Take physic, pomp

News roundup

Oooh, I love a parade. Click on the photo for
a big image of yesterday’s Evo-party
Bolivia has its new constitution. Evo signed on the dotted line yesterday in front of about half a million people and the whole thing is now official. He called it “the end of neoliberalism” (in Bolivia, I presume) and gave thanks to historical characters such as Tupac Katari. Rain and sleet in El Alto, La Paz didn’t spoil the parade. Evo rocks.


Ecuador: Thanks to the dozen or so people that have mailed me with the “Correa Expels US Diplomat” story. It is a case of ‘you can’t fire me cos I quit’ cos the dude in question. Armando Astorga, had already been retired from Ecuador on what the US Embassy called ‘a normal rotation of staff’. Smell the BS? Yeah, me too.

Anyway, Studmuffin sure likes to make a scene (he announced it as part of Radio MUFN), but he’s well within his rights here; this was a classic case of foreign diplo meddling in national affairs. In the end it’s no biggie, but as reader MG said in his mail last night, “I just like how the embassy/state dept hasn’t lost it’s talent for playing dumb post-Bush”. Quite right, MG.


Peru: Isn’t it strange how the mining companies that treat their workers as slaves are nearly always the ones that suffer accidents? Following on from the five dead in La Escondida, Peru last month, another five are trapped (and the worst is currently presumed) by a rockfall in one of the tunnels of the Casapalca mine, East of Lima. This is the same mine featured in this recent note that includes:

Casapalca is run by the Peruvian Gubbins family, and has a long history of treating its workforce like slaves. In June last year this report highlighted how the workforce was made to work seven days a week for a basic monthly salary of 675 Soles. However even that low number is whittled down through various deductions and becomes 343 Soles (about U$110) in take home pay. To add insult to injury, the company then charges each of its workers between 100 and 150 soles per month for living quarters (and by that I mean 100 soles for a 2m X 2m shoebox just big enough for a bed).
Nuff said.


In Argentina, things are beginning to heat up in the run to the congressional elections at the end of the year. Now that the summer break season is drawing to a close there, lines are beginning to be drawn and the atmosphere is already getting bitter. The main line of interest is the “Kirchner versus Duhalde” fight, with the ex-presidents battling for the hearts and minds of the Peronist party. There’s a lot to unfold from here so watch this space as 2009 progresses.

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