Category Archives: History

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, Economy, Human Rights, Mexico, Side notes, Trade | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Playtime

A somewhat hilarious AP article out today profiles Chávez’ efforts to arm and train some kind of civilian militia force. Frankly, it sounds like a rip-roaring good time: Take a few days off work (unless you weren’t doing anything anyway), play army with real guns, blow things up, etc. I have family members who do [...]
Also posted in Politics, Travel, Venezuela | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

‘The Torture Coloney’

For your Wednesday evening reading pleasure, a very long, very strange article on Colonia Dignidad, a German colony founded in Chile by a child molester/Nazi named Paul Schaefer. In addition to being the personification of the evil cult leader, Schaefer – who died last week in prison – got into evil politics as well, torturing [...]
Also posted in Chile, Human Rights, Odd | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Pecados de mi Padre

This looks like a fascinating movie: Pecados de mi Padre – Sins of my Father – purports to be a documentary on the life of Pablo Escobar’s son, Sebastián, but it also appears to have a healthy bit of good clean footage and storytelling about Pablo himself. However, I have to say that having read [...]
Also posted in Arts and Culture, Colombia, War on drugs | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Kissinger and Operation Condor

The good folks at George Washington University’s National Security Archive project report that recently-declassified memos show U.S. Secretary of State and Nobel Prize winner Henry Kissinger directly ordering underlings to cancel warnings against launching Operation Condor to military dictatorships in Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay . Four days later, a car bomb killed former Chilean foreign [...]
Also posted in Argentina, Chile, Human Rights, Uruguay | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Today from The Mex Files, a brief look at a despicable figure from Mexican history, Victoriano Huerta: “He hunted down Zapatistas (and anyone who looked like they might be a Zapatista — meaning, basically — everybody), stringing them up and engaging in a scorched earth policy across Morelos State.” [link]
Also posted in Mexico, Side notes | Leave a comment

Bigelow turns lens south

Fresh off her Best Picture win for The Hurt Locker, director Kathryn Bigelow is talking about her next movie. It’s called Triple Frontier, a mistranslation of Triple Frontera, which is the border region shared by Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. The area is famous for being a no-man’s land, where anything goes, legally speaking. It’s also [...]
Also posted in Argentina, Arts and Culture, Brazil, Paraguay | Tagged | Leave a comment

Slick

The problem with documentaries – especially issue documentaries – is that they go over the top, often mistaking haranguing for journalism (think Michael Moore). It is possible to be simultaneously an advocate and a journalist, but it is exceedingly difficult. So I was happy to find that Crude – a 2009 documentary on petroleum contamination [...]
Also posted in Ecuador, Environment, Human Rights | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

I bet you think this earthquake’s about you

It’s always embarrassing to watch Americans reduce human affairs to a handful of particular assumptions based on their own culture wars and then apply them to the rest of the world. Such has been the case with – unbelievably – Chile’s Feb. 27 earthquake. It started with a ridiculous Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing that [...]
Also posted in Chile, Economy | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would require the U.S. government to release documents related to human rights violations in Argentina during the dictatorship. A similar effort released a trove of information on U.S. involvement in the Pinochet business in Chile. The bill still has to pass the Senate. [link]
Also posted in Argentina, Human Rights, Politics, 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]