viernes, 2 de noviembre de 2012

Mayoress sends marines onto streets of Monterrey

Ninety Mexican marines began patrolling downtown Monterrey in northern Mexico on 1 November, in one of the new mayor's first moves to boost the crime-ridden city's security and to enhance, or restore, public trust in local security forces. Residents and drivers were said to have watched in surprise - or admiration - as armed and masked navy troops "slowly drove around" central Monterrey, stopping to inspect suspect vehicles, Guadalajara's 1070 Radio reported. Margarita Arellanes Cervantes, Monterrey's first female mayor since its foundation in 1596, said that day that "we are starting a new phase," even as she urged people to "call and inform" on suspects to help beat crime, Milenio reported on 2 November. She said she hoped people would trust patrols including troops and policemen, in a country where many local policemen are distrusted if not despised, and intermittently dismissed for ties to organized crime. Arellanes, a member of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), was elected mayor in July's general elections. She has vowed the "reconstruction" of Monterrey and vowed "absolute transparency" when taking office on 31 October at a ceremony in the city's theatre; "let me say very clearly, there will be no acts hidden from the law in my government. I shall watch over the absolute transparency of every one of our actions nor tolerate under any circumstance the stain of suspicion or the shadow of corruption," the website Terra cited her as saying. Earlier in October she declared that municipal employees accross the board in Monterrey would have to sit through "confidence" tests, and this seemed to have begun. On 1 November she said 80 city policemen had failed these tests and were expected to leave their posts before December. She also appointed a soldier, Rear-Admiral Augusto Cruz Morales, as the new police chief of Monterrey.

Colombian rebels killed by own bomb before attack

Two members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were killed on 31 October by a bomb they were carrying in the town of Pradera in western Colombia, avoiding what the mayor said would have been a "tragedy" as people were out and about for Halloween festivities. Nevertheless over 30 people including 14 children were injured when the bomb exploded in the town's park, according to the daily El Espectador; the guerrillas were thought to be taking the bomb on bicycles toward a police station, Europa Press reported, citing Colombia's El Tiempo. Colombia's police chief José León Riaño called this a "demented and cowardly" attack and told the FARC to expect a firm response, El Espectador reported on 1 November. He said at a police event that FARC chiefs should sit at the negotiating table in Havana if they wanted to stay alive. Colombia and the FARC are to pursue planned peace conversations in Havana on 15 November.

Ecuador's president likely to run again for office

Ecuador's foreign minister was reported as saying on 31 October that the pro-government Alianza País movement was expected this month to nominate President Rafael Correa Delgado as its presidential candidate for general elections due on 17 February 2013. Ricardo Patiño's comments on the website Twitter were corroborated by other officials. Correa would be proposed as candidate at a party conference of PAIS (Patria Altiva i Soberana - or Proud and Sovereign Fatherland) on 10 November and if approved, registered with election authorities on 12 November, El Tribuno de Jujuy reported on 1 November. Correa became president in January 2007 and would be running for the 2013-17 presidential term. The daily named his main opponent for now as the conservative banker Guillermo Lasso Mendoza, a former head of the Banco de Guayaquil. An early poll it cited however, published by Cedatos/Gallup, placed President Correa ahead of Lasso in stated voting intentions: 55.7 per cent of respondents said they would vote for Correa against 22.8 per cent for Lasso. The elections would also be for 137 members of parliament and five members of the Andean Parliament, a regional assembly based in Bogotá.

Five killed, policemen arrested in Mexico

Five including a former mayor and a municipal employee were murdered or found dead around Mexico on 31 October, while authorities detained 23 policemen in the district of Chalco south east of Mexico City, for suspected ties to the mafia, Proceso reported on 1 November. The suspected victims of organized crime included the former mayor of Miguel Alemán on Mexico's north-eastern frontier with the United States, shot to death as he  entered his house the evening of 31 October. The Municipal Secretary - likely a deputy-mayor - of Zumpango in the Estado de México state, separately died after being stabbed in the chest outside a clinic in that town; in the same state, the mayor-elect of Luvianos was "repeatedly" shot from car and badly injured as he drove on a state road. Early on 1 November, 1,400 state police and judicial agents of Estado de México participated in the arrests of 23 municipal policemen and five municipal employees of the Chalco and Valle de Chalco districts suspected of aiding criminals, Proceso reported. The suspects were held at the police stations where they worked to which they had been summoned for an inspection at four in the morning. They were taken to the prosecutor's office of the nearby district of Nezahualcóyotl.