Thousands protest outcome of elections in Mexico


Thousands of members of the "Yo soy 132" student movement took to the streets of Mexico City to protest irregularities and violence during the presidential elections held over the weekend.

The march wound its way through the streets of the capital on Monday from the Estela de la Luz to the Monument to the Revolution.

Tens of thousands of young people chanted "Out Peña" as they marched, referring to Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, who won Mexico's presidency in Sunday's general elections.

The students also carried banners that said "IFE, who taught you how to count, Elba Esther Gordillo?" in a reference to the Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, and the head of the powerful national teachers union.

The student movement must now decide its next move, including possibly calling for cancellation of the presidential election or a run-off, movement member Enrique Perez Polanco said.

When told that Mexican law does not provide for a run-off, Perez Polanco, who works as a theater producer in the southeastern city of Merida, said that "if this is about governability and social peace, it could be an option."

"Let's not forget that only 60 percent of the population voted and, of that proportion, only 38 percent quote-unquote elected Peña. That means that less than 30 percent elected the one who is going to govern the 100 percent. In more advanced democratic countries, they have run-offs or the requirement of getting more than 50 percent of the votes to win," Perez Polanco said.




Mexican elections agency to do recount of 1/3 of ballots


About one-third of the ballots cast in Mexico's general elections last weekend, according to estimates, will have to be recounted for a variety of reasons specified by the law, election officials said.

The recount is a normal procedure under election rules, with the ballots cast at one-third of polling places being tallied a second time after the 2009 legislative elections.

Recounts can be executed for a number of reasons, including when there is a difference equal to or less than 1 percent separating the winner and the second-place finisher, when there are errors on ballots or when the number of void ballots is greater than the difference between the victor and the candidate who came in second.

Between 45,000 and 50,000 packages from the nearly 143,000 polling places established for the general elections "would eventually be opened" for the recount of ballots, Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, official Alfredo Figueroa said in a press conference.

As of now, full recounts will be done in 19 of Mexico's 300 election districts because the difference between the winner of the presidential election and the second-place finisher is equal to or less than 1 percent, meaning that the ballots from 10,000 polling places will be tallied a second time.

"There will probably be partial recounts in other districts," Figueroa said.




Mexican left threatens to challenge election results


Mexico's general elections were "plagued by irregularities" and may be challenged if the preliminary results stand, leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said.

Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, candidate Enrique Peña Nieto won Mexico's presidency with 38.14 percent of the vote, while Lopez Obrador took second place with 31.64 percent, according to the final preliminary results released Monday by the Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE.

Some 98.95 percent of the ballots had been counted as of the 8:00 p.m. cut-off time for the Preliminary Election Results Program, or PREP, the IFE said.

Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor who was the standard-bearer of a leftist coalition led by the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, said in a press conference Monday that he would not accept "fraudulent results."




2 Dead in anti-mining protest in Peru


Two people were killed and 15 others injured in clashes between police and opponents of a controversial mining project in northwestern Peru, the regional health secretary in Cajamarca said.

Reynaldo Nuñez told Canal N television that while the autopsies are pending, the two civilian fatalities apparently died of gunshots and blows to the body.

He said the injured were being treated in the Cajamarca regional hospital and at a clinic in the city of Celendin, the scene of Tuesday's protests.

Nuñez talked to the network hours after the Peruvian Interior Ministry said two police officers suffered gunshot wounds while defending Celendin city hall from an attack by demonstrators.

Speaking in the city of Piura, Cabinet chief Oscar Valdes said the government has the obligation to maintain order and he accused some sectors in Cajamarca of seeking violence.

If necessary, he said, the government will declare a state of siege in Cajamarca.




Peru's president relieves 22 generals


President Ollanta Humala relieved 22 generals of their commands in an effort to reinvigorate strategically important units of the Peruvian army, La Republica newspaper said.

Personnel changes in the higher ranks of the military are usually made at the end of the year, the daily noted.

The shakeup comes less than a week after Humala, a retired lieutenant colonel, made a surprise appearance at a meeting of the army high command.

The changes were made now to give the new army chief, Gen. Ricardo Moncada, an opportunity to appoint unit commanders who have "his full confidence," unnamed military sources told La Republica.

The same sources acknowledged, however, that some of the generals relieved by Humala had fallen short of superiors' expectations.




Cuba confirms 3 deaths from cholera


Fifty-three people contracted cholera in Manzanillo, a city in the eastern province of Granma, and three died from the bacterial disease, the Cuban government said.

"A variety of germs have been identified among all the patients seen to, with 53 cases diagnosed with Vibrio cholerae, of whom the three fatalities were elderly adults ages 95, 70 and 66, all with records of chronic illnesses," the Public Health Ministry said in a statement published in the offical daily Granma.

In the case of the three people who died, "the standard investigations are being carried out to determine the exact cause of death for each one."

The outbreak in the city of Manzanillo "is under control" and the trend is toward a diminishing number of cases thanks to the hygiene, health-care and anti-epidemic measures carried out in the area, the ministry said.




US seizes $26 mn cocaine shipment south of Dominican Republic


The U.S. Coast Guard announced that it had seized a shipment of more than 900 kilograms (1,982 pounds) of cocaine valued at more than $26 million in the waters south of the Dominican Republic.

The incident occurred on June 23, when the Coast Guard intercepted a 10-meter (32.5-foot) boat traveling at high speed 144 kilometers (89 miles) south of Punta Beata.

The Coast Guard intercepted the suspicious vessel in international waters, boarded it and found that it was carrying a shipment of cocaine.




Argentine president presents her doll "Cristinita"


Argentine President Cristina Fernandez presented "Cristinita," a rag doll modeled in her image and likeness that is for sale at a museum attached to the presidential palace, the Casa Rosada.

"She's missing the broom!" said presidential aide Carlos Zanini when he saw the doll, according to the president, who laughingly said that the official saw her "as a witch."

Fernandez said there are also dolls of her late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, and of the chief executives of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, and of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.

Throughout the event, which was basically organized to hand over ID documents to people who have undergone sex-change and to the children of same-sex marriages, the president held her doll, some 30 centimeters (1 foot) tall and dressed in black.