Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bullfighting Controversy in Mexico; Slight Thaw in U.S.-Venezuela Relations; Honduras Continues to Suffer Consequences of 2009 Coup

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen and NotiSur for July 3-5

Guatemala Hosts 43rd OAS General Assembly
The drug problem should be tackled not as a security issue but as a public health question with policies for "prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation," delegations from the 34 countries participating in the 43rd General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) agreed. The theme of the three-day meeting, which opened on June 4 in the city of Antigua, Guatemala, was "For a Comprehensive Policy Against the World Drug Problem in the Americas." The final Declaration of Antigua said the drug problem should be fought "with an integrated, strengthened, balanced, and multifaceted approach, with full respect for human rights and individual liberties, incorporating public health, education, and social inclusion." -Louisa Reynolds   Read More

Is Argentina Going Overboard in Honoring Native Son Pope Francis?
Since March 13, when Jesuit Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio was elected to be the Catholic Church's 266th successor to the throne of St. Peter, many formal changes have taken place in his native country. Streets and avenues in the principal cities have been given his name, as have several large, medium-sized, and small plazas throughout the country. Schools and public offices throughout the country declared holidays, and 38 bills were introduced in Congress with a wide array of unique proposals for honoring the new pope. "It got out of hand, in a totalitarian attitude that the pope surely rejects. They are stomping on the rights not only of those who practice other religions but also those of all citizens who don't agree with using state resources to support the Catholic religion," said Fernando Lozada, an activist with the Coalición Argentina por un Estado Laico (CAEL). -Andrés Gaudín     Read More

Campaign to End Bullfighting in Mexico Draws Mixed Reactions
A growing number of states and municipalities in Mexico have moved to ban bullfighting, in part because of a strong campaign launched by the Partido Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM) in 2011 (SourceMex, Nov. 9, 2011). The list of places that recently banned bullfighting includes five municipalities in Veracruz state, the state of Sonora, and the community of Tangancícuaro in Michoacán state. However, some states—Aguascalientes, Tlaxcala, Zacatecas, and Guanajuato—are taking the opposite position, with state legislators and governors taking actions to protect bullfighting, commonly known as the fiesta brava, via declarations declaring the practice "cultural patrimony." - Carlos Navarro    Read More

Slight Thaw in Relations Between Venezuela and U.S
Despite the harsh language used by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and high-ranking leaders of the Revolución Bolivariana, the Venezuelan government is practicing a skillful diplomacy that even suggests the possibility for positive change in relations with the US. Diplomatic relations have been frozen since 2010, when both countries reduced their embassy missions to a minimal level. Although Caracas has not stopped accusing Washington of interfering in its internal affairs, Foreign Minister Elías Jaua and Secretary of State John Kerry--who, like Maduro when he speaks of the US, resorts to harsh rhetoric when referring to the South American country--held an amiable meeting during the recent Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Antigua, Guatemala. -Andrés Gaudín    Read More

Four Years Later, Fallout from Honduran Coup Still Felt in Various Ways, Including in Increased Refugee Requests
At dawn on June 28, 2009, just over four years ago, Honduran President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya’s Tegucigalpa home was stormed by some 200 soldiers in the beginning of a bloody coup that took the country--and Latin America with it--back to the somber, seemingly endless decades of ruthless military dictatorships ..In a worsened scenario of unbridled corruption, violence--including that of organized crime--and lack of opportunities, Hondurans have begun to seek ways to survive, and for some it means refuge abroad. These Hondurans' preferred destination is Costa Rica, a Central American nation that abolished its army more than sixty years ago and whose image as a democratic, safe country attracts an array of foreigners ranging from tourists to investors, and undocumented migrants as well as refugees.  -George Rodríguez    Read More

Foreign Tourism Shows Strong Signs of Recovery in Early Part of 2013
Things are looking up for Mexico’s tourism industry, which has had to overcome a continued sluggish economy in the US and reports of violence and increased crime in popular resorts to attract a steady flow of foreign visitors to the country. In a recent report, the largest organization representing Mexico’s tourism industry, the Confederación de Cámaras Nacionales de Comercio, Servicios y Turismo (Concanaco-Servytur), estimated that 12.8 million foreigners would visit Mexico during the peak summer period (July 5-Aug. 19). The international visitors were expected to spend about 28 billion pesos (US$2.1 billion) during this period. -Carlos Navarro  Read More

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