Archive for the ‘Argentina’ Category

Argentina: Investigate Cristina, get impeached?

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Argentine Probe Sparks Dispute Between Government, Judiciary
Judge Heading Investigation Into President’s Business Activities Faces Call for Impeachment

Last week, federal agents raided the office of the Kirchner family hotel company, Hotesur, as part of an investigation by Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio into allegations that the company hasn’t filed financial statements for years.

Investigators said that when they arrived at Hotesur’s registered headquarters in downtown Buenos Aires, they found abandoned office space.

Since the raid, the government has issued scathing attacks on the judicial system, saying Judge Bonadio is overreacting to a minor matter of missing paperwork.

In a message posted on the presidency’s official Twitter account, Mrs. Kirchner claimed Judge Bonadio owns a stake in a company whose paperwork isn’t up-to-date: “This is just like Hotesur. Will some judge now order a raid?”

Congresswoman Margarita Stolbizer filed a criminal complaint against Kirchner and Lázaro Báez, a longtime family friend and business partner of the Kirchner, amid allegations of money laundering.



Venezuela: New deal with China

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

High hopes, we’ve got high hopes . . .

The Chinese pull the chestnuts (temporarily) off the fire:
China Loosens Debt Terms for Venezuela
With Default Threatening the Economy as Oil Prices Tumble, Caracas Gets a Lifeline From Its Biggest Creditor

Not only for Venezuela, but also for Argentina (emphasis added),

Last week the president [Maduro] used a $4 billion Chinese credit, traditionally earmarked by the Chinese government for infrastructure projects and held in off-budget funds, to increase reserves to $23.2 billion. China also recently lent $1.3 billion to help Argentina buoy falling reserves, giving President Cristina Kirchner , a close ally of Mr. Maduro, a cushion to help alleviate that country’s cash crunch.

Beijing’s largess may appear irrational given economic policies in Venezuela and Argentina that do not appear sustainable, said Barbara Kotschwar, a scholar who tracks Chinese investment in Latin America at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

“On the other hand,” Ms. Kotschwar said, “they are so invested in Venezuela’s oil industry that they may have calculated that a political crisis would have a negative impact on their return on investment or on Venezuela’s repayment of loans.”

That’s putting it mildly; according to Maduro himself,

Venezuela’s oil revenues, which account for 96% of the country’s dollar income, are down by 35% in the past month

China has risked millions of dollars in Latin America to secure their supply lines, and as analyst Russ Dallen, managing partner at brokerage Caracas Capital Markets, put it, “for the short term, they’re secure.” However, considering that

China last month scrapped the requirement that Venezuela ship at least 330,000 barrels of oil a day as payment for its existing loans

the meaning of “secure” may be more fluid than we believe – and not only for the short term.



The amnesty Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, November 24th, 2014

LatinAmerAs predicted, Pres. Obama granted amnesty to an untold number of illegal aliens. Walter Russel Mead has some thoughts on the subject: Obama’s Big Miscalculation
President Obama’s new initiative is unlikely to succeed politically—in part because Democrats are overconfident that rising Hispanic immigration will deliver them a permanent, left-leaning majority.

In many ways Latinos face less prejudice than Jews or Italians did in the 1880s, and have more opportunities to integrate into American society at large than those earlier generations of immigrants did. The evidence if anything suggests that Hispanic immigrants are more open to the cultural influences of American political and social ideas than were earlier waves. While very few Italian, Jewish or Greek immigrants, for example, converted to evangelical Protestantism, 24% of hispanic adults in America are now former Catholics. Hispanics are a large and varied group, but by and large they are learning English, starting businesses, joining Protestant churches and voting Republican at levels that suggest that they are anything but a permanently alienated racial underclass in formation.

And then there’s the Democrats’ assumption that “Hispanics” are a homogeneous group.

ARGENTINA
Fitch Cuts IMPSA, WPEI, and Venti to Default

A more accurate translation is “The Falklands are Argentinian”, Argentina rules all public transport must state: ‘The Falklands are Argentina’
Argentina’s congress passes a law which states that all public transport and stations must display a sign reading “Las Malvinas son Argentinas”

BOLIVIA
Influx of Cheap Peruvian Quinoa Riles Bolivia

BRAZIL
Brazil Probe Sparks Worries Over Olympics
Prosecutors are investigating firms working on Rio’s 2016 Games for their roles in an alleged graft ring surrounding Petrobras.

