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Honduras: Must-read blog on the coup

Go here to read 'Honduras Coup 2009', a blog that is translating boatloads of information about what's going on in Honduras into English. The translations look very good to my eye.

A vital resource for anyone who wants to keep up with what's being thought and said in Honduras (by Hondurans, not unhinged gringos living in The Mex Files for a report on just how bad the anglo-saxon tinfoilhat brigade really is over there) but doesn't have the luxury of being proficient in Spanish.

Anyway, this post isn't about snark, it's about pointing you in the direction of a great EngLang resource on Honduras. Here's the link again, just to make sure.

Peru: Saliva for snot

As usual any official announcement doesn't happen until the actual swearing-in ceremony due to happen at 5pm Lima time today, but El Comercio is reporting that Javier Velasquez, corrupt career politico and APRA congress stalwart, has been chosen by Twobreakfasts as the new PM. Velasquez is one of those politicos that has always had the whiff of major corruption around him but has only been fingered for a couple of minor infringements, such as when his congressional secretary was found to have been getting favours from the congress head in return for unknown kickbacks. Then there was that time Velasquez was on state business in Brazil and was photographed with a sultry maiden in a nightclub while spending money claimed as legitimate expenses later....y'know, typical smalltime stuff.

Other changes include the big bye-bye for the awful Mercedes Cabanillas as Interior Minister, to be replaced by ex-police chief Octavio Salazar, Rafael Rey in as Defence Minister (goodbye even worse Antaro Flores), Mercedes Araoz moved sideways to become Minister of Production, with the new Commerce Minister Martin Perez from the right wing UN party.

The bottom line to the reshuffle can be summed up with a South American ditty; "Cambiar baba x moco" (like changing saliva for snot).


The Friday OT: Hey Boy Hey Girl, The Chemical Brothers

The instructions are simple: Play very very loud

Just the most enormous track of music.

Honduras: Dictatorship police state update

Remember the above photo(s) from Wednesday? Yep, that's the dead body of Isis Obed Murillo Mencia (19 years old) as photographed by AP on the right....and then how the same photo was doctored and published in the Honduras pro-usurper media blood, no death, no nothing.

So now check out the translation below of this news story that has his father arrested without charge by plain clothes officers. Welcome to Argentina 1970's.

Mr. José Davis Murillo Sanchez, father of Isis Obed Murillo Mencia, the 19 year old youth assassinted by security forces, yesterday presented his testimony in the DGIC and also in COFADEH (fiscal and human rights offices).

At 11:30am he left COFADEH and according to witnesses was detained by three plain clothes police officers who took him away in a white pick-up truck. He presented himself at COFADEH and DGIC as he supposedly had charges outstanding against himself from two years previously for being an activist in the Olancho Environmentalist Movement (MAO).

According to Rene Gradias, head of MAO, Mr. David Murillo was previously tried and declared innocent of all charges. Gradias said he had been detained for not having a "letter of liberty". This is clear evidence of police persecution of leaders of popular movements. Yesterday afternoon, several lawyers from different human rights institutions demanded his liberation.

Today's lesson from insider trading...

....comes from the scam at Appleton Exploration (AEX.v) that we highlighted the other week in this post. Let's write it lesson in nice, big letters so it can't be missed.


Here are the recent insider deals at AEX.v, which show Karl "leopards and spots" Kottmeier selling out every single share he owned at the same time as a certain Paul Cowley of AEX.v bought chunks of the same.

Appleton Exploration Inc. (AEX)

As of July 9th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Jun 26/09 Jun 16/09 Cowley, Paul Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 10,000 $0.520
Jun 26/09 Jun 16/09 Cowley, Paul Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 10,000 $0.570
Jun 26/09 Jun 16/09 Cowley, Paul Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 20,000 $0.610
Jun 16/09 Jun 15/09 Kottmeier, Karl Eric Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -30,000 $0.300
Jun 16/09 Jun 15/09 Kottmeier, Karl Eric Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -22,000 $0.330
Jun 16/09 Jun 15/09 Kottmeier, Karl Eric Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -3,000 $0.335
Jun 16/09 Jun 15/09 Kottmeier, Karl Eric Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -15,000 $0.350
Jun 16/09 Jun 15/09 Kottmeier, Karl Eric Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -25,000 $0.350
Jun 16/09 Jun 15/09 Kottmeier, Karl Eric Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $0.370
Jun 16/09 Jun 15/09 Kottmeier, Karl Eric Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $0.400

