Monthly Archives: November 2010

More questions!

What do we want to know about Argentina? Question A1? A1!

A. (U) MENTAL STATE AND HEALTH:
1) (S/NF) HOW IS CRISTINA FERNANDEZ DE KIRCHNER MANAGING HER NERVES AND ANXIETY? HOW DOES STRESS AFFECT HER BEHAVIOR TOWARD ADVISORS AND/OR HER DECISIONMAKING? WHAT STEPS DOES CRISTINA FERNANDEZ DE KIRCHNER OR HER ADVISERS/HANDLERS, TAKE IN HELPING HER DEAL WITH STRESS? IS SHE TAKING ANY MEDICATIONS? UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES IS SHE BEST ABLE TO HANDLE STRESSES? HOW DO CRISTINA FERNANDEZ DE KIRCHNER,S EMOTIONS AFFECT HER DECISIONMAKING AND HOW DOES SHE CALM DOWN WHEN DISTRESSED?

Wait, wait, this brings something to mind. Scratching…oh yeah! Truly more amusing than the political scoopy scoop.

(In)finito?

Otto links to Tico with the story of how Infinito Gold is being blocked from mining in Costa Rica. This gets a mention here because Infinito is the new name of Vannessa Ventures, which was briefly in charge of the Las Cristinas gold deposit in Venezuela. If they can’t mine Costa Rica, their main asset is their arbitration claim against Venezuela, listed on the company Web site as an “advanced project.” Advanced in age, certainly — the 2001 expropriation remains in arbitration, nine years later.

A trip to the other third world

Living in Latin America, you get used to a sort of background assumption that affairs in the U.S. and Canada, while maybe going through a rough patch here and there, are fundamentally better than they are in the South. People look with envy on the idea of discount stores, endless freeways, clear title to your home — they might not know all the details, but there’s a general idea that if you work hard, you can get ahead.

I’m visiting the States and keep getting reminded of how false these ideas are. This story deserves to be read widely, especially by the U.S. residents (and members of the House of Representatives) who presume to tell Latin Americans about how their countries would be able to develop if only they respected private property, punished wrongdoers and gave people a secure way to save money.
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Codelco to develop a new mine

Since copper was more or less nationalized in Chile under Pres. Salvador Allende, Codelco has developed few? or is it no? new deposits of copper. Almost all the new mines have been built by multinationals. Codelco said today it approved spending $2.1 billion to build the new Ministro Hales mine, projected to produce 163,000 tons a year by the end of 2013. Interesting to see the company breaking out of its disinvestment cycle now — there were some worries that having big-business guys running both the country and the company would cause Codelco to get gutted.

Hello, wacky visitors!

I know I do good research, but you’d think the Naval Ocean Systems Center of the U.S. Navy would be able to find out about drill rig contracts off the coast of Venezuela without searching it out on a blog. If you are trying to figure out what the hell I was talking about, THE TEMPORAL DISPLACEMENT DRILL IS A JOKE. Not a supersecret Venezuela arms project. Mkay?

For that matter, I wonder at times why the U.S. Army Information Systems Command sees a need to visit here at least once a day, though from this I guess maybe they are just scouring the web constantly to look for threats. Psst — got a threat for you: you guys drive cars to much. OK! All yours, no extra fee.

Oh hey cool, someone at Venezuela’s central bank used Google Translate to read my prior post in Spanish. That is just too meta!

Chile GDP, run through the Vennietrans

Chilean economy grows 7% in third quarter, biggest expansion in 6 years: According to data from the bank, internal demand keeps growing, but at a slower rate than in earlier quarters

La Tercera, one of the more respectable dailies in Santiago, is reporting on the new GDP numbers. It’s a great opportunity to try my shiny new Vennitrans, which converts news articles from anywhere in the world into typical Venezuelan hit pieces. Having already tired of the persistent happy-face version of affairs presented in the Chilean press, I am excited to finally get a Vennietrans. Let’s see what it can do to that headline:

Chilean quarterly growth falls to 2% as internal demand falters: Fishing keeps falling as drought forces more spending on natural gas, water

Not bad!!!

Here’s an English version of the original story:

The Central Bank said today that the Chilean economy registered 7% growth in the third quarter, the highest since the 7.2% registered in the third quarter of 2004 and similar to the 7% of the second quarter of 2005.

All in all, the figure was in line with market expectations.

The previous quarter, the Central Bank estimated that the economy grew at 6.6% (compared to 6.5% initially reported) while in the third quarter of 2009 growth was a retreat of 1.4%.

According to the emissions institute figures, internal demand continued growing, but at a slower rate than in prior quarters. In the July-September period, internal demand grew at 18.2%, compared to 19.9% the prior quarter.

Consumption contined to support growth with a growth of 10.3% in the third quarter, underlining an advance of 11% in private consumption and 2.2% in government spending.

Fixed capital formation grew 18.5%, moderating its advance compared to prior quarters.

Get all that? Now the Venezuela version:

The Chilean economy grew a seasonally adjusted 2% in the third quarter compared to the second quarter on rising electricity and water costs. Growth was down substantially from the prior quarter as mining, the motor of the economy, barely expanded.

Internal demand growth slowed to 18.2%, compared to 19.9% the prior quarter.

Consumption contined to support growth with a growth of 10.3% in the third quarter, thanks to an advance of 11% in private consumption. Government spending grew only 2.2%, as earthquake reconstruction funds remain tied up in red tape.

Mining GDP rose 2.3%, up from 1.7% growth the prior quarter, thanks entirely to a new production line at a mid-sized copper mine, the bank said. Larger mines suffered from declining ore quality, while gold, silver, iodine and nitrate all pulled the figure down, the bank said.

The fastest growth came from electricity, water and gas, which rose 20%, down from 25% in the second quarter. Drought forced electricity companies to boost consumption of imported natural gas and inflated water bills.

The country’s declining ocean fisheries and blighted salmon farms contributed to a 25% decline in fishing GDP, the sixth consecutive quarter of decline. Agricultural growth fell to 0.6%, as falling avocado output almost nullified gains in beets, livestock and forestry.

Long story short: The Chilean press is no more useful than the Venezuelan press when it comes to analyzing what’s really happening in the country.