Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mixed Ruling on Colombia-Nicaragua Dispute; Controversial Fisheries Law in Chile; Passenger Trains Returning to Mexico

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen, and NotiSur for Dec. 12-14

World Court Wades Into Nicaragua-Colombia Maritime Border Dispute
                                  A long-anticipated International Court of Justice (ICJ)ruling that was supposed to settle a decades-old maritime boundary dispute between Nicaragua and Colombia has instead riled relations further still for the two countries. When it came to the water around those islands, however, the ICJ ruled very much in favor of Nicaragua, nearly doubling the country’s Caribbean claims by extending its maritime border well east of the 82nd meridian, a de facto boundary line imposed for years by Colombia.

 -Benjamin Witte-Lebhar     Read More

Colombia President Negotiates With Rebels but ContinuesMilitary Offensive
Since Nov. 18, and after a half century of a bloody internal war, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrillas have been in Havana negotiating the terms by which they might finally end the fighting and return the country to longed-for peace. In addition, since March, a few days after the secret meetings in Havana began, the government has been pushing for congressional passage of a constitutional reform to expand military jurisdiction, transferring to military courts all crimes involving military personnel. In the end, the government gave in on some points, but that did not satisfy any of the agencies and organizations that harshly criticized the idea. -Andrés Gaudín   Read More

Chile: Corporate-Friendly Fisheries Bill Sparks Protests, Divides Opposition
Against the objections of artisan fishers, environmental groups, and some opposition lawmakers, Chile’s Congress is inching closer toward approving a controversial government-backed overhaul of the country’s fisheries regulations. Following its approval late last month in the Senate, the new Ley de Pesca now heads back to the Camarade Diputados, which approved an earlier version of the bill in July. President Sebastián Piñera is hoping the lower house will complete the parliamentary Ping-Pong process by the end of the year, when Chile’s current fisheries law--in place since 2001--is set to expire. -Benjamin Witte-Lebhar    Read More

President Enrique Peña Nieto Proposes Plan to Restore Passenger Trains to Mexico

President Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed an ambitious plan to restore intercity passenger-rail service in Mexico after a hiatus of nearly two decades. Under the president's plan, the government will begin by establishing three rail routes, one connecting Mexico City with the industrial hub of Querétaro, a second one linking the capital with Toluca, and a third high-speed line that would span a large portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. -Carlos Navarro    Read More

Government Offers Major Reform to Public Education; Measure Would Also Curb Power of Teachers Union

A constitutional reform addressing education is not a topic that normally would make the top headlines of Mexican newspapers. But the changes proposed on Dec. 10 in the Congress have far-reaching political implications, not only because of the broad support from all major political parties but also because the initiative has the effect of ending the stranglehold that the powerful teachers union (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación, SNTE), and specifically its longtime leader Elba Esther Gordillo, has had on Mexico’s educational policies. -Carlos Navarro   Read More

Leaked Emails Lift Lid on Corruption in Administration of Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli

Exactly one year ago, the Panamanian media published a series of incriminating emails detailing how government officials had accepted bribes from Italian businessman Valter Lavítola, CEO of the Finmeccanica corporation, which was awarded a US$250 million contract to refurbish the country’s decaying prisons. The coverage was based on leaked emails from opposition leader Balbina Herrera of the leftist Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD). Herrera and Mauro Velocci, CEO of the Italian corporation Svemark now face prosecution for leaking the information to the press and are accused of committing a breach of secrecy and violating President Ricardo Martinelli’s right to privacy.  -Louisa Reynolds    Read More

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