- The Washington Times - Monday, June 13, 2005

MEXICO

Local police removed after shootout

NUEVO LAREDO — This city near the Texas border removed its police force from the streets after a weekend shootout between city police and Mexican federal agents.

A federal agent was wounded when the two police agencies exchanged gunfire Saturday in what officials characterized as a mistake. Authorities said 41 officers of the city were detained for questioning.

The federal forces, who went to Nuevo Laredo to reinforce local police amid at crime wave, are now in charge, El Universal newspaper reported yesterday.

VENEZUELA

Chavez blames Bush for Bolivian turmoil

CARACAS — President Hugo Chavez blamed the Bush administration in his weekly broadcast Sunday for weeks of widespread protests in Bolivia.

Mr. Chavez charged that Washington’s efforts to impose its economic model on poor nations like Bolivia was “poison medicine,” adding: “That is what is killing the people of Latin America.”

This month the Bush administration accused Mr. Chavez of using Venezuela’s oil revenue to fund opposition groups throughout Latin America. The Venezuelan leader denied the assertion.

ARUBA

Missing girl’s mother feels guards innocent

ORANJESTAD — Lawyers for two security guards detained in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway said yesterday they were seeking a court order to free them, and the mother of the missing Alabama teenager said she believes they are innocent.

Beth Holloway Twitty said she felt three other young men in custody know what happened to her daughter, adding that if she did not see results soon, she might believe authorities were trying to protect the three, one of whom is the son of a government official.

“All three of those boys know what happened to her,” Mrs. Holloway Twitty said Sunday night in an interview with the Associated Press at the Holiday Inn, the same hotel where her 18-year-old daughter was staying before she disappeared May 30.

Weekly notes

European Union foreign ministers decided yesterday to extend a suspension of EU sanctions against Cuba until next June, but criticized Havana for a lack of progress on improving human rights, the bloc’s Luxembourg presidency announced. The EU suspended in January sanctions it imposed on Havana in June 2003 after a crackdown on dissidents. … The leader of a Canadian federal party that wants independence for French-speaking Quebec said yesterday he will stay in Ottawa rather than quit to lead the province’s separatist party. Bloc Quebecois chief Gilles Duceppe told reporters he thought he could do more for Quebec sovereignty by leading his party into the next federal election, which the ruling Liberals have promised to call early next year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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