Welcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. The top story in our hemisphere this week: the announcement of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez’s death. While the government has announced a presidential election for April 14th, don’t expect chavismo to give up power anytime soon.
The cult of adoration is now under way, which fills a need peculiar to Latin America, as Enrique Krauze explains,
In Latin America the need to turn politicians into secular saints is due to the distrust many feel for the region’s weak institutions and a worship for so-called men on horseback—heroes who come to the nation’s rescue, said Mr. Krauze. The region’s deep Catholic tradition of anointing and then venerating saints is also an important factor, he said.
It could never happen here, could it?
Argentine court convicts ex-leader Menem
An appeals court in Buenos Aires convicts ex-President Carlos Menem of illegally selling 6,500 tonnes of arms to Croatia and Ecuador during the 1990s.
When Congress finally decided in 2012 to allow people to obtain the salary information of its employees, it also required them to find the name of each employee and submit it online. In other words, if someone wanted the information on the legislature’s 25,000-strong work force, then that person had to independently identify them and submit 25,000 separate online requests.
If only it were that easy here in São Paulo. One clerk at the state’s high court, Ivete Sartório, was reportedly paid about $115,000 after convincing her superiors that she should be compensated for not taking leaves of absence. But when asked recently about her wages, a spokesman for the court, Rômulo Pordeus, said that Ms. Sartório’s “matriculation number” was needed to request the information.
When asked how any curious taxpayer could get that number, he replied that it was in Ms. Sartório’s possession, and that he did not want to bother her about it.
World’s Largest Ground-Based Telescope Array Opens in Chile Soon: The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).
Land Rovers and Airplanes Ready as Falklands Votes on U.K. Ties
WATCHING THE LINE
Long Border, Endless Struggle
MEMO FROM MEXICO CITY
Unabated Violence Poses Challenge to Mexico’s New Anticrime Program
Recent violence, including gang rapes and the killing of police officers, has put pressure on Mexico’s new leader as he rolls out a less militaristic crime prevention initiative.
Peru Keeps 4.25% Rate as CPI Slows Amid Stable GrowthQ
Peru kept borrowing costs unchanged for a 22nd consecutive month as policy makers expect inflation to converge to the mid-point of their target and economic growth to exceed 6 percent.
WSJ timeline: Hugo Chávez: From Coup Leader to President
Born Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías on July 28, 1954, in a small farming village in Sabaneta, he was first elected president in 1998, six years after engineering a failed military coup.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s lionization of his Venezuelan friend Hugo Chávez caused a political firestorm in the Islamic Republic, as doubts arose over whether the two countries could carry on their tight alliance now that Mr. Chávez is dead.
Chavez: Death of a tyrant
The week’s posts and podcast:
SNL Hugo’s Candle in the Wind