Friday, March 8, 2013

Xenophobia Among South American Neighbors; Union Leader Arrested in Mexico; Costa Rica-Mexico Accords & Regional Integration

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen, and NotiSur for March 6-8, 2013

Xenophobia Complicates Better Relations Among South American Neighbors
Xenophobic tensions have arisen among several South American neighbors. In early February a video was made public on which Chilean sailors were seen marching while chanting xenophobic slogans against Bolivians, Peruvians, and Argentines, their only three neighbors. As the days went by, it became known--through corroborating videos--that Bolivian, Peruvian, and Argentine cadets also chanted slogans against Chileans that were equally xenophobic. Thus an old South American tragedy was recurring--a confrontation among peoples, emerging almost always as a product of defending sectoral interests. -Andrés Gaudín   Read More

Catholic Church in Brazil Prepared for Changes with Election of New Pope
With the largest number of Catholics in the world, Brazil is watching especially closely the process to replace Pope Benedict XVI, who is now pope emeritus but will retain the name Benedict XVI. Expectations center not so much on whether the new pope will be from Europe or from another continent but rather on the changes that the new head of the Catholic Church will carry out at a time when the church is being hit with various serious accusations, including corruption and covering up cases of pedophilia. Brazil will have a direct presence at the conclave through the five Brazilian cardinals who will participate in the election. -José Pedro Martins    Read More

President Enrique Peña Nieto Orders Arrest of Teachers Union President Elba Esther Gordillo on Corruption Charges
In a dramatic but low-risk move, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration arrested powerful politician and teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo Morales on charges of corruption and racketeering. Gordillo, who has led the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación, (SNTE) since 1989, has been accused of embezzling more than 2 billion pesos (US$156 million) in union funds. -Carlos Navarro   Read More

Two Mexico-Costa Rica Agreements Set Stage for Mexico-Central America Accords in Trend to Strengthen Mexico-Regional Bond
Almost two decades ago, Mexico pioneered a groundbreaking free-trade agreement (FTA) with Costa Rica, its first with a Central American nation. Fourteen years later, both countries reached an association agreement, centered mainly on bilateral political dialogue, also a first in this region. The bilateral FTA eventually opened the way for a similar accord between Mexico and the Triángulo Norte de Centroamérica (Central America’s Northern Triangle)--made up of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras--to be followed by a Mexico-Nicaragua pact. -George Rodríguez  Read More

Guatemala Reports False Rumors of Death of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán
Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, considered Mexico’s most powerful drug kingpin, did not die in a shooting in northern Guatemala, as was mistakenly reported by the Guatemalan authorities. Rumors of Guzmán’s presence in Guatemala were sparked on Feb. 20 by a leaked email from Texas-based global intelligence firm Stratfor that stated, "We believe El Chapo is currently hiding out in Petén, Guatemala, near the Mexican border." Giatemalan authorities initially gave credence to the report, suggesting that someone resembling "El Chapo" had been killed. They later recanted, apologizing for what they described as a "misunderstanding." -Louisa Reynolds  Read More

Business Organizations Join Forces to Urge Government to Curb Sale of Counterfeit Products
A study from one of Mexico’s top business organizations indicates that counterfeit products are gaining increasing popularity among Mexican consumers. The study by the Confederación de Cámaras Industriales (CONCAMIN) indicated that nearly one-tenth of Mexican consumers knowingly use pirated products, which are smuggled into the country illegally or manufactured in Mexico. These products have increased their share of the Mexican consumer market by about 20% since 2008, the year the global economic crisis hit Mexico, the US, and other countries. -Carlos Navarro   Read More

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