An Argentine judge ordered Chevron’s assets embargoed in an effort to enforce an Ecuadorean court ruling, reports the Associated Press. Plaintiffs, who have waged a decades long legal battle against Chevron, have taken their fight outside the country to wherever Chevron has assets. Enrique Bruchou, the Argentina lawyer on the case, told reporters, “This is a ruling that sets an example. What we're telling the world is that in Latin America we want to demand that whoever comes to exploit does it following the same health an environmental standards as they do in their countries of origin.” Other than Argentina, the plaintiffs have filed suit in Canada, Brazil and Colombia.
State legislation legalizing recreational marijuana use in Washington and Colorado may impact Latin American countries drug war policies, reports McClatchy. The legislation, which the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness found would significantly reduce drug cartel profits, is a “game-changer”, according to Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch, the director of the global drug-policy program of the Open Society Foundation. Alejandro Hope, who co-authored the study, noted that, “Politically and symbolically, this is really powerful. My guess is that this will accelerate some countries’ efforts to have a legal marijuana regime.” The head of incoming president Enrique Pena-Nieto’s transition team told the AP: "Obviously we can't handle a product that is illegal in Mexico, trying to stop its transfer to the United States, when in the United States, at least in part of the United States, it now has a different status…These important modifications change somewhat the rules of the game in the relationship with the United States…I think that we have to carry out a review of our joint policies in regards to drug trafficking and security in general."
Three laborers were killed in Honduras this past week over a land conflict in the Bajo Aguan region, reports EFE. A 2011 report by the International Federation for Human Rights noted that the “The government has converted the area of these agrarian conflicts in Bajo Aguán into a war zone.” EFE points out that some 70 peasants have been killed in the past few years in fights with security personnel and guards from wealthy landowners. Last year an agreement was reached to give some 4,000 hectares of land to the landless families in the region, yet the agreement has yet to be implemented. MUCA, an organization representing the rural workers, released a statement: “MUCA repudiates ... these cowardly acts of intimidation against the peasants and calls on the regime of (President Porfirio) Lobo to stop this violence against the laborers of Bajo Aguan.” Professor Dana Frank has written extensively about the conflict previously.
Puerto Rico voters endorsed statehood on Tuesday, yet the results of the vote are not so clear-cut reports the Associated Press. It was a two part ballot, which first asked voters if they favored the current status. Though 54 percent of voters said “no”, not everyone answered the second part of the question, which provided three options; statehood, independence, or “sovereign free association”. Of those who answered the second question, statehood received some 60 percent of the vote [result breakdowns can be seen here]. President Obama has said he would respect the will of Puerto Rican voters, and the issue will now go to the U.S. congress. Never the less, because of the confusion caused by the multiple question ballots, some see little chance for change.
Municipal elections were held in Nicaragua this past week, with the ruling Sandanista party winning 134 of 153 mayoral posts, reports the BBC. As has been the case in the past, the U.S. State Department was extremely critical of the election, releasing a statement questioning whether the election “faithfully reflected the will of the Nicaraguan people.” The electoral mission from the Organization of American States took a much less critical tone, noting that “the municipal elections were held in an atmosphere of civility in which the citizens of Nicaragua were able to exercise their right to vote peacefully.” The vote was the first under new legislation requiring parties to field candidate lists with at least 50 percent women. As the OAS notes, this “puts Nicaragua in the group of countries at the forefront in promoting the participation of women.”