Fundar launches new weblog
The Mexico City-based Fundar, which focuses its work on transparency and accountability in Mexico, has launched a new weblog titled On Money and Rights (“De pesos y derechos”) which is hosted at the website of El Universal. El Universal has been able to attract several local NGOs to post weekly updates on the website including Pase Usted, Centro Prodh, and Artículo 19. By hosting their blogs on El Universal these organizations are able to reach a larger audience and participate in a community of respected commentators. However, in turn they are giving up the rights to their content. All blog posts are published under full copyright to El Universal, which warns that they “explicitly forbid the publication, retransmission, editing and any other use of the content.” This presents a legal challenge, for example, to any internet user that wants to translate a blog post into another language and credit the original author. Another disadvantage is that, so far, El Universal has not enabled RSS feeds for any of their individual blogs. This prevents readers from subscribing to the blog using a feedreader like Google Reader, but it also prevents organizations from easily and automatically displaying headlines and excerpts from the blog post on their own website.
Fundar’s new blog is co-authored by five of its investigators: Cécile Lachenal, who focuses on access to justice for indigenous populations; Daniela Ramírez, who works in the area of strengthening citizen capacities; Miguel Moguel, the coordinator of human rights and citizen security; Haydeé Pérez, coordinator of transparency and accountability; and Mariana Pérez who focuses on transparency and accountability as it relates to health and AIDS rights. It was Mariana Pérez who authored the blog’s first post, which describes a lawsuit brought against the Mexican government by activist Rubén Valdez.
A full translation of Mariana Pérez’s post is available below thanks to the volunteer translation of Byron:
Now Vienna, Tomorrow Mexico
This week Vienna will play host to the XVIII International AIDS conference with the theme “Rights Here, Right Now.” Unfortunately, today in our country, the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS are far from being fully met.
One of the ways in which the Mexican government expresses their true level of commitment for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS is through the allocation of public resources. It serves little purpose to have our government sign international resolutions or to issue well-intentioned laws when it fails to allocate the necessary resources to provide adequate healthcare to those directly affected.
Each year, the President and the Legislature approve the federal budget, which should allocate necessary resources to provide quality public services. Yet, in reality, this is far from the case. Budget cuts in the health sector means that citizens will no longer have access to the medical treatment that we need, that we can no longer count on laboratory tests, and that we will have to pay twice as much for public services.
Such is the case for Rubén Valdez and the thousands of patients living with HIV/AIDS that are treated at the National Institute for Respiratory Diseases (INER). Every year the budget of the public health institute, which serves the greatest number of people who live with HIV/AIDS, has diminished. In some cases the patients have – with the help of a lawyer – been able to increase the annual budget. But this year, left with no recourse, Rubén has filed a lawsuit against the budget cuts.
The lawsuit, filed on July 7th, represents a unique opportunity for Rubén to prove the impact of budget reductions on his health and that of all the patients of INER. This is important since very seldom does a citizen have the opportunity to highlight to the corresponding authorities – especially those in the Legislature, Presidency, and the Ministry of Finance – the consequences of their actions in a constitutional hearing.
Here at Fundar, we are convinced that the lawsuit filed by Ruben is an exercise in levying the civil rights that are affected by the budget cuts. Thanks to citizen efforts like this, perhaps we can hope for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS to become a reality here, tomorrow.