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LATAM POLITICS TODAY-Mexican ex-AG arrested for involvement in students' disappearance

·3 min read

* Mexican ex-AG arrested for involvement in student disappearances

* Peru's Castillo's sister-in-law may face pre-trial detention

* Chilean legislators to face random drug tests

* Cuba to send hundreds of doctors to Italy amid shortage

* Bolsonaro's campaign to lean into opposition's past scandals

Aug 19 (Reuters) - The latest in Latin American politics today:

Mexico's former attorney general arrested for 2014 student disappearances

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's former Attorney General Jesus Murillo, who served under prior president Enrique Pena Nieto, has been arrested for charges of forced disappearance, torture and obstruction of justice in the 2014 disappearance of 43 students, officials said.

Murillo oversaw the investigation into the students' disappearance, which international experts criticized as riddled with errors and abuses.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in 2018 vowing to clear up what happened in the incident.

Peru prosecutors request 3 years of pre-trial detention for president's sister-in-law

LIMA - Peruvian prosecutors said on Friday that they will request that President Pedro Castillo's sister-in-law, Yenifer Paredes, be jailed for three years pending an investigation into alleged influence peddling.

The request underscores the pressure on Castillo and his family and close associates who are mired in different criminal investigations. Castillo himself is facing six investigations, including one for alleged obstruction of justice in the firing of a former minister.

A judge still has to decide on the detention request and could reject it altogether or impose less jail time.

Chile's Congress to faces first drug tests

SANTIAGO - Chilean legislators will begin random drug testing in the next few days after a proposal making it compulsory was approved last month, despite criticism from some lawmakers.

The first 78 lawmakers to be tested were randomly drawn this week, and will now have their first series of drug tests, in an effort to raise the standards of transparency in parliamentary work.

Nicaraguan anti-Ortega bishop under house arrest after pre-dawn raid

Rolando Alvarez, one of the most influential bishops in Nicaragua's Catholic Church and a critic of President Daniel Ortega's government, is under house arrest in the capital Managua following a pre-dawn raid, police said.

The arrest is the latest in the government's clamp down on the local Catholic Church, which had acted as a mediator between the government and opponents until relations deteriorated following anti-Ortega protests in 2018.

Cuba to send hundreds of doctors to Italy amid shortage

HAVANA - Cuba will send hundreds of doctors to southern Italy next month, Cuban state media reported this week, with the communist-run island frequently sending surplus medics to countries in need, particularly during the COVID pandemic.

From September, Cuba will start sending nearly 500 doctors of various specialties to Calabria, where there is a shortage of medics, Cubadebate reported.

Bolsonaro's re-election campaign to double down on opposition's past scandals

BRASILIA - President Jair Bolsonaro's re-election campaign plans to rehash historical corruption issues surrounding opposition candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's leftist Workers Party, campaign sources told Reuters.

The sources said Bolsonaro's campaign would use social media to focus on past issues of corruption, Lula's former and current allies, and socio-economic problems in South American countries with left-wing governments.

Support for Bolsonaro, who lags Lula in the polls, has been gradually increasing. (Compiled by Steven Grattan, Sarah Morland and Kylie Madry Editing by Alistair Bell and Sam Holmes)