miércoles, 28 de noviembre de 2012

Ecuador's president reshuffles cabinet

Several new ministers were sworn into office in Quito on 28 November, amid a partial reshuffle allowing some former ministers to run for positions in general elections scheduled for 2013, agencies and press reported. In the changes the former heritage minister María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés became Defence Minister, her old post going to the deputy-minister for heritage Maria Belén Moncayo. Espinosa replaced Miguel Carvajal Aguirre, Ecuador's El Telégrafo reported. The new Policy Coordination Minister (Ministro coordinador de política) was Betty Tola who returned to the post she left in August 2012 following a disputed legislative initiative over military pensions. Rafael Poveda became the new Minister of Strategic Sectors (Ministro coordinador de Sectores Estratégicos), replacing Jorge Glas Espinel who was to be a vice-presidential candidate in coming elections for the Alianza País (or PAIS) party backing Correa. Other appointments were of Lorena Tapia Núñez as Environment Minister - her predecessor was to run for a parliamentary seat for PAIS - of Lorena Escudero to head the migratory affairs department (Senami) and of Leonardo Berrezueta Carrión as Private Secretary to the Presidency. Tapia Núñez was the acting minister since 12 November, while Berrezueta began working as presidential Secretary on 9 November, and was formally appointed on 16. Born in 1978, he was a deputy-interior minister for security affairs from May 2011 to late January 2012 and an adviser to the Presidency from June or July to November 2012, the government bulletin El Ciudadano reported on 16 November.

Colombia leaves arbitration treaty after court ruling

Reflecting Colombia's anger at a 19 November ruling by the International Court at the Hague that ceded part of its sea territory to Nicaragua, President Juan Manuel Santos announced on 28 November that Colombia would leave the 1948 Bogotá Pact that gave the Court authority to arbitrate in frontier disputes. Santos made the announcement at gathering of coffee growers who cheered him, and said the decision was to prevent a repetition of such a ruling. He said this did not mean Colombia was no longer committed to peacefully resolving such disputes as the Pact demands of signatories, but that in keeping with "the highest national interests" land and sea frontiers should be set by treaties "as has been the juridical tradition in Colombia," RCN Radio reported on 28 November. The ruling had meant to settle a dispute over sea frontiers, but considerably reduced access to rich fishing waters for inhabitants of the San Andrés Archipelago, a range of islands and dependent cays belonging to Colombia, which in some cases would become surrounded by Nicaraguan waters. There was also concern in Colombia that Nicaragua would later explore and drill for oil in some of the waters given it, which are now a protected natural zone. Santos said Colombia "denounced" the treaty before the Organization of American States on 27 November, which effectively meant it was leaving. The pact or American Treaty on Pacific Settlement, which entered into force in 1949 and was ratified by 15 American states, foresees a range of diplomatic and legal means for resolving disputes, including arbitration by The Hague. The decision apparently did not affect Colombia's obligation to respect this ruling and its formal departure would be in a year. But the broadcaster cited Vice-President Marcelino Garzon as saying that "an understanding and agreement" was now needed between Colombia and Nicaragua that would "favour the fishing population." He said the dispute was now "in the hands of the United Nations."

Twenty one reported killed around Mexico in a day

The review Proceso numbered at 21 those reported killed or found dead in Mexico on 26-27 November, mostly victims of drug cartels or of gun fights with security forces. These included a father and his three adult sons shot dead on a road in the Urique district of the northern state of Chihuahua, Proceso reported. In one incident the body parts of three men were left inside and on a car in the northern city of Torreón. In the eastern and western states of Veracruz and Michoacán respectively, the army shot dead eight suspected criminals in gun fights, reportedly responding to gunfire in both cases. Separately, authorities made a public presentation of six policemen held for their presumed role in the execution-style killings on 18 November of eight individuals in the district of Indé in the northern state of Durango, Proceso reported. The victims were relatives of the mayor of Indé Ernesto Núñez Rodríguez and included a pregnant 21-year-old and her four-year-old son. He told investigators that four individuals arrived at his property that day and began shooting at a gathering of 13 people there. Eight of those ran into a cellar where they were shot by two "state policemen" who followed them and who then set fire to the cellar. The mayor said five other relatives including a 15-year-old were still missing after the attack.