Thursday, August 30, 2012

Aug. 29-31: Are Tonton Macoutes Returning in Haiti?; Venezuela's Chávez Confident Before Election; Mexican Electoral Reforms Expected to Gain Momentum

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SourceMex, August 29, 2012

Calderón Administration in Nasty Dispute with Media Company in Effort to Recover Broadband-Spectrum Concessions

A nasty dispute between President Felipe Calderón’s administration and media giant MVS Comunicaciones regarding the allocation of radio spectrum has reopened a recent controversy dealing with freedom of speech and the dismissal and rehiring of a popular radio journalist.

Electoral Reforms Expected to Gain Momentum

Mexico’s high court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, SCJN) set the stage for the Mexican Congress to begin discussions about political and electoral reforms with a decision to allow Veracruz state to expand the term in office for mayors and other municipal elected officials to four years from the current three years. The SCJN’s decision could open the door for other changes in Mexico’s electoral and political structure when the Congress convenes in September. Some proposals that have been put forth in the past include the possibility of re-election, a runoff for the presidential election, and new laws that add transparency to campaign financing and establish severe penalties in cases of vote-buying.

NotiCen, August 30, 2012

Haiti’s complex internal-security situation has been stirred by the bold surfacing of a paramilitary group, an actual irregular army that is demanding that the Haitian armed forces--disbanded but not constitutionally abolished in 1995--be reinstated. Created in 1959 by François "Papa Doc" Duvaliet (1957-1971), the Tonton Macoutes (Haitian Creole for uncle bogeyman) came to life because of Duvalier’s fear that, after an attempted coup a year into his ruthless and corrupt régime, the military could eventually succeed in overthrowing him. Tonton Macoute is a Haitian mythological character who kidnaps children he catches in a burlap bag and later eats them.

Three months and seventeen rounds of negotiations later, things are finally back to "normal" in El Salvador, where a disagreement on high-court judge appointments triggered a drawn-out and debilitating showdown between the legislature and judiciary. President Mauricio Funes announced an end to the impasse on Aug. 19, explaining in a late-night press appearance that lawmakers had finally come up with a formula allowing the two protagonists in the crisis--the Corte Suprema de Justicia (CSJ) and the Asamblea Legislativa (AL)--to return to business as usual. The AL made the agreement official two days later, at last heeding CSJ demands that it reappoint two-thirds of the court’s judges. The agreement followed nearly a month of talks between party leaders.

NotiSur, August 31, 2012

Federico Franco, who replaced Fernando Lugo after a coup in June of this year, failed to take into account was that the three main rightist parties--the Colorados, the Unión Nacional de Ciudadanos Éticos (UNACE), and the Partido Patria Querida (PPQ)--staged a coup not to benefit him and his Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico (PLRA) but rather to reposition themselves with eyes on the April 2013 presidential elections and try to rid the field of any candidate that Lugo might back. .
Thirteen years after Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez first took office in February 1999, Venezuelans are poised to elect a new head of state for the 2013-2019 term. On Oct. 7, nearly 19 million Venezuelans will cast their ballot for one of seven candidates, although only two have a chance of being elected: Chávez, who has won 12 of the 13 elections, plebiscites, and referendums held during his 13 years in office, and Henrique Capriles Radonski, the candidate for the opposition Mesa de Unidad Democrático MUD) coalition..

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