lunes, 1 de octubre de 2012

Defections begin in Mexico's main Leftist party

Fifty members of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) from northern Mexico resigned from the party on 29-30 September and were to join the civic movement led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the former PRD leader who failed to win the presidency in July 2012. The move confirmed fears that López Obrador's split with the PRD after the general elections could divide the party and realign the Left. The 50 were from the state of Nuevo León and their departure was ostensibly in protest at the PRD's "anti-democratic" practice of appointing electoral candidates, CNN and Notimex reported. One defector, Roberto Benavides González, told Notimex that up to 200 party members could leave. Their destination would be the Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (MORENA), a "civil association" that may become a formal political party before the next presidential elections. López Obrador and many on the Left vigorously challenged the results of the 2012 elections, though critics have claimed his populist style as candidate may have dissuaded some middle-class voters from voting for the Left and cost it the elections. Another recent defector, original party signatory and former parliamentarian Lenia Batres declared on 30 September that the PRD was now a "bureaucratic structure" with limited popular support. She told the website ADNPolítico that the PRD's leader Jesús Zambrano Grijalva had neglected the PRD's "political project" to maintain the unity of "jostling" factions that often had "absolutely opposed interests;" the PRD she said had thus "lost its way. It had a good idea of the country but was taken over by people who may not be of the Left. That is why we are going to Morena." Morena is to hold a congress in November, where it may decide whether or not to become a party. The PRD was founded in 1989 in a split from the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party.

"Fearful" Mexican mayor shown with local mafia

A video uploaded on 29 September on the website YouTube purportedly showed the newly-installed mayor of Teloloapan in western Mexico promise gangsters that police would not meddle with their activities in return for a peaceful town, Proceso reported on 30 September. Ignacio de Jesús Valladares Salgado, from the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), had apparently been kidnapped; "visibly fearful and with a faltering voice" he told his captors he would appoint a "neutral" police chief "removed from the interests of any group," as promised apparently to the local head of the cartel La Familia Michoacana, dubbed El Pez (The Fish). The mayor observed however that other cartels were active in the region "and I am going to keep myself on the sidelines of everything." The captors said "that is what we want," and promised not to act against police, but vowed that if "police against us again," Teloloapan "will burn." The mayor promised to "invite" local policemen not to "become involved with problems that could cause them greater difficulties," and either dismiss agents "stepping out of line" as his interviewers said, or "hand them over to the army." Valladares was elected in the general elections of July 2012. On 30 September, authorities arrested one of the Familia Michoacana's local chiefs, sought for suspected crimes including trafficking and murder. Casimiro Nava León - El Casimiro - was arrested in Toluca, west of Mexico City; he was identified as the head or future head of the cartel in the Valle de Toluca zone, Proceso reported, citing police information. He was caught with arms, ammunition, drugs and cash.

Mexicans did not report 90 per cent of crimes in 2011

Recent research by Mexico's state statistical agency revealed that over 90 per cent of crimes or offences were not reported to the police in 2011, essentially because people believed it would be a waste of time, Europa Press reported on 28 September. The 2012 poll Encuesta Nacional de Victimización y Percepción Sobre Seguridad Pública (Envipe) by the statistical agency INEGI revealed that 20.5 million crimes or offences were not reported and most people did not trust the police. Eighty three per cent of respondents believed the traffic police was "corrupt" and 71 per cent thought the same about municipal preventive police who deal with petty crime. More than 18 million Mexicans - about a quarter of the adult population - were victims of a crime or offence in 2011. Based on information given by victims who were poll participants, the most frequent crimes in 2011 were muggings on streets or on public transport (29 per cent), extortion (19 per cent), car theft (14 per cent), and fraud and threats (both eight per cent).

Venezuela's Chávez deplores campaign violence

President Hugo Chávez Frías deplored on 30 September the deaths a day earlier of three opposition activists during an election campaign event in the Barinitas district in western Venezuela, Argentina's La Nación reported. Two members of the opposition coalition challenging Chávez in general elections due on 7 October were shot dead by presumed Chávez supporters, and another died later of shot wounds. Six members of the officialist United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) were later arrested as authorities investigated the killings, Europa Press reported on 30 September. Two victims were members of Primero Justicia and Acción Democrática, parties supporting the liberal candidate Henrique Capriles. Chávez declared in the western state of Zulia that he was "very, very" sorry for the deaths "where they were going in a caravan and others were standing at some point and someone fired shots." He said elections were not to be held "with violence," but "vote for vote, with ideas, with peace." On 30 September, the broadcaster Globovisión and other media depicted opposition supporters "filling" central Caracas for their closing campaign rally there. Capriles urged "hundreds of thousands" gathered in the grand Bolívar Avenue to vote out "the violent" and vote "not for me but for yourselves." Chávez he said, had "grown sick in power" and he was "the instrument of change," Spain's ABC and Europa Press reported.