talking about Cuba, Venezuela & US-Latin America stories of the week. Live at 8PM Eastern, and also archived for your listening convenience.
As previously mentioned, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the defaulted debt case, Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital. NML is trying to collect $1.6 billion in judgments it has won in U.S. court cases against Argentina.
The justices were skeptical:
Argentina got a skeptical reception at the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices considered whether two banks must turn over details about the country’s assets as part of a multibillion-dollar fight over defaulted government bonds.
. . .
The bondholders’ attorney, Theodore Olson, told the justices that Argentina, when it issued the bonds, agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. Had it not done so, “it never would have been able to borrow any money in the United States,” Olson said.
However, there’s The problem when a pitfall opens
The Supreme Court spent most of a half-hour on Monday staying entirely away from a pitfall in the law that governs debt collection, but then that trap suddenly opened widely, and nearly swallowed the case of Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital Ltd. What made the difference? The Court began worrying a lot about the identity of the debtor — the sovereign nation of Argentina.
To a remarkable extent, this was an argument in which the front half and the second half did not seem to be on the same page. In the end, though, it appeared that the second part might well turn out to be controlling, and Argentina could get some special treatment as a debtor — because it is a nation, not an ordinary debtor.
Read the rest of Lyle Denniston’s post here.
@DrNetas regresa esta semana, y el mejor chiste es el último,
and it’s The Diplomad,
One of the great phonies and bootlickers of leftist dictators has passed from the scene. Those who love freedom can only be grateful.
I will speak ill of the dead. It is hard to exaggerate the damage that GGM has done to the image of Latin America and Latin Americans, portraying the region and the people as some sort of quasi-magical place, a place filled with ethereal, mystical beings without logic, common sense, and ordinary human emotions and foibles. For all his “magical realist” vision, he could not or would not see, for example, the horrors brought to Cuba and Cubans by the Castro brothers. On the contrary, he had an enormous house in Havana provided by the regime, with servants and cars at his beck-and-call, and a ready chummy access to the bloodstained brothers and their rule of terror. He convinced generations of gringo academic Latin American “specialists” that the region could not be understood in conventional terms; that supply-and-demand economics did not work there; and that ordinary people did not want individual liberty and political democracy. He helped perpetrate and perpetuate a horrid stereotype of Latin America, one in which the atrocities of leftist regimes could be ignored because the region operated on another level of consciousness, one beyond our poor powers to comprehend. Good riddance to this poseur and his unreadable sentences! An enemy of freedom is gone.
The late great Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas dared to ask, Gabriel García Márquez: ¿Esbirro o es burro? (Tool or fool?) (emphasis added)
Now then, that a writer like Mr. Gabriel García Márquez [GGM or GM henceforth], who has lived and written in the West, where his work has had tremendous impact and acceptance, which has guaranteed him a certain lifestyle and intellectual prestige, that a writer like him, benefiting from the freedom and possibilities such a world offers him, should use them to be an apologist for the communist totalitarianism that turns intellectuals into policemen and policemen into criminals, that is simply outrageous. And that is the attitude of GGM, who has apparently forgotten that the writing profession is a privilege of free men, and that by taking the side of dictatorships, whether Latin American or eastern ones, he’s digging his own grave as a writer and playing along with the lackeys of official power, who climb with hope, but are later reduced to the sad state of a beleaguered rat forced to applaud incessantly its own prison and its supreme warden. On various occasions Mr. GM, golden boy of the western press, full beneficiary of the comfort and guarantees offered by the so-called capitalist world, has made statements condemning the millions of Vietnamese who, in a desperate and suicidal act, throw themselves into the sea fleeing communist terror. Now, to the great indignation of all freedom-loving Cubans, GM, as Fidel Castro’s guest of honor at the recent May Day celebrations, has condemned with his attitude and words the ten thousand Cubans who have sought refuge in the Peruvian embassy, attributing this act and situation to the direction or instigation of so-called American imperialism. In fact, GM also condemns the million Cubans who, risking their lives, take to the sea like in Vietnam to perish or be free, even if that freedom consists of no more than being able to reach a strange country alive and half naked. Apparently, GM likes concentration camps, vast prisons and muzzled thinking. This star of communism is irritated by the flight of the prisoners, just as the great Cuban landowners of the 18th and 19th centuries were irritated by the flight of slaves from their plantations. Enriched by his material earnings in the capitalist world, it bothers GM that other men aspire to or dream of having the same rights he enjoys, the right to write and speak, the right to be, above all, a human being and not an anonymous slave, numbered and persecuted, condemned in the best of cases to retract himself incessantly, and also to inform on himself incessantly.
Arenas, who committed suicide in 1990 while ravaged by AIDS, was a brilliant writer who used magical realism to describe the horrors he endured by the Cuban communist regime.
Today’s GGM headline, Mexico editor: Garcia Marquez left manuscript
The manuscript has a working title of “We’ll See Each Other in August,” (“En Agosto Nos Vemos”).
An excerpt of the manuscript published in Spain’s La Vanguardia newspaper contains what appears to be an opening chapter, describing a trip taken by a 50-ish married woman who visits her mother’s grave on a tropical island every year. In the chapter, she has an affair with a man of about the same age at the hotel where she stays.
