- The Washington Times - Monday, November 29, 2004

CHILE

Pinochet victims due pensions for life

BOGOTA, Columbia — Chilean President Ricardo Lagos has offered lifelong pensions to people tortured during the 17-year military regime of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, a London Daily Telegraph correspondent reported yesterday from Bogota.

The offer, equivalent to $190 per month, could cover 28,000 people. A just-published 1,200-page report compiled from survivor testimonies concluded that “torture was a policy of the state, meant to repress and terrorize the population.”

Of the 35,000 people interviewed for the report, 3,400 were women and 88 were children younger than 12. The report listed 18 torture methods, including beatings, burns, submersion, electric shock, extraction of fingernails, sexual violations, mock executions, solitary confinement and forcing detainees to watch others tortured or killed.

“How can we explain such horror? I do not have an answer,” Mr. Lagos said in a grim-faced address on national television. Gen. Pinochet, 89, was ruled not mentally fit to stand trial after his 1998 arrest in Britain.

VENEZUELA

Ex-policeman held in prosecutor’s death

CARACAS — A former police officer has been charged in the slaying of a federal prosecutor, who was killed when a bomb attached to his car was exploded by remote control, officials announced yesterday.

Juan Bautista Guevara, 42, was seized Sunday in Aruare, about 200 miles southwest of here. Two cousins of the suspect — brothers Otoniel and Rolando Guevara — were arrested Friday.

Police said they found a .38-caliber handgun, a hand grenade, about $3,000 and 360,000 bolivianos ($46,000) in Juan Bautista Guevara’s hotel room. Authorities say they believe he is responsible for the killing of deputy attorney general Danilo Anderson, whose booby-trapped car exploded Nov. 18.

Mr. Anderson had been handling political cases stemming from an April 2002 coup that removed President Hugo Chavez from office for two days, and a shootout at an anti-Chavez protest then that killed about 20 people.

CANADA

Feast for Bush will feature beef

OTTAWA — Canadian officials predict the mad cow dispute with the United States will be resolved during President Bush’s visit to Canada today and tomorrow, but caution that other trade quarrels will take longer, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported yesterday.

“We’ve been given signals that the president will be proposing a timetable that could be less than six months [to open the border to Canadian beef] with clear commitments on the part of the United States,” Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew said, referring to one of the most contentious of trade irritants.

To highlight the issue, organizers of the two-day summit have included Alberta beef on the menu at the official dinner Prime Minister Paul Martin is hosting for Mr. Bush.

Weekly notes

President Vicente Fox says he will find a way around major spending changes made by Mexico’s Congress to the 2005 budget, even if the Supreme Court rules a veto is unconstitutional. Mr. Fox is expected to decide soon whether to try a veto, but with legal analysts doubting its legality, he indicated he also has a “Plan B.” … A far-right Colombian paramilitary group in the northern part of the country has proposed peace talks with the government on the condition the authorities fight leftist rebels operating in the area. The Elmer Cardenas Bloc (BEC), a paramilitary group that controls 22 towns in the provinces of Antioquia and Choco near the Panamanian border, said its 2,000 fighters would be willing to put down their weapons if the negotiations are successful. The peace talks would be separate from those the government is conducting with the 20,000-member United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), the country’s biggest paramilitary group.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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