Immigration: Obama to allow in 100,000 Haitians with no visas

October 20th, 2014

Hey, I know scientists with PhDs who have had to leave because their visas weren’t extended, but Obama is inviting in 100,000 Haitians to be your new neighbors, a move that will have disastrous consequences for Puerto Rico.

Keith Hoffler: Obama Quietly Begins Unilateral Immigration Reform

President Obama Friday made a downpayment on the sweeping immigration “reform” he is expected to unilaterally declare once the elections are out of the way, permitting up to around 100,000 prospective Haitian immigrants to bypass immigration law and enter the country.

The move, a typical Friday announcement designed to attract minimum notice, eliminated wait times for future Florida Democratic voters Haitians who have been approved to gain green cards in two years, allowing them to make their way to the United States beginning in 2015 instead and begin working if they want.

Their entry has to have been petitioned by “family” members already in the United States.

This will negatively impact Florida, but especially Puerto Rico’s ailing economy, which has a sizable Haitian illegal alien problem.

Obama is bypassing Congress since his priorities are clear. This statement from Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas shows that the administration has its eye on rebuilding the Haitian economy, a foreign country, giving no thought to the ailing economy of Puerto Rico, a U.S. Commonwealth,

“The rebuilding and development of a safe and economically strong Haiti is a priority for the United States. The Haitian Family Reunification Parole program promotes a fundamental underlying goal of our immigration system — family reunification,” said Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. “It also supports broader U.S. goals for Haiti’s reconstruction and development by providing the opportunity for certain eligible Haitians to safely and legally immigrate sooner to the United States.”

But wait! There’s more!

Speaking to the Miami Herald, an administration official did not try to hide that the action was taken in lieu of legislation.

Comprehensive immigration reform would have solved this problem not just for Haitians but for all other nationalities who are waiting in the immigrant visa backlog because it would have substantially increased the numbers of family immigrant visas available and people would have been able to come in as permanent residents. As it hasn’t happened, we are proceeding with this program.

“For all other nationalities”? According to the House Judiciary Committee,

A similar program that reunited Central American children with their parents had a fraud rate of about 70%.

Ruling country by decree: a rolling disaster of President Obama’s own making.

[NOTE: There will be no Carnival of Latin America today since I'm still in the thick of moving.]



In transit, again

October 17th, 2014

During the next few days I’m completing a move that started in July, so blogging will be sporadic. Stay tuned.

Across the country, in an unrelated event, Gerard‘s moving too, as it tuns out. He’s an optimist:

The curious incident of the Carnival Magic in Belize UPDATED

October 17th, 2014

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#Ebola, a cruise ship, an international incident; my latest article, The curious incident of the Carnival Magic in Belize is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

The curious incident will probably put the kibosh on Caribbean holiday tourism for a long time.

UPDATE
MUST-READ:
An Outbreak of Epidemiological Hysteria.

As Tyler Durden said, It’s almost as if the administration is doing everything in its power to spread a panic.

Venezuela and the falling oil price UPDATED

October 17th, 2014

Venezuelan oil revenues prop up not only the Maduro government but also Cuba, and other countries receive Venezuelan oil through Petrocaribe.

Venezuela Vulnerable to Oil’s Fall
Fears among investors grow that Caracas could default its debt, as crude’s decline exacerbates the country’s recession and widespread consumer shortages.

Oil exporters from Russia to Iran are suffering with the lowest crude oil prices since June 2012. But few are as vulnerable as Venezuela, where a free-spending populist government had already been grappling with a recession, widespread shortages, and massive protests earlier this year.

Analysts expect that the Venezuelan barrel—heavier and more expensive to process than Middle East oil—will have fallen below $80 when officials announce this week’s price on Friday, which would be the lowest since late 2010. Last Friday, Venezuelan officials said their country’s crude had fallen to $82.72, nearly a $10 tumble in a little over a month.

Years ago I estimated that the chavistas need a minimum of $75/barrel for their agenda.

We’ll see what happens if it goes down to that number.

