Archive for the ‘Latin America’ Category

In Silvio Canto’s podcast

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

talking about The latest from Colombia plus other US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio and Cecilia Torres.

Live at 8PM Eastern, and archived for your convenience.

The Holy Week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 14th, 2014

LatinAmerIt’s Holy Week, and taxes are due tomorrow – not exactly the most cheerful way to start a week.

ARGENTINA
Federal police launch huge raid on Argentina’s ‘drug capital’
More than 3,000 federal agents involved in raids on around 80 ‘bunkers’ in the Argentine city of Rosario, plagued by violence between drug gangs

YPF, Chevron to Invest $1.6 Billion in 2014 in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta
Both companies will share equally in the investment outlay, which will go toward drilling 170 wells and building production facilities in Loma Campana, Neuquen
. Good luck with that.

Argentina hit by general strike over high inflation and taxes

Metro, train and bus services around the country have been paralysed, as Ignacio de los Reyes reports
Public transport in Argentina has been severely disrupted by a huge nationwide strike against the economic policies of the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

So, of course, Cristina’s trying to create a diversion: UK Falklands military exercises ‘provoke’ Argentina

BOLIVIA
Is There A Connection Between Hillary Clinton’s ‘Shoe-icide’ Attacker And Che Guevara?

But while everyone is talking about the shoe, little is talked about what the woman also threw along with it: a copy of a Department of Defense document labeled confidential and dated August 1967; it referred to an operation “Cynthia” in Bolivia. Operation “Cynthia” was a Bolivian army maneuver to capture Argentinean doctor and Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s economic problems cloud 2014 elections
Brazil’s macroeconomic picture poses problems for the country’s 2014 elections, reports Bloomberg’s David Ingles

Fighting breaks out in Rio de Janeiro as police move to clear 5,000 squatters from buildings

Brazil 2014: less than half of country favour hosting World Cup
Just 48 per cent of Brazilians are in support of the country hosting this year’s tournament, which begins in June

CHILE
Fire destroys 500 homes in Valparaiso
Ambulance crews have treated residents for smoke inhalation but so far there have been no deaths

COLOMBIA
Keep FARC leader Timochenko alive for peace?

Colombia has a loose-tongued president.

Yesterday, Juan Manuel Santos told us he knew where FARC commander alias Timochenko is hiding, but claimed he’d “think twice” before ordering a shoot-to-kill.

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica Installs Coastal Radar to Monitor Drug Smuggling

CUBA
Families of Shootdown Victims: No Spies for Gross Exchange

UPDATED | Cuban political prisoner Lamberto Hernández Plana released after 23 years in Castro gulag

French Foreign Minister Visits Cuba
A French foreign minister visited Cuba for the first time in more than 30 years Saturday, traveling to the communist-run nation at a time when it is seeking to attract more foreign investment and improve ties with the European Union.

ECUADOR
It’s what you call a totalitarian democracy: Does Ecuador’s leader aspire to a perpetual presidency?
Ecuador’s constitution bars Rafael Correa from running for the fourth term. But this won’t stop him from seeking reelection if ‘the people’ want it, he hints.

JAMAICA
Entrepreneurs demand ‘respect’ in Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Chinese lending to Latin America
Flexible friends
China lends disproportionately to countries that lack other options
and, while on the subject of China, A Pax Sinica in the Middle East? Some Conjectures

Andres Oppenheimer: Latin America’s forecasts may be too rosy

MEXICO
Mexico prepares first illegal drug financing blacklist
Mexico’s cartels launder billions of dollars a year made by shipping illegal drugs to U.S.
with a proviso,

[Mexican Finance Minister Luis] Videgaray said individuals identified by OFAC [the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control], or in a similar list put out by the United Nations, could end up being sanctioned in Mexico but that his administration would not necessarily implement all U.S.-identified targets.

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua Sees Series of Arrow Killings of Dogs using crossbows and custom carbon arrows.

PANAMA
Panama Canal expansion draws bigger customers, and criticism
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal, one of the busiest waterways in the world. A massive building project is underway there to widen it for larger ships, but the expansion has not been undisputed.

