The Nation has a long, wonky, wonderful article on Mexican maize cultivation, the effects of NAFTA, and the dangers of genetically-modified seeds. Author Peter Canby backs up his excellent writing with piles and piles of meticulous research. Not to be missed. [link, via SM] (Image from Joel Penner.)
Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas ended his hunger strike yesterday after 134 days. Farinas decided to end his strike after the Cuban government said it would release political prisoners rounded up in the "Black Spring" crackdown of 2003. Get well soon. [link]
The Uruguayan selection, which has made it to the quarter finals of the World Cup, just received a shipment of half a ton of fine cuts of beef for the mother of all asados in preparation for a contest against Ghana on Friday: "450 kilos of lomo, 200 of entrecot, 75 of vacío, 75 of colita de cuadril, 150 of ojo de bife and 50 kg of picaña." [link]
Hitmen have assassinated the PRI candidate for governor of Tamaulipas State, Rodolfo Torre Cantú. Torre was gunned down along with six others at about 10:30 this morning on a highway on the way to a campaign event. Drug mafias are assumed to be responsible. [link]
From the days when coups were something of a regional sport, new documents detail a famous British ballerina's role in a plot to topple the government of Panama. The plan was to use her yacht to gather men and arms, then "land somewhere and collect in the hills." It didn't work. [link]
Mexico's Attorney General's Office has posted on its web site irrefutable evidence that gold-plated AR-15s and diamond-studded pistol grips are not nearly as cool-looking as they sound. The deadly knick-knack collection is said to belong to Valencia Cartel leader El Lobo. [link]
Two Brazilian ranchers were sentenced to 30 years in prison apiece for ordering the killing of an environmentalist nun: "Prosecutors said the pair offered to pay a gunman $25,000 to kill the 73-year-old [Dorothy] Stang because she had prevented them from stealing a piece of land that the government had granted to a group of poor farmers." [link]
This video of a kidnapping and car chase in Mexico is notable mainly for the bad-assitude of the TV journalists who were on this like white on rice. Well done, gentlemen.
The Economist takes a peak at the Mockus phenomenon in Colombia: "His moustacheless beard gives him the air of a Baltic pastor... He is financing his campaign with a bank overdraft. His supporters rely on Facebook and make their own posters; street vendors sell unofficial campaign T-shirts." [link]
Some cruise lines will cease traveling to Antarctica after this cruise season, as a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil goes into effect next year. The ban came after a 2007 incident when a Gap Adventures ship got punctured by ice and sank, causing a mess. [link]
Monthly Archives: February 2010
A legislative coalition in El Salvador is proposing mandatory Bible reading in school as part of a series of measures to combat rising crime among young people. [link]
Chávez was interrupted by a power outage during one of his long, habitual rants on state-sponsored television. Reuters has the story, and a video can been seen here. Power outages have plagued the country in recent months.
Funes has vetoed a law that would have doubled the maximum penalty for minor offenders in El Salvador to 15 years, according to La Página. “President Funes decided to veto the increase in penalty for minors ‘for considerations of unconstitutionality’ and because it violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
I have the impression that in Argentina, politics is always something of a circus, and that everyone revels in the madness. The latest uproar started on Wednesday, when the opposition said it was poised to take control of the Senate with a 37-seat coalition (they already have control of the lower chamber). This would have [...]
As predicted, Chávez is lashing out furiously at the harsh report on Venezuela and human rights issued by the OAS’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), calling it “pure garbage.” But although he’s angry, he doesn’t seem to have a clear idea what’s actually happening: Chávez said his administration is preparing to “denounce the agreement [...]
Eric Volz, the American who in 2007 was convicted and later acquitted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend in Nicaragua, is publishing a book about his ordeal. I’ve always had mixed feelings about the Volz case. On the one hand, he was almost certainly railroaded. It’s pretty hard to fabricate phone and chat records, and [...]
Pity the municipal mayors of Durango state. They’re dropping like flies. The latest, the head of El Mezquital municipality, was killed on Monday, gunned down in a restaurant. He’s the fifth to be murdered, kidnapped, or run out of town in two years, according to La Jornada. “We don’t have protection of any kind, no [...]
A Venezuelan court annulled the election of an opposition mayor “on grounds that he failed to pay $292 in local taxes.” He’s being replaced with the guy he beat in the election – a Chávez loyalist – until a new election can be held.
El Salvador could get sued before the World Trade Organization for subsidizing exports. The country currently gives a subsidy of 6%, which is against WTO rules. Nevertheless, many smaller WTO countries – especially in Central America – have subsidized exports for years, getting repeated exemptions from the WTO on this rule.
La Silla Vacia is reporting that Colombia’s Constitutional Court will say no to a referendum on whether Álvaro Uribe may seek a third term in office. There were rumblings of this a few weeks ago, when a judge reportedly submitted a draft opinion recommending the referendum be struck down. La Silla Vacia says it has [...]