Archive for the ‘Caribbean’ Category

The Memorial Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 26th, 2014

LatinAmerWith deep gratitude to all who have served our beautiful country in the armed forces, this week’s Carnival.

ARGENTINA
Spanish oil company Repsol ends operations in Argentina
Spanish oil company Repsol has ended its operations in Argentina, two years after the government seized its assets.

Last month the Argentine congress gave final approval to pay $5bn (£3bn) in compensation for Repsol’s stake in Argentine oil firm YPF.

The Spanish company has now announced that it has sold the last batch of bonds it received to cover its losses.

Argentina’s Jewish community talks fondly of friend Francis in the Vatican
Rabbi Abraham Skorka only one of large number of Argentinian Jews with whom pope has developed strong, personal ties

A Desperate Mother’s Search Leads to a Fight Against Sex Trafficking
Desperate for answers about her daughter’s disappearance in 2002, Susana Trimarco started the Fundación María de los Ángeles, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates sex slaves in Argentina.

BAHAMAS
Ah, Bahamas: Sun, Sand and the NSA Recording Your Cell Phone Calls

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Hires Spain’s Isotron to Build Solar Power Plant

BRAZIL
Brazil Deploys Vast World Cup Security Plan
Brazil is spending $855 million on security and safety during the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup, which the country will host from June 12 to July 13, the government said on Friday.

Freak hail storm strikes World Cup 2014 host city Sao Paulo
A hail storm covers streets in ice in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo which will host the opening match of the football World Cup in less than a month

CHILE
Revolutionary ‘tears-up’ £300m student debt to protest fees
A Chilean artist has destroyed £300m of student debt ‘IOUs’ to protest tuition charges

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s President Santos to face Zuluaga in run-off vote
Official results from Colombia’s presidential election say the incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos will face his main rival, Oscar Zuluaga, in a run-off next month.

Oscar Iván Zuluaga, a conservative candidate closely allied with former President Álvaro Uribe, won the most votes in the first round of Sunday’s presidential election.

CUBA
Yoani Sanchez’s Independent Online Publication Unblocked in Cuba

From Inside Cuba’s Burning Fire

Miami, Safe Haven for Cuban Torturers? Federal Case of Ethiopian Abuser Reminder, You Cannot Hide from US Justice

Andres Oppenheimer: In Cuba, technology may beat censorship

A Cagy KGB Rabbi

ECUADOR
Ecuador to Begin Oil Drilling in Amazonia

Presidente for life: Ecuador’s Correa Seeks to Allow Indefinite Re-Election of All Officials
Ecuador’s President Asks for Constitutional Amendment

EL SALVADOR
6 Gunned Down on Bus in El Salvador

GUATEMALA
U.S. Sentences Guatemala Ex-President to 5 Years for Money Laundering

HONDURAS
In Violent Honduras, Soccer Is Offering Young Children An Escape From Gangs, Drugs

JAMAICA
Lobbyists call for Jamaica to decriminalize pot

MEXICO
Marine hero stuck in Mexican prison on gun charges

Mexican Zapatista head Marcos steps down
The leader of the Zapatista rebels in southern Mexico, Subcomandante Marcos, announces he is leaving the 20-year-old guerrilla group.

Mexican federal forces rescue 68 CentAm migrants being held captive

How Mexico’s New President Is Turning His Country Into a Servile US Client
Enrique Peña Nieto is using violence and repression to dismantle his country’s progressive legacy.
So, is servility why Mexico’s holding Andrew Tahmooressi?

PERU
U.S. Opens Talks with Peru on Waiving Visas

Attorney: Joran van der Sloot to marry in Peruvian prison, become father

PUERTO RICO
Borinqueneers to get Congressional Gold Medal

URUGUAY
Marijuana to Be Sold for Less Than $1 a Gram in Uruguay
Authorities said the price was deliberately set below what marijuana sells for illegally, and the quality control of the drug available at pharmacies would be “very high”

VENEZUELA
CNN team denied right to cover Venezuela local elections

Surprise! Latrine America backs Maduro in Venenozuela

Mythbusting the reduction of poverty

Unfortunately, A Bleak Future For Venezuelans.

Crackdown presents challenge to Citizens Energy, Joe Kennedy II

The week’s posts and podcast:
Puerto Rico: rising volume of drugs coming from Venezuela

Colombia: Who will be the next president?

