jueves, 15 de agosto de 2013

Venezuelan opponent defies government over arrest threat

Venezuela's leading opponent and Governor of the northern state of Miranda, Henrique Capriles Radonsky, was cited as saying he was ready to be arrested, a day after the President accused him of involvement with corruption and pimping, Europa Press reported on 15 August, citing information from Teleamazonas. President Nicolás Maduro recently vowed to "uproot" corruption in the country, prompting his supporters to start accusing opponents of involvement in corruption. The President specifically linked Mr Capriles, who has denounced his election in April as fraudulent, to a network of corruption and gay prostitution coordinated by the chief secretary of the Governor of Miranda Óscar López. Mr Capriles said "they're saying they are going to lock me up. I am here and ready. But the people know what they have to do once they make me prisoner." Earlier he accused Government supporters of being cowards for picking on aides; "let them come after one directly and not use those working for Miranda. They know I'm not afraid of them," Europa Press cited him as saying on 14 or 15 August. Mr Maduro announced on 12 August that he would seek special powers to reform laws and fight corruption, and declare a state of emergency to do so, Europa Press reported. The agency observed there was precedence, under Mr Maduro's late predecessor Hugo Chávez, for governing by decree through the pertinent law (la Ley Habilitante). Separately on 14 August, one of the country's socialist parliamentarians Pedro Carreño Escobar presented "evidence" that members of the Primero Justicia opposition party were plotting against the Government alongside fugitive dissidents, the United States and Colombia's former conservative president Álvaro Uribe Vélez, the official AVN news agency reported. This was not the first time Government supporters had accused opponents of plotting alongside regional "fascists." The evidence was in the form of printed e-mails, which Mr Carreño read out on Globovisión television. These he claimed contained references to correspondence with the US State Department and US embassy in Caracas and with Roger Noriega, a former official of the administration of President George W. Bush, all alleged to be aiding the opposition and financing Mr Capriles's television channel. The same parliamentaran called Mr Capriles a "faggot" and "homosexual" in parliament on 13 August, while displaying a purported police report about his being caught engaging in "indecent acts" in public in 2000.

Colombian troops shoot, detain FARC fighters, confiscate drugs

Colombian police shot dead at an unspecified time a suspected bombmaker of Front 51 of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a guerrilla dubbed Duván, in fighting in the district of Cabrera south of the capital, the daily El Colombiano reported on 15 August. The man was described as a 17-year veteran of the FARC and aide to a field commander dubbed Arturo, said to be in charge of infiltrating guerrillas into the Cundinamarca department that includes Bogotá. Police separately confirmed on 15 August the arrest in the district of Apartadó in the department of Antioquia of a suspected collaborator of the FARC's Front Five, a woman dubbed Tania sought for her role in a bomb explosion at the University of Antioquia that destroyed a policeman's leg, El Colombiano reported. The daily did not date the bomb attack. Troops separately confiscated 1.5 tonnes of cocaine said to belong to the FARC and arrested five fighters after a shootout in the northern department of Chocó, El Colombiano reported on 15 August. The army confiscated the cocaine at an unspecified time in the district of Riosucio; the haul was suspected to belong to Front 57 of the FARC, which the daily observed was considered one of the FARC sections most involved in drug trafficking. "Hours before" the daily stated, fighting in the district of Quibdó between army and navy troops and guerrillas of the FARC's Front 34 led to five arrests including of a field commander. Troops identified one of the detainees as the guerrilla dubbed Alexander, fourth-in-command of the Front's Vladimir Urrutia Company and an 18-year veteran and sharpshooter for the FARC.

Daily sees "slight" fall in murders in Bogotá for arms ban

The ban on carrying arms in Bogotá, imposed in recent months by the city government and the army, is said to have had an "insufficient" effect on reducing violent crimes, according to the newspaper ADN. The daily is freely distributed on the streets; it was citing figures from the police and state coroners. The daily's website reported on 14 August that there were 708 homicides in Bogotá from 1 January to the end of July 2013, five per cent less than the 743 homicides counted for that period in 2012; 453 of those killed in the period cited in 2013 were shot dead, evidently in spite of the existing arms ban. The ban is regularly renewed, and the capital's police chief Luis Martínez Guzmán said it was best it be maintained. Police confiscated 1,473 "illegal weapons" in the capital in the first seven months of 2013, ADN reported.