Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category

The Summit of the Americas circus Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 13th, 2015


This time the circus was in Panama, where OBAMA-CASTRO MEETING OVERSHADOWS ANTI-US LINE AT SUMMIT

ARGENTINA
CFK: ‘It’s ridiculous to consider Venezuela, Argentina a threat’

Argentine court orders arrest of Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber will be arrested if he ever sets foot in Argentina, following an alleged fracas outside a Buenos Aires nightclub in 2013

BRAZIL
Brazil Ignites Union Fury with Outsourcing Bill
State Employees Warn Hiring-Policy Changes Threaten Labor Rights

Protesters Return to Brazilian Streets
Antigovernment protesters returned to the streets of several Brazilian cities Sunday to express dissatisfaction with President Dilma Rousseff and her ruling Workers’ Party.

The end of the BRICs

CHILE
Chile Fights Off Creeping Crisis as Graft Accusations Escalate.

Bachelet: I Will Not Resign, Government Is Not Covering Up Scandals. Bachelet didn’t attend the VII Summit.

Chile prisoners ‘extorted Spaniards’
Spanish police break up an extortion ring run by Chilean jail inmates who allegedly cold-called Spanish civilians demanding kidnap ransoms.

COLOMBIA
THANKS, BUT NO THANKS
Could Colombia play peacemaker between U.S. and Venezuela?

Colombia Navy Finds 21 Cuban Migrants on Border with Panama

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica finishes work to close artificial canal built by Nicaragua in disputed territory

CUBA
Menendez Unloads on ‘Alarming’ Reports of Pressure from White House to Rush Removal of Cuba from Terror List

The President meets the General: Dictatorship legitimized and misbehaviour whitewashed

Obama Mau-Maued By Tinpots At Latin Summit After Conceding So Much To Cuba

HAITI
Haiti’s Hillary Headache: Clinton to announce Presidency Bid Sunday

IMMIGRATION
TWO GOOD REASONS TO CURB IMMIGRATION

JAMAICA
Watch Barack Obama and Usain Bolt do sprinter’s trademark lightning pose on presidential visit to Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Latin America Will Tackle Corruption Later

MEXICO
N Korea urges Mexico to free detained ship

Meet Mexico’s fastest growing drug cartel. It even builds its own rifles

PANAMA
Pro-Castro Panamanian groups threaten Cuban activists

Dos Amigos: President Obama and Raúl Castro Shake Hands in Panama
I guess we should be glad he didn’t bow.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay peasants resist soybean agribusiness activities

PERU
6.5 Million Ounces of Gold LOST in Peru!

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico exports its drug addicts to Chicago
Island police and mayors direct heroin addicts to Chicago and other cities with promises of housing and treatment
.

URUGUAY
UN to help Guantanamo refugees with houses in Uruguay

VENEZUELA
Panama OAS summit for dummies

Sign or Else: Venezuelans Coerced into Anti-Obama Petition

PBS NewsHour Laments Smell of ‘Imperialist Meddling’ and ‘Bullying’ Venezuela — by Obama?

Meeting under trees in the dark of night, and other stories from Venezuela’s struggling guerilla resistance

The week’s posts and podcast:
Today’s hashtag

Ecuador: Correa tweets!

Breaking: Dissidents attacked again in Panama by Cuban gov operatives

Cuba, the “Not Ready For Prime Time Civil Society” country

Biden: Like taking a binky from a baby

Colombia: Hillary changed her mind on FTA over $50 million, oops, $130 million

Panama: Cuban agents assault dissidents

Coming up next: The Summit of the Americas circus

Venezuela: Opposition leaders’ wives to attend the Summit of the Americas

Jamaica: Vendors angry about Obama visit

Nicaragua’s steps to dictatorship

Panama: Rosa María Payá detained

Podcast: On the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Panama



The pizza Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Pizza has been in the news recently, so enjoy this week’s Carnival with a slice.

ARGENTINA
Nearly three months after his murder, Experts to inspect Nisman’s apartment

Buenos Aires streets empty as transport strike hits
The streets of the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, remained largely empty on Tuesday morning as a number of transport workers’ unions went on a 24-hour strike.

Good: Argentina: Britain Spied to Ensure Falklands Security, Report Says
Britain spied on Argentine military and political leaders to ensure the security of the Falkland Islands from 2006 to 2011, an Argentine television channel reported on Friday, citing intelligence documents provided by Edward J. Snowden.

The Rise of Bitcoin in Argentina
Cryptocurrency Entrepreneurs Sidestep Onerous Restrictions, Financial Chaos

BOLIVIA
Don’t lose your shirt? Bolivia defence minister sacked over controversial top
Bolivian President Evo Morales sacked Defence Minister Jorge Ledezma on Tuesday over a controversial top he wore on a trip to neighbouring Chile.

