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]
Category Archives: Trade
By Peter Krupa | Published: July 11, 2010
By Peter Krupa | Published: April 17, 2010
Last week I laughed when I read a comment from a Mexican health insurance executive blaming a 16% increase in the cost of health insurance last year on “people getting sick more.” Then my wife said, “Diet?” and I said, hm. And now I read this great post from Structurally Maladjusted on The NAFTA Diet. [...]
By Peter Krupa | Published: April 8, 2010
Costa Rica and China have signed a free trade agreement. The agreement comes three years after the two countries formed diplomatic relations for the first time and removes tariffs on 90 percent of goods traded between them. It’s the first FTA China has signed with a country in Central America. [link]
By Peter Krupa | Published: March 10, 2010
The New York Times reports that lithium is the next big commodities boom, just as soon as people start buying millions of electric cars. The metal was never in much demand before, but now it’s a principle ingredient of lithium ion batteries. The world’s largest lithium reserves are found in Bolivia, but multinational companies are exploring [...]
By Peter Krupa | Published: March 9, 2010
Brazil is hitting U.S. imports with trade sanctions in retaliation for U.S.’ illegal cotton subsidies. The tariffs on U.S.-made cars, fresh fruit, food goods, and (of course) cotton will go up. The World Trade Organization awarded Brazil US$829.3 million in annual retaliatory trade restrictions against the U.S. last year. [link]
By Peter Krupa | Published: March 8, 2010
One of the longstanding, legitimate criticisms of NAFTA is that it put small farmers out of business by flooding Mexico with subsidized (and therefore cheap) U.S. corn. Apparently, Mexico had a mechanism in place to keep that from happening, in the form of its own subsidy program. As a cynical person such as myself might [...]
By Peter Krupa | Published: February 25, 2010
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.
By Peter Krupa | Published: February 25, 2010
Venezuela’s busiest port is shut down, as businesses and workers say the state-run port authority at Puerto Cabello hasn’t paid them in four months. Puerto Cabello handles 70% of the country’s container traffic.
By Peter Krupa | Published: February 24, 2010
The region’s two biggest economies – Mexico and Brazil – are going to start talks on a possible free trade agreement.
By Peter Krupa | Published: January 24, 2010
What with a Central Bank president defying her orders and a rogue vice president whose actions in her absence would be unpredictable, President Cristina Kirchner elected at the last minute to stay home from Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China. She’s not the only one. Clarin reports that only 73 Argentine businesses will be present at [...]