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Regional currencies update

With Bloomie blasting silly headlines about Chile's Peso (CLP) being "the world's best currency this week" and Colombia's "the worst", I thought it was high time to revisit the evolution of local currencies versus the dollar and get a bit of perspective. This one year chart....

.....shows the various rises and falls (or in Argentina's case rises and rises) against the dollar for the major locally floated currencies (not much point in featuring the Vzla Bolivar Fuerte here, and Paraguay's Guaraní.....well, it's never going to attract the attention of George Soros, is it?).

The main takeaway? Some currencies are strengthing back more quickly than others. But in the end, when push comes to shove and despite all the worldwide handwringing about Helicopter Ben and his printing presses, the dollar is still the daddy. Every single major trade currency in LatAm is down against the dollar YoY, even the economic miracle packaged up for saps with a bow and labelled Peru. And with base lending rates dropping fast all over the region as countries try to stimulate growth, the attraction of parking cash at higher risk is lessening, too.

Anecdotally, if you ever need a lesson in what the term "reserve currency" really means come down here with a thousand British Pounds, or Euros, of Aussies or Loonies or even an ounce of gold in your pocket and try to exchange them for the local currency of your choice and at the same time get the same fair deal you'd get for the equivalent amount of USDs. They say travel broadens the mind..................

Spanish Lesson


1) Click here and go to the Mex Files

2) Watch the two minute 15 second YouTube that RG has embedded before your eyes.

3) Learn some important, nay VITAL, Spanish phrases and a little about the people who really need education in culture more than idiom.

Highly recommended. Go now.

Colombia stuff

(yes I know I've used this one before...still like it though)

Colombian coca cultivation dropped 27% in the period 2007-2008, according to a UN report being trumpeted everywhere (and normally pretty reliable). Also, cocaine prodution is reported down 28% in the same period. Meanwhile, Bolivia (up 6%) would be getting a tremedous amount of stick from knownothings if it weren't for the 4.5% rise in Peruvian coca production. The Colombia number is to be applauded for sure. Interestingly the combo of lower farm gate prices for the leaf (good old Adam Smith) and the increased use of hand eradication are the two reasons cited by the UN for the significant drop in Colombia. So after all this time of dropping tonne after tonne of glysophate on the Colombian jungle from the sky, the "let's rip up the plants by hand" thind that smarter experts wanted them to do for years has actually worked. Better late than never, I suppose.

There is talk from the same UN people that 2008 planting is up, due to the collapse of that pyramid scheme which has left many rural dwellers without means of support, but let's not subtract too much from Colombia's moment of glory. The numbers reported by the UN are wholly good.

Uribe might not get his chance at a third term after all, as Colombian lawmakers postponed the passing of the necessary bill. With 11 months and counting to election day it's now a 50/50 thing that Uribe gets on the ballot.

Colombia's economy has still got the shakes. The central bank dropped its benchmark lending rate to 4.5% this week to try and stimulate things a bit. The official GDP forecast still stands positive (at +0.5%) but people who live in the real world are in no doubt about the negative end result due for 2009. As there's not much inflation in the pipeline (econ 101) there's little danger of countrywide price rises, so even if (as it seems to me) the CenBank is pushing on a string here there won't be any harm done.


The South America Swine Flu Sweepstakes Update 19 June

Hot off the presses here are the latest regional numbers for swine flu, or potato flu or AH1N1 if you really insist.

Click to enlarge

Chile stretching that lead again and into the 4,000s now. Argentina may be second on the infecteds list but has the most amount of regional deaths, at six.

Peru is at 185 and when this all started the country's health minister assured his people that nobody would die of swine flu on his watch. Well I dunno about the condition of each patient, but statistics are starting to play against him methinks.

O pais mais grande do mundo has moved up from 5th to 4th all of a sudden, beating Euador into the three-figure column. Further down the field, Paraguay has just doubled its number of infected tonight.

UPDATE: The latest out of Argentina tonight is 1,010 official positive cases and another death. That makes seven total in Argentina. Health Minister Ocaña tonight talked of her "deep worry" about the unfolding situation. Moral: don't supersize me.

Bagua: A must read must see photo reportage

Go to this link to see a photo-reportage of the Bagua massacre put together by two Belgian photographers who eyewitnessed the mayhem. Survival International has arranged the photos in a timeline form with comments by the journalists to accompany each one. Excellent job of work and a must-read on the subject. Here's the link again, just in case.

Hat tip to TO for picking up on this so quickly.

The Friday OT: wow wow bike riding

Regular reader 'PM' mailed the link to this youtube a few days ago (thanks, dude) with a quick note saying the riding is "pretty amazing". Errr...that's an understatement cos in fact it's jawdropping.

So watch for yourself as a mightily impressive dude named Danny MacAskill zips around Edinburgh, Scotland. Cool soundtrack, too.

Trading Post (paint the weekend green edition)

Minera Andes ( up 19.2% at $0.93 and today's star performer. The market loves the idea of Rob McEwen as officially official top man at (see previous post).

Fronteer (FRG) up 5.1% at U$3.70 and following on nicely from yesterday's rebound. In the end the market will buy quality. FRG is quality.

Amerigo ( up 3.4% at $0.40, and as IKN Weekly subscribers know (cos I told 'em in a flash note earlier this week) I had a little nibble at this stock at 0.38. There's value here for the taking with copper spot holding where it's holding.

