January 18, 2006 [LINK]

The emigration issue in Mexico

CNN.com has a good background article on how the issue of emigration (as opposed to immigration on this side of the border) is playing out in Mexico's presidential campaign. The election will be [on July 2]. The three major candidates differ sharply about how to address the problem, but they all agree that any move by the United States to restrict immigration would be an intolerable outrage. Hardly anyone in Mexico dares to suggest that the scarcity of jobs in Mexico might be rooted in the the country's terribly wasteful state-dominated economy. Just as our political discourse is constrained by "political correctness," there are certain touchy subjects that simply cannot be debated openly in Mexico. Those who hoped that NAFTA would spur a wave of liberalization in the domestic market have been sorely disappointed, as the incestuous ties between big business and big government continue pretty much as they have always been. Fox, Fox, Fox... Anyway, the three main candidates are:

This will be a busy year in Latin American politics. Besides Mexico, Haiti, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, and Brazil are scheduled to hold presidential elections.

Las Presidentas in Latin America

Robert Book brought to my attention the fact that the first woman to be elected president in Latin America without her husband having served in that office first was Violeta Chamorro, who was elected in Nicaragua in 1990. True, but Chamorro would never have won had she not been married to a man who had been a major opposition leader under the Somoza dictatorship; her husband Pedro was murdered in 1978. Mrs. Chamorro's case is perhaps a middle category between the truly "self-made women" presidents Moscoso of Panama and Bachelet of Chile, on one hand, and the "pretender" Isabel Perón, who suceeded her husband Juan as president upon his death in 1974. In addition, Lydia Gueiler briefly served as president of Bolivia on an interim basis in 1979, and Rosalia Arteaga briefly claimed to be president of Ecuador during the chaos of February 1997. See the Latin American Presidents page, which has new table rows for 2006. I've also corrected and clarified the Jan. 16 blog post. Thank you, Mr. Book.

More photos from Costa Rica

Costa Rica montage 4 There are two new photo gallery pages from our vacation last year: Costa Rica, Part III (), which features various rural scenes and exotic wildlife, most of which are "freeze frame" images extracted from video clips, and Costa Rica & Nicaragua, 2005 (), which contains no new photos, but simply makes it easier to navigate from one page in that group to another.

UPDATE: I had meant to explain why I am adding new photos so many months after the fact; it's because I felt that the existing still image photos did not convey a good enough sense of what the countryside in Costa Rica looks like. I continue to work on my video project, which will end up as a DVD or two for public (classroom) viewing, and a separate version for "family" audiences. Also, I added this montage after I made the original post.

2nd UPDATE: This montage was subsequently modified on Jan. 24.

3rd UPDATE: I forgot to note that the rural scenes photos from which the adjacent montage was taken are now at: Costa Rica, Part IV. ()