Mexican students studying to be teachers released a hostage on Wednesday—in the municipality of Nahuatzen—due to concerns about his health. But they continue to hold five others. The students are supported by the Michoacán State Teachers Organization, which warned that the remaining captives, who are state policemen, would be freed only when a demand for 1,200 new teaching jobs is met.
Congressional midterm elections are set for October and the kirchneristas are desperate to win a majority so that they can change the law to allow the president to run for a third term. To reach that goal, the government decided that more cooperation from the courts is in order.
Mrs. Kirchner’s government drafted and Congress has now approved a law that, among other things, does away with existing rules for picking members of the magistrate council, the body that chooses and can impeach federal judges. Those rules ensured that the council would be made up of a politically mixed group of individuals chosen by politicians, judges, lawyers and academics.
In their place, the reform stipulates that the council will be elected by popular vote in the same election that chooses the president—raising the likelihood that the executive will control the judiciary. If 51% of voters want judges who will strip the other 49% of their property, so be it. The reform also limits to six months any injunction against a government policy, conveniently destroying the protection that Clarin now enjoys. There will also be new appellate courts with judges appointed by the council.
In a better world such repression would have provoked objections from the Organization of American States. Its Democratic Charter is a pledge by all members to stand up for democratic principles throughout the hemisphere. Yet since the charter was ratified in 2001, the OAS has done nothing to stop the destruction of institutional checks and balances by left-wing caudillos like Chávez. It has used its power, under the leadership of Secretary-General Miguel Insulza (a Chilean socialist) since 2005, to beat up on countries that push back against what Chávez called “21st century socialism.”
In Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, at least according to the chavista-controlled board of election, won last night. Henrique Capriles Radonski demanded a recount, asserting that electoral fraud had taken place. Here’s his speech last night (in Spanish),
Evidence has emerged of a link between the FARC and Islamist terrorist groups in the North African Maghreb after two Colombian nationals were arrested in Algeria last month by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Spanish intelligence services.
Luis Alberto Lacalle, abogado y presidente de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay de 1990 a 1995 envia un afectuoso saludo a la Fundacion HACER de Washington DC desde el 25 Aniversario de la Fundacion Libertad de Rosario
“Imagine a country where not only are the borders secured by armed guards, but once you entered the country, if you even spoke about politics — at all — if you even mentioned anything politically, you would be deported. Imagine a country where everyone is required to be tracked all the time. Where all of these immigrants are constantly monitored. Imagine where the idea of immigrants even having a word on the internal politics of a country would be enough to get them deported.”
“I can imagine a country like that. That country is Mexico.”
Welcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. The top story in our hemisphere this week: the announcement of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez’s death. While the government has announced a presidential election for April 14th, don’t expect chavismo to give up power anytime soon.
The cult of adoration is now under way, which fills a need peculiar to Latin America, as Enrique Krauze explains,
In Latin America the need to turn politicians into secular saints is due to the distrust many feel for the region’s weak institutions and a worship for so-called men on horseback—heroes who come to the nation’s rescue, said Mr. Krauze. The region’s deep Catholic tradition of anointing and then venerating saints is also an important factor, he said.
When Congress finally decided in 2012 to allow people to obtain the salary information of its employees, it also required them to find the name of each employee and submit it online. In other words, if someone wanted the information on the legislature’s 25,000-strong work force, then that person had to independently identify them and submit 25,000 separate online requests.
If only it were that easy here in São Paulo. One clerk at the state’s high court, Ivete Sartório, was reportedly paid about $115,000 after convincing her superiors that she should be compensated for not taking leaves of absence. But when asked recently about her wages, a spokesman for the court, Rômulo Pordeus, said that Ms. Sartório’s “matriculation number” was needed to request the information.
When asked how any curious taxpayer could get that number, he replied that it was in Ms. Sartório’s possession, and that he did not want to bother her about it.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s lionization of his Venezuelan friend Hugo Chávez caused a political firestorm in the Islamic Republic, as doubts arose over whether the two countries could carry on their tight alliance now that Mr. Chávez is dead.