En español: Unidad de quemados #217

April 24th, 2015

Luego de que una persona fuera embestida durante una competencia callejera avalada por las autoridades de San Cristóbal de las Casas, tres responsables llegan a la UdQ… y en el Cineclub de Nicasio: Una Noche para Sobrevivir

Detienen a dos funcionarios de San Cristóbal de las Casas

Oh look, the guy behind the Clinton uranium deal was also the guy behind the Clinton FTA deal

April 24th, 2015

Please read my latest, Oh look, the guy behind the Clinton uranium deal was also the guy behind the Clinton FTA deal.

Argentina: Hitting new lows on the #Nisman murder

April 24th, 2015

Cristina Fernandez’s administration’s approach to Alberto Nisman is two-pronged:
1. Get the case Alberto Nisman filed a few days before his murder dismissed from the courts.
2. Engage in a full-spectrum smear campaign against Nisman.

The Washington Post has an editorial on #2, which now includes anti-Semitism:
Argentina’s president resorts to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

WHAT DO lobbyists at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the director of a Washington think tank have to do with hedge-fund manager Paul Singer and the Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died mysteriously in January? Well, according to Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, they are all part of a “global modus operandi” that “generates international political operations of any type, shape and color.” They “ ‘contribute’ to financial attacks or simultaneous international media operations, or even worse, covert actions of various ‘services’ designed to destabilize governments.”

Cristina’s accusations, titled Everything has to do with everything when it comes to geopolitics and international power, first posted at her official website, are now missing, but The Guardian listed some of them:

Fernández says Nisman told leaders of the Delegation of Argentine Israeli Associations (Daia): “If necessary, Paul Singer will help us.” This is alleged to have happened two years ago when Nisman lobbied the body – which represents the country’s Jews – to mount a legal challenge a memorandum of understanding between Argentina and Iran.

Nisman and his supporters alleged that the memorandum was part of a conspiracy to cover up Iran’s involvement in the bombing in exchange for a trade deal – a charge denied by both Iran and Fernández.

The president’s allegations that Singer supported her critics were based on an article in the government-friendly newspaper Página 12 by Jorge Elbaum, a former executive director of Daia. Elbaum claimed Singer was funding opposition to the Iran-Argentina deal in Buenos Aires and Washington. The report says Singer also donated $3.6m between 2008 and 2014 to the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, a thinktank whose executive director, Mark Dubowitz, claims to be a friend of Nisman’s.

Fernández said she saw parallels between these activities and the Israeli government’s support for US members of Congress who aimed to block the recent US-Iran nuclear deal. In both cases, she said lobbyists and covert agencies organised financial attacks and media smear operations designed to destabilised governments.

Not only was Cristina’s original article erased from her official website, she did not bother to present any evidence (in court or elsewhere) to any of her accusations.

And, just this week, prosecutor Javier De Luca asserted that, when it comes to Nisman’s case, “There has been no crime.”

Venezuela: Maduro negotiated for Hezbollah training camps in Venezuela

April 23rd, 2015

A new book by Emili Blasco, Bumerán Chávez: Los fraudes que llevaron al colapso de Venezuela claims that Nicolas Maduro negotiated with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah for Hezbollah training camps in Venezuela.

The article, Nicolás Maduro negoció con Hizbolá la presencia de sus milicianos en Venezuela
Se entrevistó con su líder Nasralá para hablar de narcotráfico, blanqueo de dinero, suministro de armas y entrega de pasaportes
(Nicolás Maduro negotiated with Hezbollah its militia’s presence in Venezuela
He discussed with its leader Nasrallah drug trafficking, money laundering, supplying weapons and passports), by Blasco, the book’s author and Washington, D.C. correspondent for Spanish daily ABC, explains that the meeting, orchestrated by Hugo Chavez, took place in Damascus in 2007 when Maduro was Foreign Minister.

La cita en Damasco fue probablemente resultado de las conversaciones mantenidas en enero de 2007 por Chávez y el presidente iraní, Mahmud Ahmadineyad, que significaron un salto en la cooperación de Venezuela con los intereses del radicalismo islámico. En marzo de ese año entró en servicio un vuelo semanal entre Caracas y Teherán, con escala en una base militar de Damasco, lo que puso el Caribe más rápidamente al alcance de Hizbolá.

[my translation] The appointment in Damascus likely came about from January, 2007, conversations between Chavez and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which bounced up cooperation between Venezuela and Islamic state interests. On March that year, direct flights started between Caracas and Teheran, with a stop at a military base in Damascus, which placed the Caribbean at Hezbollah’s closer reach.

(h/t HACER)

—————————————

In other Venezuelan news, the government is using posters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles for target practice at the Universidad Nacional Experimental de la Seguridad military college.

[Post corrected for misspelling]

Chile: Here’s the kaboom!

April 23rd, 2015

Where’s the kaboom?

Here’s the kaboom!
Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupts for first time in more than 40 years

More spectacular photos at the links above.

Alinsky wears high heels

April 22nd, 2015

Read my post, Alinsky wears high heels.

