Category Archives: Environment

Kick some ass

Peru’s El Comercio is reporting that a reservoir holding chemical left-overs from a mining operation collapsed, contaminating the Opamayo River, killing a bunch of fish, and polluting god knows what else. According to MineralMundi, the Caudalosa Chica mine is used for extracting silver, copper, lead, and Zinc. Government sources are estimating that 21,400 cubic meters of toxic material [...]
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Ranchers sentenced in murder of nun

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 [...]
Also posted in Brazil, Human Rights, Side notes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Whales? What Whales?

Congratulations, Colombia, for selecting the single most inappropriate spot in Latin America for an industrial port capable of handling (low-impact?) Post-Panamax ships. Malaga Bay, on the country’s Pacific coast, is the most important whale breeding ground in the entire world, one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and home to 148 species of fish, [...]
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Save our Park! Oh, and the turtles, too.

Legislation to downgrade Costa Rica’s Las Baulas National Park to a refuge has been shelved – at least for now. The country’s transnational environmental lobby is sighing relief. But what about the turtles? Downgrading a park is admittedly poor form – and sets an awful precedent. The reality, however, is that the critically endangered leatherback [...]
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Cruise lines to abandon Antarctica

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]
Also posted in Argentina, Side notes, Travel | Leave a comment

Crucitas: Loss or opportunity?

Crucitas, a controversial gold mine proposed for a desperately poor region of Costa Rica that is also home to the critically endangered green macaw (why does that always happen?), has hopped the obligatory Supreme Court hurdle. So what’s next? The environmental lobby will keep pushing back, as it should, but it must be careful not to [...]
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In another blow to tropical monoculture, African palm oil trees in Colombia are being ravaged by an unstoppable disease. Authorities had hoped palm oil cultivation would be a viable alternative to coca, but now 60% of the trees are dead. “They’ve held Masses to bless one tree at a time. Nothing works.” [link]
Also posted in Colombia, Side notes | 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 [...]
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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 [...]
Also posted in Argentina | Tagged , | 4 Comments

False alarm

If you happen to read a headline to the effect that “ZOMG Chevron won arbitration ruling against Ecuador!!!” please note that this ruling has nothing to do with the famous pollution case that’s been crawling along for the last 17 years, and is not – not - the related international arbitration claim filed by Chevron [...]
Also posted in Ecuador, Human Rights | Tagged , , | 1 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]