UPDATE:
Steve Hanke on Oil Price Blues (Read: Dangers) for Some

If oil prices stay below $90 per barrel for any length of time, we will witness massive fiscal squeezes and regime changes in one or more of the following countries: Iran, Bahrain, Ecuador, Venezuela, Algeria, Nigeria, Iraq, or Libya. It will be a movie we have seen before.



Venezuela wins U.N. Council seat

October 16th, 2014

I told you on October 13:

it’s very likely Chavez’s daughter Maria Gabriela Chavez will soon be sitting next to an American diplomat at the United Nations Security Council.

Sure enough, today:

Venezuela, Malaysia, Angola and New Zealand won seats on the United Nations Security Council on Thursday for two years from Jan. 1, 2015, while a run-off vote between Spain and Turkey was taking place to decide who gets the fifth available spot.

The 193-member U.N. General Assembly elected Venezuela with 181 votes in favor

Somewhere in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin is laughing.

Eichmann’s true nature: 2 reviews of “Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer”

October 16th, 2014

Bettina Stangneth shows that Adolf Eichmann acted out of genocidal anti-Semitism, and challenges Hannah Arendt’s claim that he was “terribly and terrifyingly normal.”

Gerald Steinacher at the WSJ: Adolf Eichmann’s Extraordinary Evil
Hannah Arendt saw Adolf Eichmann as an unthinking bureaucrat. She never read the transcripts of his conversations after the war.

Ms. Stangneth, drawing on documents and research that Arendt never had access to, reaches a different conclusion: He was a master manipulator. “Whether he was in the Third Reich, Argentina, or Israel, Eichmann gave detailed and well-informed accounts of the murder of millions. He simply adjusted the account of his own role, and his attitude toward the murders, to his changing circumstances,” she writes.

Argentina was instrumental in his escape, and of others:

Ms. Stangneth, drawing on research by the Argentinian author Uki Goñi and others, also reminds us how openly the networks of former Nazis operated and how far they reached. Like thousands of other Nazis and collaborators, Eichmann escaped to Argentina with the help of Italian Catholic priests and Argentinian officials while carrying Red Cross travel papers. Ms. Stangneth emphasizes the lack of interest Allied authorities showed in bringing former Nazis to justice after the war. This is consistent with my own research, which shows that the Nazis’ escape networks were well-known by many governments and institutions, including the U.S. State Department, as early as 1947. But with the increasing tensions between the West and the Soviet Union, denazification efforts became less and less important. After the Korean War broke out in 1950, attention almost completely shifted to the new enemy: communism. It now appears that the German intelligence service was aware of Eichmann’s whereabouts as early as 1952 but showed little effort to apprehend him. Only Israel was willing to take justice into its own hands.

Richard Wolin at the Jewish Review of Books (emphasis added): Arendt, Banality, and Benhabib: A Final Rejoinder

Nor have I ever claimed that Eichmann was “demonic,” “perverted,” or diabolical. This is a willful misattribution and, more importantly, an attempt to avoid dealing with what Eichmann in fact was: a believer in genocidal anti-Semitism.

Thoughtlessness comes in a variety of guises. One of them is academic hero-worship: reverence for an intellectual icon in the face of a burgeoning mass of evidence indicating that she may have grievously erred. Perhaps Kant said it best in his famous essay “What is Enlightenment?” when he observed that, “Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another . . . Dogmas and formulas . . . are the ball and chain of his permanent immaturity.”

Available at Amazon in Kindle and hardcover editions.

Mexico: #Ayotzinapa backlash in Mexico Bronco

October 16th, 2014

The 43 students are still missing. Here are today’s headlines:

Mexican Tied to Missing Students Is Killed
Death of Benjamin Mondragón, Alleged Head of Guerreros Unidos, Comes After Protests

The alleged leader of a Mexican criminal band that prosecutors accuse of colluding with police in the disappearance of 43 college students was killed on Tuesday during a shootout with security forces, federal officials said.

