Thank you for visiting El Nuevodia! We are your premier source for all of the latest Latin news. From the heart of Bolivia, we will give you a crash course in the history and culture of the Bolivian people. From their authentic Latin food to the current economic changes, there is never a shortage of news from Bolivia or their neighboring countries. Take some time to read our articles featuring Latin American celebrities and artists as well as consumer news that is relevant to you, no matter what part of the world you are reading from.
In the Latin American culture, the role of women has always been pretty clearly defined. Although the women worked hard, they were expected to do most of their work at home, caring for the house and having children. Even as teenagers, most Latin American girls have always experienced a strict upbringing, and were not allowed the same freedoms their male counterparts enjoyed.
Although the women?s liberation movement has not advanced nearly as quickly in Latin America, some strides have been made, and Latin America women have become far more liberated today than they were a hundred years ago. The key was getting the government to recognize them as a valuable part of the Latin American culture and to cease treating them as second-class citizens. Just like in the United States, the work of a few determined women, coupled with the fact that many women took on what had always been thought of as traditional male jobs during the Second World War, went a long way towards Latin American women being treated as equals.
While many of the upper class women in Latin America have taken on roles of great power in the Latin American workforce, and several have even become the leaders of their respective countries, lower class women still have a long way to go before they?re treated as equals by both society and their own families. Legally the women living in the poorer sections of Latin America are supposed to be treated as equals, but few are. Many women living in lower class situations have yet to enjoy the same social or legal rights as the lower class men.
Saving money in 2012 is easier than you think. Many people are worried sick about the stock market, the jobs market, and the impending issues with the American government. It has never been a more appropriate time to begin saving money. Big banks are going bankrupt, and good interest rates are harder and harder to come buy. The following is a list of three easy to use tips that will save you money, without sacrificing much of your lifestyle. This is the perfect balance to keep you sane, and still save the money you may need for financial security.
The first is to just keep a list of everything that you purchase. Most people just assume that keeping track through their credit card statement is ok. It is not, because it is so easy to spend your money with a credit card. You don’t even realize how much you are spending because it is so easy to just swipe your card. Making a list of all that you purchase will actually force you to stop and think about what you are spending. You will instantly spend less.
Another powerful tactic is to change from a big bank to a credit union. Credit Unions are able to offer you better interest rates and rewards because they don’t have to pay as many taxes as a big bank. This allows you to get the savings passed along so you can save even more.
The final way to save more money in 2012 is to cut one expensive habit. Whether that is getting nice coffee every single morning or simply only going out to eat one less time per week. The money will literally save itself.
Bolivia has been working for the last year to nationalize the Pan American Silver Corp. and Glencore International AG mines. However, the country announced on May 1 that the government is ending the pursuit. The miners’ unions have been trying to prevent the action, and eight unions petitioned against it. The government had stated publically that it will not continue the nationalization move if the unions opposed it. They had reached out to government miners encouraging them to reach out to their private sector counter-points.
Officials had hoped to announce the nationalization by May 1, Bolivia’s Labor Day, but instead announced that plans had been halted. The government uses the Labor Day to typically host a day of festivities highlighting the socialist agenda. The original reason given by the Bolivian government for nationalizing the mines is because the workers were demanding a change from the currently private owned mines. The companies that own the mines have been accused of corruption and bad conduct.
The government and the Glencore Company have been in a battle over who has rights to the mines and who should get compensated for the proceeds since 2007. Pan American Silver produced over 3 million ounces of silver in 2010 at one of their mines. That particular mine produced 12% of the silver produced in the world last year. The Canadian company originally bought the mines they own in Bolivia in the 1990’s, and today they remain one of the world’s largest companies producing silver.
In early May 2011, Bolivia’s president began an initiative to increase state control of the mines. He overturned many laws in relation to mining banking and investment. Congress is working to replace those laws by drafting legislation. This is a part of a broader agenda on behalf of the President for the government to gain greater control of Bolivia’s industry.
