jueves, 6 de diciembre de 2012

Salvadorean president sees "unprecedented" crime fall

President Mauricio Funes Cartagena said in San Salvador on 5 December that his country was living an "unprecedented process" of decline in criminality even as crime rates were rising elsewhere in Latin America, and this partly for the truce that began last March between the main gangs, the Salvadorean daily El Mundo reported. He said at a graduation ceremony for 65 army and airforce officers that El Salvador "faces a unique opportunity to advance on the path to becoming a country with real democracy and peace." This "pacification process" he added was not just for the gang truce arranged by mediators, but also for the efforts of the army and police. The country's Justice and Public Security Minister David Munguía Payés spoke last October of a steady decline in crime in 2012, asserting that it fell more sharply after the start of the gang truce on 8 March and unspecified police operations, El Mundo reported at the time. Munguía cited a 38.4 per cent fall in crime in 2012 compared to 2011 - without specifying dates for the January-October period - and a comparative fall in crimes of 68 per cent for the period after 8 March. Separately El Salvador and Russia signed a security agreement in Moscow on 6 December focused on fighting drug trafficking, El Mundo reported. The agreement was signed by Munguía and the head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service Viktor Ivanov. Its provisions included exchange of information, "technological investigation" and training programmes.

Nicaragua, Colombia in peaceful standoff over sea frontier

Reports indicated Colombian ships remained present in Caribbean waters which the International Court at The Hague recently ruled Colombia should cede to Nicaragua to settle a border dispute; it was not immediately clear if Colombia was simply ignoring the ruling. Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos said after the 19 November decision that Colombia would use all peaceful means to defend the rights of citizens living in islands and cays now surrounded by Nicaraguan waters, and he and Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega agreed on 1 December not to resort to force. Ortega told a military gathering in Managua on 5 December that Nicaragua would not seek UN help against "Colombian frigates" in its territorial waters but use "communication," the broadcaster Caracol reported, citing EFE.  Which resolution could the UN Security Council issue, he asked? "You only need a country to put a veto and there is no solution there," he said, adding there was no hostility now and the two navies maintained communications that were "serene, serious, without aggression." He was separately reported as saying, perhaps at the same event, that he had reassured Santos about his concerns over the fate of the Flor de Mar nature reserve now mostly inside Nicaraguan waters. Ortega said he promised Santos permits would not be given to explore oil in the UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve and that Colombians living in the San Andrés Archipelago would still be allowed to fish in Nicaraguan waters, Portafolio reported on 6 December, citing agency reports.

Mexico City has a new mayor, cabinet

Mexico City changed mayors on 5 December as the leftist Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa, elected in the July 2012 general elections, replaced the popular Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon of the socialist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). The mayor of Mexico City has the rank of a state governor. Mancera was the candidate of the Progressive Movement in the elections and backed by several parties including the PRD. He defeated two high-profile rivals in the former president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party Beatriz Paredes Rangel and the conservative anti-crime activist Isabel Miranda de Wallace, backed by the National Action Party. With his victory the Left retained its political control of the capital and enjoyed a very considerable political boost in the otherwise disappointing election. Mancera presented his cabinet on 5 December, a team including former city officials, former ministers and leftist eminences. The most notable appointment was of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano, the capital's first elected mayor in the 1990s and founder of the PRD. Mancera made the researcher René Drucker Colín Science Secretary and the academic and entrepreneur Miguel Torruco Marqués Tourism Secretary, CNNMéxico reported. These were considered close to the former presidential candidate and former PRD leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who had reportedly envisaged them as ministers if elected president. Other appointments included: Hector Serrano Cortés as Governance Secretary - effectively deputy-mayor and administrative chief - Jesús Rodríguez Almeida as Public Security Secretary in charge of policing, and Rodolfo Ríos Garza as the capital's chief prosecutor, CNN and the website ADNpolítico reported.

Eighteen or more killed in Mexico in three days

At least 18 people including teenagers were reported killed or found dead in suspected criminal incidents around Mexico on 4-6 December. Victims included three youngsters aged 15, 17 and 22, "executed" in the northern district of Lerdo in the state of Durango, and four women found dead in the district of El Durazno in the north-central state of Zacatecas with "torture" marks on their bodies, Proceso reported on 5 December. A woman and her 14-year-old son were gunned down at home on 4 December in the district of Bocoyna in the northern state of Chihuahua; the mother, Edna Delfina Rodríguez González, was an assistant to the senator of the conservative National Action Party Javier Corral Jurado. Another politician Miguel Ángel Torres, head of the PANAL (Nueva Alianza) party in west-coast Acapulco was gunned down early on 5 December on Acapulco's main coastal boulevard, the Avenida Miguel Alemán. An 18 year-old was shot dead early on 6 December in the district of Naucalpán outside the capital, Milenio and Notimex reported. a 15-year-old friend or relative of the victim was wounded in this attack. The daily also reported the arrests of two suspected kidnappers in the western district of Ometepec on 4 December, in an operation in which police freed a presumed hostage, and of three men found with an arsenal in Víctor Rosales in the state of Zacatecas. Items confiscated from them included assault rifles, ammunition, a machine gun, three cars and communication equipment, Milenio reported on 6 December.