Note that both transactions went thru at the peak moment on the chart above. Now let's check the biographies of both our players here:
Paul Cowley is a professional geoscientist with 30 years experience as an exploration, project, and consulting geologist, including 18 years with BHP in Canada, Chile, and Bolivia. He led a team of geologists at BHP that was responsible for the discovery of 4 gold deposits in the Canadian Arctic that now have resources totalling over 5 million ounces of gold. He was also a key member of yada yada continues here

Mr. Karl Kottmeier is President, Chief Executive Officer, Director of Rockgate Capital Corp. Mr. Kottmeier is a former investment advisor and member of the venture corporate finance team at several brokerage firms. Mr. Kottmeier has over 15 years of practical experience in listing and financing junior companies on the TSXV. Mr. Kottmeier left the brokerage industry to yada yada continues here.
Of course, Kottmeier's biog forgets to mention how he got away with "loaning himself" a ton of money while in charge of of a Student's society back in his university days and only missed criminal charges because his pally pals closed ranks, but that's beside the point here. The point is that a self-serving scumbag stock manipulator is a better indication of a stock than an honest but financially naïve geologist.

*with the exception of economic geologists, before certain people jump down my throat

Swine Flu: Argentines pay for being fat bastards

Argentine trivia: Name this famous actor

Background: Your typical Porteño (resident of Buenos Aires city) eats about 46 squillion times more meat than the rest of the continent. Smoking is very common in the city. As for alcohol, we're in France-like consumption of wines, with spirits and beer just as popular. Then add the pizza culture, their love of 'dulces' and what you have is one very unhealthy diet which is reflected in the number of gutlords you see marchin' in the streets.

Cut to the topic: There have been 82 deaths from Swine Flu (or AH1N1 if you insist) in Argentina so far, way above the rest of the region. The vast majority of those deaths are in the Buenos Aires region. Now check out this Bloomie report (yep, seems to be Bloomie day today...dunno why).

July 10 (Bloomberg) -- An unexpected characteristic has emerged among many swine flu victims who become severely ill: They are fat.

Doctors tracking the pandemic say they see a pattern in hospital reports from Glasgow to Melbourne and from Santiago to New York. People infected with the bug who have a body mass index greater than 40, deemed morbidly obese, suffer respiratory complications that are harder to treat and can be fatal.

With the new virus on a collision course with the obesity epidemic, the World Health Organization says it’s gathering statistics to confirm and yada yada continues here

Death by parrillada, anyone?

Pushing-on-a-string update (a semi-random rant...nothing new there)

Both Peru and Chile took pretty sharp monetary action last night, as both countries dropped their benchmark interest rates to try and stimulate the local economies. Chile trimmed 0.25% to get down to 0.5% (QE anyone?) and Peru took a full percentage point away to drop from 3% to 2% (both links to relevant Bloomie articles).

Both moves are theoretically correct, of course. With basically zero inflation in the pipeline and recent inflation figures flat-to-negative, there's no worries about cheap money suddenly stoking prices. In fact getting cheap money circulating is exactly what they want and so Chile/Peru are trying to show a leg to business and get them to spend, thus rasing money velocity.

So for those of you who think the dollar is about to die some kind of death as a reserve currency, yet again I invite you down to this nmeck of the woods (we have a spare room) and offer the chance to experience some RealEconomik. All the Fed has done by getting down to its 0% benchmark level is to have beaten all other world currencies in getting there. Chile at 0.5% is, for intents and purposes, the same. And it's not one a developed nation, as much as the mad Oppenheimer might want you to believe. Peru is cutting like crazy to get things moving, but so far to no avail (when less than half a nation's economy runs through the formal banking system, it's makes that string even moe difficult to push upon using 'correct' economic theory). And the guy on the street, getting no interest rate love for his local currency, watching them devalue against the dollar and having to pay off his car loan or mortgage in dollars? Have a guess what currency he'll want to carry in his wallet?