En español: Unidad de quemados

Mexico: Kevin’s selfie

Bob Menendez on the Venezuelan nightmare

LatAm in top-10 happiest

UN: Cuba to chair World Health Assembly

Venezuela: Chavistas rolling in dough

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Cuba and moral blindness

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week


Puerto Rico: rising volume of drugs coming from Venezuela UPDATED

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

The Economist has a report on Drugs trafficking in the Caribbean
Full circle
An old route regains popularity with drugs gangs

The final destination is likely to be North America or Europe, sometimes via West Africa. Puerto Rico is a way-station, physically in the Caribbean but within United States’ customs barriers. The French territories of Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana do the same for Europe

Clink on the map for the full article:

UPDATE:
One thing that has been bothering me since I posted this is how the map shows no information on Cuba. Are we to believe Cuba is not involved in drug trafficking?

The first Monday in March Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

LatinAmerVenezuela’s demonstrations continue to be the week’s top story, in spite of the media blackout. Take some time to look at photos and read about The Venezuela Paradox,

After three weeks of repression, fifteen dead, at least 60 reported tortured and more than eight hundred detained, including opposition leaders and reporters, the Venezuelan students have at least shown the world what little respect the Maduro administration has for the human and civil rights of the people.

Keep in mind that

The protests come from people who realize that their future has been robbed by a narco-kleptocracy. Almost anyone in Venezuela that has aspirations to a better future through education, hard work, you name it, questions more or less actively the regime.

More below:

ARGENTINA
Heisenberg: Chapo Guzmán, la conexión argentina

What could possibly go wrong? Argentina Plans Price-Control Measures
President Cristina Kirchner has pledged tougher measures against businesses that raise prices, as her administration tries to stabilize an economy suffering from double-digit inflation and hard currency shortages.

Devaluation Hurts Argentina’s Regional Standing
Colombia Has Likely Overtaken Argentina as Latin America’s Third-Largest Economy

Two Years After Expropriation, Argentina and Repsol Sign Accord on YPF
The agreement establishes compensation for the Spanish oil firm of $5 billion in dollar-denominated government bonds, a debt that will be settled by 2033, at the latest, if the bonds are held to maturity

Upcoming meme alert: Expect MSNBC to start referring to the Venezuelan demonstrations (if they ever notice them) as “attempts at a soft coup”, Presidenta argentina habla de ‘golpe suave’ en Venezuela

BOLIVIA
Bolivia’s 2013 revenue from gas sales to neighbors totals $6 bn

BRAZIL
Pity Brazil’s Military Police

The military police are not part of the armed forces, and yet they operate according to military principles of rank and discipline. They cannot strike or unionize, and are subject to a military-style penal code (meaning transgressions at work can be treated as mutiny or treason, and officers are tried in a special court). They are prohibited from “revealing facts or documents that can discredit the police or disrupt hierarchy or discipline.”

They also can’t openly disapprove of the acts of civilian authorities from the executive, legislative or judicial branches of government, and are forbidden to express their personal political opinions.

Brazil Sings a New Tune
As millions leave poverty behind, Brazilian funk is moving from the slums to the mainstream

CHILE
South American Anarchists Teach Anti-Capitalist Tactics to American Students

Scientists solve mystery of Chile’s ‘whale graveyard’

“This is a site on par with Dinosaur National Monument here in the United States, a whole hillside littered with dinosaur skeletons. We seem to have the same thing except with whales here in Chile.”

COLOMBIA
US Dismisses Colombia FARC Request to Join Peace Negotiations

More women in Colombian politics, please

CUBA
From The Economist story (also posted under Panama, below): Caribbean ports and the Panama canal
Ripple effects

Brazil and Cuba agreed in 2009 to develop the port of Mariel, west of Havana, through a partnership between Brazil’s Grupo Odebrecht and a state-owned Cuban company, with PSA International of Singapore as operator. The port has been dredged to a comfortable 18 metres and was inaugurated in January. But a major transshipment role is blocked by the American trade embargo: ships which have been to Cuba are barred for six months from American ports. More time to complete the Panama expansion means more time for the embargo to lift.

Lining a Dictator’s Pockets
No good would come of lifting the embargo on Cuba.

CURACAO
Curacao’s StartUp Stock Exchange Combines Crowdfunding with Stock Exchange

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
U.S. Medical Tourism To Dominican Republic Could Increase With High-Tech Clinic

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador Could Be the Next Venezuela
Experts say country could morph into Venezuela if ruling party retains control

GUATEMALA
The Fine Tapestry of the Kaqchikel Women of Guatemala

HAITI
UN official urges Haiti compensation
A UN official breaks ranks with the world body, and calls for compensation for Haitian victims of a cholera outbreak many blame on peacekeepers.

HONDURAS
Democracy

MEXICO
Mexican Drug Lord Owns Nearly 300 Companies

NICARAGUA
Why the Plan to Dig a Canal Across Nicaragua Could Be a Very Bad Idea

PANAMA
Caribbean ports and the Panama canal
Ripple effects

The new locks will accommodate ships which can take almost three times that load and need a draft of over 15 metres.

