Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mexico Removes Corrupt Judge; Private Cities Ruled Unconstitutional in Honduras; Uruguay Decriminalizes Abortion

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SourceMex, October 31, 2012

On Oct. 25, Mexico’s judicial oversight council (Consejo de la Judicatura Federal, CJF) announced that federal Judge Efraín Cázares López would be permanently relieved of his duties for "serious offenses in his judicial duties." Judge Cázares, who was suspended in June pending an investigation, issued a controversial ruling ordering the release of 10 mayors and dozens of public officials in Michoacán state accused of collaborating with La Familia drug cartel in 2009. -Carlos Navarro

In late October, President Felipe Calderón inaugurated three new wind-power projects in Oaxaca, adding another 300 megawatts of wind-generated capacity to the state. With the three new facilities—Piedra Larga, Oaxaca I, and La Venta III---the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, known for its favorable wind conditions, now has more than a dozen power plants. The expansion of wind energy is part of the Calderón government’s plan to greatly expand the use of renewable energy in Mexico and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. So far this year, Mexico has more than doubled its installed wind-power capacity to about 1.3 gigawatts from 519 MW last year. In contrast, Mexico produced only 6 MW of wind power when Calderón took office in December 2006. -Carlos Navarro

NotiCen, November 1, 2012

In general, women--and girls, for that matter--in Haiti have historically been, at best, second-class citizens, culturally seen as fit only for household work and assigned the role of sexual object with no rights, a context in which abuse comes naturally and goes unpunished. Gender-based violence in homes has been coupled with sexual violence as political repression by dictatorial régimes in this French- and Creole-speaking Caribbean island nation. Years of violence were the framework for "widespread and systematic rape and other sexual violence against girls," according to the international nongovernmental organization (NGO) Human Rights Watch (HRW). UN reports also revealed that criminal gangs used threats and actual sexual violence to terrorize Haitian communities. -George Rodríguez  

The idea to build private cities began gathering momentum early this year, after the Congress passed the bill in 2011 creating the Redes Especiales de Desarrollo (RED)--better known as ciudades modelos (model cities)--opening the way for foreign investors to come in and start building what, in their English version, are known as charter cities. But the RED was struck down by the Honduran Supreme Court, which ruled that the law was unconstitutional. -George Rodríguez

NotiSur, November 2, 2012

Argentina's Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación (CSJN) put an end to the legal delays by powerful media conglomerate Grupo Clarín and set Dec. 7 as the deadline by which it will have to comply with provisions of the communications law (Ley de Servicios de Comunicación Audiovisual). This means that, instead of 254 stations (over-the-air and cable TV channels, AM and FM radio stations), it will have only 34. The media giant will have to decide which outlets it will retain and which it will dispose of, and the government will auction off broadcasting licenses for the freed-up frequencies to individuals and nonprofit entities. -Andrés Gaudín

 Both houses of the Uruguayan legislature have now passed an abortion law (Ley de Interrupción Voluntaria del Embarazo, IVE) allowing any woman--adolescent or adult--to have an abortion during the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy by making her decision known to the national health care system (Sistema Nacional Integrado de Salud, SNIS), which includes public and private health providers. The law, which the Senate approved on Oct. 17, was signed five days later by President José Mujica and lacks only its enabling regulations to go into effect. -Andrés Gaudín

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