Sweating out my new location, in the wrong clothes: Feels like 100, at BlogHer.
Archive for July, 2014
Argentina Declared in Default by S&P as Talks Fail
Standard & Poor’s declared Argentina in default after the government missed a deadline for paying interest on $13 billion of restructured bonds.
— Fausta (@Fausta) July 31, 2014
This is the eighth time the country has defaulted:
ARGENTINA’S first bond, issued in 1824, was supposed to have a lifespan of 46 years. Less than four years later, the government defaulted. Resolving the ensuing stand-off with creditors took 29 years. Since then seven more defaults have followed, the most recent this week, when Argentina failed to make a payment on bonds issued as partial compensation to victims of the previous default, in 2001.
Last night’s podcast, Memories of old Havana PLUS US-Latin America stories of the week with Graciela Chelo Lodeiro, and host Silvio Canto Jr.
My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog, Chicken run: The curious case of Venezuela’s Pollo Carvajal, on the released general, is up. Please read it and hit the tip jar!
Carlos Eire says it’s conclusive proof that humans need to evolve further.
Linked to by Dustbury. Thank you!
Interesting question from Capitol Hill Cubans:
According to the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, Hamas militants are attempting to negotiate an arms deal with North Korea for missiles and communications equipment that will allow them to maintain their offensive against Israel.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, a U.S. federal court ruled that North Korea provided rocket and missile components for Hezbollah to use in its 2006 attacks against Israel.
. . .
Last year, the Cuban regime was caught red-handed smuggling 240 tons of weapons to North Korea. This constituted the largest amount of arms and related materiel interdicted to or from North Korea since the adoption of resolution 1718 (2006).
The interdicted shipment, aboard the Chong Chon Gang, includedsurface-to-air missile systems (that can take down planes), missile components, ammunition, radars and other miscellaneous arms-related materiel.
What if these missile systems had ended up in the hands of Hamas or Hezbollah?
Other Cuban weaponry may have, as there were at least seven otherNorth Korean vessels that made similarly elusive trips (as the Chong Chon Gang) to Cuban in the last few years.
Most recently, the Mu Du Bong
In today’s WSJ, Aruba: Venezuela Pressured It Militarily
The Netherlands’ release of a former top Venezuelan official wanted by the U.S. for alleged drug trafficking came after Venezuela raised economic and military pressure on two Dutch islands in the Caribbean, officials said.
Aruba’s chief prosecutor Peter Blanken said that Venezuelan navy ships neared Aruba and Curaçao over the weekend as Dutch officials were debating what to do with Hugo Carvajal —Venezuela’s former chief of military intelligence who was jailed in Aruba last week on a U.S. warrant.
“The threat was there,” Mr. Blanken said. “We don’t know what their intentions were, but I think a lot of people in Aruba were scared that something would happen.”
Holland is a member of NATO and as such Aruba would be protected, as WSJ commenter Donald Hutchinson points out, but, in the Obama administration’s era of “smart diplomacy”, the Dutch couldn’t count on that:
Assuming that US intelligence was not asleep, all,it would take would be a fly over by US Navy jets and a notification that any offensive action would be met by the immediate destruction of their ships. Holland is a member of NATO and such actioned would clearly be sanctioned,
It would also be a devastating set back to the former bus driver running Venezuela for bringing shame to their military.
But what one might expect from a timid White House and a preoccupied State Department?
Then there’s the oil,
Mr. Blanken said Venezuela’s government also had threatened to sever Venezuela’s vital commercial air links to Aruba and Curaçao. Venezuela’s state oil company also threatened to withdraw from a contract to manage Curaçao’s refinery, Mr. Blanken said, which would have put at risk some 8,000 jobs.
To put that number of jobs in perspective, Aruba’s total population is 103,009.
In the “no sh*t, Sherlock” file, the U.S. State Department spokeswoman’s reaction was, “This is not the way law enforcement matters should be handled.” At least they didn’t #hashtag it.
Hugo Carvajal a.k.a. “”el Pollo” is one of the guys who took part in Hugo Chávez’s unsuccessful 1992 military coup, later rising to the rank of general, but with a sideline,
Mr. Carvajal’s role as one of the Chávez government’s key liaisons to guerrillas from Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, emerged after computers belonging to a slain guerrilla leader were captured by Colombian security forces in 2008.
Here’s the indictment in the U.S. District Court accusing Carvajal of coordinating the transport of 5,600 kilos (6.17 tons) of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico.
Clearly, everyone applied pressure, but the weak link did not turn out to be Aruba as I suggested on my first post, but rather The Netherlands, as reportedly even Russia played a role, exchanging concessions on the Ucraine plane for helping release Carvajal. No matter what anyone says or how this is interpreted, it was a severe blow to the US, who would have loved to get Carvajal onshore.
One of my sources also mentions that team Obama had about 30 days to hand over its Extradition Request to Aruba but failed to; the Treasury Dept, the DEA and a U.S. District Court (mentioned above) had indicted him last year. It reminds me of drug kingpin Walid Makled, who was released to Venezuela by Santos of Colombia after the U.S. dragged its feet.