BRAZIL
#Odebrechting – an Easter egg in the Brazilian media

Rio favela still wracked with fear and violence as Olympics 2016 approaches
Rio’s Complexo da Maré favela is being taken over by police from the soldiers that have been trying – and failing – to pacify it since before last summer’s World Cup

Brazil priest suspended for nude selfie
Brazilian priest known for conservative views on moral issues suspended for sending a nude photograph of himself to an apparent mistress
. Padre Alberto is much better-looking, though.

CHILE
Freak rainfall in Chile’s Atacama, the driest desert on earth, triggers catastrophic mud slides
Several dead, many missing as area gets lashed with seven years of rain in just 12 hours

CUBA
Whitewashing and Policy Laundering Cuban Terrorism, Part II

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Obama’s Justice Department Charges Menendez … But Not Reid

ECUADOR
Even the International Criminal Court has rejected the Chevron Shakedown

Ecuador Bulldozes Guayaquil Slum, Leaves 40 Families in the Street
Over 100 Houses Marked for Destruction amid Public Outcry

GUATEMALA
Johns Hopkins sued for $1B over Guatemala venereal disease study

IMMIGRATION
Punjabi Sikh-Mexican American community fading into history

JAMAICA
Jamaica Activates Army Reserves Ahead of Obama Visit

Obama and the CARICOM heads of government are expected to proceed from the high-level encounter in Jamaica to Panama City for the 6th Summit of the Americas, set for April 10-11.

MEXICO
U.S. Trade Commission Upholds Sugar Pact With Mexico
The U.S. International Trade Commission voted unanimously Thursday to uphold an agreement that suspended duties on sugar imports from Mexico, a decision that Mexico’s Economy Ministry welcomed as positive for Mexican producers.

PANAMA
Historic encounter: Obama, Raúl Castro to have ‘interaction’ at summit

PARAGUAY
PARAGUAY SPECIAL FORCES SEEK HELP OF TEXAS BORDER SWAT IN DEALING WITH CARTEL SPILLOVER

Paraguay has seen a spillover of organized criminal activities from countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Argentina which manifests itself in home invasions, kidnappings, and shootouts with drug traffickers, Maldonado said.

PERU
Peru names new prime minister amid spying scandal
Peru’s president has named Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano as new prime minister in a bid to calm a political crisis. Former Prime Minister Ana Jara was sacked this week amid allegations of spying and corruption.

PUERTO RICO
The Many Faces of Puerto Rico

VENEZUELA

Venezuelan hotels are asking tourists to bring their own toilet paper but
Venezuela plans to buy more Russian and Chinese arms

Venezuela, harboring ETA terrorists, El régimen narco-terrorista de Maduro ignora petición urgente de España para confirmar ubicación del ETARRA De Juana Chaos

US Federal Court Declares Venezuela in Default over $740 Million Claim
Facing $125 Billion Debt, Caracas Tries to Duck Gold Reserve Inc. Ruling

The week’s posts and podcast
Coming up next: State Dept. To Fly Central American Children Into US

Cuba: The next Hotel California? UPDATED

A happy thing for Easter weekend

Bach Johannes Passion

Venezuela, national security threat; Argentina wants a Sandwich

Cuba Forever, Indiana Never

Podcast: US-Latin America stories of the week

Yes, it’s April Fools’ Day

Mexico: Uber driver attacked

Argentina: Yet another Iran connection

Would Peru go for Chavismo?



The dismissed Nisman case Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 30th, 2015

LatinAmerArgentina’s Federal Criminal Appeals Court refused to open an investigation into the complaint filed in January by former AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman four days before he was found dead

Federal prosecutor Germán Moldes will try to reactivate the investigation against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner next week

Accusations fly that

Prosecutor Viviana Fein is conducting the investigation into the death of Alberto Nisman “with an evident interest” of only showing that the AMIA special prosecutor committed “suicide.”

Meanwhile, Venezuelan defectors from Hugo Chavez inner circle are talking.

ARGENTINA
Falklands defence: Why is Argentina considering an aircraft deal with the Russians?
Russia’s potential deal to lease 12 long-range bombers to Argentina is causing Britain to rethink its protection of the Falklands. Why is Cristina Kirchner cosying up to Moscow?

BOLIVIA
Bolivian Mob Tries to Bury Alive Teacher Accused of Raping Girl

BRAZIL
Brazil Economy to Shrink, Joblessness Rises
The Brazilian central bank’s view of the economy is getting worse, with the official unemployment rate rising in February, as Latin America’s largest economy continues to struggle.

After Ratings Reprieve, Brazil Faces Tough News
President Dilma Rousseff got a big break when Standard & Poor’s maintained Brazil’s investment-grade credit rating, but Friday’s coming report on economic growth is expected to bring the embattled president bad news.

