Horacio Cartes, tobacco tycoon and political novice, had a resounding victory in Paraguayan presidential elections, bringing back to power the Colorado Party, which ruled the country with a tight grip of power for over sixty years until 2008.
Cartes, who has accusations of narcotrafficing, smuggling and money laundering[CP1] all of which he was denied, won the elections with 45.8% of the votes, while second runner-up, Efrain Alegre, got 36.94%. 68.57% of the more than 3.5 million Paraguayans that could vote went to the polls to cast their ballots and choose not only president and vice president, but also members of congress, governors and representatives to the Mercosur parliament.
Obama last visited Mexico during the G-20 summit in Los Cabos last June. He and his entourage will touch down again today for talks with Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto. Since his election, Peña Nieto’s team has worked to shift media focus away from violence related to the drug war and towards the economy, something that will likely be reinforced during this visit.
This week negotiations begin again in Singapore on the Transpacific agreement, a project hailed by its promoters as the biggest, most ambitious trade agreement ever. Eleven countries participate: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, United States, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zeeland, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. It’s billed as a tool for growth, employment and prosperity, but the reality will be quite different.
Catalyzed by a teachers’ strike against federal education reform, a new popular movement is gaining momentum in Mexico. And in expanding its agenda to encompass long-standing grievances ranging from environmental destruction to insecurity and indigenous rights, the movement is posing a serious challenge to not only the policies of new President Enrique Pena Nieto, but the broader economic and political direction of a country ravaged by three decades of neo-liberalism as well.