miércoles, 5 de septiembre de 2012

Colombian troops shoot dead nine guerrillas

Troops shot dead nine FARC guerrillas and arrested five at an unspecified date during an attack on a FARC camp near San José del Guaviare, in the central department of Guaviare, El Espectador reported on 4 September. The camp belonged to the FARC's Front 7; one of those killed or captured was a commander with the pseudonym "Fredy Kuper," sought for numerous armed attacks and acts of sabotage and extortion. Troops confiscated arms, ammunition, communication equipment and documents.

Colombia and guerrillas confirm peace talks

The Colombian state and the communist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) confirmed on 4 September that a "road map" - a General Agreement for the Termination of the Conflict - had been signed for future talks, which many hope would end decades of guerrilla conflict in Colombia. President Juan Manuel Santos said in Bogotá on 4 September that the state would negotiate without repeating the "mistakes" of the past, meaning there would be no demilitarized zones in Colombia as the FARC demanded in previous talks in 2002 and talks would be "without interruptions or intermediaries," CNN reported on 4 September. He said these would broadly be in three phases: an exploratory phase, direct talks, and the implementation of agreements reached, but could not go on indefinitely. The parties were expected to discuss issues including rural development, the disarmament and social reintegration of former guerrillas, an end to drug trafficking by the FARC and compensation for victims of violence, CNN reported. Santos received the immediate support of the last president who sought to negotiate peace, Andrés Pastrana Arango. Pastrana told Colombia's Caracol radio he hoped the FARC would "do as they say," CNN reported. But Colombia's last president, the conservative Álvaro Uribe Vélez deplored that talks could happen before "the criminial activities of terrorism" had ended, Europa Press reported on 5 September. Uribe told Caracol television on 4 September that any legislation to allow FARC members to one day run for parliamentary office was a "slap in the face of democracy." He said the FARC whom he qualified as a drug cartel, would "murder Colombians as they keep talking."

Transitional team named for new Mexican presidency

Mexico's president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto named his collaborators for the period leading to the start of his presidency on 1 December, these including former collaborators, former legislators and a former member of the Leftist opposition party, the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), CNN and media reported on 5 September. He named Luis Videgaray Caso his campaign chief in the July general elections and formerly the finance minister of Estado de México - the state Peña Nieto governed in 2005-11 - as the team's "general coordinator." Videgaray, with a PhD in economics from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, was described as very close to the future president. Other collaborators included: Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, governor of the state of Pachuca in 2005-11 as deputy-coordinator for "political dialogue and security," Rosario Robles Berlanga, the PRD's president in Mexico City in 1999-2000 as deputy-coordinator for social policy, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, a former academic, civil servant and legislator, as deputy-coordinator for public finances and economic policy, and Emilio Lozoya Austin for foreign policy. Lozoya, a Harvard graduate and former banker, was a member of the executive board of the World Economic Forum in the previous decade and there were media speculations he could become the foreign minister of Mexico. Peña Nieto named Jorge Carlos Ramíres Marín, a former legislator, state official and politician of his own Institutional Revolutionary Party, deputy-coordinator for security and justice.

Mexico arrests cartel chief

The Mexican navy ministry (Semar) announced on 4 September the arrest of Mario Cárdenas - El Gordo - described as head of one of two factions making up the Gulf Cartel, in an operation in the north-eastern municipality of Altamira, Europa Press and Mexican papers reported on 5 September. Cárdenas was described in other media as the cartel's leader; he succeeded his brother Ezéquiel Cárdenas - Tony Tormenta -  in 2010 when the latter was killed by troops; in 1995-2007 he served a jail sentence for drug trafficking. Another brother Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, currently in prison in the United States, founded the cartel. The cartel split into factions in 2010, one remaining loyal to the Cárdenas brothers and another following a former cartel lieutenant Eduardo Costilla. Cárdenas was detained with a rifle "outside a building" in Altamira; troops confiscated items including cash, a car, drugs and Mexican money valued at a little under 8,000 euros, Europa Press reported.