Monday, March 10, 2008

Latin America Round Up

  • Whilst the present diplomatic crisis is over over the Colombian incursion into Ecuadorian territory Correa, President of Ecuador thinks it will be difficult to restore trust between the two nations. It's certainly had an adverse effect on the Colombian economy (1, 2)
  • Meanwhile Chavez pushes ahead with talks with Farc to obtain the release of Ingrid Bettancourt although the recent crisis makes this more difficult to achieve. The Colombian government have responded by denouncing Chavez for having links to Farc.
  • Meanwhile Red Mantis has noted that Raúl Reyes, one of the Farc leaders killed in the last few days had held talks with US a few years back.
  • As a demonstration of what the culture of para-politics means for Colombia there was this astonishing piece in the Independent last week from a photo journalist who inadvertently fell in love with a right wing assassin. There is no happy ending.
  • Lastly on Colombia there's interesting a potentially positive news for Coca farmers in Colombia.
  • Speaking of Coca - Bolivia is attending a UN meeting on drugs with the intention of asking them to take the leaf off of the their proscribed list. Good luck.
  • However, on a less positive note the Bolivian high court has suspended the planned referendum on constitutional reform which aims to give more power to the indigenous majority, although this seems to be a set back - not an end of the matter.
  • There has also been allegations that "aid" sent by the Bush government has in fact been used to bolster the right wing opposition movement.
  • Meanwhile Bolivia's neighbors have been crying out for more energy. Bolivia seems to be in a strong position - but this may not last forever if the government does not play its cards right.
  • Activists angry at the construction of a hydroelectric dam in Brazil have occupied the railway.
  • Talking of Brazil the BBC has an interesting little piece on the armed gangs who protect the community against both the criminal fraternities and the state.
  • In Chile El Nina, which has caused so much flooding in Bolivia, is causing droughts just the other side of the mountain peaks.
  • I'll end on possibly the best Latin American news though. In Paraguay the leftist Presidential candidate Lugo is leading in the polls against the right-wing candidate 35% to 29%. Imagine Chavez with a female deputy rather than the machismo and as an ex-priest rather than ex-soldier. Nice.

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