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The week in Latin America: Cattle vs. soybeans

August 19, 2011 |  1:37 pm

Guachos argentina latimes

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

Suit dismissed in Border Patrol shooting

A U.S. judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking damages for the family of a 15-year-old Ciudad Juarez boy who was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent last year, the El Paso Times reports. The death of Sergio Hernandez Guereca occurred on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, and thus out of U.S. jurisdiction, the judge overseeing the suit ruled.

Here's our La Plaza report on the June 2010 incident, in which border agent Jesus Mesa Jr. shot at a group of teens who were allegedly throwing rocks at him. Hernandez's family plans to appeal the dismissal of the case.

Trading cattle for soybeans in Argentina

Special correspondent Chris Kraul tells us about a cattle rancher in Argentina -- a nation synonymous with delicious beef -- and found that the global commodities boom is making soybean production far more lucrative for Argentina's famed gauchos.

The shift is challenging traditions in the Pampas, the wide plains that have inspired Argentine artists and writers for generations. "The Pampas are no longer the open plains with a gaucho sipping mate in the shade," one analyst told Kraul. "Now it's a green industry, motorizing the entire economy."

Peru suspends coca eradiction program

The government of Peru's recently sworn-in President Ollanta Humala has suspended a coca eradiction program, surprising U.S. envoys who seek to help countries in the region scale back the production of cocaine.

Peru says the program, which the U.S. has backed with $10 million this year, is under evaluation as the new president reviews its eradication efforts overall. The Andean nation is the second-largest producer of coca, the base material for cocaine, after Colombia.

Dominican hotel owner suspected in journalist slaying

Authorities in the Dominican Republic are searching for a hotel owner suspected of ordering the killing of a muckracking journalist who published alleged links between organized crime and anti-trafficking prosecutors. Read more in La Plaza.

-- Daniel Hernandez

Photo: Cattle rancher Mario Caceres with his soybean crops in Argentina. Credit: Andres D'Alessandro / For The Times