Monday, March 25, 2013

WNU #1169: Arms Smuggling to Mexico Said to Keep US Dealers in Business

Weekly News Update on the Americas
Issue #1169, March 24, 2013

1. Mexico: Study Says Arms Smuggling Keeps US Dealers in Business
2. Brazil: Protesters Briefly Reoccupy Belo Monte Dam
3. Chile: Mapuche Leaders Demand Autonomy
4. Guatemala: Rios Montt Goes on Trial at Last
5. Links to alternative sources on: Latin America, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Caribbean, Haiti, US/immigration

ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at For a subscription, write to Follow us on Twitter at

*1. Mexico: Study Says Arms Smuggling Keeps US Dealers in Business
About 253,000 firearms are bought in the US and transported illegally into Mexico each year, according to estimates published on Mar. 18 by researchers at the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute and the Rio de Janeiro-based Igarapé Institute. The researchers’ report, “The Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Traffic Across the US-Mexico Border,” estimates that these sales generate $127.2 million a year in revenue and account for about 2.2% of the annual firearms sales in the US. During 2010-2012 an estimated 46.7% of federally licensed firearm dealers “depended for their economic existence on some amount of demand from the US-Mexico firearms trade to stay in business,” the report says.

The new study’s estimates are much higher than the figures the Mexican and US governments cited in the past. These were based on the number of firearms seized by Mexican authorities; in November 2011, for example, US assistant attorney general Lanny Breuer told the US Senate that of 94,000 firearms seized over the previous five years in Mexico, 64,000 had come from the US [see Update #1104]. The new estimates were calculated by comparing sales with the dealerships’ proximity to the Mexico-US border and with the size of the population and the average income in the areas they service. Some 6,700 of the 51,300 licensed gun dealers in the US are located in the four states on the southwestern border. “The Mexican demand explains that abundance [of gun shops near the border] and the successful nature of the business,” researcher Robert Muggah said.

US politicians opposed to gun control laws have tried to play down the number of US-made firearms found in Mexico or have blamed their presence on Fast and Furious, a bungled operation by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that allowed some 2,000 guns to slip into Mexico in 2009 and 2010—less than 1% of the annual average, according to the new study’s calculations [see Update #1145].

While in the US attention has been focused on controlling assault weapons of the type used in recent mass shootings, a large number of the estimated 50,000-60,000 drug-related homicides in Mexico since the end of 2006 have involved handguns, especially the sort of .38-caliber handgun manufactured in the US. The report proposes that the US federal government ban cash transactions for arms purchases in the border states and institute better background checks to help flag “straw purchasers.” (McClatchy Newspapers 3/18/13; El País (Madrid) 3/21/13 via Vanguardia (Coahuila))

*2. Brazil: Protesters Briefly Reoccupy Belo Monte Dam
In the early morning of Mar. 21 some 150 indigenous people and other local residents occupied one of the four construction sites at the giant Belo Monte dam now being built on the Xingu River in the northern Brazilian state of Pará. The action, which brought construction at the Pimental site to a halt, was carried out by members of the Juruna, Xypaia, Kuruaia and Canela indigenous groups and by non-indigenous riverside dwellers, who mostly support themselves by fishing. The protesters were demanding clarification of the boundaries of their territories and also compensation they said had been promised them by Norte Energía, the consortium of private and state-owned companies in charge of the hydroelectric project.

The controversial Belo Monte dam, to be built at a cost of $13 billion, will be the third-largest in the world, after China’s Three Gorges dam and the Itaipu dam, which is managed by Brazil and Paraguay on the Paraná river. It is expected to flood an area of 500 square kilometers and displace as many as 40,000 people. According to Maira Irigaray, an attorney who works with the Oakland California-based environmental group Amazon Watch and Brazil’s Xingu Alive Forever Movement, the Mar. 21 action was the “fourth or fifth occupation of the site since last June.”

Indigenous protesters from the community of Jericoá say that because of the construction they can no longer fish in the river and no longer have drinkable water, and that the river's current is now dangerous for their boats. The mostly non-indigenous protesters from the K 45 community charged that Norte Energía assured them that they wouldn’t be removed at the same time that the consortium was telling the indigenous Juruna that the K 45 land belongs to them. Activists noted the potential for a creating a conflict that might break the alliance between the indigenous and non-indigenous protesters.

The construction workers at the Belo Monte dam have their own complaints against Norte Energía; last November buildings were set on fire at three of the construction sites during a wage dispute [see World War 4 Report 11/25/12]. The protesters on Mar. 21 said many of the workers expressed support for their action and compared the system of work at the site to a prison. (Adital (Brazil) 3/21/13 from Movimiento Xingú Vivo para Siempre; AFP 3/21/13 from Terra (Chile) and Global Post)

The protesters ended their occupation the night of Mar. 21 after a group of 12 activists met with Norte Energía officials to discuss their demands. The negotiators scheduled two further meetings, on Mar. 22 and Apr. 3. ( (Brazil) 3/21/13; (Brazil) 3/22/13)

*3. Chile: Mapuche Leaders Demand Autonomy
After a meeting on Mar. 21 in Temuco, the capital of the southern Chilean region of Araucanía, indigenous leaders called for the rapid implementation of self-government for the Mapuche, the country’s largest indigenous group. The leaders also repeated their rejection of plans announced by the government of rightwing president Sebastián Piñera for an indigenous council, a consultation process and a special law for Araucanía. Piñera, Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick and other officials made the proposals in January after an outbreak of violence in the region exacerbated a longstanding struggle between the Mapuche and settlers and forestry companies over lands that the Mapuche claim [see Update #1159]. Indigenous leaders responded to Piñera’s proposal by holding a summit at the Cerro Ñielol park in Temuco on Jan. 16 and forming a new alliance, the Mapuche Pact for Self-Determination.

The Mar. 21 meeting was part of a series of meetings by the alliance. The leaders had planned to hold a march in Temuco the next day, but they postponed it until after their next meeting, scheduled for Apr. 11, because of the sudden death of a famous lonko (local leader), Pascual Pichún, from a heart attack on Mar. 20.