These monsters will slash shipping costs for Pacific cargo en route for Atlantic ports, and boost the 6% share of world trade that the Panama canal now claims.

PARAGUAY
Giant Prehistoric Sloth Fossil Found In Paraguay

PERU
Voting in Peru? Referendum on ballot just got more confusing

PUERTO RICO
Moody’s Issues Junk Rating for Coming Puerto Rico Bond Sale

20 arrested for bank fraud, money laundering in Puerto Rico

VENEZUELA
Whither Venezuela?

The WSJ lists Venezuela’s Opposition Leaders
University students have been the backbone of the antigovernment movement, but demonstrators recently have looked to Leopoldo López, a former mayor of the Chacao district of Caracas and leader of the Popular Will party. Read more about the opposition to President Nicolás Maduro.

Death toll from Venezuela street protests rises to 18
caracas clashes
Anti-government protests continue to Caracas and across Venezuela with ongoing battles between protesters and police claiming the life of a national guardsman

Chavismo Thrives on Mistrust

The U.S. Was Ready to Impose Sanctions on Ukraine. Why Not Venezuela, Too?

How Chavez planted the seeds of violence

‘A Perfect Storm’: The Failure of Venezuela’s New President
He was hand-picked by Hugo Chávez, but Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has lost control of the country’s economy. Vast protests have been the result, but the government in Caracas has shown no signs of bending.

Jailed Venezuela protest leader mocks President’s talks

ARE CUBAN SPECIAL FORCES SHOOTING AT VENEZUELAN PROTESTERS?

Senate Resolution Targets Venezuelan Rights Violators

The week’s posts and podcast:
Latin America at the #Oscars2014

Just what the Venezuelans need: Jimmy Carter!

#SOSVenezuela: Hugo loses his head in Táchira

Rubio’s speech on Cuba and Venezuela

Argentina: The more things change . . .

Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua: Russia to add military bases overseas UPDATED

Venezuela, en español: Entrevista con Gen. Ángel Vivas

En español: Terapia intensiva

Venezuela: Tweeting the barricades #SOSVenezuela

Mexico: How Chapo was nabbed

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
What would it take for Latin America’s left-wing populist economies to turn around?

Venezuela: “Don’t you get weary!”

Podcast:
Victor Triay, author PLUS US-Latin America this week

The Venezuelan demonstrations Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 24th, 2014

LatinAmerWithout a doubt, the week’s top story is the opposition’s continuing demonstrations in Venezuela, eclipsing even the capture in Mexico of Chapo Guzmán, the most-wanted criminal of the hemisphere (and who will face charges in at least three US federal courts), . You can click on #LaSalida for all my posts covering the story.

ARGENTINA
Clarin break-up plan passed under Argentine media law
Regulators in Argentina have approved a plan to break up the country’s biggest independent media group into six parts.

The tragedy of Argentina
A century of decline
One hundred years ago Argentina was the future. What went wrong?

. . . three deep-lying explanations help to illuminate the country’s diminishment. Firstly, Argentina may have been rich 100 years ago but it was not modern. That made adjustment hard when external shocks hit. The second theory stresses the role of trade policy. Third, when it needed to change, Argentina lacked the institutions to create successful policies.

“We have spent 50 years thinking about maintaining government spending, not about investing to grow,” says Fernando de la Rúa, a former president who resigned during the 2001 crisis.

This short-termism distinguishes Argentina from other Latin American countries that have suffered institutional breakdowns. Chile’s military dictatorship was a catastrophic fracture with democracy but it introduced long-lasting reforms. Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party governed steadily for most of the 20th century. “In Argentina institution-building has taken the form of very quick and clientilist redistribution,” says Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Elliott vs Argentina: 3 possible resolutions

BAHAMAS
China makes inroads in the Bahamas with Baha Mar mega-resort

BELIZE
Belize Sign On To Jaguar Corridor Initiative

BOLIVIA
Bolivia under water: Why no national disaster declared amid floods?
The Bolivian government says its massive aid operation, which includes food and tents, is well underway, but not everyone is satisfied with the response.

Turnabout in Bolivia as Economy Rises From Instability

BRAZIL
Optics? THE ROUSSEFF TWO STEP
Brazil Sidestepping to the Right
via Instapundit.

Drought Could Drain More Than Brazil’s Coffee Crop

CHILE
Pedophile Priest Defies Vatican Order

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s left; human rights hypocrites

COSTA RICA
5 things that happened this week in Costa Rica’s presidential runoff campaign

CUBA
Venezuela: Another Reason Why Cuba Remains a State-Sponsor of Terrorism

On eighth day of hunger strike, Cuban activist Antunez vomiting blood (UPDATED)

DOMINICA
A husband-and-wife pair of Olympic skiers representing Dominica are having a nightmare week in Sochi

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitians will not be stripped of Dominican Republic citizenship

Plastic Surgery in the Dominican Republic: Is the Cheap Cost of Medical Tourism Worth the Risk?