The security forces had tracked Benjamin Mondragón to a house in a suburb of Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City, where the battle took place, officials said.

The officials said Mr. Mondragón led the Guerreros Unidos gang, which they said collaborated with police in the September shooting deaths of six people and the subsequent disappearance of the college students—whom most officials presume to be dead—in Iguala, a city in Guerrero state.

The death of Mr. Mondragón, known as Benjamón, or Big Ben, came a day after teachers and students burned and vandalized parts of Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre’s office and the state’s local legislature, demanding the return of the missing students and the governor’s resignation.
. . . .
But the incident in Iguala is a reminder of what Mexicans call “Mexico Bronco,” or “Untamed Mexico”—a wild land rife with poverty, cronyism and violence. Entire states and hundreds of cities and towns are in the grip of drug gangs and corrupt police and city halls, security experts say. The rule of law is shaky: Fewer than 3% of homicides are solved, officials say.

Protesters Burn State Building in Southern Mexico
Students, Teachers Clash With Police as Anger Flares Over Disappearance of 43 Young People

Missing Mexico students: Iguala eyewitness account

The search continues in Mexico for 43 students who have been missing since 26 September following clashes with the police. Omar Garcia is one of the students who witnessed the deadly clashes in which six people died. Here he describes what he saw that evening and what he thinks may have happened to his 43 fellow students.
. . .
We think the municipal police took them – what we think happened is that they kept them somewhere and then, as we say, “disappeared” them – like so many thousands of others in this country who are missing.

The Twitter tag is #Ayotzinapa

The Synod and the Pope-A-Dope

October 15th, 2014

Today’s column at Da Tech Guy Blog, The Synod and the Pope-A-Dope, is up.

Tonight’s podcast at 8PM Eastern will be on The Cuba embargo plus other US-Latin America stories of the week, with host Silvio Canto, Jr., and guest Jorge Ponce.

Could Mexico become the next Russia?

October 15th, 2014

In Russia, Putin is king. Paul Roderick Gregory writes that Putin’s Reaction To Sanctions Is Destroying The Economy And China Won’t Help

Things are not going well for Vladimir Putin. The price of oil and the ruble continue to fall. Top Russian officials admit that the economy is in big trouble, despite Putin’s denials. Likely presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, has declared that Putin must be contained. Putin’s counter sanctions are making things worse. The most ominous sign, however, is that Putin is weakening the foundations on which his power is based. He is cutting off foreign investment by bailing out his friends, and he is breaking the social compact on which his KGB-Mafia state is founded.
. . .
Putin’s kleptocracy is based on the following principles of (mis)governance: 1) The state determines what is legal and what is not; there is no rule of law. 2) The state serves the interests of Putin and his inner circle, not of the people. 3) Putin’s kleptocracy uses its media monopoly to brainwash the people with Goebbels-like big lies. 4) Putin determines property rights – who owns what. 5) Disloyalty will be punished by confiscation of property, banishment, prison, or worse. Loyalists can rest easy, however. Their property is safe, or at least says their friend, Vladimir Putin.

Leon Krauze sees Russia as a cautionary tale for Mexico, and asks that Mexico’s President Must Not Ignore This Mass Grave of College Kids—or the Corruption It Represents. The mass grave refers to the 43 students missing since September 26

And then you have Guerrero, current epicenter of Mexico’s nightmare. For a while now, rival gangs have been fighting for control of the state. The result has been the usual parade of horrors: cities besieged (including Acapulco), governments infiltrated, journalists threatened, police corrupted. And death. And vengeance. The latest rearing of the beast’s head produced an atrocity: 43 college students were abducted by local policemen, reportedly under the order of both the police chief and the mayor of Iguala, a man allegedly in cahoots with organized crime (both are on the run). The whereabouts of the kidnapped students remain unknown, but authorities recently found a crude open grave filled with 28 severely burnt bodies. Some showed signs of torture. Forensics are still trying to figure out if the bodies are those of the kidnapped students. Relatives fear the worst.

