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 IssueTruckers Disrupt Six Latin American Economies
Throughout 2016, prolonged trucking conflicts led by both business organizations and labor unions have disrupted several South American countries. Trucking is a strategic operation that can paralyze a country’s economic activity if its leaders decide to do so. While conflicts in this sector have been cyclical, this year, and for the first time, truckers in Peru and five neighboring countries––Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador––began a joint shutdown on June 15 that blocked traffic on roads and bridges, causing a serious setback for regional trade. Only pedestrian traffic was permitted. This action, applied equally by owners and workers, originates from a 2012 tax levied in Peru by the government of then-President Ollanta Humala that, if unpaid, was resulting in the accumulation of fines of US$150,000 per driver. A document prepared jointly by organizations in the six countries denounced the measure as an “abusive tax outside of existing international agreements.” The strike ended after 14 days, when the Peruvian Congress annulled the provision and its expanding sanctions.Paraguayans Focus on Term-Limit Rules as Election Buzz Mounts
Even though there are still 17 months to go before Paraguayans head to the polls to choose a new president, 45 senators, 80 deputies, and governors for the 17 departments into which the country is divided, the electoral campaign is already front-page news and a source of debate in family gatherings and office meetings. With the exception of former President Fernando Lugo (2008-2012), who was ousted in a coup a year before finishing his constitutionally guaranteed term, the candidates have yet to spell out their platforms. Instead, the discussion has centered around the issue of rekutu, a Guaraní term meaning “return,” in allusion to the possibility of reelection at the executive level. There are clear reasons for the focus on rekutu. Presidential reelection is prohibited in Paraguay, at least according to one interpretation of the Constitution’s imprecise Article 229. And yet the early favorites to compete for the position are the current head of state, Horacio Cartes, and two former presidents, Lugo and Nicanor Duarte Frutos (2003-2008)