miércoles, 12 de junio de 2013

Mayoral candidate murdered in northern Mexico

The mayoral candidate of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) for the northern district of Guadalupe y Calvo was found dead on 12 June, a day after he was reported kidnapped by an armed gang at or just outside his home, the website Sipse reported, citing press and agency reports. Mexico is to hold municipal elections on 7 July, although parties were withholding candidates in some districts due to threats from criminal gangs. The website observed that the conservative National Action Party (PAN) was not fielding a candidate in coming polls for Guadalupe y Calvo, one of the more isolated districts of the state of Chihuahua and in a zone rife with cartel activities. A previous town mayor also from the PRI, was shot dead in 2010, the website stated. The review Proceso separately reported on 11 June that the PAN and leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) would not field candidates in two and seven municipalities respectively in the northern state of Durango, due to threats. Proceso counted at least 14 killings in five Mexican states on 10-11 June in incidents attributed to organized crime. The victims included two police investigators whose heads were left in a freezer by a road near Culiacán, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa.

Colombian Ministry says Venezuela was informed of opponent's visit

Colombia's Foreign Minister said on 12 June that President Juan Manuel Santos had previously informed his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro of a planned meeting on 29 May with Venezuela's leading opponent Henrique Capriles, which provoked the public ire of Venezuelan authorities. Opposition forces led by Mr Capriles refused to recognize President Maduro's election last April and the government has since accused them of plotting against the state, allegedly with the help of Colombian conservatives. The visit triggered a recent deterioration of ties between the two states although Colombia has given a muted response to incendiary declarations made in Venezuela. Colombia's Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín said in a radio interview on 12 June that "the two presidents spoke days before" the visit to Bogotá wherein Mr Capriles met with the President and parliamentarians. She said she did not know what Maduro had said in response, Radio Santa Fe reported. Among charges recently made in Venezuela was that members of its opposition had bought warplanes in the United States, presumably to attack Venezuelan territory. On 10 June the Interior Minister separately revealed that the Government had foiled a plot by "paramilitaries" to assassinate President Maduro. Miguel Rodríguez Torres said nine Colombian citizens were detained on 9 June as they sought to enter Caracas, allegedly as part of a "plan orchestrated in Colombia to assassinate President Maduro and destabilise the Venezuelan government," CNN reported on 10 June, citing a Venezuelan state television report. Mr Capriles dismissed the allegations on 11 June another of the "follies" the Government was "inventing" to distract opinion from Venezuela's problems, Europa Press reported, citing Capriles's comments to an opposition programme.

Index places Latin American states among world's "less peaceful"

The 2013 Global Peace Index (GPI) compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace, a private Australian body, and measuring changes in the security levels of states, placed Latin American states among the world's less peaceful nations that year in spite of their increasing prosperity and affluence in many cases. The Institute measures the peacefulness of states by studying multiple indicators pertaining to "security in society, the extent of conflict and the degree of militarisation" in states, according to the English newspaper The Guardian, The paper reported that the 2013 index found a five-per-cent worldwide increase in insecurity since 2008 even if conflicts between states had become less frequent. The GPI cited Iceland as the most peaceful state in the world (No. 1 on the list), while the least were Syria (160), Somalia (161) and Afghanistan (162), the latter being the world's least peaceful state. In descending order of peacefulness: Uruguay was 24 on the list, followed by Chile (31), Costa Rica (40), Panama (56), Argentina (60), Nicaragua (66), Brazil (81), Ecuador (83), Paraguay (84), Bolivia (86), Dominican Republic (94), Guatemala (109), El Salvador (112), Peru (113), Honduras (123), Venezuela (128), Mexico (133) and Colombia (147). For 2012, the index counted 25,371 deaths from "internal conflicts" in Mexico - where the state is waging war on organised crime - a figure greater than those of certain states emerging from civil wars, like Afghanistan (5,146) and Iraq (5,474), but less than Syria where 72,900 people were reported killed in an ongoing civil war.