jueves, 13 de septiembre de 2012

Charges of bribes, intimidation emerge in Venezuelan polls

Henrique Capriles, the right-wing candidate in Venezuela's October presidential elections, accused his rival President Hugo Chávez Frías on 12 September of bribing opponents, and compared his socialist government to authoritarian regimes of the past in Latin America, EFE reported. Capriles addressed a rally then spoke to reporters in Ciudad Bolívar in eastern Venezuela, a day after four political parties defected from his coalition alleging he had a "secret economic super-package" - which Capriles has denied - presumably of liberalization or privatization measures. This apparently echoed presidential declarations that opposition forces dared not reveal their liberal economic programme. The website Noticias 24 separately reported declarations by a spokesman for Democracia Renovadora, one of the parties backing Capriles, who said on 11 September that this and other parties were offered 200,000 USD that day by a former state governor to abandon Capriles. "How low this government has fallen," Capriles said. "Its campaign has been so bad. This government has come to this, to buying political parties" and leaders, he added. He accused the government of "following the same line" as Peru's authoritarian presidency in the 1990s, when he said the presidential adviser Vladimiro Montesinos "bought intentions with briefcases" of cash. "This government is doing the same, it will end up the same way, the difference being that on 7 October we Venezuelans are going to change it with votes." Capriles claimed the regime was fomenting violence as it had "run out of ideas." Press and agencies reported scuffling at an opposition rally on 12 September in Puerto Cabello, west of Caracas, apparently provoked by Chávez supporters.

Army kills three FARC guerrillas

Colombian troops shot dead three guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) including two veterans, during military action in the south-central department of Huila, El Espectador reported on 12 September. Two of the killed were identified by their noms de guerre: "Omar Terror," an explosives expert and sharpshooter, and "Mecha Coco" a junior commander. Troops caught up with them at an unspecified date in the localities of San Pedro and Darién, in the district of Colombia, the daily stated. On 12 September, Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón urged the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN), the other communist guerrilla force, to surrender and said "this is the best time to come out of criminality," El Espectador reported, without specifying where Pinzón was speaking. "To all criminals, their hour will come," he said, adding that "all criminals and delinquents have fallen here. All of them fall, sooner or later." He said the FARC would find 2012 to be a "memorable" year "because what's coming is much harsher." Pinzón declared that the armed forces were being strengthened in the context of the Plan República, and would be placed in strategic points to protect Colombia's infrastructures against attacks.

Western Mexico cartel chief held

Police arrested on 11 September Ramiro Pozo González, presumed founder and a leader of La Resistencia, a recently-formed cartel mostly active in the western state of Jalisco, EFE reported the next day, citing comments to the press by the head of the anti-narcotics unit of the Federal Police. He was detained in Metepec in Estado de Mexico, and may face kidnapping, drug trafficking and murder-related charges. Pozo was in the Milenio cartel from the 1990s to 2011, the year he founded The Resistance, reportedly with the blessing of the heads of La Familia Michoacana and the Gulf Cartel. The Resistance competed from 2011 with Jalisco Nueva Generación (JNG), another criminal group formed on the demise of the Milenio cartel, and sought help from the Zeta cartel in fighting JNG. The Resistance operated or operates in Jalisco, but also reportedly in Mexico City and neighbouring Estado de Mexico.

Mexico arrests presumed Gulf Cartel leader

Mexican troops detained on 12 September in the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas a suspect identified as Jorge Eduardo Costilla, the presumed head of the Gulf Cartel, AFP reported on 13 September citing a Navy ministry communiqué. Days before troops had arrested the cartel's other or rival leader Mario Cárdenas Guillén. Costilla was one of Mexico's most sought-after traffickers and had reportedly been working with the cartel since the 1990s. Before his detention cartel members blocked state roads with stolen cars, in or near the cities of Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros near the US frontier, in an apparent effort to block troop movements, AFP reported.