Pichún, who headed the community Antonio Niripil de Temulemu in Traiguen, near Temuco, was tried on an arson charge in 2004 under an “anti-terrorism” law from the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. He was convicted of making threats of terrorism and served four years in prison; the trial was the subject of a 2007 documentary, “El Juicio de Pascual Pichún.” Pichún insisted on his innocence and filed a complaint with the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR, or CIDH in Spanish) of the Organization of American States (OAS); his case is still open before the court. Some 500 mourners attended Pichún’s funeral on Mar. 23. (Radio Bío Bío (Chile) 3/22/13; Radio Universidad de Chile 3/22/13; AP 3/24/13 via Windsor (Canada) Star)

*4. Guatemala: Rios Montt Goes on Trial at Last
With some 500 people packed into the courtroom, the trial of former Guatemalan military dictator Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt (1982-83) for genocide and other crimes against humanity began in Guatemala City on Mar. 19. The charges include the deaths of 1,771 indigenous Ixil Mayan civilians in the central department of Quiché as part of the “scorched-earth” policy implemented during Ríos Montt’s dictatorship, which was marked by some of the worst atrocities in a 36-year counterinsurgent war that left an estimated 200,000 people dead, mostly indigenous civilians. Ríos Montt’s former intelligence chief, Gen. José Rodríguez, is on trial with him. The proceedings are expected to involve some 130 witnesses and 100 experts and to last for several months. If convicted, Ríos Montt, who is 86, could face a sentence of up to 50 years.

The trial’s opening was delayed because of problems with Ríos Montt’s legal team. The presiding judge, Iris Yazmin Barrios, removed Danilo Rodríguez and the three other defense attorneys on the grounds that Rodríguez had friends in the panel of magistrates. Ríos Montt then brought in attorney Francisco García Gudiel as his lawyer. After García Gudiel made six motions to suspend the trial and announced that he and Barrios were personal enemies, the judge removed him and ordered José Rodríguez’s lawyers to act as temporary attorneys for the former dictator.

Ríos Montt managed for years to evade efforts to bring him to trial, using a 1996 amnesty and the immunity he enjoyed by serving in the Congress from 1990 to 2004; in 2003 he even ran for president, although he lost badly [see Update #737]. But in January 2012 Judge Carol Patricia Flores ruled that there was sufficient evidence to make him stand trial [see Update #1115]. On Mar. 19 Ana Menchú, the sister of 1992 Nobel peace prize winner Rigoberta Menchú Tum, said it was “historic” that after 30 years of efforts Ríos Montt was finally brought to trial. But current president Otto Pérez Molina, who was a major in the army during Ríos Montt’s regime, told a press conference on the same day that while “the application of justice” was important in this case, there was no genocide. Genocide “didn’t happen in Guatemala,” he said. “I’m saying what I’ve read, what I know and what I’ve tried to investigate on the subject.” (AFP 3/19/13 via Global Post; La Jornada (Mexico) 3/20/13 from DPA, AFP, Reuters, Notimex)

*5. Links to alternative sources on: Latin America, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Caribbean, Haiti, US/immigration

The Other Side of the IACHR Reform Debate (Latin America)

The Pope's History Reflects the Church's Past (Argentina)

Police Death Squads in Honduras Then and Now

Peru: radio station closed in conflicted Espinar

Peru: new anti-mining struggle in Cajamarca

Peru: irregularities seen in Bagua massacre case

Ecuador: campesinos march on World Water Day

Ecuador: "uncontacted" Amazon group kills two

Chevron subpoenas in Ecuador suit challenged

Cauca: Lines Drawn at the Heart of Colombia’s Crisis

"Humanity Has Lost a Titan": Interview with William I. Robinson on the Legacy of Hugo Chavez

Polls Show Maduro Leading Capriles for Venezuelan Presidential Elections

Salvadoran Labor Rejects US-Backed Public-Private Partnership Law: An Interview with Jaime Rivera

Honduras: US "drug war" aid linked to death squad

Women Raise Banner of Women’s Rights in Honduran Popular Movement

World Bank Must End Support for Honduran Palm Oil Company Implicated in Murder

Honduras: Activists Protest Lack of Transparency in Extractive Industry

Experiments with truth and reconciliation (Guatemala)

Photo Essay: Genocide Trial begins in Guatemala

President Peña Nieto on a Roll (Mexico)

The EZLN Announce the Fiesta for their 10 Years of Self-government

Labor, Worker Rights Activists Condemn Attacks on Workers' Rights in Mexico

Border Workers Rally on Both Sides of Rio (Mexico)

The Brookings Institute on Mexico: Lower Taxes and Make (Better) War to End Violence

Deportation, Drugs and Delinquency in Tijuana (Mexico)

Confronting Crisis: The Need for Political Innovation in the Caribbean

Haiti's Duvalier Needs Company in the Dock

Two journalists attacked by World Vision worker (Haiti)

UN Human Rights Expert: Haiti and International Community Should “Throw Light” on Cause of Cholera Outbreak

Security Made Simple—in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, Israel-Palestine, and The New York Times (US/immigration)

National bus tour drives calls for immigration reform (US/immigration)  

For more Latin America news stories from mainstream and alternative sources:

For immigration updates and events:


Your support is appreciated. Back issues and source materials are available on request. Feel free to reproduce these updates, or reprint or re-post any information from them, but please credit us as “Weekly News Update on the Americas” and include a link.

Order The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers, from Monthly Review Press, by Update editors Jane Guskin and David Wilson:

Monday, March 18, 2013

WNU #1168: 40 Arrested in Occupation of Argentine Nuclear Plant

Weekly News Update on the Americas
Issue #1168, March 17, 2013

1. Argentina: 40 Arrested in Nuclear Plant Occupation
2. Panama: Ngöbe-Buglé Renew Protests Against Dams
3. Guatemala: Teaching Students March Against Education “Reform”
4. US: “Where Is the Justice?” Sentenced SOA Protester Asks
5. Links to alternative sources on: Latin America, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, US/immigration

ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at For a subscription, write to Follow us on Twitter at

*1. Argentina: 40 Arrested in Nuclear Plant Occupation
A group of 40 Argentine environmentalists invaded the Embalse Nuclear Center in the central province of Córdoba on Mar. 11 to mark the second anniversary of the earthquake that caused meltdowns at three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture, the second-worst nuclear accident in history. The protesters, members of Greenpeace Argentina, “entered [the complex] peacefully, waving flags and wearing orange overalls,” according to Greenpeace Energy Campaign coordinator Mauro Fernández. They proceeded to climb to the top of the reactor, where they unfurled a giant banner reading: “Enough with nuclear danger!” The activists were then “beaten and arrested,” Greenpeace said, and were taken to the Río Cuarto federal court, which has jurisdiction over the facility.

