jueves, 21 de junio de 2012

Gangs celebrate ceasefire in El Salvador jail

Gang members inside a Salvadorean prison marked on 19 June the 100th day of a ceasefire with rivals that has almost halved El Salvador's rate of violent deaths, AFP reported on 21 June. The Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Mara 18 began a ceasefire on 8 or 9 March that reportedly cut the rate of violent deaths from 14 a day to five. Police commander Mauricio Ramírez told the press in San Salvador on 19 June that there were 603 recorded murders between 8 March and 18 June, 591 less than the same period in 2011, EFE reported on 20 June. Between 1 January and 15 June he added, there were 1,510 recorded murders in El Salvador, down from 1,978 murders in the same period in 2011. Inside their prison in Ciudad Barrios, 160 km east of San Salvador, gangsters held an "emotive" ceremony and attended mass to mark the event. A leader of the MS-13 Carlos Valladares, aka "Snaider," later told the press the gang was inclined to keep the ceasefire and ready to talk to rivals and the state, to help prolong the peace.

Mexico City to expand free HIV treatment

Mexicans without social security or health insurance may have free access to HIV treatment in Mexico City according to a new city decree, El Universal reported on 21 June. The move is part of the city's new policies on preventing the spread of HIV - the virus that causes AIDS - and other sexually transmitted diseases; these would include providing assistance to a range of infected patients in vulnerable situations. The city had 38,400 people known to carry HIV in 2010, the daily reported, citing figures from Clínica Especializada Condesa, or 17 per cent of all those diagnosed with HIV in Mexico that year. The clinic estimated that yearly 2,100 people in Mexico City were infected with HIV.

Colombia strikes at rebels

Colombian forces killed four members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and three common criminals, and arrested 23 in operations around the country, EFE reported on 21 June, citing the armed forces commander General Alejandro Navas. The deaths occurred in the north-western department of Antioquia, the arrests in southern and south-western Colombia. Eighteen of the detained were FARC members. Separately a Bogotá court sentenced a FARC gunman on 20 June to 40 years' imprisonment for killing two priests who paid him to do it in 2011, EFE and web media reported. The judge apparently ignored a previous pact whereby the accused Gilberto Peñate Suárez would plead guilty in exchange for a jail sentence not exceeding 25 years. The two priests reportedly paid Suárez the equivalent of over 8,400 USD to kill them. They had made a death pact after discovering one was HIV-positive, and initially sought death in a car accident.