sábado, 13 de julio de 2013

Salvadorean President re-appoints general as Defence Minister

El Salvador's President named on 11 July the former public security and justice minister David Munguía Payés as Defence Minister, weeks after the Constitutional Court ordered his removal as Minister of Justice for being a soldier, Salvadorean media reported. General Munguía was becoming Defence Minister for the second time; the first time was between 2009 and 22 November 2011. President Mauricio Funes promptly appointed him to replace José Atilio Benítez who resigned for unspecified reasons, and few explanations were given to the press for the change, the Salvadorean daily El Mundo reported on 12 July. General Munguía was credited when Minister of Justice with having played a facilitating role in the ceasefire the main criminal gangs began in March 2012 with the help of mediators. The Government officially had no direct role in the ceasefire though it approved it as a first step toward the country's gradual pacification. Mr Funes said on 11 July that the appointment showed he was confident the general would continue to transform "the Armed Forces into an institution obedient to civilian power."

President, generals honour Mexico's police force

Senior officials of the state including President Enrique Peña Nieto honoured the federal police and its work against rampant criminality in Mexico on 12 July, using the occasion to differentiate the Government's anti-crime actions from those of the preceding administration. This was the first Federal Policeman Day (Día del Policía Federal), which Mr Peña then decreed should be moved to 13 July, Proceso reported. The review cited the head of the National Security Commission Manuel Mondragón y Kalb as saying that the Government, which took power in December 2012, had re-directed the state's fight against organised crime from "use of force" to "intelligence work," and sought to improve coordination between state agencies, Proceso reported. Between 2006 and 2012 the conservative government led by Felipe Calderón Hinojosa sought to crush the drug cartels using federal forces including the army, and critics blamed it for a sharp rise in crime-related deaths. Mr Peña told the ceremony that in fighting crime, use of force should not be "encouraged" or given preference over intelligence and investigation. In his government he declared, state bodies did not "compete among themselves" but "join institutional forces to give the population the best results in investigating, preventing and fighting crimes in zones where this is most needed." He praised the federal policemen who had died fighting crime, namely the most recent casualty, shot that morning in Oaxaca in central Mexico. "It is up to you to make sure his death is not in vain," he told the gathered policemen. The agent was killed after criminals fired on a police car in the district of Santo Domingo Ingenuo near the Pacific coast, Proceso reported.

NGO found, fewer murders were punished in Mexico in 2012

The Mexican research body Citizens Council for Public Security and Penal Justice (Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y Justicia Penal) observed on 9 July a rise in the country's impunity rate - already very high for most crimes - citing figures compiled by the national statistics agency INEGI. It reported on its website that official figures showed that in 2012 16 per cent of homicides ended in convictions, "which means the authors of 84 of every 100 killings avoided punishment and were free to continue killing." The Council stated that a "slightly" greater number of homicides were punished in 2012 than in 2010 and 11, "not because more killers are being caught...and convicted," but for the "fewer homicides." In absolute terms it stated, the number of killers convicted in 2012 was the lowest since 2003, and convictions for homicides began to fall in 2007. "For that reason homicides increased 141 per cent in just five years, going from 11,775 in 2006 to 28,375 in 2011," it wrote. The Council stated that statistics showed that "the majority of local governments have contributed almost nothing to reducing violence," and any decline in regional violence was due either to action by federal authorities or to drug cartels or gangs overcoming rivals and imposing their control of a particular territory. One of the country's police generals painted a sorry picture of the state of Mexico on 12 July, denouncing the "generalised deceit" he said was harming the Mexican polity. The former deputy-minister of defence General Tomás Ángeles Dauahare was receiving an honourary doctorate that day, though he had previously faced prosecution for alleged ties to organized crime apparently on the basis of false testimonies. He said Mexico faced "the threat of chaos" and deplored the "informality" he said had first harmed the economy and was now discrediting the state; he was presumably referring to a range of undeclared activities. "Simulation, diatribe, deceit and lies that sow disunity and rupture have become common currency," the newspaper La Jornada cited Dauahare as saying. "There is frequent evidence these days of social agitation and street violence, one hears the discourse of hate, and messages of social rancour and resentment. All this generates fear, uncertainty and discouragement," he said, while urging Mexicans to unite around "the Constitution and laws." The retired general became on 1 May an adviser to Mexico's defence minister.