The week in Latin America: Peru's African legacy
Significant court ruling in Mexico
In Mexico, the Supreme Court ruled that human-rights abuse claims against the military must be tried in civilian courts and no longer in closed-door military tribunals.
The ruling presents a test to Mexico's fledgling civilian justice system, still in dire need of reform, as well as President Felipe Calderon's military-led strategy against organized crime. Abuse claims against Mexico's armed forces have skyrocketed since soldiers and marines were dispatched to the streets in 2006 to combat the country's drug cartels.
Searching for the missing children of El Salvador
Times correspondent Ken Ellingwood was recently in El Salvador, where he reported a profile of an organization, named Pro-Busqueda, which uses the modern tools of social media as well as "old–fashioned grunt work" to locate missing children from El Salvador's brutal civil war.
Read the story here.
Excavating Afro-Peruvian history
From Peru, Times correspondent Tracy Wilkinson offers a look at an acclaimed singer who is seeking to reclaim and celebrate the country's rich history of African migration and culture.
One such icon of the Afro-Peruvian past, says singer Susana Baca, is the instrument known as the cajon, or box, which Baca has incorporated into her records. "A lot of people saw this as the music of the slaves," she explains. "They were ashamed of it."
Gun scandal grows in the United States
With wide implications for Mexico and its conflict against organized crime, the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal continued to reverberate north of the border. This week, the federal government imposed a tougher rule for the reporting of semiautomatic weapon sales in border states.
Revelations from the scandal, in which deadly weapons were knowingly "walked" into Mexico by U.S. agents, confirm that the United States government has been essentially arming both sides of the drug war in Mexico.
-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City
Photo: Peruvian singer Susana Baca, left, in the village of Santa Barbara, Peru. Credit: Giancarlo Aponte, For The Times