Friday, July 21, 2006

Bloggers of the world unite and take over (hand it over, hand it over)

And now for your reading pleasure are several recent posts on Latin American affairs by a number of bloggers including some on our links page.

-Boz gives a synopsis of the latest poll numbers from several countries including Mexico, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Earlier this week he touched on how India is expanding economically into Latin America.

-Going Global looks at the debate over immigration policy between Mexico and the U.S. and hypothesizes that the main question in the immigration debate is “how does neighbors and allies help each other when confronted with complex problems with mutual consequences?”

-Speaking of immigration, Marisa at Latina Lista discusses how immigration is not always “a ‘Hispanic’ thing.”

-The Center for International Policy’s blog on Colombia provides a very revealing account of a hearing held earlier this week by a U.S. congressional subcommittee entitled Venezuela: Terrorist Hub of the Western Hemisphere?”

-Justin at the Latin America News Review slams Marc Cooper’s piece on the waning political sway of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua which includes a brief blurb criticizing the U.S. left-wing press for seemingly ignoring Nicaragua.

-Is it too much to ask to stop the rumors over Fidel Castro’s “death” now that he’s currently at the Mercosur summit in Argentina? (Photographic evidence in first right image).

-Boli-Nica cites a 2002 article from the New Yorker that discussed Hezbollah’s influence in the U.S. and South America.

-As we mentioned a few days ago, the dynamic duo over at VivirLatino is hosting a poll on the “most influential Latino” of 2006; nominees include Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee, and actress Salma Hayek.

-Breathtaking series of photos of Iguaçu Falls, (second left image), which lies on the Brazil-Argentina border and is taller than Niagara Falls.

-Global Voices collects posts over the past week from Bolivian bloggers including commemorating the 1980 murder of writer Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz by the military government.

-Speaking of Bolivia, the Business and Politics in Bolivia blog has an English-language translation of an interview from earlier this month of president Evo Morales (second right image) to an Argentinean newspaper.

-Lastly, Latino Pundit cites figures that claim that the number of Hispanics visiting blogs has grown dramatically over the past eight months.

p.s. By the way, did anyone understand the reference being made in the title of this post? Anybody?


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Headlines: H(aiti) to V(enezuela)

Here is part two of our news headlines from Latin American and the Caribbean- Haiti through Venezuela. On Friday we’ll look at different news stories from the perspective of different bloggers.


-Violence erupts between U.N. troops and local gangs around the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

-Two U.S. missionaries kidnapped after being held captive for ransom were released today.


-Honduran immigration authorities are preparing against a boom of Cuban migrants that use Honduras as a passageway to the U.S.

-The U.S. is establishing a new military base in northeastern Honduras which would “combat international drug trafficking.”


-The Jamaican government will advance funds to coffee farmers hurt by the collapse of a major insurance company on the island.

-The legislature is formulating a bill that would protect the rights of people with disabilities.


-Mexican President Vicente Fox claimed that President Bush confessed to him that immigration reform will probably not be passed by the U.S. legislature before November elections.

-The Mexican border town of Nogales is being drained of social services since they accommodate hundreds of people deported every day from the U.S.

-President Fox rejected charges of fraud during the presidential election in light of accusations by supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (right image). Meanwhile, “president-elect” Felipe Calderon was heckled during a meeting with trade representatives on Tuesday, while the Christian Science Monitor looks into how the PRI will have to modify their role in Mexican politics now that it has been bridesmaid for two consecutive presidential elections.

-The Mexican government evacuated over 100 of its citizens from Lebanon via bus convoy.

-Mexico’s Human Rights Commission criticized federal officials for not ensuring the safety of a coal mine that collapsed in February and killed 65 miners.


-The cardinal of Nicaragua set aside personal differences in order to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution.

-Has Nicaragua been politically “cursed” and always “poised for greatness”? That’s what an ex-New York Times reporter believes.


-The Panamanian government has asked Japan to help with the planned expansion of the Panama Canal (second left image). A national referendum will be held on October 22nd to see if voters approve of the Canal’s expansion.

-Panama prepaid their multimillion dollar Brady Bonds debt.


-Brazilian energy giant Petrobras will soon start exploring Paraguay’s Chaco region for oil and gas deposits.

-Is the recent U.S. military build-up in Paraguay justified? AlterNet explains.


-Support for President Alejandro Toledo has nosedived by nearly 15% over the past month, according to a survey carried out in Lima and Callao.

-Peru and Argentina ratified a bilateral extradition treaty on Tuesday.

-Numerous problems surround the construction of the Camisea Gas Project, which should provide national gas to countries in the hemisphere by 2010.

Puerto Rico

-The privatization of Puerto Rico Telephone continues as the government will sell its 28% share to a Mexican company.

-Should Roberto Clemente’s number 21 be permanently retired from Major League Baseball or is it enough to only have that distinction for Jackie Robinson’s number 42?


