Who is Pepe Lobo?

Winning elections, not beauty contests.

Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo was sworn in today as president of Honduras. So who is he? According to this long, exhaustive, very well done profile by the folks at the Barcelona Center for International Studies, Pepe is a child of the political power structure. Born a wealthy rancher, he studied business administration at the University of Miami. After an odd detour to spend a few years at a university in the Soviet Union, he joined the power structure of the country’s right-wing Honduras National Party (PNH) in the 1980s and worked his way up through various executive- and legislative-branch posts.

After winning his party’s nomination for president in 2005 (partly on a platform that called for legalizing the death penalty), Lobo ran against none other than Mel Zelaya. He lost to Zelaya in a close election marred by complications with the vote count. After Zelaya was deposed in June of last year, Lobo initially supported the coup, then backed off and remained conspicuously neutral during the rest of the controversy.

He won the presidency in a relatively peaceful vote that took place on November 30. His first act as president-elect was to reach an agreement to grant Zelaya safe passage out of the country, which Zelaya took advantage of today. Some 10,000 security personnel were in place during his inauguration today, where Lobo made a point of stating, “It’ll be four years. Not one day more, not one day less.”

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His 15 proposals for his administration are as follows:

  1. National reconciliation, extended to the international community.
  2. Amnesty as a principle of reconciliation.
  3. The installation of a truth commission.
  4. To set up a 28-year National Plan.
  5. To generate wealth for all Hondurans.
  6. To set up a welfare program for 600,000 homemakers of the country’s poorest families.
  7. To get computers for public schools.
  8. To improve the health care system.
  9. To push for a public bilingual school.
  10. To reduce the unemployment rate.
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  12. 200 days of classes (every year, I assume).
  13. To improve crime statistics, especially in the country’s large cities.
  14. To improve justice at all levels.
  15. To combat corruption.
  16. To attract foreign investment through a new law that will be sent to the National Congress soon.

Pretty standard fare for a politician. I’m more entertained by Reuters’ revelations about the 61-year-old president:

Lobo, which means “Wolf” in doxazosin no prescription. Spanish, has been married three times, is the father of 11 children and practices tae kwon do.

Maybe he and Putin could get together and spar.

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Venezuela: Still on the brink

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Nothing to see here.

The recent move by the ChA?vez administration to shut down cable TV channels has called down harsh criticism from basically everyone: Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, the Organization of American States, hell, even France. What will happen as a result is approximately nothing. The international community (excepting the King of Spain) lacks the cojones to take on ChA?vez in the kind of international diplomatic games of chicken that he lives for.

Of course, ChA?vez still has plenty to worry about. Power and water rationing are angering basically everyone, a 50% devaluation of the bolivar is going to cause inflation to fly even higher (it’s already the highest in the region), soaring crime means Venezuela has the second highest murder rate in the world, and the price of oil has been falling all year even as ChA?vez continues to give the stuff away to buddy countries.

With legislative elections coming up in September, it’s no wonder ChA?vez is stepping up his efforts to silence the media. Even a perfectly objective reporter would have to write or speak some incredibly negative things about the performance of the ChA?vez administration. The last 10 years have been quite frankly disastrous, even though some of the country’s extreme poor are supposedly better off thanks to expanded social spending.

But while it’s good to see people getting angry about ChA?vez’ power grabs and mismanagement, student and popular protests have happened before with no result. Venezuela has seemed to be at the breaking point for years now. The smart money says that these protests will fade as well, and the international community will go back to standing around looking sheepish.

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Central Bank autonomy at stake

Redrado turned away from his office on Sunday night.

The New York Times published a nice article the other day on the controversy over Argentina’s Central Bank. Over the next few days, the Argentine Congress is going to be looking at the situation and deciding whether to fire Redrado – as Kirchner wants – or to keep him on.

I imagine what most observers are worried cialis en ligne. about is autonomy. Take a populist executive and give her control over the currency, and you pretty much know how that movie ends: She prints piles and piles of money to pump up government spending until inflation spirals out of control.

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There’s precedent indicating that control over and manipulation of the Central Bank is exactly what Kirchner’s after. Apparently she took control of the National Institute for Statistics and Census (INDEC) in 2006, and the data have been unreliable ever since. La NaciA?n reports that many Argentinian observers fear the same will happen at the Central Bank.

The taking of the Central Bank may have in fact already started. ClarAi??n writes that the release of reports on the exchange rate and inflation have been postponed until today, when it looks like they’ll be released, but in a heavily edited form. Also, the Central Bank offices are being “purged” of Redrado supporters.

Not a good moment to invest in the peso, if you ask me.

Posted in Argentina, Economy, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Say no to Tasers

Two thumbs up for Argentine legislator Francisco “Tito” Nenna for raising a stink over the Buenos Aires police’s acquisition of five Taser X26. Calling them “torture implements,” he pointed out that both the UN and Amnesty International frown on their use.

Electricity is a great method for torturing people because it hurts like hell and leaves no marks. Argentinians unfortunately know this all too well. Even accounting for Tasers’ practical uses in keeping the peace, experience in the U.S. demonstrates that when handed one, cops often get a little trigger-happy. OK, a lot trigger happy.

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Posted in Argentina, Human Rights | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

“Strange Bedfellows”

In state elections all over Mexico, the left-wing Party for the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the right-wing National Action Party (PAN) are joining forces against the old-guard, authoritarian, and oxymoronically-named Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Patrick Corcoran of Gancho gives a great overview of the situation over at Mexidata.info:

This plan is a striking reflection of the utter corruption of many PRI governors, deemed the leaders of “authoritarian governments” by PRD President JesA?s Ortega. That two parties with such serious disagreements about public policy and political practices as the PAN and the PRD are willing to combine forces against a common adversary is a testament to the uniting power of governors like Pueblaai??i??s Mario MarAi??n, who is believed to amerrimedrx. have ordered the kidnapping of a journalist and to have protected a network of child pornographers.

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Such alliances would be a small-scale return to the political climate of the second half natural supplement loc:br. of the twentieth century, in which parties on the left and the right often made common cause in opposing the authoritarian PRI. The return of such a state of affairs seems to have worried the PRI (Senate leader Manlio Fabio Beltrones oddly referred to the alliances a ai???deformity,ai??? as though by uniting against the PRI the two parties were disobeying Godai??i??s great political plan), and it should.

Posted in Mexico, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Run Mel, run

Porfirio Lobo’s first act after he’s sworn in as president of Honduras on Wednesday will be to grant safe conduct out of the country to ex-President Mel Zelaya, who was ousted last July and has been hanging out in the Brazilian embassy more or less ever since. He’ll now be spending some time in the Dominican Republic.

Mel Zelaya

Don't forget your hat.

This basically amounts to giving him a head start: The head of Honduras’ Supreme Court says Mel is there a generic equivalent of cialis. will still have to answer for the 18 charges that the public prosecutor is bringing against him.

Mel viagra cialis canadian pharmacy. says he’ll be back to do that… some day. But definitely not right away. Which is why he’s looking to get himself some sweet, sweet international immunity by becoming a member of the Central American Parliament. Well played.

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Showdown at the Central Bank

Redrado leaving the Central Bank (via La NaciA?n)

The fracas over the firing of Argentina’s Central Bank president is turning into a showdown, pitting the executive against the judiciary. Last night, Central Bank (ex?)-president Redrado tried to access his office, but was turned away by security guards who said they answer to a higher power who had ordered Redrado barred from his office.

Assuming the guards were not in any way referring to Jesus, Redrado proceeded to file a lawsuit against the head of the executive cabinet – AnAi??bal FernA?ndez – for “abuse of authority.” He might have a point, considering a court reinstated Redrado after Kirchner tried to fire him. Now Kirchner’s husband, the other Kirchner, is lashing out in the media, accusing the judiciary of a “plot.” Nice.

The really fun part is where Redrado is threatening to “go on the attack” by releasing the names of government buddies who’ve bought dollars from the Central Bank (I assume at a preferential rate?), and the executive is going on the counter-attack by threatening to sue him for a “cover-up,” whatever that might be.

And who does this hubbub help? No one, pretty much buproprion no prescription. : “The Central Bank crisis did nothing more than accentuate a phenomenon that began to appear in 2009: Public opinion believes neither the Government nor the opposition.”

Political crises coumadin warfarin buy. in Argentina are exhausting.


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Argentina’s China problem

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Chile: Got it together.

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 the event, compared to over 250 at the last one in 2006.

Meanwhile, neighboring countries like Brazil, Chile, and Colombia are sending large delegations and building their own massive pavilions, like the one pictured, built by Chile. Argentina has to settle for a one-size-fits all model built by the Chinese.

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Posted in Argentina, Economy, Trade | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela shuts down cable TV channels

Last night, the Venezuelan government cut off the cable transmissions of four channels nationwide, including that of RCTV. You might recall that the government had already cut off RCTV once, in 2007, by not renewing its bandwidth concession. Now it’s been silenced via cable as well. amazon viagra.

It’s not yet clear why exactly the government moved to silence the channels. The message on the screen for cable providers says that the channels haven’t complied with the the Law on Radio and Television Social Responsibility, which might mean that they refused to replace their regular programming with one of the government’s cadena nacionales.

Last year, the ChA?vez administration shut down 29 opposition radio stations tadalafil kaufen. and continued to harass other media outlets, raising the ire of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

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Posted in Human Rights, Venezuela | 1 Comment

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