Argentina: Investigate Cristina, get impeached?

November 28th, 2014

Argentine Probe Sparks Dispute Between Government, Judiciary
Judge Heading Investigation Into President’s Business Activities Faces Call for Impeachment

Last week, federal agents raided the office of the Kirchner family hotel company, Hotesur, as part of an investigation by Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio into allegations that the company hasn’t filed financial statements for years.

Investigators said that when they arrived at Hotesur’s registered headquarters in downtown Buenos Aires, they found abandoned office space.

Since the raid, the government has issued scathing attacks on the judicial system, saying Judge Bonadio is overreacting to a minor matter of missing paperwork.

In a message posted on the presidency’s official Twitter account, Mrs. Kirchner claimed Judge Bonadio owns a stake in a company whose paperwork isn’t up-to-date: “This is just like Hotesur. Will some judge now order a raid?”

Congresswoman Margarita Stolbizer filed a criminal complaint against Kirchner and Lázaro Báez, a longtime family friend and business partner of the Kirchner, amid allegations of money laundering.



The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans

November 28th, 2014

Says the POTUS,
The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans: read more at Da Tech Guy Blog.

On thankfulness and apple pie

November 27th, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Read my notes On thankfulness and apple pie, with recipe here.

IMG_0152

UPDATE:
LInked to by the Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!

En español: Terapia Intensiva 233

November 26th, 2014

Mexico’s failures and immigration

November 26th, 2014

Monica Showalter writes an IBD editorial on how Mexico’s President Celebrates Obama Amnesty, But Should Be Ashamed
About That Gloating From Mexico
(emphasis added)

With the vast majority of America’s 11 million illegal Mexican citizens — who flee their country’s corruption, poverty, low growth, rampant crony capitalism and embedded socialism — protesting over the past decade against getting sent back there, Pena Nieto ought to be embarrassed to show his face in public.
Fact is, the Obama amnesty highlights the awful failure of Mexico as an economic entity that can’t even create an acceptable place to live for a large number of its citizens.

Two-thirds of the eligible beneficiaries of the Obama amnesty — 3.2 million people — are Mexican nationals who will benefit from the presidential decree, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

They’re the longest-term residents, and nothing they’ve seen in Mexico over the decades has enticed them to return.

Why?

Mexico, according to the State Department’s country page, experienced average GDP growth of just 1.9% from 1960 to 2011. Income per capita in the same period has risen an average of even less, at 1.8%.

By contrast, Mexico’s labor force has grown an average of 2.2% since 1998 and more than that in the longer run. An average of 54,000 jobs have been created in each of the past five years, while its labor force has grown by about 224,000 a year over the same time, according to CIA World Fact Book and World Bank data.

What’s more, productivity gains have been low, with none lower than in those states that ship the most illegals — Zacatecas, Michoacan, Guerrero, Durango, Chiapas and Oaxaca, according to OECD data.

Unable to employ anywhere near the number who need jobs, it’s no surprise that 58.8% of Mexicans are underemployed or in informal off-the-book employment in the struggle to survive. Faced with that struggle, millions just head north to America.

And by the way, that figure includes 15.47% of all Mexico’s college graduates, according to a study in the Journal of Inter American Studies. (The U.S. figure, by contrast, is 0.45%.)

Tangled tax laws, overregulation, corruption and an unstable currency have all had their hand in the substandard growth that has not kept up with population.

Add to that the ruinous criminality, which has caused the death of hundreds of thousands.

But perhaps Peña Nieto is right to gloat: the U.S. government has done what he wanted, to provide – for the foreseeable future – an escape valve for internal pressures that would otherwise require him to act on.

Venezuela: New deal with China

November 25th, 2014

High hopes, we’ve got high hopes . . .

The Chinese pull the chestnuts (temporarily) off the fire:
China Loosens Debt Terms for Venezuela
With Default Threatening the Economy as Oil Prices Tumble, Caracas Gets a Lifeline From Its Biggest Creditor

Not only for Venezuela, but also for Argentina (emphasis added),

Last week the president [Maduro] used a $4 billion Chinese credit, traditionally earmarked by the Chinese government for infrastructure projects and held in off-budget funds, to increase reserves to $23.2 billion. China also recently lent $1.3 billion to help Argentina buoy falling reserves, giving President Cristina Kirchner , a close ally of Mr. Maduro, a cushion to help alleviate that country’s cash crunch.

