Archive for the ‘El Salvador’ Category

The Corcovado thumb Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 20th, 2014

The statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio was struck by lightning, damaging its right thumb. Here’s the striking photo.

ARGENTINA
Argentine Government Rules Out Military Role in Drug Enforcement

The fish are biting . . . you: Carnivorous fish injure 10 Argentine river bathers in area where 70 were wounded last month

BOLIVIA
Bolivian President Touts Nuclear Power Program

BRAZIL
The Laureus World Sports Awards, abruptly cancelled, Sporting events in Rio
We regret to announce

Inri Cristo, preacher on a scooter

Mulher de malandro decidirá eleição
O eleitorado diz que quer mudança, mas pretende reeleger Dilma. É puro chavismo

CHILE
The drugs industry in Chile
Getting the treatment

COLOMBIA
Someone explain to me why should anyone trust the FARC, Bomb explodes in Colombian town as rebel ceasefire ends
At least one person was killed when a bomb went off in the town of Pradera in western Colombia, officials say.

Bogota; time to move on

CUBA
Cuban political prisoner Osvaldo Rodriguez Acosta starts hunger to protest denial of family visit

Another Moronic Offensive Stunt to Take Place in Castrogonia

One Year of Immigration And Travel Reform… What Changed?

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
OBAMA CALLS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ‘THE DOMINICAN REPUBLICAN’

ECUADOR
A tale of two hacks: Ecuador’s continued assault on the press

Ecuadorian state newspaper says new media outlet would seek to destabilize the government

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador’s first presidential debate brims with pledges – but can candidates deliver?
El Salvador’s presidential election takes place next month, and topics of gang violence, the economy, and healthcare are top of mind.

GUATEMALA
Guatemala’s president and vice president withdraw criminal complaints against newspaper editor

HAITI
Haitians living abroad weigh investment opportunities
After four years in Washington, D.C., a diaspora investment conference moves to Port-au-Prince

JAMAICA
LGBT tolerance growing in Jamaica, push to repeal of anti-gay law

LATIN AMERICA
Cuban Actress Maria Conchita Alonso Has Lived in an Oppressive Society

Andres Oppenheimer is optimistic: Latin America’s downward spiral?

Sure, Venezuela may descend into further chaos, but it doesn’t have many followers. Argentina will most likely change course within the next two years, and Brazil will, in the worst-case scenario, remain stagnant.

More importantly, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile are doing well, and may drag several other countries in their direction. Together with Brazil, the four Pacific-coast countries make up more than 75 percent of Latin America’s economy.

More than a downward spiral, we may soon see the end of the populist cycle, and the beginning of an upward spiral.

Organized crime in 2014: What can Latin America expect?
Organized crime is adaptable and profit-driven, and in 2014, that could mean moving beyond Mexico and Colombia to a more diverse set of nations.

MEXICO
Adrift in Mexico’s deportation capital
Mexicali has became the U.S. government’s biggest dumping ground for deportees who often have deep ties in America.

Michoacan replaces security chiefsMexican soldiers patrol the streets of Apatzingan, Michoacan. Photo: 16 January 2014
Mexico’s authorities say top security officials will be replaced in the western state of Michoacan that has recently been rocked by violence.

Deep-water drilling is a test for Mexican oil company Pemex

Gangs from Central America on the rise in Mexico: Report
A new report out of Mexico details the growing links between Central American Maras and the nation’s main criminal groups, highlighting more cross-border gang activity

El pincel de la justicia
Ramiro Gómez hace su primera presentación en un espacio formal, en una pequeña galería en Chinatown. No tiene un taller: el dueño del lugar le prestó el primer piso para que ahí concluyera cuatro lienzos que son parte de la obra que expone.

PANAMA
Canal Standoff Worries Panamanians
A standoff over cost overruns in the Panama Canal expansion has Panamanians as anxious as the global shipping industry.

PERU
Peru: Media Merger Serving as Pretext for Manipulation
Let the People, Not Caudillos, Determine the Role of the Press

Disagreement between Vargas Llosa and his son illustrates the debate in Peru over media concentration

PUERTO RICO
Fixing Puerto Rico: Part I

URUGUAY
A leopard never changes its spots: Paris Hilton poses up a storm on the beach in Uruguay wearing animal print dress

VENEZUELA
Regulation, Death by a thousand cuts (Updated)

Thomas Berry died ‘trying to show family real Venezuela’, parents say
Berry family speaks for the first time of grief at death of their son and his wife, killed by robbers in front of their daughter after their car broke down on a dangerous stretch of highway

Pet rights? When all are rights there are no rights

Venezuelan economic controls lead to newsprint shortage

The week’s posts and podcast:
Puerto Rico: Festival success

Brazil: Corcovado damaged by lightning

Argentina: Where’s Cristina?