Rusoro (RML.v) up 6% at $0.445. RML went well under 40c a couple of times this week but has put in a bounce, glad to say. Still underwater on my slightly-less-than-50c position but bearable for the time being. Low volumes today not a great thing...needs more action.

Troy Resources ( UNCH at $1.16. If you can get some at 116 it'd be the bargain of the month...that probably explains why the ask is sitting a full 6% higher at $1.23. It's the low volume wot dun it this week...that's why this thing has to be held on a longer-term basis. Time will cure all.

Minera Andes ( Who da man? WHO DA MAN???


SPOKANE, WA, June 18 - Minera Andes Inc. announces that following the Corporation's annual general and special meeting today, Mr. Robert R. McEwen has been appointed interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation effective immediately, replacing Mr. Allen Ambrose. Mr. Ambrose was re-elected to the Board of Directors of the Corporation.

Minera Andes would like to thank Mr. Ambrose, a founder of the Corporation, for his dedication and service to the Corporation. Under Mr. Ambrose's stewardship, Minera Andes grew from a junior exploration company to a company with exploration success in Argentina and a significant interest in a producing mine.

Meanwhile, if you want to know what Ambrose and previously ejected from Minera Drummond have decided to do with their spare time, watch out for a post coming up soon on a real prize of a junior company, brought to you by a smart and generous IKN reader. All will be revealed.....

Peru's paranoid revisionism

Today's Spanish lesson: Rechazo = Rejection
(further translation, if needed, available on request)

Unsurprisingly, the world didn't suddenly go Pachakuti on us with the Twobreakfasts mea culpa on Wednesday evening. Just when you think the government of Peru might have learned something about its own people (e.g. can't treat them like slaves any more, can't rob them blind like they could 30 years ago, can't feed them BS propaganda in 21st century) we get the Peruvian Ambassador to the USA coming up with a revisionist history of the Amazonian conflict. And before we look at the crap presented as facts yesterday, it's worth noting that the Peru-US wig right now is none other that failed FinMin Luis Valdivieso, a man who has lived in every other part of the world except Peru for his whole adult life, except for the reent 10 month stint when he was called back to play at FinMin and was about as effective as a chocolate fireguard. Honestly, if you've walked the Inca Trail you'll know more about the issues in question than that guy, birth certificate 'made in Peru' or not.

So on to yesterday's presentation, which you can download and enjoy for yourself (gotta like reading fiction, though) right here. If you move to the paydirt page (slide 26 of 29), you'll read the following (in bold). A few Ottocomments come in between:
We acknowledge that the DL 1090 was not consulted with the principals of the native communities because it was believed that it was not against but in favor of them.
Oh those silly brown people! They just couldn't see that we're only trying to help them! Somehow they managed to misconstrue that by taking away their rights of consultation and approval on any project earmarked for their region they would be in a stronger position, not a weaker one! They didn't realize that by refusing to grant land ownership to the peoples, towns and communites that had applied for and done all the necessary paperwork years and years ago, and then claiming that land as "common ground" and selling it in underhand deals to oil companies, that this isn't like all the other times they'd been robbed of their natural resources in the last 500 years, this time really is different, folks................
It is now clear that the interlocutors for the dialogue were not representative and had a hidden political agenda not consistent with the concerns of the native communities.
WTF? There is no "hidden agenda". From the very moment the presidential decree was pushed through under emergency laws (that came to be simply to appease the US FTA) the indigenous communities affected by DL1090 protested. The protests started in July 2008 and only captured headlines when people got killed, but the protest was always representative of everyone in the region. This is total crap.
There was widespread and concerted misinformation and political interference both domestic (from the nationalist party) and external (particularly from President E. Morales and some ministers from Bolivia and Venezuela) who called for radical measures to destroy the Peruvian development model for the Amazon, to weaken the democracy, and ultimately to bring down the government
Hey guys, I got a great idea! When in trouble, blame Hugo and say it's all Evo's fault. What they saying here, that Evo has more influence over Peruvian affairs than its own President? That in itself is telling testimony of the changes going on in South America, but the fact is that neither Bolivia nor Venezuela interfered in the protests. No financial aid, no food handouts, no nothing. Of course both Venezuela and Bolivia made supportive noises about the Amazonia protest, but then again so did Belgium. And Norway. And Chile, for that matter. But let's not confuse things, eh? Just blame the axis of Evo for all your troubles and retreat into paranoia.
There was also a miscalculation in believing that there were only natives protesting and not criminal elements ready to create chaos and ignite an armed confrontation.
Incredible. "And we would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you pesky kids and that dog." Y'see, because WE decide that the protest is illegal and the la (which is now illegal in itself) was just, anyone opposing that must be A CRIMINAL! And we just didnt think the brown people would kick up a fuss.....goddam cottonpickin' miscalculations.

Charts of the day are........ First the weekly candle chart that goes back two years.

And then this 90 minute chart that shows this week's behaviour.

Conclusion: I try to avoid soothsaying too much into charts, but it does look like we're in a trading range. And if that's true you should be buying the miners here, cos they're making serious money at $900+ an ounce.


Bagua: Peru's Amazon laws officially scrapped


Here's Reuters with the details:

LIMA, June 18 (Reuters) - Peru's Congress overturned two controversial land laws on Thursday that ignited deadly clashes between police and indigenous protesters in the Amazon rainforest two weeks ago, killing at least 34 people.

