Thursday, August 1, 2013

Controversial Aqueduct in Sonora; Colombia Coca Farmers Seek Protection; Bad Reviews for Guatemala President Otto Pérez

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen and NotiSur for July 31, August 1-2

Colombian Guerrillas Offer Campesino Protesters Support
Colombia's strategic northeastern region of Catatumbo, on the border with Venezuela, has become a volcano, which, after years of lying dormant, now seems close to erupting. Since June 10, campesinos have been peacefully protesting against a government policy that threatens their only source of sustenance--coca fields--and they are specifically demanding that their lands be declared a Zona de Reserva Campesina (ZRC). ZRCs are a legal concept established in 1994 to promote agricultural development through work cooperatives, which receive state subsidies until they are able to successfully operate on their own. The Colombian government has refused the request, and in fact, has cracked down on local protests, sparking violent and fatal conflicts in the area. -Andrés Gaudín    Read More

Yaqui Indians Claim Aqueduct in Sonora State Infringes on Tribal Water Rights
The scarcity of water in northwestern Mexico has created a conflict between the Yaqui Indians in Sonora and the federal and state governments regarding control of the scarce water that flows on the Río Yaqui. The controversy concerns an aqueduct constructed by the administration of Sonora Gov. Guillermo Padrés Elías, which captures 634 gallons of water per second from the Río Yaqui and diverts it through 130 km of pipeline between Presa El Novillo and the state capital of Hermosillo. The Yaquis, which have opposed the project from its inception, argue that the Sonora government has usurped their water rights and violated the law by ignoring court orders to halt construction and then to stop operations of the aqueduct. -Carlos Navarro    Read More

President Enrique Peña Nieto to Present Energy-Reform Plan in August
After months of promising to overhaul Mexico’s energy sector, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration might finally be ready to send an initiative to the legislature. Leaders from the governing Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) said they expect energy-reform legislation to arrive in Congress during the first week of August. The energy debate—which is expected to center on the future of the state-run oil company PEMEX—comes as Mexico’s crude-oil reserves are falling rapidly and interest from private investors in exploration and extraction is low because of a lack of incentives.  -Carlos Navarro    Read More

Administration of Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina Scores Badly in Recent Poll
A year and a half after President Otto Pérez Molina came to office , a poll carried out by Vox Latina shows that the popularity of the ruling Partido Patriota (PP) is at an all-time low. In the poll, carried out by the government as part of a confidential report that was leaked to Guatemalan newspaper El Periódico, most respondents said they believed that Pérez Molina "lacks enough character to make decisions" and regard the economy as the country’s greatest problem, followed by crime and violence. A report published by the Universidad Rafael Landívar in January also concludes that the Pérez Molina administration has failed to meet voters’ expectations, has not met its campaign promises, and has not adequately solved social conflicts.  -Louisa Reynolds   Read More

Paraguay's Efforts to End Child Labor Face Uncertain Future
Two weeks before businessman President-elect Horacio Cartes' Aug. 15 inauguration, no one yet knows what his policy regarding children and child labor will be, even though, since his electoral win in April, national and international children's advocacy agencies have urged him to make some commitment to the most powerless and neglected sector of society. Cartes had promised before the election to address the issue. But he has since remained silent. And in the days leading to his inauguration, the president-elect said his priiority is to transfer state assets to the private sector, which means the issue of eradicating child labor could receive less attention. -Andrés Gaudín   Read More

Political Parties Choose Presidential and Congressional Candidates for Costa Rica’s 2014 Elections
Costa Rica’s political parties are getting their act together for next year’s presidential and congressional elections. For their top tickets, some parties have gone through primary elections, while others have had only one nomination each, thus not needing to hold primaries and just having their respective assemblies ratify their nominee. So far, adding traditional, medium-size, and small political parties, the presidential offer in this Central American nation of just over 4.6 million people consists of 15 hopefuls.    -George Rodríguez    Read More

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