Thursday, July 18, 2013

Independent Candidate Wins in Mexico; Controversy Over Ecuador's New Communications Law; Opposition Candidate Leads Polls in Panama

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen and NotiSur for July 17-19

Forced Detour of Bolivian President Evo Morales' Plane Causes International Incident
An incident that played out in the theater of the Global North and whose actors are from there unexpectedly spilled over to the Global South and coalesced a group of countries that, in recent years, with greater or lesser intensity, has challenged US policies in the region. It all began in the third week in June, when Edward Snowden, a US National Security Agency (NSA) contract analyst, revealed that the intelligence service used a software program that allowed it to spy on US citizens and especially on diplomats and official agencies of its allies in the European Union (EU). -Andrés Gaudín    Read More

Ecuador's New Communications Law: Media Democratization or Gag Law?
Ecuador's new communications law, passed on June 14, purports to democratize the media, redistribute frequencies, and expand access to the radio spectrum. However, the creation of control agencies and new legal instruments that could undermine freedom of speech has called into question the government's affirmations that the law promotes communications rights in the country. -Luis Ángel Saavedra   Read More

Mexico Becoming Leading Producer of Methamphetamines
Mexico has surpassed the US as the country whose authorities have seized the largest amounts of synthetic drugs, in large part a result of a major crackdown in the US in recent years on the illicit production of drugs like ecstasy and methamphetamines. This trend is documented in reports published this year by Europol and the UN. Even though production of synthetic drugs has declined in the US, demand continues high, which is why Mexican producers—led primarily by the Sinaloa cartel—continue their high output. But the availability of large quantities of methamphetamines has also increased usage in Mexico, particularly in western cities like Guadalajara, according to recent studies. -Carlos Navarro    Read More

Panama's PRD Candidate Juan Carlos Navarro Leads in Polls
While Panama is in the midst of an unprecedented economic boom, the country’s political parties have already started to prepare for the May 2014 elections and are in the process of choosing the candidates who will compete in the general elections to succeed President Ricardo Martinelli. The center-left Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD), the country’s largest opposition party, was the first to hold its primary elections, choosing environmental activist Juan Carlos Navarro as its presidential candidate. The rightist Partido Panameñista (PPA), a former ally of Martinelli’s Cambio Democrático (CD), chose former foreign minister and Vice President Juan Carlos Varela. With Martinelli’s slogan of maintaining "change," the CD held its primary elections in May, choosing Housing Minister José Domingo Arias as its candidate. -Louisa Reynolds  Read More

Independent Candidate Wins Mayoral Election in Small Town in Zacatecas State
In 2011, the Mexican Congress approved reforms to partially overhaul Mexico’s electoral system, including a provision allowing candidates to run for office without having to represent any political party. The initiative, which required a change in the Mexican Constitution, was ratified by more than half of Mexico’s states, but not in time for the 2012 presidential elections. The new provision was in place for the July 2013 state elections, and several citizen candidates ran for office, primarily seeking to become mayors of small communities. One of those candidates, Raúl de Luna Tovar, was elected mayor of the community of General Enrique Estrada in Zacatecas state, defeating a rival representing a coalition of two established parties. -Carlos Navarro    Read More

Dominican Republic Encouraged that Petrocaribe Will Continue and Expand
On more than one occasion, Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina has stressed how important Petrocaribe is for his country. Despite the rumors that Petrocaribe would come to an end following the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, after only two summits, Petrocaribe members, including the Dominican Republic, have proposed the creation of the Zona Económica Petrocaribe (ZEP). The final declaration of the VIII Petrocaribe Summit, held in Managua in late June , pledges to do "an cross-cutting and multidisciplinary evaluation of trade, economic, financial, scientific, technological, and legal aspects under five structural programs: transport and communications, productive chains, tourism, trade, and social and cultural integration." -Crosby Girón     Read More

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