martes, 18 de junio de 2013

Local politician, builder, gangster among recent killed in Mexico

A mayoral candidate in 2012 was found shot dead on 15 June in the western Mexican state of Guerrero; he was one of at least 17 including a constructor, a former civil servant and a presumed gangster reported killed around Mexico in recent days. Guillermo Maceda Cervantes, a former pre-candidate for the district of Tlacoachistlahuaca and member of the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), was found in his car outside the district of Ometepec in Guerrero, Proceso reported, citing Mexico's Notimex agency. A former member of the office of the chief prosecutor of the state of Michoacán in western Mexico was also shot dead on 15 June while driving in the state capital Morelia, Proceso reported. Witnesses reportedly said a gunman waited for the victim's car to reach a crossroads, standing on the dividing line of the two sides of the street. The bodies of three executed men were found on 16 June in the north-western state of Sinaloa, with a message for the local police left beside them, while soldiers shot dead three suspected criminals in a gunfight on 16 June, in the western state of Michoacán, Proceso reported. The shootout occurred on a ranch or a locality between the  districts of Los Reyes and Cotija, near the border of the neighbouring state of Jalisco, the review stated. It counted no less than nine killings on 13-14 June, including of the owner of a construction firm and five of his workers, shot late on 13 June in the district of Totolápam, outside the Pacific-coast resort of Puerto Escondido. Police separately confirmed the killing of a gang leader on 16 June, in the district of San Andrés Cholula in the central state of Puebla. The victim was identified as presumed head of a gang known as Los Rojos, said to be based in the western district of Chilpancingo and to have acted or be acting as enforcers or gunmen for the Beltrán Leyva cartel. It was not immediately clear if the gang was independent now. The state Public Security chief for Puebla Sergio Lara Montellano warned the killing could provoke drug-related violence in the state, Proceso reported on 18 June.

Honduran convicts donate beds to elderly home, in seeming peace gesture

Jailed members of the Mara Salvatrucha, one of the main killing and extortion gangs in Honduras, donated 50 wooden beds they had made to an old people's home in the northern city of San Pedro Sula where they were jailed, the daily El Heraldo reported on 18 June. The Auxiliary Bishop of San Pedro Sula interpreted the donation as a sign of the gangsters' goodwill and desire to change lives, following earlier public declarations that they would abandon crime. Monsignor Rómulo Emiliani, who was acting as mediator in an incipient ceasefire between this and the rival Barrio 18 gang, accompanied the inmates as they delivered the beds to the home where they themselves were said to have elderly relatives. The newspaper cited an unnamed member of the 18 gang as thanking God "as He is always first in these situations," then the bishop for his "support and faith," and stating the gang's desire to show Hondurans "we want real changes in Honduras," one of the continent's most violent states. He said his gang would, at some point, take part in all "social causes" where given an opportunity. The cleric was separately cited as saying that while President Porfirio Lobo had phoned to express support for the planned ceasefire, the state had done nothing specific yet to forward a peace plan. Nor had criminal violence stopped in Honduras in spite of contrary assertions, as recent incidents indicated. A member of the presidential guard was shot dead in Comayagüela north of the capital Tegucicalpa on 17 or 18 June, while driving home with his wife and child, La Prensa and EFE news agency reported. In San Pedro Sula, a 26-year-old bus driver's assistant was shot dead by a thief, after the assistant refused to let him flee from the bus, La Prensa reported on 18 June. Three prisoners and a woman were also shot dead in the capital on 15 June, apparently while the inmates were on leave; they were said to have been shot by a five-member execution squad firing assault weapons, La Prensa reported on 16 June.

Salvadorean mediators to advise Honduras on gangs ceasefire

To help realise the pledge made last May by the two main street gangs in Honduras to abandon crime, mediators of a gangs ceasefire in El Salvador and representatives of the Organisation of American States (OAS) met and talked on 17 June with gang members and Honduran mediators, in what seemed to be a first concrete step to ensure the ceasefire took off in Honduras, the Associated Press reported. An OAS official Ana Martínez told the agency that a meeting held in a prison in the city of San Pedro Sula in northern Honduras was to establish a code of practice and make personal contacts, and took place with the knowledge of Honduran officials. The Auxiliary Bishop of San Pedro Sula, Rómulo Emiliani, who is to act as mediator in what was hoped would become a disarmament and pacification process involving Honduran gangs, was cited as saying that Salvadorean mediators had come to "specifically" back "this effort, transmit to us their experiences and offer their support, always bearing in mind that the context of violence in Honduras" differed from El Salvador's. A spokesman for the Barrio 18 gang who attended the meeting was cited as claiming that homicides had dropped 80 per cent in Honduras since the gangs announced a ceasefire in late May; he added however that "the situation" was "complicated" as police "continue to murder us. They do not arrest us they execute us," AP reported. The agency observed it was impossible to verify whether or not homicides had declined in Honduras in recent weeks.

Interpol in Mexico to help Guatemala seek missing agent

The international police agency Interpol in Mexico were to help Guatemalan authorities look for a missing police officer, thought kidnapped on 13 June by drug traffickers who massacred eight policemen in an assault on their post in Salcajá in western Guatemala. Mexican troops and Federal Police were also to intensify patrols and identity checks on the frontier with Guatemala, the official Guatemalan AGN agency reported on 17 June. The head of the Guatemalan National Civil Police (PNC) Gerson Oliva was cited as telling a group of parliamentarians that Mexican and Guatemalan police and troops had thus far carried out 22 operations, presumably search operations, in departments around Quetzaltenango where the attack occurred, namely San Marcos, Huehuetenango, Sololá, Retalhuleu and Totonicapán. The country's Vice-President and acting president, Roxana Baldetti Elías, said investigations were continuing and expressed confidence the case would soon be resolved. Before the killing Mexico and Guatemala had agreed to boost their cooperation against drug trafficking. The Interior Ministry reported on 10 June that representatives of police from both countries agreed at a two-day meeting to boost collaboration along their frontier, principally to curb trafficking of arms, persons and drugs. The Guatemalan Interior Minister Héctor Mauricio López Bonilla cited information exchange and training of customs personnels as two key components of this improved collaboration.