Hot news! Simon Romero loses all influence on LatAm opinion

Look mom, I'm on TV

It's the future of free speech, dudettes and dudes. Bloomie reports the New York Times wants to charge $5 a month for online access to their musings. Now I might miss reading Krugman's blog every day (though knowing him he'll start publishing somewhere free-access immediately) and Dealbook is worth my wonky while, but the good news is that the dross of the Americas page will become instantly unread forever. Hooray and hip and hip, no more having to refute the idiocies of Simon Romero every week and explaining why he's 1) talking crap or 2) lifting other people's stories wholesale. Amen. Here's a better link to a blog with screenshot of the survey the NYT is conducting.

Whatever gets you thinking that capitalism makes people like Rupert Murdoch greedy, anyway?

Charts of the day are....

...LME warehouse copper, 60 days chart and five year chart.

The 30 day chart shows that this week there has been a bit of let-up in the relentless destocking of the LME warehouses this week, perhaps signalling slackening demand.

But by looking at the 5 year chart I'd say that it's way too early to draw any conclusions about that tiny little blip on the far right of the line.



OT: Proud father break

She's teaching me how to use the painting program now...five years old and its "Not like that, Dada! Look, if you press this...then this...then can do that."

She did the above in about 6 minutes. I'm impressed.

Quiztime at IKN: The Answer

Yesterday we asked;

Which South American country is forecast
to have the highest GDP growth for 2009?

The correct answer is Bolivia. The Bolivian Central Bank currently expects the country to grow "in excess of 4%" in 2009, beating out all comers quite easily.

The first correct answer came from reader MM. Tell me where you want the chocolate sent, luckydude.

Shock news! Poor Peruvian women prefer not to die while pregnant

Here's the link to a CNN article that covers a new Amnesty International report about how pregnant women in Peru die at a rate 20 to 25 times greater than in the industrialized nations. To get the gist of the message, here's an excerpt:

"Amnesty's Peru researcher Nuria Garcia said in a statement: "The rates of maternal mortality in Peru are scandalous. The fact that so many women are dying from preventable causes is a human rights violation.

"The Peruvian state is simply ignoring its obligation to provide adequate maternal healthcare to all women, regardless of who they are and where they live."

"Garcia added: "Health services for pregnant women in Peru are like a lottery: if you are poor and indigenous, the chances are you will always lose.""

How the criollo rulers of Peru must yearn for the days when the little brown people didn't complain so much. Why they should suddenly insist on their so-called 'human rights' must confuse the Republic of Lima upper class no end.

Viva investment grade. Viva, viva, viva.

Mining Funtime!

Oh wow, the fun never stops Chez Otto and this time we have a neat little multiple choice quizette for you. All you have to do is look at three sets of insider transactions that include trades filed today and decide which two companies are run by straight-shooting guys that believe in their deal and which company is.....errrrrr.....less trusted by its very own directors (I'm feeling diplo again..dunno why):

Company number one, Coro Mining (

Coro Mining Corp. (COP)

As of July 8th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Jul 08/09 Jul 08/09 Philpot, Michael Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 10,000 $0.200
Jul 08/09 Jul 07/09 Philpot, Michael Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 10,000 $0.200

Company number two, Pediment Gold (

Pediment Gold Corp. (PEZ)

As of July 8th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Jul 08/09 Jul 06/09 Freeman, Gary Richard Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 1,000 $0.780
Jul 08/09 Jul 03/09 Freeman, Gary Richard Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 14,500 $0.780
Jun 24/09 Jun 18/09 Freeman, Gary Richard Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 3,000 $0.870
Jun 24/09 Jun 18/09 Freeman, Gary Richard Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 1,500 $0.890
Jun 24/09 Jun 18/09 Freeman, Gary Richard Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 3,000 $0.880
Jun 17/09 Jun 11/09 Freeman, Gary Richard Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 1,000 $0.890
Jun 17/09 Jun 11/09 Freeman, Gary Richard Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 2,000 $0.880
Jun 17/09 Jun 10/09 Freeman, Gary Richard Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 2,000 $0.880
Jun 17/09 Jun 10/09 Freeman, Gary Richard Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 1,500 $0.910
Jun 17/09 Jun 10/09 Freeman, Gary Richard Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 500 $0.900

Company number three, ECU Silver (

ECU Silver Mining Inc. (ECU)

As of July 8th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Jul 08/09 Jul 03/09 Bélanger, Clifford Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -30,000 $0.570
Jun 29/09 Jun 24/09 Bélanger, Clifford Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -14,000 $0.620
Jun 23/09 Jun 22/09 Bélanger, Clifford Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $0.600
Jun 23/09 Jun 22/09 Bélanger, Clifford Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -13,500 $0.610

