Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bolivia Seeks Regional Effort Against Corruption; Belize Region Becomes Hub for Contraband; Mexico Seeks to Preserve Indigenous Languages

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen and NotiSur for October 16-18

Bolivia Calls for Regional Effort Against Corruption
Bolivia plans to ask the 33 member-countries of the Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC) to establish common ways of dealing with corruption. President Evo Morales has called for a CELAC meeting in Cochabamba on Nov. 8 with transparency and corruption the only issues on the agenda. President Morales' administration has already proposed fellow Andean countries--Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Chile--adopt anti-corruption strategies that reach beyond their national borders. The administration believes that its war on corruption is the most successful such effort in the region and considers itself to be in a unique position to share its experience with neighboring countries. -Andrés Gaudín   Read More

Ex-Soldier Accused of Killing Chilean Singer Víctor Jara Faces U.S. Civil Suit
History may finally be catching up to a former Chilean Army officer--and long-time resident of the US state of Florida--who allegedly played a lead role in the 1973 murder of famed Chilean singer-songwriter Víctor Jara. Four decades after the iconic musician’s death, suspect Pedro Pablo Barrientos Núñez will finally be forced to explain himself in a court of law, albeit not in Chile--where he has a pending warrant for his arrest--and not with any immediate threat of jail time hanging over his head. In early September, the California-based human rights organization Center For Justice and Accountability (CJA) named Barrientos in a civil suit filed before a US district court in Jacksonville, Florida. -Benjamin Witte-Lebhar   Read More

Free Trade Zone in Belize's Corozal District Becomes Hub for Contraband Trade
The Corozal Free Trade Zone, on the Belize-Mexico border, was created to develop jobs and stimulate national and foreign investment in the Corozal district, after the closure of the Liberated Sugar Factory in 1985 caused widespread unemployment in northern Belize and forced thousands of young Belizeans to migrate to southern Mexico and the US. Around 500 containers from China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Canada, Germany, and Paraguay are unloaded every year in this enclave. But there are plenty of indications that the zone plays a particularly significant role in the regional contraband, particularly illegal trade in cigarettes, liquor, clothes, toys, and electronic appliances. -Louisa Reynolds    Read More

Center-Left Parties Pushing for Public Referendum on Energy Reforms
President Enrique Peña Nieto might have sufficient votes in Congress from members of his own Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), its ally the Partido Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM), and the pro-business Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) to pass an energy-reform plan that expands private investment in Mexico’s oil sector. The support in Congress, however, might or might not translate to public support, depending on how the question is framed and who is asked. A handful of public opinion polls taken during the summer months are showing mixed results. While the polls might provide a cross section of public sentiment, center-left opposition groups are pushing for a more formal measure of public opinion: a citizen referendum. -Carlos Navarro  Read More

Researchers Seek Ways to Preserve Indigenous Languages in Mexico
There is strong concern in Mexico that indigenous languages are in danger of dying out if parents and teachers do not encourage younger generations to use these languages. A study by the Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas (CDI) found that parents and teachers in indigenous communities have been promoting the use of Spanish over a native language. The study, based on information provided by the national statistics agency Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI), divided each of Mexico’s indigenous languages into sets of age groups. CDI anthropologist Ludka de Gortari said Maya, the second-most-spoken indigenous language in Mexico, after Náhuatl, was surprisingly also one of the languages that appeared to be losing the most ground. -Carlos Navarro    Read More

Costa Rica Says Nicaragua Adds Insult to Injury, Maintains Diplomacy as Battlefield
Rising tension between Nicaragua and Costa Rica around Isla Portillos has reached new heights, triggered by events developing since last month. On Sept. 17, Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla and Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo broke the news, during the weekly government press conference, that, doubling what it had done at the start of the Isla Portillos dispute
Nicaragua had carved two artificial canals through the area, linking the Río San Juan--which flows eastward next to a major section of the border--to the Caribbean Sea. The two drainage structures--one of them, some 20 to 30 meters wide, the other, half that width, both approximately 200 meters long--were captured in satellite photographs, and some of the images showed a dredge in one of the canals. -, George Rodríguez     Read More

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