Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cuba to Head Regional Group; Hati Quake Recovery Lags; Violence a Problem for Mexico Tourism

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen, and NotiSur for Feb. 13-15
Cuba to Head CELAC in Coming Year of Change
Santiago, Chile, was the stage, on Jan. 27-28, of two political events that will surely go down in the history of Latin American and Caribbean countries as noteworthy. First, the presidents and heads of state of the 33 countries of the region--speakers of Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French--participating in the first summit of the Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC), stood to pay an emotional tribute to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. And within hours, they applauded for more than two minutes when rightist Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, a conservative, handed the rotating pro tempore presidency to Cuban President Raúl Castro, a Marxist. - Andrés Gaudín     Read More

Is Ecuador's Social Participation an Illusion?
The Ecuadoran Constitution approved in 2008 is described as a guarantor or protective constitution because it incorporates various legal innovations to protect rights and social participation in political debate and public administration. Five years later, not all innovations seem to have met the objectives for which they were created, such as the two branches of government added to the traditional executive, legislative, and judicial branches that make up the general structure of the state.   - Luis Ángel Saavedra   Read More

Violence, Crime in Mexico Remain Obstacle to Growth of Foreign Tourism
While Mexican officials continue to put a positive spin on recent tourism trends, continuing violence remains a significant deterrent to potential foreign visitors. The contrast was especially clear in February, when Mexico received special recognition at the International Tourism Fair (Feria Internacional de Turismo, FITUR) in Madrid, Spain, for the design and effectiveness of its display. At the same time, two reports were releasd that month with updates that very much reinforced the perception of Mexico as an unsafe country. On top of that, an attack on a group of Spanish visitors in Acapulco, including the rape of six women, acted as a further deterrent to foreign tourists. - Carlos Navarro     Read More

Three Years After the Quake that Killed Hundreds of Thousands in Haiti, with 300,000 Still in Tents, a Question Arises--Where Is the Money?
On the third anniversary in January of the earthquake that killed 230,000 to 300,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless in Haiti, approximately 300,000 people are still lodged in tent cities. This, despite the international aid that profusely moved to this Caribbean island nation of some 9.1 million people, labeled the Americas' poorest country, where income for 78% of the people is less than US$2 per day. Reconstruction efforts, including massive housing, face obstacles because of the government’s lack of transparency and efficiency, as well as the absence of coordination between nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), according to various observers involved in assistance. - George Rodríguez   Read More

Guatemalan Army Colonel, Eight Soldiers Will Stand Trial for Totonicapán Massacre
Infantry Col. Juan Chiroy Sal and eight soldiers will stand trial for the killing of seven indigenous protestors in the highland department of Totonicapán, on Oct. 4, 2012. Angered by seemingly arbitrary price hikes imposed by British-owned electricity company ENERGUATE, indigenous leaders had erected two blockades on the Inter-American Highway Chiroy Sal, a member of the Segundo Escuadrón de Seguridad Ciudadana, did not heed a warning issued by deputy chief of police Hugo Catalán, who had informed him that the situation was already under control and that Army presence was not required. - Louisa Reynolds     Read More

Mexico Taking Low-Key Approach on Latest U.S. Immigration-Reform Initiatives
Momentum seems to have picked up in the US Congress for comprehensive immigration reform, but President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration appears content to take a wait-and-see stance in order not to rock the boat. This low-key approach was evident during Peña Nieto’s visit to Washington a few days before his Dec. 1 inauguration. At a joint appearance with US President Barack Obama, Peña Nieto said Mexicans "fully support" the idea of immigration reform. But he added, "More than demanding what you should do or shouldn't do, we do want to tell you that we want to contribute. We really want to participate with you." - Carlos Navarro    Read More

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