Send your answers to:
David Wilson,
Chair and CEO,
The OSC,

Honduras: Enrique Ortez, the first of many to go

And so farewell racist pondscum Enrique Ortez, replaced as foreign spokesdumbass yesterday by another piece of pondscum that thinks he's president of Honduras. Local daily La Prensa reports that Ortez has this morning been replaced as chancellor by some dude named Robert Flores Bermudez who swore to uphold the good name of dictatorship and promised not to insult the leader of a country that owns a veritable shitload of nuclear weapons. Hat tip to the blog IKN wants to be when it grows up, Borev. Mojitos served. The end.

PS: By the way, there are still zero schools open in the country, with the president of the teachers' association making it clear as to why: "We are not going back until President Manuel Zelaya is reinstated." Nuff said.

UPDATE: Nicely done commenter Nell, reprinted here for easy access:
But "Queers, prostitutes, leftists, blacks" and anyone else Enrique Ortez views as not quite fully human have to hope he's not long in his new job, Justice and Government minister.

Peru: The art of attracting attention to your cause

Y'see, some Peruvian protestors start their actions and do nothing but group up together on some sideroad that's not a vital national artery. They then get totally ignored by the national government for weeks on end until patience is lost on one side or another...then a Bagua situation happens.

Other protest organizers are smarter. Take for example the miners complaining about their lot at the La Escondida gold mine, high up in the Andes of the Puno region in the south of Peru. Rather than block their own side road, they decided to walk a couple of days down to the city of Jukliaca and block not one but three vital links. Immediately they get attention, as today a whole bunch of congresspeople are flying down to talk with the leaders and find some sort of solution (and all they really want is to get the road up to the mine asphalted...the work started in 2007 and still hasn't moved forward).

  • One side protests.
  • The other side ignores them.
  • One side protests more.
  • The other side says, "Don't be idiots".
  • One side says, "Ok, if you like we can be really big idiots".
  • The other side says, "Ok ok...what's the problem?".
  • One side says, "Why didn't you bother with us before, idiots?".
  • The other side says, "We thought you weren't important enough, but now you're stopping me from making money I care."
  • One side says, "So let's talk".
  • The other side says, "Yeah, let's talk...we don't want no trouble round here."

File this post under " that's how South America works, is it?".

The South America Swine Flu Sweepstakes Update 10 July

Here's the updated chart. As always, click it to make it bigger if needed.

The latest from Argentina is 70 dead, another 15 probably dead from AH1N1 and the country is taking Friday off to make a long, four day weekend to help stop the spread of the disease. We also have an opposition that is accusing the government of understating the true figures. I dunno 'bout dat, but there surely are plenty of cases, both in Argentina and the rest of the world, where the sick person just goes "yeah, I got the bug" and stays at home for three days without bothering people. Meanwhile, the country is reportedly "paralyzed", with photos in Clarin this week of about a dozen people in my personal favourite lunchtime joint in downtown Buenos Aires when there are usually at least 350 people milling round and trying to catch the waiters' attention. Very weird. Also, Spanish speakers shouldn't miss this report on the feeling in the city regarding the flu. Great piece of atmosphere reporting.

Peru scores its 3rd fatality and 1,331 infected. Bolivia is now cancelling events like concerts and footy matches. Paraguay has just declared a state of health emergency. Chile still leads but doesn't crap itself in public like other countries...I could never live there...not Latino enough.

Liveable LatAm

The dudes at Mercer came out with their "Worldwide Cost of Living Survey", 2009 version yesterday. The thing is aimed at ex-pats doing business, not locals who know the cheap ways of living. The idea is that for U$585 (not joking) you get this big wodge of a report that will tell businesses just how much it costs to send their troops abroad.

As usual, we don't care much for the silly regions around the world like "North America" or "Europe" or "Asia" cos nothing much happens in those places anyway.....and they have no idea about how to make a decent mojito. Tokyo is top...big deal. So here we go with the important stuff...LatAm! Mercer surveyed 16 cities in the region (and although limited, gotta say the choices are fairly representative) and here's how they panned out. The ranking shows just how expensive the place is in the 143 cities surveyed.

