Archive for August, 2013

Bahamas: Cuban arrivals from Bahamas allege beatings and sexual abuses

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

The Miami Herald reports that Cuban arrivals from Bahamas allege beatings and sexual abuses

The first Cubans to arrive in Miami from a notorious migrant detention center in Bahamas this month alleged Friday that guards regularly beat some of the male inmates and sexually abused some of the women.

One of the women repatriated from the center to Cuba earlier this month arrived pregnant by a guard, according to the Democracy Movement, a Miami group that has been helping the undocumented migrants detained in Nassau.

The movement led a string of protests against the Bahamas government this summer after detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre smuggled out cell phone images of inmates sewing their lips together in protest and an alleged guard kicking prisoners.

Haitians have also complained about the conditions at the infamous Carmichael Road detention center for many years.

En español: Bayly entrevista al Padre Conrado

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Entrevista de Jaime Bayly con el Padre José Conrado, disidente cubano conocido como “el Cardenal del pueblo”. Escuchen ambas partes, ya que el Padre nos inspira a todos:

Primera parte,

Segunda parte, con Silvia,

Cuba: A cargo container full of [counterfit?] euros and dollars

Friday, August 30th, 2013

The Chong Chon Gang, which is undergoing a thorough inspection from Panamanian authorities, had a cargo container full of euro and dollar bills of assorted denominations, according to Venezuelan journalist Nelson Bocaranda.

The currency will be tested to see if it is counterfit, as expected (h/t Babalu).

Panama: Cuban weapons “in mint condition”

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

The North Korean vessel Chong Chon Gang, which Panama stopped at the Canal, was loaded with armaments in good condition intended for North Korea’s use in its conventional military defenses, not, as Cuba claimed, to be repaired and returned to Cuba:
Via Boz,

A report by SIPRI and 38 North reveals new details of the North Korean ship seized in Panama that contained weapons hidden beneath the 200,000 bags of sugar. In total, 25 shipping containers and six military vehicles were recovered by inspectors, far more than what the Cuban government previously claimed.

The report, Full Disclosure: Contents of North Korean Smuggling Ship Revealed, states that the cargo included

anti-aircraft missile components, two jet fighters and related engines, in fact a total of 25 shipping containers have now been recovered, together with six military vehicles.


the ship was also transporting a variety of small arms and light weapons (SALW) ammunition and conventional artillery ammunition for anti-tank guns and howitzer artillery as well as generators, batteries and night vision equipment, among other items.

The various rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and conventional artillery ammunition, many in mint condition, were unused and much of it was in original packing cases. They clearly were not “to be repaired and returned to Cuba.” Rather, these items were intended simply for delivery to North Korea for its own use.

The article’s authors, Hugh Griffiths and Roope Siirtola, ask,

One question that may confront the United Nations Panel of Experts currently investigating the case is whether this concealment device was created specifically for this voyage or is simply evidence of a long-standing practice employed by North Korean-owned vessels transporting illicit materials in a clandestine fashion.

Boz asks,

On top of the sanctions question, Panama and the rest of the hemisphere would be correct to ask how many other arms shipments Cuba has covertly sent through the Panama Canal and where they have gone. It seems unlikely that this shipment was the only one Cuba has done.

A draft report by UN experts sent to Panama after the seizure of the ship in July confirmed a breach of [UN] sanctions, the ministry of public security said.

Meanwhile, over in Cuba, General Pedro Mendiondo Gomez, who was in charge of the armaments found on the Chong Chon Gang, and who was scheduled to be questioned by the UN investigators, had an auto accident last Sunday that killed him and his wife and injured the other passengers in the back seat: his mother- and father- in-law.

En español: Como en Venezuela no hay panes, Maduro va a tener que multiplicar penes ACTUALIZADO

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

“Así como Cristo multiplicó los penes”:

Inmediatamente Máburro visitó a Oscar Haza:

Y a las 10:00PM EDT, Bayly habló de la multiplicación de los penes según el discípulo Nicolás:

“Necesitamos que Maduro multiplique el papel higiénico.”

Mientras tanto, el país se va a pique.

Continuando la avalancha de “millones y millonas” de metidas de pata,
Maduro dice que a opositores les dio ‘friíto’ cuando confundió ‘penes’ por ‘peces’

“Ayer salió una cosa por ahí y les dio dentera a los jefes del fascismo (como llama Maduro a la oposición), les dio un friíto por el espinazo cuando escucharon eso, se me salió lamentablemente, pedí disculpas por la expresión”, manifestó el mandatario en un acto difundido por la televisión oficial.

O, como decía Álvarez Guedes, ¡Ñó! Dentera no, burla.

In Silvio Canto’s podcast

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

talking about the US-Latin America stories of the week.

Live now, and archived for your listening convenience.

