Networked Notes - 4 May 2016

By Southern Pulse Staff and Network

Mexico’s Congress failed to act on proposed anti-corruption legislation and Mexico’s President Peña Nieto has largely ignored the issue. Delays in anti-corruption initiatives pushed civil society to collect over a half million signatures in favor of the Ley 3x3, which would have legally obligated Mexican politicians to publicly disclose assets, possible conflicts of interest, and tax payments. The fact Mexico’s Congress isn’t acting on anti-corruption legislation, with the PRI refusing to even attend debates on the issue, shows the basic challenges confronting these sorts of laws.

Mexico’s political system feels comfortable that they will never face the sort of anti-government protests and disruptions currently happening in Brazil, much less the level of prosecutions the Lavo Jato investigation has brought Latin America’s largest country. Mexican civil society believes they are near a tipping point in terms of public opinion and that this issue could lead to major political overhaul in the near future. The politicians appear much more confident that they are winning than civil society. However, with public approval ratings near record lows for Mexico’s president, Congress, and political system as a whole, that confidence may not be warranted. 

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The Honduran government’s arrest of four people linked to the Berta Caceres murder is the result of significant international pressure for action. Two of the people arrested are linked to the Agua Zarca dam, whose personnel were the top suspects for everyone who knew of Caceres’s activism against the project. While Caceres’s family and civil society allies do not believe this is enough, Honduras President Hernandez certainly believes these arrests give him some needed breathing room with the U.S. and international partners who were demanding action.

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While each candidate attempts to spin every poll as a major victory, the vast majority of credible polling numbers published in Peru show a statistical tie between Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Keiko Fujimori. It is true that Fujimori has higher negative ratings than PPK, but the numbers are far from definitive that those voters will tip the balance in favor of the first round’s runner up. Additionally, there is a clear enthusiasm gap for PPK, in that a significant portion of his supporters are reluctant anti-Fujimori voters.