City Country Rank
Caracas Venezuela 15
Sao Paulo Brazil 72
Rio de Janeiro Brazil 73
Panama City Panama 93
Santo Domingo Dom. Rep. 104
Buenos Aires Argentina 112
Guatemala City Guatemala 119
Bogota Colombia 120
Lima Peru 122
Santiago Chile 128
Montevideo Uruguay 131
San Jose Costa Rica 132
Quito Ecuador 136
Mexico City Mexico 137
Asuncion Paraguay 141
Monterrey Mexico 143

Way up and above the rest is Caracas at 15th most expensive. Now I'm not shelling out U$585 to read the whole report (you think I'm teh stoopid or summink?), but even though Caracas is pricey these days I'm guessing that the only way it can be that high is by calculating everything at the VEF2.15/U$1 official exchange rate. You seriously telling me a foreign exec would ignore the parallel market for his living expenses? If so, s/he ain't much of a bizperson to begin with...

Then comes usual expensive suspects Rio and SP in Brazil (and yes, they are expensive). But Caracas aside, seems that LatAm offers pretty good value compared to the rest of the world, as the 15 cities all come in the bottom half of the ranking. And when you factor in the amount of fun and life on offer down here, there's no better place in the world...well that's what I think, anyway. DYODD, dude.

Chart of the day is....

.....the silver ETF (SLV) versus the gold ETF (GLD), last five sessions (including this morning's open).
It's the openings wot does silver, y'see.

Honduras: An interesting....... from Greg Weeks over at his blog, so go see.


It's Quiztime at IKN

Yes indeedy, it's time to tickle your neurons and throw out another question for your dee lek tay shun. What follows is not trick question either, just a straight up'n'down one word answer special:
Which South American country is forecast
to have the highest GDP growth for 2009?
Answers by mail or in the comments section below. Answer tomorrow and first name out the bag with the correctness wins....errrr...I dunno.... a bar of chocolate (but a BIG one, promise).

Honduras: The coupmongers discover photoshop

On the left; the image seen in Honduras' pro-dictatorship daily 'La Prensa'.

On the right; the real image of the dead body of 19-yo Isis Obed Murillo, as photographed by Eduardo Verdugo of AP.

Keep supporting these lying shits, wingnuts.

Hat tip: The Daily Dish

You can tell it's a quiet newsday when hacks start kicking Venezuela

So the news comes out that, unsurprisingly, the PdVSA dollars bonds issue that had more strings attached than Pinocchio fell flat. Bloomie does an fair job of summing up the need-to-know bits in this note.

But then the idiot hacks start chiming in and showing that their little knowledge really is a dangerous thing. Step forward Tyler Bridges, painfully anti-Chavista McClatchy hack and manic depressive, stuck in Caracas and yearning to be back in Lima. He picks up on the deal and uses it to wade into the whole subject of the Venezuelan Bolivar Fuerte (VEF) parallel exchange rate. Bridges dixit:
"The current situation can only mean bad news for the Chavez administration. It seems to show that Venezuelans have little faith in the country's economy and in the bolivar.

"Any further weakening of the Bolivar will mean problems for Chavez."

However, once again Tyler is talking bollocks. What Bridges doesn't bother to give you are two rather basic and useful things:

1) The truth
2) Any context

Here's a table showing how the main traded LatAm currencies and the VEF have performed against the US dollar in the last two months, the period before and after the PdVSA sale.

For those not into forex code, BRL= Brazilian Real, COP= Colombian Peso, VEF = Venezuelan Bolivar Fuerte, CLP= Chilean Peso, MXN= Mexican Peso, ARS= Argentine Peso, PEN= Peruvian Nuevo Sol

So in the period (and ignoring the one-day -0.7% downmove in the VEF that Tyler Bridges seems to think signifies the end of the freakin' world) we have four currencies that have become stronger against the dollar (BRL, COP, VEF, CLP) and three currencies that have lost ground against the dollar (MXN, ARS, PEN).

I'm not here telling you that the VEF is some paragon of stability and investment value. It's not. I'm just saying that all that guff directed at Venezuela should apply to nearly all the region if true context were taken. And as the VEF has beaten out a currency like the Peruvian Nuevo Sol by a wide 6.2% in the period, our pal Bridges should be more worried about his yearned-for Peruvian shores far more than the country he's unduly whacking into once again.

Or put simply, he's a dumbass.

