Archive for the ‘Olympics’ Category

The Venezuelan demonstrations Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 24th, 2014

LatinAmerWithout a doubt, the week’s top story is the opposition’s continuing demonstrations in Venezuela, eclipsing even the capture in Mexico of Chapo Guzmán, the most-wanted criminal of the hemisphere (and who will face charges in at least three US federal courts), . You can click on #LaSalida for all my posts covering the story.

ARGENTINA
Clarin break-up plan passed under Argentine media law
Regulators in Argentina have approved a plan to break up the country’s biggest independent media group into six parts.

The tragedy of Argentina
A century of decline
One hundred years ago Argentina was the future. What went wrong?

. . . three deep-lying explanations help to illuminate the country’s diminishment. Firstly, Argentina may have been rich 100 years ago but it was not modern. That made adjustment hard when external shocks hit. The second theory stresses the role of trade policy. Third, when it needed to change, Argentina lacked the institutions to create successful policies.

“We have spent 50 years thinking about maintaining government spending, not about investing to grow,” says Fernando de la Rúa, a former president who resigned during the 2001 crisis.

This short-termism distinguishes Argentina from other Latin American countries that have suffered institutional breakdowns. Chile’s military dictatorship was a catastrophic fracture with democracy but it introduced long-lasting reforms. Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party governed steadily for most of the 20th century. “In Argentina institution-building has taken the form of very quick and clientilist redistribution,” says Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Elliott vs Argentina: 3 possible resolutions

BAHAMAS
China makes inroads in the Bahamas with Baha Mar mega-resort

BELIZE
Belize Sign On To Jaguar Corridor Initiative

BOLIVIA
Bolivia under water: Why no national disaster declared amid floods?
The Bolivian government says its massive aid operation, which includes food and tents, is well underway, but not everyone is satisfied with the response.

Turnabout in Bolivia as Economy Rises From Instability

BRAZIL
Optics? THE ROUSSEFF TWO STEP
Brazil Sidestepping to the Right
via Instapundit.

Drought Could Drain More Than Brazil’s Coffee Crop

CHILE
Pedophile Priest Defies Vatican Order

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s left; human rights hypocrites

COSTA RICA
5 things that happened this week in Costa Rica’s presidential runoff campaign

CUBA
Venezuela: Another Reason Why Cuba Remains a State-Sponsor of Terrorism

On eighth day of hunger strike, Cuban activist Antunez vomiting blood (UPDATED)

DOMINICA
A husband-and-wife pair of Olympic skiers representing Dominica are having a nightmare week in Sochi

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitians will not be stripped of Dominican Republic citizenship

Plastic Surgery in the Dominican Republic: Is the Cheap Cost of Medical Tourism Worth the Risk?

ECUADOR
Ecuador’s President Correa Faces Test in Regional Elections
Correa Seeks to Strengthen his Hold, Secure Continuity for His Government

GUATEMALA
At least 8 dead, 12 wounded in Guatemala violence

JAMAICA
Jamaican bobsled team faces uncertain future

MEXICO
Stalled Spending Chokes Mexico’s Growth
Mexico posted its worst economic performance in 2013 since the global recession of 2009, thanks in part to massive government spending delays that businesses struggled to overcome.

Obama finds that the world intrudes on his travels

Yet Another Devastating Blow to the Drug Gangs! Another Decisive Victory in the War on Drugs!

Humor:

NICARAGUA
A canal across Nicaragua: Is this for real? Here’s a hint: “The price tag alone is nearly four times Nicaragua’s economic output.”

PANAMA
Panama Canal expansion project resumes after work stoppage

PARAGUAY
Maria Doyle Kennedy speaks about filming ‘Eliza Lynch: Queen of Paraguay’

PERU
Video: Peru creates a special place for expectant mothers to wait — and wait

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Plans $2.86 Billion Offering for 16 Months of Cash, supposedly “to regain financial footing” until June 2015. And then what?

Puerto Rico Diocese Opposes Criminal Investigation Into Sex Abuse Cases

VENEZUELA
Cubanization at work: Venenozuela drives out its Jewish community

Venezuela says ‘fascists’ CNN can stay but calls on media to rectify coverage

Caracas: Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo López Faces 10 Years in Prison

Will Venezuela Follow Ukraine?

On the March in Caracas

Venezuela: chaos and thuggery take the place of the pretty revolution
Hugo Chávez’s dream world has become a nightmare of shot-down protesters, jailed oppositionists, economic meltdown and a brutal war waged against a defiant middle class

Video: Venezuelan Citizens Scream At National Guard “We Are The People, Do Not Hurt Us!”

