Archive for April, 2014

Tonight’s podcast with Silvio Canto

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

live at 8PM Eastern, “Foreign investment reforms” in Cuba PLUS US-Latin America this week, and also archived for your listening convenience.

Brazil: Welcome to Usama’s!

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014


faustaMy latest article at Da Tech Guy Blog, Brazil: Welcome to Usama’s!, is up. Please read it and leave a comment.

6 good writers from Latin America + 1

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014





First came Julio Cortázar, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa. Now César Aira, the late Roberto Bolaño, Jorge Franco, Andrés Neuman, Santiago Roncagliolo and Juan Gabriel Vásquez are ascending:

In Search of the Next Gabriel García Márquez
Six Spanish-language fiction writers making a splash on the literary scene.

The so-called boom arose from a confluence of circumstances—Cold War political upheaval, intrepid Latin American publishing houses, hungry international critics prowling for new global talent, an expanding book-buying Latin middle class—that can’t easily be replicated. But if the boom is over, that doesn’t mean that a bust has followed. Here are six post-boom Spanish-language fiction writers whose works continue to redraw the map of Latin literature.

I would also add Roberto Ampuero to the list.

Iran in Latin America: Must-read report

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center did a report in 2009 on how Iran increases its political and economic presence in
Latin America, defying the United States and
attempting to undermine American hegemony. It also
foments radical Shi’ite Islamization and exports Iran’s
revolutionary ideology, using Hezbollah to establish
intelligence, terrorism and crime networks, liable to be
exploited against the United States and Israel.

63. The Wayuus and Hezbollah Venezuela have websites and blogs which identify with the ideology of the Islamic revolution in Iran and with Hezbollah’s messages of violence, preaching hatred of the United States, Israel and the Jewish people. Postings have appearedin recent years in blogs that are still active but are not updated, possibly due to the desire to keep a low profile and be less exposed.

64. The website of an organization calling itself “Hezbollah America Latina” went online several months before Hezbollah Venezuela’s attempt to carry out a terrorist attack against the American embassy in Caracas (October 23, 2006). The website introduced itself as the
“mouthpiece of Hezbollah in Latin America.” It is written in Spanish and in a mixed Mayan-Old Spanish language. Even though it claims to operate in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, and Mexico, it mostly serves the network which runs the website, referring to itself as the Islamic Autonomy of Wayuu (Autonomia Islamica Wayuu), led by Teodoro Rafael Darnott.49

65. The Hezbollah Venezuela website preaches the complete elimination of the sex industry, and attacks the so-called “corrupt upper classes” and the so-called “corruption of the government.” The website also contains anti-Semitic and anti-American texts and articles by Holocaust deniers and Neo-Nazis.50 In recent years, blogs have appeared, written by Wayuu Muslim converts who sympathize with the ideology of the Iranian Islamic revolution and Hezbollah’s messages of violence.

While the report is five years old, the information is still relevant. Read the whole thing.

H/t Carlos Hös, who also linked. Thank you!

Argentina: Trade surplus plummets

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Argentina Trade Surplus Plunged 95% on Year in March
Broad Decline in Commodities, Manufactured Goods Exports Led to Drop

Exports fell 16% on the year to $5.25 billion in March, led by a plunge in grain and soybean exports. Shipments of industrial products like cars also fell as sluggish growth in neighboring Brazil trimmed demand for Argentine manufactured goods. Imports decreased 4% to $5.21 billion, led by declines in consumer goods and spare parts, according to preliminary data published by the national statistics agency Indec.

The trade surplus for the first quarter shrank to $121 million, from $1.5 billion a year ago due to a drop in farm shipments and rising fuel imports. Argentina’s energy deficit—the difference between energy exports and imports—widened 19% on the year to $792 million in the quarter.

While the country expects a record soybean crop,

The Argentine economy is widely expected to tip into a recession this year as inflation of more than 30% erodes the public’s purchasing power and spurs locals and foreigners alike to pull their money out of the country. Analysts at Abeceb and Barclays expect the economy to shrink about 1.5% this year.

According to the government’s own figures, industrial production fell 6% due to declines in the automotive and petrochemicals industries.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Israel Foreign Affairs. Thank you!

The giant telescope Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 28th, 2014

LatinAmerIn this week’s news, Telescope in Puerto Rico Detects Strange, Rapid Bursts of Radio Waves

[Director of the Astronomy Section at Arecibo Observatory, a part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Fernando] Camilo said the phenomenon has been detected at least seven times through the radio telescope in Australia, but the importance of this one is that for the first time it has been documented at another observatory, which confirms that this is an astronomical reality and cannot be attributed to some peculiarity of a particular instrument.

“The question now is the nature of this phenomenon,” said the scientist, who for years studied astronomy in the United States.

“This could be a powerful burst of radio waves faraway in the universe, a kind of signal never detected before,” which appears to come from outside our galaxy.