ECUADOR
Ecuador’s President Correa Faces Test in Regional Elections
Correa Seeks to Strengthen his Hold, Secure Continuity for His Government

GUATEMALA
At least 8 dead, 12 wounded in Guatemala violence

JAMAICA
Jamaican bobsled team faces uncertain future

MEXICO
Stalled Spending Chokes Mexico’s Growth
Mexico posted its worst economic performance in 2013 since the global recession of 2009, thanks in part to massive government spending delays that businesses struggled to overcome.

Obama finds that the world intrudes on his travels

Yet Another Devastating Blow to the Drug Gangs! Another Decisive Victory in the War on Drugs!

Humor:

NICARAGUA
A canal across Nicaragua: Is this for real? Here’s a hint: “The price tag alone is nearly four times Nicaragua’s economic output.”

PANAMA
Panama Canal expansion project resumes after work stoppage

PARAGUAY
Maria Doyle Kennedy speaks about filming ‘Eliza Lynch: Queen of Paraguay’

PERU
Video: Peru creates a special place for expectant mothers to wait — and wait

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Plans $2.86 Billion Offering for 16 Months of Cash, supposedly “to regain financial footing” until June 2015. And then what?

Puerto Rico Diocese Opposes Criminal Investigation Into Sex Abuse Cases

VENEZUELA
Cubanization at work: Venenozuela drives out its Jewish community

Venezuela says ‘fascists’ CNN can stay but calls on media to rectify coverage

Caracas: Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo López Faces 10 Years in Prison

Will Venezuela Follow Ukraine?

On the March in Caracas

Venezuela: chaos and thuggery take the place of the pretty revolution
Hugo Chávez’s dream world has become a nightmare of shot-down protesters, jailed oppositionists, economic meltdown and a brutal war waged against a defiant middle class

Video: Venezuelan Citizens Scream At National Guard “We Are The People, Do Not Hurt Us!”

The week’s posts, radio, and podcast:
Venezuela: #24F Barricading the country

CSpan Panel: #Venezuela and Democracy

Venezuela: En español, las grandes fortunas de los chavistas en el Imperio mismo

Mexico: El Chapo caught

Venezuela: More protests today #22F

Venezuela: Not “a slow news week”

En español: Libro Desarrollo económico y pobreza en América Latina: El rol de los Planes Sociales”

Venezuela: Shooting in the streets

Mexico: Obama arrives for summit

Venezuela: Today’s roundup

Venezuela: What’s happening today #18F #PrayForVenezuela

At Da Tech Guy: Venezuela: “We must become the media”

Radio: DaTechGuy on DaRadio Noon-2 Fausta & Da Magnificent Panel

This week’s podcast had to be cancelled due to software difficulties at Blog Talk Radio.

The Winter Olympics week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 10th, 2014

While the Sochi accommodations are nowhere near as nice as those in the more modest hotels in our hemisphere, Mexico sent the most interesting skier in the world, Bermudans wore shorts, and the guys from the Caymans wore shorts and flip-flops (which may explain why there only three). Dominica, Tortola of the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica (whose bobsled is now complete), Paraguay, Brazil, Peru and the US Virgin Islands also have athletes in Sochi.

ARGENTINA
Argentina bus crash near Mendoza kills at least 18

COUNTING THE COST
Argentina’s great decline
It has gone from being one of the world’s wealthiest nations to a serial defaulter, but can it get back on track?

Argentina: Repeat Economic Offender

ARGENTINA FREE FALL
Kirchner Government Doubles Down In Its War Against Math

Argentina is doubling down in its war against math. The WSJ reports that political activists loyal to President Kirchner are publicly targeting retailers by putting posters of the executives up all over Buenos Aires. The posters accuse the leaders of Walmart and other companies of fueling the country’s ruinous inflation by raising prices, even as the government continues to devalue the official currency and ignore traditional IMF economic policy.

Argentina to US senators: Show a little respect

BELIZE
A magical world at Francis Ford Coppola’s luxe resorts in Belize
Need isolation? Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge is in the middle of the untamed, natural beauty of a Belizean forest preserve. Need local culture? Turtle Inn is on the coast near the fishing village of Placencia

BOLIVIA
Bolivia floods kill 38, more heavy rains forecast

The European Union (EU) Thursday called on Bolivia to respect the ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in favor of British power generator Rurelec PLC, said an official. US$41 million.

BRAZIL
Brazil may face water shortages during World Cup, group says, but I’ll bet it won’t be like the Sochi water.