Authorities are investigating allegations that the companies formed a cartel to drive up the value of contracts with state-controlled energy giant Petróleo Brasileiro SA PETR4.BR +11.89% and paid bribes to the Petrobras executives and Brazilian politicians.

The prosecutors’ targets include Brazilian-based multinational construction companies Odebrecht, Queiroz Galvão and OAS, who together are partners in billions of dollars of contracts for the Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Petrobras Bonds Decline With Builders Amid Graft Probe

CHILE
Chilean colonels jailed for torture
Two retired Chilean colonels – Ramon Caceres and Edgar Ceballos – are jailed for torturing the father of President Michelle Bachelet in 1973.

COLOMBIA
Colombia Prepares Areas Where FARC Will Release Hostages

CUBA
La máquina de matar: El Che Guevara, de agitador comunista a marca capitalista

Cuba says measures to make food more affordable fall short

Mosque for you? Maybe….. ($$$$$$?)

ECUADOR
Iranian Nobel Laureate to Inaugurate UNESCO Chair at University of Ecuador

Correa Takes on Market Forces with Slew of Employment Prohibitions
“Government of the Worker” to Mandate Wage Ratios, Ban Uncompensated Layoffs

GUATEMALA
100,000 Guatemalans Could Benefit from Obama’s Executive Order

GUYANA
Guyana’s Main Opposition Demands Elections Now

HONDURAS
Four Involved in the Murder of Miss Honduras World and Sister Sent to Prison

MEXICO
U.S. Marshals Service Personnel Dressed as Mexican Marines Pursue Cartel Bosses
Members of U.S. Marshals Service Join Military Operations in Mexico Against Drug Gangs

Mexico Is Fed Up and This Time, It’s Different

Teeth and Bones: Mass Abduction Reveals a Decaying Mexican State

Mexico’s Holy Warrior Against the Cartels
Padre Goyo, with his clerical collar and his bulletproof vest, is an icon for those fighting drugs and corruption. But some in the church think he goes too far.

NICARAGUA
Yeah, right, Nicaragua canal: Construction to begin in December. Heed my advice and don’t be the next Lord Crawley.

PANAMA
The French School Where Panama Canal Pilots Train in Cute Little Ships

PERU
Peru Introduces Measures to Boost Economy
Peru’s government plans to cut taxes and boost government spending to give a shot of growth to the weakening economy.

PUERTO RICO
Opinion: Puerto Ricans will be hurt the most by President Obama’s executive action

Puerto Rico Sees Slight Drop in Unemployment Rate

URUGUAY
Same old, Vazquez Is Favorite to Win Uruguay Presidential Vote

VENEZUELA
Alek Boyd tells us how he was robbed of his lap tops, and only them

Oligarco Works The Fascist Phone Line

Venezuelan Consumers Get Creative Amid Shortages

The week’s posts and podcast:
The Iran-Cuba-Venezuela Nexus

Venezuela: Tweet of the day

Ecuador: Assange granted political asylum

Chile: Blowing up the ATMs

Cuba: The wall

Venezuela: Break-in in London

Countdown to amnesty, continued

Cuba: The Nation’s Valentine’s cruise

Amnesty: I told you so UPDATED

Countdown to amnesty

Keystone XL & Venezuela

Colombia: Government suspends peace talks after FARC kidnaps general

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Amnesty: A slap in the face to all of us, not just to #Fruitpickers and #Bedmakers

Why weren’t taxes an issue in the last election?

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio Canto, Jr.



The falling oil price Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, November 17th, 2014

LatinAmerThe price of crude oil has dropped by 30% in four years, so Iran, Venezuela urge oil price support ahead of OPEC meeting

Iran and Venezuela need higher oil prices to balance their budgets than fellow OPEC members Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab producers.

ARGENTINA
La enfermedad argentina

Outrage as Argentina milks millions out of UK foreign aid budget
DAVID Cameron is today facing demands to block British taxpayers’ cash going to Argentina.