PERU
Peru Arrests 24 for Alleged Ties to Shining Path Rebels

Bello
Peru’s Italian job
Economic success cannot indefinitely co-exist with political weakness
The “Italian model” holds that the important thing is that the economy was run by responsible technocrats. How’s that working out?

The real lesson from Italy is that if the political system is unable to act in the long-term interest of the majority, it ends up contaminating the economy with its failures. Peru is a democracy without meaningful parties. A regional election in October is likely to repeat the last one, in which 23 of the 25 regional presidents were independents. Thanks to mining and gas royalties, they command a big chunk of public money. One important region, Áncash, has become a mafia mini-state. Ten political opponents of the regional president, César Álvarez, have been murdered after denouncing corruption. His critics accuse Mr Álvarez, who denies all wrongdoing, of having bought off prosecutors. This month Mr Humala froze Áncash’s bank accounts.

It always amazes me that countless “models” – the Danish model, the Swedish model, etc. – are held as examples worth emulating in Latin America, instead of free market capitalism.

PUERTO RICO
Vatican Clears Puerto Rico Bishop Daniel Fernandez in Abuse Case

URUGUAY
Uruguay to make medical marijuana available to prisoners
Any inmates who have been prescribed marijuana to improve their physical or mental health will have access to it according to the country’s drug tsar

VENEZUELA
Venezuela: sector de la oposición rechaza diálogo

Venezuela Update: Violence, protests and … talks?

Massive repression against protestors in Venezuela by security forces of Cuba-backed dictatorship

Venezuela’s Protest Movement Fights The Ghost Of Chavez
The legacy of Hugo Chavez hangs over Venezuela — and the country’s protest leaders are having a hard time bringing his followers into their fold.
Especially with the armed motorcycle gangs threatening them.

Venezuela’s old men have a dialogue

Venezuela gives Cuba three aircraft to transport Raúl Castro
The aircrafts –two Dassault Falcon 50 and one Falcon 900– are worth some USD 100-110 million

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: No food in the shops, but 3 jets for Raul

El libro que hay que leer: En español: Infobae entrevista a Casto Ocando, autor de Chavistas en el Imperio

And now for a Venezuela roundup

Ecuador: Rafael Correa at Yale UPDATED

Brazil: Airports not ready yet

Mexico: en español, Terapia Intensiva 203

Mike Hammer goes to Chile

New book: Chavistas en el Imperio

Cuba: Alan Gross on hunger strike – later Gross ends hunger strike in Cuba

At Da Tech Guy:
Bye-bye, Elementary

Cuba’s American hostage

Podcast:
Dr Gross in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador & US-Latin America stories of the week


Panama: The Mrs. next?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Of the women presidents in Latin America, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Isabel Peron of Argentina, and Mireya Moscoso of Panama became presidents because of their husbands. Now Panama may get a wife as VP, coupled with lack of transparency:
Panama’s King Moves the Queen
President Martinelli can’t run for re-election, so he’s picked his wife to be the candidate for VP.

Center-right Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli is an outspoken critic of Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro. Back home in Panama, though, Mr. Martinelli is laying the groundwork for a power grab of his own. If he prevails the region will take another step backward on the freedom trail, yet the Obama State Department remains silent.

Mr. Martinelli’s term ends on July 1 and the constitution bars him from re-election. But the wealthy supermarket magnate is not letting go so easily. He has made his wife, Marta, the vice-presidential candidate on his Democratic Change Party (CD) ticket for the May 4 presidential election. The presidential candidate is José Domingo Arias, his former housing minister.

The Panamanian Constitution anticipates the caudillo who tries “moving the queen,” as this tactic is known elsewhere in the region, to get around a prohibition on re-election. Its Article 193 states that relatives within “the second degree of marital relations of the President of the Republic” may neither be president nor vice president immediately following his term.

A constitutional challenge to Mrs. Martinelli’s candidacy has been brought to the Supreme Court. But the president seems to be betting that the five—of nine—judges who regularly vote in his favor will do so again.