-The government of Suriname issued a formal apology earlier this week to the relatives of 39 people massacred in 1986 (second right image) by the then-ruling military dictatorship.

-The government denied that police beat up recently arrested drug kingpin Shaheed Khan when he was detained on Suriname.

Trinidad & Tobago

-The Chief Justice of Trinidad & Tobago has been accused of trying to pressure a fellow judge to find in favor a former Prime Minister who was on trial earlier this year.

-The governments of Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela are about to reach an energy agreement over the use of hydrocarbon reserves beneath the boundaries of both states.


-Uruguay’s foreign minister is urging that Israel halt its bombardment of Lebanon and begin diplomatic talks under the auspices of the U.N.


-Foreign minister Ali Rodriguez criticized a U.S. move to block a U.N. resolution that called for the halt of Israel’s offensive against Lebanon.

-Oil giant Chevron signed two joint venture agreements with Venezuela to transfer oil pumping responsibilities to the Venezuelan government.

-Venezuela makes its official debut as member of the Mercosur trading bloc (third left image) during the group's summit in Argentina.

-Venezuela’s government is increasingly “out of step with the world,” according to a top U.S. State Department counterterrorism official.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Headlines: A(rgentina) to G(uatemala)

The following is the first part of news headlines from several Latin American and Caribbean countries over the past few days. Today we’ll post on Argentina through Guatemala. Part two (Haiti through Venezuela) will be the next post and will be published Thursday night.



-On Tuesday, Argentines remembered the twelfth anniversary of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires (left image) that left 85 people dead.

-Stocks ended fairly even after trading on Tuesday with losses by steel tube maker Tenaris offsetting gains made by other stocks.

-Argentina plans to sell fighter aircraft to Israel, Chile, and Bolivia which would by the first major export of military equipment since president Nestor Kirchner took office 3 years ago.


-The IMF applauded Bolivian efforts to lower inflation while maintaining moderate economic growth.

-The government named four companies to audit its foreign-owned natural gas fields while it continues the process of nationalizing gas reserves.


-Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attended last week’s G8 summit (right image) in Russia and, amongst other topics, emphasized the need for increased investment and use of alternative fuel sources.

-The calm after the storm: violence in Sao Paulo has cooled down after more than a week of hostilities by organized crime.

-Support for President da Silva has gone down for the second straight month and his lead in the polls over Gerardo Ackman has gone down from 16% to 10%.


-Hundreds of Arabs in Chile protested Israeli actions against Lebanon by staging a sit-in in Santiago.

-The country’s Supreme Court gave the green light for charges to be presented against ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet for the deaths of two men in the 1970s.

-President Michelle Bachelet declared that Chile will sharply curb its dependence on natural gas flowing from neighboring Argentina.

-Legislators okayed a free trade agreement with China which aims to be “the widest, most comprehensive (trade deal) negotiated by the Asian country with any nation.”


-Foreign diplomats and human rights groups accused President Alvaro Uribe of carrying a secret campaign to curtail U.N. human rights monitors. These are the same U.N. monitors that have reported of a surge in displaced Colombians over the past few days due to intense fighting between paramilitaries and guerillas.

-Apparently having solved all other important issues, president Uribe wants to launch a bid for Colombia to host the 2014 soccer World Cup inasmuch as the South American Football Confederation has yet to receive a formal bid from Colombia.

-Colombian rockero Juanes (second left image) received France’s highest artistic award, the Knight of Arts and Letters, in recognition of his charity work for landmine victims.

Costa Rica

-The casket of a woman killed last week during a partial collapse of a tunnel in Boston arrived in her homeland of Costa Rica on Tuesday where it was buried on Wednesday.

-Nicaragua denounced Costa Rica with discrimination against immigrants including the death of a Nicaraguan woman by police dogs.


-Press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (second right image) condemned the Cuban government’s abuses of journalists and the press including the recent detention without trial of two Cuban journalists.

-Care to learn more about U.S.-Cuba relations? Then read this fantastic article from the Council on Foreign Relations.

-Cuban athletes have won 28 gold medals so far during the Central American and Caribbean Games. Only Mexico has more medals.

Dominican Republic

-Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is thinking about selling its assets in the Dominican Republic.


-The country’s highest court banned an appeal by ex-president Lucio Gutierrez (third left image) that would have allowed him to run for political office.

-Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area around a volcanic mountain that has been spewing ash and debris over the past few days.

-8 Ecuadorian stowaways that spent 10 days at sea were captured by U.S. Customs Officials in California.

El Salvador

-Police raids nabbed approximately 200 gang members outside of the Salvadoran capital.


-The government has been lax in investing the unsolved deaths of hundreds of women, according to a report released on Tuesday by human rights organization Amnesty International.

-The Bank of Guatemala said that remittances sent to Guatemala have grown by 21% since January; remittances make up 10% of the country’s GDP.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

24 Hour Break

I'm off to take care of some pressing matters today so there will not be any posting until tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime here is a poll from VivirLatino that asks "who is the most influential latino of 2006"?