Argentina Cracks Down on Black Market for Dollars

BELIZE
Belize’s 2014 Tourism Boom Breaking Records

BOLIVIA
Why Foreigners Fall for the Evo Morales House of Cards
Statistics Gloss Over Bolivia’s Lack of Development, Bubble Waiting to Pop

BRAZIL
Police Raid Odebrecht’s Offices Amid Corruption Probe

Petrobras Former Executive Among a Score Arrested in Brazil Corruption Probe

Cannibal gang baked victims into pies
Three Brazilians sentenced to prison after being caught murdering two women and using their flesh as the filling in “empadas” which they sold to neighbours

Study: Brazil’s Underground Economy Equivalent to 16.2% of GDP

CHILE
Chile and China
¡Salud!
Food and drink draw two regions together

COLOMBIA
Ex-President Samper Took $10 Million from Cartel, Colombian Kingpin Says

CUBA
3 Cuban activists sentenced to prison on bogus charges

Yoelkis Rosabal, 31, was sentenced to 4 years in prison.

Ricardo Pelier, 28, was sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Ernesto Darián Duffo, 24, was sentenced to years in prison.

ECUADOR
Term limits in Ecuador
If you can’t beat ‘em, referendum
A vote could cost President Correa his job—in 2017

EL SALVADOR
25 Yrs After El Salvador Priest Killings, Groups Press For Justice

GUYANA
Guyana: Legislature Is Suspended

HONDURAS
Obama and Honduras, 2009: portent of things to come

IMMIGRATION
I expect that Pres. Obama will issue an executive order for amnesty this week. Here are a few links:
The Missing Immigration Memo
Has Obama asked the Office of Legal Counsel for its legal opinion?

But a Justice-OLC opinion is all the more necessary on domestic issues because the President’s authority is far more limited. He is obliged to execute the laws that Congress writes. A President should always seek legal justification for controversial actions to ensure that he is on solid constitutional ground as well as to inspire public confidence in government.

The Next Border Crisis
Column: How Congress can fight Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty

The 150 million adults worldwide who would move to the United States if given the chance will draw the conclusion that their status and future are secure as long as they end up on U.S. soil. Pay the snakeheads and coyotes, avoid the authorities, and fall under the next amnesty. Just as it happened in 1986 and happened again, piecemeal, in 2012 and 2014.

I do not consider it humanitarian to induce people to undertake perilous and uncertain journeys through hazardous territory in the hopes of joining a population that is at best ambivalent about them. I think it is cruel. And it is cruel not only to the immigrants, but also to American citizens, who must cope with the attendant fall in low-skilled job opportunities and wages, rising inequality, economic and social consequences of population density, and erosion of social cohesion. These are all reasons confidence in public institutions is at a low. Obama’s executive order will drive it lower.

Minors in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras Can Now Apply for Asylum in U.S.

Obama’s Amnesty Will Turn U.S. Into Welfare Magnet

From Drudge: ILLEGALS TAUNT AGENTS AS AMNESTY NEARS…

NYT: BIG Money Behind Push…

CRUZ: ‘DEFIANT OF VOTERS’…

DEPORTATIONS PLUMMET…

Central American Children to be Granted Refugee Status…

NYC Will No Longer Hold Illegals For Feds…

MEXICO
Mexican President’s Reputation Takes A Further Dive Thanks To Reports About A Luxury Home

A Familiar Anger Begins to Boil Again in Mexico

Mexico’s Iguala Massacre: Criminal gangs and criminal government

PANAMA
“48 Hours” investigates American’s death in Panama

PERU
Peru’s Most Wanted Gangster Captured after 4 Months on the Run
Hiding in Colombia, Orellana’s Network Allegedly Committed US$100 Million in Fraud

PUERTO RICO
Hefty Losses Cause US Shipper to Close Door on Puerto Rico
Long-Time Competitors to Acquire Alaska, Hawaii Lines

URUGUAY
Vázquez leads polls ahead of Uruguay’s runoff

VENEZUELA
Cubanization 8.2: Maduro creates snitching hot lines

Venezuela cracks down on peddling diapers: ‘I feel like a drug dealer’
As basic goods grew more scarce on store shelves, authorities targeted open-air black markets that sold everything from coffee, eggs and cooking oil to shampoo, deodorant and detergent.

A broke Venezuela splits its finances in two

The week’s post and podcast:
Venezuela: Oil slide

And now for a surfer saint?

En español: UdQ 199, Los Vándalos del Zócalo

The Monroe Doctrine’s dead, but Putin’s alive and kicking

It’s raining parodies!

