jueves, 25 de octubre de 2012

Colombian statesman opposes dialogue with crime

Colombia's former conservative president Álvaro Uribe Vélez said in Mexico City on 24 October that negotiating with criminals was "useless" and would eventually prove to be "bad business" for democracies, contradicting those in Mexico who have urged its government to end its bloody war on drug cartels and seek a negotiated end to their activities. Uribe was attending an investment conference in the Mexican capital; during his 2002-10 presidency the Colombian state retaliated against guerrilla and criminal violence and security increased in the country, as did criticisms of Uribe's determined use of force. He said "one should not negotiate. This sets a bad example. Negotiating with crime is bad business, it has no long-term utility for a democracy," EFE reported. "You mustn't negotiate with drug-dealing terrorism because this affects principles, and when this happens authority does not last." Crime he added "mutates and will reappear asking for the same conditions of negotiation given before to other groups." The response he suggested was "intelligence and counter-intelligence, human and technical intelligence," but also investment and youth education. Up to 60,000 may have died in Mexico since the government of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa began to wage war on cartels in late 2006. His critics have included his predecessor in office Vicente Fox Quesada. But Uribe called him a "champion" and said he had given the world an example of civic "courage and determination in fighting criminality," unlike unspecified states "whose governments do not fight them, and there is permissiveness, laxity, tolerance."

Colombia arrests 16 guerrillas, crime suspects

Sixteen suspected members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and of criminal gangs were arrested around Colombia on 24-25 October, El Espectador reported, without giving details. The detained were sought for a range of crimes including extortion, criminal conspiracy, homicide and even domestic violence. It was not immediately clear if these included eight suspected associates of the FARC the daily reported as detained on 24 or 25 October in the Tumaco district, in the south-western department of Nariño. They were suspected of syphoning off crude oil from the Transandino pipeline, used by the FARC in activities including drug production. Colombian troops separately found 1.2 tonnes of cocaine in the Caribbean island of San Andrés, inside a container of cooking oil and dog food, El Espectador reported. The daily reported that a day before Colombian and US authorities working together found another 1,100 kilogramms of cocaine on a boat in waters near San Andrés. The two finds were described as having a "market" value of some 68 million USD.

Fifteen reported killed in Mexico, gang suspects arrested

"At least" seven were reported killed in incidents around Mexico on 24 October, including four suspected criminals gunned down by police, Proceso reported. The four were shot dead after they began firing on police approaching a house to investigate a reported kidnapping in the district of Allende near Monterrey, northern Mexico. Three men were separately found dead in the district of Zinacantepec in Estado de México, with an unspecified message left beside them by the presumed killers. A day before, three marines and eight gunmen were killed in "intense" gun battles around Guadalupe in the north-central state of Zacatecas, one of the dead being a Zetas cartel commander dubbed El Comandante King Kong, Proceso reported. He was identified as head of The Zetas in the eastern state of Hidalgo who had recently moved his activities to the district of Ojocaliente, south of the city of Zacatecas. Marines also arrested nine presumed members of The Zetas on 22 and 23 October, in operations in the northern state of Coahuila that also yielded arms, ammunition and 401 kilogrammes of marijuana, Proceso reported. On 22 October, soldiers arrested Erasmo Israel Sotelo Hernández - El Frío - a veteran criminal authorities have linked to at least 30 killings, and chief in the Cuernavaca district of the gang Guerreros Unidos. He was arrested after a gun fight, apparently in Chilpancingo in the west-coast state of Guerrero, and hospitalized for injuries sustained. Eight suspected criminals including a minor were detained with him, Proceso reported. Sotelo was previously arrested three times on murder, extortion and drug-trafficking charges but released, most recently conditionally in January 2012. His gang was reportedly fighting the Familia Michoacana to control the northern half of Guerrero.