Reading the news, you would think Al was in the Southern Hemisphere:
Buenos Aires sees rare snowfall
Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, has seen snow for the first time in 89 years, as a cold snap continues to grip several South American nations.
Temperatures plunged to -22C (-8F) in parts of Argentina’s province of Rio Negro, while snow fell on Buenos Aires for several hours on Monday.
In Bolivia, heavy snowfall blocked the nation’s main motorway and forced the closure of several airports.
In Chile, temperatures dropped to -18C (0F) in parts of Araucania region in the south.
Last month The Economist was reporting about Peru’s poor infrastructure. Infrastructure problems are more evident now that the Peruvians are chilly, too,
Cold snap prompts Peru emergencyThe Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in several Andean regions hit by unusually cold weather.
Of course, it’s all due to climate change
Scientists say the unseasonable droughts, heavy rains and frosts are due to climate change.
I’ve known all along that the weather is constantly changing, and I’m not a even a scientist (but I’m married to one).
Now, whether climate change = global warming, that’s another crock altogether.
Not worried about the carbon footprint, Evo wants to drill in a Bolivian national park, the Madidi:
This photo is captioned,
Activists want sustainable development in the constitution.
Of course they do.
In financial news, Argentina’s inflation rate is about 7 percentage points higher than what is being officially reported, even when The Economist reports that
Helped by high prices for its farm exports, Argentina has recovered vigorously from its economic collapse of 2001-02. Unemployment has fallen from a peak of 21% to 10% (excluding those on workfare programmes); today, 27% of Argentines live in poverty, compared with more than half in 2002.
The BBC says that Cuba’s municipal elections will be held on 21 October, and that
This marks the start of an electoral process which could clarify early next year whether his brother Fidel Castro will resume power as head of state.
Let me explain a thing or two:
- Since Castro took power in 1959, Cuba has not held free elections
- They’re not about to start
Cuban tourism is flagging since Cuba is not as cheap as people are led to believe.
Of course a round-up of Latin American news must include Venezuela:
Jane’s Intelligence reports,
Oiling the axis – Iran and Venezuela develop closer ties
This Iran-Venezuela alliance within OPEC has caused friction with Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter and a nominal ally of the US, which favours more modest crude prices by seeking higher output. Nonetheless, the Venezuelan and Iranian goal of higher prices has come about owing to a number of factors, including a lack of refinery capacity, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, an increase in demand and climatic conditions, helping to drive up the price of crude oil from around USD28 per barrel in 2000 to an average of USD65 during 2006.
Caracas and Tehran have found common cause in favouring higher oil prices for political ends: as a lever to pull the balance of power away from oil-consuming countries, especially the US, which is still the world’s biggest consumer.
According to Alberto Garrido, a Venezuelan political analyst who has charted the historical rise of Ch�vez: “Chavez sees himself and Ahmadinejad as brothers defining a strategic anti-US alliance that is part of an ambitious and well-structured global project.”
Chavez’s Plans Worry Catholic Leaders, and they should be worried.
However, there might be good news for Mercosur:
Mercosur: A falling-out with Hugo Chávez could be good news for a paralysed trade group
Mr Chavez’s absence from Asuncion may, however, mark a turning point. He took umbrage at a resolution passed by Brazil’s Senate criticising his recent silencing of the main opposition television channel. Brazil’s Congress (like Paraguay’s) has yet to ratify Venezuela’s entry to Mercosur, and after insults from Mr Chávez is unlikely to do so soon. That leaves Venezuela in the oxymoronic situation of being a “full member in process of accession”. Mr Chávez said this week that he would withdraw Venezuela’s application unless it was approved in three months. He seems interested in Mercosur chiefly as a political platform. Free trade would expose the big inefficiencies engendered by his statist economic policy.
I continue to be optimistic about Lula:
Since Lula’s re-election last October Brazil’s foreign policy has seemed more pragmatic and less driven by leftist ideology. Lula has not concealed his irritation with Mr Chávez’s antics. There is no sign yet that Brazil’s president wants a clear breach with his oil-rich friend and rival. But if Mr Chávez’s brinkmanship backfires, that might just be the best thing that has happened to Mercosur for years.
A while ago when I read that the Immigration Bill exempted illegals from paying back taxes, I said I should have declared myself an illegal alien. Here’s yet another reason: Mexican Migrants Take Free Flight Home
Hernandez was one of 74 migrants who flew to the Mexican capital Monday under a U.S. summer program, now in its fourth year, that gives participants free transportation all the way to their hometowns instead of simply deporting them back across the border.
A little bit of r&r, and it starts all over again:
Hernandez said he volunteered to get a free trip to rest and visit his family in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero. In a couple of weeks, he said, he’ll try his luck again in the desert.
