Friday, February 21, 2014

Anti-corruption Team to Visit Haiti, Venezuelan President Uses Decree Power To Fight "Devastating Economic War,"

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen and NotiSur for February 19-21

Organization of American States Anti-corruption Team to Visit Haiti, Once Ranked Most Corrupt Country
The Organization of American States (OAS) is sending members of its anti-corruption team on a tour of Caribbean nations, and one of its stops is Haiti. In 2006, the massively impoverished French-speaking island country ranked as the most corrupt of the 163 nations included in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a yearly study the Berlin-based nongovernmental organization Transparency International (TI) has put out since 1995--two years after it was founded. Meanwhile, the Haitian government is pressing Congress to complete passage of a bill for corruption prevention and suppression, which the Senate approved in May 2013 but has yet to be voted on by the lower house.George Rodríguez Read More

Self-Defense Groups Attempt to Protect Residents from Criminal Organizations in Guerrero State
While most of the front-page headlines in Mexico have centered on the ongoing violence in Michoacán state, a similar chaotic situation has developed in neighboring Guerrero state, where local communities have formed self-defense militias, known as autodefensas, to defend themselves against the drug cartels and criminal organizations that are extorting and terrorizing communities around the state. A study by the semi-independent Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CNDH) discovered that self-defense groups are present in more than half of Guerrero's 81 municipalities. The study, released in mid-December 2013, said the 46 municipalities where autodefensa groups are present account for almost two-thirds of the state's population of about 3.5 million. Carlos Navarro Read More

Venezuelan President Uses Decree To Fight "Devastating Economic War"
Locked in an exhausting standoff with Venezuela’s primary economic power brokers, the Venezuelan government, for the first time since the launch of the Bolivarian Revolution in 1999, is finding itself at odds with some of its own supporters. The country's chaotic economic situation is fueling discontent not just among the government’s opponents but also among some of its traditional supporters. To reverse the situation--and save the country from a "devastating economic war" launched by leading business and opposition groups--President Nicolás Maduro recently signed a pair of decrees. The first introduced a "band system" to regulate currency exchange. Government backers support the measures, even if they do not necessarily grasp their true meaning. The second limits companies to a maximum profit margin of 30%. Opposition leaders are up in arms, saying the decrees amount to "stealth devaluation." Andrés Gaudín Read More

Belize’s Booming Tourism Industry Strains Country’s Precarious Wastewater-Management Facilities
San Pedro, a town on the southern part of the island of Ambergris Caye, in the Belize District, used to be a sleepy fishing village until word of its natural beauty got around and it became one of the most popular tourist destinations of the Caribbean, widely recommended in most travel guides as an ideal location for scuba diving. This transformation has come hand in hand with a change in the population of the town, and today, according to official figures, San Pedro has a population of about 13,381, the second-largest town in the Belize District and the largest in the Belize Rural South constituency. However, this inevitably means that the dynamics of the island’s environment have also been altered as Ambergris Caye has increasingly suffered the effects of pollution from a number of sources: the oily trail left behind by boats and cruise ships, domestic sewage originating from toilets, sinks, and other domestic sources, solid waste, agrochemicals, and industrial effluents. Louisa Reynolds Read More

President-Elect Michelle Bachelet Announces Cabinet Choices
After routing the right in December’s runoff election, President-elect Michelle Bachelet now faces the considerable challenge of turning her broad campaign coalition--a loose affiliation of center-left and left parties known as the Nueva Mayoría--into a viable governing bloc. The incoming leader took her first major step toward that goal late last month, introducing a Cabinet chosen to appease her traditional power base while at the same time reach out to her more recently acquired allies, namely the far-left Partido Comunista de Chile (PCCh) and Izquierda Ciudadana (IC). Benjamin Witte-Lebhar Read More

Federal Government Reaches Truce with Yaqui in Aqueduct Dispute
President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration has reached a truce with Yaqui Indian communities in their dispute about water rights in the Río Yaqui. The dispute centers on the Acueducto Independencia, a waterway that 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. After months of negotiation, the Peña Nieto administration and Yaqui representatives finally reached an agreement on Jan. 21, guaranteeing that the water extracted from the Río Yaqui would only be used for human consumption in Hermosillo and that the administration would respect court rulings spelling out the rights of the region’s Yaqui and campesino communities. Carlos Navarro Read More

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