We’re in the best of hands.
While the Dutch allow Carvajal diplomatic immunity, the Egyptians search Secretary of State John Kerry, which was no biggie, but he fumes over Israel’s criticism.
'OBAMA WILL TAKE CARE OF US'...
Violent MS-13 gang recruiting at Arizona facility...
Amnesty, work permits for 5 million could be ordered 'within weeks'...
Visa overstays to be excused...
Scott Brown Becomes First Senate Candidate To Run Ad On Crisis...
POLL: 77% want illegals sent home...
VIDEO: Coyote on jet ski delivers migrants to USA in broad daylight...
Jerry Brown kicks off trade mission in Mexico...
One of the reasons why so many Americans oppose amnesty and a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens is because, even if one buys it in utilitarian terms, to accept that an honorable American identity can be born from an illegal act seems to mock the very essence of citizenship and allegiance.
Read the rest.
“Malvinas banner” display costs Argentina 30.000 Swiss francs fine
FIFA has fined the Argentine Football Association 30,000 Swiss francs (£19,540) as punishment for the displaying of a provocative banner relating to the Falkland Islands.
Pope sends message demanding justice on 20th anniversary of AMIA bombing
On the 20th anniversary of the AMIA Jewish community center bombing, the Argentine pontiff sent a message for “justice” to Argentina’s Israeli community and relatives of the 85 victims that resulted dead in the attack.
Senator urges Chile to take ‘active’ role in Israel-Palestine conflict
Campaigners from the large Palestinian community calls for greater action in conflict while DC deputy warns against ‘bringing the conflict to Chile.’
Obama’s Border Summit Theater
Rate of Girls Crossing U.S.-Mexico Border Alone Outpaces Boys, Study Finds
The number of unaccompanied girls caught crossing into the U.S. at the border with Mexico has grown far more quickly this year than the number of boys, according to a Pew Research Center report.
Previously uncontacted Peruvian Indians ‘could carry flu back to tribe’
Activists fear that virus contracted by Amazonian tribe members fleeing violent attacks could spread through vulnerable and isolated communities
Mercosur is ‘not working’ because of protectionism and lack of arbitration
Mercosur is “not working” and is “stalled” admitted Uruguayan president Jose Mujica and blamed the situation on different visions of the block’s functioning, according to an interview with Folha de Sao Paulo.
The Hijacking of a Venezuelan Newspaper
The week’s posts & podcast:
Aruba: Venezuelan consul detained on drug charges
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Case study in “smart diplomacy”: Bolivia
The week’s podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week
Well, that didn’t take long!
Hugo Carvajal, a.k.a. “El Pollo” (the chicken), the Venezuelan consul candidate accused of providing weapons to the FARC, working with Iranian intelligence, and who’s under investigation for his role on the attacks to the Colombian consulate and the Jewish center in Caracas, was released by Aruban authorities, after Holland decided he did qualify for diplomatic immunity but declared him person non-grata.
This is yet another instance where America is perceived as weak, since
The arrest was based on a formal request from the United States. [Aruba's chief prosecutor Peter] Blanken said Aruba was “obliged to cooperate” because of a treaty with the United States.
Carvajal immediately flew back to Caracas, in time to attend the PSUV congress and walk into Nicolas Maduro’s arms:
The thing is that the swift, I repeat the word, retrieval of Carvajal means that not only the army has acted but also the drug traffickers, and all the thugs that could be affected
Raúl Stolk, in a post titled Chicken Run,
This, of course, raises a bunch of questions:
- Has the US anything to say? What about the request for extradition?
- Jose Ignacio Hernandez explained at Prodavinci that immunity alone would not suffice to protect Carvajal if the reason for his detention was not related to his functions as head of the Venezuelan Consulate in Aruba. Then, why would the Dutch just go with Venezuela’s lame arguments to release the man?
- Does everybody fear Diosdado? (Damn!)
- Is dealing drugs ok now?
Miguel Octavio has a lot more questions:
-Why did Maduro want to name Carvajal as Consul to Aruba specifically? Is it related to the island being an offshore financial center?
-Why would a legal resident of the US, lend or lease his US company’s jet to someone in the US drug kingpin list in the Patriot’s Act era?
Juan Cristobal Nagel asks, Is there a link between Petrocaribe and Carvajal?
The Caribbean economies are mighty fragile. The last thing the US, the Netherlands, and other colonial powers need … is for Maduro’s instability to spill over into the islands.
Interesting question, but I think Nagel may overestimate U.S. influence on this issue.
More from Venezuela-Europa:
So: the man in charge of the foreign relations for the Kingdom of the Netherlands took the decision to liberate a man who
- came in with a false passport,
- had over $20000 with him and had not declared that money
- had not received the placet to become a consul,
- was accused by the US of having tortured and murdered two Colombian officials, of having helped a terrorist organisation and being responsible for cocaine trafficking.
To keep the caged bird from singing?