lunes, 17 de diciembre de 2012

Some 30 reported killed around Mexico

At least 29 people were reported killed or found dead around Mexico on 14-16 December in presumed criminal executions or gun battles with state forces. Eight suspected gangsters were shot dead in a gun battle with police on 15 December in Genaro Codina in the north-central state of Zacatecas; police said shooting began when the suspects fired on a patrol. Five suspects were also arrested and arms and equipment confiscated, the dailies Proceso and Imagen reported. On 16 December, soldiers shot dead five suspected gangsters or cartel operatives in the north-eastern city of Tamaulipas, Proceso reported. Four women earlier reported as missing in the northern state of Chihuahua were found dead there in the district of Guachochi on 14 December, their bodies indicating they were "tortured" then shot dead, Proceso reported. The women were apparently last seen on 12 December when they drove out of Creel further to the north, and may have been murdered at a road block set up by criminals in the countryside area known as Sierra Tarahumara. Proceso observed that people had repeatedly reported the presence of road blocks in the Sierra to Guachochi's municipal police as well as the prosecutor's office for western Chihuahua, and no measures were taken. There were nine victims on 14 December alone in the north-western state of Sinaloa, six of these in the form of headless bodies found near the neighbouring state of Chihuahua, Proceso reported. Other victims were: a local politician and a female companion shot dead in the north-eastern city of Ciudad Valles late on 14 December, and a police detective shot dead by suspected car thieves, early on 16 December in the Nezahualcóyotl district of Estado de México. He was apparently stopped while driving and asked to get out of his BMW but refused, Proceso reported.

Socialists retain most regions in Venezuelan polls

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the party of President Hugo Chávez Frías, and allies collaborating in its Comando Campaña Carabobo kept 20 of the 23 states for which they competed in regional polls on 16 December, opposition parties holding onto three in elections marked by a relatively low turnout. The former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles remained governor of the state of Miranda next to the capital, while his allies retained the states of Lara and Amazonas, El Nacional reported. The daily reported a turnout of 53.9 per cent of eligible voters, down from about 80 per cent for the October presidential elections, according to initial figures released by the electoral authority (CNE). This was reportedly the lowest turnout since the regional elections of 2004. But Venezuela's Vice-President and provisional ruler Nicolás Maduro was triumphant on 16 December, stating that the people had ratified the socialist regime and "dissolved" the opposition Democratic Unity Table (MUD, Mesa de Unidad Demócratica). He told state television by telephone that voters had "liberated" five of the eight states governed by MUD politicians, which was a "great victory we must accept with wisdom, with humility," the broadcaster Globovisión reported. Earlier Maduro advised the defeated MUD candidate in the state of Bolívar "not to go crazy" after he challenged the results and alleged the existence of "a manoeuvre" to ensure his defeat. The results were close in that state. The leading opposition figure Henrique Capriles Radonsky said he was "immensely happy" for people in Miranda, Lara and Amazonas, but "I cannot feel happy for our Venezuela," El Nacional reported. He said officialist parties had presented no programs but allegedly capitalized on the sympathies or concerns generated by the president's current illness. He asserted however that "change is quite, quite close, you can feel it," and "Venezuelans want answers to their problems," including he said that of insecurity. The regime he declared "wanted to be done with me but the people responded."