Friday, June 29, 2012

June 27-29: More Cubans Starting Small Businesses; Colosio Movie Released Before Election; Attempt to Recall Lima Mayor Fails

(Subscription required to read full articles. Click here for subscription information)
SourceMex, June 27, 2012

Assassination of Ex-Presidential Candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio Featured in New Movie
 * Movie puts PRI in bad light
 * Could timing of movie affect July 1 elections?

U.S. Supreme Court Throws Out Most of Arizona’s Controversial Anti-Immigrant Law, but Allows Controversial Provision to Stand
 * Court upholds federal authority to determine immigration policy
 * Mexican government less than enthusiastic

NotiCen,June 28, 2012

Thousands of Cubans Cut Umbilical Cord with State Through Self-Employment
 * From inflated workforce to self-employed
 * Subsistence on the state’s margin

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega Uses Gains from Last Election to Change Rules for Next
 * New Election Rules
 * All Eyes On The CSE

NotiSur, June 29, 2012

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Benefits from Improved Relations with Colombia
 * FARC attack still unexplained
 * Candidates officially register, kick off campaigns
 * Chávez hits home run

Attempt in Peru to Recall Lima Mayor Susana Villarán Fails

 * A different administration
 * Supporters come out for Villarán

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 20-22: World Bank Ruling on Mining Hurts El Salvador; Bomb Attacks in Colombia; Mixed Progress on Tobacco Reduction in Mexico

(Subscription required to read full articles. Click here for subscription information)

SourceMex, June 20, 2012

Pacific Alliance, Group of 20 Summits Boost Mexico’s International Prestige
 * Pacific Alliance becomes a reality
 * Mexico hosts G20 meeting in Los Cabos
 * Calderón holds personal meetings with European leaders, Obama

Mexico Reports Mixed Progress in Campaign to Reduce Tobacco Usage
 * Indoor ban helps reduce second-hand smoke
 * Still 11 million smokers
 * Tobacco lobby fights back

NotiCen, June 21, 2012

Costa Rica’s Judiciary Reports First Drop in Homicide Rate in Six Years; Minister’s Goal is Eliminating Epidemic
 * Figures show movement in right direction
 * Success result of two changes

World Bank Allows Canadian Miner To Keep Pursing El Salvador’s Gold
 * Both sides claim victory
 * Fourth activist murdered
 * Calls for a legislature-approved mining ban

NotiSur, June 22, 2012

Former Allies Strike to Send Message to Bolivian President Evo Morales
 * Doctors first to walk out, others follow
 * Vice president explains highway's importance

Colombian Capital Rocked by Bomb Attack, Rumors of Coup Plots
 * Disturbing emails revealed
 " In Colombia, anything can happen"

Friday, June 15, 2012

June 13-15: Panamanian President Martinelli Highly Unpopular, Chile's President Piñera Rebounds; Mexico to Launch New TV Networks

(Subscription required to read full articles. Click here for subscription information)

SourceMex, June 13, 2012

Students Add New Dynamic to Presidential Race, but PRI Remains Ahead in Polls
 * Second debate fails to change status quo
 * López Obrador gains in one poll, but is still far behind in others
 * #YoSoy132 gains momentum on Twitter

Federal Telecommunications Commission Moves Forward with Plan to Create New Television Networks in Mexico
 * Auction might not start for at least six months
 * Could Carlos Slim and TELMEX enter the bidding?

NotiCen, June 14, 2012

President Ricardo Martinelli Is Panama’s Most Unpopular President, Says Recent Poll
 * Corruption scandals and political ambition
 * The economy grows, social and political tension persists

Honduran Civil-Society Leader Says Murder of Journalists Reflects General Deterioration in Human Rights
 * Human rights abusers now in public office
 * Killing could be political message

NotiSur, June 15, 2012

Argentina Passes Far-Reaching Gender-Identity, Death-with-Dignity Laws
 * Changes began in 2009
 * Death-with-dignity law has wide support
 * Right to withhold nutrition and hydration had some opposition
 * Self-determination key in gender identity

Popularity Bounce For Chile’s Apologetic President Sebastián Piñera
 * One protest after another
 * "People object to his personality"
 * Betting on a bridge to Chiloé

Friday, June 8, 2012

June 6-8: Drug Cartel Attacks Business in Mexico; HIV/AIDS Discrimination Against Latin American Women; Changes at Inter-American Human Rights Court

(Subscription required to read full articles. Click here for subscription information)

SourceMex, June 6, 2012

Drug Cartel Damages Property of Leading Corporation, Raising Concerns that Large Businesses Might Now be Targets
 * Cartel accuses company of allowing trucks to be used for spying
 * Extortion also cited as possible motive
 * Government says attacks isolated, but businesses alarmed

Mexico Sells Large Shipment of Heavy Crude to Indian State-Run Refining Company
 * Purchase might have displaced Iranian crude
 * Mexico Falls Behind Saudi Arabia in crude-oil sales to US

NotiCen, June 7, 2012

Latin American Women Suffering from HIV/AIDS Battle Prejudice and Discrimination
 * Discrimination at home and in workplace
 * Deficiencies in access to health care

Rape, the Silenced Crime in Guatemala
 * Victims afraid to speak out
 * Rape is a medical emergency
 * Seeking justice

