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NotiCen offers information and analysis of regional economic integration, economic liberalization, and the impact on the environment, labor, politicization and income distribution in the countries of the Caribbean and Central America, including Cuba.

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Almagro Hails Work of OAS Anti-Corruption Unit in Honduras

In a Twitter message, Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro wrote on Jan. 16 that he was about to visit Honduras, where the organization’s anti-corruption and anti-impunity team was producing what he described as evident results. Almagro, a former Uruguayan foreign affairs minister, wrote that the Misión de Apoyo contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad en Honduras (Support Mission against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras, MACCIH), which began operation on April 16, 2016, “shows concrete results vs. corruption.” The following day, as a witness to the signing of a law on surveillance, funding, and transparency for political campaigns (Ley de Fiscalización, Transparencia y Financiamiento de Partidos Políticos y Campañas), Almagro listed MACCIH’s accomplishments. Among the achievements, Almagro mentioned MACCIH’s involvement in the passage of the campaign funding law, which he said creates “a rigorous mechanism to select judges and magistrates” by designing a special group of attorneys to work on anti-corruption issues (Unidad Especial de Fiscales Anticorrupción). He also cited the mission’s work with the Ministerio Público (Public Prosecutor’s Office, MP) in the case of the 2013 plundering of Honduras’ social security program (Instituto Hondureño de Seguridad Social, IHSS), one of the country’s biggest corruption scandals.

Power Outages Expose Flaws in Nicaragua’s Energy Overhaul

Back-to-back blackouts left Nicaraguans quite literally in the dark last month and turned new attention to the country’s much hailed “energy revolution,” which for all the accolades it receives, is still very much a work in progress. The first and most disruptive of the power outages occurred Jan. 9, one day, incidentally, before Nicaragua’s controversial leader, Daniel Ortega, was sworn in for his third consecutive five-year term as president (NotiCen, Jan. 19, 2017). The blackout began at approximately 9:30 a.m. and affected residents throughout the country, El Nuevo Diario reported. Authorities weren’t able to restore power for some communities until the afternoon. Residents in other areas had to wait until 8 or 9 p.m. before the lights finally went back on. The lengthy electricity failure also knocked out cell phone and Internet service and left an estimated 600,000 people without running water, according to Vice President Rosario Murillo, who is also the country’s first lady. Many parts of Nicaragua depend on electric-powered pumps to bring water up from aquifers and deliver it to people’s homes. Without electricity, faucets run dry.

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