The Panamanian democracy is on the ropes once more. This time Mr. Martinelli has asphyxiated it by waving money under the noses of the political class.

Sometimes it feels like I could replace the dates in old news articles, doesn’t it?

Tonight’s podcast 8PM Eastern

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

talking about Dr Gross in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador & US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio Canto. Live, and also archived for your listening convenience.

The disgraced OAS Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 24th, 2014

LatinAmerThe big news of the week: the OAS voted on Friday to shut out the media and the public from Maria Corina Machado’s testimony, thereby disgracing itself.

ARGENTINA
ARGENTINA Y EL NARCOESTADO (PARTE II)

Al menos seis carteles operan en Argentina.Colombianos en Rosario,mexicanos en el Norte de Buenos Aires,narcotransportistas bolivianos en la ruta 34,”la ruta blanca”,sumadas a otras organizaciones criminales transnacionales que incluyen a chinos y serbios.

Pope meets Argentine Falklands veterans and calls for South Atlantic peace
Former archbishop of Buenos Aires has previously backed Argentina’s claim on the islands

How convenient: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner turns Pope Francis from foe to friend
Argentinian president praises cardinal’s commitment and vision, despite previously treating him as a political arch-enemy

BOLIVIA
Más de dos millones de libras de coca ilegal incautada colapsan los depósitos – Erbol

BRAZIL
Brazil’s ‘Constitution Of The Internet’ Puts Net Neutrality In The Spotlight

Brazil troops to quell Rio violenceHeavily-armed police patrol a shanty town in Rio de Janeiro, on March 13, 2014
Brazil’s government says it will send federal troops to Rio de Janeiro to quell recent attacks targeting police ahead of the World Cup in June
.

On Thursday, three police bases in the city were attacked by suspected gangs.

Four police officers have been killed since February in similar attacks.

CHILE
6.2 magnitude earthquake hits northern Chile, no damage reported

Chile asks extradition of alleged ex-guerrilla Marie Emmanuelle Verhoeven,

The 54-year-year-old has been wanted since 1996 on an international arrest warrant for the 1991 slaying of Jaime Guzman, leader of the conservative Chilean party Independent Democratic Union.

Andres Oppenheimer: Bachelet’s Chile: moving closer to Venezuela?

Chile: huge protest to urge new president to adopt reforms, via Bad Blue.

COLOMBIA
“Colombia’s democracy is mortally wounded”; Petro

CUBA
CUBA GIVES DOCTORS BIG PAY RAISE–TO $64 A MONTH

Obama Shouldn’t Forget Our Man in Havana

Uruguay’s Mujica Found Fidel Castro “Deteriorated” But Engaged

ECUADOR
Chevron seeks $32 million in legal fees in Ecuador case

GUATEMALA
Alfonso Portillo, Ex-President Admits Taking Taiwan Bribes

HAITI
Documentary: Post-quake Haiti rebuilding, a ‘Fatal Assistance

JAMAICA
Jamaica’s gang culture
Bad Vybz

LATIN AMERICA
Global Economy and Development – Brookings: A HIGH-CARBON PARTNERSHIP?
CHINESE-LATIN AMERICAN RELATIONS IN A CARBON-CONSTRAINED WORLD

MEXICO
US Sentences Mexican to 40 Years for Murder of Border Patrol Agent
Fourth Defendant Sentenced in Murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas

PANAMA
Behind the Chong Chon Gang Affair: North Korea’s Shadowy Arms Trade

PERU
Police, striking miners clash in Peru, 11 injured

PUERTO RICO
Finra Examining Trading in Puerto Rico Bonds
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is examining trading in Puerto Rico bonds, just a week after the island territory’s $3.5 billion bond sale.

VENEZUELA
Drone Camera Corrects CNN Español Report on Caracas Demonstrations

VenEconomy: Silence Means Consent

Airlines Move to Cut Off Service to Venezuela

Earlier this month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned that international airlines would likely stop serving Venezuela unless the country took steps to resolve the issue. Carriers don’t want to acquire more bolivars, which aren’t exchangeable outside the country.

