Coaching Loretta

January 30th, 2015

Well-rehearsed answers at the nomination hearings: Read my article here.

Venezuela: Fire at will

January 30th, 2015

The Venezuelan government has authorized its military to fire upon civilians at rallies and public demonstrations:

The armed forces are now directed to use “potentially lethal force, whether with firearm or any other potentially lethal weapon”, as last resort to “avoid disorders, support legitimate authority, and reject all aggression, confronting it immediately and by the necessary means.”
( “uso de la fuerza potencialmente mortal, bien con el arma de fuego o con otra arma potencialmente mortal”, como último recurso para “evitar los desórdenes, apoyar la autoridad legítimamente constituida y rechazar toda agresión, enfrentándola de inmediato y con los medios necesarios”.)

The resolution makes no distinction between peaceful or violent demonstrations, and may most likely be unconstitutional (link in Spanish), but, as Emiliana Duarte points out,

There’s a grim kind of tradeoff at play here: the government’s relaxed brutality when it comes to Human Rights affords them the time to hesititate over the economic shitstorm that’s creating the protests they will need to repress in the first place.

And, really, who’s to argue against expediency for the sake of peace?

In other news, Key Evidence in Leopoldo López Case Allegedly Manipulated
Lawyers to File Criminal Complaint against Discrepancies in Court Documents
.



Colombia: Santos wants former FARC as cops

January 30th, 2015

Words fail me:

Colombia has become embroiled in a heated debate after President Juan Manuel Santos announced the possible creation of a rural police force similar to the French gendarmerie if the government signs a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The idea, Santos said, was to consolidate security in the regions most affected by the internal armed conflict, and he did not rule out the participation of demobilized ex-guerrilla members in that force.

Santos’ initial proposal did not mention the FARC, but when a journalist asked him about the possibility, the president thought about it and replied: “I hadn’t thought about that, but I would not rule it out. We could very well negotiate something like that with the other party [FARC],” he told the press in Paris after meeting with French President François Hollande during an official visit to the country.

Considering how Santos wants unelected FARC in Congress, it’s no surprise that many were outraged, among then Uribe,

“Santos has destroyed the self-esteem and initiative of law enforcement, and now he finishes them off by announcing the creation of terrorist police forces”

Let’s hope Santos was only talking off the top of his head.

The Santos administration talks with the FARC will resume on February 4 in Havana.

Argentina: Tango and fireworks

January 29th, 2015

An audience of 200,000 turned out in Buenos Aires for the “La vida es una milonga” show designed by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang.

Here’s D’Arienzo’s orchestration of La cumparsita, performed live,

I couldn’t find the name of the orchestra.

Argentina: #Nisman’s funeral

January 29th, 2015

There was a massive police presence outside the Tablada Jewish cemetery on the outskirts of the Argentine capital as the hearse carrying Alberto Nisman’s body finally arrived. It was a private funeral, but crowds gathered outside and along the route.

Photo gallery at TN.

The BBC reports,

Senior Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died in unexplained circumstances, borrowed a gun because he did not trust the police protecting him, a colleague has said.

UPDATE:
Cliff May:

The Organization of American States, which claims to be dedicated to the promotion of democracy and the defense of human rights in this hemisphere, has said not a word about the death of Mr. Nisman.

President Obama, deeply enmeshed in negotiations with Iran’s rulers over their ongoing nuclear weapons program, has so far not commented. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has called for a “complete and impartial investigation” into Mr. Nisman’s death, adding that the pursuit of those responsible for the 1994 terrorist attack “must not stop.” Excuse me, Ms. Psaki but can you elaborate? What is this administration prepared to do to ensure that international terrorists and gangsters do not get away with the 85 murders committed in 1994 and the elimination of the prosecutor who attempted to hold them to account in 2015? Anything? Anything at all?

Cuba: Gimme, gimme, gimme Gitmo!

January 29th, 2015

Now that the murderous Communist regime in Cuba knows that to the Obama administration the word “easement” means “A deal for which the U.S. gets nothing in exchange”, they want more.

Who wouldha thunk it!

How much more?

The whole enchilada (YES, I KNOW ENCHILADAS ARE MEXICAN. Bear with me here!):

  • Ending what’s left of the embargo
  • Ending all TV and radio broadcasts to the island
  • Cutting off support to dissidents
  • Removal from the states sponsors of terror list
  • Giving Guantanamo Base to Cuba

and (drumroll please)

  • Reparations! “just compensation to our people for the human and economic damage that they’re suffered.”

Since Communists love slogans, Gimme, gimme, gimme Gitmo!

Lest you believe that gifting Gitmo to Russia and all of these concessions are unlikely to come about, keep in mind that Obama is obsessed with his “legacy”. Take it away, Ed!

Only if one believes that these conditions will discourage Obama. He’s desperate for a foreign-policy achievement that will allow him to claim a legacy, and Castro knows it. (So does Iran.) Castro isn’t anywhere near as desperate for normalized relations with the US; he gets plenty of hard currency from the rest of the world, and exchanges it with the near-worthless Cuban peso with which he pays Cubans. Castro wants to strengthen his regime, and humiliating Obama will raise his prestige immeasurably at home.