The vote to throw out legislative decrees 1090 and 1064 could delay foreign investment in mining and energy projects in the rain forest, and may prompt Peru and the United States to reevaluate clauses of their free-trade pact. [ID:nN06294730]

President Alan Garcia issued a series of decrees last year under powers Congress gave him to implement the U.S. trade deal and create a framework to regulate investment in the Amazon.

But after deadly violence, he backtracked and asked Congress to overturn two of the most divisive laws, although others remain in effect.

"This is a historic day for all indigenous people in Peru," Daysi Zapata, director of the Indian rights group Aidesep, said alongside dozens of indigenous people who yada yada continues here

Plan Colombia and Beyond

A photo from Soacha, Colombia. The army claimed these bodies were FARC soldiers.
They were later shown to be "false positives".

The blog Plan 'Colombia and Beyond' does such a great, great job covering its subject that it's difficult to praise it highly enough. For example, check out today's post that reports on the recent UN investigation into Colombia and its "false positives" scandal, where the army rounded up innocents, shipped them to the jungle, murdered them, dressed them up as FARC soldiers and pretended they were downed in battle.....all for the sake of gaining extra days of leave.

Here's the link to this outstanding 'Plan Colombia' post. Use it today and often, cos it'll open your eyes as to what's going on in the country. Remember, this is the same Colombia that Canadian dumbasses at two-bit ratings agency DBRS think is worthy of the 'investment grade' rating. Who gives a crap about human rights anyway? Just give us your money....right?

Bagua: Is money talking too?

Maybe this is what tipped the balance in Twobreakfasts' head and got him to mea culpa last night.

Or am I being way cynical here?

Trading Post (absent friends edition)

Well I actually had a complaint mail this morning about the lack of Trading Posts the last 48 hours....jeesh guys, keeping me on my toes. I readily admit that nowadays I aim day-to-day stock market stuff at IKN Weekly subscribers (hint hint) more than the blog these days (fat lot of good it might be doing them, though). Anyway, on a day like today the best thing to do is avoid balanced views as much as possible, not look at the growing holes in your own portfolio and just laugh a lot at the scammy juniors getting whacked around. So three bad'uns and two good'uns coming up.

Nadagold (NG) down 5.3% at $4.65. Take one down and pass it around, there's 64 bottles of beer...ooon...the....waaaaaaall. Another $2 to drop before it begins to resemble a logical price. Rick! agrees, as he's been selling his stock hand over fist on the recent mad upwave.

Fronteer (FRG) ( up a penny at U$3.29 and a looniepenny at C$3.72. When Prez, CEO and wearer of slick suits'n'ties* Mark O'Dea (see below) buys 10,000 shares at C$3.60 on the recent drop....

Jun 17/09 Jun 17/09 O'Dea, Mark Gerard Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 10,000 $3.600

....I think we can class the move as a positive :-). We very like FRG at current levels.

Dynasty ( down 3.3% at $3.53. I got a message from a reader (thanks) saying that some BS shilling is going on around A sell call is being made by an investment house well-known for loving itself long before caring about its clients citing "upcoming political risk in Ecuador." That, people, is freakin' hilarious. How the devil people that can't even speak Spanish can predict some vague "upcoming risk" and use it as justification to sell one single company (well-known for being located in a particularly low political risk area of the country); it would be laughable if it weren't so brazenly false and manipulative. FWIW, IKN Weekly subbers got a rundown of the present situation in Ecuador from a company, political and macroeconomic point of view. Nothing of worth has changed since then. The time will come when facts will shine through the BS and the bugaboo talk about Ecuador will have to stop. By that time we holders of will already be much richer than we are today and laughing at the egg splattered all over the faces of knownothing dumbasses. DYODD.

ECU Silver ( down 3.2% at $0.60. Oh dear. How sad.

Exeter Resources (XRC.v) (XRA) down 1.2% at C$3.26. A quick example of how self-serving management treats itself. The options didn't work out? Out the money til expiry date? No worries, boyz! Just let 'em drop and we'll give you a whole new batch at a lower price!

Jun 17/09 Jun 16/09 Montpellier, Louis George Direct Ownership Options 50 - Grant of options 200,000 $2.850
Jun 17/09 Jun 16/09 Montpellier, Louis George Direct Ownership Options 52 - Expiration of options -200,000 $4.310

*He happens to be good at his job, but still.....
Come on take a little walk with me baby
and tell me who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
(Bo Diddley, 1956)

Fortuna does the Apple

Do we shamelessly pump junior silver mining companies that we like? Yes we do, because we don't base our arguments on wings'n'prayers. Nor do we base them on the fact we hold a massive underwater position and are trying to get a new bunch of saps to bail out our personal wallets (see previous post). We look to fundamental analysis round here. Chez Otto we approve of honest shareholder-friendly management that actually know how to run a working mine successfully (not just an IR dep't). Put briefly, we like Fortuna Silver (FVI.v).

So tomorrow the FVI.v crew hits New York City as part of its promo show-them-to-the-money-people roadshow. I know a couple of readers will be attending so I hope you don't just take FVI.v at their word but ask them a few tough questions, cos the more you find out about FVI.v the more you'll like it, I'm quite sure. And if anyone else is in the area and wants to find out what a small silver junior is like when it's just trying to prove to a cynical world how good it really is and not resorting to playing hide'n'seek behind a wall of BS hype, go along to the presentation yourself. Then buy some stock.

