sábado, 9 de febrero de 2013

Mexican locals hand crime suspects to police

Authorities of the state of Guerrero in western Mexico were handed on 8 February 11 suspected criminals detained by armed residents who began to police parts of the state in January, in a move suggesting greater coordination between them and authorities they denounced as negligent in the face of crime. The detainees, suspected as involved in drug trafficking, killings and kidnappings, were handed over at the municipality of Ayutla de los Libres, one of four or five districts policed by indigenous militias and a Community Police. The authorities of Guerrero pledged to hand the detained over to the Public Ministry or state prosecutors, according to Proceso. The review observed that these were among 54 whom residents detained in January in the districts of Ayutla and nearby Tecoanapa and apparently identified as working for a local drug-trafficking gang whose leader was yet to be caught. The armed residents themselves were initially masked to avoid being identified by criminals. They had good reason to do so, as presumed criminals were reported on 8 February to have threatened one of their leaders with unspecified reprisals, apparently shortly before the 11 detainees were handed over. An unknown caller phoned Bruno Plácido Valerio, leader of the Union of Organized Peoples of the State of Guerrero (UPOEG), to say he would be hit "where it hurts most," Milenio reported. Plácido has not borne a mask and told Milenio that "someone had to be the face" of the self-defence movement, which he said he would not abandon.

Five reported killed, dead in western Mexico

Four including a local police chief were shot or found dead around the state of Jalisco in western Mexico on 8-9 February and a mayor was shot dead while eating in a restaurant in the western district of Pátzcuaro on 4 February, media reported. The slain policeman was the police chief of Poncitlán in Jalisco; his body was found on 8 February in the district of Zapopán outside Guadalajara, La Crónica de Hoy reported, citing Notimex. The mayor of Nahuatzen in the state of Michoacán, Wilfrido Flores Villa, was in turn shot while eating in the nearby district of Pátzcuaro, La Crónica reported. Separately, the governor of the central state of Morelos Graco Ramírez Garrido Abreu said on 8 February that a police shooting that killed the bodyguards of the chief prosecutor of Morelos was being investigated as an attempt to kill the prosecutor not an accident as initially thought; 10 policemen were being questioned over the incident, Proceso reported. The prosecutor's convoy had respected security protocols while driving through Cuernavaca, he said, and policemen at a security post made "excessive use" of their firearms. Milenio cited on 8 February an unnamed witness to the incident as saying that the policemen had also shot at the prosecutor's armoured car, not just at his bodyguards. Three bodyguards who were also policemen were killed in a shootout that followed the order to halt the convoy, which the prosecutor's car ignored.

Venezuelan devaluation affects border trade

Venezuela announced on 8 February a devaluation of its currency the bolívar, in what a local economist termed a "confiscation" of Venezuelans' purchasing power that would also impact exporters from neighbouring Colombia, El Tiempo reported. The Colombian daily observed that traders in the frontier district of Cúcuta were waiting to see the devaluation's impact on demand in Venezuela for local products. Venezuela's Finance Minister Jorge Giordani told the press in Caracas on 8 February that the exchange rate of 4.3 bolívars to the USD was now 6.3, which made the dollar more than 46 per cent more expensive, El Tiempo reported. The daily stated that this was the bolívar's fifth devaluation since Venezuela's socialist government imposed currency controls in 2003. On Venezuela's black market the USD was reportedly trading for as much as 28 bolívars, signifying much higher prices for an array of imported consumer goods. As Venezuelans pointed out on networking websites, the devaluation of the official rate now signified a price hike of 46 per cent in imported goods. Giordani blamed speculation for the inflationary "bout" the country was suffering, but the opposition politician and governor of the state of Miranda Henrique Capriles accused the government of squandering its petrodollars, El Tiempo reported. He observed on the website Twitter that "oil is at 106 [USD per barrel] and they do a devaluation. They spent the money on their campaign, corruption and foreign gifts. Lying government!" In Cúcuta, a money changer told El Tiempo that the devaluation would impact supply and demand in the frontier zone. It might ensure an "abundance" of cheaper but mostly smuggled Venezuelan goods, while Venezuelan importers would be dissuaded from buying Colombian products that would soon cost more. The president of the Colombian exporters' association Analdex Javier Díaz told El Tiempo on 8 February that he hoped the market and inflation in Venezuela would soon absorb the rate change.