Justice with a gun

Via Caretas magazine

Judges in Peru are apparently extremely hardcore. The Honorable Raúl Rosales Mora didn’t like that Carlos Saavedra, a photographer for Caretas magazine, was snapping photos of him for a scandalous article, so he made the article a little more scandalous by whipping out a handgun.

“Don’t you know what you’re doing, pointing that gun at me?” Saavedra said, as he snapped pictures of the psycho. “You should also be careful with what you’re doing,” the judge replied, before driving away.

The magazine went ahead and published the long, damning article, and for good measure is calling for the judge to be dismissed.

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CIA cover-up in Peru

A video has just been released that shows the Peruvian Air Force – with the help of the CIA – shooting down a small plane flown by a family of missionaries. They thought the plane was being flown by drug traffickers when the pilot didn’t respond to radioed warnings sent on the wrong frequency.

The video is from 2001 – that is to say, the CIA has been covering this up for nine years. Here’s the video, as broadcast by ABC:

The first thing I noticed in this video is the amazing linguistic incompetence of CIA officials who presumably hold people’s lives in their hands. Hard to call off the dogs when you think the word for “machine gun” is “ratatatatat.” (CIA history tends to indicate that incompetence is one of the agency’s defining characteristics.)

Second, the reason this story is being reported at all – even nine years later – is because the victims are Americans. Non-U.S. citizens certainly wouldn’t get the same consideration, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the CIA continues to participate in extra-judicial killings in many parts of Latin America.

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Tourist trap

Source: Living and Working in Mexico

The owner of a blog called Living and Working in Mexico just so happened be among the 2,500 tourists left stranded in Aguascalientes, Peru (near Machu Picchu) during the recent flooding. His account is one of the very best examples of travel writing worth reading:

I ended up spending three nights in Aguascalientes. It was like a huge experiment in communal, international living… Every nationality behaved in somewhat characteristic ways. The Brazilians and Uruguayans organized football matches with the local kids. The Argentinians almost rioted but also led the organizing process. The Chileans were super-super-organized with different people assigned to be responsible for food, accommodation and health. The English deigned to get themselves organized. The Mexicans left a big Mexican flag in the Plaza with a note for people to write their names. The names appeared but I never saw anyone there. The American government was said to be providing four small helicopters for just American folk. It was rumoured that when the committee of delegates from each nation were meeting and rejected the idea that these helicopters should only be for Americans, then the Americans never participated again in the meetings and did their own thing. The Australians celebrated Australia day on Monday 25th January and it was said there was no more beer left in the town the following day.

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TACA and Avianca merge

El Salvador’s Grupo TACA and Colombia’s Avianca have completed a “strategic” merger. TACA has hubs in El Salvador, Costa Rica and Lima, Perú, while Avianca mainly flies out of Bogatá, Colombia. In a statement, the companies blather on quite a bit about synergy, which I hope means that they’ll be consolidating operations to make it cheaper and easier to travel in Latin America.

The new Avianca-TACA Limited conglomerate controls 13 carriers in 10 Latin American countries, serving a combined 75 Latin American cities with 129 aircraft. It is now the largest air travel conglomerate in the region.

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And the nominees are…

Two Latin American movies are up for an Oscar in the awkwardly-named Foreign Language Film category.

El Secreto de sus Ojos, from Argentine director Juan José Campanella, looks like an investigative thriller, starring that one actor that seems to be in all Argentine movies that achieve international recognition, Ricardo Darín:

The other nominee is a Peruvian flick called La Teta Asustada. Directed by Claudia Llosa, it looks quiet, beautiful, sad:

I’m looking forward to seeing them both.

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