Thursday, March 14, 2013

Colombia Peace Talks; French Award for Mexico Journalist; Third Candidate in El Salvador Election

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen, and NotiSur for March 13-15

Ecuador Re-Elects President Rafael Correa
The results of the Feb. 17 Ecuadoran elections, more than just re-electing President Rafael Correa for a third four-year term and electing a legislature under his control, reveal the total fragmentation of leftist political forces and threaten advances in protecting rights achieved through the 2008 Asamblea Constituyente. Correa achieved an overwhelming victory, capturing 57.79% of the votes, while conservative Guillermo Lasso polled a distant second, with 22.26%. The other six presidential candidates together took only 19.88%. Among them was Alberto Acosta, representing the Unidad Plurinacional de las Izquierdas, who received just 3.22%. The results eliminated the need for a runoff, re-electing Correa in the first round.  -Luis Ángel Saavedra    Read More

ILO Lauds Dominican Republic's Effort to Eradicate Child Labor 
The steps taken by the Dominican Republic to eradicate child labor served as a good example during a meeting by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Colombia in late February. These actions include Decree 144-97, which was enacted to set up local, provincial, and municipal committees to prevent and eradicate child labor. Local media reported that the Unidad para Combatir el Trabajo Infantil, a Ministry of Labor dependency to combat child labor, explained its good practices (Buenas Prácticas para Prevenir el Trabajo Infantil) in Colombia. The Ministry of Labor said these policies have been applied through the 43 local committees that have been set up "so that local communities can rally around the issue and can be empowered in the fight against child labor." -Crosby Girón Read More

El Salvador's Ex-President Antonio Saca To Compete For His Old Job
Ex-President Antonio Saca (2004-2009) has maneuvered his way back into political relevancy as head of a new "movement" bent on breaking the duopoly of El Salvador’s primary parties. During a rally held Feb. 25 in San Salvador, Saca announced plans to represent the nascent Movimiento Unidad in next February’s presidential election, when he will test his luck against popular San Salvador Mayor Norman Quijano of the far-right Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA) and current Vice President Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the leftist Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN). Quijano, who enjoys an early lead in the polls, and Sánchez Cerén were selected to represent their respective parties late last year   Benjamin Witte-Lebhar Read More

Governing Party Now Open to Adding Value-Added Tax to Food and Medicines in Fiscal-Reform Package
In a move that could signal President Enrique Peña Nieto’s strategy on tax reform, the governing Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) removed language from its statutes that prohibited imposing a value-added tax (impuesto al valor agregado, IVA) on food and medicines. The decision, which followed a vote by delegates attending the PRI’s national congress in early March, provides the president with a free hand in determining how to move forward with reforms to Mexico’s outdated tax structure. But the PRI was careful to note that the decision in no way suggested that the party was going forward with an increase in the IVA for food and medicines. -Carlos Navarro Read More

Despite Stumbling Blocks, Colombian Peace Talks Limp Along
While Colombians continue to show their commitment to ending an internal armed conflict that has lasted a half century and cost hundred of thousands of lives, the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrillas continue conversations toward that end, but without any signs of wanting to open the dialogue to all actors in the drama. -Andrés Gaudín   Read More

French Government Recognizes Mexican Journalist Lydia Cacho for Her Work to Promote Rights of Women and Girls
On International Women’s Day on March 8, the French government awarded Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho the prestigious Knight of the Legion of Honor for her work on behalf of children’s and women’s rights and for her contribution to freedom of expression. The recognition of Cacho is one of the few bright spots for Mexican journalists, who remain under siege from drug traffickers and organized crime. In early March, the Zócalo newspaper group, which publishes several dailies in Coahuila state, said its coverage of organized crime would stop to avoid further risk to members of the editorial staff and their families. The decision came the same day a statement was released by the Miami-based Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), which said attacks on journalists have not diminished during the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto. -Carlos Navarro  Read More

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