Colombia: What other weapons were in the Chinese ship heading to Cuba

March 5th, 2015

Along with long-range weapons systems, the BBC reports that the Chinese ship Da Dan Xia, intercepted last week by Colombian authorities as it headed to Cuba, was carrying

About 100 tonnes of gunpowder, almost three million detonators and some 3,000 cannon shells were found on board the Da Dan Xia, officials said.

But according to the ship’s records, it was carrying grain products.
. . .
The Da Dan Xia is operated by China’s largest shipping company, Cosco Shipping.

Cuba isn’t saying anything yet, but the Chinese say,

We were engaged in “normal trade cooperation involving normal military supplies.”

Rather than dig into the illegal weapons trade, American media is focused instead on Conan’s trip to Cuba,

Looks like Conan spent more time interacting with dogs than with dissidents.

Humberto Fontova reminds us that

(BTW, over TWENTY TIMES as many people have died trying to escape the place Conan advertised last night, as died trying to escape East Berlin.)



Argentina: Pollicita appeals dismissal of #Nisman’s suit

March 5th, 2015

Federal prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita appealed the dismissal of the suit Alberto Nisman filed days before his murder:
Prosecutor Appeals Dismissal of Accusations Against Argentina’s President
Appellate court must now decide if allegations against Kirchner merit further investigation

Last month, Mr. Pollicita asked Judge Rafecas to open an investigation into accusations that Mrs. Kirchner, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, and others tried to sabotage a yearslong probe into the attack, which killed 85 people at the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, or AMIA, in Buenos Aires.

But the judge declined to investigate, saying no crime had been committed and that while an investigation might uncover additional facts they would be irrelevant to the coverup allegations.

“Only by carrying out a proper investigation and obtaining all of the facts, based on the participation of all parties, we will be able to decide if it is reasonable to file charges or, in contrast, if it the charges should be definitively thrown out,” Mr. Pollicita said in his appeal.

I hope Mr. Pollicita’s security detail can be trusted.

What’s going on, or the consequences of “smart diplomacy”

March 4th, 2015

The Democ­rats’ reac­tion to Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu Address to Joint Meet­ing of Con­gress (you can watch the speech in full at the link) offers a rare oppor­tu­nity to high­light the dis­con­nect between the Democrats-​and-​the-​media (but I repeat myself, as Pete says) talk­ing points and the con­se­quence of a pol­icy where the U.S. abdi­cates its posi­tion as leader of the free world.

Read my article at Da Tech Guy Blog

Related:
Mr Netanyahu’s speech, transcript and video,

Today’s podcast

March 4th, 2015

Talking about Iran in Latin America, Argentina PLUS other stories with Silvio Canto, Jr. Live at 10AM Eastern, and archived for your listening convenience.

Please complete a survey on political blogs

March 3rd, 2015

Doctoral candidate Juan M. Sánchez-Villar of the University of Valencia (Spain) has requested my help in completing his research on the effects reading political blogs may have on the adoption of a more participative political position.

For that, he needs that you, gentle reader, complete a survey before March 15th. The survey takes 8-12 minutes to complete.

Here is his email explaining,

Dear friends,

My name is Juan Sánchez and I am a PhD Marketing student at the University of Valencia (Spain). I am currently developing my doctoral thesis, which focuses on the existing relationship between Internet interactivity and the adoption of a more participative political position.

I would like to ask your collaboration to complete the empirical part of my thesis. In this respect, I need you to click on the link below in order to complete a brief and simple online survey.

As you will see, the questionnaire is easy to answer and can be completed in no more than 8-12 (real-time) minutes. The survey displays several statements on different elements related to blog reading and political participation.

My research has no commercial purpose whatsoever and all the collated information will remain totally anonymous. No previous relevant academic background is required and there are no right and wrong answers. What are truly important and relevant are the freely-expressed opinions on the matters raised.

Please click on the following link to participate:

BLOGS, INTERACTIVITY AND POLITICAL OPINION LEADERSHIP SURVEY

Thank you very much for your kind collaboration.

Regards,

Juan Sánchez-Villar
University of Valencia (Spain)

Thank you.

Bolivia: 27 tons of ground coke seized on their way to Lebanon

March 3rd, 2015

Last week I posted on Argentina as the #3 drug shipping link.

Today, Bolivian media report that 27 tons of ground coke disguised as mate were seized by authorities.

The final destination? Lebanon.

Apparently the ground coke was going to be shipped from a Chilean – not Argentinian – port.

The only use for ground coke is cocaine production.

A Bolivian government minister stated that this is the first time authorities seize ground coke meant to be processed into cocaine outside the country. He estimated that the $350,000 ground coke would have a street value of over $90million.

Considering the political landscape in the Middle East, would it be unreasonable to assume Hezbollah is involved?