Removida delegada que apura ligação de Lula com mensalão

Responsável pelo inquérito que investiga a suposta participação do ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva no esquema do mensalão, a delegada Andrea Pinho foi removida do cargo nesta sexta-feira, 7. O inquérito que tem Lula como alvo será tocado por outro delegado, ainda não designado que pode pedir novas diligências ou o arquivamento do caso.

CHILE
Chile cool: art, music and graffiti in laid-back Valparaíso
The Chilean city of Valparaíso is alive with avant-garde culture and vibrant street art. Think mini Berlin by the seaside

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s media are wrong; election is up for grabs

Photo of Pres. Santos shaking hands with Timochenko, the FARC leader, back in the day, “If you want Timochenko as president and Iván Márquez in the Senate, you know who to vote for in the upcoming elections.”

COSTA RICA
‘Black Heart’ in Brazil heat drives coffee turnaround h/t DP

CUBA
Gorki Aguila, Cuban Rocker Faces Sham Trial

Cuba Regime Supporters Caught Off Guard with Reaction to Fanjul Story

Oh Happy Day! NBC refers to Communism as “pivotal experiment”

The Truth About Che Guevara

ECUADOR
Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon before:

Freedom of speech in Ecuador
Drawn and quartered
The government orders a newspaper to “correct” a critical cartoon

Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon after:

EL SALVADOR
JJ Rendón is suing Salvador’s president Mauricio Funes for $100 on defamation of character and slander from Funes calling him “a fugitive from justice, a rapist.” (link in Spanish) I hope Rendón wins, and gets to collect.

GUATEMALA
Claudia Paz y Paz, A Guatemalan crusader is reined in

Guatemalan court upholds top prosecutor’s ouster

HONDURAS
Democracy

MEXICO
In Apatzingán:Mexican Vigilantes Enter Key City in Michoacán State
Vigilantes Aim to Take Control of City from Organized Crime Group

THE AMERICAN VIGILANTE VERSUS THE MEXICAN CARTEL

Sochi 2014: ‘Mexican prince’ ready to hit slopes in Mariachi suit

Well, he already was successful lobbying against soft drinks: Look who’s giving advice to Mexico City? Señor Bloomberg. I suggest he brush up his Spanish,

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua: Ortega allowed to run for third successive term

PANAMA
Panama Canal work stops in $1.6bn row
The Spanish-led consortium working on a project to widen the Panama Canal confirms work has been suspended amid a row over cost overruns.

PARAGUAY
Julia Marino becomes Paraguay’s first Winter Olympian

PERU
400 Dead Dolphins Washed Up on Peru Beaches in January

PUERTO RICO
Networks Completely Ignore $70 Billion Puerto Rican Debt Crisis

Puerto Rico Downgrade Puts Bond Deal in Spotlight
Investors are looking beyond the junk-rated credit of Puerto Rico to see if it can sell debt needed for short-term finances, lay groundwork for economic recovery.

URUGUAY
Uruguay’s president nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for legalizing marijuana

VENEZUELA
D.C. mayoral candidate’s business to host Venezuelan government’s pro-Chavez event

Toyota Halts Venezuela Production as Car Sales Fall

Venezuelans fume as government signals end to ‘free’ petrol
In a country where petrol is cheaper than water, ministers say prices must increase for the first time since a rise 15 years ago sparked deadly riots

The fascists in charge of Venezuela want to kill the press, while banging students

The Paradox Of Chavista “Planning”: Even Simple Things Are Hard For Them

Antonio Pardo, A Venezuelan in Sochi (Important Update)

According to Alek Boyd and others, Mr. Pardo is not quite the feel-good story we made him out to be. Turns out he allegedly has links to Antonini Wilson and the suitcase scandal. State news media is falsely reporting he won a gold medal.

Venezuelan “skier” in #Sochi2014 has a Swiss bank, is partners with Carlos Kauffmann & Co. His brother’s a partner of L. Oberto in St Barts

The week’s posts and podcast:
“Smart diplomacy”: Ambassador to Argentina may not even speak Spanish

Mexico: The most interesting skier in the world

Brazil: Cuban doctor seeks asylum

Argentina: Burning down the house

Venezuela: Squatting at the Presidential Mansion

Puerto Rico: Junk bond status

Sochi: Airline loses Jamaicans’ bobsled

Mexico: Behind the Peña Nieto-Fidel photo-op

Left turns: El Salvador and Costa Rica

At Da Tech Guy: Ask Fausta: Is now the time to travel to Latin America? The answer is yes.

