viernes, 14 de septiembre de 2012

Sixteen bodies found in northern Mexico

Mexican soldiers found on 14 September nine bodies hanging from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo, a city bordering the United States, EFE reported that day. Some belonged to individuals earlier reported to have been kidnapped in a bar here. The same day troops found seven bodies by a road in the district of San Fernando in the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas, CNN reported. The bodies were of middle-aged men, with hands tied and gunshot wounds, the Tamaulipas prosecutor's office stated. Spain's El Pais reported on 16 September that authorities were increasingly attributing a recent splurge in violence in parts of Mexico - especially in August - to a rift within The Zetas, Mexico's most violent drug cartel. A suspected conflict had emerged between the established Zeta leader Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano and his former deputy Miguel Angel Treviño Morales - El Z-40 - cited in reports in late August as seeking Lazcano's overthrow.

Bribery charges stain Venezuelan campaign

A day after Venezuelan presidential candidate Henrique Capriles protested that supporters of President Hugo Chávez were trying to undermine the opposition with bribes ahead of October's elections, state television broadcast purported footage of an opposition politician taking bribes. A member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) Julio Chávez accused the opposition on 13 September of breaking election laws and engaging in criminal conduct, and urged a parliamentary investigation of the incident, Europa Press reported. Pictures had shown Juan Carlos Caldera of the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática coalition led by Capriles accepting money for an unspecified "task" and apparently arranging a meeting between Capriles and an unidentified foreign financial backer. Capriles immediately expelled Caldera from his team, saying he had "marginalised" himself from the opposition's "project," Europa Press reported on 14 September. Caldera was also expelled from his party Primero de Justicia. Capriles told a press conference on 13 September that he would not give in to "blackmail" or "pressures from anyone," and promised honest government if elected. "I have been and will always be an open book. I am not here to defend the interests of any group," he said, adding that state "resources will be administered with complete transparency and efficiency" if he becomes president. Caldera separately admitted he had received money but said this was a trap tendered by Wilmer Ruperti, an oil magnate linked to President Chávez.

Mexico City mayor mulls political future

Mexico City's outgoing mayor, the leftist Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, spoke on 11 September about his political future and that of left-wing parties following their narrow defeat in July's general elections and ahead of elections set for 2018, CNN reported. Ebrard will leave office in December and is to be succeeded by Miguel Ángel Mancera, a fellow member of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). He told the capital's Radio Fórmula that "I have to start a route in December that will lead us to competing and winning in the next presidential election." Ebrar said the Left must maintain "cohesion" in coming years or jeopardize votes. In July's elections, three parties - the PRD, the Labour Party (PT) and the Citizens Movement (Movimiento Ciudadano, MC) - formed the Progressive Movement or Front led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He beat Ebrard in 2011 as the coalition's presidential candidate for 2012, but has now left it to lead his own party "Morena" (Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional). The move provoked concerns he would split the PRD's support or membership. Ebrard said a leftist coalition should include López Obrador's Morena party and choose "the best candidate," not necessarily himself. He said "now the question is" whether or not left-wing parties could maintain cohesion in Congress and if Morena would join the front if it becomes a formal party. "Many changes" were needed to strengthen the PRD internally, he added. One of the PRD's senators and a former foreign minister Manuel Camacho Solís called Ebrard "a factor of unity" in the Left and an important component in its "renovation," speaking on 10 September to El Economista. He said López Obrador's departure from the PRD would "ease the post-election conflict" but praised him as a "man of the Left, he believes in freedom and justice."

Colombian guerrillas name peace negotiators

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) named on 13 September their five main negotiators in peace talks with the Colombian state scheduled for October and intended to end decades of civil conflict in Colombia, the Associated Press reported, citing comments made in Habana by an unnamed FARC spokesman. The FARC's "plenipotentiary" negotiators were by their noms de guerre: Iván Márquez, Ricardo Téllez, Andrés París, Marco León Calarcá and Simón Trinidad. Five other envoys would attend talks without negotiating powers. Trinidad - or Ricardo Palmera - is serving a 60-year jail prison term in the United States for the kidnapping of three US citizens. Márquez or Luciano Marín Arango, took part in previous talks with the state and is a member of the FARC's six-member secretariat or politburo.