The week’s posts, radio, and podcast:
Venezuela: #24F Barricading the country

CSpan Panel: #Venezuela and Democracy

Venezuela: En español, las grandes fortunas de los chavistas en el Imperio mismo

Mexico: El Chapo caught

Venezuela: More protests today #22F

Venezuela: Not “a slow news week”

En español: Libro Desarrollo económico y pobreza en América Latina: El rol de los Planes Sociales”

Venezuela: Shooting in the streets

Mexico: Obama arrives for summit

Venezuela: Today’s roundup

Venezuela: What’s happening today #18F #PrayForVenezuela

At Da Tech Guy: Venezuela: “We must become the media”

Radio: DaTechGuy on DaRadio Noon-2 Fausta & Da Magnificent Panel

This week’s podcast had to be cancelled due to software difficulties at Blog Talk Radio.

The Winter Olympics week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 10th, 2014

While the Sochi accommodations are nowhere near as nice as those in the more modest hotels in our hemisphere, Mexico sent the most interesting skier in the world, Bermudans wore shorts, and the guys from the Caymans wore shorts and flip-flops (which may explain why there only three). Dominica, Tortola of the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica (whose bobsled is now complete), Paraguay, Brazil, Peru and the US Virgin Islands also have athletes in Sochi.

ARGENTINA
Argentina bus crash near Mendoza kills at least 18

COUNTING THE COST
Argentina’s great decline
It has gone from being one of the world’s wealthiest nations to a serial defaulter, but can it get back on track?

Argentina: Repeat Economic Offender

ARGENTINA FREE FALL
Kirchner Government Doubles Down In Its War Against Math

Argentina is doubling down in its war against math. The WSJ reports that political activists loyal to President Kirchner are publicly targeting retailers by putting posters of the executives up all over Buenos Aires. The posters accuse the leaders of Walmart and other companies of fueling the country’s ruinous inflation by raising prices, even as the government continues to devalue the official currency and ignore traditional IMF economic policy.

Argentina to US senators: Show a little respect

BELIZE
A magical world at Francis Ford Coppola’s luxe resorts in Belize
Need isolation? Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge is in the middle of the untamed, natural beauty of a Belizean forest preserve. Need local culture? Turtle Inn is on the coast near the fishing village of Placencia

BOLIVIA
Bolivia floods kill 38, more heavy rains forecast

The European Union (EU) Thursday called on Bolivia to respect the ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in favor of British power generator Rurelec PLC, said an official. US$41 million.

BRAZIL
Brazil may face water shortages during World Cup, group says, but I’ll bet it won’t be like the Sochi water.

Removida delegada que apura ligação de Lula com mensalão

Responsável pelo inquérito que investiga a suposta participação do ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva no esquema do mensalão, a delegada Andrea Pinho foi removida do cargo nesta sexta-feira, 7. O inquérito que tem Lula como alvo será tocado por outro delegado, ainda não designado que pode pedir novas diligências ou o arquivamento do caso.

CHILE
Chile cool: art, music and graffiti in laid-back Valparaíso
The Chilean city of Valparaíso is alive with avant-garde culture and vibrant street art. Think mini Berlin by the seaside

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s media are wrong; election is up for grabs

Photo of Pres. Santos shaking hands with Timochenko, the FARC leader, back in the day, “If you want Timochenko as president and Iván Márquez in the Senate, you know who to vote for in the upcoming elections.”

COSTA RICA
‘Black Heart’ in Brazil heat drives coffee turnaround h/t DP

CUBA
Gorki Aguila, Cuban Rocker Faces Sham Trial

Cuba Regime Supporters Caught Off Guard with Reaction to Fanjul Story

Oh Happy Day! NBC refers to Communism as “pivotal experiment”

The Truth About Che Guevara

ECUADOR
Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon before:

Freedom of speech in Ecuador
Drawn and quartered
The government orders a newspaper to “correct” a critical cartoon

Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon after:

EL SALVADOR
JJ Rendón is suing Salvador’s president Mauricio Funes for $100 on defamation of character and slander from Funes calling him “a fugitive from justice, a rapist.” (link in Spanish) I hope Rendón wins, and gets to collect.