Podcast: Elections in El Salvador plus other US-Latin America issues


The Groundhog Day / Superbowl weekend Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina’s Luck Is Finally Running Out

Héctor Timerman: el canciller que denunciaba que “Cuba es una dictadura” hoy participa de la CELAC en La Habana

BRAZIL
Debt bondage and indentured servitude in modern-day Brazil: Brazil’s Slaves Are Being Freed, But Owners Go Largely Unpunished

Barbarians at the Mall Entrance

CHILE
Detenida por caso Guzmán relacionaría a Bachelet con el FPMR
“Ella es clave en delitos terroristas y además podría individualizar dirigentes, jerarquías y funciones en que participaron dirigentes actuales de la izquierda chilena”, acusa el abogado Raúl Meza sobre la información que manejaría la “Comandante Ana”.

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s next president; a woman Marta Lucia Ramirez

Colombian chief prosecutor Eduardo Montealegre says he will bring charges against six employees of the US coal mining company, Drummond, over an environmental disaster last year.

COSTA RICA
After yesterday’s elections, Luis Guillermo Solís is ahead: Leftist Costa Rica outsider leads election, run-off expected

Costa Rica Flirts with Chavismo

Costa Rica holds presidential poll
Voters in Costa Rica choose a successor for President Laura Chinchilla, with opinion polls predicting a tight race between four main contenders.

CUBA
Cuba steps up repression on the eve of the CELAC summit

How do Cuban doctors escape Venezuela?
Doctors escape medical missions assigned by the Cuban government. These missions are not only to Venezuela, but to other parts of the world.
Via Babalu.

ECUADOR
Ecuador Fines Leading Newspaper Over Cartoon
The Ecuadorean government has fined newspaper El Universo, saying a political cartoon it recently published was defamatory and promoted social unrest, stoking concerns about press freedom in the South American country.

Lima Journal, Part I, and Part II By Jay Nordlinger

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador: former leftwing guerrilla takes lead in presidential election
Salvador Sanchez Cerén was rebel leader in bloody civil war but with nearly half votes counted he is favourite to win March run off

El Salvador in Peril
If leftist Sánchez Cerén becomes president, the future would be grim.

El Salvador votes for new presidentElection posters in San Salvador, 31 January
El Salvador is voting in a presidential election pitting the left-wing FMLN against the conservative Arena party, amid rising concern gang violence.

GUATEMALA
The Antigua Forum: Exporting A Different Kind of Latin American Revolution

Central America’s largest museum of Mayan culture to be built in Guatemala (h/t DP)

HAITI
Haiti celebrates first cardinal
The first Haitian cardinal didn’t believe the news — until he turned to the Internet.

HONDURAS
Narcos In The Mist

JAMAICA
Tufton wants Jamaicans to open eyes to economic realities

MEXICO
The Violent Gang Wars Behind Super Bowl Guacamole
Mexican growers in the world’s avocado capital chase off a criminal gang that extorted millions of dollars a year.

Humor: Los Horóscopos del Maestro Piyush 30/01/2014

PANAMA
Panama releases majority of crew on North Korean ship

PUERTO RICO
Not surprising: Puerto Rico bonds facing possible junk ratings are no longer part of the S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index because of the debt’s outsized yields and spotty liquidity, S&P Dow Jones Indices said on Friday

Dead Puerto Rico boxer posed standing in the ring

HUMOR: Cinco Parientes De AGP Trabajan En El Gobierno; Aparecen Miles De Garcías Y Padillas A Pedir Cacao

VENEZUELA
At markets, Chavez successor falls short

Venezuela and Argentina
The party is over
Latin America’s weakest economies are reaching breaking-point

Quiqueo throws the towel. He made the news.

Daniel’s recipe for the Venezuelan opposition (for what good it does…)

The week’s posts and podcast:
Brazil: Not quite ready for World Cup prime time

Crazy Venezuelan headline of the day: “Maduro offers 80% discount in tickets to the moon”

Ecuador: Maybe Mia ought to meet Vaca

Argentina: Chronicle of a default foretold, continued

En español: Angry Birds en la Unidad de Quemados

Cuba: CELAC, the hypocrisy summit

Mexico: Michoacán vigilantes to join with police

Guatemala: The lost orphans

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Latin America: What was missing from the SOTU

Podcast: Crime and inflation in Venezuela PLUS other US Latin America issues.

Cuba: CELAC, the hypocrisy summit

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, a.k.a. CELAC) is meeting in the island prison, richly earning the title of The hypocrisy summit:

In the shadows, meanwhile, the police-state goons, who represent the real Cuba, will be busy rounding up the usual suspects — those who clamor for genuine freedom and detest the oppression that prevails in the country of Jose Martí’s birth.

This is the customary script for events in Cuba that draw international media attention, as with papal visits. The government is so keen to create the impression that everyone lives happily under a benevolent Castro dictatorship that it takes extra measures to ensure that neither official visitors nor the press witness signs of dissent.

