- - Monday, October 3, 2011

MEXICO

Two severed heads found with message

MEXICO CITY — Police in Mexico City said Monday that they found two severed human heads on a street near the capital’s main military base.

Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Mancera said the heads were accompanied by a note referring to the “Mano con Ojos” or “Hand with Eyes” drug gang.

It was the first multiple decapitation in the capital since January 2008, when two heads were found near the city’s international airport.

Two heads were found in the same vicinity in December 2007.

Decapitations frequently have been carried out by drug cartels in violence-plagued cities like Acapulco.

But Mexico City so far has been spared much of the drug violence hitting other states.

The heads were found Monday on a busy ring road across from the army’s headquarters at Military Camp 1.

HAITI

Prime minister nominee expected to be approved

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haitian senators were expected to approve President Michel Martelly’s third pick for prime minister, ending the new leader’s monthslong bid to establish a government.

The president of the Senate said the members would vote late Monday on the nomination of Garry Conille to run the government in the troubled nation.

The Chamber of Deputies unanimously approved Mr. Conille’s appointment on Sept. 16.

The Haitian parliament rejected the first two candidates nominated by Mr. Martelly, who took office in May. That has prevented the new leader from acting on his agenda and slowed earthquake reconstruction.

Mr. Conille is a doctor and was an aide to former President Bill Clinton in Mr. Clinton’s role as U.N. envoy to Haiti.

VENEZUELA

Opposition candidate says Chavez is vulnerable

CARACAS — Opposition candidate Leopoldo Lopez wants to make something clear: Hugo Chavez may have been Venezuela’s leader since 1999, but he can be defeated in next year’s presidential election.

Mr. Lopez, 40, belongs to a new generation of opposition leaders that Mr. Chavez cannot easily dismiss as being part of the “rancid oligarchy” that he has railed against.

“This idea that some have abroad that the government is invincible is not true,” Mr. Lopez said in an interview with Agence-France Presse and the Venezuelan website Noticias 24.

“We can defeat it, despite all of the difficulties … and despite all the power and the concentration of public resources that he has,” said Mr. Lopez.

A charismatic politician with a winning smile, Mr. Lopez comes armed with a master’s degree from Harvard and experience as mayor of the upscale Caracas municipality of Chacao.

Other next-generation leaders include Miranda Gov. Henrique Capriles, 38, who shares Mr. Lopez’s telenovela-star looks; Pablo Perez, 42, governor of the populous oil state of Zulia; and opposition lawmaker Maria Corina Machado, 44.

In Venezuela, a country starkly divided between Chavez supporters and opponents, the opposition has gathered under the umbrella of the Democratic Unity Table (known by its Spanish-language acronym MUD).

The group “is in the best position of the past 10 years” to challenge Mr. Chavez in the Oct. 7, 2012, elections, Mr. Lopez said.

The MUD will hold primaries - Mr. Lopez said that he will be a candidate - and in February will choose a single opposition figure to face off against Mr. Chavez, who is seeking a third six-year term.

MEXICO

Two soldiers detained in kidnapping probe

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican army said Monday that it has detained two of its soldiers in connection with the kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl and that they will be discharged in order to face charges in a civilian court.

Each of the soldiers had completed about two years of service, according to a statement issued by the army’s Fifth Military Zone in the northern state of Chihuahua.

The army “will not cover up for any member of the armed forces who commits a crime,” said the statement, which noted that the soldiers were detained Saturday.

A third civilian suspect is still at large, the statement said.

In July, Mexico’s Supreme Court said military violations of citizens’ civil rights should be tried in civilian courts, but stopped short of requiring it.

Chihuahua state prosecutors’ spokesman Carlos Gonzalez said the two soldiers were detained Friday, hours after the girl’s parents reported she had been abducted.

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