The news out of Latin America is seldom boring. There’s always something going on in this vast region worth talking about. Here are some of the more unusual or noteworthy tidbits from the recent news.

Toilet paper shortage in Venezuela
It’s one thing to hear about the effects of socialism on a country’s economy, quite another when price controls and inefficiency materialize in a concrete way. In this case it’s a big toilet paper shortage going on in Venezuela. They may be used to running out of milk, butter, cooking oil, and other staples, but one 70-year-old shopper said, “Even at my age I’ve never seen this.”

Yet another reason for them to head to Panama or Colombia I suppose. Plenty of TP in those places.

Rios MonttFormer Guatemala leader convicted of genocide
Guatemala made history this month when it convicted a former president of genocide, the first time a head of state has been convicted of such in his own country. Rios Montt ruled brutally for 17 months during the civil war of the early 1980s. His troops attached Maya Ixil villages with full force, at least 1,771 deaths directly attributed to him at the trial. He got 80 years, so he’ll die in prison. This is on top of four soldiers getting convictions of more than 6,000 years in total a few years ago.

Goodbye to one of Argentina’s worst
In a related story, Argentina’s Disappearer-in-Chief just died at 87. Jorge Rafael Videla is said to be responsible for at some 20,000 deaths in the late 1970s and it was reportedly his idea to take the children from mothers, have then killed, and let the babies be raised by military families. Don’t rest in peace…

Belize road crew bulldozes Maya pyramid for road fill
In a story that prompted outrage in and outside of Belize, a road crew looking for fill materials took heavy equipment to an unexcavated pyramid in Belize that dated back several thousand years. They destroyed the structure and it gets worse: the company’s owner is (was?) a legislative candidate.

Brazil goes halfway to same-sex marriage
A supreme court ruling in Brazil effectively legalizes gay marriage in Latin America’s biggest country. While it could still potentially be overturned by legislation, this ends some confusion and brings Brazil closer to the policies of its neighbors Argentina and Uruguay.