Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mid-Week Update

Posting has been light on accord of certain holidays and certain weather patterns that make computer use uncomfortable. But it's time to catch up with a lil journey through the intertubes.

  • From the current edition of The Nation, a detailed look at corn and Mexico. Clearly corn has a special cultural and historical place in Mexico, yet from NAFTA to GM crops farmers are under increasing pressure. On a similar note, Jan McGirk reports for Huff Post on the upcoming harvest of Mexico's first GM crop. The ban on GM crops was recently overturned. Money quote, from Clinton's science and tech point-woman, "We preach to the world about science-based regulations but really our regulations on crop biotechnology are not yet science-based."

  • A pair of articles over the week or so look at the role foreign political consultants played in the recent Colombia election. First, Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic writes on Ravi Singh, who's role maladjusted had previously pointed out. Singh runs, and is widely credited with leading Obama's social media campaign. Ambinder writes that after Santos lost ground in the polls to Mockus, "Then Singhs's team, working with the Web 2.0 Victory Team, along with local agencies and talent including Sistole, SigmaMovil and Servinformacion, kicked into gear, live-streaming his campaign speeches (Colombia has a 45 percent net penetration level), collecting 4 million emails, producing a "SuperSantos" video game (fight drug dealers!), organizing debate-watching parties, and helping voters find their polling places." Impressive.

  • Next is the Miami New Times' report on J.J. Rendon, who is referred to as "Latin America's Karl Rove". Ouch! He's another character that maladjusted wrote a bunch about back during the campaign. About how this guy was basically Karl Rove, running a smear campaign.  Guy is a seriously shady character, linked to the right in Venezuela, Mexico and most recently before Colombia, Honduras. The article is a must read.

  • Via The Harpers blog (on the Blog Roll to your right), new information comes to light about Nixon and Kissinger's involvement in a string of assassinations in Chile. Scott Horton quotes Jeff Stein from the WaPo Spy Blog, "President Richard M. Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, joked that an “incompetent” CIA had struggled to successfully carry out an assassination in Chile, newly available Oval Office tapes reveal. At the time, in 1971, Nixon and Kissinger were working to undermine the socialist administration of Chilean President Salvador Allende, who would die during a U.S.-backed military coup two years later." Click here to see the transcript. Horton adds the necessary background, "The comments plainly revolve around the death of Chilean General René Schneider, who was the commander-in-chief of Chile’s armed forces around the time of the 1970 presidential election that brought Allende to power. Within the Chilean military, Schneider resolutely opposed any coup d’état and insisted that the democratic process be respected. The CIA and Kissinger apparently concluded that he had to be eliminated so that the Allende government could be removed."

  • Our fav secretary of state HRC went to Europe last week, using the equation to slip in some insults towards Venezuela. But don't worry, the next day she made a statement congratulating Venezuela on their independence day (July 5). Water under the bridge right? Wrong: "This new attack against our country from Hillary Clinton ... demonstrates a policy of intrigue, aggression and desperation," foreign minister Nicolas Maduro said. She did manage to slip in some backhanded shit in the congratulations though.

  • The one year anniversary of the Honduran coup was a little while ago, today, news from Chile that the US is still actively lobbying governments that have yet to recognize Pepe "reconciliation" Lobo. Chile is apparently quite divided over recognizing the Honduran government, there is currently a bill in the Senate which will be voted on next week that asks Pinera to recognize Lobo.

  • Also on Honduras, and for those in the greater DC area. Tomorrow there will be a showing of the documentary "Quien Dijo Miedo", supposedly a real solid movie on the coup. It's playing at the E Street Cinema for one night only, tomorrow at 6:30.

  • Throughout the blogosphere we Otto, who gives us the best take on the federal lawsuit against the Arizona immigration law. Check out the linky to watch the video.  Also props to Otto on a real nice smackdown of some douchey LA Times film critic who apparently doesn't know his ass from his elbow when it comes to Latin America. The WaPo, the NYT and the LATimes now all with epic fails on "South of the Border".

  • Also on Arizona, a nice short post from The Mex Files on the success of the Sonora boycott of Arizona, titled "Immigrants don’t kill jobs… stupid politicans do". This is great, "The Sonoran boycott alone has cost 30 Arizonians their jobs:  probably all “native born” citizens.  They can thank their idiot governor for that."

  • This has already gotten a lot of attention, but Peter Krupa over at Lat/Am Daily wrote over the weekend on the invasion of Costa Rica by the yankees. Okay, not exactly, but go check it out. Love this line, "Anyway, keep ironing around that wrinkle fellas. You’ll win the war on drugs any day now." Well said.

  • On the "war on drugs", the Just the Facts blog has a long post debunking 5 assumptions of the war that is worth a read.

  • This is also a bit old, and got passed around the web pipes like a, well, a pipe, but is worth pointing out in case anybody missed it. Glenn Greenwald had the story last week. A study done by the Harvard Kennedy School shows how the mainstream media covered waterboarding over the last 100 years, concluding "that the technique, almost invariably, was unequivocally referred to as "torture" -- until the U.S. Government began openly using it and insisting that it was not torture, at which time these newspapers obediently ceased describing it that way". Greenwald's description is spot on, as always, writing that the study "provides the latest evidence of how thoroughly devoted the American establishment media is to amplifying and serving (rather than checking) government officials."

  • Dean Baker, at his Beat the Press blog, points out some "affirmative action" with regards to Mexico in Simon Romero's latest New York Times piece (cribbed from Otto, and not like the guy has a stellar rep anyway). Baker calls out Romero for citing Mexico's 4.5% first quarter growth as impressive. Baker writes, "This is actually rather weak growth given that Mexico's economy contracted 6.5 percent last year. By comparison, Brazil and Peru, two of the other countries highlighted in the article anticipate growth of more than 7.0 percent in 2010. Neither experienced a downturn as sharp as Mexico's."

  • Last, but certainly not least, over at Tim's El Salvador blog, we get the latest in the ongoing case in Spain over the 1989 killing of  6 Jesuit priests in El Salvador. Tim writes, "The bombshell revelation was that the witness apparently testified that president Alfredo Cristiani had advance knowledge of the assassinations and approved them." And who is this Alfredo? Well none other than "the current head of ARENA following that party's loss of the presidency to the FMLN in 2009". Awesome!
Now hopefully we can get back to your regularly scheduled programming.


  1. I think I speak for all of us when I say that's one fucking hell of a round-up. well done.