Beijing’s largess may appear irrational given economic policies in Venezuela and Argentina that do not appear sustainable, said Barbara Kotschwar, a scholar who tracks Chinese investment in Latin America at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

“On the other hand,” Ms. Kotschwar said, “they are so invested in Venezuela’s oil industry that they may have calculated that a political crisis would have a negative impact on their return on investment or on Venezuela’s repayment of loans.”

That’s putting it mildly; according to Maduro himself,

Venezuela’s oil revenues, which account for 96% of the country’s dollar income, are down by 35% in the past month

China has risked millions of dollars in Latin America to secure their supply lines, and as analyst Russ Dallen, managing partner at brokerage Caracas Capital Markets, put it, “for the short term, they’re secure.” However, considering that

China last month scrapped the requirement that Venezuela ship at least 330,000 barrels of oil a day as payment for its existing loans

the meaning of “secure” may be more fluid than we believe – and not only for the short term.



Panama: Legal truble for Carlos Slim

November 25th, 2014

Carlos Slim, best known in the USA for his Obamaphones, and who was bidding for Univision earlier this year, is looking to diversify.

A Panamanian judge, however, is cramping his style:
Panamanian Judge Orders Embargo on Carlos Slim Assets
A Panamanian judge has ordered an embargo on the local assets of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s infrastructure company in a legal dispute over a concession to build and operate a hydroelectric plant.

The decision to embargo 10 properties, including the Bajo de Mina hydro plant, follows a complaint by Panamanian businessman Julio César Lisac, who charges that the Panamanian government unjustly canceled his right to the concession in 2006 and later gave it to Mr. Slim’s company, Panamanian newspaper La Estrella de Panama reported on Sunday

Slim’s Ideal also operates toll roads, water projects and public transport terminals in Mexico.

A commenter at the WSJ mentions that “had the exact same thing happen to him after he bought Comp-USA almost fourteen years ago now.” Here’s a link to that story.

The amnesty Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

November 24th, 2014

LatinAmerAs predicted, Pres. Obama granted amnesty to an untold number of illegal aliens. Walter Russel Mead has some thoughts on the subject: Obama’s Big Miscalculation
President Obama’s new initiative is unlikely to succeed politically—in part because Democrats are overconfident that rising Hispanic immigration will deliver them a permanent, left-leaning majority.

In many ways Latinos face less prejudice than Jews or Italians did in the 1880s, and have more opportunities to integrate into American society at large than those earlier generations of immigrants did. The evidence if anything suggests that Hispanic immigrants are more open to the cultural influences of American political and social ideas than were earlier waves. While very few Italian, Jewish or Greek immigrants, for example, converted to evangelical Protestantism, 24% of hispanic adults in America are now former Catholics. Hispanics are a large and varied group, but by and large they are learning English, starting businesses, joining Protestant churches and voting Republican at levels that suggest that they are anything but a permanently alienated racial underclass in formation.

And then there’s the Democrats’ assumption that “Hispanics” are a homogeneous group.

ARGENTINA
Fitch Cuts IMPSA, WPEI, and Venti to Default

A more accurate translation is “The Falklands are Argentinian”, Argentina rules all public transport must state: ‘The Falklands are Argentina’
Argentina’s congress passes a law which states that all public transport and stations must display a sign reading “Las Malvinas son Argentinas”

BOLIVIA
Influx of Cheap Peruvian Quinoa Riles Bolivia

BRAZIL
Brazil Probe Sparks Worries Over Olympics
Prosecutors are investigating firms working on Rio’s 2016 Games for their roles in an alleged graft ring surrounding Petrobras.

Authorities are investigating allegations that the companies formed a cartel to drive up the value of contracts with state-controlled energy giant Petróleo Brasileiro SA PETR4.BR +11.89% and paid bribes to the Petrobras executives and Brazilian politicians.

The prosecutors’ targets include Brazilian-based multinational construction companies Odebrecht, Queiroz Galvão and OAS, who together are partners in billions of dollars of contracts for the Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Petrobras Bonds Decline With Builders Amid Graft Probe

CHILE
Chilean colonels jailed for torture
Two retired Chilean colonels – Ramon Caceres and Edgar Ceballos – are jailed for torturing the father of President Michelle Bachelet in 1973.

COLOMBIA
Colombia Prepares Areas Where FARC Will Release Hostages

CUBA
La máquina de matar: El Che Guevara, de agitador comunista a marca capitalista

Cuba says measures to make food more affordable fall short

Mosque for you? Maybe….. ($$$$$$?)

