jueves, 20 de diciembre de 2012

Colombians debate land use, to aid peace talks

A three-day meet in Bogotá to gather Colombians' opinions on land use, and planned earlier to complement peace talks between the state and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) concluded on 19 December with some 400 proposals to be sent to negotiators in Havana. The Forum on Integral Agrarian Development organized by Colombia's National University and the United Nations in Colombia, was attended by some 1,200 delegates from 15 civilian sectors nationwide. Opinions, compilled by UN rapporteurs, were to reach Havana before 8 January when negotiations were to resume. Land ownership is a key theme in negotiations. Spain's ABC newspaper observed on 20 December that a little over one cent of proprietors owned over 50 per cent of Colombian lands, and ownership had been a detonator of the ongoing conflict. One group absent at the forum however was the National Federation of Cattle Farmers (Federación Nacional de Ganaderos, Fedegan), whose president termed unhelpful the airing of numerous "antagonistic" positions on land use, ABC reported on 19 December citing news agencies. Another website cited the Fedegan president as saying that his association refused to condone "executioners," meaning the FARC. Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos said in a radio interview that Fedegan's absence and failure to "at least send proposals" made "no sense," but admitted cattle farmers had suffered from guerrilla activities in past decades. The Fedegan's president he said, had "very clearly and from the start been critical of a rapprochement with the FARC," a posture he said was "valid."

Nicaragua convicts Mexican "pressmen" on drug charges

A Nicaraguan court convicted on drug-trafficking and related charges on 19 December 18 Mexicans detained on 20 August 2012 after they entered Nicaragua parading as employees of the Mexican broadcaster Televisa. Over nine million USD and cocaine traces were found in some of the six vehicles they drove displaying Televisa logos; Televisa has denied they were employees. The 18 were found guilty of drug trafficking, money laundering and membership of criminal organizations, CNN reported citing Mexico's Notimex. Prosecutors asked for the maximum 30 years sentence envisaged for the charges but the presiding judge Edgard Altamirano was to issue a sentence on 18 January 2013, Nicaragua's La Prensa reported. Toward the close of the trial on 18 December, police testimonies indicated that a woman identified as head of the group had repeatedly telephoned a number identified as belonging to a vice-president of Televisa, Spain's EFE reported. Members of the Economic Investigations Directorate at the Nicaraguan police testified that Raquel Alatorre Correa dialled a Mexican number, said to belong to Televisa's Amador García Estrada, between 25 July and 24 August. The group also carried letters apparently signed by García although Nicaraguan prosecutors were waiting for the executive to send them a sample signature in January for verification. EFE cited a prosecutor as saying that Televisa had formally asked Nicaraguan justice to investigate whether or not someone inside Televisa had signed  letters for the group.

Eight reported killed around Mexico, policemen sacked

Eight were reported killed in presumed criminal incidents around Mexico on 17-19 December, including a "Venezuelan model" and two policemen whose bodies were found in a burned vehicle, Proceso reported. The policemen were found in the district of Salvador Escalante in the western state of Michoacán; one of them it was thought could be the police chief of Santa Clara del Cobre, south-west of the city of Morelia in Michoacán. The brother of a prominent local businesswoman was also found dead in a ditch south of Morelia. On 17 December, four suspected kidnappers shot dead a businessman in the locality of Villa Seca outside Toluca de Lerdo in Estado de México, as he resisted being forced into a car. A 24-year-old girl identified as Venezuelan model Daysi Yeniree Ferrer Arenas, was found dead on 18 December in the western city of Guadalajara; she had been shot in the head three times. Authorities raised to 23 the number of deaths from rioting and a failed attempt on 18 December to break out of a prison in the state of Durango. The state's Public Security chief Jesús Antonio Rosso told Milenio newspaper that nine guards and 14 inmates had died in violence that erupted in the prison in Gómez Palacio. On 19 December, 125 policemen in the northern state of Coahuila were relieved of their duties and banned from working in the security sector after failing "confidence tests" designed to establish their probity and professionalism, the state's Public Security chief told Milenio Televisión. Many Mexican policemen have the worst reputation with the public, for suspected corruption and ties to criminals. Gerardo Villarreal said these could not be recruited elsewhere in Mexico and the state would decide whether or not more policemen would be dismissed in 2013.