miércoles, 26 de junio de 2013

Guatemalan bus drivers lynch extortionist

Bus drivers in the Guatemalan capital lynched a presumed extortionist on 25 June when he went to collect his money, the daily Prensa Libre reported the next day. The victim was found with his hands and feet bound and was apparently strangled to death with a plastic cable. Extortion is widespread in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, and bus and taxi drivers and stall owners are typical targets. The daily cited police as saying that the victim visited the drivers on 24 June to say he would return the next day for his "bonus;" he was met then by a crowd of  bus drivers and shopkeepers who began to beat him. Prensa Libre stated that 12 suspected criminals have been lynched around Guatemala so far in 2013, and 300 arrested for suspected extortion according to official figures. Police separately shot dead in the capital on 25 June a gunman who earlier sought but failed to kill a bus driver in a possible robbery, also arresting one or two suspected accomplices, Prensa Libre reported on 26 June. Passengers apparently stopped the attempted assault and threw the gunman off the bus, after which he sought to escape with an associate by motorbike, shooting at police on the streets. On 22 or 23 June, the Defence and Interior ministers presented the Guatemalan President with a security report for the period January to the end of June 2013; authorities stated in the report that they had dismantled 69 "structures" involved in murder, extortion and car theft among other crimes, the Ministry reported on 23 June.

Two die in protests in north-eastern Colombia

Poilce shot dead two protesters on 25 June in the north-eastern department of Norte de Santander as a crowd sought to advance on the airport in the district of Ocaña, the setting of weeks of protests over the government's bid to eradicate coca plantations locally. In total four people have died since protests and road blocks began on 12 or 18 June, while 30 including eight policemen were injured in the latest violent surge in Ocaña, Bogotá's Radio Santa Fe reported on 26 June. The broadcaster observed that police have accused members of the two communist guerrilla forces the ELN and FARC, of infiltrating protests or acting as agents provocateurs. The regional police chief General Yesid Vázquez Prada said the guerrillas were perhaps financing protests as "unfortunately there are interests that also benefit the guerrillas" - namely being able to cultivate coca. Presidential adviser Luis Eduardo Garzón said separately that conversations were to begin on 27 June in the district of Tibú between protest and government representatives including the Interior, Defence and Agriculture ministers. He said the sides would discuss such themes as alternative farming to coca cultivation, the creation of a farming reserve (Zona de Reserva Campesina del Catatumbo) for the area and rural development proposals, Radio Santa Fe reported. Colombia's National Police chief very partially rectified earlier comments he made on the protests, wherein he chided police for their apparent torpor before "increasing" road blocks. His comments effectively included praising the former president Álvaro Uribe who has become one of the current President's harshest critics. General José Roberto León Riaño said he had merely observed on the "daily challenge we face before Colombians" who he said "understandably" missed Mr Uribe. He said he had suggested the country should pursue Mr Uribe's "democratic security" policies, which reduced insecurity in the years 2002-10, Caracol radio reported on 25 June. President Juan Manuel Santos wrote on the website Twitter that  the general had been quoted "out of context" and he had asked him to "persevere with and intensify" actions against crime.