Saturday, September 9, 2006

"Unwind your mind and don't look back" - weekly blog post review

Once again we list several noteworthy blog posts from the past week. Please feel free to reply in the comments section of this post if you have a specific blog or blog article that we should know about.


Friday, September 8, 2006

Evening briefs

* The governments of Brazil and the U.K. agreed to help with ethanol production in South Africa. (Image of Brazilian ethanol pump at a gas station via this site).

* California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger apologized for claming that Puerto Ricans and Cubans are temperamental due to their mix of “Latino blood” and “black blood.”

* The BBC visits villagers in Ecuador almost a month after the eruption of the Tungurahura volcano.

* Recent polls show that Paraguayans would defeat President Nicanor Duarte if the constitution gets changed to allow for presidential reelection.

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Kirchner-Chavez relationship endangers democracy, says ex-U.N. ambassador

Under the title “Argentina’s Annoying New Friend” former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nancy Soderberg (image via this site) warns that the relationship between Hugo Chavez and Argentine president Nestor Kirchner may lead to political instability in Argentina. Chavez’s dealings with Argentina filled a void caused by U.S. inaction in the region which the Bush administration needs to deal with as soon as possible, according to Soderberg.

Soderberg’s op/ed piece sounds eerily similar to another opinion article we linked to several days ago on the need for the U.S. to take a more active role in dealing with Uruguay.

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Can you hear me now? Try asking the Salvadoran prisoners

Prison guards suspicious of the movements of four inmates found cell phones hidden in their intestines. The discovery was made after officials took x-rays of the four prisoners (image) who smuggled the phones in allegedly for criminal activities by other inmates.


Chile: Bachelet under fire for contraceptive plan

Chilean president Michelle Bachelet has received harsh criticism over her plan allowing girls 14 years-old and over to get after-sex birth control pills in public clinics without their parent’s consent. While some opposition politicians are seeking a court injunction against the new policy, administration officials defended Bachelet’s idea by saying that it is a necessary step to reduce unwanted pregnancies amongst the poor. (Image via this site).

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Morning briefs

* Venezuelan rookie pitcher Anibal Sanchez (image via CBC) threw the first MLB no-hitter of the season Wednesday night, while the U.S. and Cuban baseball teams qualified for the 2008 Olympics.

Jamaica faces a serious economic downturn unless the government modifies its economic policy, according to a report from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

* The Dominican Republic is quietly pursuing one of the seats on the U.N.’s General Assembly while Guatemala and Venezuela publicly slug it out for the other vacancy.

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Thursday, September 7, 2006

Indigenous clothes staging a comeback in Bolivia

The once shunned traditional clothing of Bolivia has made a resurgence ever since Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous president, became head of state last December. “There's a whole politicization of dress happening now that is very provocative,” said Stanford University professor Herbert Klein, where traditional clothes such as the pollera and aqsus are seen less as a symbol of discrimination and more as a symbol of indigenous pride. (Image via this site).

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Compassionate conservatism? Mexico's Calderon changes tune

Felipe Calderon emphasized jobs and economic growth during his presidential campaign but he has changed his rhetoric now that he’s president-elect. In an obvious nod to vanquished leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), Calderon has partially taken on AMLO’s campaign theme of helping the poor and improving social services. In addition, Calderon declared that he would prioritize negotiating an immigration agreement with the U.S. before the end of George W. Bush’s second term.

(Image of Calderon after being certified as the next president via the New Zealand Herald).

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Space’s final frontiers will be observed via Chilean observatory

Scientists from around the globe have gathered in Chile’s Atacama Desert in order to construct the world’s most precise view of space. Known as ALMA, (Atacama Large Millimeter Array), the project involves constructing a network of 64 telescopes and the Atacama Desert is ideal for such an endeavor since its climate has very low humidity and clear skies all year long. (Image shows artists’ depiction of ALMA, via this site).

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Morning briefs

* Immunity lifted from Argentina ex-dictator Jorge Videla (image via Deutsche Welle).

* U.N. study shows that Dominican women living abroad continue to be discriminated although they have greater economic opportunities.

* Pressure intensifying to choose between Guatemala and Venezuela for one of Latin America’s U.N. Security Council seats.

* Colombia’s government wants to join an Asian economic bloc by next year.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Afternoon headlines

* Illegal immigrants will get full amnesty…in St. Lucia.

* New strategy to curb gang violence in Haiti: arms for food.

* Bolivian president Evo Morales (image via Washington Post) met with an ailing Fidel Castro yesterday.

* Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning blasted the Bush administration by claiming it has been “ignoring the Caribbean,” particularly since the 9/11 attacks.

* Center-left candidate León Roldós leads the race for president of Ecuador approximately one month before elections are to take place.

* Opposition legislators in Paraguay vowed to stop any constitutional amendment allowing for presidential reelection.

* Mexico’s La Jornada newspaper published a scathing editorial against yesterday’s confirmation of Felipe Calderon as the country’s next president.

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Massive protest against violence in Argentina

Police estimated that about 100,000 people demonstrated last week in Buenos Aires calling on the government to take a more active role against crime. “The population feels that crime is out of control” said one political analyst, and this is especially true in the province of Buenos Aires where crime is the highest in the country and where 9 police chiefs serve over the past 5 years. (Image via this site).


Controversy over class-based Colombian “Survivor”

Recently we linked to a blog entry on the race-based tribes in the next season of the U.S. version of “Survivor” and we wondered about the endless “possibilities for exploitation in the name of high ratings.” Well, the Colombian version on Caracol TV decided to up the ante by dividing tribes based on economic class. Teams are named “privileged”, “searchers,” and “screwed” and producers for the show acknowledge milking stereotypes regardless of whether or not the show is in bad taste or how much it has been slammed in the press. (Image via Miami Herald).

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Polls show varying support for leaders in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Bolivia

Polls taken over the few weeks have been reported by Angus Reid Global Scan. Nicaraguan presidential candidate Daniel Ortega’s (image via RFI) lead has grown by 6% as has the support of his nearest rival, Eduardo Montealegre. Meanwhile, 2 out of 3 Mexicans surveyed support president Vicente Fox in spite over the presidential electoral controversy. Lastly, support for Bolivian president Evo Morales keeps slipping; his approval rating has gone down 7% since July and 14% overall since June.

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Calderon confirmed as president elect of Mexico

Mexico’s Federal Electoral Tribunal confirmed Felipe Calderon as president-elect about two months after elections took place. The Tribunal ruled that Calderon (image via ABC News) was the winner by slightly over 0.5% and its decision cannot be appealed. As part of its ruling, the Tribunal rejected claims by candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) that Calderon ran a “dirty campaign” though the court did blast President Vicente Fox for putting “the election at risk” through his comments during the campaign period.

So how have bloggers reacted to the news? Here’s a small sample:

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Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Skeleton belonged to paramilitary head, says Colombian authorities

The Colombian prosecutor’s office confirmed that the remains found in a shallow grave last week belonged to former paramilitary leader Carlos Castaño. Castaño, who had gone missing since 2004, was allegedly killed on the orders of his brother Vicente who was worried that Carlos would turn into an informant for U.S. authorities. (Image of Castaño’s supposed remains via CNN).

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Morning briefs

* China’s government will promote Uruguay as a tourist destination for Chinese citizens. (Image of Punta de Este, Uruguay via this site).

* Sao Paulo police arrested a gang planning several major bank heists.

* Hugo Chavez accused the Venezuelan opposition of planning a coup against him.

* Private security firms are making big bucks in Honduras.

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Monday, September 4, 2006

Here comes your blog

The following are several interesting blog posts from the past week. Please feel free to reply in the comments section of this post if you have a specific blog or blog article that we should know about.

If you don’t mind, we’re off for the rest of the day to celebrate our one-year (plus one day) anniversary. New posts will be coming up on Tuesday.

  • It seems like Hugo Chavez will get a chance to make his best impression of Spike Lee at a Knicks game. (First left image via this site).

  • Mark on Mexico described how Felipe Calderon was all but confirmed as Mexico’s nest president, while Global Voices linked to Guyanese bloggers’ comments on their country’s presidential election.

  • Thursday was Blog Day and on that day two bloggers found several interesting blogs from Latin America.

  • Will future wars be fought over water? Not so said experts including analysts from Latin America.

  • Andres Oppenhiemer gave several election scenarios for Latin America in the upcoming months.

  • Guest blogger on political commentator Andrew Sullivan’s blog touched on the seizure of Caracas golf courses (second left image via CBS News) and crackdowns along Guatemalan border.

  • Be all that you can be (especially if you’re poor and a racial minority).

  • Sound Roots posted on Electro Côco (image via this site), a Dutch-based band that blends samba, bossa nova, and electronic music.