jueves, 16 de mayo de 2013

Mexican police arrest "community policemen," two found hanged in western Mexico

Two men were found hanging from a bridge in the district of Buenavista Tomatlán in the western Mexican state of Michoacán on 14 May, in a suspected execution by one of the drug cartels, Proceso reported on 15 May. The two had been shot in the head and a message was left hanging on the bodies; they were provisionally identified as possible members of the local self-defence group or community police. Residents of rural districts in several parts of Mexico have formed such groups in a bid to fight criminal activities; Proceso observed that the community police in Buenavista and several districts of Michoacán were confronting one of the main cartels, Jalisco Nueva Generación. Municipal police separately detained in Michoacán on 15 or 16 May 12 members of the self-styled community police as they travelled on the road between Los Reyes and Peribán, Milenio reported. Firearms including assault weapons were confiscated and the men were handed over to the army; the Public Ministry had yet to formulate charges against them, the daily reported. Also in Michoacán, some 100 "heavily armed" men "stormed" the municipal government of the district of Coalcomán on 15 May, firing shots inside and taking hostage seven municipal policemen, La Crónica de Hoy reported. The group was also said to have briefly taken hostage and threatened the district mayor. The policemen were later dragged out into the town square where, according to the daily "they were apparently going to execute them," although the army arrived and freed the policemen. A spokesman for the Michoacán state government later identified the gunmen as members of the self-defence group or community police of the Tepalcatepec district north of Coalcomán. The report did not immediately clarify the fate of the armed group.

Salvadorean President to question state prosecutor over declining arrests

El Salvador's director of public prosecutions (Fiscal-generalrecently doubted official assertions that the country's criminal gangs were gradually disarming and their activities declining, so President Mauricio Funes said he would ask him to explain why he was not issuing more arrest warrants to ease police work against gangs. Funes was to meet on 16 May with the state's chief prosecutor Luis Martínez who recently qualified the much publicised cease-fire between Mara gangs as a farse, La Prensa Gráfica reported. The daily observed that the meeting followed a recent admission by the Minister of Justice David Munguía Payés that arrests of gang members had declined this year compared to 2012. Payés had said that while police caught criminals in flagrante in the first 72 hours after a crime, the state prosecution service must order other detentions or "we cannot capture" suspects, La Prensa Gráfica reported. President Funes said "one mustn't simply pay attention to the Prosecutor for saying that he thinks the ceasefire is hypocritical. One must ask him why administrative orders are not issued to investigate and capture." He said "we have asked the Prosecutor to give orders to capture gang members who steal cars and do not receive the administrative orders from the Public Ministry," which prosecutes crimes; "we want to discuss the reasons why the orders are not given," Funes said, adding this impeded police work. The daily cited police figures for arrests of gang members this year: 2,285 members of street gangs were caught in the first four months of this year, compared to 3,719 in the same period in 2012. It reported on 15 May on another problem commented on by President Funes - suspected corruption or criminal complicity among policemen in the Santa Ana district near Guatemala. On 14 May the daily reported on the transfer of 250 policemen from that district, in a move Mr Funes later explained was preventive and due to "suspicions" they might have become or could be "contaminated" by local criminal activities. But he said policemen could not be dismissed without prior criminal investigations and a conviction. Police identified a drug-trafficking gang in the Santa Ana area named as the Cartel de Texis, with suspected members that included businessmen and "even politicians," La Prensa Gráfica reported on 15 May.

Colombian President delighted with results of year in trade pact with US

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in the northern port of Cartagena on 15 May that a year after the application of a free-trade pact with the United States, Colombian exportation to the United States had risen and 775 firms made the United States their first export market. These firms "exported to the United States for the first time," a year after the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) began, when they "had not exported any product between 2010 and 2012," the Presidential website reported on 15 May. Mr Santos observed on an 18-per-cent rise in exports of farming products excluding coffee and flowers - two of Colombia's best known and established exports - while 200 products arrived in the United States for the first time, most notably he observed, exotic fruit, but also ceramic tiles, packaging machines, stainless steel sinks and sowing machines. "Behind this are more jobs for Colombians...if this is how we did in a year of global contraction, imagine what we can achieve in a stabilised global economy." He said agro-industrial exports to the United States rose 5.7 per cent that year and industrial exports 6.2 per cent, providing "many motives for us to feel optimistic."

Colombian army shoots four guerrillas, Police dismantle drug gang in Bogotá

The army shot dead four fighters of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in an undated attack in the north-eastern department of Arauca, also detaining a suspected female guerrilla, Caracol radio reported on 15 May. The broadcaster cited sources from the Army's 16th Brigade as saying that the guerrillas were veterans from different ELN fronts, gathered in the unnamed locality to plan joint actions. The Colombian army and air force separately destroyed on 14 or 15 May a clandestine air strip and drug laboratory thought to belong to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the eastern department of Vichada near Venezuela, the Ministry of Defence reported. Coca leaves and semi-processed substances at the laboratory were said turned over to "competent authorities" and destroyed on the spot. Authorities believe the installations tracked down in the district of Cumaribo belonged to Front 16 of the FARC; the report stated that the army had so far destroyed two air strips and 18 drug-processing laboratories thought run by the FARC in 2013. In Bogotá, police detained 12 suspected members of a drug-dealing and crime gang active in central Bogotá, estimated to have daily sold drugs worth the equivalent of some 2,700 USD, Caracol reported on 15 May, citing declarations by Bogotá's police chief Luis Martínez Guzmán. More arrests were expected in following weeks, the broadcaster stated.