“This action by Greenpeace demonstrates, two years after the Fukushima catastrophe, that the Embalse Nuclear Center’s security, like that at all nuclear reactors, is vulnerable to any unforeseen contingency,” Fernández said. “It is a matter of urgency to close this plant, which is located over a fault and has passed its useful life, and to begin the abandonment of atomic energy in the country.” Asked how the protesters entered the complex, Fernández answered: “Through the gate, which was open.” The federal government’s 2006 Nuclear Plan includes extending the life of the plant, one of Argentina’s two nuclear facilities, at a projected cost of US$1.366 billion. (La Voz (Córdoba) 3/11/13; Adital (Brazil) 3/11/13; Cadena 3 (Córdoba) 3/12/13)

In other news, the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition the night of Mar. 12-13 to break up an encampment that performers and students had maintained for 70 days at the capital’s Gen. San Martín Cultural Center. Three people were hit in the leg with lead bullets and were treated at local hospitals; four protesters were arrested. The National Alternative Media Network (RNMA) said that two of the people wounded were members of the group—a reporter and a photographer. Police spokespeople said seven agents were injured, apparently by rocks and Molotov cocktails, and claimed that the police hadn’t been armed with lead bullets.

Protesters set up the encampment in response to the closing of the San Martín center on Jan. 2 in what they said was part of an effort by rightwing Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri to privatize the institution, which is maintained by the city government; the center provides space for theaters and workshops and is a meeting place for the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and other groups. One section—the Alberdi Hall, which offers drama programs for children and youths—has been occupied by students and teachers since August 2010 to keep the city from shutting it down. After the police attack of Mar. 12-13, opposition politicians denounced Macri’s repressive policies, while students and artists continued to occupy the Alberdi Hall and called for more demonstrations. Activists held a citywide action on Mar. 15 to protest the police raid; they said people participated at 18 different points in the capital. (Télam (Argentina) 3/13/13; Télam 3/16/13 via El Comercial (Formosa, Argentina); Página 12 (Argentina) 3/16/13)

*2. Panama: Ngöbe-Buglé Renew Protests Against Dams
Some 80 indigenous Ngöbe-Buglé activists blocked access to the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam construction site in Panama’s western province of Chiriquí for about three hours on Mar. 8. Riot police dispersed the protesters with tear gas, and the next day police agents arrested four Ngöbe-Buglé. Ricardo Miranda, a spokesperson for the Apr. 10 Movement, which opposes construction of the dam, told a Mar. 11 press conference that the police threatened the detainees and beat them with nightsticks. Miranda, who offered photographs of injured detainees as evidence of the beatings, also charged that the police violated the autonomy of the Ngöbe-Buglé territory by making the arrests. Chiriquí police commissioner Luis Navarro denied that the detainees were mistreated.

Mining and hydroelectric projects have been a source of tension between the Ngöbe-Buglé and the government of rightwing president Ricardo Martinelli for several years. Indigenous communities blocked off highways in the western part of the country in January and February 2012, causing shortages in Panama's cities, to press demands for restrictions on the projects. At least two protesters were killed, Jerónimo Rodríguez Tugrí and Mauricio Méndez [see Update #1117]; Intercontinental Cry, a publication covering indigenous news, names a third protester, Franklin Javilla, killed during the 2012 protests. On Mar. 11 an unidentified 75-year-old man from the Soloy community died as a result of complications from injuries he sustained from rubber bullets or birdshot during a 2011 protest, according to Omaira Silvera of the Coordinating Committee for the Defense of the Natural Resources and Rights of the Ngöbe-Buglé People. Silvera said the man had lost an eye and never received adequate medical treatment from the government.

The government and Ngöbe-Buglé leaders reached an agreement on Mar. 15, 2012 ending mining in the indigenous territory and requiring referendums among area residents on any future hydroelectric projects [see Update #1122]. But local Ngöbe-Buglé continued to oppose the Barro Blanco dam, an existing project being built by the Honduran-owned company Generadora del Istmo, S.A. (GENISA) on the Tabasará River in Chiriquí province. Residents say the dam threatens to flood three villages, to destroy fishing and other food sources for the communities, and to submerge several archeologically significant petroglyphs that also have cultural and religious importance for the Ngöbe-Buglé.

In September the United Nations (UN) sponsored an environmental impact survey for the dam, as required in the Mar. 15 agreement. The UN’s report, published on Dec. 19, found that many of the residents’ fears were credible and mandated an independent study by experts to determine the risks of flooding and other damage to the local villages. But the local communities began protesting again in January when they saw no sign of the independent study. Meanwhile, construction continued on the dam, which is already 50% complete.

In late February residents of the village of Viguí began a vigil closing off a road. After the arrests on Mar. 9 Ngöbe-Buglé leaders threatened to block the Pan American highway, which passes through Ngöbe-Buglé territories both in the western provinces of Chiriquí and Veraguas and in the central province of Panamá at the Pacora river. International supporters of the Ngöbe-Buglé started an online petition on Mar. 10 calling for a halt to the construction of the Barro Blanco dam; the petition is at (Adital (Brazil) 3/11/13; La Estrella (Panama) 3/12/13, 3/13/13; Intercontinental Cry 1/9/13, 3/10/13)

On Mar. 15 Ngöbe Buglé Coordinating Committee president Rogelio Montezuma confirmed that a meeting in Panama City the day before had arrived at a “road map” on how and when the independent study would be carried out. The meeting included UN representatives, traditional Ngöbe-Buglé leader (cacica) Silvia Carrera, Coordinating Committee members, Apr. 10 Movement members, Catholic Church representatives and Government Minister Jorge Ricardo Fábrega. Montezuma said the next meeting is set for Mar. 20. (Prensa Latina 3/15/13)

*3. Guatemala: Teaching Students March Against Education “Reform”
Joined by activists from other social movements, hundreds of students from Guatemalan teachers’ colleges marched nearly 50 km to Guatemala City from El Tejar in the central department of Chimaltenango starting on Mar. 10 to protest what they called the “arbitrary and anti-democratic form” of an educational “reform” passed last year. Students from local private schools began joining the marchers as they arrived in the capital around 6 am on Mar. 12. The protesters headed to the National Congress and surrounded it, demanding a dialogue with Education Minister Cynthia del Aguila. The minister initially refused to meet with the students, but at the end of the day Del Aguila held a press conference with Dialogue Commissioner Miguel Barcárcel and student representatives to announce plans for a discussion—although Del Aguila said this didn’t necessarily mean the government was backing down from the reform.