GUATEMALA
Claudia Paz y Paz, A Guatemalan crusader is reined in

Guatemalan court upholds top prosecutor’s ouster

HONDURAS
Democracy

MEXICO
In Apatzingán:Mexican Vigilantes Enter Key City in Michoacán State
Vigilantes Aim to Take Control of City from Organized Crime Group

THE AMERICAN VIGILANTE VERSUS THE MEXICAN CARTEL

Sochi 2014: ‘Mexican prince’ ready to hit slopes in Mariachi suit

Well, he already was successful lobbying against soft drinks: Look who’s giving advice to Mexico City? Señor Bloomberg. I suggest he brush up his Spanish,

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua: Ortega allowed to run for third successive term

PANAMA
Panama Canal work stops in $1.6bn row
The Spanish-led consortium working on a project to widen the Panama Canal confirms work has been suspended amid a row over cost overruns.

PARAGUAY
Julia Marino becomes Paraguay’s first Winter Olympian

PERU
400 Dead Dolphins Washed Up on Peru Beaches in January

PUERTO RICO
Networks Completely Ignore $70 Billion Puerto Rican Debt Crisis

Puerto Rico Downgrade Puts Bond Deal in Spotlight
Investors are looking beyond the junk-rated credit of Puerto Rico to see if it can sell debt needed for short-term finances, lay groundwork for economic recovery.

URUGUAY
Uruguay’s president nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for legalizing marijuana

VENEZUELA
D.C. mayoral candidate’s business to host Venezuelan government’s pro-Chavez event

Toyota Halts Venezuela Production as Car Sales Fall

Venezuelans fume as government signals end to ‘free’ petrol
In a country where petrol is cheaper than water, ministers say prices must increase for the first time since a rise 15 years ago sparked deadly riots

The fascists in charge of Venezuela want to kill the press, while banging students

The Paradox Of Chavista “Planning”: Even Simple Things Are Hard For Them

Antonio Pardo, A Venezuelan in Sochi (Important Update)

According to Alek Boyd and others, Mr. Pardo is not quite the feel-good story we made him out to be. Turns out he allegedly has links to Antonini Wilson and the suitcase scandal. State news media is falsely reporting he won a gold medal.

Venezuelan “skier” in #Sochi2014 has a Swiss bank, is partners with Carlos Kauffmann & Co. His brother’s a partner of L. Oberto in St Barts

The week’s posts and podcast:
“Smart diplomacy”: Ambassador to Argentina may not even speak Spanish

Mexico: The most interesting skier in the world

Brazil: Cuban doctor seeks asylum

Argentina: Burning down the house

Venezuela: Squatting at the Presidential Mansion

Puerto Rico: Junk bond status

Sochi: Airline loses Jamaicans’ bobsled

Mexico: Behind the Peña Nieto-Fidel photo-op

Left turns: El Salvador and Costa Rica

At Da Tech Guy: Ask Fausta: Is now the time to travel to Latin America? The answer is yes.

Podcast: Elections in El Salvador plus other US-Latin America issues


Mexico: The most interesting skier in the world

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

At last night’s #Sochi opening ceremony, the incessantly boring and downright stupid talk

had a brief respite when Katie Couric Meredith Vieira referred to Hubertus von Hohenlohe as “the Most Interesting Man in the World.”

Humbertus (may I call him Humby?) was a friend of Andy Warhol, is the son of the Prince and Princess of Wurttemberg, and has competed in every winter Olympics since 1984. Since his mom is named Ira (which means “wrath” in Spanish) I wouldn’t dare ask if she has a tattoo that says “Son”, but he seems to have been beefing up his obituary.

He even sings on the swimming pool,

A great part of Humby’s “interestingness” is probably due to his having more money than G-d, which sets him apart from the other skiers.

Humby’s going to ski in this,

Let’s hope he remembers the rest of his gear.

Sochi: Airline loses Jamaicans’ bobsled

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

The Jamaican bobsleigh team missed their first training session on the Sochi Olympic track after their luggage was lost en-route to Russia.

Bad enough, but wait until they get there:
Shaun White Pulls Out of Snowboarding Event
White says the course is too risky.

And don’t use the water,

More at #SochiProblems

Is 2014 Latin America’s “big year”?

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Alexa L. McMahon asks, 2014: Is This Latin America’s Big Year?

In fact, thanks to its strong economic growth and growing international influence, 2014 has the potential to be Latin America’s best year yet.