Panama: North Korea to pay fine for the rust bucket

Mexico: Mireles won’t back down

Puerto Rico: Take down that fence!

Venezuela: Shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic UPDATED

Mexico: Military clash with cartel-fighting militias

Ecuador, Iran, Syria: The new axis?

Argentina’s crumbling economy

Mexico: El Universal claims DEA-Sinaloa deal in Fast & Furious

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Do heed those travel warnings.

The week’s podcast: The US-Latin America stories of the week


The first 2014 Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 6th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Ex-Israeli envoy to Argentina: Israel killed most perpetrators of AMIA, embassy bombings
Former ambassador Itzhak Aviran accuses Argentine gov’t of not doing enough to probe 1990s Buenos Aires terrorist attacks.

Dejó un mensaje telefónico porque las monjas no pudieron atender la llamada
El Papa llama a un convento de Lucena para felicitar el año nuevo
La conversación con el Pontífice duró 15 minutos y la pudieron escuchar cinco monjas
El Santo Padre envió su bendición a toda la buena gente de la localidad cordobesa

Argentina Criticizes Utilities After Outages
Argentina’s government has ruled out raising electricity rates and instead repeated threats to revoke the concessions of the two largest utilities that serve the capital if they don’t invest more to prevent a repeat of recent blackouts.

BOLIVIA
Headbanging in Bolivia to the Flutes of Yore
Heavy metal, Bolivian style, is a fusion of thrashing guitars and shrieking lyrics with the rhythms and instruments of pre-Incan Andean folk tunes.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s fighter jet decision

CHILE
Photos: Violent protests in Chile

Chilean miracle miners back in spotlight, with Antonio Banderas.

COLOMBIA
Bogota needs a “Bloomberg”; maybe, but it’ll do much better with a Giuliani.

CUBA
Reuters shocked…. shocked! … by Cuban car pricing

Mujeres: la carne barata de la revolución

The media
The most absurdly oblivious headline you’ll read all year

Cuba’s unhappy birthday

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitians without a nation
A ruling in the Dominican Republic divides immigrants in Boston

ECUADOR
Ecuador Authorities Raid Journalist’s Home
The raid is the latest crackdown on the press following a recent law restricting negative reporting.

USAID to Pull Out of Ecuador
Organization cites efforts of Correa admin to stifle aid programs

Sitting in the Ecuadorian embassy, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange derides Catholic confessional system but can’t come up with an original thought.

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador orders evacuation from volcano’s slopes
Authorities in El Salvador have resumed evacuating residents living on the slopes of the Chaparrastique volcano

HONDURAS
Election fraud in Honduras

JAMAICA
Cool Runnings Again? Jamaican Bobsleigh Team Return for Sochi Winter Olympic Glory Bid

LATIN AMERICA
Nafta at 20: A Model for Trade Policy
Opponents of the 1993 agreement have been proven definitively wrong.

MEXICO
Mexico: 6 Police Officers Charged in Death of U.S. Citizen in Custody
The man, Yeudi Estrada, was dead when he arrived at Police Headquarters in the resort of Playa del Carmen after his arrest, local prosecutors said.

Mexico 2013: End of the Year Reflections and the Year to Come

Suspected leader of Mexican drug cartel nabbed at Amsterdam airport, via Gates of Vienna.

PANAMA
Trouble at the Panama Canal
Your money or your locks

THE $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal is one of the world’s great infrastructure projects, aimed at enabling giant mega-tankers to pass through the 100-year-old waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific. So a threat by an international consortium, led by Spain’s Sacyr, to halt construction work on January 20th if the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) doesn’t pay it $1.6 billion for cost overruns, is serious. The amount it is claiming is fully half the $3.2 billion it bid in 2009 for its part of the project.

Jorge Quijano, administrator of the PCA, told The Economist that the authority would not pay the money because cost increases were accounted for in the contract.

