Friday, March 19, 2010

Around Latin America

I apologize for light blogging from me - professional and personal issues have been taking a lot of time. Fortunately, with regards to Latin America, several excellent posts around the webernets have covered a lot of great stuff for me.

-Plan Colombia breaks down the recent Congressional elections in Colombia, where parties allied to Alvaro Uribe won a massive number of seats, possibly indicating how the presidential election in May could go, while the Latin Americanist looks into the way the elections represent some of the more corrupt aspects of Colombia politics.

-For all the furor over Texan schoolbooks eliminating Thomas Jefferson, he's not the only casualty; Oscar Romero was also removed from the textbooks, and the Daily Show had the perfect takedown of Texas over the issue. Money line? "This is how Oscar Romero got disappeared by right wingers for the second time."

-I've talked about cotton subsidies and Brazil's efforts to take on the U.S.'s unfair practices before, and Randy has a great quick post on what Brazil's doing about it now. Suffice to say, the U.S. can't really just push Brazil around anymore like it once did.

-Two Weeks' Notice's Greg Weeks appears in a relatively good article (improved in no part by Weeks's informed participation) by Larry Rohter on how Chile's perception of the military has shifted in recent years.

-Speaking of Rohter, he spoke in New York last week, and he's still a grade-A idiot. He suggested (among other things) that Brazil is in its strong position now entirely because of Fernando Henrique Cardoso's administration, and that Lula has done nothing but sit idly by and let things work out (which is hardly connected to the reality of Brazil's current global status). And when somebody commented that Lula is leaving office as one of the most popular politicians in Brazil ever, while Cardoso's ratings were (and are) in the dumps, Rohter's response was that Brazilians could identify with Lula because he's illiterate, uncultured, and a drunk, while Cardoso is too cultured and learned for Brazilians to identify with him. Nevermind the complete and total disconnect from and bias towards reality in those comments, it's worth pointing out that Rohter straight-up implied through those comments that Brazilians themselves were uncultured, illiterate, alcoholic, lazy - all your good old-fashioned racist stereotypes. How this man has ever been employed by the New York Times, much less as a bureau chief for the country he has antagonized again and again, is beyond me.

-Finally, I for the life of me cannot figure out why on earth the U.S. (natch, U.N.) would find a total ban on the trade of polar bears' products objectionable, but apparently, it does.