NotiSur contains news, summaries, and analyses on a variety of political, economic, and social issues in South America. The publication covers regional integration and democratization, including topics such as political parties and elections, governmental reform and judicial issues, political violence and human rights, military issues, and inter-American affairs.
Current IssueMilitary Retirement Privileges Under Fire in Uruguay
Facing strong opposition from the armed forces, Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez has been forced to postpone a pension reform plan that would have ended some of the privileges for retired military personnel. As details of the preferential treatment the government gives the military were unveiled and the public became outraged, the military appealed to its political allies. Civil society was unaware of the wide array of measures that allow retired military officers to enjoy a package of exceptional privileges, unavailable to other Uruguayans, that make them the best-paid retirees in the country. This discriminatory treatment backed up by a web of laws, resolutions, and decrees dates back to 1940 and was consolidated in the Organic Military Law imposed in 1974 by the civilian-military dictatorship (1973-1985). Officers can retire after 20 years of service. Civilians must work at least 30 years to be vested.Drug Traffickers Thrive, Branch Out in Porous Paraguay
In an episode that seemed to be drawn from a Hollywood script, a powerful Brazilian businessman who was living large in Paraguay while on the lam from authorities in his home country was gunned down June 15 by assailants wielding military-grade weapons. The attack took place near Paraguay’s porous eastern border, where Jorge Rafaat Toumani, a suspected drug trafficker and smuggler, had taken refuge despite being convicted in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul and sentenced to 47 years in jail. The case is significant for two reasons: First, as a demonstration that the Brazilian crime war—involving the two leading drug cartels, the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) and Comando Vermelho (CV), along with dozens of other criminal groups—is making its way into Paraguayan territory; and second, as a reminder of the deep-seated corruption that exists within Paraguay’s armed forces: The government itself admits that the weapons used in the attack were likely taken from the state arsenal and sold by unscrupulous military officials.