Interesting Stories From All Over the Americas

  • According to Americas Quarterly and El Universal, “the government of Mexican President Felipe Calderón made history this week when a presidential spokeswoman, Alejandra Sota, announced that Mexico was the first country in the world to have an entire president’s cabinet actively using Twitter.” The goal being:

 …accountability and to allow officials to better respond to citizens’ concerns.

  • The Economist published an interesting piece on President Piñera attempt to bring more women into the workforce by sending a bill to Congress that would require the state to pay working mothers for up to 7 months of maternity leave—“more time than women get in France.”

Mr. Piñera’s concern for the plight of Chile’s working women is justified. The country ranks 33rd of the OECD’s 34 countries for female labour participation, ahead only of Turkey. And its current maternity-leave scheme, which offers six weeks of time off paid by the state before birth and 12 afterwards, is regressive: 52% of payments go to the richest fifth of women and just 5% to the poorest fifth.

However, the Economist believes extra maternity leave would probably not bring many more women  into the workforce; click here to read why.

  • American blogger based in Nicaragua, Boz, wrote a well-thought analysis on the benefits of a long-tough primary for the Venezuelan opposition (MUD).  
  • While U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said a free-trade agreement with Panama is ready to be considered by Congress, The Associated Press reports that President Barack Obama and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli will meet for the first time next week.
  •  The Hill informed that a bipartisan group of six lawmakers is heading to Colombia on Monday to discuss the pending free-trade agreement with the nation’s leaders.  During this quick trip to our Southern neighbor, the lawmakers are expected to meet President Santos, his Cabinet and labor as well as business leaders.