viernes, 15 de junio de 2012

President sees reduced violence in Mexico

Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa said drug-related violence dropped 12 per cent in the first five months of 2012, Mexico's El Universal reported on 15 June, citing an interview between Calderón and the Wall Street Journal. Calderón did not give figures and observed it was too soon to claim victory. About 16,800 people died in drug-related violence in 2011 and 55,000 since the conservative Calderón goverment began its war on drug cartels in late 2006, according to these newspapers.

Colombian troops catch 12 rebels

Troops detained 12 members of the communist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on 14 June, in districts in south-western Colombia, El Espectador reported. The suspects were caught in the provinces of Cauca and Valle del Cauca, south west of the capital Bogotá. All 12 were wanted by justice on charges including murder and criminal conspiracy. FARC rebels have been battling the Colombian state for decades. Separately, troops found 26 rifles and bomb-making material presumably belonging to the FARC, following a 14 June operation in the southern Puerto Asís district near the Ecuador border, El Tiempo reported.

Flat prices rise in Colombia

Prices of newly built housing in Colombia rose 9.5 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2012, at three times the inflation rate, the financial daily Portafolio reported on 15 June, citing DANE, the Colombian state statistics agency. Apartment prices rose 11.9 per cent in the capital Bogotá in this period, and the report attributed the increase across the country to rising land and construction prices. Developer Felipe Bernal was cited as saying that steel prices had increased, while the price of cement and bricks rose 18 per cent "in the past eight months."

Colombia designs "peace framework" with rebels

Colombia's Senate approved on 14 June a "legal framework for peace," intended to authorise the government to talk to and later demobilise the insurrectionary Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC acronym in Spanish), EFE reported. Parliament and Senate would debate again the proposed Marco Jurídico para la Paz on 19 June and President Juan Manuel Santos must ratify it before it becomes law. The text, which would modifiy the constitution, allows for the return to civilian life and politics of demobilized fighters but not guerrillas suspected of crimes against humanity or "systematic" genocide. Senator Roy Barreras told EFE that the text would not let suspected murderers or terrorists to go unpunished, but help rehabilitate rank-and-file guerrillas; he said no peace process would begin before the FARC had released their hostages and the government perceives suitable conditions for talks.