Thursday, August 22, 2013

Murder of Journalist in Honduras; Controversy over Community Police in Mexico; Courts and Human Rights in Uruguay

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen and NotiSur for August 21-23

Federal Government, Indigenous Communities in Two States Disagree On Legality of Community Police Forces
A handful of rural indigenous communities in Michoacán and Guerrero have formed community police forces or militias, partly to counteract the influence of drug-trafficking cartels within their borders. The informal police units, known as autodefensas, have put the communities at odds with the federal government, which considers the organizations vigilante groups outside the law. The conflict between the federal government and the autodefensas came to the forefront after federal authorities arrested several-dozen members of the local militia formed by the community of Aquila in Michoacán in mid-August. -Carlos Navarro   Read More

Protests Could Affect Re-election Chances for Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff
For almost a month beginning on June 10, Brazil was a powder keg. A slight increase in the fare for public-transportation--bad and expensive--acted as a detonator. First in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and then in most cities in the country, throngs of people took to the streets calling for a reversal of the fare hike and also demanding improvements in health and education. In this environment, the country was overrun with polls. During the protests, voter intention for Rousseff fell from 52.8% to 33.4%. The president would not win in the first round but would prevail in a runoff, in which she would compete against environmentalist Marina Silva (20.7%), who moved into second place ahead of the most entrenched leaders of the right . -Andrés Gaudín   Read More

Honduran Human Rights Advocate Sees Effort to Justify Militarization in Journalist's Killing
On the morning of July 9, a gruesome finding shocked this country, however used to violence it may be. The dismembered body of Honduran television journalist and university professor Aníbal Barrow was found more than two weeks after the victim was kidnapped. The murder prompted an outcry from two international journalists' organizations and the Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH). Barrow’s homicide fits in a trend of selective killings, aimed not only at journalists but at lawyers and teachers as well, COFADEH directo Bertha Oliva said. -George Rodríguez    Read More

Uruguay's Supreme Court Ignores International Human Rights Norms
While Uruguayans marked the 40th anniversary of the June 27, 1973, civilian-military coup, and all cities in the country paid tribute to victims of the dictatorship, the Suprema Corte de Justicia (SCJ) received a new condemnation from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), various UN agencies, and world-renowned jurists such as Spain's Baltasar Garzón. On on the day before the 40th anniversary of the bloodiest coup in the country's history and on June 27 itself, the SCJ announced two decisions that make clear the real political and ideological position of four of the five SCJ justices. First, the court closed two cases in which high-ranking Army and Air Force officers were on trial for torture, forced disappearance, and murder. Second, it exonerated two soldiers responsible for the 1981 hanging death of a political prisoner. -Andrés Gaudín     Read More

Femicide Numbers Down But Problems Persist For Salvadoran Women
El Salvador’s female homicide figures have fallen sharply during the past year and a half, thanks in large part to a tenuous government-backed gang truce that has cut overall murders by more than half. An encouraging sign for the country as a whole, the decrease is a particularly welcome development for the administration of President Mauricio Funes, which has made women’s rights a policy priority with initiatives such the Ley Especial Integral para una Vida Libre de Violencia para las Mujeres (LEIV), a femicide law that went into effect early last year, and Ciudad Mujer, a network of female-focused resource centers.   -Benjamin Witte-Lebhar     Read More

U.S. Deportations of Undocumented Mexicans Continue at Steady Pace in 2012
The US continued deporting undocumented immigrants from Mexico at a steady pace during 2012, surpassing the record set in 2011. Statistics from Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) indicate that the US deported about 400,000 Mexican citizens during calendar year 2012, which would surpass the record of slightly more than 397,000 set in 2011. In the midst of the widespread deportations, strong criticisms have emerged about the practices employed by the US government, including deporting immigrants at night, when they have no support services.  -Carlos Navarro  Read More

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