Hmmm . . . woman of a certain age, tropical island, heat, landscape, music, local inhabitants . . . Wasn’t that How Stella Got Her Groove Back?
Methinks he’s really hankering for a Nobel Peace Prize:
Colombian President Santos Seeks New Path on Drug War
Leader Says He Hopes for Breakthrough on Drug War in Peace Talks With FARC Guerrillas
The Colombian leader, who faces a critical re-election test in May, said that an important breakthrough in the war on drugs would be achieved if, as expected, negotiators for his government and for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, reach an agreement on stamping out drug trafficking by the guerrillas, the third point in a proposed peace plan.
The FARC, which the U.S. considers to be a terrorist and drug trafficking organization, relies heavily on cocaine trafficking to finance its activities. The two sides have been locked in tough negotiations for the last 17 months in Havana to end the five-decade guerrilla insurgency.
“I expect to reach an agreement on that third point in the near future,” he said. If the FARC stops drug trafficking and becomes a partner with the government in eradicating drugs, it would have “enormous implications repercussions for Colombia and the world,” he said.
It sounds like Santos believes that the FARC will throw away its hugely profitable main source of revenues, everybody will hold hands, and a choir of potheads stoned on legal pot will Kumbaya as peace breaks out all over the land.
Forgive my cynicism, dear reader, but I visualize a slightly different scenario: The FARC signs whatever agreement will get them into congress (since Santos wants them in congress without being elected), legalizes all its drug activities consolidating power, and Colombia kisses the rule of law good-bye.
Álvaro Uribe’s not buying Santos’s tripe:
“Pres. Santos forgot to tell the BBC that he promised secure democracy and he has allowed terrorism to advance”
Pte Santos olvidó decir a la BBC que prometió la seguridad democrática y ha permitido el avance terrorista
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) April 22, 2014
Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and we celebrate it, and, possibly, Spring.
Cónsul de Bolivia en Nueva York: Personajes emblemáticos del narcotráfico y la corrupción representan a Bolivia
MLB’s Next Headache: Cartels, Gangsters, and Their Cuban Superstars
The baseball world has been stunned by reports the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig was smuggled from his homeland by a drug cartel, and a Miami gangster allegedly now owns 20% of his astronomical contract.
Housing Effort Said to Lag
A post-earthquake housing program in Haiti financed by the United States Agency for International Development has delivered only a quarter of the planned number of houses.
The election is scheduled for May 4: Panama’s Seven Presidential Candidates Debate Before Vote.
Desde su inicio en 1959, una prioridad de la política exterior del régimen cubano ha sido la creación de vastas redes de apoyo a su causa. Sus servicios de espionaje, su diplomacia, propaganda, ayuda humanitaria, intercambios juveniles, académicos y culturales, y el apoyo en otros países a ONG, intelectuales, periodistas, medios de comunicación y grupos políticos afines han sido pilares básicos de su estrategia internacional. Esto lo hacen todos los países, pero pocos han tenido la necesidad de darle tanta prioridad y durante tanto tiempo como Cuba. La supervivencia económica y política del régimen ha dependido de su éxito en tener aliados en otros países que, a su vez, puedan influir sobre sus gobiernos en apoyo a la isla.
The week’s posts and podcast:
Mexico: 7.5 earthquake on Good Friday had warning
The week’s podcast:
The latest from Colombia plus other US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio and Cecilia Torres.
The geological marvel known to Texas oilmen as the Eagle Ford Shale Play is buried deep underground, but at night you can see its outline from space in a twinkling arc that sweeps south of San Antonio toward the Rio Grande.
The light radiates from thousands of surface-level gas flares and drilling rigs. It is the glow of one of the most extravagant oil bonanzas in American history, the result of the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Curving south and west, the lights suddenly go black at Mexico’s border, as if there were nothing on the other side.
This is a reflection of politics, not geology. The Eagle Ford shale formation is believed to continue hundreds of miles into Mexico, where it is known as the Burgos Basin. But while more than 5,400 wells have been sunk on the Texas side since 2008, Mexico has attempted fewer than 25.
There’s the Texas oil boom:
The shale boom is the main reason the United States is challenging Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s top oil producer. Texas pumps more than a third of U.S. output, and on its own the state would rank as the world’s ninth-largest oil producer.
The situation in Mexico gets complicated by the Batial-1 well site being in an area controlled by the Zeta drug cartel. All the more reason for the US to strive for full energy independence.
A blessed and happy Easter to you and your loved ones,
Easter Thoughts from Roger Kimball.
Mexico City had 71 seconds of warning before shaking from a 7.2 earthquake about 200 miles away rumbled into the capital, thanks to central Mexico’s 21-year-old early quake warning system, officials said Friday. It’s a system that California still lacks.
The Mexican warning system could be seen on television (video below), when Televisa news announcer Eduardo Salazar calmly tells viewers that at 9:27 a.m. a seismic alert went off, triggering a shrieking whine on the broadcast. “At this moment, we have felt absolutely nothing,” the anchor says initially.
More than a minute after the first warning, shaking rolls through the television studio in Mexico City, strong enough to knock the news anchor from his stance. His voice strains as the shaking worsens, and he says the studios’s lights are swaying and that some of his staff are preparing to leave. He speaks louder: “It’s a strong earthquake.”
There were no reported injuries.