- - Monday, August 22, 2011


Land war intensifies with more killings

TEGUCIGALPA — A land war in rural Honduras intensified over the weekend with the killings of four people, including leaders of two farm workers unions, an activist said Monday.

Assailants killed a man and his wife Sunday night on their return home from a wake for Secundino Ruiz, a farm workers’ leader gunned down Saturday, said Rafael Alegria, a leader of Via Campesina.

Gunmen burst into the home of the latest victims and opened fire on Pedro Canales and his wife, Reina Mejia, who was also attacked with machetes, Mr. Alegria said.

The killings occurred in Bajo Aguan, a rural community 370 miles northeast of Tegucigalpa that has been the scene of escalating conflicts over land that prompted the government on Friday to send in troops and police.

The land conflict, which dates back two years, has left about 50 people dead. At the center of the conflict is a takeover by farm workers of about 10,000 acres of land planted with African palm.


Prime minister eyes emergency powers to fight crime

PORT OF SPAIN — Trinidad and Tobago’s prime minister has announced she intends to declare a limited state of emergency in designated areas of the country in response to a surge in violent crime.

The move followed seven murders late last week in three separate incidents, which Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar blamed on a reaction by gangs to recent drug seizures by police.

President George Maxwell Richards must approve any state of emergency. Mrs. Persad-Bissessar said she would meet with him and opposition leader Keith Rowley about the plan.

She said her national security council had decided to impose a limited state of emergency in nearly 20 “hot spots” around the country.

She said the aim was to “halt the current spike in gang activity and crime in general in the shortest possible time.”


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