Latin America-Weekly Roundup, June 21, 2011

In international politics: 

Uruguay will occupy the rotating presidency of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the next year. The MercoPress article can be found here.  Ambassador Laura Dupuy, who will actually hold the office has quite a bit on her agenda:

Among the issues in Ambassador Laura Dupuy’s agenda are the special investigation commission for Libya, accused of war crimes, and Sri Lanka where two years ago 30.000 civilians were massacred, allegedly by the Colombo government at the end of a prolonged civil war.

The latest on Latin American drug trafficking:

According to a recent article by Nils Elzenga for The Associated Press, submarines are the new mode of transportation used by Latin American cartels.  In order to meet European demand without having to deal with European airport and maritime controls, the submarines travel from Latin America to West Africa where the drugs are then parceled out and carried North.  Although cocaine seizures in West Africa have gone down recently, Alexandre Schmidt, the head of the West African branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime cautions against complaceny:

What that shows, he said, is that the actual trade is likely increasing and that the cartels are simply becoming more sophisticated at hiding their operation.

And in another link between Latin America and Africa:

According to an article by Anne Herrbereg on the German website Deutsche Welle, African emigrants have lately been turning to Latin America over Europe.  With the European Union sealing off its external borders, more and more refugees from African countries are seeking shelter in other parts of the world. In Latin America, figures have doubled.  The article focuses mostly on Argentina, which is already taking measures to combat the flow of illegal African immigrants into the country via Brazil.

And finally, indications that Cuba's private sector is starting to flourish under looser economic restrictions:

According to an Associated Press article, Cuba's recent licensing of a broad spectrum of private sector activity has given rise to a nascent and growing class of self-employed people.  This is manifesting through urban marketplaces springing up for the first time and flourishing all across Havana.  Though, despite this development, it's still Cuba:

President Raul Castro insists that the new private-sector activity is meant to “update” Cuba’s socialist model, not replace it with the free market.

Baby steps.