In April, the price of silver gained 28%, and has hit a 31-year-high. This rising price tag makes the silver mines a hotter commodity than ever! The bill that would privatize the mines has not been sent to Congress yet. The President’s office said the bill would not significantly change the miners contracted conditions, but would have the companies pay more in royalties. Many political pendants are pointing a growing lack of public support for the Bolivian President as a reason for not being able to nationalize the workers. The Bolivian government is more and more tainted by stories of corruption with government officials. People are hesitant to see the silver mining industry that is so lucrative turn into another avenue for government corruption to abound
April 29, 2011 is a national Day of Sea Reclamation according to Bolivia’s President Evo Morales. This came not long after “Day of the Sea”, which is an annual tradition in Bolivia. The Day of Sea Reclamation was part of Morales’s effort to demand that Bolivia, a landlocked country, be given access to the ocean through land that is owned by Chile. The President has demanded pay from Chile for their use of the Silala River (which is on the border of the two countries). This particular issue is not a new conflict for Chile and Bolivia; it’s reviving a 132-year-old argument between the two countries.
In 1879 Bolivia lost a part of the Atacama Desert on the Pacific coast to Chile at the end of the War of the Pacific. The original war was a dispute of nitrate deposits on part of Atacama Desert that then belonged to Bolivia. Peru was allied with Bolivia during the war and was able to re-negotiate the land they lost later on, but Bolivia was never able to regain their lost claim on the property.
Bolivia will pursue the issue through international tribunals, essentially suing them in international court. The President is claiming that it is not only lawful but in the spirit of fairness, that they should get the access that the country needs. On the opposite side, Chile has stated that they are still willing to negotiate with Bolivia and they may be able to come to an agreement where Bolivia could have the passage to the Pacific Ocean that it is seeking but without Bolivia having sovereign rights over the land. Bolivia and Chile had diplomatic conversations before that broke off in 1978, but have been back to the table recently. The President did say that any legal action taken would not be taken if it would worsen the current relationship with Chile.
The theory from journalists and other political figures of the reason behind the President’s move is that the President’s approval and popularity has been taking a turn downward, primarily from increasing gasoline prices 70 percent. The gasoline price increase was just a part of the problems and stress Bolivia is having with the economy since the President took office. Reported corruption, cash handouts, and a lack of foreign investors have not helped. Many analysts speculate that this is the president’s last ditch effort to regain the trust of the Bolivian people as he picks up a battle they lost many years ago. Only time will tell if Bolivia will come out victories this time around.
In a response to a salary increase, the Bolivian Workers’ Center (the largest workers union in Bolivia) called for a strike in early April. The Bolivian government proposed to increase the pay for teachers, health workers, police and soldiers by 10% and minimum wage by 20%. The Bolivian Workers’ Center claims that the increase is still below the annual inflation rate. The government points to a statistic from the National Statistical Institute that says that inflation was only 6.1%. Union leaders who have worked closely with the current administration felt betrayed by the announcement because they were not informed or negotiated with prior to the decision making process. The protests that accompanied the strike were large. This recent strike occurred on the heels of a year of strikes and riot throughout the country after food prices went up 14 percent. Three days into the strike, the government started negotiations.
On April 11th, a provisional agreement was made, but it still needed official approval from state worker unions. Locals say that the recent strikes have been some of the biggest protests since Bolivian President Evo Morales took office. Another motive behind the protests against the government was that in December the government announced it was removing fuel subsides. That measure contributed to the 70% cost increase in fuel as well as higher prices for basic food supplies.
On April 17-18, an additional 1% pay raise for Bolivia’s teachers and health workers was negotiated, but a commission will put together a proposal on how to fund these raises from the national budget. Morales, later on April 23rd, pledged to use 20 percent of Bolivia’s international reserves for creating jobs and industrialization.
President Morales reversed the fuel subsidy because the action was so unpopular. The President’s approval and popularity ratings have been taking a turn downward, primarily from the increase in gasoline that just contributed to an economy that keeps getting progressively worse. Reported corruption, cash handouts, and a lack of foreign investors have not helped.
