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 IssueSupreme Court Ruling Weakens Peru’s Hand Against Human Traffickers
Many sectors of Peruvian society overwhelmingly rejected a ruling by the Permanent Penal Tribunal of the Supreme Court (Sala Penal Permanente de la Corte Suprema) saying that human trafficking isn’t criminal if, at the moment victims are captured, they are not told they will be exploited for work or sex. The ruling brought renewed focus on a crime affecting hundreds of people in Peru, including adolescent girls.Early last month, a ruling that absolved Elsa Cjuno Huillca of human trafficking charges was made public. Cjuno is the owner of a bar in the Mazuko mining region of Peru’s Madre de Dios department. The ruling, issued in January by the Penal Chamber presided by Judge Javier Villa Stein, upheld a lower court’s decision related to an incident dating back to 2008, when Cjuno Huillca allegedly forced a 14-year-old girl to work as a “lady companion” who would drink alcohol with clients 12 hours a day. Miluska Romero Pacheco, a human trafficking prosecutor in Lima, warned that victims of human traffickers will be left unprotected if other justices follow this line of reasoning. Romero told the daily La República that so far this year, 200 human trafficking cases have been brought to light. In the past two years, she added, 14 sentences have been issued and are now under appeal in Lima’s Superior Court.Colombian Voters Narrowly Reject Government-FARC Peace Deal
A misleading campaign organized by the extreme right managed in the span of just 10 hours—the time allotted for an Oct. 2 plebiscite in which barely a third of eligible voters participated—to thwart what had taken the Colombian government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) 45 painstaking months to accomplish: a comprehensive peace deal, signed Sept. 26, that looked to end 52 years of brutal civil war. Of the 34.9 million people eligible to vote, only 36.7%—far less than the normal election average of more than 50%—participated in the Oct. 2 referendum. The “No” option won, but with support from just 18.43% of the eligible voting population, versus 18.27% who chose “Yes.” The other 63.3% of eligible voters didn’t even take part in the transcendent decision. Colombians continue to pursue peace despite the “No” result. On Oct. 10, eight days after the referendum, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), the country’s second largest guerrilla force after the FARC, announced in Venezuela that they would begin official peace talks on Oct. 27 in Quito, Ecuador. The two sides had already been engaged in secret negotiations.