South America

CARACAS, Venezuela — The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez always had superb political timing. His initial election in 1998 coincided with the lowest oil prices in decades, and he rode a steady rise in prices to a nearly impregnable, petrodollar-fueled reign of power. Although oil prices tumbled in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, they reversed course in time for his October 2012 reelection.

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Judging from the fervor of their celebrations, the Libyan people are acutely aware that they will benefit from the fall of Muammar Qaddafi. But Libya is hardly the only country that has reason to rejoice. As committed as the dictator was to destroying his own country, he posed an equal—perhaps even greater—danger to developing countries in other parts of the world. From the time he assumed power, Qaddafi leveraged Libya’s oil money, and his own willingness to have his country become a pariah state, to support insurgencies from East Asia, to South America, to southern Africa.

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Against Despair

Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader Edited by Haun Saussy (University of California Press, 660 pp., $27.50) On a hot August afternoon a decade ago, one of my patients collapsed at a café in Boston. She was in her early sixties and had been treated successfully with chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer, but had suffered side effects from the intensive therapy, with damage to her heart and lungs. Her husband called 911, and EMTs arrived in short order. She was resuscitated and sped by ambulance to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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Unloved Uruguay

I will admit under the cover of darkness, with a long head start from those who might disagree, that I supported Uruguay against Ghana.  Beirut had been gutted by the Brazilian loss in the afternoon (and here there are the Brazilians and there are the Germans, all else being commentary), so all that was left behind was a sense of solidarity for the little guy, for Africa, for the Third World, for the poor… Which is why, at a football dinner last night, the air turned to permafrost when I, rather alone, cheered Sebastian Abreu’s cheeky penalty that won the match for the “Celeste.” Echoes of the

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Jonathan Wilson: the glorious past of Ghanaian football Steve Davis: final USA player ratings Sean Ingle: "South America boosted by travel, hard work…and luck" Wilson (again!): England's obsolete 4-4-2 What's next for Bob Bradley? Blatter's strange technology flip-flop Is fear undermining England's best youth?

Peru Wins!

Peru hasn’t won a major tournament in nearly thirty years. We last qualified for a World Cup in 1982, and didn’t make it out of the group stage. Since then, with the exception of a few instances of magic, watching the national side has been a kind of ritualized despair. We—players and fans—start each game hoping not to lose. During this last qualifying campaign, our players drew with Brazil at home and celebrated with so much booze and so many prostitutes, you’d think they’d actually won something (or that they were French).

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Last year, Hugo Chavez amended Venezuela's constitution and abolished term limits. The entire business was a bit odd, but not because the constitution was changed, which is quite common in Latin America. Nor was it because the changes involved extended his rule (which is equally common). No, what was unusual about the constitutional reform of 2009 was that abolishing term-limits was all it did. You see, constitutions are uniquely plastic in Latin America.

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Glorious Misfits

Joaquín Torres-García: Constructing Abstraction with Wood San Diego Museum of Art Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective Tate Modern   Anne Truitt: Perception and Reflection Hirshhorn Museum   Formal values are personal values. What holds us in a painting or a sculpture is not art history but an individual’s history, some inner necessity or imperative that has been expressed through the forms available at a particular time. There are classicists and there are expressionists in every age, and the twentieth century was no exception.

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The way we're warming the planet, we can probably expect sea levels to rise at least a meter, on average, by the end of the century. That's what most scientific projections suggest, anyway. One kink, though, is that that's just an average—the seas won't go up uniformly by one meter all across the globe. Some places will see much higher rises than that, some places much lower. Michael Lemonick has a great Environment360 piece delving into some of the factors that make sea-level rise so odd and unpredictable.

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If you're looking for a careful breakdown of the various allegations against the IPCC that have been swirling around over the past few weeks, then check out this RealClimate post. At this point, it seems like the only glaring error that's been uncovered in the IPCC's climate reports is that statement about Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035—a goof, yes, though hardly anything that's fatal to the broader body of climate research.

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