- - Monday, July 9, 2012

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s leftist presidential candidate said he is mounting a court challenge against the results of the July 1 elections, claiming vote-buying and campaign overspending by winner Enrique Pena Nieto.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his team is gathering evidence that state officials gave money to Mr. Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.

Mr. Lopez Obrador said Monday he plans to file the challenges by Thursday.

It remains unclear whether President Felipe Calderon’s National Action Party will join the court challenges.

ARGENTINA



Ex-dictators convicted of stealing babies

BUENOS AIRES — The conviction of two former dictators for the systematic stealing of babies from political prisoners 30 years ago is a big step in Argentina’s effort to punish that era’s human rights abuses, though certainly not the last.

Following Thursday’s convictions of Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone, at least 17 other major cases are before judges or are nearing trial.

Among them is a “mega-trial” involving the Navy Mechanics School, which became a feared torture center as the 1976-1983 military junta kidnapped and killed 13,000 opponents while trying to annihilate an armed leftist uprising. That case involves 65 defendants, nearly 900 victims, more than 100 witnesses and about 60,000 pages of evidence.

VENEZUELA

Chavez: Rival trying to destabilize Venezuela

CARACAS — President Hugo Chavez and his allies accused opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles on Sunday of trying to provoke violence by campaigning in areas that have been bastions of support for the incumbent leader.

Mr. Chavez accused Mr. Capriles of trying to spur violence as part of a broader plan aimed at creating widespread political upheaval ahead of Venezuela’s looming Oct. 7 presidential election.

The socialist leader spoke after a scuffle Saturday involving stone-throwing Chavistas and opposition sympathizers who joined Mr. Capriles as he led a march in the poor Caracas district of La Vega. Police forced him to turn back without completing the march.

Mr. Capriles called for calm and attempted to avoid any violence amid the tussle, which police broke up before violence escalated. No major injuries were reported.

HONDURAS

DEA agents killed pilot of drug flight

TEGUCIGALPA — The pilot of a suspected drug flight killed in an anti-narcotics operation in Honduras earlier this month was shot dead by two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents after he refused to surrender, an agency spokeswoman said Sunday.

At the time, Honduran police said the twin-engine plane arriving from Colombia with a load of cocaine crashed while being chased by government aircraft.

One pilot died in the July 3 incident and second was badly injured. Officials did not say how the death took place.

DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden said that when police arrived at the crash scene in eastern Honduras they found the plane’s two pilots. The injured pilot was arrested and the second was shot by the DEA agents after he ignored orders to surrender and made a threatening gesture.

She called the operation, which involved Honduran police and embedded DEA advisers, a success that resulted in the seizure of almost a ton of cocaine.

It was the second time a DEA agent has killed someone in Central America since the agency began deploying specially trained agents several years ago to accompany local law enforcement personnel on all types of drug raids throughout the region.

CUBA

Raul Castro winding down Vietnam visit

HANOI, Vietnam — Cuban President Raul Castro paid his respects to late Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh on Monday, laying a wreath of flowers at his mausoleum as he wrapped up a four-day state visit.

The 81-year-old’s trip is aimed at boosting ties with a longtime communist ally that has boomed economically after embracing capitalism.

The Cuban president was welcomed by Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong on Sunday at the presidential palace in Hanoi.

He later held talks with President Truong Tan Sang and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. On Monday he met with Nguyen Sinh Hung, chairman of the National Assembly.

Last week, Mr. Castro visited China, where he signed a series of agreements, including a grant and an interest-free loan to help boost the Cuban economy.

His Asian tour is seen as an opportunity to view a mix of capitalism and socialism at work. Vietnam and China have embraced market economy reforms and experienced rapid growth, while Cuba has remained largely poor.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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