NACLA Update 11/05/09 - Constitutional Reform in Central America/Hunt Oil Reignites Amazon Uprising

Out Now! Nov/Dec 2009

A New Day in El Salvador: The FMLN Victory and the Road Ahead
The March election of former journalist Mauricio Funes to the presidency of El Salvador marks a watershed moment for Central American democracy. If the new government enjoys some degree of success, it will ratify the decision of the Salvadoran left more than a decade ago to seek a negotiated solution to the civil war, and its more recent strategy of reaching out to the center left to form an electoral bloc. Failure, in turn, will greatly disappoint those who have long struggled for greater social justice in that troubled land of the Central American isthmus.
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Constitutional Reform Cuts Both Ways in Central America: The Right Pushes Back
by Kimberly Kohler and Joshua MacLeod

Constitutional reforms have been seen by their leftist advocates as necessary to create the conditions for a redistribution of economic and political power, mainly by increasing public control over natural resources and national economies, and by expanding access to basic services. At the same time, however, particularly in Central America, constitutional reform has become a tool used by economic elites to retain and consolidate their power. Conservative forces in Honduras and Guatemala, for example, are defending existing constitutionally guaranteed power, or pushing power consolidation through proposed constitutional amendments.
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Peru: Hunt Oil Contract to Reignite Amazon Uprising?
by Bill Weinberg

After the indigenous uprising in Peru's Amazon region in June, it appears that an indigenous pledge to physically resist the operations of Dallas-based Hunt Oil on communal rainforest lands could reignite the uprising. In what is shaping up as an important test case, Hunt Oil is opening trails in preparation for seismic exploration within an indigenous reserve in Madre de Dios.
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