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Haiti. Nicaragua. Brazil. The USA. Canada. Cuba. Mexico. Bolivia. Guatemala. Venezuela. Colombia. Uruguay: First to Ratify Domestic Workers Convention. (New York) – Uruguay’s move to be the first country to ratify the international Domestic Workers Convention brings long overdue protections closer to reality for millions of women and girls worldwide, Human Rights Watch said today.

Uruguay: First to Ratify Domestic Workers Convention

The treaty, which extends core labor rights to an estimated 50 to 100 million domestic workers, will come into legal force when it is ratified by two countries. Governments, trade unions, and employers’ organizations that make up the International Labor Organization (ILO) overwhelmingly voted to adopt the Domestic Workers Convention – ILO Convention 189 Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers – on June 16, 2011. "Chile in the Streets" by Ricardo Lagos. Exit from comment view mode.

"Chile in the Streets" by Ricardo Lagos

Click to hide this space SANTIAGO – Almost everywhere I have traveled in recent months, I have been asked the same question: Why are Chile’s students and their families protesting? It is a good question. Chile is one of South America’s most advanced and, until now, most stable countries. But, over the past 20 years, its people have achieved a mature political sensibility; they demand new rights and refuse to accept the restrictions lingering from the country’s recent undemocratic past. Between 1990, when democracy was restored, and 2010, Chile experienced rapid economic growth, more than tripling its per capita income and making it possible to reduce poverty with targeted, highly efficient policies. More killings as Honduran journalists “preyed on” by criminal and political network. May 17, 2012 by Ana Arana Honduran radio journalist Ángel Alfredo Villatoro was found dead on Tuesday, 15 May, six days after he was kidnapped on his way to work at HRN Radio in the capital city of Tegucigalpa.

More killings as Honduran journalists “preyed on” by criminal and political network

The murder was a low blow for freedom of expression in this Central American nation. Just minutes before police reported locating a body dumped in a nearby neighbourhood, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo had raised hopes among media workers and family members, announcing government forces had received a video that showed the radio reporter was still alive. Nation-building in Sri Lanka: the potential and the promise.

El Salvador

Should Central America Legalize Drugs? - Ralph Espach - International. Some regional leaders say it could bring peace and much-needed tax revenue, but both they and supporters of the drug war are missing the real problem.

Should Central America Legalize Drugs? - Ralph Espach - International

Girls walk past a soldier on patrol in Guatemala / AP Last week, the president of Guatemala joined former and current presidents of Colombia and Mexico in expressing interest in considering the regional legalization of the drug trade. The U.S. Colombia and Mexico push for drugs debate. The Narco State - By Charles Kenny.

America's longest running war -- the one against drugs -- came in for abuse this weekend at the Summit of the Americas.

The Narco State - By Charles Kenny

The abuse is deserved. Forty years of increasingly violent efforts to stamp out the drug trade haven't worked. And the blood and treasure lost is on a scale with America's more conventional wars. On the upside, we know that an approach based around treating drugs as a public health issue reaps benefits to both users and the rest of us. President Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala opened the rhetorical offensive against the drug war last week when he wrote that "decades of big arrests and the seizure of tons of drugs" have not stopped "booming" production and consumption. But it isn't just in Latin America that the winds of change are blowing when it comes to drugs policy. As a domestic policy, a harsh enforcement approach has done little to control drug use, but has done a lot to lock up a growing portion of the U.S. population.

An End to the War on Drugs? by Alma Guillermoprieto. As a normally pro-forma gathering of hemispheric leaders gets under way in Cartagena, Colombia, this weekend, Latin America could instead be approaching its declaration of independence from the United States.

