Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekend Update

In the woods and out of touch, but never too far away for a 'lil weekend update. This weeks theme, must read blogs.

  • But before we get to that, in case anybody missed it, Santos will be Colombia's next president. According to the LA Times, "With 99% of votes counted, Santos had garnered 69% of the votes in the runoff election to his challenger's 27%." So maybe the polling companies aren't quite as bad as we had thought....

  • But wait, thanks to a diligent Huff Post investigation, it seems Colombia's new president isn't any stranger to controversy....I guess he should fit in fine in the Casa Narino. The whole article is a must read, but here is the intro to give you a taste: "The man most likely to become Colombia's next president this Sunday has played a previously undisclosed role as a corporate officer of the company hired to run the nation's elections over the last decade, while he was a political leader, business records obtained by the Huffington Post Investigative Fund show."

  • Now to our week's theme. We start with a blog I've been meaning to introduce for a long time, Gerardo Esquivel's El Placer de Disentir. He's a Mexican economist who knows his shit. Yeah, it's in Spanish, but if that's in the cards then definitely go check it out. His latest post is a rundown on the electoral scene in the DF, but make sure to check out some of his previous posts as well, especially the ones on inequality.

  • Keeping with Spanish language blogs, check out Politica y Economia, economics and politics from a heterodox perspective. The most recent post takes a detailed look at Ecuador.

  • Next, on to Triple Crisis, not exactly Latin America oriented, but well worth your time. Its run by a host of well known and distinguished academic types, including my personal favorite Kevin Gallagher, whose breakdowns of everything NAFTA are simply the best. This week, one of the contributors of Triple Crisis, Martin Kohr, has a nice article via the South Center on the Bolivia climate summit.

  • Finally, another link to FiveThirtyEight, they simply do numbers better than anyone and we should all be encouraging them to do more and more about Latin America. This week they look at the World Cup as South America continues to rip through the field. I can't say I agree with everything in their analysis, but this is pretty interesting, "The five teams this year are from the continent's five southernmost countries, which, incidentally, are among its richest and (excluding Paraguay) rank highest on the human development index."

  • Onto some actual news; Brazil has suspended their WTO retaliation against the US. FT got the story, "The deal will extend until 2012 a holding arrangement in which the US pays Brazilian farmers $147.3m a year and promises to cut subsidies in future. In return, Brazil will hold off imposing blocks on imports or ignoring patents and copyrights, which it is entitled to do after a World Trade Organisation panel declared the US cotton support programme illegal."

  • Staying with the WTO, and keeping with this weeks theme of plugging blogs, Timothy Wise at Triple Crisis has a real great breakdown of the hypocrisy of developed countries in trade negotiations...and surprise, the criticism isn't just directed at the US: "But what about middle-income hypocrisy? Isn’t Brazil one of the world’s largest agro-export powers with a well-cultivated reputation for defending the interests of other countries’ small-scale farmers? Isn’t Brazil also guilty of hypocrisy? Absolutely. In fact, as part of its side agreement on cotton with the United States, Brazil got a multi-million dollar fund for investment in its cotton sector. Talk about hypocrisy: Africa’s Cotton 4 will now have to compete in global markets not only with subsidized U.S. cotton but with Brazilian cotton subsidized by the United States!"

  • Via Just the Facts blog, a new paper released last week takes a look at the ongoing DAS scandal in Colombia. Check out the linky to read more, but the title says it all...."Far Worse than Watergate"...How Uribe has managed to stay in the presidency with such a high approval rating is beyond me...Tricky Dick must be mad jealous.

  • Ricky Singh in the Jamaica Observer, writes on the hypocrisy of the US' extradition policies. Singh compares the US' requests for Christopher "Dudus" Coke from Jamaica, to their systematic denial of Venezuela's requests for Luis Posada Carriles. "Posada and Bosch have long been identified as the chief plotters of the bombing of the Cubana aircraft on October 6, 1976 when all 73 people on board -- 57 Cubans; 11 Guyanese and 5 North Koreans -- died. Instead of facilitating their extradition as fugitive terrorists from justice, then President Bush, in response to urgings from the anti-Fidel Castro lobby in Miami and Washington as well as from his son Jebb Bush, then governor of Florida, granted a Presidential Pardon to Bosch." Hopey and Changey hasn't sung a different tune either, for the record. Singh makes the case for CARICOM taking a leading role in all this...very compelling.

  • Finally, for some entertainment, check out these two videos from the Larry King Show. Oliver Stone is joined by Jessie "The Body" Ventura and Florida Republican and all around douche-bag Connie Mack. The real purpose was to discuss Stone's new movie South of the Border, but it quickly becomes a hilarious shouting match between Ventura and Mack. I mean, it takes a hell of a panel to make Stone look like the level-headed guy in the room. So go check it out.

Be back in a few days, until then enjoy Maladjusted's better half.

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