More on crude oil

I've had WTI front'n'centre on my worrylist radar for a few days now, which has been reflected in the sudden surge of posts about the stuff recently in what's supposed to be a LatAm-y corner of cyberspace. But big blog, I'll do what I want.

So today Paul Krugman looked at crude and posted this short but sweet article on his NYT blog. It's worth reading, as even though he doesn't come out and admit in a loud voice he was wrong about oil last year (he was...but hey, T. Boone Pickens and his windmills too...Goldman Sachs, too etc etc too) he makes a good point about the current dynamics and particularly the fact that the word "speculation" should NOT be demonized in the way it's been suffering recently. Here's an excerpt from the Krugman note (but make the effort and read the whole thing here; it's not a long one):
Now, “speculation” isn’t a synonym for “bad”. If the underlying assumptions that seem to have been driving oil markets were right — namely, that a vigorous recovery is just around the corner, and demand will shoot up soon — then it would be perfectly reasonable to accumulate oil inventories right now. But those assumptions are looking less reasonable by the day.
I agree. The frictionless capital market has yet to be invented, which suits us little people as we search around for those wrinkles in value and try our hardest to take advantage of them. Right now oil is the theme, but it applies to most any part of the financial markets. So let the speculators speculate...after all, you buy a stock and you're one of them and only time tells whether our judgments are right or wrong. Faites vos jeux, mesdames et messieurs.......

Peru: Shiny happy people holding hands

Everyone around love them, love them
Put it in your hands
Take it take it
There's no time to cry
Happy happy
Put it in your heart
Where tomorrow shines
Gold and silver shine
R.E.M Shiny Happy People

Thanks to the Twobreakfasts government, Peru is now the place of happiness. Non-stop growth has brought wealth and opportunity to the whole country. The bright future that was promised has arrived. Peru is now on course to join the the industrialized nations.


Now most people know that the Bagua massacre happened, but surely that was an isolated incident There can't be that much social unrest in a country that's growing so quickly and so strongly, gaining plaudits from its peers and investment dollars attracted from abroad.


Wrong. In the sordid, rich-get-richer reality that is Peru, the Defensoría del Pueblo ("defender of the people"... a cool name for what's basically an ombudsman) registered 273 'cases of conflict' in Peru in the month of June ( freakin' month!). Of those, 83% have not been resolved to date. By way of context, June 2008 registered 132 'cases of conflict'.

The current disputes also break down into categories, with the largest (47%) being social, 15% municipal government disputes and 12% labour disputes. As the protestors currently paralyzing provincial Peru and bits of Lima during the current, three day general strike would say, "Meet me in the crowd, people, people."

Argentina reshuffles


If your government was soundly whipped at the polls as Argentina's has recently been whipped, you'd replace a bunch of ministers too. However Klishtina has decided that the best way to cope with the rejection of her policies is to simply ignore that it happened and reshuffle one set of ultra-Kircherists with another.

So farewell, then, to Carlos Fernandez, the (now ex) FinMin that nobody even noticed was there. And farewell, then, to Sergio Massa, the (now ex) cabinet chief who was brought in from his mayorial-type role in the Tigre region (North of BsAs) because he'd been doing a great job and was a breath of fresh air and would lead ministers in a new didn't happen, ok?

The new FinMin is a certain Amado Boudou (a last name that makes Francophones titter), party loyalist who was having fun at ANSES (the social security people) and was basically next in line anyway. He now gets to play at big numbers and DON'T TOUCH THOSE DIALS! until 2011 when it's all over for this team. So stfu and think about the pension at the end of the period, Amado. As for cabinet chief, ultra-K of all ultra-Ks Anibal Fernandez has got the job, moving over from the Justice Ministry. A stuffed suit named Julio Alak, who was in charge of the newly nationalized Aerolineas Argentinas until yesterday, is now the Justice Dude.

The bottom line is that this is the cabinet reshuffle of a dead duck administration. Nothing has changed and nothing will change due to yesterday's botox injections and new shades of eyeliner. We now enter The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul as regards Argentine politics, so wake me up when the 2011 Pres election campaigning starts.

Chart of the day is.....

......our old friend the Gold / Silver ratio (GSR) again.

click to enlarge

Six month timescale. Expect Ted Butler to tell you it was Goldman Sachs wot done it.