The Arecibo telescope was one of the James Bond locations in GoldenEye (1995, and yes, the clip is dubbed),

ANTIGUA
Antigua’s Parliament to Dissolve in preparation for the general elections that must be held by July 25.

ARGENTINA
ARGENTINA Y EL NARCOESTADO (PARTE III)

Surge in Vigilante Justice Ignites Lynching Wave in Argentine Province

Yowza! Argentina Trade Surplus Plunged 95% on Year in March
Broad Decline in Commodities, Manufactured Goods Exports Led to Drop

BOLIVIA
Bolivia dismisses protesting troops
Bolivia’s military chiefs have ordered the dismissal of more than 700 troops who have been protesting to demand better working conditions.

BRAZIL
Violence Roils Brazil’s Biggest Cities
A professional dancer’s death sparked a violent protest in a Rio de Janeiro slum, and armed men torched nearly three dozen buses outside São Paulo.

Life as a Brazilian Woman

CHILE
Chile’s national police to expand by 6,000 officers

COLOMBIA
Santos is losing the plot while Enrique Peñalosa is on the rise.

Will the real Mr Santos please speak up
A tepid election fraught with risks for Colombia

Drug ritual kills gap-year Briton in Colombia
Henry Miller, a 19-year-old from Bristol who was due to start university in September, died after taking hallucinogenic drugs as part of a tribal ritual in South America

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
To the tune of $325,000: Dominican Republic lawmakers waddle in ‘sweet beans’ scandal

The Chamber of Deputies on Friday confirmed allocating more than RD$14.0 million (US$325,000) for its 185 members to hand out the ingredients to cook the traditional Easter dish ‘habichuelas con dulce’ (sweet beans), first aid kits, inflatable swimming pools, domino games and other items, in what it called: “expenditures for the Easter operation 2014 and to assist relief agencies in each province.”

CUBA
@NETmundial: Russia and Cuba Push for Internet Censorship

ECUADOR
Ecuador may try to print 10-yr as low as mid 6%. It would take a lot more yield to convince me to buy it.

HAITI
Haiti in the Shadow of Cholera

JAMAICA
Saving Goat Islands, Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Netflix to launch first Spanish-language show

MEXICO
Mexican Drug Cartel Clashes are Exploding Anew in Tamaulipas

Competition bill passes Mexico’s Senate, easing legislative logjam

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua: Revolutionary reminders around every corner
Its political and military dramas once dominated the news, but these days, says Chris Moss, Nicaragua makes a fascinatingly enigmatic destination
. . . only if you don’t mind communist propaganda.

PANAMA
Venezuelans flock to Panama to escape Maduro economy

PERU
Peru buys surveillance satellite from France

PUERTO RICO
John Paulson Calls Puerto Rico Singapore of Caribbean

VENEZUELA
Venezuela’s Security Forces: A Killer Elite Beyond the Law
As violent protests return, the death toll is down, but families are struggling hopelessly to find justice for their loved ones killed in demonstrations earlier this year.

Peaceful protests bother you? Just ban them. And force punitive delation.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Vargas Llosa: Venezuela a “pathetic failure”

Garcia Marquez’s black eye: Vargas Llosa ain’t telling

Ecuador: Adiós, Security Cooperation Office

En español: La vida de los “Enchufados” en Miami

Venezuela: American arrested for murder

Venezuela: #1 in misery index

Colombia: Gustavo Petro back in city hall

Argentina: SCOTUS hearing Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital

En español: Terapia intensiva #204

Well, there’s at least one person out there who dislikes Gabriel García Márquez more than I,

Colombia: Santos throws the towel

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Venezuela: Misery and missiles

“Positive discrimination”

Podcast:
Cuba, Venezuela & US-Latin America stories of the week.


Vargas Llosa: Venezuela a “pathetic failure”

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Mario Vargas Llosa, visiting Caracas for the Cedice conference:

On his last visit to Venezuela in 2009, he was held for several hours at the airport and criticized by Chavez for coming to “offend” and “provoke” Venezuelans.

Again, Vargas Llosa did not hold back, saying 15 years of socialism in Venezuela was a “pathetic failure” akin to Cuba and North Korea, evidenced by the highest inflation in the Americas and other weak economic indicators.

“What’s happening in Venezuela is a radical anachronism,” he said. “Venezuela has gone ever more backwards in the last 15 years and is approaching the most pathetic examples of economic, political and social failures like Cuba and North Korea, the last real exponents of socialism in the world.”

He added, however, that he had no wish to provoke anyone in Venezuela, and was grateful to the country for giving him his first international award, the Romulo Gallegos prize, in 1967.

Vargas Llosa offered his support to students who have been protesting against Maduro since early February.

