Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 30th 2013 Contents B27
Thursday, May 30, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The two most notorious and
violent street gangs in Honduras
have promised to end the violence
which has claimed tens of thou-
sands of lives.
Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18
Street said they would commit to
zero crime and zero violence on
Honduras has one of the highest
murder rates in the world.
Although no formal peace deal has
been signed, the apparent ceasefire
is thought to be the first step
towards a more lasting agreement.
"Our truce is with God, with
society and with the authorities,"
announced a spokesman for Mara
Salvatrucha, identified only as
"We ask society and the author-
ities to forgive us for the damage
we have done," he said at a news
conference inside a prison in the
Honduran city of San Pedro Sula.
A leader of the rival 18 Street
gang---who did not want to be
identified---offered the same prom-
ises, but only "if the government
will listen," he added.
On Monday, the Honduran
President Porfirio Lobo personally
offered his support for the truce.
"We have to look for anything
that s an alternative to violence,"
he told the Associated Press news
"On the part of the government,
we are open to any process that
can lower violence."
The Roman Catholic Bishop
Romulo Emiliani, who helped to
broker the deal, said last week that
the gangs needed government help
to break away from their criminal
activities, which included extorting
money from businesses to finance
He said the authorities should
try to turn Honduras prisons into
His comments were echoed by
gang leader Marco, who called on
the government to support craft
workshops so that they could work,
earn a living and be reintegrated
"I want my son to be a doctor
or a cameraman, not a gangster,"
The deal follows a similar pact
reached more than a year ago in
neighbouring El Salvador.
The peace agreement there has
roughly held together and has con-
tributed to a significant reduction
in the murder rate. The Salvadorian
government says homicides have
dropped about 52 per cent.
CARACAS---A flagship Venezuelan
TV channel known for its militant
opposition to late socialist leader Hugo
Chavez has toned down under new
owners, depriving the opposition of
a favoured platform as it fights a new
During Chavez s tumultuous 14-year
rule, Globovision played a controversial
and high-profile role: it was derided
by officials as a pro-US, law-breaking
broadcaster but feted in the opposition
as a beacon of free speech.
Its majority owner, businessman
Guillermo Zuloaga, who lives in exile
in the United States, sold the station
this month. The new bosses have made
immediate changes, including stopping
live broadcasts of opposition leader
"I was told that the new directors
gave an order not to show me live,"
Capriles said on Twitter this week,
arguing the buyers were stooges of
recently elected President Nicolas
Maduro s government.
"My eternal gratitude to the Globo-
vision workers for having provided a
window to speak to our people," added
Capriles, who lost last month s pres-
idential election to Maduro by 1.5 per-
centage points but is disputing the
Globovision, now owned by three
little-known businessmen who are also
shareholders of a local insurance com-
pany, has denied accusations by some
disgruntled workers at the broadcaster
that it was kowtowing to the govern-
"The board of directors has not
banned any official or political leader
from Globovision," Globovision said in
a statement. "On the contrary, the edi-
torial policy consists in broadening the
line of information and opinion to all
voices in the country, without any dis-
Still, various high-profile contribu-
tors, including opposition politician
Ismael Garcia, who had a Sunday pro-
gramme, and anchor Francisco "Kico"
Bautista, who became a household face
of "anti-Chavismo," are now gone.
Though private TV stations were
openly anti-Chavez at the start of his
tenure, including during a brief 2002
coup against him, one broadcaster later
lost its licence and others became more
moderate in their public programming.
So Globovision had been an outlying,
aggressive voice for the opposition on
television. Its premises were attacked
several times, and it faced a battery of
legal charges and a multi-million dollar
fine over its coverage of jail violence.
Opposition turn to Twitter
Strident opposition to Chavez, and
now to his successor Maduro, has con-
tinued among a plethora of newspapers
and radio stations. One paper, for exam-
ple, recently ran a front page picture
of Maduro mocked up as Hitler.
On the other side, a huge array of
state media defend the government and
vilify Capriles as a fascist.
Some government officials have been
rubbing their hands in glee over devel-
opments at Globovision, which was a
constant thorn in their side, though it
did also provide a useful argument
against criticism they were crushing
"They sold because they ran out of
money---they used the station as a
political party," scoffed Diosdado Cabel-
lo, the powerful vice-president of the
ruling Socialist Party.
Anti-government activists, glued to
Globovision for years, are quickly turn-
ing to other venues such as webcasts
of Capriles events.
Capriles also reaches a huge audience
via Twitter: his 3.4 million following
is the largest of any other Latin Amer-
ican politician, including heads of state.
In fact, only the deceased Chavez beats
him, with 4.2 million followers still.
"While it is tempting to be frightened
by Globovision s demise, it s possible
that we may not need it in the end,"
wrote pro-opposition blogger Juan
Cristobal Nagel. (Reuters)
Venezuela opposition TV station
tones down, angers Capriles
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, left, and Bolivia's President Evo
Morales show giant loafs known as "Pan de Arani" during Maduro's
welcoming ceremony in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Sunday. Maduro is on a two-
day official visit to Bolivia. AP PHOTO
Links Archive May 29th 2013 May 31st 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page