Another one bites the dust, meaning another small country follows Iceland into economic turmoil and the resignation of their government. Aljazeera reports that Prime Minister Ivan Godmanis resigned on Friday; President Valdis Zatlers called for meetings to form a new government.
Latvia is a tiny Baltic state that has been a European success story until recently. After achieving the fastest economic growth in the EU in 2006, it was badly hit by the global recession starting in 2008. In December of 2009, it had to take out a 9.43 billion dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Part of the deal with the loan was cutting public spending and imposing austerity measures on the very unhappy citizens. So, while Iceland was holding protests outside of the Parliament building with pots and pans and rock bands, in Latvia we saw a different type of protest.
We had little old ladies with umbrellas:
Then we had something a wee bit, uh, unusual. Foreign Policy reports that Latvian farmers, protesting falling incomes, forced the resignation of the Agriculture Secretary by delivering a coffin of cow heads to the ministry. Yep, I bet this bloody-well got his attention!
PIcture of cow heads here
Now that the government has fallen, I hope there will be fewer sacrificial cows in Latvia. Otherwise, we might have to take up a collection to send all Latvian cows to India, where they are considered sacred.
Meanwhile, back in Iceland, blogger Dori Sig reports that protests continue.
The Central Bank CEO, David Oddson, refuses to resign. Apparently the CEO’s have transferred huge sums of money to banks in the Caymen Islands and other Caribbean tax havens. Another bank sold some of the large, luxury automobiles that it owned to “friends” at a 70% discount.
Below is a video of the most recent Iceland protest. Mmmm, I see a lot of Puma orange in that crowd. Go Pumas!! We’ve gone international.