sábado, 4 de mayo de 2013

Venezuela's Maduro accuses Colombian statesman in "assassination" plot

Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro said in Caracas on 3 May that plans were being made in the United States and Colombia "to destabilize Venezuela and make me physically disappear," naming Colombia's former conservative president Álvaro Uribe Vélez as one of those plotting to have him killed. He said "we have evidence and sufficient elements to think there are plans guided from Miami...by Roger Noriega and from Bogotá by Álvaro Uribe to make me physically disappear. Uribe is behind a plan to assassinate me," he told a gathering of underground transport employees in Caracas. In March Maduro alleged that Noriega, a senior diplomat of the administration of President George W. Bush, was planning to assassinate the opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles. Maduro said Uribe is "a murderer and we also know that sectors of the Venezuelan Right are in touch with him. They say if they get me out of the way, chaos will reign in Venezuela, but they will not succeed, this will not happen," Venezuela's AVN news agency reported.  Venezuela's opposition has formally rejected the results of the 14 April elections and Maduro's election as President, also accusing the Maduro government of initiating the suppression of dissent and opposition parties. Uribe said in Colombia that the only response to Maduro's "immature" charges was a repetition of Venezuela's elections, Spain's EFE and agencies reported on 3 May. Maduro, he wrote on the website Twitter, was heading a "dictatorship beheaded by fraud and violence," his comments including puns on the names of Maduro and Diosdado Cabello, Venezuela's parliamentary speaker. Maduro's statements came after certain opposition legislators were reported to have travelled to Colombia for consultations and to denounce a scuffle or seeming assault on opposition legislators in Venezuela's parliament on 30 April. These included the outspoken María Corina Machado, foreign affairs spokeswoman in the Capriles election team and one of the legislators given a beatingCaracol radio reported on 1 May. Fighting seemed to break out after socialist legislators would not let the opposition speak at the podium.

Colombian rebels may have massacred family, 11 surrendered to army

Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were alleged to have massacred a family of seven in the northern department of Antioquia on 3 May or before, Colombian media reported, citing the declarations of a 19-year-old family member who said he had survived. Authorities were trying to ascertain the veracity of the incident, said to have occurred in the countryside of the district of Tarazá and initially attributed to Front 18 of the FARC, active in that area. The victims were provisionally identified as a couple, three of their children, an uncle and his son, RCN La Radio and El Espectador reported on 3 May. It was difficult to verify the survivor's declarations that day as he was reluctant or unable to precisely locate the incident described and initially refused to board a helicopter, RCN radio reported. Separately President Juan Manuel Santos reported on 3 May that 11 fighters of Front 57 of the FARC including their chief - a guerrilla dubbed Marlon - had abandoned the FARC at an unspecified date in Acandí in the western department of Chocó. Speaking in the northern district of Apartadó, Santos said that thanks to ongoing army operations in north-western Colombia, 64 FARC fighters had been "neutralised" - 24 of them being killed - and 11 deserted. He cited a message issued by Marlon declaring that the defectors wanted a new life "as ordinary citizens" and that "this war makes no sense because the chiefs have no ideology," Colombian public radio reported. Santos said the army must maintain its "harrassment" of the FARC in spite of talks in Cuba, "every day and every week and every month." He thanked Panama for collaborating against the FARC on its frontier. Colombian officials and the FARC concluded on 3 May an eighth round of talks in Cuba, "advances" were said to have been made but talks were not progressing fast enough, Colombia's chief negotiator reportedly declared.