Friday, June 14, 2013

Mexico Reconsiders Arraigo; Ecuador to Focus on Energy; Victims Won't Testify Again In Possible Rios Montt Trial in Guatemala

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen and NotiSur for June 12-14

Mexico Reviews Practice of Detaining Suspects of Certain Crimes for Extended Periods
There is extensive debate in Mexico on whether the practice of detaining suspects in certain crimes for a period of time without charging them should be abolished. Prosecutors and other proponents of the controversial practice—known as the arraigo—argue that this is a much-needed tool to investigate and eventually prosecute those who commit serious violations of the law, including drug traffickers. But opponents argue that the practice, in any form, represents a gross violation of the civil rights of a detainee, especially since the arraigo has been applied to cases other than those linked to organized crime.  -Carlos Navarro  Read More

Bolivian Government Expels USAID as Relations with U.S. Hit New Low
After a long process of misunderstandings and deteriorating dialogue that had reduced bilateral diplomatic relations to their bare minimum, on May 1, during the International Workers' Day celebration, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced that the government was expelling the US Agency for International Development (USAID) mission. Two weeks earlier, on April 18, the president had said that he would have to seriously analyze USAID's presence in the country as well as "the US Embassy's presence, because relations with the US are desirable but not at the cost of allowing the intolerable interference of its agents in the country's internal affairs." -Andrés Gaudín   Read More

Ecuadoran Government to Focus on Energy in President Rafael Correa's New Term
On May 24, Rafael Correa was sworn in for a new four-year term as president, promising to emphasize productivity. Until now, he said, the priority has been on social investment. The president's proposed new direction also involves the Asamblea Nacional (AN), since it will have to debate modifications to laws to facilitate investment and enable pending projects such as large-scale mining to move forward. Correa's new vice president, Jorge Glas, said his his office would focus on energy production, with a goal for Ecuador to produce 93% of its electricity needs and then produce electricity for export.  -Luis Ángel Saavedra    Read More

Guatemalan Genocide Victims Will Not Testify Again if Trial of Former Dictator Efraín Ríos Montt Is Repeated
Fear and mistrust reign in the Guatemalan municipality of Santa María Nebaj, in the highland department of Quiché, in the wake of a decision by Guatemala's high court (Corte de Constitucionalidad, CC) to annul a sentence against Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt (1982-1983). The CC ruled that the trial must be rewound to April 19, when the court had already heard most of the testimonies and both parties were about to sum up their conclusions before the judges could deliver their verdict. The CC has not clarified whether, since a new panel of judges will take over the case, the trial will have to be repeated from scratch.  -Louisa Reynolds     Read More

U.S. President Barack Obama’s Meeting with Central American Leaders Seen as Possible Relaunching of US-Central America Relations
US President Barack Obama’s meeting last month in Costa Rica with Central American counterparts could have relaunched the relationship between the US and this region. That is the view several local observers shared with NotiCen after Obama met early last month with Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA) leaders over a work dinner at this capital city’s elegant Teatro Nacional. As was the case during the bilateral US-Costa Rica encounter hours before , topics ranged from introducing new elements in the fight against organized crime--mainly drug trafficking--in the region to development and environmental issues, such as fighting poverty, strengthening US-SICA trade, and producing clean energy.  -George Rodríguez   Read More

New Telecommunications Law Lacks Provisions for Satellite Industry
The telecommunications reforms that the Congress approved overwhelmingly in March and April offer significant changes that could boost competition and efficiency in the television and radio-broadcast industries and telephone service. The new telecommunications law became effective on June 12, the day after the measure was published in the daily federal register Diario Oficial de la Federación. But critics contend that the Congress missed a chance to make important changes to Mexico’s satellite-services sector, which does not operate on an equal footing with international standards and is overly bureaucratic. Still, despite the lack of competition in Mexico, the prospects for the satellite industry have improved with the recent launch of a new satellite, Satmex 8, in March of this year.  -Carlos Navarro  Read More

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