EFE News Briefs for Tuesday, Sept. 11

Published September 11, 2012


U.S. marks 11 years since 9/11


Al Qaeda's leadership has been devastated and Osama bin Laden will never threaten us again," President Barack Obama said at a ceremony commemorating the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama had come to the memorial ground honoring the 146 people who died when a hijacked commercial airliner crashed into the Pentagon.

Memorial ceremonies were held Tuesday in Washington, New York and Pennsylvania to recall the worst terrorist attacks in the history of the United States, which left more than 3,000 people dead and injured.

Obama also paid tribute to the more than 5 million Americans who have served in uniform over the past decade.




Venezuela releases U.S. ship, skipper


Authorities in the western port city of Maracaibo released a U.S.-flagged cargo ship and its captain after investigating an undeclared weapon found on the vessel, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said.

"A check was made of a gun that had not been declared and the judge decided to free the captain and allow the ship to leave," he said in an aside during a press conference called by President Hugo Chavez.

U.S. diplomatic sources told Efe last week the Ocean Atlas had been ordered to remain in port at Maracaibo and that the ship's skipper had been taken into custody.

The captain was taken to the headquarters of Venezuela's Sebin intelligence service, Maracaibo newspaper Panorama said last Friday on its Web site.




Chilean court confirms Allende suicide on anniversary of coup


Judicial confirmation that Chilean President Salvador Allende took his own life during the military coup of Sept. 11, 1973, coincided with the 39th anniversary of what many in Latin America have come to refer to as "the first 9/11."

Chile's first rightist administration since the restoration of democracy in 1990 did not officially mark the anniversary of Gen. Augusto Pinochet's putsch.

Young militants in the capital neighborhood of San Bernardo observed the occasion by trying to attack a police post, while other protesters set fire to barricades on 11 de septiembre avenue in the Providencia district.

Leftist parties and civic organizations offered tributes to the victims of the military regime during a ceremony at the Salvador Allende monument, opposite the presidential palace.




Cuban dissident "weak" after her first day on hunger strike


Cuban dissident Marta Beatriz Roque said she feels "very weak" the day after going on a hunger strike to demand the release of an opposition prisoner.

"I'm feeling very low and I'm beginning to get the first symptoms of not having eaten, which I guess is because a diabetic has to eat every three hours," Roque told Efe.

The 67-year-old economist, who has stopped taking medication for her diabetes, thought Monday that she could suffer a diabetic coma in a space of 48 hours, but now said it could come earlier.

"Maybe I'll be in crisis sooner - the way I'm going I'm very near a crisis," she said.

Another 12 dissidents in different parts of the country are also on a hunger strike, including two that have only one kidney each and a third with cardiac problems.




Alan Gross' wife "devastated" after seeing him in Cuban prison


The wife of U.S. contractor Alan Gross expressed concerns about his health after visiting him in a Cuban prison.

"I am devastated by his appearance," Judy Gross said in a statement released Tuesday.

She said her husband has lost 47.7 kilos (105 pounds) and has developed degenerative arthritis and a mass behind his right shoulder blade.

"While his spirit remains strong, I fear he is not going to survive this terrible ordeal," Mrs. Gross said, pleading with Cuban President Raul Castro to "put an end to our anguish and let Alan come home."




Brazilian police occupy shantytown after massacre


Rio de Janeiro state police have occupied the Chatuba "favela," or shantytown, where drug traffickers massacred six young men and killed a police cadet in the past few days, Brazilian officials said.

About 100 officers from special units took up positions early Tuesday at the roads leading into Chatuba, which is in the Rio suburb of Mesquita.

The police units were supported by armored cars provided by the navy, officials said.

No shots were fired and officers launched a search for the members of the gang suspected of being behind the killings that occurred in the area recently.




Army kills 7 gunmen in northeast Mexico


At least seven suspected gunmen died in a shootout with soldiers in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, officials said.

The shootout started around 6:30 p.m. Monday when soldiers encountered a group of gunmen traveling in three vehicles, a Tamaulipas government official told Efe.

Seven bodies were found at the scene and unofficial reports said one of the dead gunmen may be Carlos Barriento, who was in charge of drug sales in the area for the Los Zetas cartel.