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.
Mexico Issues Arizona Travel Warning
In response to Arizona’s tough new immigration law, the Mexican government issued a travel advisory warning that “it must be assumed that every Mexican citizen may be harassed and questioned without further cause at any time” once the law takes effect in the summer. The law, SB1070, was signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer August 23. It has sparked intense debate over provisions allowing local law enforcement officers to request identification when there is “reasonable suspicion” that an individual may be undocumented. People transporting undocumented immigrants could also face charges. “The racial profiling that is likely to be caused by this bill will creep into the everyday lives of all Latinos—either due to profiling or the fear of profiling,” writes AS/COA’s Jason Marczak in the AQ blog. “This is a population that is critical to Arizona’s future prosperity at a time of economic uncertainty.”
Read an AS/COA analysis about SB1070 and the renewed focus on the immigration debate.
Former presidents of Peru and Bolivia spoke out against the recent media shutdowns in Venezuela and expressed an overall concern about the media’s future at an emergency meeting of Inter American Press Association (IAPA). At the meeting, held in Caracas on Friday, former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo called the media shutdowns “a virus that’s expanding” and an action taken on by “real authoritarian governments.” Bolivia’s former president, Carlos Mesa, harped on Toledo’s comments saying that “everything that restricts freedom of speech is unacceptable.”
Ecuador closed a television station accused of espionage last month and Bolivia also has closed media outlets. Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner also recently proposed a law to break up Grupo Clarin, a media conglomerate, calling it a monopoly that has been abusing its power in Argentine politics.
President Hugo Chávez has denied accusations that his government is trying to silence opposition voices. Chávez’ government has announced plans to close 29 more radio stations, in addition to the 32 shut down just last month. The Venezuelan government cites invalid broadcast licenses or a failure to renew licenses as reasons for the closings.