The 2012 Strategy for Quality Education eliminates the old teaching certificate and requires teachers to have a diploma with “orientation in education” and to complete a three-year técnico universitario program (similar to an associate degree in the US). Teachers’ college students objected that they don’t have the resources to pay for the additional schooling. Protesters held a sit-in in front of the Education Ministry for three weeks in February and brought a legal action before the Supreme Court. “We’re not opposed to educational reform,” one of the student leaders, Walter Salazar, said on Mar. 10 at the beginning of the march, “as long as it’s agreed to by all the sectors of society [and] it isn’t prejudicial to the students and is really going to be effective.” (EFE 3/10/13 via La Nación (Chile); Prensa Libre (Guatemala) 3/12/13)

In other news, six hooded men shot indigenous campesino Gerónimo Sol Ajcot dead on Mar. 11 outside his home in Santiago Atitlán municipality in the western department of Sololá. Ajcot was a member of the National Indigenous and Campesino Coordinating Committee (CONIC) and part of the managing council of a local indigenous farmers’ association. The murder came just three days after the shooting death of Carlos Hernández, a leader in the National Union of Health Workers of Guatemala (SNTSG), on Mar. 8 in Camotán municipality, Chiquimula department, near the border with Honduras. Guatemalan unionists are demanding a thorough investigation of the murder; they say Hernández may have made enemies of some multinationals because of his struggles against mining projects. (AFP 3/12/13 via El Heraldo (Tegucigalpa); Prensa Libre 3/14/13)

*4. US: “Where Is the Justice?” Sentenced SOA Protester Asks
On Mar. 13 a federal magistrate judge in Columbus, Georgia, sentenced Robert Norman “Nashua” Chantal to a six-month prison term for trespassing on the US Army’s Fort Benning base during a protest against the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly the US Army School of the Americas (SOA), on Nov. 18 [see Update #1153]. SOA Watch, an organization that has sponsored protests at the base each November since 1990, opposes the US Army’s training of Latin American soldiers, charging that SOA graduates have been among the region’s most notorious human rights violators.

The sentence that Magistrate Judge Stephen Hyles imposed on Chantal, a 60-year-old carpenter from Americus, Georgia, was the maximum allowed for the trespassing offense. Chantal’s attorney, Loyola University law professor Bill Quigley, asked the judge to consider his client’s nonviolent history. In his own statement, Chantal cited the 1973 murder of musician Víctor Jara by SOA graduates in Chile and atrocities committed by Guatemalan soldiers during the 1982-83 dictatorship of SOA graduate Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, who is scheduled to go on trial in Guatemala on Mar. 19 for genocide and other crimes. “There are hundreds of accounts of human rights violations performed by Latin American soldiers trained by the US military,” Chantal said. “Where is the justice?”

Information on sending letters of support to Chantal in prison is available at (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 3/13/13; SOA Watch press release 3/13/13 via email)

*5. Links to alternative sources on: Latin America, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, US/immigration

Liberation Theology, the CIA, and the Vatican: A New Direction for Latin America?

Argentina: ex-dictator gets life in Operation Condor

Cardinal Bergoglio and Argentina's Dirty War

British Analysts Side with Argentina on Falklands/Malvinas dispute

Chile’s “NO” Campaign: What the Movie Doesn't Tell Us

Brazil Chooses a Racist Homophobe to Head its Human Rights Commission

Peru: two dead in miners' protest

Amazon natives challenge Ecuador officials at big oil confab

The "Dutch Disease" and Violence in Colombia

Victims Want Voice and Vote in Colombia’s Peace Talks

Colombia: indigenous peoples face "extinction"

Chavez: Washington Nemesis, Latin American Hero (Venezuela)

What Chávez Left Behind: The Streets of a Continent and a Bolivarian Revolution of Everyday Life

On Venezuela, The New Yorker's Jon Lee Anderson Fails at Arithmetic

Chronicle of a Death Foretold: The Post-Chávez Venezuelan Conjuncture

Chavez’s Family and Venezuelan Government Respond to Claims His Death was “Planned”

Assassination of Venezuelan Yupka Chief Sabino Romero Leads to Criticisms

Nicaragua: A Dangerous Place for Women

From El Salvador to Iraq: Washington's man behind brutal police squads

Honduras’ Walk for Dignity

Step by Step: Honduras Walk for Dignity and Sovereignty

Belize indigenous leaders accuse Capital Energy

20 Years of Femicide in Mexico, Call for Justice Grows Louder

International Women’s Day in Mexico: Time for Mourning not Celebration

Insight Crime and the Mexicanization of Cartel War Discourse

Narco-coal: Zetas diversify portfolio (Mexico)

Mexican media mum on murderous mayhem

Community Organization Against Wind Farms in Oaxaca (Mexico)

San Marcos Avilés: Forced Displacement and the Hope of Solidarity (Mexico)

Rarámuri Delegation from Mexico arrives in Washington

Corn on the Border: NAFTA and Food in Mexico

NAFTA at 20: The New Spin (Mexico)

US-Style School Reform Goes South (Mexico)

Yoani Sánchez speaks in New York City (Cuba)

U.N. Agency Cites “Grave Concern” Following Recent Arsons and Forced Evictions at IDP Camps (Haiti)

A Tale of Two NGOs: In Haiti, Disaster Aid or Aid Disaster?

Big Bend Border: Unpoliced and Unequal (US/immigration)

For more Latin America news stories from mainstream and alternative sources:

For immigration updates and events:


Your support is appreciated. Back issues and source materials are available on request. Feel free to reproduce these updates, or reprint or re-post any information from them, but please credit us as “Weekly News Update on the Americas” and include a link.

