miércoles, 9 de enero de 2013

Group would become Mexico's "real" opposition party

Mexico's National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) led by the former presidential aspirant Andrés Manuel López Obrador took formal steps on 7 January toward becoming a party, its members vowing to garner extensive membership and insinuating this would become the main opposition to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Members of Morena (Movimiento Regeneración Nacional) visited the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) in Mexico City to formally notify it of Morena's intention to become a party. It was not immediately clear if this was a mere formality as Morena members have said or if approval was needed. In any case its members seemingly had scant regard for the IFE, which ratified the PRI's bitterly contested election in 2012 after rejecting all cheating allegations. They reportedly laughed when an IFE official welcomed them to the building as the "home of democracy." Mexico's Leftist parties insist the 2012 elections were fraud-ridden. Later addressing an IFE panel, party president Martí Batres Guadarrama denounced the Pact for Mexico signed between the PRI and the two main opposition parties - to ease reformist legislation - as "the PRI's dream and a reactionary utopia" intended to eliminate dissent, La Jornada reported on 8 January. "The PRI does not like democracy, plurality, discrepancy...that pact symbolises...a system of pseudo-governmental parties where everyone has the same opinion, a uniform...political society...but bad news for the PRI, if there is an opposition it is called Morena." He said Morena rejected the "neo-liberal model" and energy-related privatizations likely to be pursued the PRI government. Morena's impact would become apparent in time, and depend on how many members and ultimately votes it can garner. These were expected to be taken from the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), the main Leftist party formerly led by López Obrador. On 8 January López Obrador addressed "hundreds" of supporters in Mexico City's historic central square, where he registered his membership and began a national campaign to win party members. He vowed to defend Mexico's oil as national property and curb tax rises being imposed by the "gang of ruffians" in the government, while affirming Morena's peaceful vocation, La Jornada reported. A post was set up where "dozens" registered their affiliation after López Obrador left. Party president Batres was reported to have said the same day that he expected 1.5 million Mexicans to join the party in 2013, "more than recently registered" for the National Action Party, the main conservative party. He was to present the party's financing plans on 9 January, Excelsior and Notimex reported.

Around 30 reported killed in Mexico

Just under 30 were provisionally reported as gunned down or found dead around Mexico in the period from the evening of 5 to 8 January. Nine including three policemen were reported killed or found dead on 8 December; three of those including a policeman were found in an advanced state of decomposition in the  district of Durango in the northern state of Durango, Proceso reported. The policeman, from the district of Mezquital in that state, was reported disappeared in mid-December 2012. Two policemen were separately shot dead in the northern city of Saltillo and in Mexico City, while two charred bodies were found in a car in the north-western city of Culiacán, all on 8 January. Proceso reported 19 killings on 5-6 January, most of these occurring early on 6 January. One of the victims, found in the western city of Guadalajara, was identified as belonging to the cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación. Two of his brothers were reported arrested in September 2012. Separately on 8 January three teenagers or children and an adult were detained in the western resort of Acapulco with over 14.5 tonnes of "green weed" thought to be marijuana. Interrogations indicated the four were a local gang led by the adult, a 28-year-old dubbed El ChapitoMilenio reported. Police also detained on 8 January a gang of six including a mother and her 22-year-old son in the northern district of Escobedo, all suspected of drug trafficking and the kidnapping and murder of a taxi driver, Milenio reported.

Venezuelan parliament postpones president's oath

Parliament voted on 8 December to allow President Hugo Chávez Frías to formally take office before the Supreme Court after the official date of 10 January, given his physical incapacity to attend a ceremony in Venezuela for now. The Speaker of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello Rondón told parliament that the 10 January date was not as opposition members alleged "immovable" and there were precedents for a president's late inauguration. The President he said now had "all the time he needs to recover and return to Venezuela" once cured of his illness, El Universal reported. He said addressing the opposition coalition that the government was functioning and the socialist regime united, "only the opposition is not functioning...the day something happens, [the vice-president] Nicolás [Maduro] and I will be here together. I don't know if you will all be together." Cabello was sworn in as Speaker on 5 January for 2012-13; he expressed satisfaction at the 8 January session that no opposition legislators had been included in the parliamentary presidium, as "there would surely have been a coup." A lawyer and constitutional specialist separately told Globovisión, a broadcaster critical of the regime, that he considered the vote "contrary to the constitution" and inapplicable beyond 10 January when the present constitutional period ended. José Vicente Haro said the acting president Nicolás Maduro and ministers should step down on 10 January, after which date they could be no more than a de facto government, Globovisión reported. Venezuela's Prosecutor-General Luisa Ortega Díaz was however cited as saying that day that a new constitutional period was not to be confused with a presidential mandate. She said "the mandate is one thing and the constitutional period another," and "the President can thus not take office on 10 January," Globovisión reported. She said parliament should however convene that day to start the new constitutional period. Hugo Chávez was elected to a new presidential term on 7 October. Ortega said that in spite of his resurgent illness and temporary absence, there had been no "power vacuum" in Venezuela as the opposition alleged.