Thursday, February 6, 2014

Brazil Behind in Construction for World Cup; Nine Journalists Killed in Mexico in 2013; El Salvador Elections Going to Second Round

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Articles in SourceMex, NotiCen and NotiSur for February 5-7

Former Guerilla Commander Takes Round One In Salvadoran Presidential Election
Vice President Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the leftist Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) won El Salvador’s Feb. 2 presidential election by an unexpectedly solid margin but fell just short of the 50% plus one valid votes needed to avoid a runoff. The FMLN candidate drew nearly 49% of the vote, finishing a full 10 percentage points ahead of his main rival, former San Salvador mayor Norman Quijano of the hard-right Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA). Ex-President Antonio Saca (2004-2009), another conservative, finished a distant third (11.4%). Fringe candidates René Alcides Rodríguez of the Partido Salvadoreño Progresista (PSP) and José Óscar Morales of the Fraternidad Patriota Salvadoreña (FPS) earned less than 1% of the vote between them. Benjamin Witte-Lebhar  Read More

At Least Nine Journalists Killed in Mexico in 2013
Journalist rights organizations report that a least nine editors and reporters were killed in Mexico during 2013, although the number could actually be higher because the whereabouts of a handful of reporters who disappeared during the year are unknown. The organization Casa de Derechos de los Periodistas AC, based in Mexico City, reported the murders of six journalists during the first full year of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidency. Other sources reported at least three other murders, which adds up to nine confirmed killings last year, plus one journalist who disappeared and whose whereabouts are unknown. This compares with at least 17 murders of journalists in 2012, in addition to five others who disappeared. Carlos Navarro Read More

Honduras' New President Juan Orlando Hernández Pledges to Respect Human Rights While Providing Security
In his inaugural speech, Honduras’ new President Juan Orlando Hernández, often referred to as JOH, insisted he will keep his campaign promises, among them, his commitment to improve this Central American nation’s appalling situation regarding security--or lack of it. He also guaranteed that, in so doing, all actions would be carried out within the framework of the law and fully respecting human rights. But in human rights ranks, the president's words, at best, are not taken as sincere, and the forecast in this regard is somber.  George Rodríguez  Read More

Uruguay’s Conservative Parties Unite
Uruguay’s two conservative parties--opponents for their entire 177-year existence--have joined forces to defeat the Frente Amplio (FA), which has governed Montevideo, the national capital, for the past 25 years. The unprecedented alliance--motivated by the certainty that neither the Partido Colorado (PC) nor the Partido Nacional (PN or Blanco) could defeat the ruling progressive administration alone--is remarkable because the two parties have been on opposite sides of prolonged and bloody civil wars three different times. On Jan. 9, electoral authorities authorized unification of the two parties under the name Partido de la Concertación. The new party’s goal is to oust the Frente Amplio and recover control of the capital, home to nearly half the country’s 3.3 million inhabitants. Andrés Gaudín  Read More

FIFA World Cup Causes Financial and Human Burden on Brazilian Cities
As the calendar inches closer day to by day to the opening match of the 2014 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in Brazil, questions mount about the impact of the global sporting event on the country’s 12 host cities. Brought to international attention by last year’s street protests, issues such as white-elephant stadiums, cost overruns at public expense, corruption in building contracts (NotiSur, July 1, 2011), human rights abuses against construction workers, and housing evictions in low-income communities persist. While the tournament draws are complete and soccer fans have depleted the first round of ticket sales, the behind-the-scenes preparation has been a far less smooth process.  Gregory Scruggs   Read More

Monarch Butterfly Populations at Biosphere in Michoacán Down Sharply
The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve sits at the edge of the territory controlled by the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar) drug cartel in Michoacán state. The recent violence that has hammered communities like Apatzingán and Uruapan has apparently not spilled over to the biosphere. The popular tourist destination is facing a different kind of problem this year, however. The number of butterflies migrating to the biosphere is at an all-time low, and some environmental organizations are warning that the migration of the butterflies to Michoacán and México state could disappear altogether. This could create a major problem for the biosphere, which earned the designation as a World Heritage Site in 2008.   Carlos Navarro   Read More

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