Four on Honduras

Why have a photo of one total shit when
you can have two? Micheletti and Ortez

1) THE VOTES ARE IN and the IKN readership collective whizz dumb has decided the fate of Prez Mel Zel, once and future king of Honduras. There were 250 of you kooky enough to vote and here's how it all panned out:

Sniper bullet 60 votes (24%)
Old age 56 votes (22%)
Lucha Libre Match vs Micheletti 35 votes (14%)
Suffocated by Own Hat 31 votes (12%)
Air Crash 28 votes (11%)
Poisoned Mojito 22 votes (8%)
Stabbed by Lover 18 votes (7%)

So, according to you band of wonderful sickos Mel gets to visit The Elysian Fields via a sniper's bullet. Bummer........I was rooting for the poisoned mojito.

2) A good note that attempts some nuanced analysis at COHA today. You might not agree with the argument but it's about 20X better than the usual dross written on the whole shebang in the language of Shakespeare. Here's how it concludes
If Honduras is to grow peacefully out of the morass it now finds itself in and become a stronger nation in the process, the relevant actors must stand down from their calcified positions, letting the law do what it must and do away with the de facto Potemkin democracy. Manuel Zelaya must return to the office he was elected to serve, Micheletti’s Interim Government must be dismantled, and the Armed Forces should guarantee the safety of all, with many of its senior commanders required to retire. Immediately afterward, the Honduran courts ought to protect justice by enforcing the law and impeaching some of their colleagues for breaking it. When Manuel Zelaya is adjudged, he must be given a fair and transparent hearing for the alleged 18 crimes he committed prior to June 28.. But so too should the architects of the coup. Compromise and dialogue are necessities at this point, and they must take place so that the Republic of Honduras can come out of these trying times as a coherent and lawful state and make it to the November 29 elections in one piece.
3) So what does the US diplo corp make of racist shit Enrique Ortez, the pretend chancellor of the pretend Honduras gov't that disses the O-Man? Here's a translation of this report on today's press release from US ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens (the thing may well exist in English but I can't be bothered to look for it at that State Dep't wesbite...too big):
In a press communique, the US Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, Hugo Llorens, manifested his deep indignation in relation to the unfortunate "disrespectful and racially insensitive" commentaries of Ortez Colindres about President Obama. "These comments were profoundly indignant for the citizens of The United States and for myself personally. I am shocked by these comments which I strongly condemn.
4) Another big march in the Honduran capital today, with 30,000 anti-coup protestors led by Xiomara Castro, wife of President Zelaya. She said good things and people cheered. At one point the marchers approached a police cordon and simply brushed aside the barracades. The police behind the fencing did nothing and Xiomara then went up to them, thanked them for not reacting and even hugged a couple of the uniforms on duty. Thus Micheletti gets another lesson in hearts'n'minds. Here's Xiomara with the front row of her very, very large entourage today.

News roundup (we scrape the corners of the bottom of the barrel that others daren't touch)

Go Borev..... Go Honduras...Go!

Fruitfly-level analysis on Peru's stock market, as 364 words of waffle fails to point out the bleedin' obvious (as seen in the CotD this morning). It's really easy, so listen up once and be done: Cu spot up, Peru up. Cu spot down, Peru down. The rest is noise (and there's plenty of noise in the mediocrity served up by DJNW/WSJ).

Bolivia proves yet again that it's far better at combatting its cocaine problem than the DEA ever was. The FELCN anti-narco police have taken a 35 metric tonne per annum cocaine factory out of commission in the (natch) Santa Cruz area...hey...I wonder why Branko doesn't like Evo? Anyway, that kind of cocaine cookpot is just enormous and to give you some context, that would be just under 1/3rd of Bolivia's cocaine production in 2008. Of course, the English media can't be bothered to mention it, preferring some story about some child molester dying somewhere.

Chile's assumed GDP growth came in -4.4% YoY for May and +0.1% compared to the previous month. Sounds about right.

As for Honduras, Borev scoops the world and wins with the clearly greatest story on the coup so far. Go see for yourself.

Ecuador, and good old Dynasty Metals ( reminds me just how stupid the market really is. The company issues a PR saying that the VP Minister of Mines went on a visit and said nice things and the stock shoots up 6% on a general down day (good volumes, too). Nothing that we didn't know before, but the herd needs to be whacked over the head with a 2x4 before it believes the obvious.

