Thursday, January 17, 2013

Controversial Chinese Project in Mexico; Preview of Paraguay Elections; Aftermath of Guatemala Earthquake

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen, and NotiSur for Jan. 16-18

Chinese Government-Sponsored Trade, Commercial Project in Quintana Roo Draws Strong Opposition in Mexico

A planned megaproject near Cancún, sponsored in part by the Chinese government, has drawn strong opposition from a number of federal and state legislators and has caused a split in the Mexican business community. Furthermore, the Dragon Mart project, modeled after a similar complex in Dubai, has put President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration in a predicament. The controversy about the facility comes at a time when the Mexican government is promoting former trade secretary Herminio Blanco to head the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Carlos Navarro     Read More
IACHR Orders El Salvador To Investigate Three-Decade-Old El Mozote Massacre
An international court ruling on the infamous 1981 El Mozote massacre has put new pressure on Salvadoran authorities to stop turning a blind eye to widespread human rights violations committed during the country’s dozen-year civil war (1980-1992). The ruling, published early last month by the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), ruled against the state of El Salvador for its role in the macabre events of Dec. 11-13, 1981, when members of the Army’s now-defunct Atlacatl Battalion slaughtered hundreds of campesinos in and around the remote eastern village of El Mozote. The IACHR described the three-day massacre as part of a "systematic plan of repression" and found the state "responsible for the violation of the right to life and the right to personal integrity and private property." - Benjamin Witte-Lebhar    Read More
Petition Asks U.S. Government to Stem Flow of High-Caliber Weapons to Mexico
Just days before US President Barack Obama unveiled a package to reduce gun violence in the US, US Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne received a petition from nearly 54,000 Mexican and US residents urging the US government to take more decisive steps to stem the flow of high-caliber weapons to Mexico. Most signatures on the petition addressed to Obama, US Vice President Joe Biden, and Wayne were gathered in Mexico by the victim’s right’s organization Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad (MPJD) and other Mexican groups like Incide Social and Evolución Mexicana. Some signatures were obtained by US partners, including the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Center for International Policy (CIP).  - Carlos Navarro   Read More
Paraguay Looks Ahead to Presidential Elections
In three months, Paraguay will hold a presidential election, called by the de facto regime to clean up its image. The regime was deeply damaged internationally by the hasty June 22, 2012, coup, in which all political parties participated, that toppled the constitutional, democratic government of President Fernando Lugo. Barring a political tsunami, businessman Horacio Cartes will win the election. Multiple accusations and testimonies allege that Cartes amassed his fortune and "paid for" his recent full-bore entrance into politics with proceeds from money laundering and smuggling. - Andrés Gaudín   Read More
Guatemala in Aftermath of November Earthquake
San Marcos, one of the departments in Guatemala with the highest rates of poverty, suffered the most damage from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that occurred in the Central American country on Nov. 7. The quake killed 44 people. The Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de los Desastres (CONRED) says that 33,951 people had to be evacuated after the earthquake, 32,797 homes and 286 schools were damaged, and 11 schools were destroyed. Although President Otto Pérez Molina promised a swift and efficient reconstruction operation, aid has slowly trickled through to San Marcos’ impoverished communities. - Louisa Reynolds   Read More
Criticism of Anti-Terrorism Bill in Peru
The possible approval of a bill to criminalize denying terrorist acts or inciting others to commit such acts has received significant criticism from those who consider it ineffective as well as from those who see it as violating freedom of speech. The law would set a prison sentence of 6 to 12 years for anyone who "publicly approves of, justifies, denies, or minimizes the acts of terrorist organizations" that have received a final court judgment as well as anyone who incites others to commit terrorist acts. The full Congress must debate the bill, but the last plenary session ended on Dec. 14 without a debate and legislators are now in recess until March.   - Elsa Chanduví Jaña   Read More

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