Venezuela says street protests have caused $10 billion in damage

Venezuela’s protests
Inside the barrios
Support among the poor for the government of Nicolás Maduro is conditional

Can the Chavistas Save Venezuela from Cuba?

Chavistas want to save their movement from incompetent leadership and foreign interference and to protect their social base. Student protesters want to roll back the authoritarian intrusions and economic mismanagement that threaten their future. These fundamental goals are far from mutually exclusive for Venezuelans of good will looking to rescue their country.

Venezuela Battles Media, Social and Otherwise, to Restrict Protest Coverage

Venezuela Goes Mad

The week’s posts and podcast:
#SOSVenezuela: Who’s doing the killing? UPDATED

#SOSVenezuela: Yesterday’s #22M march

#SOSVenezuela, Maria Corina, and the OAS

LIVE: OAS hearing on Maria Corina Machado blacked out?

Insourcing from . . . Mexico?

Venezuela-Cuba Military Cooperation and the Narco-Terrorist Connection

En español: Terapia intensiva #200 ¡Felicidades a @DrNetas por las doscientas terapias!

Colombia: Santos wets himself UPDATED

Brazil’s high operating costs

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Latin America: Putin gets his license

Venezuela: The Left vs. reality

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


In Silvio Canto’s podcast

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

talking about the Venezuela & US-Latin America stories of the week live at 8PM EDT, and archived for your listening convenience.

The St. Patrick’s Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s day! If you would like to read a novel about an Irishman in Latin America, I recommend El sueño del celta / The Dream of the Celt: A Novel, by Mario Vargas Llosa. (Warning: It can be gruesome at times)

ARGENTINA
Paris Club invites Argentina to hold debt negotiation

Pope Francis a year on: A friend reveals a very special gift
As Pope Francis marks his first anniversary in the Vatican, an Argentine silversmith explains how he has enlisted millions to help him craft the perfect present for his friend

Soaring Prices Fuel Frustrations Among Weary Argentines
Since the peso was devalued, Argentines have grappled with one of the world’s highest inflation rates, tilling the ground for social unrest, including a strike by schoolteachers and police sit-ins.

BOLIVIA
Petrobras Makes Its Entry into Eastern Bolivia Official

BRAZIL
Brazil World Cup: Fifa scraps speeches to avoid protest

His name is Eduardo Campos: Brazilian Politician Heats Up Election
In Brazil’s poor northeast, an upstart presidential hopeful is shaking up this year’s election race by spotlighting a sensitive issue ahead of the Brazilian-hosted soccer World Cup contest: soaring murder rates.

In Crisis, Rio Tries to Pacify Its Slums
Four community police officers have died in line of duty since February.

CHILE
Chile Earthquake: Magnitude 6.7 Temblor Hits Off Northern Coast Of Chile, Prompting More Than 100,000 To Evacuate

Mysterious underground caves discovered in Chile
A group of researchers in Chile discover 20 underground caves which could help unlock mysteries about how continents are formed

COLOMBIA
Colombian Left Forms United Front for Presidential Contest

Colombia’s elections; a nation divided

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica describes as “outrageous” exclusion from Ethical Traveler list

CUBA
Cuban dictatorship seeks more prison time for 2 imprisoned labor activists

Cuba Participates in “Friends of Assad” Meeting in Iran

ECUADOR
Chevron and Ecuador
Out of Hollywood

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador: Officials Confirm Ex-Guerrilla’s Victory
El Salvador’s electoral tribunal on Thursday confirmed that a former guerrilla commander during the country’s civil war emerged from Sunday’s presidential election with the most votes.

HONDURAS
Judge, Attorney Gunned Down in Honduras

JAMAICA
Jamaica dancehall star Vybz Kartel guilty of murder

LATIN AMERICA
CHAIRMAN SALMON TO SECRETARY KERRY: “WE NEED A BETTER STRATEGY IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE”

MEXICO
Don’t Celebrate Mexico’s Reforms Just Yet
Deficit spending is heading higher and the rule of law remains weak.