Krauze points out,

Instead of trying to will reality into submission, the government should tackle Mexico’s biggest problem: corruption. Despite Peña Nieto’s penchant for structural change, his administration has failed to put in place even the most modest reform to fight the country’s deep-rooted corruption.

Updating the story yesterday, Mexico’s attorney general said that none of the 28 bodies found in a mass grave in Iguala belongs to the 43 missing students. I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that nine mass graves exist in Iguala, or that none of the students’ remains have been found.

Iguala’s mayor Jose Luis Abarca (now missing, along with his wife and the town police chief), had numerous and serious complaints of corruption filed against him, which federal authorities ignored.

The thing is, Peña Nieto’s party, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) was based, and ruled Mexico for over 70 years with impunity, on a culture built on widespread tolerance of corruption, which Krauze calls a “gigantic structure of perverse political convenience.” About the only thing preventing Mexico from a Putin-type of president was that the PRI insisted on changing presidents every six years.

When Krauze asked Peña Nieto (emphasis added)

how Peña Nieto planned to prevent Mexico from turning into Russia, especially now that billions of dollars will be in play due to the recent opening of the country’s energy sector to private investors. Peña Nieto shrugged off my concern. Corruption in Mexico “is a cultural matter,” he said, not realizing the implications of the sentence.

Until and unless Mexico tackles corruption, the country is not going to flourish, no matter what other changes the president du jour may attempt.

[Post edited for clarity]



The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

October 14th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentine Government Blasts “Speculation” by Grain Exporters

Argentina Creditors’ Lawyers, Mediator to Meet
A court-appointed mediator will meet next week with lawyers representing Argentina and its holdout creditors, the mediator said Friday

BOLIVIA
Morales confident he will win Sunday’s election in all nine Bolivian districts
At an event to mark the closing of his campaign ahead of Sunday’s elections, a self-assured Evo Morales told Bolivians that he will win all over the country and will even take the opposition’s bastions of support in the east.

Bolivia’s election
Happily Evo after
A third term for a “non-stick” leader

BRAZIL
Number of Attacks in Southern Brazil State Rises to 100
The wave of violence, which has left at least three people dead and 41 buses destroyed, has spread to 31 cities in Santa Catarina, whose authorities say the attacks are ordered by a criminal gang from Argentina.


Brazil’s Election Shows How The Left Thrives On Welfare Dependency

The Key Proposals Of Brazil Presidential Hopeful Aécio Neves

Brazil Suspected Ebola Case Tests Negative
A West African man held in isolation at a Rio de Janeiro hospital on suspicion of bringing the deadly Ebola virus to South America has tested negative for the disease, the Health Ministry said Saturday.

CAYMAN ISLANDS
Former Cayman Premier Acquitted

CHILE
Experts Lower Chile’s Growth Forecast to 1.9%

COLOMBIA
Colombia Authorized Guerrilla Leader’s Trips to Cuba

Hours later, President Juan Manuel Santos said that he personally signed off on the trips, which he described as “part of the process, normal.”

Washington Post reporter: White House spin on Cartegena is “demonstrably false”

CUBA
CASTRO’S MOMUMENT
The Castro Legacy: Untold Thousands of Watery Graves

World Bank Touts Cuba’s Communist Education as Exemplary
All the Better to Indoctrinate Students, Exiles Contend

Cuban: I’d Rather Die Trying to Reach Freedom, Than Live on My Knees Living in Tyranny