Argentina: Jorge Lanata will petition US Court re: Cristina’s US businesses

Mexico: And now, for #Articulo39RenunciaEPN

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
And now for a @BatDadBlake break

Keith Hennessy on Jonathan Gruber’s honesty

Podcast:
Venezuela & US-Latin America stories

Argentina: Jorge Lanata will petition US Court re: Cristina’s US businesses

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

The headline is less tactful,
Argentinean Journalist to file petition in U.S. Courts to obtain information about Cristina Kirchner’s money laundering operations

Last night, Argentinean renowned investigative journalist Jorge Lanata announced he is planning to submit an application for an order for discovery pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 in a Nevada District Court, aiming to obtain information related to President Cristina Kirchner’s companies in the United States.

Section 1782 of Title 28 of the United States Code is a federal statute that allows a party to a legal proceeding outside the United States to ask an American court to obtain evidence for use in the non-US proceeding. The full name of Section 1782 is “Assistance to foreign and international tribunals and to litigants before such tribunals”.

For the last two years, Jorge Lanata has been conducting an investigation known as the “Kirchner Money Route”, through which he demonstrated that Kirchner cronies were laundering millions of dollars coming from corrupt activities through a vast networks of shell companies and shady financial institutions in Argentina, Uruguay, Panamá, Switzerland, Seychelles Islands and the U.S., among others.

This investigation was then used by NML Capital Ltd., a hedge fund who holds a judgment against Argentina for more than $1.7 Billions (see NML Capital Ltd. vs. Republic of Argentina), as the main source of evidence to produce information about 123 companies in the State of Nevada that may point to the location of Cristina Kirchner’s assets in the United States and abroad. NML Capital Ltd. was able to depose a key witness to the “K-Money Route”. However, that deposition is being sealed by the request of the parties.

In Spanish, Lanata’s Sunday show.

More on NML bond holdouts:
A New Twist in the Argentine Debt Saga

But Dart’s legal complaint draws attention to something that had been overlooked as the talks progressed: The so-called Gang of Five—the five holdouts at the center of Singer’s legal case: Singer’s NML Capital, Aurelius Capital, Blue Angel Capital, Oliphant, and a small group of retail investors—hold only about a quarter of all the New York bonds held by holdouts. In addition to Dart, there are approximately $2.4 billion worth of bonds out there that are governed by New York law and in the hands of other holdout investors. The minute Argentina settles with Singer’s group and the bondholder payments are allowed to flow through, all the other holdouts will likely rush forward to Judge Thomas Griesa’s court, demanding the same legal rulings and the same terms, which could block the payments again. The default could be cured temporarily, but then Argentina would be right back where it started.

NML Capital Ltd. can’t force an Argentine lawyer to remain in the U.S. for questioning, a Washington judge ruled

NML sought an emergency court order last week barring attorney Cesar Guido Forcieri, a former World Bank director, from returning. There’s no reason NML can’t question Forcieri when he gets to Argentina, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said in a one-page order issued Nov. 6 and made public today.
. . .
Forcieri is a close associate of Argentine Vice President Amado Boudou, NML said in court papers. Boudou was indicted in June by an Argentine federal court on corruption charges related to his alleged involvement in acquiring a bankrupt printing company, Ciccone Calcografica SA, that later won contracts to print the nation’s currency.

Boudou was initially indicted with five others. In September, an Argentine judge indicted Forcieri for his alleged role in helping to steer business to Ciccone. If Argentine courts find Boudou guilty, the country may confiscate any profit, funds or property employed in the takeover scheme, according to NML’s lawyers.

Until last month, Forcieri served in Washington as a World Bank director for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. He worked with Argentina’s Ministry of Economy and Public Finances as a G-20 finance deputy from 2010 until March, according to a profile on LinkedIn.

NML served Forcieri with a subpoena on Sept. 10 seeking documents regarding his involvement in the alleged Ciccone scheme. The Argentine lawyer failed to appear for a deposition on Oct. 20, NML said.

This ain’t over yet, not by a long shot, no matter what the SCOTUS ruled.

The #Ayotzinapa students Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, November 10th, 2014

The week’s top headline is that authorities may have found the remains of the 43 student teachers missing since September. The state of decay of the remains makes it necessary that they will be sent to the University of Innsbruck in Austria, which officials said had the most advanced forensics laboratory, for further attempts at identification.

Violent protests and the social media hashtag #YaMeCansé are symptomatic of how Mexicans are fed up with their government’s inability to stop the drug cartels.

