President Daniel Ortega

Weekly Roundup from Across the Americas

November 9, 2011

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.

Former General Wins Guatemalan Election

Otto Pérez Molina, a former general who promised to take a mano dura (iron fist) to Guatemala’s rising crime problem, won Guatemala’s presidential election on November 6, capturing close to 54 percent of the vote. In an article for Time’s Global Spin blog, Tim Padgett says Guatemala needs a more effective police force, prosecuters, and judges rather than an iron fist. Writing for the Latin American Herald Tribune, COA’s Eric Farnsworth notes: “Guatemala’s task, along with others of its Latin American neighbors, is to develop effective democratic institutions that go beyond periodic elections.”

Ortega’s Rival Contests Nicaraguan Election Results

In Nicaragua’s November 6 election, current President Daniel Ortega coasted to reelection, capturing more than 60 percent of the vote—twice the percentage of his closest rival, Fabio Gadea. However, Gadea refuses to concede citing a "plague of irregularities." Among them, says Gadea, lies the questionable legality of Ortega’s second term. In an AQ web exclusive, James Bosworth puts Nicaragua’s electoral events in the context of other contested Latin American elections and explores what could come next. 

Obama Signs Economic Development Agreement with El Salvador

In an interview with El Salvador’s El Diario de Hoy, U.S. President Barack Obama explained the Partnership for Growth Initiative. Signed on November 3, the plan was originally proposed during Obama’s visit to El Salvador in March. The plan aims to aid development and growth in El Salvador through increased investment, public-private partnerships, and technical support. Commenting on the plan, Obama said: “The success of this partnership will be seen through teamwork between the government of El Salvador, the private sector, international partners, and the Salvadoran people.”

Calderón’s Sister Vies For Governorship in Mexico

President Felipe Calderón’s older sister Luisa Maria Calderón is running for governor of Michoacán state on the National Action Party (PAN) ticket in the November 13 elections. If she wins, the victory could give a much-needed boost to Calderón’s beleaguered party before the 2012 presidential elections, reports Reuters.

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Tags: Nicaraguan Elections, SB 1070, President Daniel Ortega, Otto Perez Molina, Guatemalan Elections, DEA Afghanistan

Weekly Roundup from Across the Americas

September 1, 2011

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.

Mexico Mourns, Makes Arrests after Casino Royale Tragedy

Police in Mexico arrested five men thought to be members of the Zetas drug gang and responsible for arson that killed 52 people in a Monterrey casino on August 25. Authorities believe gang members carried out the brutal attack, which led to three days of national mourning, after the casino’s owners failed to pay protection money. Despite the arrests, questions persist about who is at fault. President Felipe Calderón, who labeled the attack terrorism, placed blame on the United States for its role in the violence due to drug consumption—a move that Malcom Beith critiques in In The Los Angeles Times’ La Plaza blog, Daniel Hernandez explores the blame game; he writes that some place responsibility in the hands of Calderón’s National Action Party (PAN), given that casinos—“seen as magnets for organized crime”—have proliferated since the PAN came to power a decade ago. Poor safety measures are at least partly to blame, writes James Bosworth for The Christian Science Monitor; blocked emergency exits prevented victims from escaping the fire.

In the days since the Casino Royale tragedy, a debate between Calderón and his predecessor, Vicente Fox, picked up steam. Fox supports negotiating with drug trafficking organizations to reach a pact to end the drug war—an idea Calderón has firmly rejected, as Mexican daily El Universal reports.

ATF Head Transferred after Botched Mexican Gun Operation

In the wake of the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, Kenneth Melson—head of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)—will be transferred to another position at the U.S. Department of Justice. The ATF operation, which intended to gain intelligence on gun trafficking, allowed thousands of weapons to “walk” in southwestern states and across the Mexican border. The guns have been linked to at least 12 violent crimes in the United States and an unknown number of crimes in Mexico.

U.S. Grants Asylum to Second Mexican Reporter

Cameraman for Televisa Alejandro Hernández Pacheco became the second Mexican journalist to receive asylum in the United States because of Mexico’s drug war violence, news agencies reported Monday. Hernández, who was kidnapped by the Zetas cartel in July 2010 and later fled to El Paso, Texas, is expected to confirm the report in a press conference in the next few days.

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Tags: President Daniel Ortega, Mexico Casino, Latino College Enrollment, Colombian Defense Minister

Ortega Threatens to Dissolve Congress

May 28, 2010

by AQ Online

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega voiced the possibility on Wednesday evening of dissolving the Nicaraguan legislature if it continues to stall the confirmations of 25 executive-branch appointees.  "If you give me the word, I'll refound congress," Ortega said in comments that were republished by the president's communications office. "If the business council supports me, I'll rewrite it. I'll dissolve the National Assembly."

The debate around the appointments has persisted for months because neither the governing Sandinista party nor the opposition party has a majority vote in the congress. Liberal Party spokesman Leonel Teller responded yesterday, saying the president's threat indicates dictatorial tendencies, and urged the Organization of American States (OAS) to intervene.

Tags: Sandanista Government, President Daniel Ortega, Leonel Teller