ECUADOR
El escándalo uruguayo

A Raúl Sendic, candidato vicepresidencial de Uruguay, junto a Tabaré Vásquez, por el movimiento izquierdista Frente Amplio, del presidente José Mujica, le salpicó la “maldición“ del petróleo. Un cuestionado convenio de canje de crudo por derivados entre Ancap/Trafigura/Petroecuador que involucra USD 6.400 millones, empezó a pasar las primeras facturas, en medio de la campaña electoral. El escándalo ampliamente cubierto por la prensa uruguaya, hace referencia al libro Ecuador Made in China, y a una carta remitida al gobierno uruguayo y a varios legisladores de ese país.
. . .
La referida cláusula del Convenio señala que Ecuador proveerá hasta 36000 barriles diarios de crudo, sin embargo en el contrato firmado el mismo día en Montevideo, se estableció la entrega de hasta 100000 barriles diarios, con lo que se violó el Convenio. Incluir un volumen de 100000 barriles día notificaba al más ingenuo que el crudo no estaba destinado a la refinería uruguaya, cuya capacidad máxima, cuando está operativa, es de 50000 barriles día, y de un crudo diferente al ecuatoriano. Al respecto, la Contraloría abona con conclusiones que dejan sin respuesta a los autores del Acuerdo: “se contrató con Ancap, sin que existan estudios técnicos que demuestren los beneficios para el país de una contratación directa”, señala en organismo.

Feminists Weigh In for Chevron in Racketeering-Oil Pollution Case

The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund urged the appeals court to rule for Chevron on a highly technical but critical issue. You read that correctly: The nation’s oldest women’s-rights legal advocacy organization, a left-leaning group that helped enact the landmark 1994 Violence Against Women Act and represents victims of sexual harassment and spousal brutality, supports the multinational oil company in its struggle against a crusading lawyer who claims to represent the impoverished and oppressed.

O’Reilly Discusses WFB’s Reporting On Ecuador PR Firm Paying Liberal US Celebrities

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador tries to rein in crime with community policing

IMMIGRATION
FUSION TV LAMENTS ‘UNDOCUMENTED’ WOMEN HAVING HARD TIME GETTING ABORTIONS IN TEXAS

MEXICO
Mexico Arrests Alleged Head of Juárez Drug Cartel
Federal police arrested alleged Juárez drug cartel leader Vicente Carrillo Fuentes in the northern city of Torreón on Thursday, Mexican officials said.
His Arrest Is Seen as Symbolic Amid Police Scandal

Iguala, Mexico and police crimes

NICARAGUA
Russia ban opens opportunities to Iran, Nicaragua

PANAMA
Panama’s National Assembly Ratifies Trade Pact with Mexico

PERU
The Man Behind Peru’s Culinary Ascent
Chef Gastón Acurio Built an Empire With 44 Restaurants in 13 Countries on Ceviche, Guinea Pig and Ethnic Influences

Divide and bribe
Corruption and political fragmentation threaten Peru’s democracy

PUERTO RICO
No More Dunkin’ Donuts for Puerto Rico
Island’s Franchisee Fails to Make Payments, 18 Stores to Close

TRINIDAD TOBAGO
Trinidad and Tobago Mulls Postponing Carnival over Ebola Fears

URUGUAY
Uruguay Welcomes First Group of 42 Syrian Refugees

VENEZUELA
Wouldn’t it be better if they had done this while Maduro was speakinVenezuela: Exxon wins $1.6 billion settlementg at the UN? UN urges Venezuela to release dissenter leader Leopoldo López
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations (UN) described as illegal the actions of the Venezuelan authorities in the proceedings against the political opposition leader for the events of February 12

Venezuela: a land of political killings and gang turf wars
Politician Robert Serra was murdered in his home
The grisly murder of a young politician and killing of a pro-regime militia leader in police shoot-out signal a bloody power struggle for the legacy of Hugo Chavez, writes Phillip Sherwell

Miami Venezuelans vs. Mary Landrieu

The week’s posts and podcast:
Why Venezuela should not have a seat at the UN Security Council

Could capitalism save the Arabs?

Mexico: Government paying its citizens to avoid deportation from U.S.

Venezuela: Exxon wins $1.6 billion settlement

No More Che Day

4 ISIS Terrorists Arrested in Texas

Mexico: 43 students missing since September 26

Brazil: Aécio’s plan is the economy

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Why bother covering up the Cartagena, Colombia, prostitution scandal?

Ecuador’s “dirty hand,” and Mia Farrow’s greased palm

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week.