jueves, 28 de febrero de 2013

Colombia holds suspected gangsters, FARC rebel

Police detained nine suspected members of the gang Los Rastrojos in raids in different parts of Colombia, the detained including the gang's female boss in the coffee-producing Eje Cafetero that spans several departments, the Defence Ministry reported on 27 February. The suspects were caught in the districts of Medellín, in Florencia in the southern department of Caquetá and in districts in the departments of Tolima west of Bogotá and Meta south-east of Bogotá. They were sought for their suspected roles in activities including drug trafficking, extortion and murder. In the raids police confiscated items including handguns, computers and phones, cars and the equivalent of over USD 5,500. The army detained at an unspecified date a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dubbed El Abuelo - Grandad - in the south-western Cauca department, the Defence Ministry reported on 27 February. The FARC operative was apparently caught in a house or building in the village of Guatemala in the district of Miranda. The ministry described him as a bomb-maker and "link" between the FARC's Sixth Front and the Gabriel Galvis mobile column.

Mexico insists union chief's arrest legal, not political

President Enrique Peña Nieto pledged in a television address on 27 February that the investigation of the activities of detained teaching union boss Elba Esther Gordillo would continue "to its ultimate consequences, always remaining strictly attached to the law" and respecting the "human rights of persons implicated," CNN reported. Gordillo was detained on 26 February and formally charged on 27 with undertaking "operations with illicit resources" and engaging in "organized crime," relating to a range of alleged activities that included syphoning off union funds, money laundering and perhaps tax evasion, CNNMéxico reported. In total four were reported detained and two people were to be charged beside Gordillo, as suspected accomplices of her financial transactions. Peña Nieto said the "process being followed" is "strictly legal" and "responds to evidence of the probable, illicit deviation" and "concealment" of funds belonging to the SNTE, the education-sector union. Those funds he said belonged to teachers not union bosses and "must be used to benefit their workers." The president said his government maintained a "respectful and constant dialogue" with the union's leaders and repeated a "commitment to Mexico's teachers." He said "Mexico's educational transformation is going forward" with the aim of one day providing "quality education for all" in Mexico. The same day Mexico's Prosecutor-General Jesús Murillo Karam told the daily La Crónica de Hoy that he doubted the union would react to the detention with protests seeing as the "investigation seeks to defend the interests of education workers." He said the prosecution had "nothing to do with political questions...these are the axes the president has indicated, which is to fight corruption," La Crónica reported on 28 February. He told the daily that from the day Peña began his presidency in December 2012, he "told me my function was to apply the law."