Enrique Peña Nieto Says He Wants To “Hit Crime Hard” During Michoacan Speech

PANAMA
Deal over Panama Canal expansion
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) approves a deal to end a dispute over $1.6bn (£1bn) cost overruns that delayed the work to widen the waterway.

PERU
Peru Naked Tourists: Government Wants Visitors To Stop Stripping In Machu Picchu

PUERTO RICO
The Next Financial Catastrophe You Haven’t Heard About Yet: Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
Uruguay not seen setting drug liberalisation trend: U.N. official

VENEZUELA
A Growing Crisis in Post-Chavez Venezuela

The crisis in Venezuela
Another day, more bodies

In Venezuela, Conciliatory Talk but Combative Tactics

One Bottle, Then This: My Afternoon at UCV

Some people never learn: Jennifer McCoy of the Carter Center promotes herself

To Those That Think Maduro Is Not A Dictator: ¿Qué Pasa en Venezuela? by Foro Penal Venezolano

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: #SOSVenezuela and the war against the Chuckys

#SOSVenezuela: Maria Corina calls for protests today, Maduro warns protesters “We are coming for you”

Ted in tats

Sean Penn: Photoshop, or nitwit?

Colombia: FARC & ELN recruited 1,387 children in the past two years.

#SOSVenezuela in tweets

Puerto Rico: Hedge funds <3 the new bonds

Cuban endurance sports: Meet world-class windsurfer Henry Vergara Negrin

En español: Unidad de quemados

Venezuela: Protesting doctors, 1st foreign casualty

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Biden goes to Chile

#Chile: Bachelet’s inauguration LIVEFEED

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


Yesterday’s podcast, and a 10th anniversary

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Yesterday I had the pleasure and the honor of being in Silvio Canto’s podcast with Miguel Portillo-Cuadra talking about Elections in El Salvador plus other US-Latin America issues.

Updating, the ARENA party requests that the election results be annulled (link in Spanish).

Yesterday was also Fausta’s Blog’s 10th birthday, which I celebrated at the podcast. I had initially started blogging on local issues but over time turned to what really interests me, Latin American politics.

March 11th was also the 10th anniversary of the Atocha train station bombing in Madrid. Barcepundit has a list of all the people who died.

The Goodbye, Columbus Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 10th, 2014

LatinAmerWhile more important stories were in the headlines, Cristina Fernandez took the cake by attempting to remove all traces of Christopher Columbus from the royal palace executive mansion, no matter that Columbus never set foot in the Country, and the Italian-born navigator shared a native land with millions of Argentinians.

ARGENTINA
Ted Turner Hospitalized In Argentina For Undisclosed Ailment
A security guard at the Instituto Argentino de Diagnostico y Tratamiento confirmed to The Associated Press that Turner was hospitalized there.

Pope Francis: the priest of the slums
Peter Stanford, author and former editor of the Catholic Herald, retraces the trip Pope Francis used to take to the outskirts of Buenos Aires to try to understand the man who was known as ‘the priest of the slums’

BOLIVIA
Footbridge collapses at Bolivian parade killing at least four people
Three musicians among the dead as an overloaded metal footbridge collapses during the opening parade of carnival in highlands city of Oruro

BRAZIL
Dilma Rou$$eff

Fresh deal to end Rio rubbish strike
Rio de Janeiro officials and street cleaners say they have reached a deal to end a strike which has left litter piling up in the Brazilian city.

CHILE
Chicago Latino Film Festival to honor Chilean actress Paulina Garcia
The Chicago Latino Film Festival will confer its career-achievement award on Chilean theater, film and television actress Paulina Garcia, organizers said.

Incoming Chilean Finance Minister Promises to Boost Investments
Alberto Areas Says New Bachelet Administration Will Take Over Slowing Economy
: expect more government spending, more debt.

