miércoles, 26 de septiembre de 2012

Eleven killed in shootout in western Mexico

Gunmen fired on troops patrolling the district of Tepecoacuilco in the western state of Guerrero on 26 September, provoking a gun battle that killed ten suspected criminals and a soldier, CNNMéxico reported, citing information from the state prosecutor's office. The patrol was part of the Operativo Guerrero Seguro operation launched in October 2011 in response to rising violence in that state. According to CNN, Guerrero was the setting of 1,538 homicides in January-September 2011, twice as many as in the same period in 2010, and mostly attributable to rivalries between cartels.

Mexican activist found alive

Aleph Jiménez Dominguez, a Mexican academic reported as missing in the northern state of Baja California on 20 September was found alive in La Paz in the same state on 25 September. He had apparently fled to La Paz from his home town of Ensenada for feeling "threatened and watched" there. The 32-year-old researcher took part on 15 September in a protest in Ensenada during national independence celebrations and was briefly detained, CNNMéxico reported on 25 September. Jiménez was a spokesman in Ensenada for the student protest group Yo Soy 132, which organized the protest against the results of July's general elections and the "imposition" of the president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto. The gathering reportedly led to scuffling between some protesters and municipal police. Jiménez said he felt threatened in following days and had observed suspect cars driving around his house. On 25 September he flew to Mexico City where he was taken to the seat of the National Human Rights Comission (CNDH), presumably to report on the incidents.

Tourism flourishing in Colombia

Colombia may host some 3.3 million tourists by the end of 2012 and expected the figure to "easily" rise to four million in 2014, a Colombian export official said in Madrid on 25 September. Juan Gabriel Pérez, head of Spain for ProExport told a gathering of travel agents that the tourist sector had in "recent years" grown 10 per cent a year compared to a global average of four per cent; he said Colombia had overcome the insecurity that formerly deterred tourists from visiting, El Economista reported. He cited Spaniards as the main group of European tourists in Colombia, with a five-per-cent rise in their number in January-July 2012. Pérez said Colombia would double the size of its stand at FITUR 2013, Madrid's annual travel fair, compared to 2012.

Authorities condemn lawyers' killings in Honduras

Honduran authorities and foreign states condemned on 25 September the killings of a rights lawyer and a public prosecutor in Honduras, which the United States is to help investigate, press and agencies reported on 24 and 25 September. The attorney for a group of land activists Antonio Trejo Cabrera was shot dead on 22 September in the capital Tegucilcalpa, while prosecutor Eduardo Manuel Díaz Mazariegos was gunned down on 24 September in Choluteca near the Pacific coast. Both worked to defend the rights of the poor; Trejo represented MARCA (Movimiento Amplio Reinvidicador del Aguán), an association of landless peasants of the Lower Aguán region in northern Honduras. The area has become the setting of disputes between peasants and commercial landowners. Trejo was a critic of the country's conservative government and had publicly denounced cases of corruption, Europa Press reported on 25 September. He was said to have expressed fear several times that he could be killed by the agro-industrialist Miguel Facussé Barjum, director of the chemical firm Dinant and apparently a target of Trejo's criticisms. The press rights body Reporters Without Borders has oberved that Facussé runs a private militia. But he firmly condemned the killing on 25 September and denied in a communiqué "any direct or indirect participation by myself or any personnel of my companies in this abominable act," the daily La Prensa reported. France, Spain and the United States denounced the murders, as did Honduran officials. Minister of Justice Ana Pineda said the killings "should be unacceptable" in "a lawful country like Honduras," while the assistant-prosecutor-general Roy Urtecho termed them "a frontal attack on the state," EFE reported.  Urtecho said state prosecutors had to work without sufficient "support" and "do not have security to protect their lives." The government announced on 24 September the formation of a special team to investigate the crimes with the help of experts from the United States.

Nine shot dead at Mexican funeral

Gunmen in a convoy of three cars opened fire on a funeral crowd in Torreón in northern Mexico on 25 September, killing nine people and injuring 22, El Universal reported on 26 September. The convoy arrived at the funeral of a 27-year-old man shot dead on 22 September in nearby San Pedro de las Colonias, in the state of Coahuila. Police investigations suggested some in the crowd fired back at the cars; two children or teenagers were among those killed.