Gifting Gitmo already has support among some, but as Joshua Treviño commented on Facebook (emphasis added),

We need to establish a new rule of thumb: anyone arguing that major bargaining points should be ceded in exchange for unforced goodwill does not understand basic power dynamics and should be ignored in policymaking henceforth. The Cuban regime isn’t going to be any more grateful or well-disposed toward us after occupying Guantanamo than they are now. They’ll just feel, with some justification, like they’ve won — and moreover won cheaply. What good that does us, well, ask the Israelis about the goodwill garnered after leaving Lebanon and Gaza.

As for the hand-waving dismissal of the modern importance of “conventional hemispheric defense,” that is the sort of thing one writes when one’s historical horizons are confined to an exceedingly small slice of history.

The small slice of history, in this case, “is all about the O.”

Somewhere in Cuba, Fidel’s amanuensis is gloating,

Read the rest of this entry »

Argentina: Cristina wants to dissolve Secretariat of Intelligence

January 28th, 2015

Let’s keep in mind that the Secretary of Intelligence was first on the murder scene,
Argentina leader wants shakeup after scandal

Kirchner has sent a draft bill to the country’s parliament which, if passed, would mean the Secretariat of Intelligence (SI) is replaced by the Federal Intelligence Agency.

Cristina would have us believe that Nisman, probably one of the most knowledgeable people on Iran’s presence in Latin America, was

a naive investigator who was used by others who fed him false information

I wonder whether anyone believes Kirchner at this point.

However, Alberto Nisman’s death ‘responsibility of pro-Kirchner intelligence operatives’, claims ex-official
Former senior Argentine security official blames presidential loyalist cell for killing of prosecutor as Cristina Kirchner calls for intelligence agency to be dissolved

But in the latest twist to the dramatic saga, the former senior official said that it was in fact Kirchner loyalists in the intelligence services (SI) who were responsible for Mr Nisman’s death.
He said that political operatives from the president’s Peronist faction took control of the SI after she fired its director John Stiusso and his deputy in December for allegedly being too close to the US and Israeli intelligence services.

Why kill Nisman after so many years?

Because, it is alleged, that among the Iranians who participated in the decision to bomb the AMIA buliding was none other than the current president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani.

Juan Zarate underlines why Alberto Nisman’s death is significant,



Mexico: What happened to the 43 students?

January 28th, 2015

#HastaEncontrarlos

As readers of this blog may recall, 43 student teachers disappeared four months ago in Iguala, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Now Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam says there is “legal certainty” they were murdered – raising even more questions, but Mexico’s president says it’s time to move on.

Read my article here.

Venezuela: The talking bodyguard

January 28th, 2015

Leamsy Salazar, former bodyguard of Hugo Chávez and Diosdado Cabello, is in New York and talking:
Bodyguard Outs Diosdado Cabello as Drug Cartel Chief
Chavismo’s Number Two Security Official in New York to Testify with DEA

Salazar has already testified that Cabello heads up the Soles cartel, a criminal organization that monopolized drug trafficking within the country, according to sources involved in the case.

An post shared on Twitter by Ramón Pérez-Maura, an ABC journalist covering the case, stated that Salazar’s testimony had also linked Cuba with the country’s narcotrafficking trade, “offering protection to certain routes along which drugs were brought to Venezuela from the United States.”

Pérez-Maura‘s colleague in New York Emili J. Blasco added further details that Cabello gave direct orders for the distribution of illicit substances, and that Salazar knew of locations where the accused “keeps mountains of dollar bills.”

Interamerican Security Watch translated a report from Spain’s ABC (emphasis added),

The Cartel of the Suns, primarily composed of members of the military (its name comes from the insignia worn on the uniform of Venezuelan generals), has a drug trafficking monopoly in Venezuela. The drugs are produced by the Colombian FARC [Fuerzas Revolucionarias de Colombia guerrillas] and taken to their destinations in the U.S. and Europe by Mexican cartels. Recent international figures indicate that Venezuela ships five tons of narcotics on a weekly basis. Ninety percent of the drugs produced by Colombia transits Venezuela.
. . .
In his revelations, Salazar also implicates the governor of Aragua state, Tarek el Aissami, who also has links with Islamic networks, and José David Cabello, brother of the National Assembly president, who for several years served as director of SENIAT [tax agency] and minister of industry. José David Cabello is allegedly responsible for the finances of the Cartel of the Suns. Salazar mentions that [the state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela] PDVSA is a money-laundering machine (sic). PDVSA’s former president from 2004 to 2014, Rafael Ramirez, was appointed in December as Venezuela’s ambassador before the U.N. Security Council.
. . .
Regarding the links with Havana, Salazar mentioned the regular use of PDVSA aircraft to transport drugs. A son of Chávez’s and a son of former Cuban ambassador in Caracas, Germán Sánchez Otero, organized these shipments. Other Cuban officials are mentioned as part of the scheme. The final destination of these shipments was the United States.

Caracas Chronicles has more on The Bodyguard.

In Latin America, drugs, terrorism and crime are threads of one fabric.

And paying for the Bolivarian Revolution is not cheap.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Stones Cry Out. Thank you!
Linked to by Pseudo-Polymath. Thank you!

Argentina: Today’s cartoon

January 27th, 2015

Cristina tango

Ayatollah: “There won’t be an investigation?”
Cristina: “No, but after the tango, a little oil . . . OK?”