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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
In brief
Latinamerica Press
6/24/2015
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Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago.

On June 3, the House of Representatives of Colombia approved to end presidential reelection by a 90 to 10 vote. Immediate reelection was implemented in 2005 through a constitutional reform that allowed former President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010) to govern a second term of four years until 2010. The current legislative decision definitively ended both consecutive and non-consecutive presidential reelection as well as the reelection of other senior officials such as the Inspector General and Attorney General. Lawmakers from Uribe´s political party, the Democratic Center, noted that this measure only seeks to prevent Uribe from returning to power. According to recent surveys, 70 percent of the population is against reelection.
 
According to the information published by the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, a total of 22,869 unaccompanied minors under 17 years of age were detained at the border with Mexico between Oct. 1, 2014 and June 1, 2015. Most of these minors are from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. This quantity is less than half of the quantity recorded in the first five months of 2014, when a wave of unaccompanied Central American children and adolescents crossed the southern US border, resulting in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis due to overcrowded detention centers and the need for medical attention.
 
On June 7, the 2015 federal elections took place in Mexico. According to preliminary results, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of President Enrique Peña Nieto won 203 of the 500 seats in the House of Representatives. With its allies — Ecologist Green Party (47) and New Alliance (10) —, the PRI will maintain a majority in Congress. The biggest loser was the former leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), which obtained 56 seats, 48 less than the past legislature.  The involvement of former PRD governor of Guerrero in the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa last year took the toll.
 
The controversial remarks made by the President of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes, on June 12, who during his visit to Spain said that "Paraguay exports poverty", were rejected by the Paraguayan community in Spain. The protesters demanded the resignation of Cartes, who also faces corruption scandals. During the president´s absence, the diversion of US$214,000 meant for the National Service for the Eradication of Vector-borne Diseases to purchase fuel and insecticides against the dengue mosquito was revealed. Add to this scandal the confession of a  drug trafficker imprisoned since 2012 regarding the use of bribes to politicians and prosecutors in the eastern department of Canindeyú to facilitate drug trafficking.  
 
Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago will vote on Sept. 7 to elect 41 representatives to the Parliament´s House of Representatives (39 for Trinidad and 2 for Tobago) for a period of five years in the bicameral Parliament, announced Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on June 12. Recent surveys predict a close race between the ruling coalition People´s Partnership and the opposing People´s National Movement. The 31 senators are appointed by the president, who is chosen by Parliament, and the representatives elect to the post of prime minister the leader of the party with legislative majority. In 2010, the ruling party won 29 of the 41 contested seats.


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