Thursday, May 9, 2013

President Barack Obama Visits Mexico & Costa Rica; Paraguay & Chile Election Updates

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen and NotiSur for May 8-10

Presidents Barack Obama, Enrique Peña Nieto Hold Uneventful Meeting in Mexico City
Before US President Barack Obama stepped on Mexican soil, he pledged that the agenda for his meeting with Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto would extend beyond discussions of security and immigration, which have been the topics most addressed during bilateral meetings in recent year. The whirlwind visit of a day or so to Mexico will most likely fade from memory, since no significant agreements came out of the meetings, at least none shared with the public. Very few people remember the outcome of Obama’s previous trip to Mexico in 2009, when he met with then President Felipe Calderón to discuss drug-related violence, a common strategy on climate change, and trade disputes.  Carlos Navarro    Read More

U.S. President Barack Obama and Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla Discuss Wide Agenda
Half a century after the first formal visit by a US president to Costa Rica, this month President Barack Obama became the fifth US leader to arrive in Costa Rica, to give a new turn to the bilateral tie. An innovative approach to drug trafficking stands out among the key topics on the agenda for the dialogue between officials of both countries, headed by Obama and Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, a lengthy list of topics that included development, education, entrepreneurship, environment, health, and, of course, security.  George Rodríguez   Read More

Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt’s Genocide Trial Resumes in Guatemala After Two Weeks of Uncertainty
The genocide trial against former dictator Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt (1982-1983) and his former chief of intelligence José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez was suspended for 12 days and then went into a recess following a dispute over representation for the defense. After two weeks of uncertainty, Presiding Judge Jazmín Barrios resumed the trial and reinstated Ríos Montt’s defense lawyer, who had been thrown out on the trial’s first day for having a conflict of interest with one of the judges. Despite the setbacks, Ixil Mayas who survived the massacres perpetrated by the Guatemalan Army in the highland department of Quiché during Ríos Montt’s brutal dictatorship have not lost faith in the justice system. "Ríos Montt is shaking with fear. He’s nervous because his lawyers have been unable to halt the trial.   Louisa Reynolds   Read More

Horacio Cartes' Victory Returns Partido Colorado to Power in Paraguay
As if the political parties and candidates had been merely performing a screenplay, Paraguay's April 21 presidential election played out according to the script, as the pollsters and analysts had predicted. The traditional Partido Colorado (Asociación Nacional Republicana, PC), without new leaders and with the old vices that tied it to the most diverse forms of corruption, returned to power with the election of Horacio Cartes for a five-year term. The 56-year-old Cartes, a wealthy businessman and political neophyte, voted for the first time in his life in this election. Andrés Gaudín  Read More

Scandals Prompt Sudden Candidate Switch For Chile’s Governing Coalition
A congressional "no-confidence" vote, a timely high court ruling, and some embarrassing media revelations have hit Chile’s Alianza like a perfect storm, further dampening the governing coalition’s hopes of fending off opposition challenger, popular ex-President Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010), in November elections. Desperate for some momentum following Bachelet’s dramatic late-March leap into the presidential race (NotiSur, April 19, 2013), the two-party Alianza has instead been forced to backtrack--most notably by dumping its most popular presidential candidate Laurence Golborne, a former business executive who held several ministerial posts under President Sebastián Piñera. Benjamin Witte-Lebhar   Read More

New Telecommunications Law Almost a Reality
In early May, the state legislature of México state voted to ratify the telecommunications law approved by the federal Chamber of Deputies and Senate earlier this year. The approval set in motion the last step of the process for Mexico to enact comprehensive reforms to the telecommunications sector. The approval of more than half the state legislatures is required because the measure involves changes to the Constitution. With strong support from all major parties in Congress, it now appears likely that the measure will be ratified by at least 16 of Mexico’s 32 state legislative bodies.  Carlos Navarro  Read More

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