Panama Canal expansion: Spain steps in to negotiations

Meanwhile, In 2013 Chiriquí Had 673 Earthquakes

PARAGUAY
Paraguay drug seizures up by 39% in 2013

PERU
Peru Plans to Increase Eradication of Coca Leaf
The nation’s drug czar says Peru plans to eradicate an estimated 30,000 hectares of illegally grown coca leaf in 2014.

PUERTO RICO
Could a Puerto Rico Default Hammer the $3.7 Trillion US Muni-Bond Market in 2014?

Puerto Rico Marijuana Reform Gets A Second Life

Puerto Rico’s Population Continues Rapid Decline

USA
No, an illegal immigrant should not be admitted to the bar

URUGUAY
Uruguay consumer prices up 8.5 pct in 2013, top government target

VENEZUELA
Venezuela’s surveillance state strikes again

Transforming a mistake into a revamped tool of repression: the Delcy Rodriguez scandal

Venezuelan Central Bank Joins The Dark Side

The inflationary monster (in Spanish)

The week’s posts:
Argentina: More price controls

Latin America: Free trade vs. Mercosur

Cuba: Lies, lies, and more lies

Mexico: Another Fast & Furious gun found

Italy: Latin American thieves pick the wrong town to hide

Cuba: The new car

Is 2014 Latin America’s “big year”?

Mexico: What has changed

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Ringin’ in the New Year in yellow undies: A brief story by Fausta


Venezuela: Diplomats confirm Venezuelan links to drug trafficking

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Spain’s ABC: Diplomats confirm Venezuelan links to drug trafficking

Information published by ABC regarding negotiations between Nicolás Maduro’s staff—when he was foreign minister—in an FMLN drug trafficking operation in El Salvador, has corroborated suspicions that existed in Venezuelan political and diplomatic circles.

“This news confirms what many already knew about the significant and growing presence of drug trafficking in Venezuela and its important relations with the top echelon in the government and the Armed Forces,” former Venezuelan ambassador to Sweden and Guyana, Sadio Garavini commented. “Venezuela has become a center of command and control of international drug trafficking since the expulsion of the DEA (U.S. anti-drug agency) of the country and the indefinite suspension of the effective partnership with former United States cooperation in the fight against drugs.”

This should come as no surprise to Fausta’s Blog readers.

Additionally, the links extend to Colombia’s FARC, El Salvador’s FMNL, and Hezbollah:

leaders of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador are linked to the Colombian guerrillas, while stressing the massive financial backing from Venezuela to the FMLN, which has been done to take complete control of the country.

“The FMLN and Alba Petroleos of El Salvador – the entity that funnels Venezuelan aid – has taken over the country in ways the United Fruit Company would have never imagined: from airlines to mass purchases of land in the capital, coffee crops above price, pharmacies, banks, and media outlets. Montsant also points to reports and studies by the University of Salamanca, demonstrating the influence of Venezuelan oil through Alba Petróleos on Salvadorans leaders, enabling a patronage policy that seeks votes in the popular sectors.

The ABC article is titled Diplomáticos confirman la conexión de Venezuela con el narcotráfico
Destacan que la tradicional alianza del chavismo con la guerrilla colombiana de las FARC ha sido un factor esencial en ese comercio ilegal

(Diplomats confirm Venezuela’s links to drug trafficking
They assert that chavismo’s alliance with the FARC Colombian guerrilla is an essential factor of the illegal trade.)

Last week, ABC had reported that Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s mediated an FMLN deal with the FARC back when he was vice-president (link in Spanish) allowing drug flights landing in the state of Apure, Venezuela.

UPDATE:
Linked by Babalu. Thanks!


The handshake Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 16th, 2013

LatinAmerMarking another low point in “smart diplomacy through obeisance” last week we saw the O-Raul handshake, which came after six months of talks but was totally unplanned.

ARGENTINA
This Is What A Feminist Looks Like (h/t Instapundit)

BARBADOS
Barbados Debt Higher Than Cyprus Prompts Firing of 3,000

BELIZE
The story of a girl activist – Belize
“Accurate, fun and interactive information about teenage pregnancy helps girls make better and more informed decisions,” says Thandiwe Diego, 14

BRAZIL
A bank that may be too big for Brazil

Brazil Wants More Cuban Slaves

CARIBBEAN
Norway asked to pay up for slave-owning past
A commission set up by countries in the Caribbean announced on Tuesday that it planned to sue Norway for its involvement in plantation slavery from the 17th to the 19th century.

