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The week in Latin America: Allende suicide confirmed

July 22, 2011 |  1:11 pm

Allende archive suicide

Here are stories that made top headlines in Latin America this week, and highlights from our coverage of the region by Times reporters and your blogger here at La Plaza:


Salvador Allende's death confirmed as suicide

Nearly four decades after the violent military coup in Chile, results of a judge-ordered autopsy on the remains of ousted President Salvador Allende confirmed that he killed himself and was not slain by soldiers attacking La Moneda, the presidential palace, on Sept. 11, 1973.

The inquest results, which were received with "great peace" by Allende's survivors, put to rest a significant historical mystery of the 20th century and a lingering wound on the Chilean national psyche. Allende was the first democratically elected socialist in Latin America, but his presidency was cut short by the coup that brought to power the brutal U.S.-backed dictatorship in Chile under Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

The death of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda, shortly after the coup, is also being investigated in Chile, as well as hundreds of other deaths presumed to be tied to the dictatorship.


Another high-profile corruption case fails in Mexico

An operation targeting officials in Michoacan collapses. Jorge Hank Rhon walks free in Tijuana. Now, the ex-mayor of Cancun is the latest high-profile corruption suspect to be released in Mexico after authorities failed to build a solid case against him, reports The Times.

Gregorio Sanchez, arrested in May, 2010, walked free on Wednesday, but was ordered to wear a tracking bracelet while prosecutors attempt to build another set of charges. Sanchez was campaigning for governor of the state of Quintana Roo at the time of his arrest on suspicion of cartel ties. Supporters claim he was targeted for political reasons, an allegation also raised against the similar failed cases in Tijuana and Michoacan.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced in Washington this week a "surgical strike" against La Familia cartel operations north of the border, with 1,985 arrests. The 20-month investigation "stripped La Familia of its manpower" in the U.S., authorities said. La Familia is based in Michoacan.


Buenos Aires mayoral election heading to runoff

The capital of Argentina looks to remain a center-right counterweight against the leftist-populist government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner after mayoral election results in Buenos Aires.

A runoff is scheduled for July 31 between conservative incumbent Mauricio Macri, who won 47% of the vote on July 10, and leftist Fernandez ally Daniel Filmus, who won about 28%. The election results left one rock-pop singer in "disgust," a comment that exposed deep social and class rifts in Buenos Aires.

Fernandez seeks to be re-elected in October.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: An archive image shows the body of Chilean President Salvador Allende being removed from the presidential palace in Santiago on Sept. 11, 1973. Credit: