domingo, 21 de julio de 2013

Venezuelan opponent in Lima, President "unable" to receive him

Peru's Foreign Minister Eda Rivas Franchini declared on 20 July that President Ollanta Humala could not receive the governor of the Venezuelan state of Miranda and Venezuelan government opponent Henrique Capriles who was visiting Peru that day, the daily Perú 21 reported, citing her comments on Perú TV. This appeared to be a polite rejection of Mr Capriles's request for a meeting that could have offended Venezuela, likely being construed as a gesture of support for Venezuelan opposition parties that rejected the results of presidential elections held on 14 April. Peru's last foreign minister resigned in May soon after infuriating Venezuela with comments he made about its elections, although Peru's Government denied then that he was dismissed to appease Venezuela. Ms Rivas said Mr Humala's agenda was already set and he was attending a cabinet meeting in Puno, near the Bolivian frontier. She said Mr Capriles would be received instead by the Foreign Ministry's director-general for America, Claudio de la Puente Ribeyro, who would convey "the Peruvian Government's greetings." Mr Capriles did meet with the former president Alan García Pérez, a public critic of the Venezuelan regime who called Capriles "Venezuela's president-elect." He said "only abuse and manipulation prevented you from occupying the position to which the Venezuelan people voted you," Perú 21 reported. He assured Mr Capriles "you will triumph" as Venezuela's regime "condemns itself to economic isolation using the model of government and economy that belongs to the 19th century, with extreme" state interventionism and an "absurd and exaggerated" welfare system. The daily observed that unspecified sectors criticized President Humala for not meeting with Capriles as current head of the regional association UNASUR, said in media to have backed a recount of votes demanded by opponents in Venezuela. In fact a meeting of UNASUR heads of state on 19 April urged election participants to respect the results of Venezuela's polls, merely taking "positive note" of the Venezuelan election authority's use of a "methodology" to recount all votes, which had not in any case occurred. UNASUR recognised on 15 and 19 April Venezuela's electoral authority the CNE as the only authority concerning election results. Alan García was President of Peru in 1985-90 and 2006-11.

Over 20 soldiers, six FARC rebels killed in fighting around Colombia

Gun battles between troops and guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) killed 21 soldiers in two departments on 20 July, in attacks apparently designed to spoil the formal celebrations held in Bogotá to commemorate the 203rd anniversary of Colombia's independence from Spain. Seventeen soldiers died in a FARC ambush on a road between the districts of Tame and Fortul, in the north-eastern department of Arauca near Venezuela. The website of the weekly Semana reported that six FARC fighters were killed in ensuing fighting and 11 arrested, of whom five or six were injured; it cited unconfirmed reports that four soldiers had "disappeared," and it was not immediately clear if they had been kidnapped. In the district of Caquetá in southern Colombia, four soldiers and six FARC guerrillas died in fighting as FARC elements sought to enter the town of Doncello to bomb the police station, El Tiempo reported on 21 July. Media observed that the guerrillas were wearing army uniforms in that attack; two were arrested. The Minister of Defence travelled to both districts on 21 July to consult with army officers. Separately one person died and 21 were injured late on 20 July in a bomb or grenade attack on a nightclub in the north-eastern city of Cúcuta, El Espectador reported. Police declared they were investigating to ascertain whether or not members of local crime gangs were in the club at the time.