Ibero-American News Digest
July Swine Flu Summit Planned for Mexico
June 22 (EIRNS)Against the backdrop of reported new outbreaks of the A/H1N1 swine flu virus in several Mexican states, the directors-general of the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, as well as health ministers from 40 countries, will hold a ministerial-level summit in Cancún, Mexico on July 1-3, to debate the "Lessons Learned from Mexico, Canada and the U.S." in combatting the virus.
When the summit was announced on June 8, Mexican Health Minister José Córdova reported that the A/H1N1 virus was "under control" in the country, and that certain emergency measures had been relaxed. But in the intervening two weeks, demonstrating the unpredictable pattern of the virus's behavior, authorities have reported new outbreaks in several states, including the southeast, central and northern regions of the country.
On June 15, seven states reported a "resurgence" of the swine flu virus, and two days later, a Health Ministry official reported outbreaks in southeastern Mexico, including the states of Tabasco, Veracruz, Chiapas, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo. Tabasco, Veracruz, and Yucatan had also been named in the June 15 report. Health Ministry official Mauricio Hernández announced on June 17 that the federal government would deploy special health brigades to all the affected southeastern states, to assist in dealing with these outbreaks, and that, in some cases, emergency measures had been "reactivated."
According to Yucatan state health ministry official Pedro González, dealing with the 255 A/H1N1 confirmed cases in the state as of June 18, had been complicated by the appearance of 40 cases of seasonal flu, which, he said, has "confused" the local population. Health officials had predicted that the seasonal flu wouldn't appear until Winter, but Yucatan is just beginning its Summer season.
Honduras Crisis Reflects Global Wave of Ungovernability
FLASH: June 30 (EIRNS)Since the following was written, the situation in Honduras has devolved, with the outcome uncertain.
June 26 (EIRNS)Economic disintegration, food scarcity, ever-expanding poverty, drug traffic and gangs, and now, the spreading A/H1N1 flu virus, have pushed Honduras to the brink of ungovernability, a breakdown brought about by British imperialist globalization, which Lyndon LaRouche warned this week could break out at any point, in every region of the planet.
Honduras is in such a state of upheaval, that President Manuel Zelaya requested that the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States meet in emergency session on June 26, to examine his charges of coup threats against him. The OAS is sending a delegation to investigate the situation and support Honduran democracy, driven, in particular, by the recognition that all of Honduras's Central American neighbors face similar conditions, and it would take very little to unleash the same type of chaos in those nations as is now occurring in Honduras.
The ostensible cause of the unrest is the June 28 referendum called by Zelaya to amend the constitution, so he can run for a second term. Congress, the Armed Forces, and other government and civil institutions oppose the referendum. When Zelaya fired the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on June 25, because of the latter's opposition, the Supreme Court promptly reinstated him. From there, the situation very quickly unravelled.
Mexico's Drug Decrim Could Lure Foreign 'Drug Tourists'
June 22 (EIRNS)State and local officials on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border fear that Mexico could become a mecca for "drug tourists," should President Felipe Calderón sign into law the bill that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of several different drugs for personal consumption.
The bill was passed in the Mexican Congress two months ago, but Calderón has yet to sign it; he most likely is waiting until after the July 5 mid-term election. There is significant opposition to the law, especially from financially strapped state governments which lack the means to deal with the increased numbers of consumers who will appear once the bill becomes law.
The Los Angeles Times reported June 21 that church and state officials from Mexican and U.S. border states warn that decriminalization for personal consumption could turn many Mexican cities into "Latin Amsterdams," attracting consumers from inside and outside Mexico.
Mary Ellen Hernández of the Rio Grande Safe Communities Coalition in El Paso, Texas, whose agency specializes in drug prevention, warns that legalized drug consumption in Mexico will lure Americans into a drug world for which they are ill-prepared to handle. She told the Times that those drugs that don't come over the border into the U.S., are now being handed out by dealers to younger and younger Mexican children, "eight-, nine-, and ten-year-olds, hooking them." Youth then turn to crime to feed their habit, she reported.
Mexican drug cartels also go into poorer neighborhoods in U.S. border states to recruit and train impoverished youth to work as their hitmen, the New York Times reported June 21.