domingo, 2 de diciembre de 2012

FARC rebels killed in Colombia, Panama

Four members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were killed and three arrested in army operations in two districts of Colombia on 1 December, Agence France-Presse reported. Three died when planes bombed a FARC base in the Vista Hermosa district in the south-central department of Meta; three FARC members were arrested in that locality. Troops also shot dead a FARC rebel in the district of Lejanías, also in Meta. The FARC announced a unilateral two-month ceasefire on 20 December while negotiating in Havana to end their longstanding conflict with the Colombian state, insisting however that their fighters would defend themselves; the government ruled out halting security operations before any agreement were signed. On 30 November Panamanian police shot dead a presumed FARC member and arrested seven in the Chepigana district of the Darién province, near Colombia's frontier, Reuters reported citing police declarations. Police confiscated "20 bags of cocaine" and an unspecified quantity of arms.

Colombian, Nicaraguan leaders rule out fighting in dispute

The presidents of Nicaragua and Colombia met on 1 December in Mexico City and promised to handle peacefully the dispute over their frontier line in the Caribbean Sea. Colombia, unlike Nicaragua, was dissatisfied with the recent ruling by the International Court at the Hague setting the frontier, as it gave large parts of its waters to Nicaragua. The two were in Mexico to attend the inauguration of its new president, Enrique Peña Nieto. Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos later said he had conveyed "our position very clearly" to the Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Colombia's RCN Radio reported. He told him Colombia wanted protected the rights of Colombians living in the isles of the San Andrés and Providencia Archipelago - which were henceforth surrounded by Nicaraguan waters - and Ortega "understood...we told him we would manage the situation with a cool head and in a friendly manner to avoid incidents, which he also understood." The broadcaster cited Ortega as saying that the meeting had conveyed a "message of peace" to Colombians and Nicaraguans and showed their states' desire to find a "peaceful solution." He ruled out armed action and said Nicaragua would respect the fishing activities of the islands' traditional residents as well as the protected natural zone now mostly inside its waters.

Thousands of child murders in Honduras "unpunished"

Impunity was seemingly the common trait of 87 per cent of almost 8,000 killings of children and teenagers in recent years in Honduras, a state made infamous by its crime rates, the charity Casa Alianza was reported to have found. The association, which aids and shelters children in the most difficult conditions, found that almost 3,000 children under 17 years were assassinated in Honduras in 1998-2012 and some 5,000 aged 17-23, the Honduran daily El Heraldo reported on 1 December. The report put the total number of "underage" crime victims in this period at 7,865; recently, 84 children and teenagers were reported killed in October 2012 and 104 in September. Casa Alianza found that 89 per cent of the victims had been shot dead, and cited the capital Tegucicalpa and the municipalities of San Pedro Sula, Cholma and La Lima as among the most "murderous" cities for youth. El Heraldo reported separately that day: a child or teenager was killed by suspected robbers late on 30 November and his father injured, after they were shot in their car in the northern port of La Ceiba, and a woman was shot dead on a bus in Tegucicalpa.

Crime violence continues as Mexico changes leaders

Mexico's presidential transition was no excuse for organized crime to interrupt its activities, and about 20 were reported shot dead or found dead between 28 November and 1 December. Ten "at least" were reported killed on 28-29 November, apparently in addition to those reported earlier as killed on 28 November; victims included the police chief of the locality of Cocula in the western state of Guerrero and a colleague, "executed by gunmen" late on 28 November, Proceso reported on 30 November. Two policemen were gunned down on 30 November in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, south of the western city of Guadalajara. On 1 December, five bodies were reported found around the north-central city of Zacatecas with messages from the Gulf Cartel to their rivals The Zetas. These stated that the executions were because The Zetas had not taken up "the opportunity" their rivals had given them to abandon the area, Proceso reported on 1 December. Four policemen were also killed or found dead in and around the northern city of Torreón on 30 November or early on 1 December, the state government of Coahuila announced. Another recently reported crime was the killing of a 14-year-old "bike-taxi" driver in the state of Morelos south of the capital, for unexplained motives. The teenager, named Miguel Ángel, drove passengers on a vehicle consisting of a passenger seat pulled by a motorbike; apparently stoned to death, he was found on 27 November in the locality of Xoxocotla where he lived, near his burned vehicle, Milenio reported on 28 November.

Youth protest as Mexican president takes office

Media reported over 90 arrests in the Mexican capital on 1 December during protests coinciding with the formal inauguration of Enrique Peña Nieto's presidency. His victory in July's general elections was marked by fraud allegations and a rejection of results by many students and the Leftist coalition led then by Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Public property was damaged in the protests, which the mayor Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon qualified as unprecedented and including "acts of barbarism." Spain's El País wrote of moments of chaos in the capital; Ebrard said 65 of the detained would face vandalism or related charges, Europa Press reported. The website Proceso separately reported protests in several states and districts, as well as a 40-minute delay to Peña Nieto's swearing-in inside parliament for disruptive conduct by left-wing parliamentarians. Allies of López Obrador raised banners that accused the outgoing president of handing over a "blood-soaked" presidential seat - for waging war on crime - or declaring "Imposition Consumed - Mexico in mourning." López Obrador himself addressed supporters in the capital that day, declaring he refused to recognize Peña Nieto for his "illegitimate and illegal" election, Europa Press reported, citing the daily La Jornada. He said the new interior minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong should resign for the "violent" response to protests, as should the police minister Manuel Mondragón for not assuring protesters' security. The government also condemned the violence. Peña Nieto separately promised 13 reforming measures that day, addressing the nation as president, Europa Press reported. The initiatives he promised included: introducing a universal social security system, educational reforms, measures to reduce crime violence, legislation to curb debt in public administrations and state governments and constitutional reform to ensure a single legal code and penal procedures applicable nationwide. The president had earlier touted a Pact for Mexico wherein all parties would cooperate to push through systemic reforms, though it was not yet clear if left-wing parties such as the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) would give it their backing.