October 3, 2006 [LINK / comment]

Military conference in Nicaragua

Defense ministers from most major countries in the Western Hemisphere are meeting in Managua, Nicaragua this week. Donald Rumsfield, under fire back home once again after the release of Bob Woodward's new book, represented the United States. Rumsfield said he was satisfied with the cooperation of Nicaragua's army and police forces in the fight against narcotics trafficking. He expressed concern about possible interference in Nicaragua by Hugo Chavez, but he avoided making any comment about the upcoming elections. The Sandinista candidate, Daniel Ortega, was the nemesis of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. See laprensa.com. Rumsfield's expression of support is important because Nicaragua has experienced political turbulence and massive corruption in recent years, and its fate hangs in the balance in elections to be held next month. There remains the touchy question of what to do with 1,000+ Soviet-built SAM-7 missiles, however. When the Bolivian government turned over such weapons to the United States last year, a major political crisis broke out.

The Nicaragua page has been completed, at last. Also, the Latin America intro page has been updated with a fuller (but still sparse) list of Latin American rock and salsa musicians, with Web links.

More clashes in Oaxaca

The political turmoil continues in the Mexican city of Oaxaca, as protesters have used explosive devices against local banks. A group calling itself the "Armed Revolutionary Organization for the People of Oaxaca" claimed responsibility. See CNN.com. If Gov. Ulises Ruiz does not resign soon, or make some equivalent gesture of accommodation, it is hard to see how the situation can improve.

Brazil airliner crash

Recovery workers have found the black box in the Brazilian airliner that crashed in the Amazon jungle on Saturday, killing all 155 people aboard. It collided with a smaller jet that somehow escaped with only minor damage and managed to land. The blame for the accident has yet to be ascertained. See CNN.com.