Category Archives: Economy

NAFTA and Mexican maize

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.)
Also posted in Arts and Culture, History, Human Rights, Mexico, Side notes, Trade | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bank tweeters arrested

In an interesting development in Venezuela, the CICPC (equivalent, I think, to the FBI) has made its first arrest of Twitter users: Two people who the agency says tweeted rumors with the intent to destabilize the banking sector by causing a run on banks. According to a press release, CICPC director Wilmer Flores said: False [...]
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Money laundering (get it?)

If you read one story today, let it be Michael Smith’s very long and very interesting story in Bloomberg on how Mexican drug traffickers launder money through US banks like Wachovia (now owned by Wells Fargo) and Bank of America. The piece is long and excellent enough to defy excerpting, but let’s give it a [...]
Also posted in Mexico, War on drugs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

‘ta barrato, dame 600k toneladas

An article in El Nacional puts a nice little bow on Venezuela’s ongoing rotting food scandal, in which a government importer left about 122,000 tons of foodstuffs to spoil in containers at Puerto Cabello. From the article: The Productora y Distribuidora Venezolana de Alimentos, Pdval, imported 597,000 tons of foodstuffs in 2008. The amount is [...]
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Untethering

Everyone seems to agree that the economies of Latin America are experiencing a nice little recovery. The IMF, for example, just raised its forecasts for the region and is now projecting 4.1% GDP growth for the region, with 4.2% growth for Mexico and 5.5% for Brazil. Oh boy, numbers. But here’s something interesting. In an [...]
Also posted in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela | Tagged | Leave a comment

New kind of NIMBY

Mining is a nasty activity, one that inevitably preys on countries with weak institutions and desperate populations, and with predictable results: environmental devastation, child labor, corruption, increased crime and prostitution, etc. This advertisement, aired in Argentina, sums it up nicely. Problem is, by my count, about half the people in this video are wearing jewelry. [...]
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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%, [...]
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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 [...]
Also posted in Side notes, Venezuela | Leave a comment

Beef prices in Argentina

GlobalPost.com has published a great little video on beef prices in Argentina. The government has regulated prices and exports to keep citizens happy, but that means producers have been pinched. Some are no longer producing, which could result in a beef shortage in the country with the highest per capita beef consumption in the world.
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Panama has pulled down a coveted investment grade for its sovereign debt. Fitch Ratings upgraded Panama to BBB-minus because of the country’s excellent track record of fiscal responsibility and break-neck growth over the last decade. With the upgrade, Panama is now on the level of heavyweights like Brazil, Mexico, and Chile in terms of investor [...]
Also posted in Panama, Side notes | Leave a comment
  • 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]