Thursday, January 31, 2013

Critical Situation for Brazil's Indigenous Peoples; Mexican Cane Growers Take Processing Mills; Mixed Situation for Nicaragua Public Education

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen, and NotiSur for Jan. 30-Feb. 1

Supreme Court Panel Rules that French Citizen Florence Cassez's Civil Rights Were Violated, Orders Her Release
The controversial case of French citizen Florence Cassez appears to have finally come to a conclusion following the decision by a high court (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, SCJN) panel to release her from prison because her civil rights were violated. The court emphasized that its decision did not address the merits of the kidnapping charges against Cassez but only the violation of her civil rights and the inappropriate actions by authorities following her arrest. - Carlos Navarro   Read More

Increasingly Critical Situation for Brazil's Indigenous Peoples
Brazil again made headlines in the international press during the entire month of January because of the controversy surrounding the Rio de Janeiro government's decision to raze the Aldeia Maracanã, a building that once housed the Museu do Índio. Indigenous families have lived in the building for years, and the Rio government called on the courts to evict them. Indigenous organizations and civil society throughout Brazil and other countries condemned the attitude of Rio de Janeiro Gov. Sérgio Cabral. The still-unresolved episode is a perfect example of how the country, including the press, still does not understand the way of life, the thinking, and the culture of the first inhabitants of Brazil. - José Pedro Martins   Read More

National Security Response to Crisis with Nicaragua Creates Corruption Scandal in Costa Rica
The territorial dispute that broke out in October 2010 between Costa Rica and Nicaragua set off a chain of actions and reactions by both sides, including the showdown at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where the case has been under study since early 2011. In Costa Rica, a corruption scandal has emerged in relation to a road that was built on the Costa Rican side of the disputed territory. Allegations of irregular handing of construction funds and poor quality of construction have pronted the arrest of several public and private-sector officials. -  George Rodríguez   Read More

Uruguay's President José Mujica's Simplicity Draws Attention Around the Globe
An austere lifestyle has gained Uiuguay's President José "Pepe" Mujica interntional notoriety, with newspapers around the globe requesting interviews with the 78-year-old South American leader. Mujica has no bodyguards, drives himself in his 1971 car, gives 90% of his salary to build low-cost housing, dresses with unusual simplicity, likes to sit and eat with his aides (or alone) in any ordinary bar near the government house, still lives in his modest house in a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of the Uruguayan capital, and cooks his own meals. - Andrés Gaudín    Read More

Enrollment Is Up, but Quality Problems Persist in Nicaragua’s Public Schools
When Nicaragua’s public schools open their doors next month for the new academic year, 2,500 students and an equal number of teachers will show up for their first day of class on shiny new mountain bikes. The "lucky" recipients can thank the administration of President Daniel Ortega, which is distributing the bikes free of charge as a way to keep impoverished rural students--who would otherwise have to walk at least 3 km to their respective schools--from dropping out. Critics dismiss the project as a "band-aid" measure that has little real value beyond the public-relations buzz it generates for the Ortega administration and its corporate partner, the telecommunications giant Claro - Benjamin Witte-Lebhar   Read More

Sugar Prices Fall Sharply in Mexico, Prompting Sugarcane Growers to Demand Restrictions on Corn-Syrup Imports, Guaranteed Price from Government
A bumper sugarcane harvest and steady imports of competing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from the US are making life difficult for Mexico’s sugarcane growers. With prices falling sharply, the Confederación Nacional Campesina (CNC) and related organizations like the Unión Nacional de Productores de Caña (UNPC) decided to take matters into their own hands in January. Sugarcane growers set up protests and partially took over Mexico’s 54 mills to demand action from President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration, including the imposition of a limit on HFCS imports and the implementation of a guaranteed price for sugarcane. - Carlos Navarro   Read More

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