ARGENTINA
Factory Explosion Leaves 66 Injured in Argentine City of Cordoba

Argentine Journalist on Trial for Not Revealing Sources

Argentine president Cristina Kirchner admitted to hospital with fever
Cristina Kirchner admitted to hospital for tests after feeling unwell

BELIZE
S&P Switches to Positive on Belize Outlook

BOLIVIA
Concern in Bolivia Over Increase in Sexual Violence Vs. Girls

BRAZIL
Despite Rousseff, extreme poverty grows for the first time in a decade
The number of Brazilians living in extreme poverty grew for the first time in a decade, according to government figures. The Institute of Economic Research reported that the number of people in households with incomes below the poverty threshold of 30 dollars rose from 10.1 to 10.5 million people, which means a 3.7% increase.

Brazil’s economy
After the election, the reckoning

CHILE
Former President Calls for Drug Decriminalization in Chile

COLOMBIA
Colombian Rebels’ Attacks Set Back Nation
Rebel assaults on Colombia pipelines have crimped one of Latin America’s most dynamic economies and raised questions about the outlook for Colombia as a reliable provider of crude to the U.S.

Memorial plaque removed in Colombia
A controversial plaque unveiled last week by Prince Charles in the Colombian port city of Cartagena is removed after local opposition.

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica struggles to manage $1.7 billion in development loans

CUBA
Hiding the Real Cuba

For the 4th time, Castro regime postpones trial of political prisoner Sonia Garro; dozens of activists arrested

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The Dominican Republic pulls out of Inter-American Court of Human Rights

ECUADOR
How China’s Appetite Feeds An Ecuadorian Shrimp Boom
With shrimp consumption booming in China and production falling in traditional exporters like Vietnam, Ecuador is stepping in. It’s the latest food chapter in a globalized world.

IMMIGRATION
Amnesty and Impeachment
Absent the credible threat of impeachment, Obama will pardon millions of illegal aliens.

JAMAICA
Reggae, coffee and sunny beaches: Discover Jamaica
OUR WRITER falls in love with the music, culture and people of Jamaica

MEXICO
Mexico gang ‘admits student deaths’
Mexican gang members have confessed to killing more than 40 students who went missing six weeks ago, officials say – but families are sceptical.

PANAMA
After the Panama Canal Zone

PERU
Putin Welcomes Peruvian President

PUERTO RICO
Murder Rate Down; 2014 May Bring US Commonwealth Its Lowest Number of Homocides in 15 Years

VENEZUELA
Venezuela reaps benefits of Cuban “medical internationalism”

Dengue fever soars by 2,475% in Venezuela’s capital city

Reuters: Bid for Venezuela’s subsidiary Citgo continues
Any deal for Citgo, which could be worth USD 10 billion, could help to reshape the US refining landscape

Idiocy And Airlines In Venezuela

Venezuela shows the biggest global drop in the 2014 Prosperity Index

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Mexico: Remains of #Ayotzinapa students found

He can have my Volvo for US$500,000

Brazil: A petition to the White House

Mexico: 22,000 missing, 43 of them are the #Ayotzinapa students

About last night

Venezuela: $15 smugglers jailed, $3.08 billion a year smugglers go free

Mexico: Iguala mayor arrested

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Why Obama should not be impeached when he grants executive amnesty

Comparing voting in NJ to voting in FL

Podcasts:
Election night extravaganza

US-Latin America issues with Fausta Rodriguez Wertz & Michael Prada

The Tahmooressi release Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

The big news of the week: Mexico finally released Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, after holding him in jail for seven months on gun charges – and how perfectly timed!

ARGENTINA
Argentina Borrows $814 Million in Currency Swap with China (h/t Carlos Eire)

Argentina’s Disturbing New Low
In avoiding its debts, the country gambles with contempt and faces the discipline of international markets.

BOLIVIA
Freddy Mamani: ‘New Andean’ architecture is turning Bolivia into an electric wonderland
A young pioneer has declared war on the dull and colorless. You might want to reach for sunglasses.