CHILE
Elections in Chile
Bachelet’s coronation

COLOMBIA
Thousands march for sacked Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro
Tens of thousands of people in Colombia have been taking part in a demonstration in support of the sacked mayor of Bogota, Gustavo Petro.

Bogota’s Mayor Petro deposed in “coup”

CUBA
Must-See: “Ladies in White” Beaten and Stripped Naked

POPULATION OF SANTIAGO DE CUBA STONED THE STATE SECURITY FORCES

South Africa “joined at the hip” to Cuba

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Fighting to Exist in the Dominican Republic

A-Rod news: NY YANKEES
Rodriguez Soaks Up the Love in the Dominican Republic

ECUADOR
Must-Read: CNN Reporter Describes Interview With Elian

At odds with Ecuador, USAID moves to leave
USAID expects to close its doors in Ecuador by September 2014 due to an increasingly acrimonious relationship with President Rafael Correa. This comes six months after it was kicked out of Bolivia

EL SALVADOR
Spain’s ABC: Venezuela arranged drug trafficking access for Salvadoran FMLN
José Luis Merino, a leader of the left-wing Salvadoran political party, arranged a drug lord’s meeting with the Colombian FARC on a flight coordinated with the office of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

REPORT: PREVIOUSLY DEPORTED ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT FELON FREE IN US

JAMAICA
Jamaica hailed for role in anti-apartheid fight

MEXICO
Vigilantes in Mexico: A Warning Sign of Chaos

You Can Go Home Again:
Mexican Migrants Return
in Record Numbers
(h/t Mexidata)

Unidad de quemados:

PERU
CNBC: Accused scam artist apprehended in Peru
CNBC: Eric Bartoli, featured on “America Greed” caught in Lima after 10 years on the run.

PANAMA
Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador and Panama recall their ambassadors

PUERTO RICO
Obamacare Pushing Puerto Rico Further Into Social Welfare State, Doctors Warn

Puerto Rico May Be Cut to Junk by Moody’s on Weak Economy

Puerto Rico’s Economic Problems Not Going Away — My Newyorican Suggestions

URUGUAY
Can Uruguay Handle the Pot Business?

Simon Jenkins inhales deeply: Heroic Uruguay deserves a Nobel peace prize for legalising cannabis
The war on the war on drugs is the only war that matters. Uruguay’s stance puts the UN and the US to shame

VENEZUELA
Anatomy of the Oppo Bullshit Machine

The Details Of Sunday’s Venezuelan Municipal Election Results Are Ugly For The Opposition

Smuggling from Venezuela to Colombia exceeds formal trade
According to estimates from customs authorities and members of the Venezuelan-Colombian Economic Integration Chamber (Cavecol)

Ending Venezuela’s Addiction to Populism

The week’s posts and podcast:
BNDES: Brazil’s really big bank

Venezuela: What food rationing creates

Mexico: Border tunnels “significant and growing threat to border security”

Pope Francis, the glass is more than half-full.

Putin, the new Evita

Mexico: Will fracking save the oil industry?

Mexico: A house divided

Today: International Day of Tango

Cuba: Handshake between Obama and Raul came after six months of talks

TIME’s Person of the Year: Pope Francis

Puerto Rico: Drawing on cash

Obama bows to Raul Castro

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Venezuela vs Ukraine: Why we won’t see the protests in Caracas

Podcast: The elections in Venezuela PLUS other US Latin America stories.

Mexico: Don’t write off the Zetas

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Stratford reports that Mexico’s Zetas Are Not Finished Yet, Scott Stewart and Tristan Reed analyze the available information and disinformation,

Over a year later we do not know if the inaccurate rumors of the Lazcano Lazcano and Trevino Morales split were an incorrect understanding of the Velazquez Caballero defection (misinformation), or if they were a deliberate information operation conducted by the Mexican government or a rival cartel attempting to sow division among the ranks of Los Zetas (disinformation).

and the observable facts – for instance, no other organization is trying to take control of Monterrey – and conclude that the Zetas “remain a powerful organization engaged in a diverse range of criminal activities across a large portion of Mexico — and the globe.”

Two weeks ago, Guatemala seized from the Zetas an arsenal of weapons, and earlier on, El Salvador had seized a stash of stolen Salvadorian army grenades (link in Spanish),

Read the Startford full report.

The Homeland location Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, October 21st, 2013

LatinAmerIs it Puerto Rico, or is it Caracas? Showtime picked a safer location for Homeland than the real-life Tower of David for last week’s episode.