Dilma, Evo, and Cristina are in attendance as the Cuban Regime “Cleans up” Opposition for CELAC Summit. Cristina met with Fidel and his wee wifey,

Just in case, Dilma is saying that Argentina has not asked for help in the devaluation crisis (link in Portuguese). Not that any would be coming from her.

It’s basically a hatefest against the USA, with the blessing of the OAS’s Insulza, who so far has not met with the Ladies in White, and also of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who came up with a real doozy,

“Since [violence against women] is rooted in discrimination, impunity and complacency, we need to change attitudes and behavior – and we need to change laws and make sure they are enforced just like you are doing in Cuba.”

“Just like you are doing in Cuba”:


CELAC: Maduro & Cristina want Puerto Rico’s independence

Monday, January 27th, 2014


Sayonara, suckers.

Puerto Ricans’ opinions don’t matter to the tinpot Venezuelan dictator or to the Evita-wannabe, because they need a distraction from driving their own countries to ruin:
Crises Squeeze Two Latin Leaders
The leaders of Argentina and Venezuela were set to attend a conference in Cuba to debate Puerto Rican independence on Tuesday, as their countries faced their most acute economic crises in a decade.

On the streets of Argentina and Venezuela, many asked what their leaders were doing in Cuba when they were struggling with Latin America’s highest rates of inflation and the palpable fear that things could worsen when private investment is veering toward a recovering American economy.

The fact is,

independence for Puerto Rico, which was handed over by Spain after the Spanish-American war, has never gotten much traction. In a 2012 referendum, 61% voted for statehood and only 5% for independence.

Puerto Rico’s independence party has such low turnout that they needed to re-register after general elections.

Not that democracy matters to anyone at the upcoming CELAC

Apparently, the first objective of that organization, as declared, is: “To reaffirm that the preservation of democracy and democratic values, the validity of the institutions and the Rule of Law, a commitment to the respect for, and the validity of, all human rights for all, are the essential objectives of our countries.”

What do these people understand democracy to be? Cuba, like the other countries hatched by the now-extinct Soviet Union, is a one-party dictatorship older than half a century where no individual freedoms exist and no human rights are respected. While the CELAC is being held, the political police harasses and bashes the Ladies in White and the opposition democrats who dare to protest. Is anyone unaware of this?

Cuban dissidents are holding their own forum:

Cuban dissidents and activists plan to hold a forum on democracy in Havana on Jan. 28, parallel to the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, opposition sources told Efe on Saturday.

Organized by the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America, or CADAL, and the dissident group Arco Progresista, the forum hopes to bring together members of the opposition like Guillermo Fariñas and Jose Daniel Ferrer, Ladies in White leader Berta Soler, blogger Yoani Sanchez and activist Antonio Rodiles, among other representatives of civil society on the island.

Cuban police will block the opposition’s meeting.

OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza is attending CELAC, but refused to meet with any dissidents, thereby offering further evidence of the OAS’s irrelevance.

Elsa Morejón, whose husband Dr. José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) was arrested after meeting with the ambassadors of Spain and the Netherlands this week and transported away from Havana for the duration of the summit, tweeted,

The only country in the Americas without free elections or multi-party [system] in 56 years, will host the #CELACSummit. Unbelievable.

But look at the bright side: The more Maduro, Cristina, and their ilk cackle about Puerto Rico, the fewer the Puerto Ricans who’ll side with them.

Post re-edited to add links.

UPDATE:
My tweet,
#CELACSummit As if there isn’t enough poop in #PuertoRico, @NicolasMaduro & @CFKArgentina want to bring theirs.

RELATED:
Puerto Rico: La crisis final del “ELA”

The BVI, China’s new tax haven

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The Caymans are so 1990s:
China’s princelings storing riches in Caribbean offshore haven
Relatives of political leaders including China’s current president and former premier named in trove of leaked documents from the British Virgin Islands

The disclosure of China’s use of secretive financial structures is the latest revelation from “Offshore Secrets”, a two-year reporting effort led by theInternational Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which obtained more than 200 gigabytes of leaked financial data from two companies in the British Virgin Islands, and shared the information with the Guardian and other international news outlets.

In all, the ICIJ data reveals more than 21,000 clients from mainland China and Hong Kong have made use of offshore havens in the Caribbean, adding to mounting scrutiny of the wealth and power amassed by family members of the country’s inner circle.

Inner circle indeed. Go to link above to read the names of the people involved.

Of course, there’s no disclosure required from party leaders, so, who knows?

The year-end Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 30th, 2013

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Nine-year-old US boy climbs Aconcagua peak in Argentina
A nine-year-old boy from the United States has become the youngest person to reach the summit of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas.

