The Bolivian miners Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

LatinAmerSure, everybody’s heard about the Chilean miners, but this week’s Carnival is dedicated to the unionized Bolivian miners who stopped nationalization plans,

But last week, the Federated Syndicate of Bolivian Mine Workers, which represents miners employed in the private sector, threatened to strike. “We are not going to permit the state to take control of those mines”, said union leader Cesar Lugo.

“The government is an inept administrator,” said Sergio Vacarreza Salazar, leader of a growing movement of independent mining cooperatives that is looking to foreign sources for investment.

We want to form our own ventures with private investors to develop our mines. The government just does not have the money or access to technology,” he added, following a deal signed last week between his independent workers’ cooperative and a U.S.-based miner, Franklin Mining, to develop a gold mine.

ARGENTINA
Argentina Aims to Tighten Farm-Land Ownership Rules

BOLIVIA
Bolivian Miners Stop Nationalization Plans

BRAZIL
Brazil Will Hand Over Five Airports To Private Sector

Price of Success in Brazil: $15 Movies

CHILE
Chile’s Private Social Security System Turns 30 (emphasis added)

Instead of paying a 12.4% Social Security tax as we do here, Chilean workers must pay in 10% of their wages (they can send up to 20%) to one of several conservatively managed and regulated pension funds. From the accumulated savings, they get a life annuity or make programmed withdrawals (inheriting any funds left over).

Over the last three decades these accounts have averaged annual returns of 9.23% above inflation. By contrast, U.S. Social Security pays a 1% to 2% (theoretical) return, and even less for new workers.

May Day in Chile

Former Agent for Pinochet Is Found Slain in Argentina

U.S. Millionaire Cultivates South American Park Plan

CUBA
Meet the ‘New Cuba,’ Same as the Old Cuba
Take a bow for the new revolution: for all the naive optimism of some foreign observers, Cuba hasn’t really changed

No More Petro-Dictators

Cuba’s cigar industry
Smoked out
Rolling up under-the-counter trading in an emblematic product
(by subscription only)

ECUADOR
POLL NUMBERS!!! Correa leads Ecuador referendum 60-40

Don’t reward Ecuador with a new U.S. ambassador

What is clear is that, according to the full batch of leaked cables, tensions between the U.S. embassy and the Correa government had been building for months, with the Correa government looking for any and all opportunities to criticize U.S. actions. The cables further reveal the U.S. embassy’s profound lack of trust in President Correa and their continuing frustration trying to establish a working relationship with his government. (Were these cables being read in Washington?)

They report that Correa has surrounded himself with a claque of inveterate anti-Americanists dedicated to damaging bilateral relations and the U.S. image in Ecuador. They have interfered in the work of U.S.-sponsored and trained special police units that combat trafficking in drugs and persons. A disturbing number — including the foreign minister — have close ties to Cuba, Hugo Chavez, and Colombian narco-terrorists.

Against this backdrop, it is beyond comprehension why there would be any U.S. haste in restoring ambassadors in both capitals. Correa is already under fire by Ecuadorean exporters concerned that his rash action will deprive Ecuador of trade benefits under the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, which is subject to congressional approval. Beyond that, it is unclear what tangible benefits have accrued for U.S. interests from a “make nice” policy with Correa to date.

GUATEMALA
Guatemalan kingpin, wanted in U.S., captured

HAITI
More Whoa! in Haiti: Did the Ruling Party Manipulate Election Results?

MEXICO
Mexico stiffens penalties for monopolistic practices

Charging minors

Can security reform save Mexico?

PANAMA
6.1-magnitude quake shakes southern Panama

PERU
Presidents from Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile gather in Lima to sign accord, the Pacific Agreement.

Mario Vargas Llosa under fire for Peru election endorsement
Revered author says he will vote for leftwing Ollanta Humala ‘unhappily and with fear’ as the lesser of two evils

Naive, irresponsible and deranged are among the kinder epitaphs raining down on the author. Jaime Bayly, a leading commentator, accused Vargas Llosa of hypocrisy and forgetfulness on the grounds that he sold the film rights of a novel, Captain Pantoja and the Special Service, to an Alberto Fujimori crony.

Dripping sarcasm, Bayly said Vargas Llosa, 75, had reached an age at which he “deserved to be happy and without fear”, and so for his own sake should abstain from voting.

Bayly’s own article, in Spanish, Los golpes de Humala.

A Candidate in Peru Tacks Toward Brazil’s Course

VENEZUELA
No electricity? No problem! Have a free day, but dress in red!

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