COSTA RICA
Governing Party Candidate Pulls Out of Costa Rica’s Presidential Campaign
Sinking in the polls a month before Costa Rica’s presidential election, Johnny Araya, the candidate for the country’s governing party, pulled out of the campaign on Wednesday

CUBA
At least 8 new political prisoners in Cuba in February

French Banks Investigated for Sanctions Violations

ECUADOR
TWO Capt. Louis Renault moments:
1. Presidente plantea enmienda constitucional sin que se llame a referéndum

2. Ecuadoran President Correa Blasts NY Fed Judge’s Ruling for Chevron

EL SALVADOR
Leftist party ahead in El Salvador polls
Elections in El Salvador will decide whether the incumbent leftist government will gain a mandate for another five years. The winning party must tackle gang violence and address the country’s economic problems.

LATIN AMERICA
The Economist: iPhonenomics
One phone, many countries
Costly Brazil, dysfunctional Argentina, bureaucratic Mexico. Our correspondents go shopping for the same Apple product

MEXICO
Court Setback for Mexican Drug Kingpin
A Mexican judge has denied the drug kingpin Joaquín (El Chapo) Guzmán Loera an injunction against any extradition to the United States.

Andres Oppenheimer: Mexico’s new friend: Castro’s Cuba

If Peña Nieto wanted to keep Cuba and Venezuela from firing up Mexico’s left, he could have done the same with polite diplomacy, without the need to praise as a “moral leader” a dictator who is responsible for thousands of deaths and has not allowed a free election in five decades. In an effort to distance himself from his predecessors, Peña Nieto has gone overboard.

ANALYSIS: FORMER MEXICAN CARTEL LEADER KILLED AGAIN

NICARAGUA
Busted in Nicaragua: ex-Rep. David Rivera’s pal, Ana Alliegro, in FBI custody over campaign scheme

PANAMA
Panama demands Venezuela pay $1bn debt
President Martinelli asks Caracas not to use decision to cut diplomatic ties with Panama as “excuse” to not pay debt.

PARAGUAY
’7 Boxes’ review: fast-paced thriller from Paraguay

PERU
Peru to ‘eliminate’ key environmental rule for oil and gas firms, says minister
Announcement that seismic tests won’t need Environmental Impact Assessments sparks controversy and concern

PUERTO RICO
Felix Salmon on Why Puerto Rico’s bonds are moving to New York: it all comes down to default protection for the bondholders.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan president to visit Iran next month

La libertad en las calles
PIEDRA DE TOQUE. Venezuela ya no es un país democrático y la gran movilización popular es para que haya todavía elecciones de verdad en ese país y no rituales operaciones circenses como son las de Cuba

Scenes from Venezuela, 3/8/14 #8M #SOSVenezuela

Venezuela’s Opposition Is United Against Maduro, But Internally Divided

A Growing Crisis in Post-Chavez Venezuela

Los Guayabitos: The Venezuelan town where La Revolución reigns supreme

Venezuelan Crisis Plays Out On The Floor Of The United Nations

Large Protests Continue As Venezuelan Government Celebrates OAS Victory

Late Friday in Washington, the Organization of American States approved a declaration that rejected violence and called for justice for the 21 people the government says have died in weeks of street protests. The resolution also offered “full support” for the Venezuelan government’s peace initiative, in which the opposition has so far refused to participate.

The week’s posts:
Don Mario se quita los guantes y le cae encima al fascista Maduro: En español: Vargas Llosa a puño limpio

Argentina: Goodbye, Columbus

Colombia: Congressional elections tomorrow

Marco Rubio at #CPAC2014: “America must be involved in leading the world”

Argentina: Still in the hole for $185 million

Venezuela: Waiting to buy food

Cuba: Mario Díaz-Balart explains to the dense why Cuban oppression is bad

Venezuela: Door-to-door raids, AWOL colonels, Panama out

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez is still dead

Ecuador: Donziger guilty of fraud against Chevron

En español: Terapia intensiva

BREAKING NEWS Ecuador: Chevron wins

Venezuela: Big shoes and misreports

At Da Tech Guy:
Marco Rubio at #CPAC2014: “America must be involved in leading the world”

Ecuador: Donziger guilty of fraud against Chevron

Venezuela: Big shoes and misreports

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

I’ve been looking at headlines like “Chavez’ legacy fades in Venezuela as crowds fill the streets”. Whoever came up with that one misses the point altogether: It is Hugo Chávez’s legacy that has brought people out on the streets. As I have explained before,

For over two weeks, the people have been protesting against the government. What started as a students’ protest has spread throughout the country – even the beauty queens are protesting. Why?

