- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2006

HAITI

Missionary freed after ransom paid

PORT-AU-PRINCE — A Canadian missionary kidnapped in a surge of political gang violence has been released after a week in captivity.

Ed Hughes, 72, was abducted June 18 from his home north of Port-au-Prince. His captors threatened to kill him unless they received $45,000. Nelson Ryman, who runs an orphanage in Haiti with Mr. Hughes, said the Canadian was freed Saturday night on a rural road after the kidnappers received a ransom raised by his friends and colleagues.

Mr. Ryman said the ransom was less than $10,000, but he would not give the exact amount. Police and U.N. officials worked through a Haitian mediator to secure Mr. Hughes’ release. He made it back to the capital early Sunday and was resting at a safe location in Port-au-Prince.

BRAZIL

Police kill 13 after attacks

SAO PAULO — Police killed 13 persons early yesterday after a new spate of attacks against authorities on the fringes of Brazil’s largest city, the state’s governor said.

The killings occurred in the Sao Paulo suburbs of Diadema and Maua, but no violence was reported in the city itself, said Sao Paulo state Gov. Claudio Lembo.

Last month, a notorious prison gang attacked police stations across Sao Paulo city and state, carrying out a wave of violence that killed nearly 200 police, prison guards, people suspected of being criminals and jail inmates.

COLOMBIA

Townsfolk reject novel name change

BOGOTA — Residents of the hometown of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez failed to pass a referendum Sunday to change the town’s name — Aracataca — to Macondo, the fictitious tropical hamlet in his masterpiece “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

Although 93 percent of the residents in Aracataca voted for the change, high absenteeism invalidated the results. In total, 3,600 of the town’s 22,000 eligible voters — less than half the minimum needed — cast ballots, town Mayor Pedro Sanchez said.

Mr. Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1982, was born in the banana-growing town near the Caribbean coast in 1927. In his 2002 autobiography, “Living to Tell the Tale,” he described how, as a struggling journalist in the 1950s, he was inspired to become a novelist during a return trip to Aracataca with his mother.

Weekly notes …

The United States was to resume issuing visa applications in Tegucigalpa to Hondurans yesterday after suspending them for what it called lax documentation rules. U.S. officials said they were concerned about the ease with which people were able to obtain Honduran birth and marriage certificates, identity cards and passports. … Peru has rejected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s suggestion that Alan Garcia was not the true winner of its presidential runoff. On a visit to Panama, Mr. Chavez called Mr. Garcia “a lap dog” of Washington and termed his June 4 victory over nationalist Ollanta Humala “dubious.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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