BRAZIL
Dilma Rousseff Prevails in Campaign Marred by Violence
Petrobras Corruption Allegations Reignite Hostile Relationship with Brazilian Media

Female Brazilian murderers marry – and refuse to be separated – in jail
Suzanne Von Richthofen was 18 when jailed in 2002 after arranging for her parents to be killed in their luxury home
They were both behind murders which shocked Brazil, but Suzanne Von Richthofen has turned down parole to stay in Sao Paulo state prison with Regina Sanchez after the pair fell in love and married behind bars

CHILE
Chilean Parents Rise to Protest Anti-Profit Education Reform
Bachelet’s New Majority Coalition Forging On with Major Campaign Promise

COLOMBIA
Colombian Farc in civilian admission
Colombia’s Farc rebel group acknowledges for the first time that its actions in Latin America’s longest internal conflict “affected civilians”.

Despite the intransigence of the FARC and the opposition, the peace process is still alive

CUBA
More Uneducated Attacks from The New York Times

Russell Brand’s Revolution For Morons
The movie star’s political manifesto is full of mistakes, misquotes, and is utterly misguided, unfunny, illogical, and unreadable. Watch the copies fly from the shelves.

Indeed, Brand proclaims himself “a big fan of [Fidel] Castro and [Che] Guevara” because “they were sexy, cool, tough” and the fetid autocracy they imposed on the Cuban people “was a remarkable success in many respects.” (Fidel is also described as being “double cool” for a four-hour, filibustering courtroom speech, while Che Guevara is described as a “dear, beautiful, morally unimpeachable” revolutionary.)

And what were those successes, in a country that routinely ranks as one of the least free countries on the planet? “Education for everyone, land sharing, emancipation of women, and equal rights for black Cubans.” This latter achievement would come as a welcome surprise to black Cubans, who are second-class citizens—equal only in the sense that, like all Cubans, they too have no rights. And yes, education is for everyone—provided they want to read wooden agitprop about how education in Cuba is for everyone.

Of which Fidel boasted, claiming “Cubans are the most cultured people in the world.”

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Oscar Taveras: Road safety in the Dominican Republic
Gone too soon

. . . thorny political, economic and cultural factors have conspired against Dominican motorists. The government’s nominal motorcycle-helmet and seat-belt laws apply only to drivers, not passengers, and enforcement of speed limits and drunk-driving rules is lax. The WHO report scored its efforts in those areas just a three and a two out of ten. Less than 10% of tickets issued for vehicular infractions ever get paid, and drive-through liquor stores and alcohol sales at petrol stations expose drivers to constant temptation. Unions representing bus and taxi drivers have opposed proposed bills that could expose them to new regulation.

ECUADOR
Ecuador’s National Assembly to Vote on Term Limits
Court Rules Lawmakers Will Determine if President Correa Can Be Re-Elected Indefinitely

IMMIGRATION
Obama’s Border Policy Fueled Epidemic, Evidence Shows

JAMAICA
The Asianisation to Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
GAO: State Department Fails to Produce Reports on Iranian Adventurism in Latin America

MEXICO
Mass Graves, Murderous State-Cartel Alliance Revealed in Guerrero
Hundreds of Bodies Found Near Iguala, Mexico, But Not the 43 Students

Keeping Mexico’s Revolutionary Fires Alive

Crisis in Mexico: Could Forty-Three Missing Students Spark a Revolution? Revolution against whom?

PACIFIC ALLIANCE
Looking to “Doing Business” in Latam, try the Pacific Alliance, forget Mercosur
The World Bank’s “Doing Business” global rating is not very enthusiastic about Latin American and the Caribbean which only first surfaces in position 34 out of the 189 countries considered.

PANAMA
Panel discusses big changes coming at the Panama Canal

PARAGUAY
The Place Where Rutherford B. Hayes Is A Really Big Deal

PERU
Peru says most of $3 bln in bonds sold to manage existing debt

PUERTO RICO

Puerto Rico Government Looks to Raise Tax on OilLegislators filed a measure Thursday that could raise the excise tax on a barrel of crude oil from $9.25 to $15.50, to generate $178 million a year. It also would allow the Highway and Transportation Authority’s loan to be transferred to Puerto Rico’s Infrastructure Financing Authority, which is authorized to issue bonds

URUGUAY
Uruguay registers cannabis growers
The Uruguayan government announces the start of registration for licensed cannabis growers as part of its plan to legalise the drug.

