Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mexico Reacts to New Pope; Central America Farmers in Dire Plight; Uruguay Court Turns Back Human-Rights Gains

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen, NotiSur for March 20-22

Mixed Reactions in Mexico to Election of New Pope
The election of Jorge Bergoglio, a Jesuit cardinal from Argentina, as the next pope elicited many positive reactions in Mexico. The general consensus was that it was a good sign that Bergoglio came from a Latin American country, and the move by the new pontiff to take the name Pope Francis was also seen as positive because it signaled his commitment to put solidarity with the poor at the top of his agenda. But reactions were mixed on what his election meant for the future of the Catholic Church. There were questions about his age, and uncertainty of the stances he would take regarding other controversial matters.   Carlos Navarro   Read More

Lack of Investment in Rural Development Leaves Central American Farmers in Dire Plight
A lack of effective policies to boost rural development and allow farmers to find a place in the global economy has exacerbated inequalities between urban and rural areas in Central America, experts say. The solutions lie in a series of integral policies that include strategies to boost crop yields, improve access to credit, and democratize access to land.
  -Louisa Reynolds   Read More

Uruguay's Supreme Court Overturns Law Allowing Prosecution of Human Rights Violators
In just eight days, between Feb. 14 and 22, Uruguay's Suprema Corte de Justicia (SCJ) steamrolled over human rights, destroying what little had been accomplished in 28 years of democracy to judge crimes against humanity committed by state terrorism during the worst civilian-military dictatorship (1973-1985) in the country's history. First, the SCJ demoted without cause Judge Mariana Mota, who specialized in human rights, transferring her from criminal court to civil court. It then ruled unconstitutional Ley 18.831, according to which no statute of limitations could be applied to crimes committed during the dictatorship.   -Andrés Gaudín   Read More

Summertime Service Cuts Spur Talk Of "Renationalizing" Chile’s For-Profit Water Companies
Millions of Santiago residents were left high and quite literally dry in recent weeks by a series of water-service cuts that some Chilean citizens groups and politicians are calling a wake-up call on the perils of privatization. The first disruption hit the Chilean capital Jan. 21-22 after flooding from a heavy rainstorm flushed copious amounts of sediment into the Río Maipo, Santiago’s principal source of drinking water. The event forced Aguas Andinas, the city’s primary water-utility company, to temporarily shut three of its treatment plants and thus cut the water supply to an estimated 2 million residents. Complicating matters was the timing of the problem--at the height of the southern summer.
-Benjamin Witte-Lebhar    Read More 

Report Confirms Illegal Exports of Weapons to Mexico Have Continued at Steady Pace in Recent Years
A new report from the California-based Trans-Border Institute (TBI) has found that an increasing percentage of firearms sales in the US are actually smaller caliber weapons destined to be smuggled into Mexico. Furthermore, the study concluded that the number of weapons acquired in the US and headed south of the border increased significantly in the past decade. The TBI, housed at the University of San Diego (USD), and its research partner, the Brazil-based Instituto Igarapé, released the report just days after the US Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation that would make straw purchases of firearms a felony.  -Carlos Navarro   Read More

Honduran Former Police Chief Accuses Successor of Ordering his Teenage Son’s Murder, Revealing Tensions Within Security Force
The 17-year-old son of former Policía Nacional (PN) chief Ricardo Ramírez del Cid and two police bodyguards of the élite Batallón Cobra were gunned down last month by a group of heavily armed assailants. The surprise attack on Óscar Roberto Ramírez and the two security agents took place the evening of Feb. 18 at a small, middle-class restaurant in Tegucigalpa’s southern suburb of Colonia Lomas de Toncontín, near the Toncontín International Airport. The incident was initially attributed to local gang activity, but sources later said the clash derives from an ongoing feud between the former police chief and his successor.  -George Rodríguez   Read More

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