Hasta mañana!

Mining briefs out of Ecuador, Bolivia, and Mexico

-Villagers from a town outside of Quito, Ecuador protested the presence of a Canadian-owned mining company near environmentally sensitive land.

-Bolivia’s finance minister claimed that the increase in mining revenue this year has contributed to the country’s overall growth.

-How do you break a four-month long strike? Try firing all your employees (with the government’s permission, of course).

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High mercury in tuna from Latin America, while a Peruvian scientist in transgenic drug controversy

An environmental group found that some canned tuna imported into the U.S. has high levels of mercury, especially tuna caught in Ecuador and Mexico. Meanwhile, a Peruvian scientist who gave babies an anti-diarrhea medicine derived from genetically-engineered rice is in the middle of a controversy that has her under criminal investigation.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Sports briefs: Argentina qualify for rugby World Cup; “Big Phil” says “no” to Brazil; Ronaldo in recovery

-Argentina qualified for next year’s rugby World Cup after shutting out Uruguay in Buenos Aires. The “Pumas” will be placed in a difficult group against Ireland and hosts France.

-Portugal team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari (left image)signed a contract extension with Portugal, thus spurning offers to return to coach Brazil (whom with he won the 2002 World Cup).

-Speaking of Brazil, star forward Ronaldo will be out for a month while he recovers from surgery over the weekend on his left shin.

-Safe travel around the Caribbean during next year’s cricket World Cup will be one of the main topics of discussion during a meeting of cricket officials in Antigua this week.

-Juan Pablo Montoya’s (right image) recent decision to race in NASCAR next year has caught the attention of other open-wheel drivers who are flirting with the notion of riding full-time for NASCAR such as Danica Patrick and 1997 Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve.

-The 20th edition of the Central American and Caribbean Games opened on Sunday in Cartagena, Colombia. This regional competition will last two weeks and will be attended by athletes from 32 countries.

-Mexican-American boxer Fernando Vargas succumbed to Shane Mosley after a 6th round TKO during their bout in Las Vegas Saturday night.


A tour of Cartagena by Gabo’s brother

Jaime Garcia Marquez, brother of Nobel-prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez (image), gives a fascinating tour of Cartagena including places that inspired future books like Of Love and Other Demons.


FBI investigating border bribery

Allegations of bribery and corruption have surfaced among the U.S. Border Patrol near San Diego, and officials worry it could be true due to lower hiring standards and increased pressure on agents.


Follow-up: Panama okays canal expansion

Panama’s congress approved to allocate $5 billion for the expansion of the Panama Canal which would allow for a third lane of traffic and a widening of existing locks and access canals. (Previous post here).


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Newsweek in review: July 10 to July 16

Monday July 10:

­-A U.S. government commission on Cuba recommended the Bush administration double funds to anti-Castro organizations.

-A former aide to ex-Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet claimed that Pinochet’s youngest son profited from running an illegal drug trade during the 1980s.

-Amnesty International reported that hundreds of women die yearly in Peru due to “discriminatory health services.”

-The spokesman for Vicente Fox, president of Mexico, said that Fox would stay out of the post-election controversy between candidates Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Felipe Calderon.

Tuesday July 11:

-­Summit amongst Central American nations ends with promises of increased regional collaboration.

-Venezuela’s government agrees to pay back 70% of its debt with the World Bank.

-Is the “pink revolution” (shift to the political left) over in Latin America? We examine a pair of articles for and against it.

Wednesday July 12:

­-The International Monetary Fund says that economic growth in Latin America has been sustained for longer than any previous period of growth.

-State of emergency declared in areas of central Chile destroyed by flooding and landslides.

-Citing low sales of gasoline in the U.S., Venezuela-owned Citgo will halt selling gasoline to 1800 independently-owned U.S. stations.

-Colombian president Alvaro Uribe found himself in the middle of a diplomatic crisis after Andres Pastrana resigned as ambassador to the U.S. due to Uribe’s plan to install another ex-president as ambassador to France.

Thursday July 13:

-The International Court of Justice rules provisionally in favor of Uruguay to construct paper mills near its river border with Argentina.

Friday July 14:

-Guerillas in Colombia kidnapped 172 loggers who they claimed worked for right-wing paramilitaries.

-Several polls released over the past week revealed overall support of the presidents of Guatemala, Brazil, and Venezuela as well as Nicaraguan presidential candidate Daniel Ortega.

-Chilean president Michelle Bachelet replaced three of her cabinet ministers in response to diminishing popularity.

-Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called on supporters to erect “protest camps” outside of electoral offices around Mexico.

Saturday July 15:

­­-Thousands of people protested in the capital of Haiti to demand the return of exiled president Jean-Bertrand Aristede.

-Murder charges will not be handed against the English policemen who killed a Brazilian citizen mistaking him for a suicide bomber last July.

Sunday July 16:

-Music lovers remember the death of Cuban salsa legend Celia Cruz who passed away three years ago today.