BRAZIL
Brazil jail fights kill 59 in 2013
At least 59 inmates have been killed in a single northern Brazilian prison this year
; the town is Pedrinhas.

Smart Diplomacy: Boeing’s Super Hornet Banned From Brazil’s Fighter Sales Because of Fury Over NSA Scandal

Brazil Boosts Levy On Overseas Transactions
Brazil is raising taxes on more transactions its residents make abroad, as the country tries to increase government revenue and reduce the outflow of dollars.

ICYMI, Smart Diplomacy: Brazilian President complains to Obama about “a grave violation of human rights” and “especially of disrespect to national sovereignty

CHILE
Statistics in Chile
No consensus

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s year of peace

Colombian military kills 10 Farc rebels in bombing raid
The Colombian military says it has killed at least 10 members of the left-wing Farc rebel group in an operation in central Meta province.

CUBA
The Free Alan Gross website.

Magazine Celebrates Mass Murderer Che

Man who shouted “Down with communism!” during pope’s visit to Cuba is now in Chattanooga
Andrés Carrión Says security agents threatened to kill him, fired his wife, forced them out of their home and sent two snitches to get close to him.

ECUADOR
Ecuador Faces Legal Quandary over Intra-Indigenous Violence

HONDURAS
Honduran High Court Rejects Challenge to Presidential Vote

JAMAICA
Police in Jamaica probe slaying of New York teen

MEXICO
Observations and Questions as NAFTA Reaches 20 Years of Age

Mexico to Tax Luxury Item: Pet Food
Mexico’s pet owners are bracing for a new tax on pet food, which the government recently declared a “luxury item.
A 16% Sales Tax to Kick In as Government Scrounges for Revenue

A Civil Servant in Mexico Tests U.S. on Asylum

NICARAGUA
A must-read firsthand account from a former NGO worker: 32 years after the revolution Reagan is right

PERU
The Dark Side of El Dorado: Illegal Gold Mining In Peru Generating More Money Than Drug Trafficking (emphasis added)

In fact, so much gold has been produced by the “informal” (or “illegal’) mining sector in Peru – involving some 40,000 miners who have tried to scrape whatever they can in abandoned mines around the country, from the jungle province of Puerto Maldonado to the deserted landscape of Ica – that gold has become more lucrative than cocaine trafficking (of which Peru is the largest exporter, having surpassed Colombia in 2012, according to the United Nations).

PUERTO RICO
PENSION WARS
Pension Update: Puerto Rico Up, San Jose Down
It’s been an up-and-down week for public pensions. In San Jose, a judge struck down a significant piece of the city’s pension reform plan, setting the stage for a big ballot fight next year. In Puerto Rico, on the other hand, the Senate finally passed a measure to put the Teachers Pesion Fund on solid footing.

With A Downgrade On Debt Imminent, Puerto Rico Needs A Visit From Santa Claus

TURKS & CAICOS
Turks and Caicos Islands: 18 Believed to Be Migrants From Haiti Drown
Eighteen people believed to be migrants from Haiti died Wednesday when their overloaded sailboat overturned as it was being escorted to shore in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

URUGUAY
Uruguayan Navy Seizes Over 1 Ton of Cocaine

USA
‘Military-Style’ Raid on California Power Station Spooks U.S.

The Most Underreported Foreign News Stories of 2013

The Most Underreported Domestic News Stories of 2013

VENEZUELA
Caracas Says It Received China Credits
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said China has given his country $5 billion in credits under a deal reached in September.
Money Pledged in September to Be Used for Several Purposes

PDVSA awards crude tender to U.S. refiner at wide discounts-trade, via Kermit, wjo points out,

A decade or so ago Venezuelan crude was sold on longterm contracts at about $10 per barrel discount from the two widget fiction crudes, WTI & Brent. Looks like it is now $20 discount and crude production has declined quite a bit.

What Will Happen In Venezuela In 2014?

2013 in review: the year we realized that the Venezuelan electorate is wretched and vile

Muere Hugo Chávez, nace el chavismo
Con o sin el expresidente, el chavismo es una plataforma viable, y es la preferida por los venezolanos. De eso ya no queda duda

ICYMI, The Venezuelan State’s Occupy “Movement”: The Victory of Socialism!

The week’s posts:
Cuba: Institutionalized racism

Argentina: Rocket up, power out

Ecuador: Cléver Jiménez, accused of hacking, gets raided. Assange & Snowden could not be reached for comment.

Mexico showed the way in 2013

Argentina: 60 wounded by piranha attack

Cuba: Doctors to earn $40 a month

Nicaragua: Paul Berman writes to de Blasio

Reformed dictators don’t exist

At Da Tech Guy: Fausta’s Puerto Rican Christmas menu