Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dirty Campaign Tactics, A Repressive Leader, A Corrupt Governor, and Mayors Who Can't Read

"[Ex-President Álvaro] Uribe was a no-show when called upon by legal authorities to produce the evidence he claimed to have against President Juan Manuel Santos. Obliged to retract his accusations, he used an odd argument that was unbefitting an ex-president and practicing lawyer. 'I checked the dictionary and must say now that there is a difference between evidence and information. What I have is information,' said Uribe, who has since dropped the subject entirely."   -from NotiSur, July 4, 2014
Colombia's former President Álvaro Uribe claimed to have proof that President Juan Manuel Santos
Caricature of a "ward heeler" politician (Wikimedia Commons)
had accepted US$2 million in donations from drug traffickers to cover costs of his reelection campaign. When asked to provide proof of his allegation, Uribe backed down from the statement.  And yet, even if untrue, the comments from Uribe were a matter of public record. The statement had the potential to sway voters in a tight runoff election between Santos and Uribe-backed candidate Óscar Iván Zuluaga. In the end, they didn't make a difference, as Santos won the runoff election by seven percentage points. Andrés Gaudín tells us more about the Colombian election in this week's edition of NotiSur. 

A second article in NotiSur looks at the impact of political consultants on high-profile elections in Latin America. The dirty tactics employed by these consultants have generally benefited candidates who lean to the right politically (Carlos Menem of Argentina, Henrique Capriles of Venezuela, Porfirio Lobo of Honduras, Norman Quijano in El Salvador, and León Febres Cordero of Ecuador), but a couple of leftists (Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil) have also made use of their services.  Click here to read more

Crackdown in Haiti
In other issues covered by the LADB this week, we also deal with politically tainted personalities and institutions. An article from George Rodríguez examines how a lack of judicial independence has resulted in a weak judiciary across Central America. A second article in NotiCen discusses the repressive tactics of President Michael Martelly's administration in Haiti, and how the leader is now viewed as a dictator.

In Mexico, scandal continues to dog the governor's office in Michoacán state. Gov. Fausto Vallejo was forced to resign after the release of several photographs of his son meeting with notorious drug trafficker Servando Gómez Martínez, also known as La Tuta. The release of the photos came just weeks after Vallejo’s top aide, and former interim governor, Jesús Reyna García, was arrested on charges of collusion with the Caballeros Templarios. Other elected leaders, primarily mayors in poor rural areas in Mexico, have a different kind of problem. They cannot read or write. (By some estimates, 20% of the mayors in the state of Oaxaca are illiterate). An article in this week's issue of SourceMex looks at the problem of illiteracy in Mexico, and how there has been very little progress in solving the problem in recent years.

Read two reports from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Literacy in Mexico. Education Policy Outlook: Mexico and Programa Internacional para la Evaluación de Alumnos (PISA 2012)

-Carlos Navarro
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