Thursday, January 24, 2013

Region's Indigenous Leaders Demand Voice; LGBT Civl Unions in Chile; Victims' Compensation Law Enacted in Mexico

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen, and NotiSur for Jan. 23-25

Region's Indigenous Leaders Demand to Be Heard

As large-scale oil, mining, and infrastructure projects go ahead and anger swells across the region’s indigenous communities, it is hardly surprising that the right to prior consultation was the main issue on the agenda during the 10th Indigenous Fund Assembly, which took place in Guatemala City and began on Nov. 26. "In Latin America, indigenous peoples' opinion has been perpetually ignored," said Guatemalan Minister of Culture Carlos Batzín during the opening session. - Louisa Reynolds   Read More


Victims’ Compensation Law Goes Into Effect in Mexico
An an unprecedented law requiring the government to compensate victims of violent crime went into effect in January when President Enrique Peña Nieto dropped a legal challenge to the measure filed by t his predecessor, former President Felipe Calderón. The new law mandates creating a relief fund, a national registry of crime victims (Sistema Nacional de Atención a Víctimas), and a special commission to oversee these efforts (Comisión Ejecutiva de Atención a Víctimas).  - Carlos Navarro    Read More

Clock Is Ticking on Chilean President’s Push for Same-Sex Civil Unions
President Sebastián Piñera has proven to be an unlikely ally for Chile’s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, most notably by overseeing passage last year of the Ley Zamudio, an equal-rights law that had been promised--but never delivered--by his more leftist predecessors. The conservative leader could cement his legacy as a gay-rights pioneer by making good on a campaign pledge to legalize same-sex civil unions. With just a year remaining in his term, however, time is running out. - Benjamin Witte-Lebhar   Read More

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Unable to Attend Swearing In
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced on Dec. 8 that his health had taken a turn for the worse and that he would have to undergo a fourth operation in Havana, Cuba. He asked Venezuelans, if it became necessary to call new elections, to vote for Foreign Minister and Vice President Nicolás Maduro. Since that time, various sources have begun to predict an uncertain and unstable future for the Caribbean nation. -Andrés Gaudín     Read More
President Enrique Peña Nieto Launches Ambitious Program to Eliminate Hunger in Mexico

President Enrique Peña Nieto has launched an ambitious campaign to eliminate hunger in Mexico, with initial efforts targeted at 7.4 million people living in extreme poverty. But critics say the program--which will be initially implemented in the 400 poorest municipalities in Mexico--is a shallow measure that will not address the root cause of poverty in Mexico. Under the program, the government will fund food assistance and basic services to the 400 poorest municipalities in the country. A large number of the extremely poor municipalities are in the south, including in the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, and Oaxaca. And many are in primarily indigenous communities. - Carlos Navarro     Read More

Honduran Magistrates Opposed to Police-Purge Law Sacked by Congress; They Appeal to Supreme Court
The Honduran Congress passed a decree on May 24, 2012, that unleashed a complex series of events--as series of events usually are in this Central American nation. The measure, which was ratified by President Porfirio Lobo, implemented a system to purge corrupt police. But in November, a court ruled the law unconstitutional. This prompted the Congress to dismiss four magistrates, which added fuel to the controversy. An appeal was filed, and the complex case is now in the judiciary’s hands. - George Rodríguez      Read More

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