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BOLIVIA

Spanish children rescued from Bolivian drug lords

Bolivian and Spanish police have rescued a three-month-old baby and his 11-year-old brother from a group of drug traffickers who held them in a bid to extort money from their mother.

Spanish children rescued from Bolivian drug lords
After a week of captivity, police located the children and arrested their four captors. File Photo: Aizar Raldes/AFP

The children’s mother, a Spanish national living in the Latin American country, was arrested prior to their kidnapping when she was trying to sell a kilo of cocaine in her home region of Murcia.

According to Spanish daily El Mundo, she had already made €16,000 from drug sales.

The kidnappers, thought to be local drug traffickers, took the two children from a family they were staying with in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz as a way of guaranteeing they would be fully reimbursed for the drugs after the mother’s arrest.

The woman’s partner, also a local drug dealer, allowed the captors to take the newborn and his brother.

A Spanish National Police team specializing in kidnappings and extortion travelled to Bolivia to help local authorities with the investigation.

Another monitored the mother’s entourage telephone activity from Spain to monitor communication between both sides.

According to the biological father of the 11-year-old boy, an Ecuadorian resident in Spain, dozens of phone calls from Bolivia were made to him by the captors, demanding that the money be paid back.

After a week of captivity, police located the children and arrested their four captors.

Earlier in March, the story of a Barcelona girl who was held captive by a friend of her parents in the depths of the Amazon made international headlines.

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AMAZON

Spain opposed to blocking EU-Mercosur trade pact: government

Spain does not support moves to block the EU's trade pact with South America's Mercosur grouping, which has been put in doubt over Brazil's failure to curb fires raging through the Amazon rainforest, the government in Madrid said Saturday.

Spain opposed to blocking EU-Mercosur trade pact: government
Mounted police patrol on the main beach (Grande Plage), near the Palace Hotel where G7 leaders are staying in Biarritz. Photo: AFP

Spain “does not share the position of blocking the deal,” an idea mooted by French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday and also backed by Irish leader Leo Varadkar.

“Spain has been at the forefront of the last effort to sign the EU-Mercosur agreement that will open huge opportunities for the two regional blocs,” Madrid said in an online message to media.

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