ARGENTINA
‘Queen Cristina’ facing the end of her reign
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Politically weakened and physically frail, Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez Kirchner is facing the end of a decade of a family rule as she recovers from brain clot surgery ahead of key elections

Argentina to pay $500 million to resolve disputes with foreign firms

Will Iran thaw bring justice for AMIA victims?

Argentine Train Slams into Station
An Argentine commuter train slammed into the end of the line Saturday morning at the same station in Buenos Aires where 52 people were killed in a similar crash last year.

BOLIVIA
Vicuna herded on motorbikes for biennial shearing in Bolivia
Every two years, about a hundred men and women Aymara villagers conduct a frenetic chase to round up wild vicunas for shearing, an event which lasts four days

BRAZIL
Brazil’s (and Odebrecht’s) Secret Deals With Dictators

Public finances in Brazil
Going for broke

Brazil army to guard oil rights sale
Union leaders in Brazil attack a decision to deploy troops to guarantee security for a controversial oil exploration rights auction.

CHILE
Chile men convicted over gay murder
A court in Chile convicts four men for torturing and beating to death 24-year-old gay man Daniel Zamudio in a Santiago park in March.

COLOMBIA
Ex-President Uribe on course to win 2 million votes

Starbucks to take on Juan Valdez in Colombia

CUBA
Babalú Exclusive: Cuban footprints across America – Martina the Beautiful Cockroach

Castro police block mother from naming her son after Cuba opposition leader Antúnez

Havana Havana, Your Fountains Are Broken

Cuban dissidents plant a hoax to trap government spies
Cuban dissidents invented a story to flush out infiltrators. A blogger bit, but denied having links to the Cuban government.

ECUADOR
Witnesses say U.S. lawyer used fraud in Chevron case in Ecuador

EDUCATION
Weak Universities Hurt Latin America, Spain

EL SALVADOR
On a different note…

El Salvador: Where women may be jailed for miscarrying

MEXICO
The most bad-ass doctor ever

Crime in Mexico
Out of sight, not out of mind
Having decided to play down the fight against drug kingpins, Enrique Peña Nieto has yet to come up with a serious alternative

Gunman in clown suit kills senior Mexican drug cartel member

NICARAGUA
NYC MAYOR CANDIDATE BILL DE BLASIO SUPPORTED SANDINISTAS, ACTIVE ALLIES OF “PALESTINIAN” JIHADISTS

PANAMA
Ibero-American Summit Marked by Notable Absences
Missing from the conference in Panama are nine presidents and Spain’s King Juan Carlos

PERU
Peru’s air force reinstates UFO department
Peru’s air force has said it is reviving a department to research anomalous aerial phenomena – in other words, UFO sightings

US gives $100 million to Peru for counternarcotics

PUERTO RICO
It’ll be talk like a pirate day: New John Malkovich series to be filmed in Puerto Rico, adding millions to local economy

VENEZUELA
The opposition will not be televised

A disabling enabling law

WORLD CUP
Jaime & Silvia recap the World Cup prelims (in Spanish):

The week’s posts:
Michel Moynihan interviews Vargas Llosa

Chile: Matthei/Parisi vs Bachlet?

Honduras: Zelaya’s baaaack

Mexico: Taxing the fat out of you

Venezuela: Nicolas loses Heinz

Brazil: Biggest Sao Paolo cartel threatens violence at World Cup

Mexico: El Bloombito lobbies against sugary sodas

Paraguay: Guy makes up his mind after 80 years

En español: La terapia intensiva de esta semana

Video: NAFTA and Mexican Agriculture

Garcia, Lee and Rangel lying for Castro?

Podcast:
Cuba & other US-Latin America issues of the week.



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-0354983757733169"
data-ad-slot="0226014964">

The Danish modern Salvadorans

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

The WSJ wants you to Meet the Carrot Concept, El Salvador’s Design Collective
Against all odds, a world-class design collective is growing on El Salvador’s tough turf—and is poised to change the country’s reputation one chair, bench and bookshelf at a time

Among other road blocks, there is no large-scale furniture manufacturing to speak of, unreliable export and import capabilities and storage problems. If it’s become trendy in America to esteem handmade, locally sourced products above industrial ones, Salvadoran designers are in the unenviable position of being artisanal by necessity.