Disclosure: Long FVI.v (no sheeyit Sherlock, eh?)

ECU Silver

When will Wistar apologize?*

(click to enlarge)

Nah, not to me cos i don't give a monkeys about the foul-mouthed e-mails he sent. I mean when will he admit he's totally screwed up on his analysis and apologize to his GATAsheep and people led astray via incessant messageboard pumping?

Twobreakfasts comes clean

When Twobreakfasts was just Onebreakfast. The other
dude is Haya de la Torre (for those who know their history)

Gustavo Gorriti is a multiaward-winning journalist in Peru (look up his resumé if you're interested but suffice to say he's one of the most respected around). He came out with a phrase just before the run-off for 2006 presidential election between Twobreakfasts and Ollanta Humala (that Twobreakfasts won, of course). He wasn't proactively calling for people to vote for Alan (better) over Humala (worse) but pointing out Alan was "the least bad" of the two choices. Anyway, this is what he said.
"Alan García could not be a dictator even if he wanted; Ollanta Humala could not be a democrat even if he tried."
That phrase leaped from the recesses of memory last night when at 10pm Twobreakfasts addressed the nation from the presidential palace on TV. No need to do the whole script here, as the essence of the address was García admitting he'd made serious errors in the process that led up to the Bagua massacre and then the errors continued during and afterwards (his exact phrase was "a succession of errors and exaggerations"). He couldn't let the opportunity pass without laying some of the blame on "agitators and politicos" but hey...time to cut the guy some slack.

My view that the guy is an awful president at the head of an even worse administration hasn't changed. For sure his TV address last night was a political calculation, too. But I do salute him for having enough integrity to admit he screwed up live on TV. He did the right thing. It took weeks (nay months) and the blood of 23 police officers and a still-unknown numbers of protestor deaths, but he did do the right thing.

However the loudest cheer is left for the people that stood up to him. All the pressure levied on the guy in the last few days, both from inside and outside Peru, has brought this change from Twobreakfasts be in no doubt. When APRA cranked up the bullyboy tactics via their hideous and overtly racist TV propaganda, right-thinking people pushed right back at him. García would not have changed his tune last night if it weren't for the weight of public opinion. We will now get the annulment of the anti-Amazon, pro-oil company laws that he tried to push through as executive decrees. We will get the resignation of a woefully disappointing Prime Minister in Yehude Simon. And we might even get a Peruvian president that has learned a significant lesson and won't try to ride roughshod over his people again...though looking at track records that may be way too much to ask.

The thing that's on my mind now is "who'll be the next PM?". PPK is probably favourite right now, but upgrades from within the cabinet (Mercedes Araoz, José Chang) are possible too. Another one that came to mind is getting Lourdes Flores, leader of UN, to come in and put an official seal on the right-wing nature of Twobreakfasts version 20.09. We shall wait and we shall see.

Chart of the day is....

...crude oil futures, daily candle. This follows up from the same chart last week.

Recent rally still intact


Freedom Fries Flu, anyone?

Now I like a good paranoid conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, but this one......well, it's even believeable and that's what makes it scary. Here's the link to go to read the whole article, and it's a must-read as it's a mix of scientific gabble that sounds very impressive and prose designed to scare the crap out of you. Here below is a snippet to get you interested and make you click over there and note the bit about Chile at the end (they got 3125 cases and rising). Also, it ties in with the fact that nearly all Argentine cases (871 and rising) have been recorded in Buenos Aires...real McD country.

A necessary and deserved hat tip to reader 'john' who left the link in the comments section of the previous swine flu post.

"Scientists from Russia’s Ministry of Health are warning in a secret report to Prime Minister Putin that they have discovered a ‘critical link’ between the H1N1 influenza (Swine Flu) virus and genetically modified amylopectin potatoes that are consumed in massive quantities nearly exclusively by Westerners and sold in fast food restaurants as French Fries.


"Evidence confirming these dire findings by top Russian scientists is also supported by the World Health Organization who in their reporting on the current Influenza Pandemic, clearly shows that the H1N1 virus is nearly totally confined to those Western Nations allowing their citizens to consume these genetically modified potatoes, and which include: The United States with over 17,000 cases being reported with 45 deaths; Canada with 2,978 cases; the United Kingdom with 1,226 cases; and Australia with 1,823 cases.

"Important to also note about the World Health Organization’s statistics on the spread of the H1N1 Pandemic influenza virus is that the South American Nation of Chile is the only country in the World outside of The United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia to allow the planting of these genetically modified potatoes CONTINUES HERE

Kaption Kompetition

We're going topical and straying away from the region. This photo from today. What's the follicule-challenged dude thinking?

Answers (hopefully printable) by mail or comments below. First prize is the usual something nice whatever you want.

miguelito has just killed the competition by entering an unbeatable caption, so we may as well end it here and publish now (below). Well played miguelito, what you want as a prize?

Lessons in Quechua

We've seen Hilaria Supa in IKN previously, when this post tracked the racist attitude of blue-eyed whitey Lima establishment towards the congresswoman for the Cusco region.

