Friday, October 19, 2012

Oct. 17-19: Where is Zeta Leader's Body?; Nicaragua Pursues Pipeline; Controversy Over Fujimori Pardon Request

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SourceMex, October 17, 2012

In a bizarre set of circumstances, Heriberto Lazcano, one of the founders of the ruthless Zetas cartel, was apparently killed in a shoot-out with Mexican special forces, but the government has no body to prove his death because the body mysteriously disappeared from a local funeral home. Lazcano, known by his nickname "El Lazca,"had been identified through fingerprints taken before the body disappeared. Lazcano's possible Ideath has led to speculation that the cartel might weaken. But other leaders, including Miguel Ángel Treviño, are expected to gain control. -Carlos Navarro

The state-run oil company PEMEX has announced the discovery of a large reserve of crude oil in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a development that adds credibility to the theory that a massive supply of oil exists in the region just south of Mexico’s maritime border with the US. PEMEX discovered the new reserve while conducting tests on the Supremus-1 well, about 250 km east of Matamoros, Tamaulipas state. President FelipeCalderón, who announced the discovery on Oct. 5, said tests indicate the well might contain between 75 million and 125 million barrels of reserves. -Carlos Navarro

NotiCen, October 18, 2012

Just months after pledging to build a long-dreamed-about "Nicaragua Canal," the government of President Daniel Ortega is now turning its attention to another dizzyingly expensive megaproject: a Venezuelan-backed oil pipeline and refinery scheme called the Supremo Sueño de Bolívar (Bolívar’s Supreme Dream). Clearly behind schedule, the multibillion-dollar dream has not, however, been abandoned. Backers of the project point to a pair of construction contracts signed earlier this year with the Chinese firm China Camc Engineering as proof that the venture is back on track. -Benjamin Witte-Lebhar -

Costa Rica stands out, according to a recent US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) report, as one of the countries worldwide that last year destroyed the highest number of marijuana plants. As he announced the good news, Costa Rican Security Minister Mario Zamora stressed that this Central American nation would keep up its incessant effort in this regard. But the problem shows a couple worrisome sides to the country’s security and health authorities. One is that large, illegal marijuana plantations are usually hard to find, since growers pick mountain spots, usually on the Cordillera de Talamanca, often inside indigenous territory, where they displace the population from certain areas and, in some cases, recruit local cooperation. -George Rodríguez

NotiSur, October 19, 2012

Venezuelans decided on Oct. 7 by an overwhelming majority that Hugo Chávez would continue in the presidency for another six years. The governing party won in 22 of the country's 24 states. The opposition, besides losing its hope for the presidency, lost three of the five states that it had controlled, including Miranda, where the last elected governor was Henrique Capriles, Chávez's opponent in this election. The elections, in which Chávez defeated the Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD) candidate by more than 11 percentage points, were the first in the Bolivarian era in which the opposition attempted to set aside its jealousies, ambitions, and grudges to defeat the president. -Andrés Gaudín

Many have used the term "political expediency" in the context of the request for a humanitarian pardon made on Oct. 10 by relatives of former President Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a 25-year sentence for crimes against humanity and corruption. After months of debate on the issue of a pardon for Fujimori, President Ollanta Humala said in late September that he hoped the discussion about a pardon was not political expediency, given that the request had not been made despite Fujimori's followers' insistence on putting it on the political agenda. Now that the request has been submitted, Fujimoristas say that, if Humala does not grant Fujimori the pardon, it is because of political expediency. There are also those who say that if Humala grants the pardon even if the team of doctors that reviews the case says that the prisoner does not have terminal cancer, that will make it a politically expedient decision. -Elsa Chanduví Jaña

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