- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MEXICO

MEXICO CITY

OKs gay marriage

MEXICO CITY | Lawmakers on Monday made this city the first in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, a change that will give homosexual couples more rights, including adoption.

The bill passed the capital’s local assembly 39-20 to the cheers of supporters who yelled: “Yes, we could! Yes, we could!”

Leftist Mayor Marcelo Ebrard of the Democratic Revolution Party is widely expected to sign the measure into law.

The bill calls for changing the definition of marriage from the union of a man and a woman to “the free uniting of two people.”

The change would allow same-sex couples to adopt children, apply for bank loans together, inherit wealth and be included in the insurance policies of their spouse, rights they were denied under civil unions allowed in the city.

Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, became the first Latin American city to legalize same-sex civil unions in 2002. Four other Argentine cities later did the same, and as did Mexico City in 2007 and some Mexican and Brazilian states. Uruguay alone has legalized civil unions nationwide.

Buenos Aires lawmakers introduced a bill for legalizing gay marriage in the national Congress in October but it has stalled without a vote, and officials in the South American city have blocked same-sex weddings because of conflicting judicial rulings.

Many people in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America remain opposed to gay marriage, and the dominant Roman Catholic Church has announced its opposition.

BRAZIL

Emissions proposal by Obama ‘too little’

BRASILIA | Brazil’s leader blamed the United States on Monday for the failure of climate talks in Copenhagen, saying President Obama was not prepared to make sufficient carbon emissions cuts.

“The United States is proposing a reduction of 4 percent from the date fixed by the Kyoto Protocol. That is too little,” President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on his weekly radio program.

Mr. Obama’s proposal led other countries to avoid their “commitments to the objectives [of reducing emissions] and financial commitments,” Mr. Lula said on “Coffee With the President.”

Other Latin American leaders were harsher. Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez, called Mr. Obama an “imperial and arrogant” liar Monday for his conduct at the conference, which the Cuban said was “a fallacy, a farce.”

Washington has promised to curb U.S. carbon emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.

CUBA

Economy stabilizes but debts remain

HAVANA | Cuba has managed to stop the hemorrhaging of foreign exchange, but creditors who are owed an estimated $2 billion do not expect to be paid in full anytime soon.

Cuban officials told the National Assembly over the weekend that government spending would be limited in 2010 as the island continues to deal with effects of devastating hurricanes in 2008 and the global financial meltdown.

Cuba, which is heavily dependent on imports, stopped paying many suppliers last year and froze the Cuban bank accounts of most foreign companies operating on the island.

Regarding debt, Economy Minister Marino Murillo said, “Negotiations with some countries and suppliers to restructure debts and guarantee payment under more favorable conditions have begun.”

His words brought little cheer to creditors.

“I see nothing in Sunday’s report that indicates significant amounts of money will be generated or put aside to pay fresh debt racked up to suppliers and banks this year,” a foreign businessman, who asked his name not be used, said Monday.

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