Slavery, an election and Ahmadinejad goes to Latin America

There have been some interesting headlines out of Latin America recently.

A slavery ring was broken up in Mexico City. In Honduras, they held an election while the deposed president is still holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.

And the president

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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was recently on a Latin America tour.

In Mexico, a  slavery ring was busted up where more than 100 people were forced to make hand bags and clothes pins. They were locked in a facility that was disguised as a drug rehabilitation center and they weren’t paid for working 8 a.m. to midnight. They were given one meal a day, according to a story on CNN.

It appears as though the victims came from Mexico’s indigenous communities who often live in rural areas and struggle the most to survive. They often are the poorest of the poor in Mexico and some don’t even speak Spanish but one of Mexico’s 63 official indigenous languages.

They can’t make a living from agriculture and their communities have suffered economic trade impacts from NAFTA, so they migrate to the bigger cities in Mexico and some eventually to the United States.

I know that migrants like these are exploited all around the world. But those of you who wonder why immigrants come to the United States only have to read the coverage of this slavery ring to understand why some people would risk everything for a better life here.
Meanwhile in Honduras, a new president was elected and almost 57 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, according to a story by CNN.

However, some countries, such as Brazil and Spain, are not recognizing the election results because Honduras’ actual president, Manuel Zelaya, was ousted in a coup in June. But the United States, Costa Rica and Colombia have indicated they may recognize the new president Porfirio Lobo Sosa.

Zelaya had asked his people to boycott the election. But the majority of people voted anyway. It seems they are looking for a way to bring some political stability to their country.

But I don’t think this is the end of the political telenovela in Honduras.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad recently visited Latin America stopping in several countries, including Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela.

It’s no surprise that he would visit leftist leaders Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales. But a meeting with Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is unsettling.

Brazil urged Iran to develop a peaceful nuclear energy program and in exchange Iran agreed to support Brazil becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, according to a story in the Christian Science Monitor.

This is pure politics but I think Latin American leaders should not legitimize Ahmadinejad. It’s disturbing to see him receive warm welcomes from these leaders.

Let’s not forget how his government is oppressing the democracy movement in Iran and his ridiculous claims that there was no Holocaust.

It doesn’t give the leaders of Latin America credibility when they deal with a dictator like Ahmadinejad.

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