Today the upholders of Peru's institutionalized racism are on her back again, as recently she apparently used the following words to describe APRA (the Twobreakfasts party) members in the Chamber of Congress (a great chance to add to your Quechua vocab coming up right now);

  • Aras (outsiders)
  • Suacuna (thieves)
  • Leqles (snotty)
  • Maqllas cuna (tight-fisted, bad, broken)
  • Maqlla Runa (bad people)
  • Maula (donkey, brute, stupid)
  • Suha (thief)
  • Suhacha (petty thief)
  • Supaypa Wawan (children of the devil)

Apparently the APRA congress members want Hilaria Supa investigated by the congressional ethics committee. I can only guess they feel the need to examine how she manages to tell the truth and want to emulate her for once in their pathetic, two-faced, self-serving lives.

Fox News: Winners!

The Fox News story out today entitled "Bolivia Becoming a Hotbed of Islamic Extremism, Report Concludes" has to be seen to be believed. It's so bad it's brilliant. I betcha author Nora Zimmett couldn't find Bolivia on a map, let alone name the capital city*, and it's dollars to rosquillas dulces that she's never visited the place.

I could go on and on and on about the Fox report but I'm not going to make this a long post so it's better that you go see the madness for yourself. Let's just cut straight to the chase. Nora and the whole Fox News team, you win this week's coveted award. Here ya go, dumbasses;

Borev plagiarizes IKN again...but it's ok, I'll soon be stealing his ideas and not admitting it too.

*in itself a trick question

Latin America Growth Quiz of the Day

Surrounded by a world of recession, crisis and bad news, Latin America is now forecast to suffer a regionwide GDP drop of -1.7% by the region's most reputable independent economist group CEPAL (the people of choice for the United Nations, no less).

However amidst all this doom and gloom there is one country with a Central Bank and Finance Ministry that confidently predicts a GDP growth of at least 4% in 2009 and according to figures collated so far is well on track to meet and beat that number.

Which country is it?

Answers by mail or in the comments section below. I'll be adding the right answer in an update to this post later today.

Answertime! The correct answer is Bolivia. Oh isn't it going to be fun come the end of the year when the wider world realizes that the axis of evo has outgrown all the imperialist lapdogs....I can imagine the total lack of coverage now. First correct answer was Utpal, normally a dumbass but today a smartass....well played, sir.

Dorato Resources: the real insider bails more

Jorge Bedoya (nice tie)

Yesterday a dude named Jorge Bedoya sold 261,100 shares of Dorato Resources (DRI.v) into the market (here's the filing).

Dorato Resources Inc. (DRI)

As of June 16th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Jun 16/09 Jun 15/09 Bedoya, Jorge Arturo Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -261,100 $0.600 USD

The thing is, Bedoya ain't no common or garden insider in this company. He's the man who knows the area Dorato is exploring more than anyone else in the DRI.v team, as his "Afrodita" company is the one that Dorato bought into/bought out (there's still some confusion whether Afrodita is officially owned by Dorato or if it's still in the optioning stage) to get its hands on those concessions way up in North Peru.

Afrodita has been working the area for well over a decade,and Bedoya has spent plenty of time up there. He knows the area and he knows the people. In fact, he knows them so well that he was witness at a government enquiry into problems there a few years ago. So it's more telling than most insider sales that a guy so intimate with Dorato's property affairs is now bailing in the company, taking the money and running.

Chart of the day is.....

...the world top five countries for "Internally Displaced People" (IDP) according to the United Nations UNHCR.

Colombia wins! Beats the world! Numero uno! Yes indeed, three million Colombians have been forced to abandon their homelands and move against their will to other parts of the country, more than any other place in the whole, wide world. What makes you think there's any political risk there nowadays, anyhow? Didn't they tell us that Plan Colombia is working and all that? I mean, it's only three million fucked up lives we're talking about here....not as if it's important or anything.

To give you an idea of how Colombia stacks up against the rest of the Americas, this neat map got stolen from the UNHCR website by me.

Oh...have I mentioned the 374,000 foreign Colombian refugees, forced to leave their country by the ongoing war and a hostile government? 36% of those (135,000) are in Ecuador, the vast majority (105,000) as illegals.


The South America Swine Flu Sweepstakes Update

Here's the chart, with a lot of updated numbers coming out today.

click to enlarge

Chile at 3,125 is still leading the field by a long way, but Argentina is still moving up strongly. Sadly there is bad news from Argentina where Health Minister Ocaña today reported the deaths of four people due to AH1N1...kinda puts a damper on these little ironic updates.

In other news, Peru has managed to break into three figures. Venezuela leaped a few places with its 52 club members. Bolivia still being left far behind...must try harder, Evoland.

Nadagold: Even rich people are beginning to notice the scam


I was sent the following chart from somebody up North (let's say) who is also in the position to have one of those fancy Bloomberg terminals in front of him all day (let's say). It seems like even those people with more money than se...NOO!!! I mean.... "with the funds available to invest in the finest quality financial datamining equipment" are beginnning to notice how Nadagold (NG) management are milking their own cash cow at the expense of others.

Anyway, great chart. Just notice how those little green arrows and little red arrows all stack up. About as subtle as a brick in the face.

The US Human Trafficking Report 2009: Whatever makes you think it's political?

The USA sometimes tries to make out the "equal partners" thing with the rest of the Americas and sometimes it doesn't. You get The Hawaiian making some lip service to the greater cause at the moment, but when push comes to shove and the bureaucrats are let loose, those old habits of arrogance, selective memory based on friendships and high-handedness towards "the brown people down there" shine on through.

Today the US State Department's ninth annual "Trafficking in Persons Report" was published, and here's how the region stacks up in the eyes of TheWorldPoliceman™

Level One (complies with all, we luvs ya): Colombia

Level Two (not up to scratch but we see you're making an effort, try a bit harder, boyz): Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay.

