Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Monday Memo: IACHR Reforms—Lima Mayor—Immigration—Ríos Montt—Brazilian Oil Royalties

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Top stories this week are likely to include: Lima Mayor Susana Villarán survives recall election; the OAS votes on IACHR reforms in an extraordinary session; the “gang of eight” considers providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants; former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt will stand trial for genocide; Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo challenge a new royalties law.

Lima Mayor Holds Onto Her Job: Lima Mayor Susana Villarán appears to have survived a popular referendum to recall her from her post on Sunday. According to Peru’s Oficina Nacional de Procesos Electorales (National Office of Electoral Processes—ONPE), 51.7 percent of voters supported allowing Villarán to remain in office, while 48.3 percent supported her removal. Villarán became Lima’s first female mayor in 2010, and while polls as late as last month showed a majority of voters would opt to recall her, the trend was slowly reversing itself in the weeks ahead of the election.

OAS to Vote on IACHR Reforms: The General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) will vote on recommendations to reform the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). In an extraordinary session Friday in Washington DC, the assembly will consider measures proposed by ALBA and UNASUR countries which include limiting the sources of funding for the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and moving the seat of the IACHR from Washington DC to Buenos Aires. Member states met in Guayaquil, Ecuador last week to discuss the proposed reforms.

U.S. Immigration Overhaul May Provide Path to Citizenship Within 13 Years: The bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators working to devise an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system may be planning to increase the wait time for green cards from eight years to ten, but may also reduce the total amount of time that immigrants must wait to apply for citizenship from five years to three. The proposal represents a compromise between Democrats and Republicans on the question of providing undocumented immigrants with eventual citizenship. On Monday, the Republican National Committee released a post-election report recommending that the party change its position on immigration in order to win Latino voters in future elections.

Former Guatemalan Dictator to Stand Trial: Former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt is expected to stand trial on Tuesday for genocide committed during his 1982-1983 regime. The 86 year-old will be tried for the execution of 1,771 Indigenous Maya in Quiché department during an internal conflict in which 200,000 people are estimated to have been killed or disappeared. The trial, which was originally scheduled for August, is expected to present more than 900 pieces of evidence and 130 witnesses. The defense has appealed to delay the start of the trial, though court officials reportedly said Friday that the trial would begin on Tuesday morning.

Brazilian States Face Off Over Oil Royalties: The Brazilian oil producing states of Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo are challenging a new law passed last week that would distribute oil and natural gas royalties equally between all Brazilian states. Congress overrode President Dilma Rousseff’s veto to pass the law last week, and the president signed it into law on Thursday. Rio’s government says the law will cost the state $3.4 billion reais in revenue each year and jeopardize its ability to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

Tags: Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Efraín Ríos Montt, IACHR, Susana Villarán
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