Latin America’s economic growth will only increase in its upward trajectory in 2014, driven by countries such as Brazil, Chile and particularly Mexico. According to the U.N., “Based on promising signs of private consumption and manufacturing, the region will see [expected] growth rates of 3.6 in 2014 and 4.1 percent in 2015, according to World Economic Situation and Prospects 2014, a report that launches in January.” The U.N. Economic Commission on Latin America forecasts that Latin-American Economic development will be the highest of all global regions for 2014. Brazil is slowing down compared to its explosive performance in recent years, but still very strong. Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega said in December that foreign direct investment continues to be robust and, according to the Wall Street Journal, “pointed to $8.3 billion in foreign direct investment posted in November as a strong signal investors continued to favor the country. In October, the figure was $5.4 billion.”

McMahon looks at Mexico, Chile and Brazil, and concludes,

All in all, things are looking up for Latin America next year, and as they’ve shown in multiple avenues, the sky’s the limit.

I wish I could share her optimism.

I am cautiously optimistic about Mexico: their recent (and very overdue) reforms may have staying power, which will propel a new era of growth and prosperity – if the opposition allows it.

I’m not optimistic on Chile: re-elected president Michelle Bachelet has promised to amend the constitution, and to expand the welfare state by raising tax rates and taxing shareholders on retained earnings along with the dividend taxes they already pay. She’s also asking for an “exhaustive review” of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; the Partnership was one of the few authentically good news of 2013 for the region,

The goal of the alliance is to create a free-trade corridor of all countries in the Americas with a Pacific coast. The hope is that dropping barriers on labor, finance and trade will help the Alliance become a hub for commerce with Asia.

If Bachelet’s changes include changing the way proceeds from copper are used (since 2000 this process has been carried out according to a rule that requires generating a structural surplus equal to 0% of the Gross Domestic Product), Chile may be in for disastrous economic policies. She had attempted to use those mining revenues during her first term, and promised “likely changes to include altering mining royalties and funding programs” during her re-election campaign.

McMahon is very bullish on Brazil hosting the World Cup this year and the Olympics in 2016, because of the “worldwide media attention,”

which will help Brazil, and Latin America more broadly, brand itself on the global stage as vibrant and culturally rich a place as any in Europe or the United States.

Some of us thought it already is “as vibrant and culturally rich a place as any,” but the question is, how will Brazil emerge financially after the billions of dollars spent on these two hugely expensive events?

Just a month ago, The Economist published this:
Brazil’s economy
The deterioration
Slow growth, stubborn inflation and mounting deficits

McMahon states, and I hope she’s right,

Brazil is projected to be the world’s fifth largest economy by the time they host the Olympics in just two short years

But the facts right now point to a flat economy that may lapse into recession.

Turning a profit on World Cups and Olympics is a risky business, and Brazil rolled the dice twice, once for the World Cup, and once for the Olympics; the structural problems of slow growth, inflation and deficits will remain, regardless of the outcome, because of its government’s current economic policies.

Two other large economies, Argentina, with a GDP of $716.4 billion, and Venezuela, with a GDP of $374.1 billion – compared with Chile’s GDP of $299.6 billion – are in dire trouble. In Argentina:

The policy mix of harsh capital controls, restrictions on imports, and a series of nationalizations has severely undercut economic freedom. Regulatory pressure on the private sector has continued to rise, with populist spending measures and price controls further distorting markets. The central bank’s independence was essentially destroyed in 2012 when its charter was changed to allow the government unlimited use of the bank’s reserves to pay its debts. Efforts to reform the rigid labor market have long been stalled.

As it collapses into communism, Venezuela‘s,

overall score has recorded one of the 10 largest declines in the 2013 Index

In Colombia ($472.0 billion GDP), lingering institutional shortcomings undermine prospects for broad-based long-term economic development, but at least is making progress. Likewise, Peru ($302.0 billion GDP), whose economy has grown in the last few years, still has weak property rights and weak institutions impeding progress.

Indeed, I hope McMahon is right in saying “the sky’s the limit;” but from where I see it, there’s a lot of pie-in-the-sky there.


Brazil’s protests: Anti-inflation, anti-corruption, pro-representation, pro-middle class

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

I was talking about the Brazil protests in Silvio Canto’s podcast. Here are a few articles and links on the subject:

NYT: Aims Widen as Brazilian Protesters Press On

Shaken by the biggest challenge to their authority in years, Brazil’s leaders made conciliatory gestures on Tuesday to try to defuse the protests engulfing the nation’s cities. But the demonstrators have remained defiant, pouring into the streets by the thousands and venting their anger over political corruption, the high cost of living, and huge public spending for the World Cup and the Olympics.

