Thursday, February 7, 2013

Coca Leaf in Bolivia; El Salvador Fights Multinational Mining Company; Explosion at PEMEX Headquarters in Mexico

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen, and NotiSur for Feb. 6-8

Bolivia Rejoins UN's Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs
In an unprecedented recognition of the ancient culture of native peoples of the Americas, on Jan. 11, the UN accepted a demand from Bolivia, which had been working hard since mid-2011 for recognition of Bolivians' right to chew coca leaf (aculliar), a common practice among Andean communities. After the UN body refused to modify Article 49 of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs--which criminalizes coca-leaf chewing and classifies the plant as a narcotic--Bolivia withdrew from the agreement . After Bolivia modified its original demand, 169 of the 184 countries that signed the Single Convention agreed that, in Bolivia, chewing coca leaf is a cultural custom.  - Andrés Gaudín   Read More

Colombia's Attorney General's Office Reopens Investigation into Former President Álvaro Uribe's Links to Paramilitaries
In the midst of a relatively peaceful spring in which the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) observed a unilateral cease-fire, and, in Cuba, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC rebels continued some auspicious conversations to cement the peace, the nefarious parapolitica scandal returned to the forefront of Colombian institutional life Parapolitica is a popular term coined to describe the murky intrigue in which the interests of rightist politicians and criminal groups (drug traffickers and paramilitaries) overlapped.  - Andrés Gaudín  Read More

El Salvador Seeks International Help to Block Gold Mine in Guatemala
Desperate to ward off what they claim is a "slow and sure danger" to residents in El Salvador, frustrated opponents of Cerro Blanco--a Canadian-owned gold and silver mine under preparation just across the border in Guatemala--are now hoping for help from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).Óscar Luna, El Salvador’s attorney for the defense of human rights, revealed last month that his office is seeking a "special audience" to broach the issue with the Washington, DC-based IACHR. Luna, a vocal opponent of the Cerro Blanco project, made the announcement while presenting a 100-page special report outlining the mine’s potential hazards. Benjamin Witte-Lebhar    Read More

Huge Explosion Rocks Administrative Headquarters of State-Run Oil Company PEMEX in Mexico City; Gas Leak Apparent Cause
A fatal explosion at the PEMEX administrative complex in Mexico City has raised new questions about the ability of the state-run oil company to provide a secure environment at its facilities—even those not directly involved in the production of hydrocarbons. The incident, which occurred on Jan. 31 in the basement of the B2 Building of the PEMEX Tower, destroyed three floors and killed at least 36 people. More than 120 people were injured, including some critically. -  Carlos Navarro     Read More

Geologists Discover Huge Aquifer in Southeastern Area of Mexico City
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Mancera’s administration started the year with a promising announcement for the beleaguered residents of the Mexican capital who have endured numerous water shortages and face the prospect of water scarcities in the future. On Jan. 21, the Mexico City government said a team of geologists had discovered a huge aquifer in the southeastern section of the city, near the city’s wholesale food and produce distribution center (Central de Abastos). The aquifer is 2,000 meters underground in the Iztapalapa borough, the most populated district in Mexico City. - Carlos Navarro   Read More

With Costa Rica at Its Helm for First Half of 2013, SICA Moves Toward Reform
The Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA) has come a long way since its origin in the 1950s and, in a drastically different regional political scene, is now in need of undergoing thorough change to be efficient, transparent, and equitable. So said the regional bloc’s leaders in the Joint Declaration they signed at the end of the ordinary summit meeting on Dec. 13, 2012, in Managua, the Nicaraguan capital. They ratified that position in their resolution closing their special meeting on Jan. 27.  - George Rodríguez  Read More

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