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Latin America news and views roundup -- April 9

April 9, 2008 |  8:30 am

Calderon_sarah_meghan_leePresident Calderon of Mexico (pictured) made what some commentators are characterizing as a huge political gamble yesterday, calling for a sweeping modernization of Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex and outlining a series of reforms that would allow private firms to assume a greater role in the petroleum industry.

As Héctor Tobar writes from our Mexico City office, the move promises to spark protests and a "massive campaign of civil disobedience" in Mexico today from members and supporters of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, known as the PRD, who are against the "privatization" of Pemex.

Over in Haiti meanwhile, hungry citizens tried to storm the residential palace yesterday, demanding the resignation of President Rene Preval in protest against rising food prices. Read about it here.

In the United States, presidential contender Hillary Clinton spoke out against a controversial free trade deal with Colombia at a Washington meeting of the Communications Workers of America union Tuesday. Her words followed news on Monday that President Bush was continuing to fight for congressional approval of the proposed pact with Colombia.

In Los Angeles, the family of Jamiel Shaw Jr., the Los Angeles High football star who was killed last month, are asking for changes to the Los Angeles Police Department's Special Order 40 so that police officers can routinely check the immigration status of known gang members who are crime suspects. Shaw was allegedly killed by an 18th Street gang member, Pedro Espinoza. Read the story here.

Confused about Special Order 40? This Los Angeles Times editorial explains more here.

For Spanish-language links, both La Opinion and Hoy have reports today on this story.

And finally, MySpace -- the online social networking site -- announced from Miami yesterday that it is expanding its offerings for Latinos by launching eight new bilingual communities focused on bands and celebrities, soccer and other interests. Read about it here.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Photo by Sarah Meghan Lee for The Times

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