“Wood and metal are the basics we can use,” says Claudia Washington. (The aluminum molds that plastic products require can cost upward of $100,000 each, a prohibitive price for boutique designers.) On the other hand, PVC cord, a material many of the Carrot Concept designers work with, can be found in everything from machinery to Salvadoran truck drivers’ seats. As a result, their work tends to have a discernible handcrafted element—a friendliness that’s often absent from comparable professional-grade objects in other countries. “[Our pieces] are industrial looking, but they have a heart,” says Claudia’s husband, Harry. “So while Scandinavians can be very polished or the Japanese very tailored, these pieces have a lot of character. They have a lot of punch and sauce to them.”

You can see the slideshow here.

The Renault 4 Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 16th, 2013

LatinAmerToday’s Carnival is dedicated to the Argentina Renault 4 Motor Club, which granted Pope Francis a lifetime membership, for his fondness for the “roadrunners”, as the fans call their little cars.

Over in Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro fell off his bike. The clueless anchorwoman went on reading the scripted propaganda as if nothing had happened. She probably didn’t even have a livefeed for the event, demonstrating it’s all about the narrative,

For more serious news,

BELIZE
See the Cathedral of Human Sacrifices in the Cave of the Crystal Maiden

BRAZIL
Reporter Glenn Greenwald to testify at Brazil spy probe
A parliamentary commission in Brazil investigating spying allegations says the journalist Glenn Greenwald will be invited to testify next week.

CHILE
David and Daniel (h/t American Digest)

Forty years after the coup and the IACHR

COLOMBIA
Colombia Implements Hotel Guest Immigration Tracking Program

Woman arrested with ‘cocaine bump’
A Canadian national is arrested in Bogota trying to board a flight to Toronto with a phony pregnant belly filled with cocaine, Colombian police say.

The US Embassy tweeted on its campaign to save endangered species,

CUBA
Makes you wonder what kinds of strings Vlad attached to his $800 million offer: Concrete Crypt for Communist Dreams: Cuba’s Unfinished Nuclear Power Plant

Lacking nuclear fuel and without the primary components installed, the plant sat in limbo until December 2000, when Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a visit to Cuba. Putin offered Fidel Castro a belated $800 million to finish the first reactor. Despite Cuba’s reliance on imported oil for power, Castro declined. Project status: officially abandoned.

Amnesty International calls on Castro Kingdom to free Ivan Fernandez Depestre

ECUADOR
Chocolates From Ecuador
Until recently, Ecuadorean cacao growers had been cultivating low-grade cacao beans and selling them to foreign chocolate makers to process. The past few years have seen the emergence of local producers. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the process.

EL SALVADOR
A U.S. Reward for Misrule in El Salvador The FMLN has made the country poorer and less free. Yet $227 million in American aid is coming.

GUATEMALA
Guatemalan bar attack leaves 11 people dead

HONDURAS
Honduras, A Bottomless Pit

MEXICO
Mexico captures third man linked to killing of U.S. border agent

MEXICAN SMUGGLER’S WILD RIDE: DRAGGED PASSENGER, RAMMED BORDER PATROL, CRASHED IN DITCH

NICARAGUA
Territorial disputes
A sea of troubles

NOTHING brings together domestic foes like an external enemy. So when President Juan Manuel Santos announced that Colombia would not heed a ruling last November by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague that granted 70,000 sq km (27,000 square miles) of the Caribbean Sea that Colombians have considered their own since 1928 to Nicaragua, even his harshest critics applauded.

PERU
Drug labs on Brazil-Peru border targeted in joint operation

PUERTO RICO
Analysis: Puerto Rico’s population drops as economy wobbles

The 4.9 million Puerto Ricans living in the continental United States as of 2011 outnumbered those on the island by more than 1 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

VENEZUELA
“New Conferry” Chronicles (Corrected)

Venezuela: From crazy to insane

The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina: Pope Francis, Renault 4 Club’s lifetime member

En español: El primer podcast de HACER

New book: Latin America in the Post-Chávez Era: The Security Threat to the United States

Colombia: Alvaro Uribe at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Argentina: SCOTUS to hear defaulted bonds case

Mexico: #EstamosHartosCNTE Fed up with the teachers’ union

Mexico: Bloomberg wants “sugary drinks” taxed

Venezuela: Can Chavismo last long?