Order The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers, from Monthly Review Press, by Update editors Jane Guskin and David Wilson:

Monday, March 11, 2013

WNU #1167: Hondurans March to Protest New Laws

Weekly News Update on the Americas
Issue #1167, March 10, 2013

1. Honduras: 200-Km March Protests “Model Cities,” Mining Law
2. Chile: Hydroelectric Projects Threaten Sacred Mapuche Sites
3. Mexico: Dissident Teachers March Against Education “Reform”
4. Argentina: Court Overturns Menem’s Arms Smuggling Acquittal
5. Links to alternative sources on: Latin America, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, US/immigration

ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at For a subscription, write to Follow us on Twitter at

*1. Honduras: 200-Km March Protests “Model Cities,” Mining Law
Hundreds of campesino, indigenous and African-descended Hondurans demonstrated in Tegucigalpa on Mar. 6 after marching 200 km from the northern town of La Barca to protest new laws on mining and the Special Development Regimes (RED), better known as “model cities” [see Update #1160]. Entitled “For Dignity and Sovereignty, Step by Step,” and sponsored by 47 organizations—including the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ), a group that fights against corruption and for the defense of natural resources—the march started on Feb. 25, with more people joining as it passed through their communities. Protesters said they would remain in the capital in front of the National Congress until Mar. 8.

“The sectors represented here are defending their territories, the natural wealth of their communities, and public properties,” MADJ member Hermes Reyes told ACAN-EFE, the Central American branch of the Spanish wire service EFE. Protesters said the RED law will create autonomous cities--like Hong Kong when it was under British rule--that would be controlled by foreign private capital. The Minerals and Mines law will expand mining in Honduras, endangering the environment, according to the marchers. Reyes said the government has already granted 90 mining concessions in the Caribbean coast department of Atlántida, in the western departments of Santa Bárbara, Lempira and Ocotepeque, and in the eastern department of Olancho. The protesters were also opposing an Agricultural Modernization law and changes to the Constitution, and were demanding the immediate release of Aguán Valley campesino José Isabel (“Chavelo”) Morales, who they said has been in prison for four years “for a homicide he didn’t commit,” the killing of an employee of Aguán landowner and business magnate Miguel Facussé Barjum.

Some protesters carried Venezuelan flags to honor Venezuelan president Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, who had died the day before from the effects of cancer. (EFE-ACAN 3/6/13 via La Tribuna (Tegucigalpa); Prensa Latina 3/6/13; Adital (Brazil) 3/1/13)

The new laws were hurriedly passed by the National Congress after its new session opened on Jan. 25. The final version of the model cities law, Decree 236-2012, includes special tourist zones, which analysts said could open the way for foreign investors to take over the famous Copán archeological site. The Minerals and Mines law allows for concessions to be given to foreign governments as well as to private companies. The new constitutional amendments will restrict the powers of the Supreme Court and make it impossible for citizens to appeal the constitutionality of a law; instead they can only appeal the rules enforcing a law. Challenges to the constitutionality of the original model cities law led to a Supreme Court decision vacating it and forced Congress to pass a revised law. The new amendment removes the danger that that will happen again. (Honduras Culture and Politics 2/4/13)

*2. Chile: Hydroelectric Projects Threaten Sacred Mapuche Sites
As of Mar. 2 the Spanish-Italian electric energy consortium Endesa-Enel was calling for dialogue with indigenous Mapuche communities in Valdivia province in Chile’s southern Los Ríos region in an effort to get clearance for the consortium’s stalled $781 million hydroelectric project at Lake Neltume. The dialogue offer came in response to reservations that Los Ríos public service agencies expressed about the power company’s latest proposal for the plant. Jorge Weke (also spelled “Hueque”)--the werkén (spokesperson) for the Koz Koz Parliament in Panguipulli, a municipality that would be affected by the dam—rejected the dialogue offer, saying the company didn’t understand the project’s significance for the Mapuche.

The power plant would make use of the waters of the Fuy River and empty them into Lake Neltume, raising the lake’s level and also the temperature of the water. The site is sacred for the local Mapuche communities, which have been performing a sacrifice of bulls at a certain point on the shore for at least 700 years, according to Juan Carlos Skewes, director of the Anthropology Department at Alberto Hurtado University. The place where the rite is carried out would be submerged, while the underwater repository of the bulls’ bones would be moved. Weke, who has traveled to Italy to meet with Enel’s board of directors, says the power plant would “desecrate this complex, which would be a sacrilege.” The increase in temperature would also affect the region’s biodiversity. Five Mapuche communities are opposed to the plant’s construction, although a group in the community of Juan Quintumán supports it; Endesa-Enel has reportedly given them money, construction materials for housing repairs, and livestock and feed.

The consortium tried unsuccessfully to get approval for the project in February 2010 and again in December 2010, but there has still been no official decision on the plant. (Tierramérica-IPS 2/11/13 via Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO); Radio Bío Bío (Chile) 3/2/13)

Sacred sites are also threatened by several hydroelectric projects in the towns of Melipeuco and Curarrehue near the Andes in Cautín province in the southern region of Araucanía, according to Mapuche residents, who are concerned about maintaining the balance of ngen, spiritual forces which they say protect rivers and waterfalls. In Melipeuco, the Ingeniería y Construcción Madrid Limitada company wants to build a $24 million plant on the Truful-Truful river, while Andes Power SpA is seeking to build a $19 million facility on the Carén river. In Curarrehue, GTD Negocios S.A. plans a $22 million plant on the Añihuerraqui river, and RP El Torrente Eléctrica S.A, a subsidiary of the Austrian-Chilean company RP Global Chile S.A., wants to build a $21 million facility at Pangui. (El Clarín de Chile 2/28/13)

In related news, Rodrigo Montoya Melinao, a Mapuche activist held in the Angol prison in Malleco province in Araucanía, started a liquids-only hunger strike on Feb. 28. Montoya, who comes from the Wente Winkul Mapu community, was arrested along with his brother Erick on a homicide charge; they were two of the four Mapuche prisoners who carried out a hunger strike from Aug. 27 to Oct. 25 last year [see Update #1149]. In his current fast Rodrigo Montoya is demanding cancellation of the judgment against him; an end to the use of anonymous witnesses in trials against Mapuche activists; and freedom for all Mapuche political prisoners. (Maricheweu International 3/5/13)

*3. Mexico: Dissident Teachers March Against Education “Reform”
Thousands of teachers from the National Education Workers Coordinating Committee (CNTE), the largest dissident group in Mexico’s 1.5 million-member National Education Workers Union (SNTE), marched in Mexico City on Mar. 5 to protest a series of “educational reforms” that President Enrique Peña Nieto signed into law on Feb. 25. The teachers were also demanding the resignation of the new SNTE president, Juan Diaz de la Torre, who they say was appointed in a backroom deal after the Feb. 26 arrest of former president Elba Esther Gordillo Morales on charges of embezzling $157 million from union funds [see Update #1166]. According to the Federal District (DF, Mexico City) police, some 7,000 protesters joined the march from the central Zócalo plaza to the Los Pinos presidential palace, where a 10-member delegation presented officials with a petition.