An End to the War on Drugs? by Alma Guillermoprieto

For the first time, the region might come out against a US policy. The change in what seemed to be an immovable subservience has come gradually, but the immediate cause is drugs, and the surprising agent is Otto Pérez Molina, retired general, former intelligence chief, graduate of the Pentagon’s School of Americas, and now the new president of Guatemala. Pérez Molina is no stranger to the War on Drugs. He campaigned for president promising to bring out the country’s dreaded Kaibil Army special forces against the drug trade; Guatemalan voters, judging crime and insecurity to be their greatest concern, elected him in November. Should Central America's drug violence be considered a global crisis?

A new report from the U.N.'

Should Central America's drug violence be considered a global crisis?

S International Narcotics Control Board contains more grim news about the drug violence in Central America: In Central America, the escalating drug-related violence involving drug trafficking, transnational and local gangs and other criminal groups has reached alarming and unprecedented levels, significantly worsening security and making the subregion one of the most violent areas in the world. Crime and drug-related violence continue to be key issues of concern in Central American countries. "Beating the Drug-War Addiction" by Juan Gabriel Tokatlian. Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space BUENOS AIRES – In January, US President Barack Obama nominated Marine Corps Lieutenant General John F. Kelly to head the United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM).

Good Times Down Latin America’s Way - Jorge G. Castañeda. Exit from comment view mode.

Good Times Down Latin America’s Way - Jorge G. Castañeda

Click to hide this space MEXICO CITY – For Latin America, 2011 was, in Frank Sinatra’s terms, a very good year – and 2012 doesn’t look like being so bad either. For a region not always accustomed to things going well, this is a somewhat strange state of affairs. Three elections were held in Latin America in 2011.

"The Andean Engagé" by Jorge G Castañeda. Exit from comment view mode.

"The Andean Engagé" by Jorge G Castañeda

Click to hide this space MEXICO CITY – The role of the politically committed intellectual has a long and ubiquitous history. The Spanish-French novelist and screenwriter Jorge Semprún, who died recently, was for many years a member of the Spanish Communist Party’s Central Committee, and subsequently served as Minister of Culture in Spain’s first post-Franco Socialist government. Dissidents like Václav Havel had a decisive impact in the downfall of Eastern Europe’s communist regimes. Latin America’s Monetary-Policy Test - Andrés Velasco. Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space. Latin America’s Stymied Innovators - Andrés Velasco. Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space Comments View/Create comment on this paragraph SANTIAGO – First, there was one disappointed foreign entrepreneur.

In December, Israeli venture capitalist Arnon Kohavi, whose firm had been lured to Chile by a government program to promote startups, announced that he was leaving. “A handful of monopolistic families control the country,” Kohavi declared to an online magazine. “Worse, these families don’t care about anything except their money. Southern Resilience - Paulo M. Levy. Exit from comment view mode.

Southern Resilience - Paulo M. Levy

Click to hide this space. Foreign Affairs Focus On: Latin America With Christopher Sabatini. "The Summit of Muted Intentions" by Jorge G. Castañeda. Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space MEXICO CITY – The Summit of the Americas, which takes place roughly every three years, could be viewed as the sort of Latin American boondoggle that convenes heads of state for a few days, either south or north of the Rio Grande, to make endless speeches that lead nowhere.

But every now and then, the Summit – an American initiative launched by US President Bill Clinton in 1994 – actually helps to place key issues on the hemispheric table. The Land of Too Many Summits - By Christopher Sabatini. With President Barack Obama traveling to Cartagena, Colombia, for the Sixth Summit of the Americas on April 14, observers and journalists are already asking what his administration has done in the region since the last such meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009.

At Summit of the Americas, Washington Looks Behind the Times. At Historic Summit, Obama Rejects Fed Up Latin American Leaders' Calls for Drug Legalization. While the presidents of Guatemala, Colombia, Costa Rica and El Salvador have voiced support for an end to the drug war, President Obama rejected their calls for drug legalization during high-level talks at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia.

Obama warned that legalization could lead to greater problems, but he expressed willingness to hold a discussion on drug policy. The Fallout From Washington's Time Warp on Cuba.