ECUADOR
Iranian Nobel Laureate to Inaugurate UNESCO Chair at University of Ecuador

Correa Takes on Market Forces with Slew of Employment Prohibitions
“Government of the Worker” to Mandate Wage Ratios, Ban Uncompensated Layoffs

GUATEMALA
100,000 Guatemalans Could Benefit from Obama’s Executive Order

GUYANA
Guyana’s Main Opposition Demands Elections Now

HONDURAS
Four Involved in the Murder of Miss Honduras World and Sister Sent to Prison

MEXICO
U.S. Marshals Service Personnel Dressed as Mexican Marines Pursue Cartel Bosses
Members of U.S. Marshals Service Join Military Operations in Mexico Against Drug Gangs

Mexico Is Fed Up and This Time, It’s Different

Teeth and Bones: Mass Abduction Reveals a Decaying Mexican State

Mexico’s Holy Warrior Against the Cartels
Padre Goyo, with his clerical collar and his bulletproof vest, is an icon for those fighting drugs and corruption. But some in the church think he goes too far.

NICARAGUA
Yeah, right, Nicaragua canal: Construction to begin in December. Heed my advice and don’t be the next Lord Crawley.

PANAMA
The French School Where Panama Canal Pilots Train in Cute Little Ships

PERU
Peru Introduces Measures to Boost Economy
Peru’s government plans to cut taxes and boost government spending to give a shot of growth to the weakening economy.

PUERTO RICO
Opinion: Puerto Ricans will be hurt the most by President Obama’s executive action

Puerto Rico Sees Slight Drop in Unemployment Rate

URUGUAY
Same old, Vazquez Is Favorite to Win Uruguay Presidential Vote

VENEZUELA
Alek Boyd tells us how he was robbed of his lap tops, and only them

Oligarco Works The Fascist Phone Line

Venezuelan Consumers Get Creative Amid Shortages

The week’s posts and podcast:
The Iran-Cuba-Venezuela Nexus

Venezuela: Tweet of the day

Ecuador: Assange granted political asylum

Chile: Blowing up the ATMs

Cuba: The wall

Venezuela: Break-in in London

Countdown to amnesty, continued

Cuba: The Nation’s Valentine’s cruise

Amnesty: I told you so UPDATED

Countdown to amnesty

Keystone XL & Venezuela

Colombia: Government suspends peace talks after FARC kidnaps general

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Amnesty: A slap in the face to all of us, not just to #Fruitpickers and #Bedmakers

Why weren’t taxes an issue in the last election?

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio Canto, Jr.



The Iran-Cuba-Venezuela Nexus

November 24th, 2014

Mary O’Grady writes on Iran’s presence in Latin America, a topic I have blogged about for the past ten years:


The Iran-Cuba-Venezuela Nexus
The West underestimates the growing threat from radical Islam in the Americas.


The West is well aware of the growing presence of Islamic fundamentalism in the Americas, but policy makers may be underestimating the threat. Joseph Humire is a security analyst and co-editor of “Iran’s Strategic Penetration of Latin America,” a book published earlier this year. In an interview in New York last week, Mr. Humire described Iran’s significant progress, over three decades, in setting up operations in the region.

The earliest stages of the process have featured clandestine operatives using mosques to make connections inside Muslim communities and then using those connections to access wealth and gain political prominence. Where these initial forays have been successful, says Mr. Humire, Iran has opened embassies and established commercial agreements that allow operatives to create businesses, which can be used as fronts for covert operations.

In Venezuela and Bolivia, Iran has moved to the next level, developing a military presence through joint ventures in defense industries. In Venezuela, the state of Aragua, where Mr. El Aissami is now governor, is ground zero for this activity.

Havana applauds this Islamic intervention. Since the rise of chavismo, Cuba has supplied intelligence services to Venezuela and its regional allies, notably Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador. Mr. Humire says it has also supplied passport-information technology to allow these countries to process individuals from the Middle East, hand out new documents and maintain the secrecy of true identities. Cuba has used this capacity to exchange information with like-minded nations, including Russia and Iran.

O’Grady’s article goes on to describe the important role the governor of the state of Aragua and former Venezuela interior minister, Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah, plays in building

“a criminal-terrorist pipeline bringing militant Islamists into Venezuela and surrounding countries, and sending illicit funds from Latin America to the Middle East.”

Cuba wants to get aid from Iran. Keep that in mind when Obama ends the embargo with Cuba.

Venezuela: Tweet of the day

November 22nd, 2014