Around the Region

Four nations pledge joint oversight of huge aquifer

The governments of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay reached an unprecedented agreement this month to jointly manage—and prevent foreign control of—South America’s largest freshwater aquifer. In a document signed by their foreign ministers on Aug. 3, the four nations agreed to notify each other if they are considering “works or activities” that might have cross-border impacts on the shared, 1.2 million-square-kilometer (460,000-square-mile) Guaraní aquifer. The signing came during a meeting in San Juan, Argentina of the South American Mercosur customs union, of which Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay are members. The same day, the countries’ respective presidents hailed the Guaraní aquifer system as “one of the greatest freshwater reserves in the world.” That system underlies the Paraná River...

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Dengue extends reach in Mexico

Once a malady of tropical coastal areas, dengue fever is on the move in Mexico. In multiple reports, Mexican and U.S. health authorities have confirmed dengue or the presence of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito which transmits the dengue-causing virus, far from their traditional haunts. Mexico City’s metropolitan area, Cuernavaca and Guadalajara are now among the places at risk. By the third week of July, Mexico’s National Center for Epidemiological Monitoring (Cenavece) confirmed 10,008 dengue cases nationwide this year. The number included 2,085 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever, a form of the sickness which is more deadly than the classic variety. At least 16 deaths were attributed to this year’s illnesses. Tourist resorts including Cancun, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta have had outbreaks. In early August...

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Peru’s gas-field protests end with government concessions

A sometimes violent two-week protest this month by residents of the remote province of La Convención in the Cusco region, where the Camisea natural-gas-extraction operation is located, ended when the Cabinet chief and other government ministers agreed to a series of demands. The apparent resolution, however, was followed by news that a 14-year-old boy shot during the demonstrations by an unknown assailant died on Aug. 12. Two separate pipelines carry natural gas and gas liquids west from the Camisea gas fields in the southeastern Peruvian Amazon to the coast. From there, some of the gas is piped to industrial areas, mainly around Lima, and some is liquefied for export. People in southern Peru have complained increasingly that they are not...

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