Peru's cabinet reshuffle happens this week

Twobreakfasts this morning announced that the current band of ineffective and corrupt puppets that make up his cabinet will be changed this weekend, including the official goodbye for Yehude Simon. Speculation is now underway about who will make up the new cabinet of ineffective and corrupt puppets with "Who gets the PM job?" top of the list of chattering class questions that nobody outside Peru really cares about.

Thus, as Otto would just love to join the chattering classes one of these days, here's a list of possibles with odds and comments by your humble scribe:

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski: Most likely choice right now. PPK has made it clear he's running for Prez in 2011 and the PM job will give him the public radar he needs to launch a campaign. Architect of the economic reforms in the Toledo gov't. Rich and influential and likes reminding people of those two facts. Current odds: Even money.

Rafael Rey: The current Ambassador to Italy, Twobreakfasts met with Rey last weekend for informal talks about.....we don't know (it was off agenda). Not an APRA party member but rightwing leaning and proponent of orthodox economic measures (i.e. status quo in Peru). Member of Opus Dei. Current odds: 3/1 (but quite likely to get a cabinet job).

José Chang: Current Education Minister, APRA lapdog and Twobreakfasts sycophant. About as charismatic as a vanilla blancmange. If Twobreakfasts wants to play it neutral (unlikely) he has a squeak. Current odds: 6/1.

Mercedes Araoz: Current Minister of Foreign Commerce and the point person in the Free Trade Agreements. An honest politico (that rare breed in Peru) and generally liked (perhaps better said is 'not disliked') by both peers and citizens. May be too valuable where she already is. Current odds: 8/1.

Lourdes Flores: Head of the UN party and rightwing fave, Flores might accept if offered to give herself radar before 2011. Twobreakfasts would have to swallow some of the gargantuan pride to put her in a position of power, though. Coming to the end of her shelf life as a presidential candidate. Current odds: 10/1

Javier Silva Ruete: Ex-FinMin and respected figure, but probably ruled out because he's nobody's puppet. The kind of guy that's just too honest to get to the top in PeruPolitik. Current odds 10/1.

Ollanta Humala: More chance of the hole in my tush healing up than this dude getting a job under Twobreakfasts. Current odds: 100/1.

Crude oil at $20 to $40 a barrel by end 2009

You want deflation? We do deflation.

I'm glad to say that it isn't ignorant old Otto that's calling a barrel of crude at $20 to $40 by year's end, but a couple of experts that actually know what they're talking about. Frankly, if I were The Studmuffin I'd be hedging my whole country's output right now. Here's the must-read link to the LA Times article and here are a couple of excerpts to get your juices running.
"The reasons are simple, said Philip K. Verleger Jr., an expert on energy markets at the University of Calgary in Canada: The still-sputtering economy has lessened demand at a time when there is already a big surplus of oil.

"For eight straight months, oil supplies have been running about 2 million barrels a day higher than the global demand of 83 million barrels a day, Verleger said. Eventually, he and others predicted, suppliers will tire of paying to store all of the surplus oil and flood the market.

"That is the largest and longest continuous glut of supply that I have seen in 30 years of following energy prices," Verleger said. "It's a huge surplus. There has never been anything like it."

"The market will eventually correct itself, pushing prices down, Fadel Gheit, senior energy analyst for Oppenheimer & Co., wrote in a note to investors. "Excessive speculation and a weak dollar have lifted oil prices to levels not sustainable by market fundamentals," Gheit wrote.

"With so much oil available and so little need for that amount, investors, oil companies and even some banks have bought and stored surplus oil everywhere they can. By one estimate, before oil surged to its high this year of $73.38 a barrel in June, as many as 67 supertankers -- each capable of carrying 2 million barrels of oil -- were being used as floating storage.

"Verleger said it represented a largely risk-free investment for those who could sell that oil for huge profits on the futures markets.
But the glut has gone on for so long, he said, that the cost of all of that storage is bound to rise. When it rises enough, some suppliers will refuse to pay and a lot of that oil will be dumped onto the market. "Oil will drop to $20 a barrel by the end of the year because this situation just cannot be sustained," Verleger said.

"Bob van der Valk, a fuel price analyst, predicted that oil would drop to $40 by the end of the year and that Californians would be paying about $2 a gallon for regular gasoline.
"In normal years you have seasonally adjusted pricing, and 2009 is looking like our first normal year since 2006," Van der Valk said. "By year's end, oil and gasoline will be coming down."