Content from IASW Contributors

Mexico’s security crisis: Will Iguala be a wake-up call?

By Roger F. Noriega and José R. Cárdenas By Roger F. Noriega and José R. Cárdenas
Mexico’s democracy, stability, and economy require a collaborative response from all levels of government to quell the wave of recent political unrest and address the underlying causes of insecurity and public dissatisfaction. The current crisis—sparked by national outrage over the September 26 disappearance of 43 students near the town of Iguala in the state of Guerrero—should be a wake-up call for the country.

Las Naciones ‘Sumergidas’ de Latinoamérica

By Roger F. NoriegaBy Roger F. Noriega
Líderes políticos y diplomáticos de América Latina y el Caribe saben más sobre Cuba y Venezuela que incluso los observadores más astutos en Washington. Por lo tanto, deberían saber lo que le conviene más a su región ¿no? Read More-->

Ecuadorian government tightens its grip on the press as private media fears for survival

| November 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
Knight Center

By Dylan Baddour

An upcoming vote that could alter the laws governing mass media in Ecuador has stoked fears in the Andean nation that the end of a free press in near.

The constitutional court recently declared that the National Assembly could bypass a public referendum to decide if the 2013 Communication Law - which would categorize media as a “public service” subject to government regulation – will become part of the nation’s constitution.

According to critics, the proposed constitutional amendment represents a turning point in the gradual dismantling of critical journalism establishments in Ecuador while free press advocates worry that the decision could pave the way for a state media monopoly, a trend reflected by some of the leftist nation’s regional allies.

Privately-owned media companies have already been weakened in the seven years under Rafael Correa’s “citizens’ revolution.” The president has consistently berated private media in the country, accusing them of serving the interests of wealthy owners to the detriment of the people.

But journalists say the ... Read More

Colombian Rebels’ Attacks Set Back Nation

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


CEDEÑO, Colombia—The recent blast was routine: Marxist rebels detonated dynamite remotely by cellphone along the Caño Limon oil pipeline, scorching the jungle as it blew up its target.

And once again, an economic lifeline for Colombia—a 480-mile pipeline that can carry 220,000 barrels of crude a day to a Caribbean port—closed for repairs.

“The guerrillas gave us advance notice, so I sent the kids home a bit early,” said Melida Wilches, a teacher at a school adjacent to pipeline mile-marker 79, where the blast occurred.

Over the past two years, attacks by rebels against Colombian pipelines have punctured a hole in the progress and the self-assuredness of one of Latin America’s most dynamic economies and raised questions about the outlook for Colombia as a reliable provider of crude to the U.S.

Following a boom by a sector that President Juan Manuel Santos had called an economic locomotive—when oil production doubled to one million ... Read More

Frustration boils over in Mexico amid news missing students are dead

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
CBS News

MEXICO CITY – An off-the-cuff comment by the attorney general to cut off a news conference about the apparent killing of 43 missing college students has been taken up by protesters as a rallying cry against Mexico’s corruption and drug trade-fueled violence.

During the session that was televised live Friday, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam announced that two suspects had led authorities to trash bags believed to contain the incinerated remains of the slain students, who haven’t been seen since being led away by police in the southwestern town of Iguala on Sept. 26.

After an hour of speaking, Murillo Karam abruptly signaled for an end to questions by turning away from reporters and saying, “Ya me canse” — a phrase meaning “Enough, I’m tired.”

Within hours, the phrase became a hashtag linking messages on Twitter and other social networks. It continued to trend globally Saturday and began to emerge ... Read More

Mexico’s Barbarous Tragedy

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times


The massacre of 43 students from a teachers college in Ayotzinapa has horrified Mexico. Social indignation has reached a boiling point in protests across the country. The demonstrations are both natural and justified — and certainly without precedent in recent decades. Everyone knows that the students had nothing to do with the gangsters or the drug trade. Everyone knows that this was truly a Massacre of the Innocents.

The crime, committed in Iguala, a city in the heart of Guerrero state, was carried out by a criminal gang called the Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors), which operates in the Iguala area and controls the municipal police. The criminals surely acted in collusion with the town’s mayor and his wife, who have now been caught, holed up in a poor area of Mexico City, after more than a month on the run. Some of ... Read More

Who’s to blame for El Salvador’s gang violence?

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
PBS News Hour

During El Salvador’s brutal civil war 30 years ago, hundreds of thousands of people fled to the United States, where some joined dangerous Latino gangs for protection and a livelihood. Soon after, many of these gang members were deported back to El Salvador, establishing a new and threatening presence in their home country. NewsHour Special Correspondent John Carlos Frey reports from El Salvador.


JOHN CARLOS FREY: Miguel Angel Gomez, a 30-year-old taxi driver here in El Salvador spends a lot of time looking in his rear-view mirror, worried that he’ll be the next victim of a notoriously violent street gang that already murdered Miguel’s brother.

A local news report showed the scene of the crime.

MIGUEL ANGEL GOMEZ: First they shot him and then they beheaded him. Here if they don’t like you or for any little thing, they have you killed.

JOHN ... Read More

Drug Cartels Find Argentina Attractive Transit Way

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Guatemalan authorities have captured Efraín Cifuentes González, also known as “El Negro Sosa,” considered one of the most important members of the Sinaloa cartel operating in Guatemala.

Guatemalan Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla told The Associated Press that the alleged drug trafficker was arrested on Thursday evening in the village of Las Cruces, in the northern department of Petén.

“A formal operation was launched Thursday night to move into position and start the raid. [He] was hiding in a house surrounded by a swamp; he tried to flee, there was crossfire, no injuries, and he was finally captured,” López Bonilla said.

According to information from intelligence officials, who asked not to be identified by name because they were not authorized to speak on record, Cifuentes is linked to the Sinaloa cartel and controls the movement of drugs through Guatemala into Mexico.

After being trained ... Read More

Drug Cartels Find Argentina Attractive Transit Way

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press


The large electrical transformers bound for Mexico were the perfect place to hide cocaine. It was a matter of chemistry to dilute the drug into an oil mixture that could be concealed as coolant, a job handled by a Mexican engineer working discretely in a suburban warehouse near Buenos Aires.

The transformers carrying 2 tons of liquefied cocaine from Bolivia were loaded onto a cargo vessel at a Buenos Aires port and shipped out to sea. But investigators had been watching the operation and when the shipment arrived, an Argentine judge was on hand to insist on a test that, to the astonishment of authorities at one of Mexico’s most secure ports, revealed the drug.

The traffickers, Judge Sandra Arroyo said, had used “an ingenious and logistically novel method for the deception.”

The interception earlier this year called attention to a worrying trend in Argentina, the increasing use ... Read More

Cuba’s Slave Trade in Doctors

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


Western cultures don’t approve of human trafficking, which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as “organized criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited.” Yet it’s hard to find any journalist, politician, development bureaucrat or labor activist anywhere in the world who has so much as batted an eye at the extensive human-trafficking racket now being run out of Havana. This is worth more attention as Cuban doctors are being celebrated for their work in Africa during the Ebola crisis.

Cuba is winning accolades for its international “doctor diplomacy,” in which it sends temporary medical professionals abroad—ostensibly to help poor countries battle disease and improve health care. But the doctors are not a gift from Cuba. Havana is paid for its medical missions by either the host country, in the case of Venezuela, or by donor countries that send funds to the World Health ... Read More

Ecuador court paves way for media regulation under constitution

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »

Bogotá, November 5, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a decision by Ecuador’s highest court that has paved the way for a constitutional amendment that would categorize the news media as a “public service” subject to government regulation.

The Constitutional Court announced on October 31 that the proposed amendment should be decided by the National Assembly rather than by referendum, which the opposition had pushed for, according to news reports. The legislature is dominated by President Rafael Correa’s left-wing Alianza País party, which strongly supports greater state regulation of the news media.

“Rafael Correa has repeatedly used the ‘public service’ argument as pretext to exercise broad regulatory powers over the media and influence news coverage of his government,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas, from New York. “We urge Ecuadoran legislators to modify the proposed constitutional amendment to ensure that it respects international guarantees of freedom of ... Read More

Republicans Should Signal Leadership, at Home and Abroad

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Roll Call

The 2014 midterm elections were a rejection of the policies of President Barack Obama. And the Republican takeover of the Senate is a repudiation of the gridlock in Congress symbolized by the bare-knuckles tactics of outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The new Republican Senate leadership should move swiftly to seize the high ground and signal it is ready to do the peoples’ business. Quick action on several international issues — the Keystone XL pipeline, trade promotion authority and long-delayed ambassadorial nominations — are bipartisan actions that Republicans should put on the table even before they take over in January.

Although opinion polls show voters favor Republican positions on the economy, foreign policy and security, the party’s brand needs burnishing. As Obama hints at a more confrontational tone that could undermine any hope of making Washington work, Republicans can rise above Obama’s blame game by working with Democrats on tangible initiatives to bolster America’s ... Read More

Economists Lower Mexican Growth Outlook

| November 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By ANTHONY HARRUP MEXICO CITY—Private economists surveyed by the Bank of Mexico cut their expectations for the country’s economic growth this year and next, citing weakness in the domestic market and security issues as hurdles to greater expansion.

Mexico’s economy is likely to grow 2.3% this year, according to the median estimate of 38 economists polled by the central bank in the last week of October. After falling steadily for most of the year, growth estimates had appeared to stabilize in September at 2.5%.

The median estimate for 2015 growth in gross domestic product slipped to 3.7% from 3.8%, the results published Thursday showed.

Disappointing data for August, when economic activity unexpectedly fell 0.2% from July, was followed by a number of economists cutting their estimates for the year.

The Bank of Mexico, led by Agustín Carstens, made no reference to the August numbers when it left both interest rates and its economic outlook unchanged last week, ... Read More

Brasil: Renuncia comandante de policía de Río de Janeiro

| November 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald


El comandante de la policía militar del estado de Río de Janeiro renunció en medio de denuncias de que aceptó sobornos para no investigar casos de narcotráfico y otros crímenes.

El coronel José Luis Castro Menezes renunció y será reemplazado por el coronel Alberto Pinheiro.

Pedro Dantas, del Departamento de Salud Pública, dijo que Menezes no ha sido acusado oficialmente de ningún delito, y que su reemplazo se debió a cambios que están siendo adoptados en la fuerza policial. No dio más detalles.

Veinticuatro policías han sido arrestados en el caso de los sobornos.

De click aquí para tener acceso a artículo ... Read More

First, a US hedge fund tried to seize Argentina’s boat, then its rockets—now it’s after a person

| November 7th, 2014 | No Comments »


The hedge fund behind Argentina’s default stepped up its pressure on the recalcitrant nation yesterday by asking US courts to stop an Argentine lawyer from leaving the US, take away his passport, and force him to give a deposition.

 NML Capital, a subsidiary of Paul Singer’s Elliott Capital Management, has been trying to force Argentina to pay back its defaulted debt, and has won $1.7 billion in court judgements in the process. NML’s main strategy has been to put itself first in line for repayment, legally blocking Argentina’s payments to its other creditors until it settles with the fund. But it has also attempted to get its money back directly, by seizing Argentina’s assets. In 2012, NML briefly seized a naval training vessel visiting Ghana, and in 2013 the fund sued SpaceX to seize money Argentina has paid the company for satellite launches next year. The fund has sometimes been hamstrung by legal doctrines that prevent ... Read More

Brazil’s election: as polarised as can be

| November 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times


What you see above is a graphic representation of something anyone who followed the campaign that led to the re-election of Dilma Rousseff as Brazil’s president on October 26 already knows: the election was the most polarised in the country’s history.

Brasil was split down the middle, not only numerically (Dilma got 52 per cent, Aécio Neves 48) and geographically (Dilma won in the less developed north, Aécio in the more prosperous south). The twitterspere, too, was divided into two camps. Not only that; they hardly talked to each other at all.

“The tension during the election split the two sides in a way and with a strength that has never been seen in Brazil before,” says Marco Aurélio Ruediger, head of public policy analysis at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas, an educational institution, in Rio de Janeiro.

Ruediger and his team generated the ... Read More

Can Brazil Be More Than A Pretend Power?

| November 7th, 2014 | No Comments »


THE RESULT OF the presidential election in Latin America’s largest nation has dusted off an old bromide: Brazil has a great future–and always will. This populous, resource-rich, continent-size country seemingly made enormous strides after going through a disastrous financial crisis in the late 1990s. Chronic inflation was halted, and antibusiness regulations were eased. Combined with the global commodities boom of the last decade, these measures sent Brazil’s economy roaring ahead, and by 2010 the country’s GDP ranked seventh in the world. It looked as though Brazil had made the leap to developed status and was, in terms of the size of its economy, ready to surge past such countries as Britain and France.

Then it all screeched to a halt. It turns out much of Brazil’s boom was dependent on high commodity prices. Today Brazil is in recession. Its currency has slumped, and inflation ... Read More

Venezuelan Official Ruffles Feathers in Brazil

| November 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News


A Venezuelan official’s seemingly low-key visit to Brazil has drawn a rare rebuke from a staunch ally and prompted grumbling at home about privileges enjoyed by top government officers.

Brazil contacted Venezuelan diplomats on Wednesday to complain that the socialist country’s former foreign minister, Elias Jaua, had met with a domestic activist group without providing any kind of heads up.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo said the surprise visit was out of step with the excellent relations between the two countries, and could be interpreted as interference in internal affairs. Brazil does not require ministers to provide notification when they do work in the country, but it is considered good form.

The trip got off to a rocky start two weeks ago when Jaua’s nanny was caught with a handgun as she arrived in Brazil on a plane owned by Venezuela’s state oil company. She said ... Read More

Oil Price a Concern Says Venezuela as Al-Naimi Visits

| November 7th, 2014 | No Comments »

By Ben Sharples and Pietro D. Pitts

The price of oil is a “concern for everyone,” Venezuela’s representative to OPEC said after a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s oil minister yesterday.

Rafael Ramirez, who is also Venezuela’s foreign minister, told reporters at a climate-change conference on Margarita Island that Saudi Arabia’s participation at the event was part of a meeting between friends. The Middle East nation is the biggest producer in the Organization Of Petroleum Exporting Countries, a 12-member group responsible for about 40 percent of the world’s oil supply.

Brent crude has collapsed to the lowest level in more than four years amid speculation that global supply is outpacing demand. OPEC’s leading producers are responding by cutting prices, resisting calls to reduce supply as they compete with the highest U.S. output in three decades.

Ramirez greeted Saudi Arabia’s Ali Al-Naimi as he arrived at the event before they began ... Read More

Peru to Boost Spending and Cut Red Tape to Stimulate Growth

| November 6th, 2014 | No Comments »

By John Quigley 

Peru approved a third round of emergency spending increases this year and measures to speed up environmental permitting to overcome a slump in economic growth.

The government authorized 1.6 billion soles ($547 million) in additional spending, including a one-time, year-end bonus for 1.7 million state workers, as well as welfare expenditure and public works, Finance Minister Alonso Segura told reporters in Lima today.

Policy makers are struggling to stimulate an economy that in the second quarter expanded at the slowest pace since 2009 after copper and gold exports dropped and private investment stalled. The central bank last month forecast zero growth in public investment this year as corruption probes and lower revenue from mining royalties damp spending by state and local governments.

The package of measures “will continue reactivating the economy in the short term” and help make Peru the fastest growing economy in the ... Read More

En Venezuela se necesitan 3.5 salarios mínimos para la alimentación de una familia

| November 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald


En Venezuela, una familia promedio debe peregrinar por “el menor costo posible” para completar una canasta alimentaria que, aún subvencionada, está un 17 por ciento por encima del salario mínimo y que es irreal con un mercado que ignora las regulaciones del Estado.

En el país petrolero, un ciudadano puede pagar por un kilo de café 220 bolívares (34 dólares) en el primer establecimiento que lo consiga, o puede recorrer las calles hasta dar con una tienda que lo venda a 26.50 bolívares (4.2 dólares) y hacer que el precio subsidiado del Ejecutivo se convierta en una realidad.

La distorsión entre los precios establecidos por el Gobierno de Nicolás Maduro y los establecidos por el mercado se extiende sobre los más de 40 productos de la Canasta Alimentaría Normativa (CAN), que, según las autoridades, tiene un valor de 5,741 bolívares (911 dólares).

En 2011, el Gobierno del fallecido Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) ... Read More

Dominican Republic Quits OAS’s Human Rights Court

| November 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News


The Dominican Republic withdrew as a member of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on Tuesday, leading rights activists to raise concerns about the welfare of migrants in the Caribbean country.

The announcement came just weeks after the human rights court found the Dominican Republic discriminates against Dominicans of Haitian descent, angering the government, which called the findings “unacceptable” and “biased.”

Last year, a Dominican court ruled that people born in the Dominican Republic to migrants living there illegally were not automatically entitled to citizenship, basically rendering thousands of people stateless. The government has since pledged to resolve their status but has only offered residency and work permits under a new program.

The Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court had given the Dominican government six months to invalidate the Dominican court’s ruling.

In a 59-page ruling issued Tuesday night, the Constitutional Court said the country had to withdraw from the rights ... Read More

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