sábado, 7 de diciembre de 2013

Venezuelans to vote in municipal polls, President urges unity

Venezuelans were to vote in municipal elections on 8 December, after months of political tensions and opposition hopes that voters would use the polls to punish the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro for its alleged incompetence and authoritarian tendencies. As the campaign closed Mr Maduro urged "reconciliation, union and peace" to strengthen the country, and said "we have to turn the page and the first people who must turn the page of conspiracy are those who bought shares in Venezuela's Right," presumably meaning supporters of the center-right opposition coalition, Europa Press reported. Was the "Right's plan peace," he asked. He said he would meet mayors of all tendencies on 10 December after the polls, whatever the results. The same agency and Venezuela's official AVN agency also cited the President as saying that  "you have to know how to win and how to lose, always fighting for ideas." It was not immediately clear where he was speaking. The leading Government opponent Henrique Capriles Radonsky urged Venezuelans to go out and "care for" every vote cast, as "the gangsters will try and deviate the will of electors," Europa Press reported on 7 December. He asked "all those who voted on 14 April" - in presidential elections the opposition has alleged were "stolen" by the Government - to vote, saying that all those staying home were effectively giving the elections to Maduro as a "gift," Europa Press reported. The President said on 6 December that its electoral system was "the best in the world," and anyone "trying to harm" the process could expect legal action.

Shootouts kill 18 around Mexico, mafia graves yield 17 bodies

The latest shootings killed at least 18 in several states of Mexico, including two traffic policemen who began shooting at soldiers trying to check their car, newspapers reported on 6 and 7 December. In the western state of Guerrero, the head and deputy-head of the traffic police of the district of Arcelia, north-west of Acapulco, refused to have their car searched by troops on a country road, provoking a shootout in which they and two unidentified individuals in their car were killed, Milenio reported on 7 December. The daily observed that the traffic police chief, named as Mario Urióstegui Pérez, had been identified as the father-in-law of a suspected member of one of the drug cartels, La Familia Michoacana. In the port of Acapulco, gunmen shot dead a man identified as head of the local civil servants' union, while "a couple" riding a motorbike was shot dead in the coastal district of Zihuatanejo, the daily reported. Other reported crimes included: seven killed in the northern state of Chihuahua in crimes suspected as linked to organised crime, and a man shot dead by troops in the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas as he sought to drive or run from an inspection point on the road between Mier and Nuevo Laredo. In the north-central state of Zacatecas, troops shot dead four gunmen, three men and a woman, in a gunfight on 6 December in the district of Cañitas de Felipe Pescador, Proceso reported. A shootout broke out soon after the suspects' car drove by an army patrol in the town of Cañitas. Two clandestine graves found earlier in the western district of Zapopán had now yielded 17 bodies, Milenio reported on 7 December, citing the chief prosecutor of the state of Jalisco that includes Zapopán, Luis Carlos Nájera.