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SaturdayNovember 26, 2011

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Colombia says guerrillas killed 4 captives

Four security force members held by the FARC guerrilla group were killed by their captors during a military operation in the southern province of Caqueta, Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said Saturday.

Pinzon said that three of the men, some of whom had been held for more than 12 years, “were killed mercilessly with coups de grace” and at the place their bodies were found there were also chains such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, habitually uses to bind its captives.

The minister said that during a military operation were found “four bodies, four persons killed. Three of them were shot in the head and one was shot in the back.”

The victims were army Sgt. Jose Libio Martinez Estrada, kidnapped almost 14 years ago and until now the FARC hostage with the longest time in captivity, along with members of the National Police identified as Lt. Col. Edgar Yesid Duarte Valero, Maj. Elkin Hernandez Rivas and Quartermaster Gen. Alvaro Moreno.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday that the FARC are the “only ones responsible” for the deaths of the four hostages, which he described as a “vile action…the cruelest we have seen in a long time.”

“I can imagine they’re going to say it was the military’s fault,” Santos said in his customary Saturday address, adding that the guilty parties are those who did the kidnapping and “pulled the trigger.”

Pinzon said that the victims, all members of the armed forces, had been “defenseless, without any way of defending themselves.”

He said that during the operation an armed member of the FARC was captured.

The minister slammed the incident as “unacceptable,” and demanded that the murders not go unpunished.

“Because in Colombia these deeds must not go unpunished, because these incidents must be tried in court,” Minister Pinzon told a press conference.

The FARC, a Marxist rebel army that has fought a decades-old struggle against a succession of Colombian governments, once held as many as 60 police, soldiers and politicians it hoped to trade for hundreds of jailed guerrillas.

But it is now believed to be holding just over a dozen “exchangeable” captives.

The guerrillas have told Colombian authorities in the past that captives will be killed if the fighters holding them come under attack from security forces.

In 2007, 11 provincial lawmakers were killed while in rebel hands. The FARC claimed they died in a crossfire during an armed clash, but a government investigation determined they had all been shot at close range by the rebels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican town’s police force walks out over threats

The entire police force of a town in the western Mexican state of Michoacan has deserted due to death threats from suspected drug traffickers, officials said.

The 32 police working in two shifts in the town of Caracuaro, home to just over 10,000 people, decided to flee for fear they and their family members would be targeted by drug-gang hit men, the state’s Public Safety Secretariat told Efe Friday.

None of the 32 police has formally resigned and therefore will be dismissed if they do not show up for work within the legally specified timeframe, a spokesperson for the state’s Security Council said.

The police may have abandoned their posts due to threats from suspected drug traffickers after a clash with the criminals on Wednesday, when they provided backup to cops in the neighboring municipality of Nocupetaro, the spokesperson said.

Eighteen members of Caracuaro’s police force walked out between Wednesday and Thursday and the other 14 joined their colleagues Friday after more death threats were issued, prompting local authorities to request the deployment of army soldiers to the town.

Caracuaro is located in the so-called Tierra Caliente region, which straddles parts of Michoacan and the neighboring states of Guerrero and Mexico and is being fought over by the La Familia Michoacana and Los Caballeros Templarios drug cartels.

Drug-related violence in that region of western Mexico also has led to the desertion of police forces in the Michoacan towns of Tiquicheo, Tancitaro and Tuzantla.

Caracuaro is a historically important town where Mexican independence hero Jose Maria Morelos served as parish priest before joining the armed struggle against Spanish rule.

Michoacan has been one of the states hardest hit by the drug-related violence that has claimed nearly 50,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and militarized the struggle against the cartels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drug war claims 14 more lives in Mexican Gulf coast state

Drug war claims 14 more lives in Mexican Gulf coast state

Photo: Casualties from the Drug War

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The drug-war death toll in the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz has risen by 14 over the past 48 hours, authorities said.

Six bodies, all bearing signs of torture, were found dumped in the Santa Fe district near the port of Veracruz, spokespersons for the state’s Attorney General’s Office said in a statement Friday.

The bodies were in an advanced state of decay, leading forensics personnel to conclude they had been dead for between six and eight weeks.

Meanwhile, the Defense Secretariat said in a pair of statements Friday that eight suspected drug traffickers were killed in two separate clashes with army soldiers in the towns of Panuco and Ixhuacan de los Reyes.

