Venezuela: International currency reserves shot up in the last few days of 2008 and finished at U$42.2Bn, a country record high. Here's Bloomie on the story. This should take pressure off the parallel currency rate, currently standing at a bid/ask of 5.5/5.7 to the dollar. I'll do an update post on the VEF currency in the next few days with the usual charts and everything (if it doesn't appear, somebody send a mail to remind me please?).
Peru: By their deeds shall ye know them. President Lugo of Paraguay foregoes his salary, saying it must be spent on the poor. President Morales of Bolivia caps his ministers' salaries as a gesture of austerity to his poverty-stricken nationals. Meanwhile in Peru President Twobreakfasts first watches as the members of Congress raise their salaries from S/15,600 to S/23,200 per month (approx U$5K to U$7.5k) and then says that his ministers don't get enough and should earn the same. Thus the "Emergency Decree" published yesterday that raises Ministerial salaries to the same S/23,200 level. How this deserves to be called an emergency is only logical in the corrupt shithole of Peruvian cronyism politics. This government is vomitworthy and Yehude Simon should be thoroughly ashamed of himself for being such an apologist.
More Ecuador: a nice op-ed in on the new mining law and some of the consequences published Ecuador's El Comercio daily and written by our very own Silvia Santacruz of Ecuador Mining News. It's only available in spanish at the moment, but hopefully Silvia will translate it and add it to her website soon.
Argentina: AirMiles a-plenty, as Klishtina is due to travel 75,000 km in the next two months on official (and semi-official) foreign visits. Not much happens in Argentina (politically speaking, at least) until March as everyone's at the beach til then. La Salada for the Ds and Es, Mardel for the Cs, Pinamar or Brazil for the Bs and Punta del Este in Uruguay for the glitterati. ¡Que pais generoso!
PS: I've kept my mouth shut about Israel and Gaza and it will stay that way. My only comment on events: I'm glad Dubya decided not to stage his grand finale round this neck of the woods.