Level Three (hmmm..not so good, kiddies. We're watching you so don't so anything stupid): Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Rep Dom, Venezuela

Level Four (bad bad bad naughty naughty sanctions sanctions): Cuba

But the biggest guilty party on human trafficking is left off the list completely. The country where many labour and sex slaves are sent by their paymasters and blind eyes are turned. Go on....take a wild guess as to which one.

Mister McEwen joins Mr. Dow, Mr. Jones, Mr. Standard and Mr. Poors

Here's an interesting and totally, utterly un-egoistic development. Rob McEwen (yeah, him) has put his name to a new index of exploration-stage junior gold miners. Humbly called "The McEwen Junior Gold Index", the idea is to track a basket of explorers on a weighted basis. Ther minimum market cap for inclusion is an accessible $50m and it's done in loonies.

Amazingly enough two McEwen companies make the list, Rimfire and US Gold (that perhaps should be re-named Mexico Silver, but that's just me). Anyway, here's the link where you get the full list of companies included and the read-more-about-it page, too. So go check it out. All in all not a bad initiative, name or no name.

UPDATE: Yes, I confused Rimfire and Rubicon....thanks for the mails, folks. Just goes to show the normal Otto ignorance ex-LatAm (also goes to show I should DD a bit). BTW, McEwen also holds chunks of which is on the list.

Bagua: Wise words from the leaders of AIDESEP

Daysi Zapata, smart dudette

It's fun to note how Twobreakfasts tried to whip up a recist backlash against what he called a bunch of ignorant savages while the truth of the matter is that the indigenous leaders of Peru's Amazon peoples make far wiser announcements than the brutes in suits in Lima. Here's the translation of what Daysi Zapata, acting head of AIDESEP, said yesterday in a press conference. I totally agree.

"The indigenous movement does not understand the reasoning of the government, that since April 9th maintained that the the new laws (decrees 1064, 1090 et al..the so-called "laws of the jungle") could not be annulled, and today after 35 official deaths, it says that they can be annulled.

"This late reaction of the executive administration is due to pressure from all Peruvians and from the international community that, via extensive demonstrations of solidarity, protested and took up a position against the government for its actions on June 5th (the day of the Bagua massacre).

"We must clearly reiterate that before we listen to promises we must see realities. The people are tired of promises that are later not kept. And secondly, did it need so many deaths for the government to realize that the laws were badly made?"

Two Hot Stocks

Ventana Gold ( is the Duracell Bunny and has reacted positively to yesterday's press release on metallurgy, that although "challenging" gives reason to suppose decent recovery percentages. Here's the chart....

...and I get the feeling the stock would rise if the CEO announced he was off to do a bit of shopping at Wal-Mart. Anyway, TD Sec/Newcrest has just upgraded its target on again this morning (chasing or pushing, you be the judge).

The other recent hottie is Oro Gold (OGR.v) that has been making headlines with drill returns from its 'Trinidad' project in the not-very-explored Sinaloa region of Mexico. But today the company shocked nobody at all by announcing a 70c-level financing that will raise $4m or so of working cap.

If you feel ok with the risk on display here and feel like a punt, this placement is a logic time to get on board. Here's the PR pasted out, cos it's Canada only and non-newswire:

June 16, 2009
Oro Gold Announces $8 Million Private Placement
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 16, 2009) -


Oro Gold Resources Ltd. ("Oro Gold" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:OGR) announces that it has entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters (the "Underwriters") led by Wellington West Capital Markets Inc., to sell 5,715,000 units ("Units") at a price of $0.70 per unit for gross proceeds of $4,000,500 on an underwritten private placement basis (the "Offering"). Each unit will consist of one common share and one-half common share purchase warrant; each whole warrant will entitle the holder to purchase one additional common share at an exercise price of $1.00 per share for 18 months from the date of closing. The units issued will be subject to a four-month hold period from the closing date.

The Underwriters shall also have the option exercisable up to 48 hours prior to closing to increase the size of the Offering by up to an additional 5,715,000 Units (the "Underwriters' Option"), for aggregate gross proceeds under the Offering of $8,001,000 if the Underwriters' Option is exercised in full.

The Company intends to use the net proceeds of the private placement for additional exploration and development on the Company's 100% owned Trinidad gold property in Mexico and for working capital and general corporate purposes. The private placement is expected to close on or about July 7 2009 and is subject to applicable regulatory approvals.

About Oro Gold

DYODD, dude.

The Origins of Technical Analysis

Most people believe that "technical analysis" (the pseudoscience often known as 'charting') is a fairly new discipline that sprung up in the 20th century. In fact its roots can be traced back thousands of years, as the principles of TA were developed by the early civilizations of South America.

In the Bolivian and Peruvian Altiplano highlands, the rainy season is very important. The rains have to come on time (end of November) else the potatoes planted end September or early October don't germinate properly and the harvest (around March) won't be good. This is important today but hundreds of years ago it was vital, as a totally failed crop would mean regionwide hunger. So if the rains are late, people begin to get worried.

Those locals then consult the village shamans, typically known as 'Yatiri'. If the Yatiris decide that a ceremony is in order to bring on the rains they go out looking for a frog or two. Once they find their frog they will poke, prod and pour liberal quantities of water over the poor animal until it starts to croak loudly.

