Archive for December, 2013

Mexico: What has changed

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Michael Barone summarizes Mexico’s political landscape in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner:
Overdue reforms boost Mexico — and the United States

Some historical background is in order. For 71 years, Mexican politics and government were totally dominated by the paradoxically named Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI), which held the presidency and virtually all governorships from 1929 to 2000.

Under the PRI system, presidents served one six-year term and in their last year — usually a time of catastrophes — chose their successors, who paraded around the country and were elected without difficulty.

Once in office, the new president blamed all his problems on his predecessor, who often left the country. This system suited the sensibility of a nation whose culture is still at least partly Aztec: It combined elements of calendrical regularity, elaborate ceremony and human sacrifice.

This system worked tolerably well for 30-some years. But as time went on, it produced widespread corruption, periodic currency devaluations and massive outmigration. Mexico seemed to be falling further behind the United States.

Read how things have changed here, and also at NRO (h/t Instapundit).

Thank you! #Fab50

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Fausta’s blog is one of the Fabulous Fifty – for Best Latin American Coverage!

Winner - 2013 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

The year-end Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 30th, 2013

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Nine-year-old US boy climbs Aconcagua peak in Argentina
A nine-year-old boy from the United States has become the youngest person to reach the summit of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas.

BRAZIL
Brazil jail fights kill 59 in 2013
At least 59 inmates have been killed in a single northern Brazilian prison this year
; the town is Pedrinhas.

Smart Diplomacy: Boeing’s Super Hornet Banned From Brazil’s Fighter Sales Because of Fury Over NSA Scandal

Brazil Boosts Levy On Overseas Transactions
Brazil is raising taxes on more transactions its residents make abroad, as the country tries to increase government revenue and reduce the outflow of dollars.

ICYMI, Smart Diplomacy: Brazilian President complains to Obama about “a grave violation of human rights” and “especially of disrespect to national sovereignty

CHILE
Statistics in Chile
No consensus

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s year of peace

Colombian military kills 10 Farc rebels in bombing raid
The Colombian military says it has killed at least 10 members of the left-wing Farc rebel group in an operation in central Meta province.

CUBA
The Free Alan Gross website.

Magazine Celebrates Mass Murderer Che

Man who shouted “Down with communism!” during pope’s visit to Cuba is now in Chattanooga
Andrés Carrión Says security agents threatened to kill him, fired his wife, forced them out of their home and sent two snitches to get close to him.

ECUADOR
Ecuador Faces Legal Quandary over Intra-Indigenous Violence

HONDURAS
Honduran High Court Rejects Challenge to Presidential Vote

JAMAICA
Police in Jamaica probe slaying of New York teen

MEXICO
Observations and Questions as NAFTA Reaches 20 Years of Age

Mexico to Tax Luxury Item: Pet Food
Mexico’s pet owners are bracing for a new tax on pet food, which the government recently declared a “luxury item.
A 16% Sales Tax to Kick In as Government Scrounges for Revenue

A Civil Servant in Mexico Tests U.S. on Asylum

NICARAGUA
A must-read firsthand account from a former NGO worker: 32 years after the revolution Reagan is right

PERU
The Dark Side of El Dorado: Illegal Gold Mining In Peru Generating More Money Than Drug Trafficking (emphasis added)

In fact, so much gold has been produced by the “informal” (or “illegal’) mining sector in Peru – involving some 40,000 miners who have tried to scrape whatever they can in abandoned mines around the country, from the jungle province of Puerto Maldonado to the deserted landscape of Ica – that gold has become more lucrative than cocaine trafficking (of which Peru is the largest exporter, having surpassed Colombia in 2012, according to the United Nations).

PUERTO RICO
PENSION WARS
Pension Update: Puerto Rico Up, San Jose Down
It’s been an up-and-down week for public pensions. In San Jose, a judge struck down a significant piece of the city’s pension reform plan, setting the stage for a big ballot fight next year. In Puerto Rico, on the other hand, the Senate finally passed a measure to put the Teachers Pesion Fund on solid footing.

With A Downgrade On Debt Imminent, Puerto Rico Needs A Visit From Santa Claus

TURKS & CAICOS
Turks and Caicos Islands: 18 Believed to Be Migrants From Haiti Drown
Eighteen people believed to be migrants from Haiti died Wednesday when their overloaded sailboat overturned as it was being escorted to shore in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

URUGUAY
Uruguayan Navy Seizes Over 1 Ton of Cocaine

USA
‘Military-Style’ Raid on California Power Station Spooks U.S.

The Most Underreported Foreign News Stories of 2013

The Most Underreported Domestic News Stories of 2013

VENEZUELA
Caracas Says It Received China Credits
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said China has given his country $5 billion in credits under a deal reached in September.
Money Pledged in September to Be Used for Several Purposes

PDVSA awards crude tender to U.S. refiner at wide discounts-trade, via Kermit, wjo points out,

A decade or so ago Venezuelan crude was sold on longterm contracts at about $10 per barrel discount from the two widget fiction crudes, WTI & Brent. Looks like it is now $20 discount and crude production has declined quite a bit.

What Will Happen In Venezuela In 2014?

