miércoles, 12 de diciembre de 2012

Honduran parliament sacks four judges

Doubts were publicly voiced in Honduras about the legality of a parliamentary vote on 12 December dismissing four members of the Constitutional Court, a part of the Supreme Court of Honduras. The move was related to the court's ruling on 27 November that "confidence" tests being carried out on police personnel were unconstitutional, although the entire Supreme Court was to meet on 12 December to deliberate on that ruling. The jurists dismissed were those who had ruled against the tests, while a fifth member who had not remained in his position. The ruling had angered President Porfirio Lobo and his allies who have defended a government decree to purge police of corrupt elements as a key component of the state's drive against crime. The daily El Heraldo observed that Lobo had reportedly consulted with the parliamentary speaker Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado and members of the presidium before parliament debated the dismissal. On 10 December parliament voted that an eight-member committee examine the "administrative conduct" of the four jurists and these, apparently very swiftly, drafted a report justifying a second motion to dismiss them. Parliament debated that after one in the morning on 12 December, and the motion was approved by 97 legislators with 31 votes against. The Speaker defended the motion at the pre-dawn session: "Security is the Honduran people's main concern. What we have detected is worrying, it is practically a conspiracy and we are obliged to debate the subject...this wave of crime cannot continue; while some are working others are conspiring." He did not elaborate on the conspirators but they were presumably those obstructing the president's anti-crime measures. To those who said parliament was meddling with the judiciary's prerogatives, he said parliament had already voted to dimiss magistrates before, as it had in 2009 the president of Honduras. Four new magistrates were appointed after the vote, for a term running to 2018. They were on a list of 45 nominees for membership of the Supreme Court drawn up in 2009, El Heraldo reported.

Venezuela's Chávez recovering from surgery

Venezuela's acting president Nicolás Maduro announced on state television that President Hugo Chávez had successfully received cancer surgery in Havana on 11 December and was in recovery; Venezuelans would be informed of his physical progress in coming days, Venezuela's state news agency cited him as saying. He said doctors had informed officials who accompanied Chávez to Havana of the "complex" six-hour surgery carried out; these included the speaker of Venezuela's parliament, the prosecutor-general and the science and oil ministers who Maduro said "are like daughters and sons to Chávez more than politicians." He thanked Latin American leaders and officials who had sent expressions of support, but apparently said nothing about a similar statement by the US State Department in recent days. Maduro also urged the "adversaries, opponents and even enemies of our fatherland, and above all those who are Venezuelans, who exude their hate and venom every day: stop it, stop this poison, stop the hate against" Chávez. Maduro urged an extensive voter participation in regional elections scheduled for 16 December.

Former policeman among six killed in Mexico

A former police chief from the north-western state of Sinaloa reported kidnapped on 10 December was found dead the next day with "his face destroyed;" he was one of six people reported killed by suspected criminals in Mexico on 10-11 December. The body of Alfredo Mejía Pérez, the former head of Sinaloa's state Preventive Police was found in the district of El Limón de los Ramos north of the city of Culiacán. Victims that day included three men gunned down in a bar in the northern city of Torreón; armed men entered the bar, and lined the three up behind the drinks bar to execute them, Proceso reported.