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Monday Memo: Mexican Elections—G7 Climate Summit—EU-CELAC Summit—Argentine Debt—Honduras Protests

This week’s likely news stories: Mexico’s ruling party wins the congressional elections; Canada and Japan block a G7 statement on carbon emissions; Latin American officials to discuss Mercosur at EU-CELAC Summit; Argentina’s debt inflates after U.S. court ruling; protestors demand Honduran president’s resignation.

Mexico’s Ruling Party to Maintain Majority in Lower House after Elections: Despite nationwide protests over its handling of a housing scandal and the unresolved disappearance of 43 students last October, Mexico’s ruling party appeared likely to keep its congressional majority after Sunday’s legislative, mayoral and gubernatorial elections. Mexico’s national electoral institute projected that President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Institutional Revolutionary Party—PRI) and its allies would secure between 246 and 263 seats in the country’s 500-member lower house. One of the notable governor races was in the state of Nuevo León, which elected the country’s first independent governor since a 2014 reform allowed independent candidates to run. Jaime Rodríguez Calderon, nicknamed “El Bronco,” called his election “the beginning of a second Mexican revolution.”

Canada Blocks G7 Statement, Agrees to Cutting Carbon Emissions: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed to reducing carbon emissions by 2050 during the second day of the G7 climate change summit in Bavaria today. Both Canada and Japan had blocked an earlier statement on greenhouse gas reductions  in order to avoid binding targets, and were referred to as “the most difficult [countries] on every issue on climate” by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, host of the G7 summit. Senior government officials from Canada stated that Canada will make efforts to reduce carbon emissions by means of a “target that is in line with other major industrialized economies.” The G7 countries—Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States—will continue climate change talks in France this December.

Mercosur Officials Travel to Belgium for EU-CELAC Summit: In an effort to revamp stalled free trade negotiations between the European Union (EU) and Mercosur (Southern Common Market), foreign ministers from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay will meet with the EU’s top international trade official on June 11 during the second summit between the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the EU. Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay have expressed support for finalizing tariff-reduction proposals in order to make progress toward reaching a free-trade agreement between the two regional blocs, but resistance from Argentina could prevent the group from reaching a necessary consensus.

U.S. Court Increases Argentina’s Debt by $5.4 Billion: In a 26-page ruling on Friday, U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa added $5.4 billion to the amount that Argentina has been ordered to pay on its defaulted debt. According to Griesa, the additional money is for bondholders who were not included in the original ruling. Argentina defaulted on $100 billion in 2001, and again in July of last year, when Griesa ordered a $1.5 payout to investors. So far, Argentina has refused to pay the two hedge funds, NML Capital Ltd and Aurelius Capital Management. Argentine government officials have called the latest court ruling “unfortunate” and “illegal,” and are expected to appeal.

Thousands Protest for Honduran President’s Resignation: Nearly 8,000 protestors bearing torches and Honduran flags marched against corruption in the capital on Saturday, demanding President Juan Orlando Hernández’ resignation. Saturday’s rallies were in response to Hernandez’ admission on Wednesday to receiving funds from companies linked to an embezzlement scandal linked to the Honduran Institute of Social Security during the 2013 presidential campaign. A congressional report released Friday revealed that individuals linked to last year’s $200 million scandal donated $280,000 to Hernández’ party—although Hernández previously estimated donations to be around $150,000.  Hernández said he was unaware of the source of the funding. Demonstrators also delivered a letter to the local office of the United Nations, calling for the creation of an international commission against impunity, similar to the Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala—CICIG).

Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Partido Revolucionario Institucional, Stephen Harper, Mercosur, Argentina, Juan Orlando Hernández

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