In a counter act, the unions made secondary demands that have the goal of eventually helping the economy and increase jobs, but once the strike was called, the Center said negotiations would not go forward unless the President of Bolivia, himself was in the room. The President responded that he would be happy to discuss the terms with the Center leader in the upcoming May congress meeting.
Bolivia is buzzing with the latest news from their neighboring country, Chile. A Chilean man named Max Marambio, a friend of former dictator Fidel Castro, was sentenced in a court in Havana to 20 years in prison for bribery and fraud. Officials have been vague about the details, but essentially said that the crimes were bad enough and caused enough damage to the country of Cuba that they warrant disciplinary actions. The defendant did not attend the trial nor mount a defense, even though he appointed an attorney by the government. His attorney said that Marambio would not be appealing the ruling.
Also, former food minister, Alejandro Roca Iglesias, was sentenced to 15-years for actions that damage the state and bribery. Both men have 10 days to appeal the court’s decision. Marambio claims that it’s a political agenda and not actual crime that is responsible for his sentence, and that nothing in the trial had any foundation. He fell out of political favor when Fidel Castro stepped down in 2008. Fidel Castro was a communist revolutionary who served as part of the Council of the State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba until his resignation from the office. Castro’s predecessor started a program aimed at economic reform that identified inefficiencies and corruption in the Cuban government.
In 1966 he first met Fidel Castro, later becoming bodyguard for Chile’s President Salvador Allende. He moved to Cuba where he established close ties to Castro and developed business interests in a food company. The company produced juices and long-life milk. Marambio almost immediately ran into controversy when, about a year into his business venture, his food business came under a corruption investigation. As the investigation occurred a worker was found dead after being questioned by authorities.
That’s when Cuba officials accused not only Marambio but top executives of the company, including Marambio’s brother, Marcel Luis Marambio (also referred to as Max), of embezzlement, fraud and bribery. When officials sought out Marambio, they were not able to locate him and issued a warrant for his arrest. Marambio claims that Cuba has not tried to extradite him, which he says shows that their interest is purely political retribution and not serious. Other reports, say they have asked for his extradition and are pursuing his arrest. In communist Cuba, this is the first case where a corrupt government minister ended up with jail time since 1990.
Recently, Bolivia has been working to eradicate their coca fields to help stop a worldwide cocaine problem. The coca plant, similar to a blackthorn bush, has the chemical stimulant in cocaine, has been a hot topic issue for Bolivia and the world. Only four months in, Bolivia had destroyed over 3,200 hectares of coca this year. The Bolivian security forces, who are responsible for removing the plants, removed 8,200 hectares last year. The forces are expected to surpass that number this year.
The U.S. State Department says that even though Bolivia is eradicating thousands of hectares of coca plants, the impact was counteracted by large amounts of growth in different points of the country. Residents of Bolivia can legally grow coca, but only 12,000 hectares. Recently, the Bolivian government has tried to push that amount to almost double. The plant was originally banned and regulated during the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, but Bolivia’s stance is that the coca plant is not cocaine in itself and is working to add an amendment to the U.N. law.
The Coca plant isn’t just use for making the drug cocaine, but is a part of the Andean indigenous people’s culture. They chew the leaf and feel it has nutritional and medical affect. There have been some advocates who say by outlawing the coca plant itself, and chewing it, it will infringe on the rights of the Andean people who feel that it’s a part of their culture.
The Andean people, dating back to the pre-Inca period, are native to not only Bolivia, but also Peru, Ecuador, northern Argentina, Colombia and even Chile. For thousands of years they have used it from chew to medicine to religion. They worship the coca beans after they make them, because they play a large role in offerings to the environment and the earth. It’s because of the alternative uses and history, that Bolivia says the ban is discriminatory.
Bolivia claims it’s fighting the cocaine business and trade, but the United States, who estimates 3-4 million Americans are addicted to cocaine, say it’s not enough, and oppose Bolivia’s push to legalize the coca plant. The United States has worked to eliminate the discussion of coca chewing and wants to eliminate Bolivia’s amendment to the UN agenda. Many countries have joined the US’s objection, but Colombia, Macedonia and Spain have all joined Bolivia’s side.