Weekly Roundup from Across the Americas

June 13, 2012

by AS-COA Online

From Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.

Sign up to receive the Weekly Roundup via email.

Rio+20 Kicks off in Brazil

The United States Conference on Sustainable Development—known as Rio+20—begins June 13 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marking the 20-year anniversary of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. An estimated 130 heads of government and state will attend, although U.S. President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not. Participants will discuss goals for sustainability as well as carbon emissions targets, but finding consensus could be a challenge.  Environmental protection is a critical issue for Latin America, as climate change damages could cost the region $100 billion annually, an IDB report revealed last week

LatAm Participants Gear up for G20

The Group of 20 (G20) summit begins June 18 in Los Cabos, Mexico, marking the first time the international event will be held in Latin America. The meeting will also mark a record number of Latin American participants: Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico are members, and Chile and Colombia will also send foreign ministers. While the eurozone crisis promises to be a dominant topic at the conference, Brazil and Mexico plan to discuss reforms to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Brazil will push for more voting power for developing countries at the IMF, and Mexico will urge participants to increase IMF funding in order to confront the global economic crisis. 

During a March 2012 conference in Mexico City, AS/COA explored Mexico’s role as the G20 host. Read relevant coverage on the conference blog at www.as-coa.org/Mexico2012.

The Mexican Presidential Debates and Its Election Impact

Mexico’s four presidential candidates held the second of two televised debates from Guadalajara on Sunday. With two weeks to go before that country’s election, Juan Manuel Henao writes for the Americas Quarterly blog that the debate had little influence on the election, with the candidates still struggling to catch up with the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (PRI) Enrique Peña Nieto. Reporting from Guadalajara, where the debate took place, Reuters’ Lizbeth Diaz notes that governing-party candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota “offered most of the attacks during the debate, trying to brand her adversaries as two sides of the same coin, at turns describing them as corrupt, cowardly, and untrustworthy.”

The prospect of a PRI victory on July 1 attracted 90,000 student protesters from the YoSoy132 student movement on the day of the debate. That movement organized a debate for the candidates on June 19, for which all the candidates have confirmed attendance except Peña Nieto. 

Read an AS/COA Online News Analysis about the development of the YoSoy132 student protests in Mexico. 

Read More

Tags: G20, Mexican Elections, Rio +20, Latino Swing Voters

Weekly Roundup from Across the Americas

February 22, 2012

by AS-COA Online

From Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.

Sign up to receive the Weekly Roundup via email.

Venezuelan Election Outlook Complicated by Chávez Cancer News

President of Venezuala Hugo Chávez confirmed the discovery of a new tumor in his pelvic region on February 21, and said he will undergo surgery in Cuba. Speaking to Venezuelan television, Chávez said the tumor could be malignant, and was found in the same location as a previous tumor he had removed last year. Chávez’s announcement comes after a weekend during which officials denied media rumors that Chávez went to Cuba to receive medical treatment, and months of Chávez repeatedly declaring he is cured of cancer. Foreign Policy’s Transitions Blog discusses the implications of Chávez’s new diagnosis, especially in an election year, asking in the headline “How do you campaign against a cancer victim?”

Read an AS/COA Online News Analysis on Henrique Capriles Radonski's victory in the opposition primary.

Read an AS/COA Hemispheric Update on what to expect from Venezuela's upcoming presidential election.

Homeless in Venezuelan Election Spotlight

NPR’s All Things Considered discussed Venezuela’s housing crisis, which Venezuela’s opposition sees as an election issue. Though the Chávez government promised housing for Venezuela’s homeless, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski points out that official data show fewer homes have been built by the Chávez government than any previous administration. More than 2 million Venezuelans are homeless out of a total population of 29 million.

Venezuelan Regulator Shutters 35 Radio Stations in Three Months

The Caracas Chronicles blog discusses a report in Venezuela's El Nacional on the Chávez government’s closure of 35 radio stations in the past three months. Though the reasons for the closures vary, the author believes it is part of a strategy to limit the opposition's media outreach. “With most TV off-limits, radio was the one remaining medium the Capriles campaign could count on to reach a mass audience.”

Read an Americas Quarterly web exclusive by Caracas Chronicles author Juan Nagel on Capriles' vision for Venezuela.

U.S. Vice President to Visit Honduras, Mexico in March

The White House announced today that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Mexico and Honduras from March 4 to 6. In both countries he is expected to discuss April’s Summit of the Americas, to be held in Cartagena, Colombia. The Mexico stop will focus on bilateral cooperation while the Honduras visit will involve meetings with Central American leaders.

Read More

Tags: G20, Venezuelan Election, Chavez Cancer, Bidden Mexico Visit, Colombia Infrastructure, Mexico US Oil Exploration

Weekly Roundup from Across the Americas

June 30, 2010

by AS-COA Online

From the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.

Sign up to receive the Weekly Roundup via email.

Honduras Marks Coup Anniversary

A year after the overthrow of Manuel Zelaya, Honduras continues its struggle to recover from the political fallout. “In spite of massive international attention and multilateral efforts in the days and months that followed, reconciliation—both domestically and internationally—remains elusive,” says an article in World Politics Review. President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo acknowledged that Zelaya’s overthrow constituted a coup, but his efforts at reconciliation have failed to win over key countries such as Brazil and Venezuela and regain entry into the Organization of American States. As the country marked the coup’s anniversary on June 28, Lobo expressed fears about plots against his own government while the exiled Zelaya charged that U.S. Southern Command played a role in his overthrow.

Concerns persist over human rights violations in Honduras. Twenty-seven members of U.S. Congress signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging an assessment of human rights in the Central American country to determine whether Washington should, once again, suspend aid.

Read an AS/COA analysis on the long-term economic costs of the coup.

Read More

Tags: Canada, Haiti, G20, Honduras coup, Tamaulipas, Cartel, Syrian President, Preval

Canada Unveils Security Preparations for G8/G20 Summits

June 4, 2010

by AQ Online

In advance of world leaders coming to Toronto and Huntsville, Ontario, on June 25, Canadian police have displayed the security measures that will be used to deter protesters, which will include thousands of federal, provincial and municipal police officers on horseback and motorcycles as well as officers in riot gear with SWAT and police snipers on high alert. 

Police also have purchased Long Range Acoustic Devices, also known as sound cannons, to control the anticipated crowds. These are similar to those used at the last G20 summit held in Pittsburgh last year.  Preparations in Toronto—the site of this month’s G20 summit—have included adding 77 closed circuit security cameras in downtown Toronto as an additional safety measure. 

Some members of the Liberal party as well as of the New Democratic Party have called for an investigation into thee cost of security for the G20 summit.  Slated to be the most expensive security operation in Canadian history, Auditor General Sheila Fraser will investigate the $800 million and rising price tag for the summit. Costs are estimated to reach nearly $1 billion at the summit’s conclusion.

Previous G20 meetings have each been expensive but have varied widely in cost depending on location.  Security for last year’s summit held in London cost $30 million while the summit held in Japan two years ago cost closer to $300 million.  Security expenses for this year’s summit increased when Canada agreed to host both the G20 and the G8 summit (in Huntsville).

Tags: Canada, Security, G20, protests, G8, Toronto, Ontario