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August 29, 2012

Will the latest series of woes stick to Venezuela's teflon comandante?

 It’s been a rough month for Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. In less than two weeks, he has had to deal with a deadly prison riot, a collapsing bridge, flooding, an embarrassing confrontation with steel workers on live TV and the country’s worst oil-industry disaster, which killed at least 41 and still has families digging through the rubble looking for loved ones.

The avalanche of bad news would be hard on any leader, but this train of troubles comes as Chávez, 58, is heading into an Oct. 7 presidential race that polls suggest is getting tighter.

For the last 14 years in office, Chávez has played the roll of an energetic leader with a common touch. Even when his administration had missteps, voters rarely held their charismatic comandanteaccountable.

Read the full story here

August 13, 2012

The Olympics, Assange and why the U.S. will never have a coup

One person who has to be relieved that London's Olympics are over is WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London for more than six weeks fighting extradition to Sweden and waiting for the Andean nation to make a decision on his asylum request.

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño had said that decision wouldn't be coming until after the torch was put out.

Ecuador's not the most obvious choice for Assange. The country has developed a reputation for cracking down on local media. Check out this story about it here. 

But Correa and Assange do seem to have a rapport. When Assange interviewed him in May for his show "The World Tomorrow" the pair shared a few good laughs. One of the best jokes to come out of that exchange was one by Correa that goes something like this: You know why the United States will never have a coup? Because they're the only country without a U.S. embassy. 

See the full interview here. 

August 03, 2012

The Olympic issue: Cuba has best per capita showing except for New Zealand

It's day seven of the Olympics and time to see how Latin America is faring in the medal race. While none of the nations have broken the Top 10, there's plenty to be proud of. Colombia's Rigoberto Uran came out of nowhere on day one to win a silver in cycling and trounce the hometown favorites. Venezuelan Fencer Ruben Limardo (seen biting his medal below) won that nation's first gold since 1968. And as usual, Cuba is doing very well considering its size. With a population of 11 million and 5 medals so far, that works out to 1 medal for every 2.2 million residents. Unless I am missing something, that's the best per capita showing save New Zealand (six medals and a population of 4.3 million, or 1 medal for every 716,66 people).

Here's the Latino per captia breakdown:

Cuba            1 medal per 2.2 mln

Colombia     1 medal per 15 mln

Mexico         1 medal per 16 mln

Venezuela   1 medal per 28 mln

Brazil           1 medal per 34 mln

And here's the medal breakdown

Nation  Gold    Silver  Bronze  Total    

Brazil    1        1         4            6

Cuba     2        2         1            5

Mex.     0       3         1             4

Col.       0       2         1            3

VZ.        1        0         0            1     

And here's the medal biter:

ABOUT THIS BLOG

jim wyss

Inside South America is written by Jim Wyss, the South America bureau chief for the Miami Herald and McClatchy Newspapers.

Feel free to send a story suggestion. Read Jim's stories at MiamiHerald.com.

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