Thousands of CNTE members outside Mexico City also protested, with demonstrations and a two-day national strike. Some 73,000 teachers demonstrated in the southern state of Oaxaca, with teachers blocking government buildings and commercial centers in the state capital, also named Oaxaca. They were supported by students from the Oaxaca Teachers College Students Coordinating Committee (Ceneo), who occupied tollbooths on the Oaxaca-Cuacnopalan highway for 10 hours, allowing motorists to pass for free. Thousands of teachers from SNTE Section 7 in the southeastern state of Chiapas protested at the entrances to two commercial centers in the state capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, and held a sit-in in the central park. Some 800,000 students missed classes because of the strike in the western state of Michoacán.

The CNTE, which was founded in 1979 and is based in the DF and the southern states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero and Michoacán, was also considering plans to file its own complaint against Gordillo for “decades of union bossism in which practically nothing from the dues reached the workers at the base.” (La Jornada (Mexico) 3/6/13; EFE 3/6/13 via Latin American Herald Tribune)

*4. Argentina: Court Overturns Menem’s Arms Smuggling Acquittal
Reversing a September 2011 decision by a lower court [see Update #1097], on Mar. 8 Argentina’s federal Criminal Appeals Court found former Argentine president Carlos Saúl Menem (1989-1999) guilty of “aggravated smuggling” in the government's clandestine sales of 6,500 tons of arms to Ecuador and Croatia from 1991 to 1995. The court also convicted former defense minister Oscar Camilión, former colonel Diego Palleros and nine others in the scheme to smuggle arms to the two countries during a time when international agreements banned the sales. Menem claims he didn’t know the ultimate destination of the arms when he signed the three secret decrees authorizing the shipments.

The crime carries a sentence of four to 12 years, but Menem currently enjoys immunity as a senator for La Rioja province. The former president, a close ally of the US during his time in office, is also facing a possible trial on charges of impeding the initial investigation into a July 1994 bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires; at least 85 people died in the terrorist attack [see Update #1124]. (AFP 3/8/13 via

*5. Links to alternative sources on: Latin America, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, US/immigration

U.S. Elections and the War on Drugs (Latin America)

Canada’s Idle No More Indigenous Movement Sets Stage for Latin American Involvement

Operation Condor on Trial in Argentina

From the Mines to the Streets: a Bolivian activist’s life - Excerpts from New Book

Bolivia: hunger strike against "Evo Morales" airport

Peru: Newmont denies plans to quit Cajamarca

Peru: Amazon natives broach separatism

Colombia: ex-lawmaker guilty in Segovia massacre

The "Dutch Disease" Hits Juan Valdez in Colombia: Coffee Growers on Strike

Chávez and the Dream for a Better World (Venezuela)

Remembering Hugo Chavez: An Eternal Friend of the Caribbean (Venezuela)

Chávez's Legacy for Venezuelan Youth

Venezuela With and Beyond Chavez

Venezuela: Adiós Presidente

Contradictory legacy of Hugo Chávez (Venezuela)

New Venezuelan Presidential Elections Set for 14 April

Venezuelan Indigenous Yukpa Leader Sabino Romero Assassinated

Will the World Bank Stop Investing in Campesino Assassinations? (Honduras)

Profiting From Genocide: The World Bank's Bloody History in Guatemala

Mexico: Guerrero’s Indigenous Community Police and Self-defense Groups

The Magic Tree of Acapulco (Mexico)

Former Haitian Dictator Denies Abuses at Historic Hearing

Beaten Haitian Worker Continues Fight for $7-Per-Day Wage

Caracol Industrial Park: Worth the Risk? (Haiti)

“Beyond Walls and Cages”: Liberating the Immigration Debate (US/immigration)

For more Latin America news stories from mainstream and alternative sources:

For immigration updates and events:


Your support is appreciated. Back issues and source materials are available on request. Feel free to reproduce these updates, or reprint or re-post any information from them, but please credit us as “Weekly News Update on the Americas” and include a link.

Order The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers, from Monthly Review Press, by Update editors Jane Guskin and David Wilson:

Monday, March 4, 2013

WNU #1166: Mexican Government Sends a Message, Jails Union Boss

Weekly News Update on the Americas
Issue #1166, March 3, 2013

1. Mexico: Peña Nieto Sends a Message, Jails Union Boss
2. Argentina: Provincial Court Blocks Monsanto Facility
3. Haiti: Still Defiant, Duvalier Finally Goes to Court
4. Haiti: Homeless Camp Destroyed Before CARICOM Summit
5. Puerto Rico: Thousands Protest Airport Privatization
6. Links to alternative sources on: Latin America, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, US/immigration

ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at For a subscription, write to Follow us on Twitter at

*1. Mexico: Peña Nieto Sends a Message, Jails Union Boss
Mexican federal agents arrested Elba Esther Gordillo Morales, president of the 1.5 million-member National Education Workers Union (SNTE), on Feb. 26 in the airport at Toluca, the capital of México state, on corruption charges. According to Attorney General Jesús Murillo Kara, Gordillo used millions of dollars from union funds to buy properties in California, to shop at the Neiman Marcus department store and to pay for plastic surgery. The arrest came one day after President Enrique Peña Nieto signed into law a series of “educational reforms” that include regular teacher assessments and measures that would limit the union’s power. Gordillo opposed the new law and didn’t attend the signing ceremony.

Starting off as a schoolteacher in the impoverished southeastern state of Chiapas, Gordillo eventually became one of the most powerful figures in Mexico’s political class. In 1989 then-president Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994) put her in charge of the SNTE, the country’s largest union. From 2002 to 2005 she was general secretary of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which dominated Mexican politics from 1929 to 2000 and regained the presidency with Peña Nieto’s election last year. In 2005 she formed her own small group, the New Alliance Party (PANAL), which gained political traction by maneuvering between the PRI and the center-right National Action Party (PAN), then the governing party.

