lunes, 26 de noviembre de 2012

Colombia, rebels to allow public contributions to talks

Colombians are to contribute comments and opinions to the incipient process of talks between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), as negotiators open the process to them through an initial debate scheduled for December and through the Internet, media reported on 26 November. Negotiators at the Table of Conversations (Mesa de Conversaciones) in Havana issued a communiqué that day to announce that a debate would be held in Bogotá from 17 to 19 December to discuss the first item on the negotiating agenda, rural development and policies. The debate on Integral Development Policies (Territorial Focus) - Política de Desarrollo Integral (Enfoque Territorial) - would gather public contributions on "the use of land in the country;" negotiators asked the United Nations in Colombia and the National University's department tasked with studying the talks (Centro de Pensamiento y Seguimiento al Diálogo de Paz) to organize and moderate discussions and provide negotiators with conclusions on 8 January 2013, El Colombiano reported. The daily stated that this initiative followed the conclusion of regional consultations inside Colombia organized by parliament, designed to collect the opinions of groups and indigenous communities in the country's regions. One legislator was cited as urging the president to summon a National Peace Council reportedly promised in September, to air opinions gathered from the regions. The negotiating Table was also to start a website to allow the public to opine directly, the broadcaster Caracol reported.

Colombia holds suspected murderers, guerrillas

Colombia was reported to have detained all of three gang members sought for the massacre of 10 peasants in northern Colombia on 7 November, the last being caught at an unspecified location on 24 November. President Juan Manuel Santos said in Santa Marta on Colombia's northern coast that day that the state had honoured its promise to catch the culprits, El Espectador reported. He also thanked neighbouring Panama for arresting or helping catch at an unspecified location, two presumed members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) with 540 kilograms of cocaine. The state separately arrested at an unspecified date in the north-eastern town of Saravena a member of Front 38 of the FARC, described as one of 25 terrorists most sought in the eastern state of Arauca, El Espectador reported on 25 November. The detained - identified by the pseudonym El Culeco - was thought to be in charge of tracking troops and officials in Arauca and to have been involved in an attack in December 2010 that killed two policemen. In separate operations in districts west of the capital Bogotá, police detained nine members of Colombia's Communist Party and of the leftist Marcha Patriótica association, all suspected of being collaborators or members of the FARC, El Espectador reported on 24 November. The detained were described as students, teachers and trade unionists and arrested in Manizales, Pereira, Cali and Palmira; police handed them over to the judiciary in Manizales the capital of the Caldas department, for more investigations. Their defence lawyers reportedly declared that authorities were trying to revive cases and charges for which the suspects had been tried and acquitted. Marcha Patriótica seeks among other goals a negotiated end to the state's conflict with the FARC; it was formed in 2012 in the wake of protests against the policies of the then conservative president Álvaro Uribe Vélez. The Communist Party was founded in 1930.

Over 50 killed, found dead in Mexico in week

At least 53 were reported killed or found dead around Mexico in the period 19-24 November, likely all or most the victims of criminal incidents and mostly in the northern state of Chihuahua; these ranged from most recent shooting deaths to skeletal remains found in clandestine graves. The latter included three ditches found on the periphery of Juárez in Chihuahua, which police observed contained "at least" 11 remains of victims of whom some may have been killed two years before, Proceso reported on 24 November. Eight half-naked bodies were also found that day by a road in the Rosales district near Ciudad Juárez, Proceso reported, citing the local Diario de Juárez. Signs indicated the victims had been tortured then shot to death. In total 13 were reported killed or found dead in the northern states of Chihuahua and Sonora on 20-22 November, Proceso reported separately. In what is now a custom among cartels and gangs in Mexico, several victims were decapitated, dismembered and "bagged," as with two dismembered bodies found in black plastic bags at the back a car in the south-central state of Oaxaca on 20 November. Other victims included a 22-year-old beauty queen and two soldiers, among five killed in a shootout between suspected criminals and troops in the north-western state of Sinaloa on 24 November. Susana Florez - titled Sinaloa Woman 2012 - died in a gun battle that began when suspects fired on an army patrol in El Palmar de los Leal in the Mocorito district; her boyfriend was one of gunmen and also died, Proceso reported on 26 November.