Ciudad Juarez, Aug 2 (AP/UNB) — The Mexican government opened its first shelter Thursday in the border city of Juarez to house Central Americans and other migrants seeking asylum in the United States who have been sent back to Mexico to await the process.
Government officials said the shelter at a former assembly plant in the city across from El Paso, Texas, can house 3,500 migrants.
Labor ministry official Horacio Duarte Olivares said the facility will provide shelter, meals, medical attention and access to the local labor market for migrants.
Duarte said that similar shelters would open in the coming days in Tijuana and Mexicali and that there are plans for one in Nuevo Laredo.
The U.S. government has returned more than 20,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico since the program began in January.
Geneva, July 5 (AP/UNB) — A top Venezuelan diplomat on Friday blasted what he called the "biased vision" of a report by the U.N. human rights chief chronicling torture, sexual abuse and extrajudicial killings in the country, and demanded it be "corrected."
Deputy Foreign Minister William Castillo insisted the report from High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet "does not reflect the reality in our country." He said Venezuela would heed "constructive" recommendations.
"We demand that its contents be corrected, and we urge you to act in a balanced and respectful way," Castillo told the U.N-backed Human Rights Council through a translator.
"The content of this report is incomprehensible, dominated by a selective and biased vision," Castillo said. "It's a text lacking in scientific rigor, with serious errors in methodology and which seems like a carbon copy of previous reports."
Bachelet, after presenting the report published Thursday to the council, insisted that she heard from victims on both government and opposition sides, and defended the methodology. Since taking office last year, Bachelet said, she has emphasized that staffers need to get the facts right to show balance.
The rights chief said her teams had been working on the report, which covers a period from January 2018 nearly to the present, for a long time. She insisted upon the validity of the reporting, based on hundreds of interviews and meetings with government officials, Maduro's opponents, as well as victims, their relatives, rights defenders and many others.
She also expressed hope that the report could help pave the way toward improvements in the rights situation in Venezuela, and noted that her office now has an office in Venezuela — access not granted for many years.
She summarized her team's findings about a "pattern of torture" under President Nicolas Maduro's government, citing violations like arbitrary detention, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence and enforced disappearances.
Witnesses recounted "in every case" how special forces known as FAES "manipulated the crime scene and evidence," the report said. "They would plant arms and drugs and fire their weapons against the walls or in the air to suggest a confrontation and to show the victim had 'resisted authority.'"
"In many cases, FAES brought the victims to hospital even though they were already dead, apparently with the intention of manipulating the bodies and modifying the crime scene," it added.
Venezuela's government acknowledged nearly 5,300 killings during security operations last year alone linked to "resistance to authority," the report said, and added that another 1,569 took place from Jan. 1 to May 19 this year.
Mexico City, Jul 4 (AP/UNB) — Some of Mexico's federal police remain in revolt over the force's planned dissolution and absorption into the newly created National Guard.
Striking police continued to hold a federal police command center in the Mexico City borough of Iztapalapa Thursday morning. Meanwhile, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador repeated his suggestion that rank-and-file police were being manipulated by his political adversaries.
López Obrador declined to name the "dark forces" he says are responsible, but says his security secretary Alfonso Durazo will provide details later.
On Wednesday, federal police held the command center and blocked key highways around the capital. They expressed concerns about potentially losing their salaries, benefits and seniority if they transferred to the National Guard and being left unemployed if they don't join the new force.
Sao Paulo, Mar 13 (AP/UNB) — Two young men, wearing hoods and carrying firearms and other weapons, opened fire at a school in southern Brazil on Wednesday, killing eight people before taking their own lives, authorities said.
The dead included two teachers and six students, and several other people had been hospitalized after sustaining injuries, according to Gov. Joao Doria, speaking a few blocks from the public school in Suzano, a suburb of Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city.
The age of the attackers was estimated to be between 20 and 25 years old, and authorities don't believe they were former students, the governor said.
Doria said the school had been evacuated and police were inspecting possible explosives left by the shooters.
"The school is on lockdown," he said.
Latin America's most populous nation has the largest number of annual homicides in the world, but school shootings are rare.
Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro recently announced that gun ownership controls would be loosened.
Rio De Janeiro, Dec 7 (AP/UNB) — At least 12 people, including two children, were killed Friday when police engaged in a shootout with bank robbers, according to authorities in northeastern Brazil.
The two attempted heists in the state of Ceara began around 2:30 a.m. in the downtown area of the city of Milagres.
Robbers at one bank took several people hostages when police surrounded the area, according to a police statement. A firefight broke out, leaving several dead. Authorities have yet to identify the dead.
Two suspects were apprehended, according to police.
Milagres Mayor Lielson Macedo Landim told local media that two children, between 10 and 13 years old, were killed in the shooting. It was not immediately clear how the hostages were taken. Police did not immediately respond to email and phone requests for more information.
Latin America's largest nation routinely is the world leader in total annual homicides. Ceara is one of the country's most violent states.