Video: LANGUAGE ALERT

Venezuela: Censorship all around

April 22nd, 2015

Dictatorship control on all,

The Economist:
Maduro’s muzzle
Not content with harassing the press, the regime censors itself

Under Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded Chávez as president in 2013, the government is supplementing its relentless propaganda with self-censorship. The apparent goal is to hide from Venezuelans bad news that might weaken their already shaky faith in the regime. The health ministry, for instance, has not published a weekly epidemiological bulletin since early November, despite concurrent outbreaks of three mosquito-borne diseases. Last May Venezuela saw its first cases of chikungunya, a disease originating in Africa, which causes very high fevers and severe joint pains. It took the authorities five months to declare chikungunya a notifiable disease. The most recent bulletin still fails to include it.

Self-censorship is not confined to the health authorities. The National Statistical Institute (INE) has not published poverty data for 2014. No one has provided production figures for PDVSA, the state oil corporation, for the past three months. When officials explain their silence, which is not often, they talk of a need to avoid “political manipulation” of statistics.

Not that this should come as a surprise to long-term readers of this blog: For years I have mentioned that

The International Monetary Fund keeps a List of IMF Member Countries with Delays in Completion of Article IV Consultations or Mandatory Financial Stability Assessments Over 18 Months. As of the writing of this post, Venezuela hasn’t held an Article IV consultation with the IMF in 99 months.

Let me translate that into plain English: The Venezuelan government has not allowed its own numbers to be verified for almost a decade.

It also stopped reporting a number of standard indicators several years ago

About the only thing that’s new is Nicolas Maduro’s latest conspiracy theory.

By the way, why is Venezuela still considered a hybrid regime?

States that fit the hybrid regime profile can be identified based on the following characteristics:
– elections which are not too flawed and which have the potential to make a difference;
– significant levels of corruption, particularly in the judicial and electoral arenas;
– a lack of vital components of democratic quality, such as checks and balances and government accountability;
– a problematic press freedom situation, typically including incumbents’ desire to control the media, particularly television;
– a poor civil liberties situation, including limits on freedom of expression and the freedom to form organisations and trade unions; and
– a problematic rule of law situation, including a lack of judicial independence.

The elections were rigged.

Carlos Rangel posts on Muzzling a country

Cuba: Strawberries can get you jailed

April 21st, 2015

Over three million foreign tourists went to Cuba in 2013 and 2014, and Cuba last year received $300million + in trade with the U.S., but after easing U.S. sanctions, the average Cuban is sent to the clink and loses everything over strawberries (h/t Babalu):
Any farmer caught selling to the general population the strawberries that he cultivates will be fined 1000 CUP* (national currency) and have his land confiscated.

Argentina: Prosecutor drops #Nisman’s case

April 21st, 2015

The only surprising thing about this is that it went this far:
Argentine Prosecutor Drops Case Against President Cristina Kirchner
Javier De Luca argued that accusations were spurious
(emphasis added),

In a 27-page decision, prosecutor Javier De Luca argued that Mr. Nisman’s case against Mrs. Kirchner and others was spurious. “The constitution prohibits the initiation and continuation of a criminal investigation simply to determine if a crime has been committed when it is readily clear that no crime has been committed,” Mr. De Luca wrote.
. . .
The prosecutor is a member of a pro-Kirchner group, Legitimate Justice, which some members of the judiciary say is focused on protecting government officials. The group’s leaders say they are trying to reform a judiciary that had become too close to big corporations and vested interests. Argentina ranks 127 out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum ratings on judicial independence.

De Luca also argued that the negotiations with Iran with members of Cristina’s inner circle cannot be considered a crime since conspiracy is not included in the Argentine Penal Code.

Nisman’s writ: strike III and out?

Although the judges from that tribunal can question the grounds of De Luca’s decision they cannot take up the complaint itself, sources from the court told the Herald yesterday.
. . .
De Luca’s dismissal came the same day that Nisman’s mother, Sara Garfunkel, along with a group of opposition politicians and intellectuals filed a writ before the Supreme Court to keep her son’s complaint afloat, something that is not likely to happen at the influential Comodoro Py courthouse.

As Capt. Louis Renault famously said,

UPDATE:
Carlos Hos has a list of unanswered questions regarding Nisman’s murder (in Spanish)

Bolivia: Dumb. And dumber.

April 20th, 2015

No, not these guys,

This guy:

Dumb:
Gay and bald? Evo Morales thinks you ate too much chicken
Bolivian president causes homophobia storm by blaming ‘deviant’ men on hormone-reared fowl

Dumber:
Evo Morales’s political party aims to become the country’s only political party: El partido de Evo Morales ahora busca ser el único en todo el país. Just two weeks ago, his party suffered serious setbacks in local and regional elections in Bolivia, with unofficial results showing it losing the capital of La Paz and several key governorships.

The head of the coca growers’ union doesn’t like competition. Who knew!

UPDATE:
Linked to by Grouchomarxistas. Thank you!