VENEZUELA
Unhappy Halloween: Very Scary Stuff From the Castro Colony of Caracastan

Elías Jaua’s nanny detained in Brazil for gun possession has been released

The week’s posts and podcast:
Bad news for Chile

Mexico: Tahmooressi released, back in US

Mexico: 3 siblings, US citizens, dead

Venezuela: last on property rights

Dancing the hemisphere

Brazil: The election was tweeted

Venezuela to appeal ICSID Exxon decision

Brazil: Ibovespa volatility

At Da Tech Guy Blog
About those walking in NYC for ten hours videos

Whatever happened to the Carnival Magic with the ebola scare?

Podcast
Elections in Brazil PLUS other US-Latin America stories of the week



The return of the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, October 27th, 2014

LatinAmerAfter skipping a week because of unpacking, the Carnival’s back, while the unpacking’s not finished.

Brazil and Uruguay held presidential elections yesterday. Voters went for the same old, same old.

ARGENTINA
Life terms for Argentina jail crimes
An Argentine ex-police chief and ex-interior minister are among 15 people given life sentences for involvement in a torture centre in the 1970s.

BRAZIL
Why is Dilma Hiding Business Deals With Cuba?

Boa sorte, Brasil

Brazil poll shows Neves leading election, at odds with major surveys

Dilma Rousseff’s dizzy spell live on TV after presidential debate
Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, was briefly taken ill on Thursday at the end of a bruising political debate with presidential rival Aecio Neves

In Brazil’s Election, a Stark Vote on the Nation’s Economy

CHILE
Bomb That Killed Man in Chile Meant to Blow Up Prison Guard Building

COLOMBIA
Alexander Beltran Herrera, US judge sentences Farc commander
A US judge has sentenced an ex-Colombian rebel to 27 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping of three American citizens in 2003.

Marcos de Jesus Figueroa, alias “Maquitos Figueroa,” Colombian Drug Lord Captured in Brazil Wanted for 100 Murders

COSTA RICA
Solís a Trojan Horse for Socialism in Costa Rica
Relationships Bloom with Trade Unions, University Students, Chavistas

CUBA
Religious persecution disguised by Castro regime as a crackdown on “criminal” activities

Cuban Ladies In White, other activists arrested as they support political prisoner Sonia Garro

Must-Read: Are Cuba and Brazil Partners in Human Trafficking?

Cuban Docs Should be Banned from Ebola Fight, Restrict US-Cuba Flights

Quote of the day: “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.”

ECUADOR
HRW Criticizes Correa for Applauding Police Abuse During Protests

HONDURAS
Just Say No to Presidential Reelection in Honduras
Too Many “Necessary” Men in Latin America

MEXICO

Mexico’s Burgeoning Wine Scene
Mexico may be best known for its beer and tequila, but that’s slowly changing as its wines are finding their way onto restaurant wine lists and specialist shops.

Amado Yáñez shows up at the burn-out unit (in Spanish):

PANAMA
If Panama’s Anti-Corruption Hunt Continues, Miami Should Watch Out

PARAGUAY
Report Oil Found in Paraguay; Gov’t Cautious

PERU
Health Care Workers in Peru Go on Strike

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico needs a financial control board

URUGUAY
POLL NUMBERS!!! Uruguay election this weekend

Uruguay Leader’s Party Fights to Retain Rule After Vote
President José ‘Pepe’ Mujica popularity isn’t enough to guarantee victory for the center-left Broad Front coalition that has ruled for a decade, according to polls and political analysts.

VENEZUELA
Dakazo 2 and Technocrats

How Bad Are Things In Venezuela? It’s Rationing Food – And Importing Oil

Venezuela seizes warehouses packed with medical goods, food

The 61% Devaluation That Venezuela Told No One About

The week’s posts and podcast:
Elections: No change in Brazil, Uruguay

Friday afternoon tap dancing priests

Argentina: Creeping to the edge

Venezuela: Mileposts on the highway to hell

Cuba: NYT goes Duranty on ebola

Venezuela: Happy Halloween! Hugo Chavez M&Ms

Immigration: Obama to allow in 100,000 Haitians with no visas

At Da Tech Guy’s blog:
What may be the most consequential election of the decade

Mexico: The death of #Felina

The curious incident of the Carnival Magic in Belize UPDATED

The Synod and the Pope-A-Dope

In Silvio Canto’s podcast:
The elections in Brazil with Monica Showalter of Investor’s Business Daily.