Protesters denounced their leaders as dedicating excessive resources to cultivating Brazil’s global image by building stadiums for international events, when basic services like education and health care remained woefully inadequate.

The Rio Times: Economic Worries Stoke Brazil Protests

The Movimento Passe Livre (Free Fare Movement) and its sympathizers continue to call for the increase to be reversed and for free public transport to be implemented, which has been achieved in some cities and discussions have progressed in others.

Now however, the protests have taken a much wider form, allowing Brazilians to vent their anger and frustration at the state of the country, from the country’s multi-billion-dollar hosting of the World Cup and poor public services, particularly health and education, to rampant political corruption and police brutality.

Yet despite the disparity in slogans, many have been united by a common concern for Brazil’s economy: even though incomes have gone up, Brazil’s new middle class has been demanding more from public services, and the rising cost of living, particularly food and services, has hit Brazilians hard.

American expatriate and Rio’s Gringo Café owner Sam Flowers says that food and labor costs have skyrocketed in just the last six months: “One product jumped forty percent in a week, many others are up 12 to 20 percent. Rent, food, transportation are all rising. Everyone is changing their spending habits and using credit cards more, some are even moving,” he tells The Rio Times.

A survey of families by O Globo newspaper also reported many seeing expenses go up forty percent in the last year, despite the government’s official annual inflation figure of 6.5 percent. Given Brazil’s economic track record in the 1980s and early 1990s, some have pointed to concerns over inflation as the main problem to be debated.

WSJ: Middle-Class Brazil Finds Its Voice in Protests
Protest leaders sought to turn Monday’s venting of national frustration into a long-term movement, and a wary political class searched for footing in a country that has voiced a powerful call for change.

There is no single voice for the protest movement. But there are plenty of glaring examples of what is bothering middle class sensibilities. Take political corruption. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court convicted around two-dozen politicians in a vast vote buying scheme. None are in jail—and several are back in congress making laws.

The common thread is a young middle class that is unemployed or watching their salaries shrink from taxes and inflation, affected directly by the high crime rate, and who see the corrupt government bureaucrats squander billions (while pocketing fortunes) and get away with it, scot-free, in a political system that has rules left over from the dictatorship and its aftermath 25 years ago and make the Congress distinctly unrepresentative. (h/t Mr. Bingley)

You may want to check out the Twitter hashtag #changebrazil.


Brazil: Huge demonstrations

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

A huge story mostly ignored in the USA, protests in all the major cities (link in Portugese), with 240,000 at 11 state capitals,

Drudge:

BBC:
Protests spread throughout Brazil
As many as 200,000 people march through Brazil’s biggest cities, as protests over public transport costs and the expense of the World Cup spread.

Julia Carneiro
BBC Brasil, Sao Paulo

The mass of people gathered at Sao Paulo’s Largo da Batata was impressive – but more impressive was that after the demonstration began, thousands more kept arriving, streaming peacefully towards the city’s main avenues in a constant flow.

Their bright banners bore diverse demands – but all reflected a fatigue with what people here get from the state. I repeatedly heard the word “tired”: protesters told me they were tired of corruption, of nepotism, of high taxes paid for poor public services.

WSJ:
Anger Spills Onto Brazil’s Streets
Tens of thousands of Brazilian marchers gathered in São Paulo and in other cities after a small protest against bus-fare increases last week blossomed into demonstrations against everything from overspending to build World Cup stadiums to corruption.

“The protests on the street go straight to the heart of the long-term problems of Brazil, a series of complaints that are hard to fix, and a sense of business as usual in government,” said Matias Spektor, an author and associate professor at Brazil’s Getulio Vargas Foundation university. “The political climate has changed.”

Al Jazeera:

NYTimes:
Thousands Gather for Protests in Brazil’s Largest Cities (slide show at the link)

One issue surging to the fore involves anger over stadium projects in various cities ahead of the 2014 World Cup, which Brazil is preparing to host. Some projects have been hindered by cost overruns and delays, the unfinished structures standing as testament to an injection of resources into sports arenas at a time when schools and public transit systems need upgrades.

The huge expenses involved with the upcoming World Cup and Olympics have been criticized by many Brazilians for years; it’s only now that it’s coming to a head.

Meanwhile, the Joao Havelange stadium in Rio, to be used at the 2016 Olympics, will not open before 2015 due to roof repairs.

More photos of the demonstrations at Noticias 24.

UPDATE,
Linked by Babalu Blog. Thank you!


