lunes, 24 de diciembre de 2012

Guatemalan prosecutor, six more killed in ambush

Seven people including a public prosecutor were shot dead while driving in north-western Guatemala on 23 December, in an attack suspected to be the work of a drug cartel, the daily Prensa Libre reported. The attack occurred in the San Pedro Necta district in Huehuetenango, the department bordering Mexico; the cars were burned. Of the victims three were identified as the district prosecutor of Chiquimula in eastern Guatemala Irma Yolanda Oliveras, an employee of the social works department of the First Lady's Office (SOSEP) and a businessman named as Luis Antonio Palacios, the Interior Minister was reported as saying. The group was returning in two armoured cars from the inauguration of a hotel belonging to Palacios in the district of La Mesilla in Huehuetenango, or going to La Mesilla as other reports suggested. It appeared the district prosecutor was for some time a target of criminals, possibly of The Zetas cartel whose activities she was tasked with investigating. Prensa Libre cited Guatemala's Prosecutor-General Claudia Paz y Paz as recently commenting on persistent threats to prosecutors in frontier districts like Chiquimula. Police reportedly arrested in August suspected members of the Zetas thought to be planning the assassination of the Chiquimula district prosecutor, though reports did not immediately clarify if she was that prosecutor.

Mexico confirms new ambassador to Brazil

The Mexican Senate confirmed on 20 December the nomination of the former president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Beatriz Paredes Rangel as Mexico's new ambassador to Brazil, CNNMéxico reported. Paredes, one of Mexico's more familiar politicians and usually depicted in colourful ethnic attire, ran as the PRI's candidate to become mayor of Mexico City in the July 2012 general elections; she was soundly beaten by the Leftist candidate and current mayor. She was governor of the state of Tlaxcala east of the capital in 1987-92, Mexico's ambassador to Cuba in 1993-4, president of the PRI in 2007-11 and a member of parliament from 2009 to 2012 among other positions. Brazil has welcomed her nomination. The PRI also changed its president in December after Pedro Joaquín Coldwell stepped down to become the Energy minister. César Camacho Quiroz was on 11 December voted in as the new party president as the PRI changed its presiding board or National Political Council, El Economista reported. Camacho later told CNN in Mexico that the party must "efficiently" back President Enrique Peña Nieto's promised reforms and "find a better way of connecting with" civil bodies, the party's website reported on 22 December. He said nevertheless that close ties should not lead to a merging of or confusion between the government and the party whence the president emerged. Camacho was a former senator and former governor of the State of Mexico, of which Peña Nieto was also governor. He was to be the PRI's president until March 2015. Yvonne Ortega Pacheco, a pregnant single mother and former governor of the state of Yucatán, became the party Secretary-General for the same period. This was the second most important post in the party; both positions were uncontested, CNN observed.

Dozens killed around Mexico, head left at mayor's house

Twenty six or more people were reported killed or found dead in the states of Jalisco, Michoacán, Zacatecas and Sinaloa on 23-24 December in criminal executions and gun battles, these including a dozen policemen shot dead by gangsters, Proceso and El Universal reported. In one incident, three policemen were shot dead in Ayotlán in Jalisco, in a gun fight with 40 armed men who drove into town in a caravan of 10 cars; the gang had earlier fired on police in nearby Degollado, with no fatalities. Nine policemen from the district of Briseñas in Michoacán were killed in that state on the night of 23-24 December, as their patrol came under fire from criminals, El Universal reported. It counted 11 victims of crime in Michoacán that night. It separately reported that six people were shot or found dead on 23 December in the districts Cósala and Culiacán in the north-western state of Sinaloa. A man was shot dead on 23 December in the north-central city of Zacatecas, El Universal reported the police as saying. In the northern city of Torreón, five dismembered bodies were found at the back of a car late on 21 December, Proceso reported on 22 December, citing the local daily Vanguardia. An unspecified message was found by the bodies. A 25-year-old woman was killed in the north-western city of Chihuahua as she sought to protect her four-year-old child from shooting between a suspect and police, Proceso reported. She was driving by the spot where a man began shooting from his car at a Federal police car. On 22 December, a severed head was left at the entrance of a house belonging to the mayor of El Arenal in the western state of Jalisco, with a message from a criminal gang, Proceso reported, citing the weblog The mayor, Alejandro Ocampo Aldana, is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party and began working in October; the head belonged to a man reported kidnapped on 20 December in the village of Huaxtla. The message was signed by the Alianza de sangre empresa NX (Blood Alliance Enterprise NX) and directed at drug cartels competing in this area The Zetas, the Jalisco Nueva Generación and a gang called Los SandovalProceso reported.

Mexican policemen held for "torture," mayor beats neighbours

Three Mexican policemen from the northern frontier city of Juárez were detained at an unspecified date, accused of beating two detainees and sodomizing one of them with a baseball bat or similar item so he would confess to selling drugs, Proceso reported on 23 December, citing the Juárez daily El Diario. Five policemen were facing charges relating to the incident, which occurred last May, although two had fled, the dailies reported. The plaintiffs had been stopped by police while riding one or two motorbikes; after initial questioning they were taken to a building for more vigorous interrogation: this included beatings and for one detainee, being forced to swallow bullets covered in urine and sodomized with a bat. The two apparently had their heads doused in liquor and were later taken to a local judge and reported for drinking in public. The policemen were ordered detained on 17 November and presented before a judge on 23 December. In the state of Morelos south of Mexico City, the mayor of Tlaltizapán had police beat two of his neighbours after they complained about police cars parked outside their house, Proceso reported on 22 December, citing Mexico's Notimex. When a female neighbour complained to the mayor he ordered policemen to arrest her, while another neighbour who intervened was beaten by police in front of relatives including children. The family later complained to the National Human Rights Commission, which publicized the incident in a communiqué and wrote to the municipality. It was not immediately clear if the mayor faced prosecution.