, Skinner said, but it’s expected to pick up in the coming weeks. “Our season usually peaks sometime in February and it’s not too late to get a flu shot,” he said.

The flu shot for this year—and last year—includes protection against the H1N1 strain, Skinner noted.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University, doesn’t think there’s much for Americans to worry about, given the situation in Mexico.

“First of all it [the H1N1 virus] turned out to be a very mild virus,” he said.

“One of the reasons Mexico saw a severe outbreak compared with us in 2009 is that initially you see more lethality and more morbidity. Then, as the virus spreads, it usually becomes less severe—that’s traditional,” Siegel added.

Also, flu pandemics tend to follow a pattern like the one taking place now. They come in “waves” and there are always additional “waves” in the second and third year after flu strain’s initial appearance, he said.

“It just becomes one of the circulating viruses,” Siegel said.

It’s unlikely that another severe outbreak of H1N1 would occur in the United States, he said.

“We have developed a ‘herd immunity’ through previous exposure to the virus and vaccination, so it slows the spread,” he said.

According to the CDC, one reason that children and young adults were more vulnerable to the H1N1 strain back in 2009 is that this strain hadn’t circulated widely since the early half of the 20th century. As a result, CDC studies found that no children and very few adults younger than 60 had existing antibodies to the 2009 H1N1 flu virus. Curiously, about one-third of adults 60 and older are thought may have antibodies that may help protect against the virus.

Read more at Health Finder →

Former Brazil President Readmitted to Hospital

Former Brazil President Readmitted to Hospital

Photo: Fomer President Lula Readmitted Hospital

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Brazil’s ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been in treatment for cancer of the larynx since last October, suffered a dehydration episode and had to be taken to a hospital in Sao Paulo, his advisers said.

Lula, 66, walked unaided into the Sirio Libanes Hospital, where he has been receiving oncological care, after going 12 hours without adequate nourishment following a dehydration episode, the press office of the Citizens Institute, the foundation directed by the ex-president, told reporters.

According to information provided by his advisers, Lula’s dehydration episode was a reaction to the serum that complements his radiation therapy.

Hospital sources told Efe that Lula did not go to the emergency room and that his doctors were diagnosing the problem to determine what treatment to pursue.

Minutes later the clinic said in a bulletin that the patient was admitted “complaining of a loss of appetite and fatigue” and that a preliminary examination found “a slight presence of inflammation of the larynx and esophagus as a result of radiation therapy.”

“The medical team chose to hospitalize him for observation and to step up his nutritional support, physiotherapy and phonoaudiology, but the president’s state of health is good and there is no change in the radiation therapy plan,” the communique said.

After being diagnosed with cancer last Oct. 29, Lula underwent a cycle of chemotherapy that reduced by 75 percent a 3-centimeter (1 1/5-inch) malignant tumor, and then began a series of radiation sessions together with a lighter form of chemotherapy.

Earlier the ex-president had been hoping for doctors’ authorization to take part in the Sao Paulo Carnival parade next Feb. 19 with the Gavioes da Fiel samba school, made up of fans of the Corinthians soccer club and which this year will pay tribute to Lula as the subject of floats, musical groups, costumes and songs.

But doctors treating Lula for cancer rejected the idea of his marching with a samba school in Sao Paulo during this year’s Carnival, the press reported Thursday.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Suspected Kidnappers Lynched, Burned by Angry Mob in Mexico

Suspected Kidnappers Lynched, Burned  by Angry Mob in Mexico

Photo: Lynching Mexico

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Three suspected kidnappers were lynched by a mob in Chalco, a city in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, officials said.

A total of 23 people have been arrested in connection with the killings in San Mateo Huitzilzingo, a community in Chalco, Mexico state Attorney General Alfredo Castillo said.

The incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. Friday, when residents intervened and stopped an alleged attempt to kidnap some high school students.

Residents grabbed the three suspected kidnappers and burned them alive in an automobile.

Two of the victims died inside the vehicle and the third died while being treated at a hospital.

“The initial investigation that has been conducted identified a group of six women who incited the residents to lynch three men, who were set on fire,” the Mexico state Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

The six women range in age from 26 to 50, Castillo and State Security Agency chief Salvador Neme said.

Seventeen male suspects, including three minors, were detained and will be taken to the prosecutor’s office in Amecameca to give statements, the AG’s office said.

Investigators are still gathering evidence in the case and have not ruled out additional arrests.

Residents often take the law into their own hands in Mexico, claiming that they do not trust police and are fed up with the high crime rate.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SundayFebruary 12, 2012