Reforms to Mexico’s labor law have faced growing resistance, writes David Bacon for In These Times. The law, which Benedicto Martinez Orozco, president of the Authentic Labor Front (FAT), calls “a monstrous law,” would allow for greater flexibility on the part of owners to hire and fire workers. It would replace daily wages with hourly wages, allow for hiring through labor contractors, and limit employer’s liability for back pay, among other changes. One aspect of the reform that unions had fought for, the right to a secret ballot, seen as key to diminishing the power of the PRI-backed non-democratic unions, was stripped from the bill. Over the past weeks, a broad sector of groups have protested the bill, going so far as blocking the doors of congress last week to prevent them from considering the labor reform.
Paraguay’s foreign minister, Jose Felix Fernandez Estigarribia, confirmed that he traveled to the US last week to meet with a South American ambassador about Paraguay’s reincorporation into UNASUR and Mercosur, regional groups which Paraguay was suspended from following the ouster of Fernando Lugo. Mercopress also reports that two ambassadors will be returning to Paraguay, expected to be from Colombia and Panama. Following the 2009 coup in Honduras, both Panama and Colombia sided with the US and supported the electoral process under the coup government, while the rest of the region refused to recognize the results.
What place will the FARC have in Colombian politics if the peace negotiations are successful, asks Chris Kraul in the Los Angeles Times. While a main plank of the negotiations will be ensuring a political voice for the rebels, they will try and avoid the fate of Union Patriotica a former party with ties to the rebels. Over 1,100 members of the party were killed during the 80s and 90s by right wing paramilitaries. Some analysts believe the FARC will try to enter the political debate through Marcha Patriotica, an agrarian reform movement that has launched large demonstrations throughout Colombia recently.
News Corp., Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate, is expected to add Alvaro Uribe, the former President of Colombia to their board today, reports Roque Planas for The Huffington Post. Free press advocates note that it seems like an odd choice given the wiretapping scandals that both News Corp. and Alvaro Uribe have been embroiled in. Many ex-aids to Uribe are facing criminal probes into the illegal wiretapping of supreme court judges, human rights workers and journalists by the Colombian intelligence agency. News Corp., for their part, is still dealing with the aftermath of the phone hacking scandal at News of the World last year. Political scientist Claudia Lopez notes one difference, “News Corp., as far as I know, never threatened anyone with death…Institutions that answered directly to Alvaro Uribe did.”
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