The protests accompany inflation officially at 56% (but likely much, much higher); the third-highest murder rate of any country in the world; and, according to an official index, scarce supplies of one out of four staple items needed in every home, such as cooking oil, corn flour, and toilet paper.

Nationalization and expropriation of private businesses, price controls, huge corruption, government printing money to finance itself (including having to pay bond yields higher than all 55 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg) are all part and parcel of a ruined economy. The scarce benefits that may have accrued under Chavez are being eaten away fast by the crisis.

One of the causes for the rampant criminality is due to the multiple times when, urging his “Bolivarian Revolution,” Hugo Chavez  encouraged the poor to steal while he created a favored class, instead of directing his regime towards the rule of law. Chavez armed gangs that repressed opposition demonstrations (and, make no mistake, they’re on the attack now). He named to his cabinet men who were designated as “Tier II Kingpins”  by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. To worsen things, as part of his “war of all the peoples”, Chavez forged close ties with Iran and Hezbollah.

Add to how socialism has destroyed Venezuela, the regime’s suppression of the media

Daniel Duquenal put it more succinctly:

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.

Chávez publicly declared himself a Marxist almost a decade ago, urging even the Catholic bishops to read “Marx, Lenin and the Bible“, but the WaPo says, “In Chávez’s big shoes, Maduro stumbles“.

Well, what the hell else do you expect, when the “big shoes” beat the country’s path to ruin?

Then there’s the outright dishonesty of some reports: Does this look like 5,000 people to you?

It did to AP’s Venezuela Bureau Chief Joshua Goodman. Alek Boyd takes Goodman to the woodshed over Misreporting Venezuela. Not that Goodman is alone. Why do they do it? (emphasis added)

In the opinion of Goodman et al, what we have here is a government supported by brown-skinned, poor, disenfranchised people trying to survive a wave of violence, unleashed by radical, conservative, educated middle classes, bent on wresting control through undemocratic means, to then surrender sovereignty to U.S. interests. Never mind the brutality, torture, and assassinations of innocent, and unarmed, students and civilians. Never mind the excessive use of military force to placate peaceful demonstrations. Never mind the presence of a de facto Cuban occupation army. Never mind the fact that chavismo has never won overall control of student and authorities bodies of Venezuelan universities, where voting is still done manually.

Chavismo needs / must advance this notion of it being democratic. Since parts of its discourse marries well with widespread anti Americanism, the BBC, Goodman et al do a fantastic job at misinforming the uninformed and the ignorant. Not only do they misrepresent the crisis, they also misrepresent the parties. No word would be read from this lot on how the “moderate” wing is supported by utterly corrupt chavista bankers and political operatives that are, in no small part, responsible for the current situation.

The “moderate” wing, by the way, that some refer to as the “official opposition”.

Boyd’s essay points to the importance of social media when the MSM abdicates its duty to present facts:

However, no amount of manipulated subjectivity passing as objective journalism can win the day against social media. While the reach of BBC and AP is, most certainly, global, it pales next to that of Twitter and Facebook, where the Venezuelan crisis is being reported in real time, unedited, by hundreds of thousands of citizen reporters armed with smartphones.

Go read the whole thing.

And while you’re at it, get rid of those “big shoes” of Chávez “reporters” are trying to throw at you.

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Related:
A YEAR INTO MADURO REIGN, MORE PROTESTS AND AN OSCARS CRACKDOWN IN VENEZUELA

This is not Ukraine: Venezuela will erode, not explode

Most deeply buried news item of the day: Iranian envoys in Cubazuela