lunes, 17 de septiembre de 2012

Argentine "middle class" protest Kirchner policies

Thousands of Argentines protested in Buenos Aires and other cities on 13 September, banging metal pots and pans in the Latin American tradition, against crime rates and the leftist policies of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, media reported. Her officials dismissed the protests as confined to a wealthy minority and "addicts" of the country's right-wing dictatorship of the 1970s. Tens of thousands were thought to have protested at the invitation of Internet pages such as Twitter or Facebook, venting frustration with issues including foreign-exchange controls, insecurity and rumoured plans for constitutional reforms to allow Kirchner to serve a third presidential term from 2015, Reuters reported. There is a two-term limit set by the law, and Reuters observed the government had not so far declared any plan to reform the constitution. The reactions of the president's allies were almost contemptuous: Senator Aníbal Fernández of the Justicialist Party - the political home of several past presidents - said the protests were "put together by professionals" and "fake identities" on the Internet had convened protesters, the daily Clarín reported on 17 September. The head of the rights group Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Asociación Madres de la Plaza de Mayo) Hebe de Bonafini issued a communiqué published on 16 September in Tiempo Argentino denouncing the protesters as people who had "cheered" the military dictatorship and were "happy" to see it "kidnap and kill" its opponents;" they "are disgusting," her statement read. Bonafini told a radio station on 17 September that "the people are something else. The pots they were banging were not like the ones we have at home, made of aluminium, dented and charred," La Nación reported. The government's Cabinet Chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina said on 14 September that the government was not bothered by the protests. He told a television programme on 16 September that protesters were "sectors that do not tolerate egalitarian policies" or the government's "inclusive project" meant to benefit "40 million Argentines," La Nación reported. He said Argentina did not have "like elsewhere in the world a strong right-wing party to channel certain demands," for which reason its partisans formerly turned to "the barracks" - the army - and now use "the mass media."

Child killer lynched in Guatemalan town

An angry mob beat and burned to death a man who apparently killed two schoolchildren with a machete on 12 September, in the north-central Guatemalan town of Tactic, the Honduran daily La Prensa reported on 15 September. Witnesses said 35 or 40-year-old Julio Saquil entered a school and slit the troats of an eight-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy, before furious staff and locals seized and lynched him inside the school. Officials identified him as having a criminal record, Reuters reported on 13 September. Hours later, a mob publicly beat and almost lynched four individuals suspected of being thieves or accomplices of Saquil, though these were finally handed over to police, Guatemala's Siglo 21 reported on 14 September. The United Nations System in Guatemala deplored the killings on 14 September and urged the Guatemalan state to act against criminal violence, the Cuban website Prensa Latina reported. The website cited a local rights body Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM) as counting 4,899 homicides in Guatemala in the period January-31 August 2012, apparently six per cent less than the same period in 2011. GAM observed that the government of Otto Pérez Molina, elected in 2011, was faltering in its promised bid to significantly reduce crime. The government reportedly envisaged a 20 per cent reduction in crime in 2012 compared to 2011. Meanwhile 180 or more suspected criminals were lynched around Guatemala in 2011, Reuters reported. The education ministry closed the school in Tactic indefinitely, while staff and pupils were to receive counselling, Siglo 21 reported.

Policemen attacked in southern Colombia

A grenade attack on a police patrol injured three policemen and "totally destroyed" their car in southern Colombia, El Espectador reported on 16 September, citing police statements. The ambush in the district of La Hormiga in the department of Putumayo was perpetrated at an unspecified date by "heavily armed" individuals police suspected were of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Separately, authorities confiscated 12 tonnes of cocaine and marijuana around Colombia in raids and operations over three days, EFE reported on 16 September. Operations undertaken by the anti-narcotics police (DIRAN) also yielded 42 tonnes of "controlled chemical substances," presumably used as or to produce narcotics.

Mexico's future president to visit American states

Enrique Peña Nieto was to begin a tour of Latin American states on 17 September and scheduled to meet with Guatemala's President Otto Pérez Molina on his first stop, El Universal reported. Collaboration in fighting organized crime was to be a leading theme in his conversations, the daily stated. Peña Nieto was to travel to Colombia on 18 September, Brasil 19-20 September, Chile 20-21, Argentina 21-22 and conclude his trip in Peru on 24 September.

Over 20 killed around Mexico

Seventeen corpses were found half naked and chained together in western Mexico on 16 September, the result of a mass execution authorities suspected was perpetrated in another state, Mexico's El Informador reported on 17 September. The victims had apparently been shot; police and troops found them "piled up" by the road linking the districts of Tizapán el Alto and Cojumatlán de Régules on the border of the states of Jalisco and Michoacán. An unnamed female resident of Tizapán told El Informador it was now difficult to walk around Tizapán at night "for fear of being shot," and more police were needed. She said "it is known or the authorities know that Tizapán" was being been fought over by two local cartels the Caballeros Templarios and Jalisco Nueva Generación. Also on 16 September, five people were shot to death in different parts of the western resort of Acapulco, El Universal reported on 17 September. On 13 September, four taxi drivers and a woman were shot dead in two incidents in Monterrey, northern Mexico, Spain's EFE reported that day. The drivers were shot at close range by suspected gangsters; the woman was apparently killed by a stray bullet, the agency stated.

Second legislator killed in Mexico

After the shooting to death on 14 September of a member of the state legislature of Sonora in northern Mexico, a member of the parliament of Estado de México, the state outside Mexico City, was stabbed to death outside his home in his constituency on 16 September, Mexican papers reported the next day. Jaime Serrano Cedillo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party represented District 25 - Nezahualcóyotl - in the State of Mexico's 18th legislature and had taken his seat on 5 September. The State of Mexico governor Eruviel Ávila Villegas condemned the killing and ordered an investigation.