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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
In Brief
Latinamerica Press
9/29/2014
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Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay.

 

Members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) executed two Emberá Dóbida indigenous leaders on Sept. 12 in the department of Chocó, in the western part of Colombia. Ernelio Pacheco Tunay, President of the Chocó Indigenous Organization, and Miguel Becheche Zarco, President of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Alto Baudó, were each on their way to participate in a training session in the Puerto Alegre reservation. The ELN took responsibility for the crime, pointing out that the indigenous leaders were informants for the Colombian military and for the paramilitary forces that operate in that region of the country.

On Sept. 19, a court of appeals in El Salvador revoked former president Francisco Flores’s (1999-2004) house arrest and arranged to transfer him to a prison. Flores, who is affiliated with the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance party (ARENA), the main opposition party, is accused of embezzlement of funds and illicit enrichment of US$15 million. Taiwan had sent this sum as humanitarian aid after the earthquakes that hat devastated the country in 2001. In April, a court ordered Flores’s arrest and the seizure of his assets. Last year Flores declared before a legislative commission that the donation was delivered in cash to victims. The names of the alleged recipients are unknown.

In Guatemala, the conflict over the construction of a cement plant in the central county of San Juan Sacatepéquez left eight indigenous people dead between Sept. 19 and 20. Six of the victims were part of a family that had sold its land to allow for the construction of the plant, which began in July 2013. Opponents of the project have been blamed for the crimes. However, they have reported harassment and threats from the Cementos Progreso company. The conflict, which began in 2007, has left 26 dead, 17 of which allegedly have been killed by individuals linked to the cement plant.

Drug cartels in Mexico are attempting to grow coca in the country.  At the beginning of September, military units discovered more than 1,600 coca plants in a plot of land located in the southern state of Chiapas. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it is the first documented instance of coca crops growing outside of the Andean region. While previous experiences have shown that the coca leaf can grow in weather conditions similar to those in the Andes, experts ensure that the quality and quantity of the alkaloid from which cocaine is extracted is significantly inferior.

The Vatican announced on Sept. 25 the dismissal of Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, the Bishop of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, on accusation of embezzlement and covering up the sexual abuse of kids by priests in his diocese. The Holy See named Ricardo Jorge Valenzuela Ríos as Livieres’s replacement. Livieres’s dismissal occurred two days after the Vatican ordered the domestic arrest of Polish Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, who is accused of paedophilia during his time as papal nuncio in the Dominican Republic between 2008 and 2013.


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