Caribbean News Round – up

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Venezuelan first lady’s nephews arrested in US drug case

President Nicolas Maduro and his wife.
President Nicolas Maduro and his wife.

[BBC] – Two nephews of Venezuela’s first lady have been arrested in Haiti and taken to the US to face drug trafficking charges, US media reports say.

Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores are accused of conspiring to smuggle 800kg of cocaine into the United States. The two men are due to appear before a federal judge in New York on Thursday.

Venezuela has not commented on the reported arrests which follow on from an airspace violation row on Sunday. Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino said that a US plane had wrongfully entered the South American country’s airspace.

Although Venezuela has repeatedly accused the US of meddling in its affairs, ties between the two countries have improved since reaching a low point in March, when the US imposed sanctions on a number of Venezuelan officials for alleged human rights abuses.

The US has repeatedly maintained that drug trafficking is taking place at the highest echelons of President Nicolas Maduro’s administration.

The extradition of the two men comes just three weeks ahead of key Venezuelan legislative elections. The two suspects are reported by US officials to have been arrested in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince after arriving from Venezuela aboard a private plane. Reports say that while both have diplomatic passports neither has diplomatic immunity.

The pair was arrested after contacting an undercover American agent about selling the cocaine through Honduras, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing two sources whom it says are familiar with the matter.

First lady Cilia Flores, 62, is referred to by President Maduro as the “First Combatant” and is highly influential in the government led by her husband, correspondents say.

She worked on the legal team of the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, helping to win his release from prison in 1994 after a failed coup attempt.

Mr Campos Flores is reported to be the son of a deceased sister of Ms Flores and was partly brought up by the first lady and Mr Maduro.

The president is due to speak at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday in defence of his country’s human rights record and allegations that he has stifled dissent.

 

One in custody for rape of 97-Y-O woman

rapeSt Lucia News Online – Police said they have one person assisting with investigations into the alleged rape this week of a 97-year-old woman in Mon Repos, Micoud.

Crime Chief Milton Desir made the announcement at a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015.

No further details were provided on this incident, but Desir said the police are going to pursue the perpetrators of the recent rape incidents “relentlessly”, leaving no stones “unturned”.

The elderly woman, who lives alone, was reportedly treated at hospital and discharged. A reliable police source said the woman’s house was burglarised and several items are missing.

She was discovered after relatives paid a routine visit to her home. In a press release on Thursday, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony expressed outrage over the alleged rape of the elderly woman.

He said this “despicable act” not only violates an elderly citizen, but the entire community and country.

“It is unbelievable that someone would even think of committing such an act. This is a heinous and outrageous act. It is inconceivable that a human being would do this,” the prime minister said. “I wish to express my sorrow to the family and the community as they grieve over this wicked and despicable act.”

 

Weed in Prasad for prisoner

parasadTrinidad Express – A 51-YEAR-OLD woman was arrested and charged for possession of marijuana on Wednesday after she was found with the illegal drug in a bag of prasad (indian delicacy).

Police reports are that the woman, a relative of a prisoner who was at the time at the Rio Claro Police Station went to deliver food to him at around 1 p.m. The woman lives at Sancho Road, New Grant and had brought the prasad from the rpevious day Divali celebrations.

Police said when they searched the contents of the bag, they found 15 grammes of marijuana in the parcel of prasad, a cellular phone in a container of curried mango wrapped in a piece of carbon paper, and a quantity of cigarettes. In another bag containing sweets, police found wrapping paper commonly used to smoke marijuana.

A 26-year-old man was also arrested. Both are expected to appear at the Rio Claro Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

 

Man burned to death in Haiti vigilante violence

000_TS-Was8981279_w504[AFP] – Haitians angered by a series of rapes and robberies in Port-au-Prince burned alive a man they suspected of criminal connections early Thursday in an upscale suburb of the capital.

Hundreds of men marched through Petionville to the menacing rattle of machetes being dragged along the street and chanting slogans in a protest against criminal violence.

The unidentified man was burned to death after being stopped and asked his business in the neighborhood, a witness said.

“It was a little past 1:00 am. The neighbors asked this guy if he knew anyone in the area. He didn’t know anyone and he had a red handkerchief around his ankle: it’s a sign of association with wrongdoers,” said Fritzner Jules, a taxi driver, standing next to the charred corpse.

“The population jumped on this guy, put tires over him, doused him with gasoline and set him on fire,” he said.

The incident followed a series of home invasions in Port-au-Prince in recent weeks in which the victims were sexually assaulted.

Haiti’s national police deplored the vigilante violence.

“We cannot tolerate these acts: the public has no right to take justice into their own hands,” said police spokesman Frantz Lerebours.

“People must return to their homes or else the police will force them to,” he said.

 

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