martes, 23 de julio de 2013

Over 30 reported killed around Mexico in days

No less than 33 were reported killed around Mexico in recent days, in incidents that appeared mostly related to drugs and cartels. Gunmen killed on 22 July five members of the anti-crime militia of the district of Los Reyes in the western state of Michoacán, Milenio reported. The daily observed on locals' ongoing struggle in this zone with the cartel Caballeros Templarios; a picture on its website showed a protest note left in a local town accusing municipal policemen of informing on the militias for the cartel. The review Proceso reported earlier that sheets signed by the Templarios were found hanging around the nearby district of Buenavista Tomatlán on 18 July, wherein the cartel apologised to "society" and promised to let people "work." Six people were nevertheless shot or found dead in the district that day, while four bodies were found hanging at the entrance of ranch in Buenavista Tomatlán on 19 July, Proceso reported. In the eastern state of Tabasco, the bodies of two girls aged 10 and 14 years were found on 22 July in a rural part of the district of Cunduacán near the city of Villahermosa; signs indicated they had been raped and strangled to death, Tabasco Hoy reported. The daily observed elsewhere that kidnapping was rife in Tabasco and Cunduacán had become a "lawless land full of violence," no longer prey to the cartels but to local criminals. Police it stated suspected some of the criminals to be members of the United People Against Crime (Pueblo Unido Contra la Delincuencia, PUCDa residents' militia formed to fight crime. Authorities in Mexico have had tense relations with such militias, which are intermittently accused of conniving with or turning to crime; the charges are difficult ascertain. On 21 July police found three bodies in a burning car in Huixquilucan in the central state of Estado de México, while a 16-year-old was shot dead in a bar very early on 20 July in Camargo in the northern state of Chihuahua. The brother of the mayor of Villagrán in the north-central state of Guanajuato was shot dead in that town on 19 July; gunmen chased him through the streets as he sought to flee, killing him outside the local water authority, Proceso reported. He was one of eight people Proceso counted as killed in Guanajuato on 19-20 July. Proceso also counted four killings over 19-20 July in Lerdo in the northern state of Durango, citing them as the first killings presumed linked to organised crime after a peaceful "couple of weeks."

Guatemalan authorities offer cash reward to find murder gang

Guatemala's Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla declared on 22 July that the state was offering cash worth the equivalent of a little over 38,000 USD to anyone giving tips that help catch five suspects sought in relation with the murder of nine policemen in western Guatemala on and after 13 June. The suspects were identified as members of a trafficking gang 15 of whose members were held so far in relation with the policemen's killing in the locality of Salcajá near the town of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala's AGN news agency reported on 22 July. The largest reward was offered for information leading to the capture of the gang's purported chief, a man dubbed Guayo Cano. Authorities believed the five were hiding in the jungle within an "area of between five and 10 kilometres" in Huehuetenango, the department on Mexico's frontier. Mr López said some 1,000 policemen and soldiers, and unspecified agents from the state of Chiapas in Mexico, were searching relevant zones in Huehuetenango.

Colombian, Venezuelan presidents meet to mend ties

The presidents of Colombia and Venezuela, Juan Manuel Santos and Nicolás Maduro, met in Puerto Ayacucho in western Venezuela on 22 July to recompose ties damaged last May when Mr Santos met in Bogotá with the Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles. This appeared to restore working relations the states have broadly enjoyed during the Santos presidency, in contrast with the dire relations they had when Álvaro Uribe Vélez was Colombian President from 2002 to 2010. Both presidents spoke words on the need for the states to cooperate. Venezuela has played a facilitating role in the process of talks Colombia began in 2012 with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), due in part to its influence with the communist guerrilla army. That day President Santos was again the target of verbal attacks from his predecessor Álvaro Uribe, a one-time ally turned into an outspoken Government critic. Mr Uribe suggested on the website Twitter that the President was playing with the lives and dignity of Colombian soldiers by negotiating with the FARC while fighting them, Radio Santa Fe reported on 22 July. "So the massacre of soldiers is part of the peace process! And respect for the lives of soldiers and policemen," he wrote. He accused Mr Santos of turning Colombian troops into "targets of terrorists by making them the equal of criminals." The broadcaster interpreted the entries as reactions to presidential comments made on 21 July - a day after the FARC ambushed and killed 15 soldiers in northern Colombia - indicating that the state would continue to fight and talk with the FARC. "Just as we have our hand extended and are talking, we also have the stick, we also have military force and we are going to use it," the Presidential office cited Mr Santos as saying in the district of Tame.