Thursday, December 5, 2013

Controversial Election in Honduras; Mexico Multi-Party Political Agreement in Danger; Progressive Ties Wither in Southern Cone

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen and NotiSur for December 4-6

Assailants Torch Human Rights Archives As Pressure Against El Salvador’s Amnesty Law Mounts
An intimidating pre-dawn attack on a San Salvador human rights organization has turned new attention to the still divisive legacy of El Salvador’s dozen-year civil war (1980-1992), which involved numerous abuses and atrocities and resulted in an estimated 75,000 deaths and 8,000 disappearances. Many of the missing were children whose parents were killed or who--in the mayhem of conflict--were separated from their families and scattered to unknown whereabouts. Others were snatched by military personnel or scuttled into orphanages and later adopted, often by families in the US and Europe. Benjamin Witte-Lebhar   Read More

Honduran Elections Turn Chaotic; Both Favorites Declare Themselves President-elect
The Nov. 24 election in Honduras went on with no upsets, a considerably high turnout, and calls from different sectors for parties--both leaders and followers--to respect results. The immediate results were far from conclusive, with Xiomara Castro of the center-left Partido Libertad y Refundación (LIBRE) and Juan Orlando Hernández of the ruling rightist Partido Nacional (PN) both claiming victory The Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) ultimately declared the election in favor of Hernández, but Castro and LIBRE denounced the PN's victory was the result of massive fraud. Furthemore, the opposition accused the TSE of manipulating the final numbers. George Rodríguez    Read More

Progressive Ties Wither in Southern Cone
The process of regional integration, which blossomed in the last half of the last decade as South American countries created effective and powerful regional organizations, has stagnated, admit progressive leaders in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Uruguay who had supported cooperation. Although many blame the resurgence of right-wing governments for the backsliding, some analysts say that it’s no surprise that the reversal happened in the wake of the deaths of former Presidents Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) of Argentina in October 2010 and Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) of Venezuela in March 2013 . Both leaders were driving forces behind efforts to get South American countries to work together. Andrés Gaudín    Read More

Center-left Party Withdraws from Pacto por México, Threatening Viability of Political Agreement
Just days before the one-year anniversary of the Pacto por México, the agreement by the major parties to push for significant political and economic reforms in Mexico has begun to unravel. On Dec. 1, the center-left Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) announced that it was withdrawing from the agreement because of differences regarding the strategy of the two other partners to push through energy reforms before the end of the year. The PRD made the decision after learning that the governing Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and the conservative opposition Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) have reportedly been negotiating behind the scenes to push through a legislative package to overhaul Mexico’s energy industry to allow greater private participation in the state-run oil company PEMEX. Carlos Navarro   Read More

PEMEX Helps Broker Agreement Between Argentine Government, Spanish Energy Company Repsol
In a move that could benefit Mexico’s state-run oil company PEMEX, Spain’s energy company Repsol and the Argentine government reached an agreement that compensates the Spanish company for losses incurred during the renationalization of its Argentine subsidiary in May 2012 (NotiSur, May 4, 2012). PEMEX, which owns almost a 10% share in Repsol, helped broker the agreement, subsequently approved by the Spanish company’s board of directors. Argentina agreed to compensate Repsol the equivalent of about US$5 billion in bonds denominated in dollars and guaranteed by the government. Carlos Navarro   Read More

Breakthrough in Colombia Peace Talks Opposed by Far Right, Applauded By Everyone Else
Colombia is divided into two, though far from equally sized, camps regarding ongoing peace talks between the government and guerilla leaders. While a large majority supports the process, a small but powerful far-right sector is doing all it can to ensure that the violence, which has as already plagued the country for half a century, continues. Andrés Gaudín    Read More

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