2013 in review: the year we realized that the Venezuelan electorate is wretched and vile

Muere Hugo Chávez, nace el chavismo
Con o sin el expresidente, el chavismo es una plataforma viable, y es la preferida por los venezolanos. De eso ya no queda duda

ICYMI, The Venezuelan State’s Occupy “Movement”: The Victory of Socialism!

The week’s posts:
Cuba: Institutionalized racism

Argentina: Rocket up, power out

Ecuador: Cléver Jiménez, accused of hacking, gets raided. Assange & Snowden could not be reached for comment.

Mexico showed the way in 2013

Argentina: 60 wounded by piranha attack

Cuba: Doctors to earn $40 a month

Nicaragua: Paul Berman writes to de Blasio

Reformed dictators don’t exist

At Da Tech Guy: Fausta’s Puerto Rican Christmas menu


Cuba: Institutionalized racism

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Mary O’Grady writes on a topic ignored by leftist bien-pensants: Institutionalized racism and how “the Cuban military dictatorship, run by a white junta, held and tortured the black political prisoner Eusebio Peñalver for 28 years”:
Mandela’s Message Didn’t Make It to Cuba
In Havana a small white clique rules a majority black nation.

As commenter Maria Werlau points out,

Most of the people jailed in Cuban prisons are Afro-Cubans and they are dying at an alarming rate. Prison conditions are horrifying; the Cuban government does not allow monitoring by the Red Cross and international human rights organizations. See a recent report on deaths and disappearances under Raul Castro’s rule at:
http://cubaarchive.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=21&Itemid=95

Eusebio Peñalver was locked up for 28 years, one more than Nelson Mandela.

Argentina: Rocket up, power out UPDATED

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Argentina’s having a heatwave, so a ‘state of emergency’ declared as power and water supplies fail; the water shortages are more acute for high-rise buildings where water has to be pumped up.

Meanwhile, Argentina has just launched a new space rocket to “recover” its defense capacity

Argentina — which still hasn’t sorted out its $100 billion sovereign default with all its creditors dating back to 2001 — has absolutely no money to be shoveling out on space programs. It’s doing it anyway.

The rocket launch is part of a broader ramp-up of military spending, which goes to $6.1 billion in 2014.

“For peaceful purposes”? Not.

UPDATE:
ARGENTINA’S GOVERNMENT STATISTICS
Lies, All Lies
Wether you’re looking at figures for murder or GDP growth, if they come from the Argentinian government they’re probably false.


Saturday night tango: Detlef & Melina

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Melina Sedo & Detlef Engel dance to “Confesión” by OT Porteña.

Ecuador: Cléver Jiménez, accused of hacking, gets raided. Assange & Snowden could not be reached for comment.

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Ecuadorian Assemblyman Cléver Jiménez claims to have documentation of corruption in high places, which has displeased president Rafael Correa.

Correa’s been tweeting about it, in a 4-part tweet, which started with:
Months-long hacking of the accounts of the President and high officials. Investigations lead to Cléver Jiménez and his “advisor” Fernando . . .

Now Jiménez is under investigation for espionage, and yesterday his home was raided in his absence by a SWAT team, 3 criminologists, a prosecutor from Pichincha and a number of his aides. Jiménez’s attorney stated the raid was carried out without a warrant. Additionally, Jiménez’s office at the National Assembly was raided and his computer and documents were removed.

I could not reach Julian Assange in London for his reaction to the warrantless raid by the government of his patron Correa, who claims ‘Britain is violating Julian Assange’s human rights,’ while Correa persecutes an elected official for hacking.

Likewise, Edward Snowden, who, when asking for asylum, praised Correa,

who would risk standing for the human rights of an individual against the most powerful government on earth, and the bravery of Ecuador and its people is an example to the world

ought to come out of his Russian hidey-hole and stand for Jiménez’s rights.

Mexico showed the way in 2013

Friday, December 27th, 2013

says Andres Oppenheimmer:

But the fact remains that in 2013, Mexico was the only country in the Americas —including the United States — where the government and opposition parties broke decades of political paralysis to approve profound reforms that could speed up the country’s development for many decades.

Oppenheimer enumerates the reforms: educational, political, fiscal, labor, telecommunications, and energy, and concludes,

But the fact remains that in 2013, Mexico was the only country in the Americas —including the United States — where the government and opposition parties broke decades of political paralysis to approve profound reforms that could speed up the country’s development for many decades.

Time will tell.

Sherlock: new mini-episode

Thursday, December 26th, 2013


I’m so hooked it’s not funny. But then, I was reading all the Arthur Conan Doyle stories when my classmates were reading Nancy Drew.

Blogging on Latin America shall resume shortly.

Argentina: 60 wounded by piranha attack

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

As if the bad news on the economy wasn’t enough, now the fish are out to eat you:

Over 60 suffer in unusual piranha attack in Argentina

More than 60 people suffered injuries as a result of an attack of piranhas in the Argentine city of Rosario. The incident occurred on a local beach on the banks of the Parana River.

In case you wondered,

The waters of the Parana River are inhabited by two species of freshwater piranhas – Pygocentrus nattereri and Serrasalmus spilopleura. They reach 33 inches in length and can weigh up to 3.8 kilograms.

Do not, repeat, do not go in that water.

UPDATE:
Argentina Launches A Rocket While Its Infrastructure Collapses