Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sept. 5-7: New Style of Coup Emerges in Latin America; Costa Rica Ponders Marijuana Policy; Enrique Peña Nieto Ratified as President-Elect

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SourceMex, September 5, 2012

On Aug. 31, Mexico’s electoral court (Tribunal Electoral del Poder Judicial de la Federación, TEPJF) officially declared Enrique Peña Nieto the victor in the July 1 presidential election. The announcement followed the TEPJF’s unanimous ruling the previous day that there was insufficient evidence to support the complaints by the center-left coalition Movimiento Progresista that Peña Nieto’s Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) engaged in a massive and illegal campaign of vote buying to win the election ). The TEPJF decision upheld Peña Nieto’s margin of victory of about 6.6% .

The sinking of a loading buoy off the seaport of Salina Cruz in Oaxaca state on Aug. 11 has contaminated several beaches in the area with spilled crude oil, endangering local wildlife and damaging the local fisheries and tourism industries. The environmental organization WILDCOAST/COSTASALVAJE said the spill from the buoy owned by the state-run oil company PEMEX killed at least two dozen Olive Ridley turtles during the nesting season.

NotiCen, September 6, 2012

Nine bills aimed at legalizing marijuana, written by citizens, have been waiting in line, some for as long three years, at Costa Rica’s unicameral Asamblea Legislativa (AL) for legislators to look into and promote them. So far, the 57 AL deputies have ignored the initiatives. In this Central American nation whose population is just over 4.3 million, smoking marijuana, despite being illegal, is not punished, unlike producing, selling, or trafficking the drug.

Michele Leonhart, head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), visited the Dominican Republic in early August. During Leonhart's trip, outgoing President Leonel Fernández bestowed her with a special distinction as a token of thanks for her government’s support for the country’s efforts to eradicate drug trafficking. However, even though Leonhart spoke of the Dominican government's efforts in fighting drug trafficking, many analysts said that statements made only two weeks earlier by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano betray deeper concerns about this issue.

NotiSur, September 7, 2012

Paraguay has just witnessed an event that marks the expansion of neogolpismo (neocoupism, a new style of coup) in 21st century Latin America. That is how various political analysts in Latin America, using almost the same words, described the June 22 institutional rupture that ended with the removal of democratic President Fernando Lugo ). Unlike the traditional coups led by the military, neogolpismo is formally less virulent, it is led directly by civilians (with the implicit support or explicit complicity of the armed forces), it maintains an institutional façade, it doesn't necessarily involve a power (the US), and it holds itself up as a solution to problems that, it says, the overthrown government did not know how to handle, said Brazilian academic and diplomat Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães..

A flurry of school occupations and street protests has provided a sudden burst of momentum to Chile’s student-led education-reform movement, which had lain conspicuously low in recent months following its tumultuous rise to prominence in 2011. Tens of thousands of students, families, teachers, union members, and others sympathetic to the cause gathered Aug. 28 in downtown Santiago to demand far-reaching changes to the country’s education system. Smaller protests took place in Concepción, Valparaíso, Puerto Montt, and other Chilean cities. Organizers estimated overall attendance for the marches at 180,000--proof, they said, that the movement is alive and well.

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