Why? Because over time people noted that frogs would all start croaking just before a heavy rainstorm. So naturally if you find a frog and make it croak it will induce rainfall, as the Andean cosmovision makes it clear that all things are interconnected and one action is directly and inextricably linked to another.

  • The rainstorm is the stock market.
  • The frog is a chart.
  • The yatiri is the technical analyst.

Chart of the day is.....

....Peru's monthly tax revenues, YoY since Jan 2005.

click to enlarge
(source SUNAT, the Peru tax office)

Wow, look at all that growth!


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BusinessWeek is a pretty famous publication and now they're drumming up new clients via scummy blogs like this one. Well that's a bit of a bad start, cos really it's a decent deal being offered here; you get four issues free plus the free gift...then if you want to carry on with the delivery they're offering deep discounts on either 12 month or 6 month subs. And out of all this, they even send me $1.50 for every subscriber I find for them so maybe next month my kids won't have to eat plain white rice every meal.

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Bagua: Peru's government eats crow..YAY

Yehude Simon at today's meeting

Peru's PM Yehude Simon met today with representatives of the Amazon indigenous peoples and, not to put too fine a point on it, told them what they wanted to hear:

  • Regarding the infamous Presidential decrees 1064 and 1090 (the so-called 'law of the jungle' that would have allowed the gov't to sell Amazonian land to private companies without consulting locals). Simon said the government would present to Congress a project to overturn and annul the laws.
  • The government would lift the State of Emergency decree in the Amazon region.
  • A working consultancy group including all people affected would be set up immediately.
  • Simon apologized to the indigenous "if they had felt threatened by any action taken by the government."
  • At the end of the four hour meeting, the indigenous representatives applauded Simon after his closing remarks.

Look, so far it's word and not deeds, and simply because the executive presents a plan to annul a law it doesn't mean that Congress will go through with the plan, but let's give Simon and the Peru gov't the benefit of the doubt for the moment and regard today as a big step towards a resolution and an enormous climbdown on the part of the Twobreakfasts government. As Churchill said, jaw jaw is better than war war.....a thousand times better, in fact. Here's how Peru state news agency Andina reported the meeting (first couple of paragraphs translated, find the rest here):

The executive subscribed this afternoon to a 12-point act of understanding with native communities of the central jungle, in which it committed to present before Congress before June 18th a proposal to overturn the legaslative decress 1090 and 1064.

After a four hour meeting between Simon and the "Apus" of 390 indigenous communities in the town of San Ramón, they also agreed that the other questioned decrees should be discussed in the National Coordination Group for the Development of Amazonian Peoples that will begin tomorrow.

To begin this Group, representatives will travel to Lima from the central jungle region to join a multisectoral working commission, guaranteeing the participation of AIDESEP and other native groups.

Continues here

Trading Post (better red than dead edition)

Ahhh, where to start? So much to choose from, so little time (20 mins b4 the bell).

ECU Silver ( down 8.6% at $0.64, and my mind floats back to the mail I got about the dog-with-fleas' "strength" when it stood at 89c...when was that?
Ten days ago is when. My how time flies!

Dynasty ( down 4.6% at $3.56 and I added some today. This little chunk is for a short-term trade and won't be mixed with the longer-term position. DYODD, dude.

Fronteer (FRG) ( down 10.1% at U$3.38 and being whacked by the selloff more than most. That's ok...a bit lower and I'll buy back the bit I sold. Quality junior.

Southern Copper (PCU) down 6.1% at U$22.78, following copper like a faithful mutt. FCX down 5.2% at U$55.33 and the same story.

Buenaventura (BVN) down 5.3% at U$25.73. The BVN mine at Orcopampa has been blocked by protestors this morning, but the drop is all about the broader market and not about the blockade. Orcopampa is a big silver mine but when it comes to revenues the only thing that really matters in BVNworld is Yanacocha up at the other end of Peru.

Peru GDP drops 2.01%...Holy Trickledown, Batman!

Hard landing, anyone? Peru closing that gap....
  • FinMin and Liar Carranza expected "flat growth"
  • Lima suits expected -0.5%
  • Otto expected something around -0.7% by comparing Peru with Chile

But the result is much, much worse. Peru's April GDP figure has just been announced, and it's -2.01% YoY. That's bad enough, but the shocker is manufacturing growth at -13.64%. Fishery at -24.19% is bad, too. Then there are others, like the supposed motor of construction that dropped 1.48% and commerce down 2.29%. And it could have been worse if Peru were honest about mining, too. Despite 10,000 layoffs this year and far lower prices for products, Peru insists its mining industry has grown 2.77% YoY.

So much for February being a simple "pothole in the road" as Liar Carranza insisted at the time. So much for Twobreakfasts and his "armour plated economy". Right now the gov't is trying to make a lot of the fact that April 2009 had two less working days than April 2008....funnily enough the same moaners and wailing weren't worried about the two days added on to March'09 figures, though.

The only difference between the economies Peru and Chile is that the Chilean gov't is honest with its people and has made more provisions for the tough times ahead. Apart from that, they're both well in recession.

Embry on Colossus

In this report, John Embry (some dude you might have heard of that works for Sprott) mentions Colossus Minerals ( as a good junior buy because of its "exciting orebody" (CSI is some gold exploration play down in Brazil that has a guy called Sprott as its biggest single shareholder...but don't worry about that).

