- The Washington Times - Monday, August 9, 2004

EL SALVADOR

President won’t bow to extremist threats

SAN SALVADOR — Salvadoran President Antonio Saca said yesterday that he will not give in to Islamic fundamentalist threats against his country if it sends fresh troops to Iraq.

“The people must unite behind their government so we do not fall prey to this international blackmail,” he said.

“If the threats are real — because we cannot disregard them — we cannot yield to these groups. The commitments that we have taken on before the international community, we will fulfill to the letter,” he said.

VENEZUELA

Referendum must not affect oil trade

CARACAS — Charles Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, said yesterday that the crucial oil trade between the two countries should not be affected by the upcoming referendum on the mandate of President Hugo Chavez.

“Whatever the outcome is, we want to continue buying oil from Venezuela and hope this country will continue selling oil to the United States,” he said after a meeting of foreign ambassadors with Mr. Chavez.

“These are the mutual interests of both countries — Venezuela wants to keep selling its oil on world markets, and the United States is a trustworthy consumer,” Mr. Shapiro said.

MEXICO

Angry residents jail mayor

SAN JUAN CHAMULA — Hundreds of enraged residents of this impoverished Indian community locked the mayor and three other municipal officials in jail on Sunday, saying they embezzled funds from public works projects.

The crowd gathered in the morning to capture San Juan Chamula Mayor Juan Gomez, the municipal treasurer and two town council members.

The township, located just outside San Cristobal, 460 miles southeast of Mexico City, has a long history of religious violence between a majority Catholic population and evangelical Protestants. But the Sunday unrest appeared to have been motivated by corruption charges.

COLOMBIA

Bomb explodes at flower festival

BOGOTA — A small bomb exploded at a crowded flower festival in Colombia’s second-largest city, Medellin, on Sunday, injuring 35 persons, the mayor said.

Eight children and a police officer were among the injured. The homemade device exploded on a bridge in the city center moments before a parade was to start, Medellin Mayor Sergio Fajardo said.

“The festival continued because we are not going to give in to these barbarians and terrorists who destroy lives,” he said.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack.

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