At the blogs
Gateway Pundit: FARC Leader Palmero Found Guilty in US Courts
Venezuela News and Views: RCTV comes back, sort of, while Globovision fights back to stay
Now, what does that mean exactly? Not much. Cable, even if Supercable were to be included, does not reach 25% of Venezuelan homes. Even adding Internet (by the way, those who can watch RCTV through Internet and YouTube certainly can afford cable), even adding those who steal the signal of some cable company, no more than 30% of Venezuelan homes have access to some form of cable TV, and mostly in upper income areas: poorer areas simply cannot afford a cable bill unless a few pool together and steal the signal with the complicity of the payer. One of the reasons by the way why you see many Direct TV satellite dishes in the barrios is that Direct TV signal cannot be stolen that easily. Besides, installing expensive and vulnerable ground line in popular district is a deterrent for other systems than Direct TV. The paradox is that the poor are forced to buy the more expensive satellite system if they want to escape Chavez blabber.
The result is that RCTV will go from a 100% national coverage to a 30% coverage AT BEST. With the consequent decrease in advertising revenue. The implications for RCTV is that it will be difficult to keep its large staff and producing capabilities and news coverage, at least as long as it does not manage to sell enough production overseas. Right now, outside the US and Colombia I do not see that many buyers for anything Venezuelan except soap operas.
Now go read that whole post, and also Housing in Venezuela: propaganda and reality.
The Devil’s Excrement: Not much new, but for some submarines and more conflicts
Publius Pundit: Ecuador: If you have to deny you’re an idiot…
Memo to Rafael Correa: If, as head of state, you have to deny being stupid to the author of a book whose title is ‘The Idiot Returns‘ where he’s made you Exhibit A, it’s a pretty forgone conclusion that you are even stupider than you were written about! If you had a lick of sense, and you don’t, you might like to keep it all as quiet as possible.
I don’t have a link to The Idiot Returns, but here’s the first one in the series,
Sorry, Colombia! is up and running. Please go visit. Also don’t miss my two latest podcasts, on human rights in Cuba, and on Colombia, Congress and the FTA with Robert Mayer of Publius Pundit and Sorry, Colombia!.
Meanwhile, way up North, Canada asserts its claim to territorial waters in the Arctic,and they’re staking out their borders.
A Jacksonian’s must-read.
Here’s a video of the UN Human Rights Council move last month to remove Cuba and Belarus from its blacklist (h/t UN Referendum):
In the five years between the 2002 kidnapping of 12 state legislators by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the rebels’ recent announcement that 11 of those hostages have been killed, much has changed for the better in Colombia. The lawmakers were taken at a time when the state was very weak. Their murders, on the other hand, appear to be a desperate act by a frustrated band of thugs who have failed to achieve their desired results with terror.
Colombia today is significantly more secure and economically healthier than it was in 2002. Yet as events in recent weeks reminded us, two dark clouds remain parked over the country.
The first is the ruthlessness of organized crime networks like the FARC, which have blossomed during the U.S. war against cocaine. Thanks to the policy of prohibition coupled with strong demand, the FARC remains a well-funded menace even though it has no popular support.
The second source of trouble — most recently evidenced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that her party will block the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement — is the unrelenting opposition of Congressional Democrats to anything that could be considered helpful to defeating terror and putting Colombia on surer economic footing.
The U.S. war on drugs, which is backed by both Republicans and Democrats and blames Colombia for the fact that Americans use cocaine, is immoral on its own. But as the guerrillas have gotten into the narcotics trafficking business, Democrats have added insult to injury by arrogantly micromanaging the war from Washington with advice from left-wing NGOs. Passed in 1997, the Leahy Law (named for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D., Vt.) mandates that any officer charged with “credible allegations” of human-rights violations be relieved of his command lest the country lose its U.S. aid to the military. It didn’t take the rebels long to see opportunity in the law. They promptly began ginning up accusations against the country’s finest generals. It didn’t matter that the evidence almost always turned out to be suborned perjury. Careers were destroyed and the armed forces leadership gutted.
President Álvaro Uribe, who took office in August 2002, recognized what was happening and set out to rebuild the military, strengthen the presence of the state and end any speculation that the government might seek a path of appeasement in the face of violence. He has made great progress. The guerrillas are now back on their heels and kidnapping and murder rates are down substantially. Bear Stearns analyst Tim Kearney, who just returned from a trip to Colombia reports that the economy is “firing on all cylinders” due to “a combination of a better security environment, as well as the government’s market-oriented reforms.” He adds that, “with investment driving a powerful rebound, we now think that real GDP growth will reach 6.4% in 2007.”
If Colombia’s hard left was upset before with Mr. Uribe, this has really stirred up the nest. Their only hope is help from Washington so they are returning to what worked before, this time recyling tired old charges that the president has links to paramilitary groups and insisting that the government has been protecting assassins who target union leaders.
Democrats seem only too happy to help. They can’t invoke the Leahy Law against civilians but blocking the FTA in the name of “human rights” is just as good. It satisfies the “sandalistas,” who still dream of a Cuban revolution for all of Latin America, and it makes the most important Democratic Party constituent, the AFL-CIO, happy by knocking off any threat of new international competition.
This may be good for shoring up the Democrat’s base but it is harmful to U.S. geopolitical interests in the Western Hemisphere and to an important U.S. ally and it will dash the hopes for a better life of millions of impoverished Colombians. Either the Democrats have very poor foreign policy judgment or they have sympathy for the devil.
Read every word, and watch the video included in that post.