Live feed to Netanyahu’s speech

March 3rd, 2015

C-SPAN

FoxNews

Colombia Intercepts Shipment of “War Materiel” Headed to Cuba

March 3rd, 2015

From the U.S. State Department website:

State Sponsors of Terrorism:

Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.

Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors. Currently there are four countries designated under these authorities: Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria

In the news:
Colombia Intercepts Shipment of “War Materiel” Headed to Cuba (emphasis added)

Colombian authorities have intercepted a Chinese-flagged ship loaded with “war materiel” headed for Cuba.

Headline in Spanish: Autoridades Colombianas interceptan barco de bandera china cargado de armamento de guerra de largo alcance con destino a Cuba.

It was intercepted near the Port of Cartagena. The cargo includes long-range weapons systems.

According to El Tiempo, the ship did not have appropriate documentation — indicating that this was a clandestine shipment.

Capitol Hill Cubans point out,

Cuba was found to be in violation of U.N. sanctions — the most egregious violation of these sanctions to date.

Yet, Castro’s regime got away scot-free — despite a U.N. Panel of Experts documenting how the Cuban authorities lied and sought to conceal the weapons shipment.

Instead, the Obama Administration rewarded Castro’s regime with the normalization of diplomatic relations and eased sanctions for travel and trade with the Cuban military’s monopolies.

While everybody’s talking about Paris Hilton in Havana, the Communist regime’s importing long-range weapons systems; That’s today’s news in “smart diplomacy.”

The first Monday in March Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

March 2nd, 2015

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Fein expects challenges

Vast Argentine Wildfire Burns Out of Control for Almost 2 Weeks

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Plans to Create “Sovereign Cloud” to Improve Computer Security

BRAZIL
Cops Clear Brazilian Highway Blocked by Protesting Truckers

CHILE
Borrowing a line from Obama? Chile’s President Says She Learned about Her Son’s Deals in the Press

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s Santos Confident of Peace Accord with FARC This Year

CUBA
NY Times Greets Feeble Free Market Moves in Cuba With Pitiful Obsession Over Income Inequality

Venezuela Proves Fallacy of Obama’s Cuba Policy

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haiti Protests Dominican Republic Racism Against Immigrants After Henry Claude Jean Lynching

ECUADOR
Sharon Stone sued for missing anti-Chevron events

HONDURAS
Honduras, Guatemala Inch Closer to Free-Trade Zone
Plan-Colombia Style Initiative in Central America Doomed to Fail, Say Critics

MEXICO
Mexico’s Peña Nieto Replaces Beleaguered Attorney General

PANAMA
The Invisible Hand and the New Panama Locks

PERU
Oil spills in Peru

PUERTO RICO
FDIC Closes Puerto Rico’s Doral Bank; Banco Popular Steps In

VENEZUELA
Intel Leak Reveals Five FARC Commanders Based in Venezuela
Armed Forces Document Drug-Trafficking Guerrilla Stronghold in Southwest

After 10 months behind bars, Marcelo Crovato, Jailed for Defending Human Rights, Gets House Arrest

El bolívar se desploma tras fracaso del nuevo sistema cambiario en Venezuela

The weeks’s posts and podcast:
Mexico: Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, the equipal chair guy

Cuba: The long and the short of it

Venezuela: Criminalizing dissent, pt. 2

Argentina: #Nisman’s lawsuit dismissed

Brazil: No joy in soy

Argentina: #3 port of departure for Europe’s cocaine?

Argentina: Pope Francis worried about “Mexicanization”

Colombia: Aronson special envoy to FARC peace talks

Colombia: Hello FARC, good-bye rule of law

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Spain, moving towards Chavismo?

All about Steve: A review of Birdman

Podcast:
Venezuela, Argentina PLUS other US-Latin America stories

Colombia: Obama Elbows Into the Colombia Peace Talks – what could possibly go wrong?

March 2nd, 2015

Mary O’Grady doesn’t mince words at the appointment of Bernard “Bernie” Aronson as Special Envoy to Colombia’s peace talks with the FARC:
Obama Elbows Into the Colombia Peace Talks
Meddling in the FARC negotiations advances his Cuba policy; the rest is collateral damage

God save us from politicians in pursuit of a “legacy.”

Exactly as Cuba’s Communist regime has remained unchanged,

After almost 3½ years of “negotiating” with the Colombian government, the FARC remains intransigent. Last week FARC negotiator Iván Márquez said “the surrendering of weapons is out of the question” and that for his side “there will be zero jail time.”

Likewise, just as Obama’s envoys didn’t ask for anything in return, O’Grady points out that

Colombian President Manuel Santos ’s response during the negotiations has been to offer more concessions. In December he proposed downgrading the FARC’s extensive drug trafficking from a felony to a political crime, which could carry no penalty. He has talked of letting them do “community service” in lieu of jail time for their many atrocities. Some congressmen have called for giving the FARC unelected seats in Congress.

Not only that, Santos blurted out last month he wants former FARC as cops.

What could possibly go wrong?