When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

LATIN AMERICA: Narco Kingpin Arrested In Shooting Of Soccer Star Salvador Cabañas

LATIN AMERICA: Narco Kingpin Arrested In Shooting Of Soccer Star Salvador Cabañas

A suspected Mexican drug trafficker is charged with last year's barroom shooting of Cabañas, one of Latin American soccer's top strikers.

Mexican police (Scazon)


When soccer star was shot in the head at a Mexico City nightclub last year, it seemed the whole of Latin America gasped in collective horror. The Paraguayan-born striker was the leading goal-scorer at both the 2007 and 2008 Copa Libertadores continental club tournament, as well as the Mexican league's top scorer for 2006. Cabañas, who was playing for Mexico City team Club América at the time he was shot, has made a remarkable recovery, though it is still unclear whether he will ever play again.

Mexico's amateur crime sleuths as well as professional investigators have speculated what provoked a suspected drug trafficker to shoot the 30-year-old at point-blank range in the barroom bathroom.

But this week investigators seem to be getting some answers. Mexican police announced the arrest of José Jorge Balderas Garza, a suspected drug trafficker better known as J.J. who was at the club Bar-Bar on the morning of January 25, 2010 when Cabañas was shot.

Balderas, who was captured along with his Colombian beauty queen girlfriend, had been wanted for his alleged ties to a notorious US-born drug kingpin, Édgar "La Barbie" Váldez Villarreal, arrested last August.

The El Universal daily of Mexico City reported that Balderas' bodyguard has testified that just before the shooting occurred, his boss and the soccer star got into an argument at the Bar-Bar over a recent Club América match. According to the testimony, Balderas stopped him on the way to the bathroom and questioned him about the goals he didn't score in the game in question.

But in a television interview with the Mexican Televisa network, carried on news websites this week across Latin America, Balderas maintains that his bodyguard shot Cabañas in a drunken rage.

El Universal reports that the 30-year-old Cabañas, who is back in Paraguay slowly recovering from his gunshot wound to the head, can't remember what happened that night and is not expected to return to Mexico to testify.

The shooting is just one of many piling up in Mexico's bloody narco war, which has claimed more than 30,000 lives since President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006 and called out the army to battle the drug cartels. Sometimes it takes a football phenomenon to put a face on senseless violence.

Martin Delfín


You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


How Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest