Friday, June 16, 2006

Proxima Estacion: Estados Unidos- Manu Chao to tour U.S. this summer

French/Spanish/Basque musician Manu Chao will go on a brief tour of the U.S. this summer including stops in Los Angeles, Chicago (for Lollapalooza), and New York City. Chao is an eclectic and critically acclaimed artist best known for songs like “Desaparecido” and “Me Gustas Tú”.


Can remittances hurt countries?

Several countries in Latin America that benefit greatly from the remittances sent to their country from abroad. The region received $52 billion in money sent from abroad, and governments and banks are making it easier to send out remittances. Yet recent analysis seems to show that remittances may not be without its flaws. In El Salvador, for instance, economists worry that remittances are increasing the cost of living, while in the Dominican Republic remittances are not reaching the poorest people. Is Latin America relying too much on remittances, or are the economists a little too alarmist?

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Coffee production to hit four-year high

Here’s something to mull over this morning- the world production of coffee is expected to hit its highest point since 2002. Coffee production in Brazil is expected to jump by 25% since last year, Colombia is expected to post modest gains, and Honduran production will decrease 400,000 bags. Hopefully this will lead to cheaper coffee for us to enjoy!

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Latin American stocks make formidable gain

Chilean blue-chip stocks rose by almost 3% during trading on Thursday, their biggest gain in 4 years. Meanwhile, Colombia’s main stock index made its greatest gain since 2001. This follows are region wide stabilization of stocks after a disastrous 7 days of trading. (Image depicts the interior of the Santiago stock exchange).

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World Cup: Ecuador soar into the next round; T&T lose to England; Costa Rica and Paraguay eliminated; Mexico and Argentina ready to play today

Thursday: in the first game of the day, Ecuador convincingly beat Costa Rica 3-0 and thus ensured qualification into the round of 16. Ecuador was in complete control the entire match and scored with goals from Carlos Tenorio in the 8th minute, Agustin Delgado early in the second half (image left, celebrating with teammates), and Ivan Kaviedes in the game’s waning minutes. Costa Rica seemed overwhelmed by Ecuador’s play and did little on offense. With two losses in two games, the “ticos” are eliminated from qualifying to the next round. Meanwhile, Ecuador only need a tie in their final group game against Germany to ensure first place in the group and avoiding playing England in the round of 16.

For 80 minutes, Trinidad and Tobago weathered constant attacks from favorites England and appeared to be on the verge of another scoreless tie. Alas, the Trinidad defense let down in the end and lost 2-0 with goals from Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard (image right). The “Soca Warriors” still have a chance to make it to the round of 16 if they can win their final group match against Paraguay and Sweden loses by more than a goal.

Speaking of Paraguay, they lost in heartbreaking fashion as a Freddie Ljungberg (image left, standing on one foot) goal in the 89th minute gave Sweden a 1-0 victory. The game was not well played by either squad with Paraguay fouling more than attacking. Like Costa Rica, Paraguay lost two group games and are also eliminated.

Friday: Argentina and Mexico each play today with victories ensuring them qualification into the round of 16. Argentina will face Serbia and Montenegro with kickoff set for 8:55am EST and Mexico will play Angola starting at 2:55pm EST. “Albiceleste” striker Leonel Messi (image, right) will be on the bench recovering from a foot injury though the rest of the team is expected to win over an injury-plagued, bickering Serbian squad. Meanwhile, Angola is eager to give “el tri” a difficult time, especially with the absence of injured Mexican striker Jared Borguetti.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Regularly scheduled posting tomorrow. I promise.

Apologies for not posting today. I've been "busy" sitting on the sofa enjoying today's World Cup matches. (Congrats to Ecuador, by the way!)

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this brief lesson on
how to be more observant courtesy of Overheard in New York.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Stocks stabilize during Wednesday trading

Latin American stocks settled today after a week of heavy losses and downturns. Colombia’s stock market rose by 6.5% after losing nearly 9% yesterday, while Mexican and Argentinean stocks posted moderate gains after seven straight days of losses.


UN calls for Puerto Rican self-determination

A United Nations General Assembly committee on decolonization adopted a text yesterday that calls for the self-determination of Puerto Rico. The text, sponsored by Cuba, also called for investigating “violent acts” against Puerto Rican nationalists. It is unclear if the text will be approved by the General Assembly when all is said and done.

Panama eager to expand canal

Panama’s government wants to add a third lane to the Panama Canal in response to increases in trade and weight of container vessels. Opponents to the ambitious project worry over the excessive cost as well as environmental damage.

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Back to school for striking Chilean students

After three weeks of protests and marches, about a million Chilean students will return to school. They had been demonstrating against the government’s lack of quickly implementing reforms to Chile’s seemingly dilapidated and neglected education system.

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What time is it? For the Aymara the answer may not be what you think

From Metafilter: recent analysis of the indigenous Aymara people of Andean South America show that they have reverse concept of time compared to most of the world. That is, the Aymara view the past is seen as “ahead” whereas the future is “behind.” Scientists believe they are the first documented group to depart from the standard model of chronology.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Lawsuit filed against law banning academic travel to Cuba

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit yesterday against a Floridian law banning academic travel to Cuba. The law, singed by Governor Jeb Bush last month, “is unconstitutional” according to an ACLU representative though the Cuban-American state congressman who sponsored the proposal doubts the lawsuit will overturn the law.
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World Cup: Kaka blast enough for Brazilian victory

A goal by Kaka shortly before halftime gave defending champions Brazil a 1-0 win over Croatia in World Cup play this afternoon. “La Verde Amarella” played well, though they did not come out “with all guns blazing” as I mentioned in an earlier post. Expect to read lots of criticism of Ronaldo in the Brazilian press who was disappointing and ineffective and was booed off the field when he was substituted for Robinho in the 65th minute. (For that matter it would be wonderful if someone could please link to articles from Brazil about the match via the comments to this post; my Portuguese is very rusty).

No Latin America or Caribbean teams play on Wednesday, though four teams from the region will play on Thursday including Ecuador vs. Costa Rica.

Stay tuned tomorrow as The Latin Americanist will post on the economic and political impact of the World Cup on Latin America.

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World Cup: Brazil ready to defend title; U.S. caught flat-footed by Czechs

Brazil begins their World Cup title defense this afternoon when they play against Croatia. The champions are expected to come out with all guns blazing as Kaka, Ronaldo (image), and Ronaldinho head their offensive line, though their defense is sharp with star players like Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Roque Junior, and goalie Dida. Is it any wonder that Croatia, the third-place in the 1998 World Cup, would be pleased with a tie at the end of today’s match?

Yesterday no Latin American or Caribbean teams played, though the United States suffered a humiliating 3-0 drubbing by the Czech Republic. The “stars and stripes” will be forced to win against powerhouse Italy on Saturday since the U.S. chose the worst time to play their worst game in years and falter against a far superior Czech squad.

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Latin American stocks continue to tumble

The value of Latin American stocks and currencies have sharply declined due to anxiety over slower global economic growth. Yesterday, Mexico’s main stock index suffered its worse drop in nearly four years, while Colombia’s stock market suspended operations after their stock index plummeted by almost eleven percent in one day. The problem is not endemic to Latin America; however, as stocks from emerging markets around the world have nose dived.

Update (5.40pm): Latin American markets slumped again today, with Colombia's market index losing nearly 9% and almost shutting down.
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Follow-ups on previous headlines from Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, and Uruguay

Ecuador takes over Oxy field”: Ecuador’s government declared an “emergency” over the oil fields formerly owned by Occidental Petroleum. It is unknown if this will effect the government’s prior claim to sell the oil fields by August.

“Mexico: López Obrador and Calderón tied”: The final debate between Mexican presidential candidates last week did little to sway voters towards either one of the two leaders- Felipe Calderón and Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Calderón and López Obrador have aimed their sharpest insults at each other and have been trying to distinguish each other as polar opposites on the ideological spectrum. Mexico’s Federal Elections Council has had their hands full trying to wade through the constant mudslinging.

Peru: Alan Garcia claims presidency”: In Peru, defeated presidential candidate Ollanta Humala pledged to lead a strong opposition against president-elect Alan Garcia including allying with other political factions in the legislature against Garcia’s party. However, this may be stymied by deep internal rifts within Humala’s party.

“Mill dispute continues…”: Argentina and Uruguay took their arguments over their ongoing debate over Uruguay’s infamous paper mill building plan to the International Court of Justice last Thursday.

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“Surrealist” author Salvador Plasencia discusses his latest book

Blogger Bookslut interviewed Mexican-born, Los Angeles-raised author Salvador Plasencia (image) on his first novel published last year- The People of Paper. In the interview, Plasencia described the difficulties in trying to succinctly describe his book (“it’s experimental, it’s meta-fiction, it’s surrealist, it’s a war novel”) as well as how he got his book published with McSweeney’s rather than a major publisher.


Monday, June 12, 2006

UN: “10 stories the world should know more about”

Recently the United Nations revealed 10 issues that the international body feels that the world media ought to focus on more including putting an end to conflict caused by water basins shared between countries as has been the case of Lake Titicaca (image), and the challenges faced by those seeking asylum. Last Tuesday, the UN released a report highlighting immigration and how it can be “highly beneficial for the development both of the countries where (immigrants) came from and of those when they arrive.” (Latter link via Hispanic Tips).

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Petrobras extends into Uruguay

Brazilian energy company Petrobras acquired Shell of Uruguay last week; Petrobras has paid about $140 million in the past few weeks to expand its operations into Argentina, Colombia, and Paraguay.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

World Cup: Two goals by Bravo key in Mexican win

Mexico won today by 3 goals to 1 against Iran with two goals by Omar Bravo. Goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez (image) returned from his father’s funeral in time to start and, in a touching gesture, Iranian goalie Vahid Hasheminian presented Sanchez with a bouquet of flowers during the pre-game ceremonies. Yet it was a poor clearance attempt in the 76th minute by Hashmenian that led to Bravo’s second tally and broke a 1-1 tie. Substitutions made during halftime and in the 52nd minute when star striker Jared Borguetti became injured were vital in Mexico’s victory, especially that of Brazilian-born midfielder Zinha who assisted on Bravo’s second half goal and put the game out of reach with a goal off a splendid header in the 79th minute. “El Tri” are in good position to qualify for the second round if they beat Angola on Friday; the African side played well in spite of their 1-0 loss to Portugal.

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