sábado, 24 de agosto de 2013

Colombia's former president may run for Senate

Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Colombia's former conservative president and, according to polls, one of the country's most popular political figures, was said to be considering running for a Senatorial seat in elections scheduled for March 2014. Mr Uribe has in recent months become an outspoken critic of his successor as president, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, and denounced ongoing peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the guerrilla force he battered relentlessly when President from 2002 to 2010. Mr Santos, who has generally sought to avoid public spats with his predecessor, told a television interview on 21 August that Mr Uribe would make a good senator and was "welcome" in the Senate. After months of speculation about Mr Uribe's political future, he seemed to have conveyed his decision to head the list of his own party the Democratic Centre, to Senator Liliana Rendón Roldán, Europa Press reported on 24 August, citing the Senator's comments to Caracol Radio. She was cited as saying she was confident the list could win 25 to 30 seats in the Senate, which would be almost a quarter or third of its 102 seats. The presidential "Unity" party she said, should "tremble, let's see how many senators and representatives they will get, people are tired of so much tepid water and the Democratic Centre list will sweep through." Observers sometimes state that the Unity party backing the current president, and including both Conservatives and Liberals, hides an unknown number of Mr Uribe's supporters or admirers, reluctant to publicise their sympathies before presidential elections set for May 2014. The Democratic Centre's main weakness appeared for now to be the absence of a charismatic presidential aspirant, with several figures cited as possible candidates who had very limited public following or recognition compared to the present and last presidents.

FARC guerrilla, two soldiers killed in Colombia

Colombian troops shot dead a man identified as deputy-head and "chief financial officer" of Front 45 of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in undated fighting in the district of Fortul in the eastern department of Arauca, Caracol radio and EFE agency reported on 24 August. The guerrilla, a 31-year-old dubbed Ariel or Wicho, financed the FARC by extorting money from businesses and farmers in the districts of Tame and Fortul, Caracol cited the Army as stating. The Army separately announced that two soldiers were killed and five injured when a base was attacked early on 24 August in the district of Totoró in the western department of Cauca, Radio Santa Fe reported. The attack occurred when troops were resting and was attributed to the FARC's Sixth Front, Caracol and Radio Santa Fe reported. Authorities reacted by forwarding planned bombing operations on an unspecified location, with results expected "in coming hours," Caracol reported on 24 August. Separately, a suspect described as head or a head of the Colombian gang Los Rastrojos was arrested in Ecuador on 20 August, in an operation between Ecuadorean and Colombian police and Interpol; he was taken to Colombia whence he may be extradited to the United States, Mexico's El Informador reported on 22 August. Authorities believed that the suspect, a man dubbed Palustre, worked with Mexican drug cartels from Ecuador, sending drugs northward through Colombia's Pacific-coast port of Buenaventura, in speedboats. He was caught in Manta on Ecuador's Pacific coast, El Informador reported.

Grave in Mexico said to yield bodies of youngsters missing for months

After months of speculation over how a dozen individuals could disappear without trace in Mexico, and anger at the state's inability to find them, authorities were on 23 August cited as saying that tests on six of 13 bodies found buried in Tlalmanalco in the central Estado de México indicated they may well belong to 12 or 13 youngsters kidnapped in Mexico City on 26 May. A deputy-state prosecutor for Mexico City or Estado de México said the grave yielded 13 bodies not seven as reported initially, and six were identified as belonging to the missing kidnap victims, Europa Press reported on 24 August, citing Mexican press reports. Judicial authorities had in recent months faced the ire of relatives of the disappeared for their apparent confusion and half-competent investigations. A conservative member of the capital's legislative assembly said authorities found the grave by luck while looking for an arms cache, not for any "serious investigative work," Milenio reported on 23 August. Federico Döring Casar, a member of the National Action Party in Mexico City's legislature, said police went to the spot after an anonymous caller phoned to say arms could be hidden there. Assembly members were cited as saying that the "Heaven case," named after the nightclub where the youngsters were kidnapped, remained open until authorities find and punish the murderers. Milenio cited another Federal District legislator Santiago Taboada Cortina as saying that the case showed organised crime was present and active in the capital, contrary to the assertions made by the city's mayor that the cartels and criminal gangs had not come to the capital. Separately, two men were found hanging by a road on 21 or 22 August in the north-central state of Zacatecas, in a suspected tit-for-tat killing between two drug cartels, Proceso reported. The Zetas cartel was suspected to have hanged the two, apparently in reprisal for the Gulf Cartel "torturing" and hanging on 18 August a boy an a girl aged 19 years, with a note by them alleging they were kidnappers. Presumably the victims had ties to the rival cartels. In the northern state of Durango, the brother of the mayor of Canelas was found dead on 23 August, and reported as murdered by unspecified means; the director of public prosecutions Sonia Yadira de la Garza had cited him as suspected as involved in criminal activities, Proceso reported on 23 August.