“I hope the dialogue is genuine and authentic, and enables the pacification of the country,” he said of talks between the government and moderate opposition leaders intended to stem violence that has killed 41 people in the last two-and-a-half months.

As the Venezuelan Supreme Court Outlaws Spontaneous Protests as “Not an Absolute Right” and demands express authorization from the mayor or the governor of the jurisdiction where they are carried out, repression has intensified since the opening of the “dialogue” (link in Spanish).

Musician Willie Colón, who has close ties with Venezuela:

Video here:

And, as repression intensifies, RATION CARDS, BLOCK LONG FOOD LINES AS INFLATION RATE IN VENEZUELA HITS 60%

Garcia Marquez’s black eye: Vargas Llosa ain’t telling

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

A post for us, lit geeks:

On Valentine’s Day, 1976, in Mexico City, Gabriel García Márquez was photographed showing off a shiner (and possibly a broken nose?):

What is known:
On February 12, 1976,

in a Mexico City movie theater packed with people attending the premiere of a film about the plane crash survivors in the Andes who turned to cannibalism.

At one point Mr. Vargas Llosa rushes up to Mr. García Márquez, who innocently tries to embrace him. Instead Mr. Vargas Llosa decks him, Mr. García Márquez’s blood gushing everywhere.

Of course, there’s plenty of speculation as to why. Photographer Rodrigo Moya, who took the above photo, said in 2007

Some had surmised that the fight may have been over politics, since Mr. García Márquez has always been on the left and Mr. Vargas Llosa at the time had begun to migrate to the right. (He later made an unsuccessful attempt to run for president of Peru in 1990 as a free marketeer.) But, as Mr. Moya explains, the cause was a woman, specifically, Mr. Vargas Llosa’s wife, whom Mr. García Márquez consoled during a difficult period in the marriage.

When I first heard of this, I thought the lady in question was Julia Urquidi, the Aunt Julia of Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, who was the first Mrs. Vargas Llosa, but it must have been the second Mrs. Vargas Llosa, cousin Patricia Llosa (also mentioned in Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter), who has been married to him since 1965.

No matter:
Peru’s Vargas Llosa to take secret of Garcia Marquez spat to grave

“There’s a pact between Garcia Marquez and myself (not to talk about it),” Vargas Llosa, 78, said at a meeting of right-wing intellectuals in Caracas when a journalist popped the inevitable question following the Colombian’s death last week.

“He respected it until his death, and I will do the same. Let’s leave it to our biographers, if we deserve them, to investigate that issue.”

Which shows you one can throw a punch, be a great writer, and still come out as a gentleman.

And,
Yes, being pro-democracy and civil rights makes you “right-ring”, in the eyes of Reuters.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

Ecuador: Adiós, Security Cooperation Office

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Ecuador Expels Pentagon Group Attached to U.S. Embassy
Move Further Strains Relationship Between Correa, Obama Administrations

Ecuador has ordered 20 U.S. Defense Department employees attached to the U.S. Embassy in Quito to leave the country next week, U.S. officials confirmed, further straining an already rocky relationship between President Rafael Correa and the Obama administration.
. . .
In January, Mr. Correa had said that Pentagon workers were used to “infiltrate” Ecuador. The order ousting the Americans came days after Mr. Correa wrapped up a U.S. tour that included talks at Yale and Harvard universities and television interviews where he described himself as a “modern socialist” who wanted to improve relations with the U.S.

While the above article mentions that

Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas policy group in Washington, said the number of embassy officials Ecuador ordered to leave is noteworthy. “In the past, it has been limited to kicking out an attaché or a couple of officials but this is clearly designed to get attention,” Mr. Farnsworth said. “There will have to be a tit-for-tat retaliation. There will have to be some kind of response.”

the AP reporter says

As there is no accusation of espionage, U.S reciprocation is not anticipated.

Correa threw them out because there were ‘too many of them.’

A lack of response from the U.S. will signal further erosion of American influence in our hemisphere.

In other Ecuador news, Correa is refusing to accept more funding from USAID, since they are required to utilize the funds to promote gay marriage acceptance in the predominantly Catholic country.

Over in Germany, police have 265lb of cocaine hidden among crates of bananas in a container shipped from Ecuador – their second big seizure of the drug from South America this year.

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


En español: La vida de los “Enchufados” en Miami

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Una de las mentiras chavistas que más repite la izquierda norteamericana es que Chávez disminuyó la desigualdad.

Javier Ceriani de AQP investiga cómo viven los príncipes del Chavismo en Miami – quienes compraron Globovisión – “enchufados” en el imperio. No se pierdan los yates:

Parte I

Parte II

Parte III, donde explica como investigó (desde los 8:00 minutos)

Parte IV

No se pierdan tampoco el libro de Casto Ocando, Chavistas en el Imperio: Secretos, Tácticas y Escándalos de la Revolución Bolivariana en Estados Unidos.