Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sept. 12-14: Central American Investment Woes; Indigenous Rights in Colombia; CIA Agents Targerted in Mexico

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SourceMex, September 12, 2012

On Aug. 24, officers from the Mexican federal police (Policía Federal, PF) fired shots at an automobile with diplomatic license plates, and there was major confusion as to why the shots were fired in the first place.It turns out that the vehicle was carrying three agents from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and that the incident occurred in an area where drug traffickers are known to operate. But many questions remain unanswered about the incident, which caused a major embarrassment for President Felipe Calderón's administration.

Aeroméxico and US-based Delta Airlines have announced plans to construct a new aircraft-maintenance center in the industrial park in Querétaro state, which in recent years has become the hub for Mexico’s aviation industry. But the construction of the new facility at the Querétaro airport (Aeropuerto Intercontinental de Querétaro) requires the two companies to abandon an existing facility at the Guadalajara airport (Aeropuerto Internacional de Guadalajara Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla). The decision to leave the Guadalajara site, which was in large measure the result of a dispute about land-use rights, has caused great concern to the Jalisco state government, which is concerned about the economic implications, including a negative signal to potential investors and an increase in unemployment among workers not willing to relocate to Querétaro. 

NotiCen, September 13, 2012

Guatemala and other countries in the region--such as El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Honduras--are wrestling with the question of how to promote and retain foreign investment. The problem is that many foreign investors take actions that force these countries to compete with each other. The notion that foreign capital will flee the country if it does not offer better investment conditions than its neighbors--such as low wages and generous tax breaks--appears to be a common fear among Central American business leaders and politicians.

A few hours into this month, the Honduran unicameral Congreso Nacional passed a decree banning possession of guns in part of the northern region. The measure specifically applies to the northern department of Colón, where the violence-stricken area of Bajo Aguán, the stage of a bloody land struggle, is located. The ban, passed Sept. 1 and in force as long as Congress does not decide otherwise--as the text specifically points out--applies to the local population of Colón, an Atlantic (Caribbean) department, but not to local large landowners’ security personnel.

NotiSur, September 14, 2012

Since early July, Colombia has been in an unusual situation. Worn down by an armed conflict that they do not relate to but which is being intensely fought on their lands, the Nasa or Páez indigenous group used sticks and stones to expel the military and the police sent by the government as well as the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrillas. The Nasa have lived in what today are the four strategic western departments along the Pacific coast (Nariño, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, and Chocó) since before the Spanish colonization in the 15th century. Before taking action, the indigenous addressed the parties involved. In their communication to the government, they demanded that President Juan Manuel Santos come to their territory to "negotiate the withdrawal of troops." They told the FARC to "get off of our lands."

In its Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, issued in March 2012, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said murders, extrajudicial executions, and forced disappearances of activists were on the rise. It called such crimes "one of the most serious obstacles to the exercise of promoting and protecting human rights." The IAHCR singled out three South American countries where the situation is especially serious—Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela—along with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.

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