The clashes occurred Thursday when military personnel came under attack from the purported cartel hit men, the secretariat said.

The security forces seized eight automatic rifles, 800 rounds of ammunition of different calibers, 37 ammunition clips for different weapons and the two vehicles carrying the assailants, it added.

Violence in the state has surged in the past two-and-a-half months, leaving nearly 200 dead and prompting President Felipe Calderon’s administration to deploy federal forces under “Operation Safe Veracruz.”

The operation also seeks to clean up local police departments and strengthen intelligence efforts to bolster security across the state.

The wave of violence in Veracruz state, a strategic corridor coveted by drug- and people-trafficking gangs, has been marked by several massacres.

The bodies of 35 people were dumped Sept. 20 on a busy road in the Veracruz-Boca del Rio metropolitan area in an apparent challenge to the violent Los Zetas drug cartel; on Oct. 6, another 32 corpses were found at drug-gang “safe houses” in the metro area.

The mass dumping of bodies in September was the first such incident in Veracruz city, indicating that the violence in the northern part of the state along the borders with Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi and Hidalgo states had spilled over into its largest metropolis, officials said.

Calderon militarized the struggle against Mexico’s heavily armed, well-funded drug mobs shortly after taking office in December 2006, deploying tens of thousands of troops to drug-war flashpoints.

The strategy has led to headline-grabbing captures of cartel kingpins, but drug-related violence has skyrocketed and claimed nearly 50,000 lives nationwide over the five-year period.

Read more by HS News Staff →

6 In every 10 Mexican women victims of violence, rights panel says

6 In every 10 Mexican women victims of violence, rights panel says

Photo: Women in Mexico are victims of violence in their homes and work place

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Six out of every 10 Mexican women over the age of 15 have been the victims of gender violence that has left them with physical and mental traumas, among other ill effects, Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, said.

As part of the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the CNDH said Friday that to help end gender violence it is currently preparing a diagnosis of femicides and other vicious crimes against Mexican women.

Other effects of gender violence include “sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and births, educational and social backwardness, poverty and economic dependence, unequal distribution of food in the home, as well as inequality in the workplace and the professions,” the organization said.

The CNDH insisted on the need for society as a whole to take part in preventing conduct that will prejudice women’s well-being and retard their development, which is why it has promoted various ways of raising awareness among authorities so they notice and come to the aid of female victims of crime and violence.

It also recalled that the constitutional reform enacted in June, and which includes principles established by international agreements on human rights, will allow authorities to strengthen measures for reducing and eliminating violence against women.

The CNDH said that this year 201 women are known to have gone missing in the country, a figure far above the 17 cases registered last year.

The latest case registered by the organization was that of a mother who recently filed a complaint following the disappearance of her daughter in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, a city where so-called “femicides” have been a constantly repeated tragedy for several years.

The commission said that the case will be investigated through the National Information System for Missing Persons and Unidentified Fatalities, while the CNDH will determine whether or not there were “human-rights violations.”

Figures from Mexico’s National Citizens’ Femicide Watch show that between January 2009 and June 2010 there were 810 femicides in Mexico “motivated by gender hate and discrimination.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Fight in Dominican Prison Leaves 3 Injured, 1 Dead

Fight in Dominican Prison Leaves 3 Injured, 1 Dead

Photo: Fight in Dominican Prison Leaves 3 Injured, 1 Dead

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An inmate was stabbed to death and three others injured Friday during a brawl at Dos de Mayo prison in the northern Dominican city of Moca, authorities said.

The fatality was identified as Lorenzo Batista Vargas, a native of the nearby city of Santiago, who was being held pending trial for robbery.

Batista Vargas died of stab wounds inflicted by another convict who has not yet been identified, Moca’s chief prosecutor, Jacobo Marchena, told reporters.

Three inmates were slightly injured during the fight, whose cause is being investigated.

During the incident, other inmates got together and forced the military guarding the prison to scatter those in the fray by firing shots in the air and tossing tear gas bombs in the patio, some of the prisoners said.

The incident occurred a week after three prisoners at the same jail were moved to other penitentiaries due to another brawl in which several inmates were severely battered.

Read more by HS News Staff →

RELAX this weekend with a Latin American Natural Wonder

RELAX this weekend with a Latin American Natural Wonder Guess What and Where this is?

Juan Laverde, Latin American Natural Wonder

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SaturdayNovember 26, 2011