In November 2012 PANAL legislators voted with the PRI and the PAN to pass a series of “labor reforms” that limited workers’ rights, but they helped quash a proposal that would have diluted the power of union heads [see Updates #1146, 1152]. (La Jornada (Mexico) 2/26/13, 2/26/13; BBC News 2/28/13)

Observers have assumed for years that Gordillo was appropriating union funds; there are also accusations that she ordered illegal detentions of dissident union members and was involved in the murder of teacher Misael Núñez Acosta on Jan. 30, 1981, in Ecatepec, México state. An editorial in the left-leaning daily La Jornada dismissed any idea that by arresting Gordillo the government was showing its “political will to secure justice and combat impunity,” given its failure to prosecute people suspected of corruption in other unions and many businesses. The move against the apparently invulnerable Gordillo was more likely a “warning and a message…to the entire political class,” the editors wrote, that Peña Nieto “could do the same against any other representative of the power elite who might question the presidential designs.” (LJ 2/27/13)

The SNTE’s National Executive Committee responded to Gordillo’s arrest with a Feb. 26-28 emergency meeting in Guadalajara, Jalisco, which quickly moved Juan Díaz de la Torre, the general secretary, into the presidency. On the afternoon of Feb. 28 word went out to the union’s 55 local sections to “calm down” any protests planned against the educational reform. Union leaders said they recognized that “it’s a new scenario, and everything is on hold.” As for a possible strike, they denied that there would be any “suspension of academic activities. As the leadership we never proposed that.” (LJ 3/2/13)

Leaders of the main dissident SNTE caucus, the National Education Workers Coordinating Committee (CNTE), held a press conference on Mar. 2 in the offices of the Mexico City local, Section 9, to denounce what they called the government’s “imposition” of Díaz de la Torre, a person “extremely close to Gordillo Morales” who is “at least an accomplice in the corruption.” The group, which includes the militant Section 22 from the southern state of Oaxaca, demanded union democracy. They said the government’s educational reform was a step towards privatization, and they called for a real reform that would be “be constructed with the participation of the principal actors: teachers, parents, pupils, researchers and society as a whole.” (SNTE Section 22 website 3/2/13)

*2. Argentina: Provincial Court Blocks Monsanto Facility
Judges in Córdoba City, the capital of the central Argentine province of Córdoba, issued an order on Feb. 25 suspending construction of a corn seed-drying plant by the Missouri-based biotech giant Monsanto Company. Provincial Labor Court judges Silvia Díaz and Luis Farías cited potential “environmental risks” as a basis for the suspension, which was in response to an appeal by the Argentine Law Foundation Club. The company plans to build the 27-hectare facility at a cost of $300 million in Malvinas Argentinas, a working-class suburb located 14 km from the provincial capital. Malvinas Argentinas residents are demanding a referendum on the planned construction and have held protest marches, including one on Feb. 21. (La Mañana de Córdoba 2/21/13; Télam (Argentina) 2/25/13 via; MercoPress (Montevideo) 2/27/13)

In related news, Monsanto announced on Feb. 26 that it would suspend collection of royalties for the use of its genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready soybean seeds in Brazil while it seeks to extend its Brazilian patent on the technology to 2014. Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice (STJ) ruled against the firm the previous week, but Monsanto said it planned to appeal to the Supreme Federal Court (STF). Brazil, the world’s second-largest soybean exporter, is a major market for Monsanto. (Reuters 2/26/13)

Soybean farmers in Paraguay, the fourth-largest soybean exporter, are also opposing a Monsanto patent extension, but on Feb. 19 Judge Miguel Angel Rodas rejected their request for emergency action against the firm. About 95% of the beans produced in Paraguay contain Roundup Ready. Meanwhile, de facto president Federico Franco has authorized sale of Monsanto's Intacta RR2 Pro seeds, which are supposed to protect crops from caterpillars. (Thomson Reuters News & Insight 2/19/13)

*3. Haiti: Still Defiant, Duvalier Finally Goes to Court
After refusing to appear in court three times in a little more than a month [see Update #1165], on Feb. 28 former Haitian “president for life” Jean-Claude (“Baby Doc”) Duvalier (1971-1986) finally complied with an order to attend an appeals court hearing in Port-au-Prince on possible charges for human rights violations committed during his regime. A number of people filed criminal complaints against Duvalier when he returned to Haiti in 2011, but an investigative judge refused to indict him in January 2012, citing Haiti’s 10-year statute of limitations in murder cases. The plaintiffs appealed, and in January of this year a three-member appeals panel agreed to hold a hearing.

Duvalier remained defiant at the Feb. 28 session. After the judges turned down his request to hold a closed meeting, Duvalier was required to answer questions for four hours in open court before journalists, human rights advocates and the plaintiffs. Asked if there were political prisoners at Fort Dimanche, the Port-au-Prince prison where an estimated 3,000 people were executed or died from lack of proper care, Duvalier answered: “Fort Dimanche was full of all kinds of criminals.” “All countries have murder,” he said when the judges asked about killings under his regime. Human Rights Watch (HRW) estimates that 20,000-30,000 people were killed during the administrations of Duvalier and his father, François (“Papa Doc”) Duvalier (1957-1971).

“In every domain, I have a good record,” Duvalier said. “Everything was going well when I was here. When I came back, I found a broken and corrupt country. I should ask you, what have you done with my country?” The hearing is to continue on Mar. 7. (AlterPresse (Haiti) 2/28/13; Inter Press Service 3/1/13)

Another former head of state is now scheduled to appear before a judge. Ex-president René Garcia Préval (1996-2001, 2006-2011) is to meet with investigative judge Yvickel D. Dabrésil on Mar. 14 in relation to the April 2000 murder of journalist Jean Léopold Dominique and Jean-Claude Louissaint, the guard at Dominique’s Haïti Inter radio station [see Update #1163]. Other political figures who have been questioned in the case include former national police director Mario Andrésol, former senator Dany Toussaint, former presidential security chief Oriel Jean, former divisional police commissioner Jean Anthony Nazaire, and activist and folksinger Marie Antoinette Auguste (“Sò An,” “Sister Anne”). (AlterPresse 3/1/13)

*4. Haiti: Homeless Camp Destroyed Before CARICOM Summit
A fire swept through a camp for survivors of Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince’s eastern Juvénat neighborhood the night of Feb. 16, destroying tents and leaving some 4,000 people without shelter. The inhabitants of the camp, known as Acra 2, were among as many as 350,000 people in southern Haiti who still haven’t obtained permanent shelter in the three years since their homes were destroyed or damaged by the quake.

