Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chilean Right Replaces Candidate; Presidential Succession an Issue in Mexico; Cuba-U.S. Migration Talks Continue

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen and NotiSur for August 7-9

Organization of American States: Abandoning War on Drugs Would Be Worst Scenario for Region

The wave of violence that has swept over the countries in Latin America that have been the worst affected by drug trafficking could lead them to unilaterally abandon the war on drugs . In the short term, this could reduce the number of drug-related killings in these countries; in the long term, becoming a "narcostate" would allow the drug trade to flourish and expand. This is one of the four scenarios explored by the Organization of American States (OAS) in two reports published during its latest meeting, held in June in Antigua, Guatemala. The reports, compiled by a team of experts from each of the member states, analyze the state of drug trafficking in the region and put forward various scenarios that illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of following different paths, including decriminalization and legalization. -Louisa Reynolds  Read More

Chile’s Reeling Right Switches Presidential Candidates Again After Pablo Longueira, Citing Depression, Bows Out
Three months after a financial scandal sank its most-promising presidential candidate, Chile’s governing coalition, the Alianza, has been forced to pass the proverbial baton yet again, opting this time for a contender better known for her occasional foul language than for her politics. The conservative coalition’s new banner bearer, Labor Minister Evelyn Matthei, has nearly a quarter century of political experience under her belt but little time left to test her savoir-faire against her leading opposition challenger, former President Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010), a clear favorite to win the country’s Nov. 17 election. Interestingly, the two women--both daughters of high-ranking Air Force officers--have known each other since they were children. -Benjamin Witte-Lebhar  Read More

Report Shows Nearly Half of Mexico’s Population Remains Poor
While some experts consider Mexico one of the top economies in Latin America and a middle-income country, one set of statistics sticks out like a sore thumb: the country’s high rate of poverty. The most recent report from the Comisión Nacional para la Evaluación de la Política Social (CONEVAL) offered a stark reminder that any recent economic growth has left a lot of the country’s population behind. The CONEVAL report, released in late July, says that 45.5% of Mexico’s population is currently living in poverty. Of that total, 35.7% of the population suffers from "moderate" poverty and 9.8% from "extreme" poverty. The CONEVAL statistics indicate in absolute terms that the numbers of Mexicans living in poverty as of 2012 has increased from 2010, even though the percentage of poor in relation to the population has actually declined. -Carlos Navarro Read More

Migration Talks Between Cuba and the U.S. Resume Despite Tensions
The US and Cuba returned to talks in Washington to assess the progress of their immigration agreements after two years of cooling bilateral relations caused by the imprisonment of subcontractor Alan Gross, and they now face new concerns motivated by the latest scandal involving weapons covertly sent from the island to North Korea. The discovery of military equipment in the North Korean vessel Chong Chon Gang on July 15 as it was passing through the Panama Canal seemed to compromise the rapprochement between the two countries, which systematically evaluate the immigration agreements signed during the administration of President Bill Clinton. -Daniel Vázquez Read More

Argentina State Oil Firm YPF Teams with Chevron to Extract Shale Oil, Gas
Amid the most dire prognostications about the viability and development of Argentina's state oil company YPF, the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner signed an agreement on July 16 with Chevron, the US multinational oil giant, which could allow Argentina to achieve the long-sought-after goal of energy self-sufficiency by 2017. Since the state renationalized the oil company in May 2012, when it took over the shares that had been in the hands of the Spanish firm Repsol since 1992, YPF has been looking for partners able to invest the huge amount of capital needed to return to full operation and profitability a company that had been decimated in just two decades of private management. -Andrés Gaudín Read More

President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Surgical Procedure Reignites Debate over Presidential Succession
The discussion on whether Mexico should develop an emergency presidential-succession plan in case something happens to the chief executive resurfaced at the end of July when President Enrique Peña Nieto underwent surgery. The last time that the issue became a major topic of public discussion was in 2003, when then President Vicente Fox announced he would undergo surgery to correct a pinched nerve in his back . Mexico has no vice president. -Carlos Navarro  Read More

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