Colombia says OAS vote 'a defeat for the continent'

On 31 August the Organization of American States (OAS), voted to reject a request by Colombia for the staging of a meeting of regional foreign ministers to address Venezuela’s recent border closure and the repatriation without due process of a large number of Colombian migrants.

Guatemala’s Cicig makes the ultimate accusation

The United Nations-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig) has made the most dramatic claim since its creation nearly a decade ago. Cicig, together with the attorney general’s office (AG), directly accused President Otto Pérez Molina and his former vice-president, Roxana Baldetti, of heading up the corruption ring, ‘La Línea’, uncovered in the tax authority (SAT) in April [WR-15-19] - the first of various scandals to rock the political establishment. Pérez Molina’s Partido Patriota (PP) government is in total disarray after six ministers resigned in the wake of the allegations. The supreme court (CSJ) ordered the 158-member unicameral legislature to determine whether to strip Pérez Molina of his immunity in order to face investigation. The institutional and political crisis comes with just over a week until the general elections on 6 September.

Towards a single digital market

The headline numbers suggest that Latin America and the Caribbean has done very well, as a region, to develop internet connectivity and capture what might be called ‘the digital dividend’ – the extra business opportunities and competitive edge that comes from using online systems. After all, according to the latest data, half the region’s population is now connected, the regional digital economy is worth US$27bn per annum, and the spread of the Internet has helped create around 900,000 new jobs a year. But there’s a catch.

New effort to ‘de-escalate’ the conflict in Colombia

It is not yet a bilateral ceasefire ― more like a four-month dress rehearsal which for now is being described as a new effort to ‘de-escalate’ the conflict. The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc) took the first step by announcing a new one-month unilateral ceasefire, soon afterwards extended to four months. The government led by President Juan Manuel Santos responded by once again ordering the suspension of bombing raids against Farc camps. In four months they will ‘appraise’ the situation. This appraisal will not only have to do with developments in the field but, more critically, how much they advance regarding ‘transitional justice’ ― in other words, whether the Farc leaders could end up serving time.

The going gets tough

Successive Mexican governments have struggled with a big economic problem: sluggish economic growth. At one stage, it looked as if President Enrique Peña Nieto, who began a six-year term in office in late 2012, had the answer: an ambitious set of structural economic reforms, including the liberalisation of the energy sector, which would spark a ‘Mexican moment’ and lift the country’s long-term trend GDP growth rate from 2-3% to close to 5%. But it hasn’t happened yet, and in the meantime there are problems to contend with: low oil prices, the need for fiscal austerity, nervous financial markets and the sharp depreciation of the peso.

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