Puerto Rico: Throw the lawyer in the clink

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Grand jury indicts Puerto Rico drug lord’s lawyer
Prosecutors allege that drug dealer Ramon Negron Colon received more than $590,000 in a money laundering scheme.
(h/t Prairie Pundit):

Ramon Negron Colon, an attorney for Jose Figueroa Agosto, was charged with conspiracy to commit money-laundering. U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said Negron had received at least $590,000 in cash for the scheme, though there is no evidence that any bribe was actually offered to any official.

Rodriguez said that more than a year before Figueroa’s return to Puerto Rico, Negron tried to obtain up to $3 million to help nullify Figueroa’s conviction through bribes, and had received an initial payment of at least $440,000 stuffed into a suitcase.

After Figueroa’s 2009 arrest in Puerto Rico, Negron told his client he would request a new trial, and said it would be granted if the presiding judge were offered a $300,000 bribe, according to the indictment. Authorities said Negron received an additional $150,000 in cash, only to return $125,000 of it in 2011 after failing to secure the new trial.

Huge operation, with more than 3 million tons of drugs seized – and the lawyer’s now in jail.

What does it remind me of?

Colombia: Farmers and students protest

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Eight days on, No deal on Colombia farmers’ strike after night of talks

Representatives of Colombian farmers’ groups and government ministers say they have not yet been able to reach a deal to end a 10-day strike.

The two sides will reconvene on Wednesday after they failed to reach agreement after nine hours of talks.

The protests by livestock, dairy and crop farmers have been paralysing parts of the country.

The demonstrators accuse the government of running the agricultural sector into the ground.

On the agenda are the high cost of fertilisers and other key farming materials, and how farmers are being undercut by cheaper imports and agricultural products being smuggled across the border from neighbouring Venezuela and Ecuador.

The farmers have been backed by some student and trade union groups which have held demonstrations in the capital Bogota and the city of Cali to show their support.

President Santos’s reaction has been puzzling,
As Farmers’ Strike Paralyzes Colombia, President Questions Its Existence

The government has responded with calls for composure and accusations of outside manipulation. Since the strike began on Aug 19, President Juan Manuel Santos has tried to minimize the strikers’ actions, giving statements that have only served to taunt protesters and bring together union leaders.

“The so-called agrarian strike does not exist,” Santos said on Sunday. Acts of violence, the president said, were caused by guerrilla infiltrators – an often-used government claim — who wanted to destabilize the country and hamper dialogues with troubled agrarian sectors. “It’s just 10 or 15 people. The situation is under control and problems are being resolved,” Santos added.

“10 or 15 people”?

Five people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in the numerous skirmishes that plague the countryside, according to police reports. Students in public universities have attacked authorities with rocks and homemade bombs. Protesters have burned cars and trucks, and an unknown group in Boyacá, a historically peaceful agrarian state located a few hours north of the nation’s capital, reportedly placed a cable line across a road late in the afternoon to kill an unsuspecting motorist that drove by. Red Cross medical missions have been detained at roadblocks, and there have been disturbances in more than half of the nation’s states.

Former president Álvaro Uribe harshly criticized Santos (video in Spanish),

Uribe accused Santos of ignoring farmers while favoring the FARC (with which Santos is negotiating). “The government has forgotten to stimulate local industry. . . coordination between [agricultural] producers and manufacturers has been neglected.” Uribe didn’t stop at that; he asserted that the Santos administration is leading the country to “anarchy towards a path to Castro-Chavismo.”

Tuesday night tango: Maximiliano Cristiani and Jesica Arfenoni

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

New Tango Salon World Champions Maximiliano Cristiani and Jesica Arfenoni take a victory dance last night (dance starts at 5:00 mark)

Argentina: Cristina gives US bondholders a raspberry

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Argentina announces a new debt swap outside US law

Rather than comply with Friday’s unanimous ruling ordering her government to pay $1.4 billion in cash to a group of plaintiffs she calls “vulture funds,” President Cristina Fernandez is proposing another debt swap: offering new bonds to be paid in dollars in Buenos Aires to anyone still holding defaulted debt.

Where I come from, we might call that “throwing good money after bad”, but it’s more a case of stiffing the creditors.

The way the bonds in question were written, holders must be paid 100% of the nearly $1.33 billion they are owed in principal and accrued interest.


Though 93% of bondholders eventually accepted Argentina’s terms, others, such as the group of holdouts who were favored in last week’s decision, held out hope for a better offer.

The offer never came, and Mrs. Kirchner indicated Monday that her government wouldn’t comply with the court order, even if it is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The move to reopen the debt-restructuring process for a second time appears aimed at ensuring that Argentine payments to overseas bondholders don’t get embargoed by the U.S. court.

Argentina will invite investors holding foreign-law bonds to swap them for new debt that would be paid under local legislation in Argentina.

And that will get your debt paid with more debt.