Lets jump right in:
- Presidential elections in Colombia are headed for a run-off, no surprise there. The margin of victory for Santos in the first round is a shocker though; with 96% of the votes counted, Santos has 46% to Mockus' 21%. Santos is even carrying Bogota. Of course, anything can still happen in the second round. You want coverage on Colombia though, there are better places, check out Colombia Reports or La Silla Vacia. For a nice comment on what the markets are thinking, check out Marcelo Ballve.
- Also on Colombia, Reports Without Borders released a detailed 9 page report on the DAS. Shit ain't pretty, but it is well worth a read. Most amazing part to me are that targeted journalists are provided with DAS security guards to "keep them safe", but they're really just keeping tabs on them and giving info to the DAS. Lovely organization really.
- Otto flags the perfect Memorial weekend video. Nestor Kirchner tells Oliver Stone that George Bush told him that "the best way to revitalize the economy is war. And that the United States has grown stronger with war." Again, check out the whole video. The excerpt is from Oliver Stone's new documentary "South of the Border". Check out the website to read all about it.
- Robert Baird stumbles on some recently declassified documents showing direct US support in the run up to the 1971 coup in Bolivia that brought Hugo Banzer to power: "Minutes from a July 8, 1971 meeting of the 40 Committee (an executive- branch group chaired by Henry Kissinger and tasked with oversight of covert operations) included discussion of a CIA proposal to give $410,000 to a group of opposition politicians and military leaders, money that they knew would be used to overthrow Torres." Read the whole thing, which includes a priceless conversation between Kissinger and Nixon.
- Money question from above story...will it take 40 years to find out about US support for the recent coup in Honduras? (h/t HV)
- Speaking of which, another week, more repression in Honduras. The Quixote Center translates a recent alert from Honduran human rights organization COFADEH. The alert reads, in part: "armed men dressed in white shirts, with black pants and caps violently entered STIBYS, and immediately fired on Douglas Gomez who is now in surgery at the Social Security Hospital in San Pedro Sula." STIBYS is one the main unions opposed to the coup. Read the whole alert, this shit isn't stopping.
- And speaking of recently declassified documents. You may remember the news about the arrest of Gilberto Jordan in the US earlier this month. He was a former Guatemala special forces member who took part in the 1982 Dos Erres massacre. The Guatemala government took resonsibility in 2000, but the irreplaceable National Security Archives has released documents which clearly show the US was aware of the Guatemalan army's role in the massacre right from the get-go.
- Continuing with this weeks theme of declassified documents, but on a much lighter note, the New York Times reports on a world-renowned British ballerina who was involved in a coup plot against the Panamanian government in the 1950s. British officials, while working to contain the incident, described it as a "slapdash comedy.''
- Structural Maladjustment alert, via The Monkey Cage: New report finds correlation between IMF agreements and Civil War. From abstract: "Analyzing all data available for the period between 1970 and 1999, we identify an association between the adoption of IMF programs and the onset of civil war. This finding suggests that IMF programs to promote economic openness unintentionally may be creating an environment conducive to domestic conflict."
- DSK of the IMF is in Latin America, and there have been plenty of articles on his praise of Peru, but a buddy points out that its not just Peru, but Bolivia that is getting praised by the IMF. Best part, Bolivian finance minister Arce, after being told how well the country is being run, says that IMF policies severely fucked things up in the 90s, and it was only when Evo changed things that they got better.
- Chavez continues to "fail demonstrably" in the war on drugs....by detaining a top drug trafficker wanted by the US.
Is there more going on? Probably, but it's a holiday. Happy memorial weekend. Hope it's as beautiful wherever you are as it is where I am. And remember, there's nothing like war to revitalize an economy...so expect some more wars.