Posts from the prior week:
In transit, again

Venezuela and the falling oil price UPDATED

Venezuela wins U.N. Council seat

Eichmann’s true nature: 2 reviews of “Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer”

Mexico: #Ayotzinapa backlash in Mexico Bronco

Could Mexico become the next Russia?



Argentina: Creeping to the edge

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Chris Noon interviews Prof. Steve Hanke on Argentina creeping closer to the edge. You must read the interview in full,

Argentina’s bleak fiscal situation could deteriorate further over the next year, with a prominent economist telling Interfax on Monday the Latin American country’s foreign reserves could shrink to “near $10 billion” by October 2015. It would leave Buenos Aires struggling to meet payments for dollar-denominated LNG imports, which are essential to the country’s energy matrix.

“To get there [$10 billion], we would see monthly declines in reserves that were roughly similar to those of Q1 2014. It could come about through macroeconomic factors, such as the combination of a strong US dollar, weak commodity prices, and decreasing oil prices. The Saudis are squeezing their competition – especially Canadian tar sands producers – as they push for more market share. This may push down Brent crude further to $60-70 per barrel,” said Hanke.
“It’s difficult to say what will be the ‘straw to break the camel’s back’, but if you keep piling up economic problems, you create a ‘tipping-point’ situation. There’s just too much weight on everything and it gives way,” said the economist.

Trying to put a band-aid on a gashing wound, the government is trying to bring dollars into the country by forcing farmers to export soybeans held in storage even when the price of soybeans has plummeted by around 30% since April, and

Buenos Aires has resorted to making deals with friendly foreign lenders to replenish its coffers. A multibillion-dollar currency swap between Argentina and China will be launched in November, the Latin American country’s central bank chief was quoted as saying in a local paper on Sunday.

That will probably help remedy Argentina’s deeply-ingrained structural problems as well as Venezuela’s oil deals with China have in solving that country’s problems, which is to say, not at all.

Eichmann’s true nature: 2 reviews of “Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer”

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Bettina Stangneth shows that Adolf Eichmann acted out of genocidal anti-Semitism, and challenges Hannah Arendt’s claim that he was “terribly and terrifyingly normal.”

Gerald Steinacher at the WSJ: Adolf Eichmann’s Extraordinary Evil
Hannah Arendt saw Adolf Eichmann as an unthinking bureaucrat. She never read the transcripts of his conversations after the war.

Ms. Stangneth, drawing on documents and research that Arendt never had access to, reaches a different conclusion: He was a master manipulator. “Whether he was in the Third Reich, Argentina, or Israel, Eichmann gave detailed and well-informed accounts of the murder of millions. He simply adjusted the account of his own role, and his attitude toward the murders, to his changing circumstances,” she writes.

Argentina was instrumental in his escape, and of others:

Ms. Stangneth, drawing on research by the Argentinian author Uki Goñi and others, also reminds us how openly the networks of former Nazis operated and how far they reached. Like thousands of other Nazis and collaborators, Eichmann escaped to Argentina with the help of Italian Catholic priests and Argentinian officials while carrying Red Cross travel papers. Ms. Stangneth emphasizes the lack of interest Allied authorities showed in bringing former Nazis to justice after the war. This is consistent with my own research, which shows that the Nazis’ escape networks were well-known by many governments and institutions, including the U.S. State Department, as early as 1947. But with the increasing tensions between the West and the Soviet Union, denazification efforts became less and less important. After the Korean War broke out in 1950, attention almost completely shifted to the new enemy: communism. It now appears that the German intelligence service was aware of Eichmann’s whereabouts as early as 1952 but showed little effort to apprehend him. Only Israel was willing to take justice into its own hands.

Richard Wolin at the Jewish Review of Books (emphasis added): Arendt, Banality, and Benhabib: A Final Rejoinder

Nor have I ever claimed that Eichmann was “demonic,” “perverted,” or diabolical. This is a willful misattribution and, more importantly, an attempt to avoid dealing with what Eichmann in fact was: a believer in genocidal anti-Semitism.

Thoughtlessness comes in a variety of guises. One of them is academic hero-worship: reverence for an intellectual icon in the face of a burgeoning mass of evidence indicating that she may have grievously erred. Perhaps Kant said it best in his famous essay “What is Enlightenment?” when he observed that, “Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another . . . Dogmas and formulas . . . are the ball and chain of his permanent immaturity.”

Available at Amazon in Kindle and hardcover editions.