Argentina’s Olympic gaffe

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Two weeks ago, Cristina Fernández saw fit to run this ad on TV,

The ad features

Fernando Zylberberg, a member of the Argentine men’s hockey team running through the streets of the Falklands capital Port Stanley with the slogan “to compete on English soil, we train on Argentine soil.” The advert included scenes of Mr. Zylberberg training on the steps of the Island’s Great War Memorial, which commemorates British sailors who gave their lives fighting the Germans in 1914.

The Olympic Committee has no sense of humor:

The IOC said the 2012 Games should not be a forum to raise political issues.
It added that it “regrets any attempts to use the spotlight of the games for that end.”

The IOC said it had contacted the Argentinian National Olympic Committee about the advert and received assurances that the games would not be used as a political platform.

‘Not political’
“The Olympic Games should not be a forum to raise political issues and the IOC regrets any attempts to use the spotlight of the games for that end,” the IOC added.

And then, Zylberberg’s own team dropped him,

as The Telegraph revealed today, the hockey player featured in the Falklands-set propaganda piece is now likely to miss the London Olympics, after being “virtually ruled out after being excluded from the 18-man Argentine hockey squad taking part in a 10-day tournament in Malaysia from May 24.” His shameless use as a political pawn by the Kirchner administration is undoubtedly a key factor in the decision by Argentina’s own Olympic Committee to drop him, after they distanced themselves from the controversial advertisement.

Zylberberg will probably be offerred a job in Cristina’s bureaucracy.

In the meantime, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning Argentina’s nationalisation of YPF and called for a partial suspension of tariffs that benefit exports from the South American country to the EU.

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 10th, 2011

LATIN AMERICA
Al-Qaeda Links to South American Drug Lords Threaten U.S.

Via Theo Spark,

ARGENTINA
Despite Argentina’s efforts, artifacts of Juan Peron, Evita in private hands

Argentine opposition calls for investigation into government ad spending

Politics in Argentina
Down among the underclass
A prelude to a dirty campaign

BOLIVIA
Protests in Bolivia
Fuel on the fire
Evo Morales is hoist with his own petard

BRAZIL
Go south, young scientist
An emerging power in research

The 2016 Olympics: Hoping for the best; preparing for the worst


Will Brazil’s New President Govern as Successfully as Her Predecessor?

CUBA
Hiding Fidel’s Fortune

More on that “excellent free healthcare”, We will not forget.

So Much For Cuban Economic Reform
The Communist Party affirms that ‘central planning and not the market will be supreme.’

HAITI
The year of surviving in squalor
Even allowing for some unique difficulties, the efforts of the government and outsiders to rebuild have been disappointing

HONDURAS
Guest Blog: The New Wikileak from Le Monde

MEXICO
A pax narcotica?

In Acapulco, Fifteen bodies found in Mexico tourist city: report

La Familia’s networks in the USA, “La Familia” y su red de operación en EU
Testigos protegidos revelaron por separado parte del esquema que La Familia Michoacana seguía para trasladar droga a EU, así como los principales encargados de la organización criminal en ese país tanto para la recepción, distribución, venta y el lavado de dinero

Food in Mexico
Centéotl’s pricier feast
The tortilla-makers cry wolf

PUERTO RICO
Celebration highlights Puerto Rican holiday traditions

VENEZUELA
Chavismo is unable to escape its Manichean make up, or how to look at the world through red/green glasses

24643

When Gumby mated with a Cyclops…

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Wenlock and Mandeville were born:

Mandeville?

Stoke Mandeville’s famous spinal injuries unit meanwhile was where the Paralympic movement began, and the naming of one mascot after the hospital is an explicit attempt to raise the profile of the Paralympic Games.

Mandeville’s designers unfortunately had the bad taste of making his crotch an incontinent blue. Ugh.

The reviews are in:

Two parts-Pokemon to one-part lava lamp with yellow ‘Taxi’ lights on their foreheads

Betsy:

the stupidest and downright ugliest Olympic mascots ever

Stephen Bayley:

“If the Games are going to be remembered by their art then we can declare them a calamitous failure already.”

Greg Pollowitz:

London, We’re Laughing at You, not with You

Tammy Bruce:

Lesson? Don’t Smoke Crack When Designing Olympic Mascots

Moe Lane:

It must be a fascinating planet that the designer of this must be from: I wish that I could visit it.

UPDATE
Welcome, Tammy Bruce readers! Please visit often.

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