Anyway, here's what Embry had to say about Colossus:
"Everyone is probably familiar with the remarkable success of Colossus Minerals, whose Serra Pelada project in Brazil is shaping up as a potential monster deposit"
OH WAIT!!! MY MISTAKE!! I'M GETTING ALL CONFUSED HERE! Embry didn't say that about Colossus at Serra Pelada...he said that about Southwestern Resources at Boka in 2004. How I managed to confuse the two is beyond me! Thinking about it, maybe it's because Embry never visited the Boka project before pumping it to the world back then, just like he's never visited Serra Pelada. If he had visited Boka (like PVE did) he might have given the same "avoid" call that PVE gave after being there and seeing things. I say all this because I've recently chatted with a rockhead that visited Serra Pelada, spent time there, looked at what was on offer and decided "ohhhh...nooo....let's not buy that one".

Tell me, I wrong? Have you visited Serra Pelada yet?

So to clear up all confusion, here's what Embry said about Southwestern in 2004 before it was proven as a total freakin' scam, its CEO disgraced and the stock dived from $12 to pennies.
Everyone is probably familiar with the remarkable success of Southwestern Resources, whose Boka project in Yunnan province is shaping up as a potential monster deposit.
And then here's what he said about Southwestern in 2005
"...the Chinese asset will be validated when the engineering report finally comes out. They are fantastic generators of mining exploration properties. Has a lot of cash. Buying back stock."
And then here's what he said about Southwestern in 2007 (just before the implosion)
"I've been buying more, conceivably the most misunderstood least 5 million ounces, generator of mining projects in Peru and China, I think stock at $7.65 is right on the floor..ugly correction for reasons I am quite not sure why.."
(plenty more of those quotes where they came from, dudes)

Carlos Rivera

Carlos Rivera

Who is Carlos Rivera and why should you care?
  • He's a Peruvian lawyer.
  • He works for established and highly respected human rights organizations such as legal defenders IDL (Instituto de Defensa Legal, or "the institute of legal defence") and APRODEH (Peru's leading non-governmental human rights organization).
  • He was one of the lawyers that defended victims of massacres ordered by Alberto Fujimori and presented evidence at his successful trial.
  • He has a 20 year resumé, an impeccable record of service and is highly respected by his peers.

But the real reason you should care is that yesterday, while entering Peru to assist at four proceedings due to take place this week related to alleged government human rights abuses that happened at the time of Alan García's first term of office in the 1980's, Carlos Rivera was arrested by Peruvian authorities at Lima airport and thrown in jail on trumped up charges of "false use of a public document".

The downwards spiral of fascism writ large for all to see. Expect you don't see it unless you read blogs, because i'll be damned if I can see a single English language news media running this story.
Meanwhile, Spanish speakers amongst you are strongly urged to hit this link and read the IDL press release published yesterday. It gives a lot more detail on the Rivera case and notes in a point-by-point way the authoritarianism of this move by the García government.

UPDATE: Thanks to the ever-vigil Lillie at Memory in Latin America, we hear that Rivera has now been let out of jail today and is calling the charges totally trumped-up and falsified. Thanks Lillie.

What do Great Basin Gold (GBG) and Nadagold (NG) have in common?

1. They're both gold mining companies.

2. They both own properties named "Rock Creek"

3. Neither of them will ever develop their Rock Creek property.

But that's where the similarities end, dudettes and dudes, because GBG is a serious mining company that is building two serious mines right now. It's run by competent people and importantly, as the news today shows (see below) it cares about the people around it.

Nadagold is a joke, doesn't give a damn about anyone but itself, it has been slapped with enviro fines over its Rock Creek operation and has screwed over the people of Nome, Alaska (where its version of Rock Creek lies) and still hasn't paid local suppliers what it owes after a full year. Meanwhile, NG's CEO Rick! Van Alphabet has paid himself a cool million loonies in the first half of 2009 when you tot up his salary and his never-ending inside share sales (I'm not kidding either...just his inside sales since April add up to U$543,450).

But back to GBG: Check out the following NR, cos this is the kind of attitude that more mining companies should take to social affairs. Nice job win brownie points.
WINNEMUCCA, NV, June 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Great Basin Gold Ltd (TSX: GBG; NYSE Amex: GBG; JSE: GBG) ("Great Basin Gold" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has created the Rock Creek Conservancy, LLC for the purpose of holding lands recently purchased by it, and the establishment of the Rock Creek Conservancy Fund. Great Basin Gold has purchased four sections in Lander County along Rock Creek and another section west of Rock Creek to prevent future real estate or mineral development on these lands.

In explaining why Great Basin Gold purchased the lands, Ferdi Dippenaar, President and CEO of Great Basin Gold stated, "Many Western Shoshone have used the Rock Creek area for over 700 years for traditional uses. Recognizing their cultural importance, Great Basin Gold purchased the lands to preserve them as part of the Company's philosophy recognizing our Corporate Social Responsibility ("CSR") to the communities in which we operate. We have spent approximately US$1.3 million at our Burnstone project in South Africa as part of our CSR and we are committed to making comparable social investments in and around our other projects, including at our Hollister project in the US. The purchase will safeguard the lands from development and allow Western Shoshone people to continue to have access to them for traditional uses. Great Basin Gold proposes to donate both the surface and the mineral estates on these lands for the benefit of the five Federally-recognized Nevada Western Shoshone Tribes ("Tribes"). The ultimate disposition of the lands will be determined during consultation between
yada yada continues here