Sept. 10 News Brief Central America/Caribbean

Winston F. Burges

PUEBLA, Mexico – Drug lord captured: Sergio Ruiz Tlapanco, the founding member of the Zetas, has been captured by the Mexican army in the city of Puebla. The Zetas are the armed wing of the Gulf Cartel, one of Mexico’s major drug gangs. The defense ministry charges that Ruiz Tlapanco directed the cartel’s activities in the states of Tabasco, Campeche, northern Chiapas and southern Veracruz. He is now being questioned by the Ministry of Justice’s Organized Crime Special Investigation Unit.

[Excélsior, El Universal]

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Food shortage leads government to declare state of disaster: Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has declared a state of national disaster in an attempt to deal with the severe food shortage that has already led to the deaths of 25 children and is affecting more than 54,000 poor families. The measure allows the government to buy food and mobilize resources without the red tape that usually slows down state procurement. The food shortage in 15 of the country’s 22 regions is one of the most severe crises that Colom has had to face.

[El Periódico, Siglo XXI]

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica – Anticipated increase in employment: Six percent of Costa Rican manufacturing and service companies have said they will hire personnel in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to an employment expectations survey of 620 companies carried out by international human resources company Manpower. However, Manpower’s regional director, Eric Quesada, warned that the figure was low compared to previous years, when between 20 to 30 percent of companies hired during the fourth quarter.

[La Prensa Libre, Nación.com]

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Alba countries lagging behind in competitiveness: The World Economic Forum’s report on global competitiveness has revealed that the members of Venezuelan-led group Alba (Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America) are among the world’s least competitive countries. The report stated that Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Venezuela continued to lag behind other countries, not just in the region but also in most of the world. Out of 133 countries studied, those in the group led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez were ranked number 105 (Ecuador), 113 (Venezuela), 115 (Nicaragua) and 120 (Bolivia).

[La Prensa, El Observador Económico]

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