200 Mayan Peasants Arrested for Blocking Road in Mexico
Latin American Herald Tribune
November 25, 2009
CANCUN – More than 200 Mayan peasants were arrested during a clash with police who tried to prevent them from blocking the highway between the southeastern Mexican cities of Chetumal and Cancun, officials said.
About 20 peasants sustained minor injuries and a police officer underwent surgery for a head injury suffered in Tuesday’s clash, Quintana Roo state Deputy Public Safety Secretary Didier Vazquez said.
The peasants blocked the highway to demand payment of insurance and subsidies for crops lost in the drought affecting the region.
The insurance company has refused to pay claims for lost crops and Quintana Roo’s government has offered to cover only 50 percent of losses, or some 450 pesos (about $34) per hectare affected by the drought.
November 26, 2009
Nearly 1 million tonnes in corn sales to drought-hit Mexico last week gave U.S. exports a shot in the arm, but the spike in sales is more of a near-term blip than a turning point for slumping corn exports.
Elevated prices, high shipping costs, and stiff competition from cheaper feed grains from around the globe will continue to restrict export sales from the United States, the world’s largest corn producer and exporter, traders and analysts said.
U.S. corn prices Cc1> have climbed steadily from a September low near $3 a bushel to around $4 a bushel, even as farmers harvest the second-largest crop on record.
November 25, 2009
MONTEVIDEO, Nov 25 (IPS) – “To use a soccer metaphor, which Brazilian politicians like so much, the Kyoto Protocol was the 10-minute warm-up before the real game begins,” said scientist Carlos Nobre in reference to global climate change treaties.
“The real game should begin now, although there are many who would rather remain in the warm-up phase indefinitely,” added the Brazilian expert, who was among the authors of the 1990, 2001 and 2007 reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, along with former U.S. vice-president Al Gore.
Nobre’s opinions appear, with those of another 22 noted experts, in the “First Regional Report on Climate Change: Latin America and the Irreversible Effects of a Warmer Planet”, published Nov. 19 by Tierramérica in Montevideo.
November 24, 2009
by Tim Hannagan
MONTH-END ON TIME
We started the week’s reports with our Monday weekly export inspection report showing 25.5 m.b. of corn was inspected for near-term export, up from 22.1 the week prior and four-week average of 24.
The worst drought in over 60 years in Mexico has helped U.S. exports as well as a faster harvest leaving Asia in for feed use. We still need sales over 30 m.b. weekly to have the trade turn price bullish.
November 22, 2009
The El Nino weather pattern has dried up Mexico’s rainy season this year, leaving nearly four million farmers reeling from the drought conditions. About 50,000 head of cattle have already died due to lack of water, and if the drought persists, as much as seven million hectares of corn and bean crops could be lost. From the rural community of Temascalito, Franc Contreras has more on Mexico’s struggling farmers.
Killing the Thirst
by Tom Palaima
This summer Texas suffered through its worst drought in half a century. Two hundred and thirty public water systems declared mandatory restrictions. Crop and livestock losses during the preceding nine months totaled $3.6 billion. Seventy of Texas’ 254 counties were declared primary disaster areas.
In mid-August, as parts of Travis County were labeled “exceptional drought,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s worst category, the Austin American-Statesman published the Austin Water Utility’s top 10 users. While profiling households that had used 136,900 to 316,100 gallons of water in single months-the average Austin household uses 8,500 gallons-the paper made clear that “[c]onsuming so much water is not against the law” and that these heavy users had paid their bills. Not one of these conspicuous consumers of our most vital natural resource besides oxygen seemed embarrassed or overly concerned.