viernes, 19 de octubre de 2012

Venezuela and Paraguay restore travel visas

A day after ordering Paraguay's last four diplomats to leave Caracas, Venezuela "temporarily" suspended on 17 October a bilateral agreement allowing Paraguayans to travel there without visas, prompting Paraguay to reciprocate, Europa Press reported on 19 October. Bilateral ties have progressed toward a state of suspension since the parliamentary removal last June of Paraguay's leftist president Fernando Lugo, and may remain this way until 2013 when general elections are to be held in Paraguay. The diplomats ordered out on 16 October were the trade attaché, the consul and the first and second secretaries at the embassy. Trade Attaché Victor Casartelli was cited as saying that the visa move would only affect 300 Paraguayan students who could continue to study in Venezuela "perfectly normally" using "courtesy visas." It was not immediately clear which consulate would handle their interests.

Mexican officials eye crime's infiltration of institutions

The Mexican prosecutor-general's office detained at an unspecified time seven civil servants including three employees of the prosecutor-general's office and one of the Supreme Court of Mexico, for allegedly providing information to a drug cartel, Proceso reported on 17 October, citing comments at a press conference and Mexican newspaper reports. The seven were thought to be in a "network of informants" working for the Sinaloa cartel, the head of the special prosecutor's office for organized crime (SEIDO, Subprocuradoría Especializada en Investigación de Delincuencia Organizada, formerly SIEDO) told a Mexico City press conference. There had been earlier press reports on that cartel infiltrating SEIDO; its director Cuitláhuac Salinas Martínez said one detainee had worked there before moving to the Supreme Court. He said investigations were continuing, to uncover more state employees suspected of helping mobsters; typically they were thought to tip off the cartel about search operations or inquiries. Concern over infiltration of institutions is now part of the phenomenon of crime in Mexico. The same day the Public Security chief for the east-coast state of Veracruz deplored how The Zetas cartel had infiltrated society, business and professional groups in Veracruz, Proceso reported. Arturo Bermúdez Zurita told a gathering of businessmen of the Veracruz-Boca del Río zone that The Zetas seemingly expanded their influence to all sectors, from youth to taxi drivers and business leaders, forcing the state government to call on soldiers to confront the cartel. He said that days before the navy arrested two prominent businessmen including the owner of several petrol stations, for suspected criminal collusions; their houses yielded arms, drugs and in one case hand-grenades. "It doesn't matter who has to fall, even [prominent] society members; a few months back people were boasting about being friends with The Zetas...when we saw the gravity of the problem the governor [Javier Duarte] took the right decisions, like ask support from the Mexican navy in the Veracruz district," he said. "Something is failing in the best institution...the family, when we see 13 or 14-year-old boys selling drugs....or the taxi drivers with whom The Zetas were winning ground, with threats, with money," turning them into their look-outs, he said. For now Zurita said, the navy had "almost entirely" resolved the problem of organized crime in Veracruz, and bodies recently found around the state "all have without any doubt some link to crime."