viernes, 5 de octubre de 2012

Candidates close campaigns in Venezuela

Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chávez Frías and the liberal Henrique Capriles Radonsky, the two candidates hoping to win the presidency on 7 October, closed their election campaigns with grand rallies on 4 October, both apparently confident of an imminent victory. "Hundreds of thousands" cheered Chávez under pouring rain in central Caracas as he addressed them from a mobile platform, Agence France-Presse reported. "The Bolivarian avalanche has arrived in Caracas," Chávez exclaimed, after shouting "long live the rain." Rain he said "is a prelude. We have been blessed with water from Saint Francis, the rich man who left everything to the poor. We are like Saint Francis - instruments of peace." He cancelled a second speech planned at the rally, apparently for the excessive number of people, but.spoke on television that night, asking for undecided votes and urging supporters to vote early "so we are not waiting at midnight" for results. Capriles made door-to-door visits in several states and ended his campaign addressing "thousands" in Barquisimeto, capital of the north-western state of Lara, Europa Press reported. He said "I want to tell President Chávez, his cycle is coming to an end" and thanked Chávez for "showing" him that "the direction is love not hate, commitment not insults." Capriles said the "Bolivarian revolution" had failed as Venezuelans had to queue for consumer products and thousands had been killed amid rising criminality during 13 years of socialist government. "Real independence means security on the streets, social programmes being for everybody and no political discrimination, it means everyone thinking what they want," he said.

Colombian gangster surrenders to US

Luis Enrique Calle Serna, the boss of Los Rastrojos, a Colombian gang of assassins and of the criminal organization called Los Comba was reported to have surrendered to US authorities in Panama on 2 October, joining his brother and other heads of the Rastrojos detained in 2012. His surrender to Drug Enforcement Administration agents followed a deal made with US justice and may include the surrender of 25 other members of the Rastrojos, El Espectador reported on 5 October citing a police communiqué. Europa Press cited Colombia's Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón as saying in Bogotá that Calle Serna surrendered with 125 subordinates including his deputy, dubbed Mascota. Calle Serna decided to surrender after losing the protection of another major trafficker recently caught in Venezuela, Daniel Barrera Barrera. The 36-year-old Calle Serna was a ruthless gunman by the early 1990s; he then rose through the ranks of organized crime in Cali alongside his brothers Javier Antonio and Juan Carlos, arrested respectively in Colombia last July and on 17 March in Ecuador.