lunes, 29 de julio de 2013

Colombian town votes to block local mining by multinational

Almost all voting residents of the district of Piedras in the central Colombian department of Tolima voted on 28 July to block the continued activities of the mining firm Anglo Gold Ashanti (AGA) after deciding they threatened local water supplies, the review Semana reported. It observed this was the first such vote in Colombia, one of several Latin American countries where mining activities have angered local populations. Just over 5,100 residents of Piedras were eligible to vote and 3,007 did, with 2,971 voting against the firm's continued activity and 24 voting in favour, Semana reported. The review observed that local opposition to the firm began in early 2013 with protests against a gold processing centre in nearby Doima whose activity it was thought would use millions of litres of water needed for farming. An AGA spokeswoman was reported on 18 July as telling W Radio in Bogotá that the firm's activities used a small part of local water supplies and AGA did not in any case need permission to continue working, apparently responding to a suspension order from a regional environmental authority Cortolima. The mayor of Piedras organised the vote after consulting with Tolima's Administrative Court and according to Semana, the results were binding pursuant to the Law 134 of 1994. There was no immediate consensus on this however as authorities in Bogotá were reported elsewhere not to recognise municipal authority over mining affairs. El Espectador reported on 28 July that the Mines Ministry had decreed on 9 May that local bodies could not vote or decide on mining affairs, such decisions pertaining to national mining and environmental authorities. Residents of Piedras believed the decree did not supercede the vote, which was a participatory mechanism foreseen in Colombian legislation, El Espectador reported.

Colombian guerrillas kill two in bomb attack, seven surrender

Suspected fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) killed a policeman and a soldier in a bomb or gun attack on a police station in the south-western department of Nariño, Europa Press reported on 29 July, citing the broadcaster RCN La Radio. The attack occurred at an unspecified date in the locality of Cumbal near the frontier with Ecuador. A deputy-head of internal affairs for the Nariño department Jaime Rodríguez Torres, was separately cited as saying that the FARC had reportedly thrown explosives in the district of Iles in Nariño; he called on the guerrillas not to harm civilians. The Colombian army reported on 29 July the arrest of three suspects identified as collaborators of the FARC in the district of Teorama in Norte de Santander. The suspects were said caught in flagrante, processing illegal drugs in a "laboratory," the Army reported. It separately reported the desertion at unspecified dates of six members of the FARC in the southern department of Caquetá and of a female member of the other rebel army the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Popayán in the western Cauca department.

Eight shot in two Mexican states, police arrest 10 gang suspects

Eight suspected criminals were killed on 28 July in two shootouts in the states of Chihuahua and Sonora in northern Mexico, agencies reported. Police shot dead four suspected gangsters in the locality of Trincheras in Sonora after gunmen in three cars blocked, then began firing on one or more federal or state police cars on patrol that evening, Milenio reported, citing Notimex agency. The daily observed that Trincheras was now "for months" without municipal policemen. An unspecified number of gunmen left their cars and ran away after the shootout. In Chihuahua, four men were killed in a shootout between gangs in the district of Camargo, while two women and a five-year-old child in a nearby car were injured, Proceso reported. Police found the four gunmen in their car, which also yielded items including "military-type" uniforms and two assault weapons. In the northern state of Coahuila, police detained on 28 July 10 suspects identified as members of the Zetas drug cartel and thought involved in crimes including murder and kidnapping in the districts of Parras de la Fuente and the La Laguna region including Torreón, Lerdo and Gómez Palacio, El Universal reported. Authorities confiscated from them arms used by the army, grenades and mobile phones among other items, the daily stated. The Zetas cartel was thought to have hung sheets in several spots in the north-central state of Zacatecas, informing "the people of Zacatecas" that it would make its "presence known so you know we are here," Proceso reported on 28 July. A decapitated body was found by one of the sheets, in the district of Guadalupe. Others were visible over bridges and roads in the districts of Fresnillo, Valparaíso and Zacatecas. The messages followed the arrest in mid-July of the Zetas' chief, the gangster dubbed Z-40, and warned the public he remained alive and head of the cartel; everything remained "well structured and this will not be over until it is over." The sheets indicated that a group called Los Chapulines were the "real culprits" behind unspecified kidnappings in that state, Proceso reported.