Tag Archives: Cuba

Farinas ends hunger strike

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]
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Insulza stepping out

A week after his reelection to a second (and final) five-year term as Secretary General of the OAS, Chilean José Miguel Insulza is coming out swinging. First he demanded Venezuela release the head of an opposition television channel jailed for insulting the president, then he requested Cuba release its infirm political prisoners, then he urged [...]
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Orlando Zapata Tamayo, RIP

Death is a pretty decent indication that a hunger-striker is not making things up. Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo was arrested in a political crackdown in 2003 and was named a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. He had been charged with “‘desacato’, ‘desordenes publicos‘, ‘public disorder’, and ‘desobediencia‘.” He went on a hunger strike [...]
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Boligarchs’ fall

The New York Times’ always-excellent Simon Romero has written a great piece on the recent crack-downs and shake-ups in Venezuela’s Bolivarian power structure. Magnates who mysteriously became billionaires under Chávez are being arrested by the secret police and having their property confiscated. Mr. Fernández rose from obscurity to put together a web of 270 companies [...]
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Who’s the best paid of them all?

Of the top 12 highest paid presidents in the region, who do you think is number one? OK, fine, Barack Obama, who makes about US$400k annually. What about number two? Colombian news magazine Portafolio says it’s Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom, who makes about US$220k annually presiding over a country of 12 million people. At the [...]
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Here to fix the leak

Cuba would not top anyone's list of go-to countries in matters of successful and efficient industrialization. So why is Venezuela enlisting the help of Cuba's technology minister, Ramiro Valdés, as an energy consultant?
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  • 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]