jueves, 16 de enero de 2014

Cities in Honduras, Venezuela, Mexico among world's most dangerous

The Mexican NGO Citizens' Council for Public Security and Penal Justice published its table of the world's most crime-ridden cities in 2013, reporting on 15 January that the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula remained for the third year running the most dangerous, with a murder rate of just over 187 per 100,000 inhabitants. Indeed the murder rate increased in San Pedro, with a population of just under 754,000, compared to figures the Council cited for 2012. It was followed by the Venezuelan capital Caracas, with a murder rate of 134.36/100,000, and the Mexican resort of Acapulco with a rate of 112.8. The first two saw a rise in their murder rate, while Acapulco had a significant drop compared to its murder rate of 143 in 2012. It observed that of the world's 50 most violent cities in 2013, 46 were in the Americas. The Council also cautioned as it does annually against taking its figures as absolutely accurate, given the difficulties in accessing accurate figures or warning about the falsification or "shaving" of negative figures by state or national governments, particularly in Mexico and Venezuela. The Venezuelan Government it wrote in its extended report, was  "not interested in transparency and accountability, but in concealment and propaganda often based on lies." It was clearly not convinced by the Venezuelan government's claim to have reduced crime by 13 per cent over 2012-13. The Council cited the 50 most dangerous cities in 2013 to include, respectively:

4. Cali, Colombia, with a murder rate of 83.2/100,000 inhabitants
5. Maceió, Brazil, with a rate of 79.76/100,000 inhabitants
6. Tegucicalpa/capital district, Honduras, 79.42
8. Guatemala City, 68.4
10. Barquisimeto, Venezuela, 64.72
16. Culiacán, Mexico 54.57
18. Torreón, Mexico 54.24
19. Kingston, Jamaica, 52.83
20. Cape Town, South Africa, 50.94
21. Chihuahua, Mexico, 50.12
24. Detroit, United States, 46.99
26. New Orleans, USA, 45.08
27. San Salvador, El Salvador, 44.74
33. Cúcuta, north-eastern Colombia, 42.22
35. Medellín, north-central Colombia, 38.06
37. Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, 37.59
38. San Juan, Puerto Rico, 37.4
43. Cuernavaca, Mexico, 34.91
47. Tijuana, Mexico, 32.5
49. Port au Prince, 30.05

Neither Mexico City nor Bogotá were in the list of 50.

Mexico tries to restore state's authority in crime-ridden Michoacán

The Mexican state has sought to restore security, and its authority, in the crime-ridden state of Michoacán, responding belatedly to public wrath and proliferation of self-defence militias that have vowed to remain armed until the state destroys local drug cartels. The result was a three-way standoff in preceding days, and moves to disarm militias led to deaths in certain districts, papers reported on 14 January. The country's interior minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong asked the militias to disarm on 13 January as state forces prepared to take control of the district of Apatzingán, considered the stronghold of the Caballeros Templarios cartel the militias have fought, Reuters agency reported. Yet the reason for the militias' distrust and a refusal to disarm was made evident 48 hours after state forces took over that town: a pharmacy was burned down within walking distance of municipal buildings guarded by troops. It was not immediately clear who had burned the shop, but police were reportedly seeking two persons witnesses said entered the shop and told people to "get out, we're going to burn the place down," La Crónica de Hoy reported on 16 January. A priest from Apatzingán, Gregorio López, recently told Excelsior that Apatzingán was a "lawless city where bad becomes good and good...bad." He said "good men" were "bullied" in that town and their children kidnapped. The Templarios had offered a reward for his murder, Excelsior reported on 16 January. Father Goyo as he is known, told the daily that drug traffickers were involved in or controlled everything in the district; "the Templars have the lawyers, the Public Ministry [state prosecutors], and even the police...Traders must sell them their goods and buy them back at a higher price. They charge a levy for everything and you cannot trade without them acting as middlemen," he said.