Monthly Archives: April 2010

Mockus steps up

The race for president in Colombia just got interesting. The latest poll from the Centro Nacional de Consultoría gives the Mockus-Fajardo ticket 22% of the vote, slightly ahead of Conservative Party candidate Noemí Sanín, who has 20%. Uribe successor Santos is, of course, all by himself in first place, with 37%, but he still lacks [...]
Posted in Colombia, Politics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

More fear than greed

Miguel at The Devil’s Excrement has posted a great piece on Venezuelan bond prices and how they stack up to the rest of the developing world. During last year’s financial crisis, lots of money flooded into developing market bonds, pushing their yields down. The one exception: Venezuela. Its 5-year dollar-denominated bonds are paying around 11%, [...]
Posted in Economy, Venezuela | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

International observers say Mexico City has made some good progress with its air pollution problem: “On a scale of one to 10, they were at 10, and now they’re at five.” Serious pollutants like lead are less common and public transportation has been expanded, though the city still has to struggle with the fact that [...]
Posted in Environment, Mexico, Side notes | Leave a comment

The second episode of El Chigüire Bipolar‘s Isla Presidencial. Frankly, not that good. And kind of… racist? Episode I was much more fun.
Posted in Arts and Culture, Odd, Side notes | Leave a comment

Arias in favor of homosexual unions

In kind of a surprising turn of events, lame duck Costa Rican President Oscar Arias has come out rather strongly in favor of state recognition of homosexual unions. He told local daily La Nación: “Yes, there should be some legal recognition. One doesn’t pick one’s sexual inclination. It comes from nature or from God. One [...]
Posted in Costa Rica, Human Rights, Politics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rape victims taking Mexico to court

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will hear a case against Mexico next week. Two indigenous women from Guerrero state say they were raped by soldiers in 2002. Since the Mexican state has taken no action toward solving the crime and bringing the rapists to justice, the case has made it to the Court. One [...]
Posted in Human Rights, Mexico | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela may be forced to dip into its savings or issue debt as early as this year, as falling oil output and steady crude prices mean the country is running out of cash, according to a report from Morgan Stanley. Output has fallen to 2.2 million barrels a day from 3.7 million barrels a day [...]
Posted in Economy, Side notes, Venezuela | Leave a comment

Mexican authorities round up criminals

As if they didn’t have anything better to do, yesterday Mexico’s federal police arrested two foreign journalist for public urination. NPR journalist John Burnett and CBC journalist Bruce Livesey were on their way back to Juárez to continue covering the ceaseless killing and violence and lawlessness when they allegedly stopped to partake in some of [...]
Posted in Mexico, Odd, War on drugs | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Concessioning a town

I’ve heard of mining companies doing some brazen, awful things in Latin America, but this might take the cake. The concessions granted to Australian mining company BHP Billiton near the controversial Agua Rica mine in Argentina give it the right to expropriate the town of Andalgalá itself for metal extraction. From the official document, via [...]
Posted in Argentina, Environment | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Cheapskates

You would think if you were inviting a dozen heads of state and their entourages to a party at your house, you would want to make a good impression. But not if you’re Costa Rica, which has budgeted a measly $179,000 to cover the costs of both its 2010 presidential inauguration ceremony and lodgings for [...]
Posted in Costa Rica, Politics | Tagged , | 2 Comments
  • DAILY LINKS

    • 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]