In a press release, the Force for Reflection and Action on Housing (FRAKKA), a grassroots housing coalition, said a five-year-old was killed in the fire, which the group blamed on “bandits” who had also killed a young camp resident, Anel Exius, during the day on Feb. 16. The Juvénat neighborhood is near the comparatively upscale suburb of Pétionville, and the camp was close to the Karibe Hotel and its convention center, the site of a Feb. 18-19 summit of leaders from the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM). FRAKKA charged that the fire could have been “a cleanup operation by the government to show to the [CARICOM] directors…that there weren’t any more Haitians living in tents.” Noting that on Feb. 21 “Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe boasted about the congratulations from the CARICOM delegations for having removed the Haitians living in tents,” the group called for an end to evictions of displaced people.

Recent evictions include the forcible removal of hundreds of people from Place Sainte Anne, a park a few blocks from the National Palace in downtown Port-au-Prince, on Jan. 12, the third anniversary of the earthquake [see Update #1161], and the eviction of 84 families from a smaller encampment known as Fanm Koperativ (“Women of the Cooperative”) at the corner of John Brown Avenue and Capois Street, also near the National Palace. (AlterPresse (Haiti) 2/25/13; Haïti Libre 2/19/13; Groupe d’Appui aux Rapatriés et Réfugiés (GARR) website 1/26/13)

*5. Puerto Rico: Thousands Protest Airport Privatization
Some 2,500 Puerto Ricans marched on San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport on Feb. 24 to protest plans to privatize the facility. “Our airport isn’t for sale and isn’t for rent” and “Alejandro [García Padilla, the governor], your mom’s ashamed of you” were among the marchers’ signs. Agents of the US Homeland Security Department arrested one protester, Víctor Domínguez, a member of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico (PNPR), when he attempted to go past barricades that police agents had set up 50 meters from the airport entrance. Protest organizers blamed the police for the confrontation during an otherwise peaceful event, saying the agents violated an agreement to let the marchers go all the way to the entrance. Protest sponsors included the Union of Workers of the Electrical Industry and Circulation (UTIER) Solidarity Program (Prosol), the Brotherhood of Office Employees (HEO) and the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP). (Metro (Guaynabo) 2/24/13)

Activists in New York City held a press conference on the steps of City Hall on Feb. 24 to express their opposition to the privatization. “We’re here to show solidarity with our Puerto Rican bothers and sisters who oppose the privatization,” said Pedro Julio Serrano, a spokesperson for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. (El Diario-La Prensa (New York) 2/25/13)

Under the privatization plan the airport will be leased for 40 years to the Aerostar Airport Holdings consortium; 50% of Aerostar is controlled by the Mexican firm Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (Asur), which manages the airports in Cancún, Mérida, Cozumel, Villahermosa, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Huatulco, Tapachula and Minatitlán in southeastern and southern Mexico. The consortium is paying $615 million for the lease; it projects investing $240 million over the first three years in infrastructure and repairs for the facility. Some 8.5 million passengers use the airport each year; it is served by 14 airlines and generates more than 8,000 jobs.

The privatization plan was developed under the administration of former governor Luis Fortuño (2009-2013). Aerostar won the contract in July 2012; the US government’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the plan this Feb. 26. (Univision 2/28/13)

*6. Links to alternative sources on: Latin America, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, US/immigration

Latin America: Criminalizing Social Protest

Marx and Extractivism in Latin America

Uruguay's Culture of Impunity Continues to Rear its Head

Rio de Janeiro: From the City of Wonder to the City of Business

Report on climate threat in Peruvian Andes

Peru: Quiruvilca protesters lift blockade

Peru: police surround Conga occupation

Negotiating Peace Amidst the War in Colombia

We are not drug traffickers: FARC (Colombia)

Colombia: impunity in Palace of Justice massacre?

Colombia: Communities of Huila Continue to Defend Mother Earth from Mega-development Projects

Venezuela: indigenous leader assassinated

Chávez Haters Not “Limited by Truth, Reality or Common Sense” (Venezuela)

Large Rally Remembers Venezuela's Caracazo, While Opposition Students Protest

In the United States and Latin America, Hopes for Keeping Venezuela’s Oil Flowing

US Special Operations Command Trained Military Unit Accused of Death Squad Killings in Honduras

Book Review - Grabbing Power: The New Struggles for Land, Food and Democracy in Northern Honduras

Media Reports on “Charter Cities” Ignore the Larger Context (Honduras)

Honduras: Lenca communities on "maximum alert"

Catholic sex scandal Jewish plot: papal hopeful (Honduras)

The Teaching Profession in Guatemala at the Crossroads: Students Fight against Neoliberal Policies

Guatemala: Breakthrough Regarding Legal Liability of Canadian Mining Corporations for Abuses Overseas

The Fall of La Maestra (Mexico)

The Urgency of Wirikuta (Mexico)

Inspired by the Jungle: The Zapatistas and the Rise of an Indigenous City

Capitalism and Crisis in Acapulco (Mexico)

The Beatles, Love and Murder in Acapulco (Mexico)

Resisting the Model of War in Mexico: A Binational Effort

Harassment, Response to Juarez Mothers’ Demand for Justice (Mexico)

Truncated Transnationalism: The Migrant Vote in the 2012 Mexican Presidential Election

Haitian Senate Calls for Halt to Mining Activities

UN’s Immunity Claim Provokes Outrage (Haiti)

Civil Disobedience Against Deportation (US/immigration)

For more Latin America news stories from mainstream and alternative sources:

For immigration updates and events:


Your support is appreciated. Back issues and source materials are available on request. Feel free to reproduce these updates, or reprint or re-post any information from them, but please credit us as “Weekly News Update on the Americas” and include a link.

Order The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers, from Monthly Review Press, by Update editors Jane Guskin and David Wilson: