Central America

Erdogan eyes expanding Turkey influence on Latin America tour

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Ankara (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday embarks on a major tour of Latin American countries in a bid to expand Ankara’s ties outside its traditional sphere of influence. Yahoo! – By Fulya Ozerkan His visits to Peru and Ecuador are the first-ever by a Turkish president and the stop in Chile is the first since late president Suleyman Demirel travelled there back in 1995. Regional and international issues will be on the agenda during talks with ... Read More »

Upheaval in the Factories of Juarez

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Labor unrest is spreading through the factories on the border, where people say they deserve more than $6 a day. The Atlantic  ALANA SEMUELS CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Women and men, more than 70 of them, were fired on December 9th from the factory on the Mexican side of the Mexico-Texas border where they made printers for the American company Lexmark. They say they were terminated because they were trying to form an independent union. The company says they were ... Read More »

Puerto Rico: US calls for creditors to make sacrifices

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US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged Puerto Rico’s creditors to make sacrifices that would allow the territory to restructure its debt. BBC Mr Lew said that unless both sides made sacrifices, “there is no path out of insolvency and back to growth.” Puerto Rico is in its tenth year of rescission and struggling to cope with $70bn (£49bn) in debt. Several attempts at negotiations between the Puerto Rican government and creditors have failed. “The people of Puerto Rico are sacrificing, ... Read More »

He was the world’s most wanted drug lord. His cartel was the most feared. But has El Chapo’s brutal reign finally come to an end?

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“El Chapo” Guzmán, the notorious Mexican drug lord, was captured last week after his escape from prison last year. The Guardian The Observer Angus Macqueen Documentary film-maker Angus Macqueen spent months tracking Guzmán for a 2014 documentary. Here, he describes his mountain community, and how his control of the Sinaloa cartel crumbled as the state reacted to his audacious escape Caught again. That makes it three times that the Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo has been captured. The last two ... Read More »

Haiti first round vote ‘stained by irregularities’

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A commission investigating disputed presidential and legislative elections in Haiti says the October vote was “stained by irregularities”. BBC But it has recommended that a second round run-off should go ahead as planned on 17 January. The people of Haiti are choosing a president to succeed Michel Martelly. Mr Martelly postponed the run-off vote that was due to be held on 27 December after street protests against fraud in the first round turned violent. President Martelly is constitutionally barred from ... Read More »

Haiti’s president announces run-off vote on 17 January

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Haiti’s President Michel Martelly says the run-off election to choose his successor will be held on 17 January. BBC The run-off was due to take place last week, but was postponed after opposition factions alleged fraud during the first round in October. A special commission was asked to investigate the electoral process following widespread street protests. Mr Martelly is constitutionally barred from seeking re-election. In a speech on Haiti’s independence day, Mr Martelly called on Haitians to respect the rules ... Read More »

Migrant crisis: Syrian migrants braving Central American smuggling routes

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Two families, including four children, who turned themselves over to immigration authorities in a Texas border town on Tuesday. Sarah Kaplan Five men with fake Greek passports, stopped at a Honduras airport because of a missing vaccination certificate. A third family who showed up in Texas on Friday seeking asylum. A woman on a bus from Nicaragua, detained at the Honduras border Saturday. Since the start of Syria’s bloody civil war four years ago, a flood of refugees have fled the ... Read More »

More Mexico migrants leaving US than arriving – study

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More Mexicans are leaving the US than migrating there, reversing a longstanding flow, a study has found. BBC More than one million Mexicans and their families, including US-born children, returned to Mexico from 2009 to 2014 after living in the US, the report by Pew Research Center found. Meanwhile, only 870,000 Mexicans moved in to US during the same time period, creating a net loss of 140,000 people. An uneven economic recovery in the US was cited as a reason ... Read More »

Cuba–US Relations and the Perspicacity of Fidel Castro’s Thinking

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In an online interview with an alternative US-based website published on January 7, 2015, I was asked about my take on the seeming rapprochement between the United States and Cuba. With regard to the December 17, 2014 announcement, I responded: “On that December 17, the situation caused me to think of the public statement Fidel Castro made to his followers on January 8, 1959, just eight days after the triumph of the Revolution: ‘This is a decisive moment in our ... Read More »

Mexican government releases files on missing students

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The Mexican attorney general has made public the file on last year’s disappearance of 43 student teachers who clashed with the police. BBC – Arely Gomez Gonzalez released more than 80 volumes of material. The case has prompted protests across Mexico, increasing pressure on President Enrique Pena Nieto. Relatives dispute his government’s account that police in Guerrero state handed the students over to a gang who killed them and burnt the bodies. The attorney general’s office said the document had ... Read More »

Peace needs truth, not punishment

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Retribution will not heal old wounds in Colombia, warns Leonardo Goi. New Internationalist – By Leonardo Goi Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Commander Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri last week issued a historic joint statement. A transitional justice framework will be established, through which those responsible for the atrocities committed in the 51-year conflict between the state and the guerrillas will be prosecuted. Santos and Londoño (who goes by the alias ‘Timochenko’) announced that the ... Read More »

Mexico: From Cold War to Drug War

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Earlier this summer, I participated in the Library of Congress’s first ever ScholarFest. My conversation partner, UVA’s Professor William Hitchcock, and I spent ten minutes discussing whether the Cold War still mattered. I imagine that very few people in the audience were surprised to hear two historians argue for the continuing relevance of the Cold War. They were surprised, however, by some of the reasons we gave. The National Interest – Renata Keller What I told the audience was this: in ... Read More »

Statement on the Transitional Justice Agreement between the Colombian Government and FARC

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The agreement on transitional justice reached by the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and publicly announced yesterday in Havana is a major breakthrough in the four-year peace talks. In effect, it anticipates the termination of the 51-year armed conflict. In an unprecedented personal meeting, President Juan Manual Santos and FARC’s maximum leader, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry (“Timochenko”), agreed that a final peace agreement would be signed within six months. Bogotá/Brussels | ICG The agreement establishes ... Read More »

Pope may ruffle feathers on US/Cuba trip

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Pope Francis’s forthcoming nine-day visit to the US and Cuba, which starts on Saturday, will be his 10th and longest trip abroad yet and, for the 78-year-old, it is likely to be challenging on many levels. BBC – Caroline Wyatt, Religious affairs correspondent It is the Argentine-born Pope’s first trip to the US and, while he has attained popularity ratings there that any politician would envy, his reputation as a Pope for the poor and the vulnerable – and his ... Read More »

US launches secret bid to stop release of hunger-striking Guantánamo detainee

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Objection to freeing Tariq Ba Odah, who is 56% of his ideal body weight, comes as Obama administration fights to stop detainees seeking freedom in federal courts The Guardian – Spencer Ackerman in New York @attackerman In an extremely rare legal manoeuvre, the Obama administration has challenged a legal request to free a hunger-striking Guantánamo Bay detainee entirely in secret. US officials said the objection to freeing Tariq Ba Odah, who is undernourished to the point of starvation, and the ... Read More »

How El Salvador’s Supreme Court Is Undermining Democracy—With Washington’s Help

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WikiLeaks has exposed US government collusion with the chamber’s destabilization strategy. The Nation – By Hilary Goodfriend On July 20, 2015, the government of El Salvador issued an official warning that right-wing forces are orchestrating “a movement for a coup d’état,” against the “government of the people, a legal government, a legitimate government that fights every day for the interests of the population.” It’s not the first time allegations of coup-plotting have arisen lately in the small Central American republic. ... Read More »