Welcome to this week’s Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. As the title indicates, it’s been a year since Mel Zelaya was thrown out of office. He and his teddy bear are also gone from his tin foil-lined room at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.
Today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern:
The UN Office for Drugs and Crime’s report
Lula’s adventure in Tehran smacks of the overconfidence of a politician who basks in an approval rating of over 70% and who sees the Iraq war and the financial crisis as having irreparably damaged American power and credibility. But the United States is still Brazil’s second-largest trading partner. Although some American and Brazilian officials are keen to prevent ill-will over Iran from spoiling co-operation in other areas, it nevertheless may do so. The United States Congress may be even less willing to support the elimination of a tariff on Brazil’s sugar-based ethanol, for example.
Lula wants the UN reformed to reflect today’s world, with Brazil gaining a permanent seat on the Security Council. But by choosing to apply his views on how the world should be run to an issue of pressing concern to America and Europe, and in which Brazil has no obvious national interest, Lula may only have lessened the chances that he will get his way.
PUERTO RICO Students approve strike pact. Back in the olden days when I was a student at the UPR they were striking, too, but no one slept in cute little tents on campus. Either way, the strikes are a total waste of time.
The report launched by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) expresses concern about Venezuela due to the existence of cells of armed insurgent groups, such as the Bolivarian Liberation Front and civilian militias supported by the government.
Santos is credited with delivering some of the biggest blows against the FARC while serving as defense minister from 2006 to 2008. These include the 2008 rescue of 15 hostages including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. defense contractors. He also ordered the raid into Ecuador that killed the group’s second in command, Raul Reyes.
Relations between Bolivia and the United States are still on a roller-coaster, two years after Bolivia expelled the U.S. ambassador, with Bolivian President Evo Morales now threatening to kick out the main U.S. government aid agency.
Joran van der Sloot has confessed to Peruvian police to the murder of Stephany Flores:
Van der Sloot’s confession came on his third full day in Peruvian police custody, on the eve of a planned trip to the hotel in which he was to participate in a reconstruction of the events leading to Flores’ slaying
According to Peruvian police, Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, 22, confessed Monday to the murder of Stephany Flores.
Authorities say that he admitted to murdering the Peruvian woman because she saw “something” about Natalee Holloway on his laptop computer.
Van der Sloot reportedly told police “I did not want to do it… The girl saw private things. She had no right. I approached her and she was scared.”
He continued, “We discussed it and she tried to escape, and I took her neck and hit her.”
My impression has been that apart from the cops, the outside world doesn’t really understand that the vast gulf that separates the low-life world from polite society isn’t one of inferiority but of difference. It’s a mistake to look down on criminals. There’s the idea that criminals are somehow disadvantaged and underprivileged. But in their own domain, they are wonderfully optimized to survive and every bit as adapted to their sordid fields as a brain surgeon. You look down on them and underestimate them at your peril.
Remember Joran van der Sloot? The suspect on the Natalee Holloway disappearance? The cops want him, again, for a murder committed exactly five years after Natalee’s disappearance. Joran changed venues, though:
Police in Chile are checking hotels for a young Dutchman long suspected in the 2005 disappearance of U.S. teen Natalee Holloway and now believed to be involved in the killing of a woman in Peru.
After Peruvian officials announced Wednesday that Joran van der Sloot is the prime suspect in the death of 21-year-old Stephany Flores in a Lima hotel, Chilean police confirmed he had entered their country two days earlier.
Chilean Police Inspector Douglas Rodriguez in Arica told The Associated Press there was no record of van der Sloot leaving Chile and authorities were searching the country’s dry, sparsely populated northern provinces for him.
Exactly five years after:
In Lima, police Gen. Cesar Guardia said at a news conference that the slain woman was found Wednesday in a room at a hotel where van der Sloot had been staying and that she had been seen with the suspect early Sunday, when she was killed.
The killing occurred exactly five years after the May 30, 2005, disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway during a high school trip in Aruba, a Dutch Caribbean island where van der Sloot’s late father was a prominent judge.