jueves, 14 de marzo de 2013

Fifteen reported killed around Mexico, 10 held

Seven people were gunned down in the adjacent districts of Zapopan and Guadalajara in the western state of Jalisco on the night of 13-14 March; they were among at least 15 most recently reported as killed or found dead in apparent criminal incidents around Mexico. Three of the victims, aged 20 to 23, were shot inside and at the entrance of a bar in Zapopan, while a 17-year-old was shot elsewhere in the city that night, El Siglo de Torreón reported. A policeman and his assassin, shot by another policeman, were among the victims in Guadalajara. Three women were found with their throats slit or strangled to death in the states of Chihuahua and Estado de México in northern and central Mexico, on 13 March. Two were nursing students whose bodies were found dumped in a neighbourhood of Chihuahua, while another was found in her home by her son, Proceso reported. The daily also reported a notary's shooting death in Polanco, a middle-class district of Mexico City. In northern Mexico, a man's body with shot wounds was found in Torreón on 13 March, El Siglo de Torreón reported, and three men in their 20s were found dead in a car in the nearby district of Lerdo early on 14 March, Milenio reported. In the east-coast state of Veracruz, troops detained 10 suspected gangsters after a shootout near a shopping centre in the district of Córdoba, Milenio reported. Police reportedly went to the centre after someone phoned them; the suspects had been seen armed in the shopping centre car park, and began to shoot and sought to flee when police arrived.

Venezuelan President fears "plot" against rival

Venezuela's Acting President Nicolás Maduro said on 13 March that the state would assure the security of his electoral rival Henrique Capriles Radonsky ahead of 14 April presidential elections, against unspecified plots being hatched against him by the "extreme Right" or the "Roger Noriega and Otto Reich group in the United States," the government news agency AVN reported. Noriega and Reich are conservative diplomats and were Assistant secretaries of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs between 2002 and 2005, under President George W. Bush. He said "we want him to have all his absolute guarantee and we alert our people and...the world about conspiracies...against the peace and stability" of Venezuela. Maduro said police and security services had been given pertinent instructions, but was not reported to have elaborated about the alleged plot. On 11 March the United States expelled two Venezuelan diplomats, apparently in retaliation for the expulsion on 5 March of two US military attachés from Caracas accused of "engaging in destabilizing manoeuvres" against the regime, Globovisión reported on 12 March. The two states do not have ambassadors with each other. The opposition candidate Capriles in turn apologized on a radio programme on 14 March for any earlier comments he said may have been misinterpreted and offended relatives of the late president Hugo Chávez. He insisted however that "Nicolás has been campaigning since President Hugo Chávez went for treatment." Capriles has repeatedly urged the government not to seek political capital in Venezuelans' grief. He said that meanwhile Venezuelans' problems had "taken a back seat," and urged Maduro to debate about "insecurity, the economy, electricity, water, jobs, transport, health. About problems," El Nacional reported. Maduro he said was "Raul Castro's candidate," and wondered aloud if Venezuelans wanted their resources sent to Cuba, El Universal reported. Cuba has been a recipient of aid from Venezuela under Chávez. Capriles said that Venezuela was being governed by elements Chávez had deemed "incompetent," adding "we have had 100 days of Nicolas's government and look where our country is going."

FARC vow effort to reach peace in Colombia in 2013

A spokesman for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) pledged in Cuba on 13 March that the FARC would do "everything possible" to reach a peace agreement with the government and end decades of intermittent conflict in Colombia, also thanking the Venezuelan leader's promises to aid negotiations. Venezuela has been a facilitating power in the current process of talks between the Colombian state and the FARC in Havana; on 12 March the Acting President Nicolás Maduro pledged he would put himself "at the service" of peace talks if elected to president in April. The FARC's chief negotiator in Havana, the guerrilla dubbed Iván Márquez, said "thank you very much President Maduro, we are going to work hard here in Havana and see how we go forward" toward an agreement, El Espectador and EFE reported. The sides began the seventh round of talks on 11 March in what was described as a positive mood, after reaching incipient agreements on the first theme of talks, rural land use, El Espectador reported. The daily reported that FARC negotiators made new proposals on 13 March intended to "dignify" rural work, including reforming rural work conditions and the creation of a "universal and unconditional" minimum wage. Inside Colombia the sides continued their military actions, with state forces recently striking at the FARC in several districts. On 13 March the FARC killed two policemen and injured another in an ambush in the southern district of Saladoblanco, in the department of Huila, Medellín's El Mundo reported. A mine presumably placed by the FARC separately injured three soldiers on 13 March in the north-western district of Toledo, El Mundo reported. The armed forces of Colombia would continue to "decimate" the FARC, the Colombian Defence Minister was reported as saying on 14 March; Juan Carlos Pinzón said the FARC were now only present on "10-12 per cent" of the national territory, where they were being "vigorously attacked" by state forces, the broadcaster Caracol reported, without specifying where the minister spoke.