The Zombie Fidel Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

LatinAmerNo doubt Fidel Castro will die, and keeping track of the rumors has become a pastime not only for all Cubans but also for all Latin America watchers – including the ones, like myself, who bring up the Zombie Fidel. And Cubans are restless.

Mary O’Grady writes, The Castros in Winter
Cuba will soon make it easier for some to legally travel abroad. This is not a sign of liberalization.

This at first sounds like progress. But it doesn’t come close to setting Cubans free to roam the world. Citizens will still be required to secure a passport validation stamp, and for many Cubans the costs will add up to more than the fee for the white card. The stamp can also be withheld at the discretion of the regime.

As spelled out in the law, scientists, doctors and anyone deemed to be of high value to the state will have a hard time getting permission to travel—and even if they get it, they will have to wait five years between filing an application and actually boarding a plane. An editorial in the Cuban state newspaper last week said that the regime intends to protect itself from “the theft of talent applied by the powerful,” i.e., the U.S. The law also stipulates a catchall rejection category marked “defense and national security interests.” Translation: Nobody gets out without the dictator’s blessing.


Meanwhile, you can’t make this up: Hotel official: Fidel Castro appears in public

HAVANA — Fidel Castro has appeared in public for the first time in months, a top hotel executive told The Associated Press on Sunday, challenging persistent rumors that the aging revolutionary is near death.

The 86-year-old leader dropped off a Venezuelan guest at the Hotel Nacional on Saturday afternoon, then stayed for about half an hour to chat with hotel staff, commercial director Yamila Fuster said.

The “guest” is supposedly former Venezuelan vice-president Elías Jaua, who showed (but didn’t release) to the media a snapshot (h/t Miguel) of the blessed event:

Así fue la reunión de Elías Jaua con Fidel Castro by Globovision

Here’s the photo (Jaua’s finger holding it),

Argentine politics
Young guns

Colombia, Argentina Trade Barbs on Economic Might
Colombia is bragging that its economy has surpassed Argentina to become is the third-largest in Latin America, marking a turnaround for a country that until a few years ago had its reputation mauled by violence.

Free Postage! Mail your Ballot!

Justicia para Juan Kudelka . Learn more about him in Silvio Canto’s podcast.

Brazilian newspapers pull out of Google News
Brazilian newspapers decide to pull out of Google News, saying the search engine refuses to pay for content and takes traffic away from their websites.

Con L de Lumbre en los aparejos

este sábado, la influyente revista Veja publicó que uno de los condenados, el publicista Marcos Valerio Fernandes (cuyo grupo publicitario pagaba a los diputados y a la tesorería del partido de Lula con prestamos fraudulentos de bancos estatales), ha dicho que “Lula era el jefe” de toda la trama que juzga el STF. “Todo lo que hacía era del conocimiento de Lula”, lanzó. Aunque el abogado de Valerio negó la declaración (una aparente amenaza cifrada), ésta podría ser la primera acusación directa en contra del ex presidente.

Chile will request the United States extradite an ex-military commander over the killings of two U.S. reporters

Security in Colombia
This time is different
A promising new round of peace talks with the FARC begins

Colombia Peace Talks Have Bumpy Kickoff
Colombia’s main guerrilla army used the opening salvo of peace talks to attack some of the country’s most prominent oil and mining firms, suggesting the Marxist group will try to use the meetings to assail Colombia’s market-friendly economic policies.

All will be revealed…

The very, very slow thaw of the half-century U.S.-Cuba standoff

Travel from Cuba
Let my people go

Travel and Immigration Reform: Happy or Satisfied

Cuban Regime Will Open it Doors, To Its Own People

In the short-term, the Party is trying playing the immigration card a few weeks before the U.S. presidential election. Why? In part, because it can. They think they can influence votes in South Florida’s large Cuban-American community by using the immigration/family reunification talisman to divide voters in Miami. I can think of at least one Congressional race where this could become an minor issue, but it is mostly quixotic.

Feds: Remittance firm at center of Medicare-Cuba laundering scam
Federal prosecutors named Caribbean Transfers as the financial backer that sent millions of dollars to Cuba as part of a Medicare-fraud scheme.

An offshore remittance company called Caribbean Transfers financed a complex money-laundering ring that moved more than $30 million in stolen Medicare money from South Florida into Cuba’s banking system, federal authorities said Thursday.

The revelation surfaced in the widening case of a now-convicted check-cashing store owner who was first believed to be at the center of the federal case. It marked the first time that investigators traced tainted Medicare proceeds to Cuba’s state-controlled bank.

Rafael Matos Montes de Oca, Cuban Political Prisoner of the Week, 10/21/12

Two more Germans held over Dominican Republic ‘sect’ shootout
The Dominican Republic authorities have arrested two more German suspected doomsday cult members over a deadly shootout earlier this week.

Heist in Honduras leaves 4 dead


Mexico’s drug lords
Kingpin bowling
The most wanted men in Mexico are tumbling. Will crime follow suit?

Mexico goes to the opera, and likes what it hears

Breaking Mexico out of middle income trap
Telecom systems reform a good first step

Protests in Panama duty-free zone
Demonstrators in Panama clash with police after a new law is approved allowing the sale of state-owned land in the free trade zone of Colon.

1 Dead, 9 wounded in Panama protests

Security Message for U.S. Citizens

Fujimori wants a pardon: Pardon me
A request for clemency puts the president in a bind

La Comay makes the news: Puerto Rico enthralled by cheeky newscaster puppet

Madre Naturaleza Decide Que Hombre Que Saltó De La Estratósfera Es El Único Macho En El Mundo

Abortion in Uruguay
Still leading the way

What Chávez inherits from Chávez

If only we could be as efficient as the soviets…

Now what? The society we have

How The Venezuelan Presidential Vote Was Won

Capriles: Tuvimos que luchar contra el gasto público más alto de la historia de Venezuela

The week’s posts,

Bring out Zombie Fidel, again!

Cuba: If it’s October, the rumors must be flying

Cuba: Fidel and the Nazis

[Opening paragraph re-redacted for clarity.]


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