Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weekend Update

Not a lot from maladjusted this weekend, but lets take a look around and see what people who were more productive have been writing:
  • Curious about inflation in Venezuela? I was, and so this post from Otto at IKN was much appreciated. Everyone knows inflation is high in Venezuela, but Otto breaks it down, and unlike the mainstream media he even notes that the minimum wage has tracked inflation pretty well over the last few years. Check it out.

  • Peter Krupta over at Lat/Am Daily posts about Mockus' presidential run in Colombia, picking up where I left off last week.

  • From Plan Colombia and Beyond we hear about the magic laptop.....wait, the other magic laptop, not from the FARC but from the paramilitaries. Files from a memory card from AUC leader "Jorge 40" provide some corroboration to the accusations against Colombia VP Francisco Santos of paramilitary ties. Read the excerpt from the files, or check out the whole thing, but take it all with a grain of salt (like any info from a terrorist's laptop).

  • Some big (and disappointing) steps are taken in the normalization of relations with Honduras. Pepe "reconciliation" Lobo was in Nicaragua on Friday getting the head of state treatment from Ortega. Lobo also got invited by Spain to attend the 6th European Union - Latin American and Caribbean Summit in May. This all follows Western Hemisphere point man Valenzuela's remarks that Honduras was ready to return to the OAS. All in all it looks like a successful whitewash at this point. Expect more remarks from Clinton like, "I cannot think of another example of a country in Latin America that, having suffered a rupture of its democratic institutional order, overcame such a crisis through negotiation and dialogue." Meanwhile activists and journalists continue to be killed at an alarming rate.

  • Also on Honduras, The Financial Times gives Andres Thomas Conteris some love. The guy was in the embassy with Zelaya from day one and his coverage of Honduras has been some of the most informative. A unique insiders view, we get tidbits like, "When we jogged on the patio, sometimes we saw little red laser dots trained on our bodies." Yay democracy!

  • Pablo Navarrete, editor of the Red Pepper Venezuela blog and director of the film "Inside the Revolution: A Journey into the Heart of Venezuela", has an op-ed in the Guardian on the media's representation of Venezuela. The article is worth a read, and the movie is worth a watch.

  • An interesting IMF Working Paper looks at the efficiency of foreign banks in Central America. Key take away: "foreign banks are on average not more efficient than their local or regional competitors."

  • In case you missed this last week, coverage continues on the US/Brazil military agreement, described by one senior official as "more “aspirational” than specific." The deal is set to be signed tomorrow in DC. In case you thought the US was trying to secure the Brazilian order for fighter jets with this move, think again; France's Rafale seems to have sealed the deal by offering full technological transfer. Defense Secretary Gates, after signing the agreement, sets off for a tour of the region to the US' BFFs Colombia and Peru where he will pay lip service to the war on drugs and combating terrorism, most likely at the same time criticizing Venezuela for leading some sort of "arms race".

  • From Bolivia, that crazy socialist Evo continues to lead the economy into the ground.....and announces THE HIGHEST GROWTH IN THE REGION IN 2009, an impressive 3.36%. No surprise to those who have been paying attention though.

  • Also from Bolivia, Jim Schultz at the Democracy Center looks back at the Bolivia Water Revolt ten years later.

  • Speaking of water wars; there have been large protests, led by CONAIE, in Ecuador over proposals for a new water law. The protests succeeded in delaying the passage of the law and secured promises from legislators that their concerns will be taken into account.

  • Finally, NACLA looks at a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court that pits Coca-Cola against two Guatemala union leaders. The prosecution is calling out a Coca-Cola subsidiary for encouraging violence against union leaders and generally just screwing the unions...I know, total shocker.


  • Via Bolivia Rising; Bolivia's ambassador to the UN, Pablo Solon, denounced the decision by the US to cut climate aid to countries who didn't back the Copenhagen accord. Bolivia and Ecuador both lost a couple million in funding.

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