Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summary of Pacific Alliance Meeting in Colombia; 'Kirchnerismo' Still Popular in Argentina; Abortion Controversy in El Salvador

(Subscription required to read full articles. Click here for subscription information)

Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen and NotiSur for May 29-31

Pacific Alliance Will Eliminate Tariffs for 90% of Goods
The Alianza del Pacífico (AP), a bloc that includes Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and Chile, will eliminate tariffs for 90% of goods and services exchanged among them from June 30 onward. The aim is for tariffs to eventually be phased out completely. During its seventh summit held in Cali, Colombia, on May 23, important steps were taken toward achieving regional integration, including eliminating tariffs among members, incorporating new members as observers, and signing a free-trade agreement (FTA) between Colombia and Costa Rica. -Louisa Reynolds  Read More

Mexico, Chile Reach Agreement on Beef Inspections Ahead of Pacific Alliance Meeting in Colombia
On May 21, the governments of Chile and Mexico signed a memorandum of understanding that committed the two countries to harmonize their meat-inspection procedures, a move that could eventually lead to an increase in exports of Mexican meat to the South American country. The measure, while insignificant on its own, was an important symbolic step in consolidating commitments by Chile and Mexico before the Seventh Pacific Alliance (Alianza del Pacífico) Summit in Cali, Colombia, on May 23. The meat-inspection agreement signed by Chilean Agriculture Minister Luis Mayol Bouchon and Mexican Agriculture Secretary Enrique Martínez y Martínez represents the commitment of the two countries to remove nontariff trade barriers for agricultural products.  -Carlos Navarro    Read More

Peruvian Government Gives In to Pressure From Right
The Peruvian government's interest in acquiring the assets that the Spanish transnational oil company Repsol was selling in Peru, which included La Pampilla refinery, a network of more than 200 service stations, and a gas bottling plant, brought a heated reaction from rightest parties and media as well as business leaders who saw the move as a statist threat to the economy. On April 22, President Ollanta Humala met in the government palace in Lima with Spaniard Antonio Brufau, Repsol president and CEO. The next day, national newspapers reported the beginning of negotiations for the government to acquire Repsol. The news unleashed a major controversy between opposition sectors that consider the state a bad entrepreneur and those who see the government initiative as an opportunity to contribute to the country's energy security.  -Elsa Chanduví Jaña   Read More

Despite Elite's Opposition, Kirchnerismo Still Has Wide Popular Support in Argentina
Ten years after former President Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) began his political project, which his wife, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, continued after his death in 2010, and five months before the Oct. 27 legislative elections, the political climate for Argentines continues to be exhaustingly tense, with an opposition that has the backing of all the powers that be. Amid a virulent smear campaign, based on unproven daily allegations of corruption, the government continues to enjoy high approval ratings, and the opposition--a collection of parties that range from progressive to various degrees of centrist to the far right--is unable to weave a unifying program that can electorally challenge the continuation of "Kirchnerismo." -Andrés Gaudín  Read More

Passions Flare Regarding El Salvador’s No-Exceptions Abortion Policy
The plight of a pregnant Salvadoran woman known only as "Beatriz" has drawn outrage from abroad and rekindled a raging debate at home regarding El Salvador’s zero-tolerance approach to abortion. Beatriz (not her real name), who is now more than five months pregnant, suffers from lupus, a debilitating autoimmune disease that has already caused serious damage to her kidneys. The fetus she is carrying is also unwell: it has been diagnosed as anencephalic, meaning it is missing part of its skull and brain and will almost surely die either before or shortly after delivery. Doctors at San Salvador’s Hospital Nacional de Maternidad have been hoping for months to perform what they believe could be a life-saving abortion. So far, however, they have held off--out of fear that they, and Beatriz, could end up in jail for violating El Salvador’s total ban on abortions. -Benjamin Witte-Lebhar    Read More

Unrest in Michoacán Forces Federal Government to Assume All Law-Enforcement Duties
 On the campaign trail and just before and after his election, President Enrique Peña Nieto promised to take a totally new approach in Mexico’s efforts to combat criminal organizations. For the new president, the goal was to stop the seemingly out-of-control violence and not necessarily to stop the flow of drugs to the US, which was the primary target of his predecessor, ex-President Felipe Calderón. But Peña Nieto inherited some of the problems prevalent during the Calderón administration, including the reality that stopping violence might not be possible without going after the criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking. This was especially evident in the western state of Michoacán, where growing civil unrest in the last few weeks forced the Peña Nieto government to take full control of law-enforcement activities in the state in May.  -Carlos Navarro  Read More

No comments:

Post a Comment