NotiSur, June 8, 2012

Changes at Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Could Open Door to Impunity in Ecuador
 * Strategy to control the IACHR
 * The proposed reforms

Problems Widespread in Prisons Throughout Region
 * Inmates serving double sentences
 * Overcrowding the norm throughout region
 * State neglect and public apathy

Friday, June 1, 2012

Huichol Indians Gain Protected Status for Sacred Lands in San Luis Potosí

ISSN: 1054-8890
LADB Article ID: 78622
Category/Department: Mexico
Date: 2012-05-30
By: Carlos Navarro

Indigenous-rights and environmental activists scored a major victory when the Mexican government denied a permit for Canada’s First Majestic Silver Corporation to develop a mine in the ancestral lands of the Huichol Indians, also known as the Wixárika.  The decision was symbolic because the Canadian company had already announced its intention not to proceed with the mining project.  The move opened the door for the Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB) to declare the area known as Wirikuta in San Luis Potosí part of a wider protected area for the Huichol.  The specific location designated for protection is known as Cerro Quemado, a mountain where the Huichol believe the sun was born.  The Huichol, who are scattered across several states in central Mexico, still conduct ceremonies and make an annual pilgrimage to the Wirikuta reserve near the town of Real de Catorce.

First Majestic Silver's plan to develop a silver-mining complex in the Real de Catorce desert had met with strong opposition from the start, with Huichol activists objecting to the project because of concerns about the impact on the land that has been part of their cultural patrimony.  A declaration signed by 10 Huichol leaders from Jalisco, Nayarit, and Durango states in the fall of 2010 demanded immediate cancellation of First Majestic’s mining concession and application of a moratorium on exploration or exploitation in the Real de Catorce desert or any other area sacred to the Huichol peyote pilgrimage that traverses several states (SourceMex, May 4, 2011).

Canadian mining company cedes land back to government 
First Majestic—which operates mines in Coahuila, Durango, and Jalisco states—had lobbied the Mexican government to allow the company to proceed with the project.  As part of its argument, the Canadian company had pointed to its awards for safe mines, clean industry, and socially responsible business practices.  Furthermore, the company had promised that its operations at Real de Catorce would be "totally undetectable by human settlements on surface" and that all work carried out would follow "strict standards that will be eco-friendly and subject to all environmental rules and regulations."

In the end, First Majestic heeded the objections of indigenous-rights and environment activists and agreed to abandon efforts to develop mining projects in 22 of the properties in San Luis Potosí in areas that are sacred to the Huichol.  The Canadian company then ceded those concessions to the Mexican government so it could declare them a protected area.  Juan Carlos González, an attorney for First Majestic’s Mexican subsidiary Minera Real Bonanza, said the Canadian company was not asking for any compensation for the land it was ceding to the Mexican government.  "We are very happy that we are able to reach this agreement," González said in a radio interview.  "We ceded 761 hectares in this area, by which we can guarantee the protection of these sacred sites."

The decision by the Canadian company to surrender its concessions and the government’s announcement that the area will be protected came just days before a planned protest concert in Mexico City urging the preservation of the Huichol’s sacred lands.

The Huichol have faced other violations of their ancestral lands, including the construction of hydroelectric dams on their territory (SourceMex, Sept. 14, 2005).

"Rather than attribute the move to the social sensibility of the Canadian government or the good intention and commitment of federal authorities to cancel mining concessions in Wirikuta, the move is a reflection of the power of pressure, mobilization, and public opinion [to effect change]," the Mexico City daily newspaper La Jornada said in an editorial.

Wide area to be protected 
The Wirikuta is part of a wider area of 140,000 ha that the government has declared a protected region (Reserva Ecológica Natural y Cultural).  The area includes the municipalities of Catorce, Charcas, Matehuala, Villa de Guadalupe, Villa de La Paz, and Villa de Ramos.

Interior Secretary Alejandro Poiré Romero said the decision guarantees that the entire region will be protected from any future mining.  "This is a historic and significant step in the effort to defend the rights of the Wixárika communities of our country and, at the broader level, all indigenous peoples in Mexico," said Poiré.  He said there are 15.7 million people who belong to indigenous communities in Mexico.

The government formalized the designation of Wirikuta with a document presented to Eleuterio de la Cruz and Rodolfo Salvador López, representatives of the Huichol communities in Jalisco, Zacatecas, Durango, and Nayarit.

The Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB) will continue to oversee the process, coordinating efforts by all federal, state, and municipal agencies to maintain protections for the sacred land of the Huichol Indians.  But other government ministries, such as the Secretaría de la Reforma Agraria (SRA) and the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT), are contributing to the preservation efforts.  The SRA has conducted extensive mapping studies that support the area’s historic and cultural patrimony, while SEMARNAT will monitor environmental protection and preservation of the region’s natural habitat.

While lauding the move by First Majestic and the government, La Jornada called for authorities to go a step further and examine the policies that allowed concessions of these lands in the first place.  "We cannot delay a review of the legal framework that made it possible to turn over millions of hectares of national territory, in return for almost nothing, to the predatory mining companies," said the newspaper.  "We need to prevent a repeat of situations like Wirikuta."