Mexico: How the teachers’ union became so unpopular

Podcast:
Syria and Latin America reaction


El Salvador’s road to nowhere

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Millenium goals gone wrong,
U.S. Aid and El Salvador’s Corruption Private business and civil-society groups fear more money will finance a coup against democracy.

A Millennium Challenge official told me the corporation’s goal is to “reduce poverty in countries that are relatively well governed,” relative, that is, to their peers. Yet El Salvador today is poorer, more violent and more heavily indebted than when the MCC began disbursing aid under the compact in 2007. Under center-right Arena President Tony Saca (2004-09) and current left-wing FMLN President Mauricio Funes, the rule of law has been trampled and the climate for business has become openly hostile. Deficit spending and corruption have exploded.

It gets worse.

The Iranian networks Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

LatinAmerThis week’s big news item is the spotlight on a subject I’ve posted about for years: Iran’s Latin American networks.

Mary O’Grady has the background information:
Uncovering Iran’s Latin Networks
A prosecutor in Buenos Aires finds Tehran’s fingerprints region-wide.

In October 2006, Mr. Nisman indicted seven Iranians and one Lebanese-born member of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia for the AMIA murders. Interpol notices for their arrest were issued but none was captured. Then, late last year, the Argentine government of Cristina Kirchner announced that a “truth commission,” to be chosen by Argentina and Iran, would examine the viability of the prosecutor’s case.

To many Argentines, that seemed like letting the fox decide the fate of the chickens. But Mrs. Kirchner forged ahead, getting congress to agree. On May 20 Ahmadinejad approved Iran’s participation on the commission.

Mr. Nisman’s response was to release a mountain of evidence against Tehran into cyberspace for all the world to see.

Video:

My posts on the subject this week:
Roundup: More on Iran in Latin America

Argentina: Iran’s infiltration in Latin America

ARGENTINA
Color Dekadencia

Argentina’s Elected Autocracy
Faced with growing public opposition, the Kirchner government is stepping up its attacks on democracy.

An Argentine Dictator’s Legacy

CHILE
Maria Corina Machado went to Chile. Juan Cristobal Nagel is charmed.

COLOMBIA
Colombia says Maduro claims ‘crazy’
Colombia rejects as “crazy” allegations made earlier this week that it is trying to destabilise Venezuela, in the latest diplomatic row.

CUBA
Iran and Cuba: The Real “Mad Men”

All Eyes on Yoani’s Return

Cuban dissident says security forces are studying Vladimir Putin’s rule

An Honor Roll

I did not mention this — that he named the embassies in Havana that allow dissidents and democrats to come in and use the Internet. Would you like the complete list? The embassies of the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Holland, and the U.S. interests section (which is housed in the Swiss embassy). That’s it. “The rest of the diplomatic corps in Cuba does not give us any type of help,” said Roberto.

Che Guevara was no hero, he was a racist (h/t Babalu)

ECUADOR
Ecuador: Concern for Rights of WikiLeaks Founder

EL SALVADOR
A Salvadoran at Risk Tests Abortion Law

Salvadoran woman allowed C-section
A seriously ill Salvadoran woman says she will undergo a Caesarean section following the Supreme Court’s decision to deny her an abortion.

GUATEMALA
Ex-President of Guatemala Faces Judge in Manhattan

HONDURAS
Honduran gang truce begins

JAMAICA
Police: American killed in Jamaica during robbery

LATIN AMERICA
Meet Latin America’s Serious Side: The Pacific Alliance

MEXICO
Murder of Mexican reporter in Veracruz spotlights official hostility toward press

Immigration Reform: Compassion for Mexican Elites

PERU
Wedding bells for Van der Sloot in Peru prison

PUERTO RICO
Annals of the Security State: ‘Is Puerto Rico in America?’

VENEZUELA
The Dead Voted Massively Last October in Venezuela

Venezuelan Military “Technology”: It’s All Kid’s Stuff

The True Intentions of Iran in Latin America are Questioned

The week’s posts:
Mexico: 11 kidnapped in broad daylight

Good news Sunday: The Pacific Alliance

Venezuela: Bayly entrevista a Capriles, 2a. parte

El Salvador: Abortion denied

Venezuela: Capriles travels to Colombia

Mexico: Iron Man? No, Peatónito!

Venezuela: 2 Americans shot in strip club

Cuba: Would you spend a week’s salary for an hour on the internet?

Paraguay: Nueva Germania, and Nietzsche’s sister

Podcast:
US-Latin America: Free trade agreements