CHILE
Flood torrents devastate Peru and Chile

Two dead as flash flooding hits Chile Atacama desert region

COLOMBIA
Colombian Government, FARC Agree to Begin Land-Mine Removal

New IG Report: DEA Agents in Columbia Partied With Hookers Hired By the Drug Cartels

CUBA
Obama’s Cuba Folly Unfolds

ECUADOR

EL SALVADOR
Half Million People March Against Violence in El Salvador

FALKLAND ISLANDS
Britain to boost Falklands Islands defences

JAMAICA
Jamaican Prime Minister Rebukes Gay-Rights Protestors At New York Townhall

MEXICO
39 Central American Migrants Rescued in Mexico from Human Traffickers

PANAMA
Panama Canal sets sights on new $17 billion expansion project

As it enters the final stretch of a massive expansion, the Panama Canal Authority is setting its sights on an even more ambitious project worth up to $17 billion that would allow it to handle the world’s biggest ships.

Workers are now installing giant, 22-story lock gates to accommodate larger “Post-Panamax” ships through the Canal, one of the world’s busiest maritime routes.

The project involves building a third set of locks on the Canal. It is being headed by Italy’s Salini Impregilo and Spain’s Sacyr, and should open on April 1, 2016.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay Farmers March in Asuncion to Demand President’s Resignation

PERU
Floods in Chile and landslides in Peru after heaviest rain in 80 years

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Prepares for Luxury Shopping Amid Recession

Puerto Rico Mayor Gets 5 Years for Bribery

URUGUAY
Uruguay will no longer grant asylum to Guantanamo prisoners

The new Uruguayan government says it will no longer grant asylum to prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

In December, Uruguay gave sanctuary to six Arab men who had been held at the US base in Cuba for 12 years.

Opinion polls said most Uruguayans rejected the decision taken by outgoing President Jose Mujica.

Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa also said Uruguay would stop taking refugees from the Syrian conflict.

Does that mean they’ll kick Syrians Jihad Abu Wael Dhiab, Ali Husain Shaaban, Ahmed Adnan Ajuri, and Abdelhadi Faraj, Palestinian Mohammed Abdullah Taha Mattan, and Tunisian Adel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi out of the country?

VENEZUELA
“Normalization” update: Venezuelan Castro puppet seeks to humiliate U.S. at the Summit of the Americas but Maduro Says “Venezuela Is Ready” for Dialogue with U.S. Of course. In his spare time, he indulged in vandalism,

Alicia Bárcena’s blinders

The week’s posts and podcast:
Cuba {heart} Iran: Love-terror

Words, words, words

How a German trial relates to the #Nisman case

Ecuador: Chinese loans, social media censorship

Today’s Colombian hookers update

Venezuela-Iran’s Aeroterror: Airplanes full of drugs & money

Podcast: US-Latin America: Cuba-Venezuela, elections in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina & more

Barrio 18 in El Salvador: A View from the Inside

The #Nisman Case and the Whitewashing of Iran

About that “Cuban side or the white side”

Thank you, Newsmax

Argentina: Beef for bombers

Today’s WSV* moment: Now Snowden wants to come back

Today’s immigration headlines

Ted throws his hat in the ring

The crashed plane Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

An Argentine turboprop airplane crashed and burned shortly after taking off, killing all 10 people aboard,

Witnesses at the airport said that a few minutes after takeoff they heard a significant explosion followed by a huge fireball.

The passengers were members of the Argentine company La Rural which is an associate in a project to exploit a Convention Center under construction in the Atlantic resort of Punta del Este and had flown to Uruguay for a business conference with their Uruguayan partners and the local government.

La Rural is a leading company in Argentina and Latin America in the fairs, congress and events industry.

Was it an accident?

ARGENTINA
Exactly two months after his murder, Argentine Government Accuses Nisman of Embezzlement

Dead Argentine prosecutor was zeroing in on a terror threat to the entire Western Hemisphere

Investigan un supuesto refugio de jerarcas nazis en Argentina

BRAZIL
POLL NUMBERS!!! Dilma’s drop

Why is Brazil so angry?
Big Question: Over a million people took to the streets over the weekend calling for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, five months after she won a general election

CHILE
Hundreds protest over Chile bishopProtesters shout as Rev Juan Barros enter the Osorno cathedral
Hundreds of people in Chile try to stop the ordination of Catholic Bishop Juan Barros, accusing him of covering up a sex abuse scandal.

COLOMBIA
Drug Gang Led by Female Trafficker from Mexico Nabbed in Colombia

Guerra y paz en Colombia

CUBA
[pdf file] An Illusory Opening to Cuba:
Why Florida Shouldn’t Walk Through the Breach

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Where “Cold War Charm” is the half-century long misery endured by the inmates of the island-prison: Cuba’s Cold War charm has D.R. wary about losing U.S. tourists to next-door neighbor

ECUADOR
#19M Protests Put Correa’s Citizen Revolution on Notice
Thousands March in Ecuador as Anti-Authoritarian Outrage Boils Over

Populist Playbook: The Slow Death of Democracy in Correa’s Ecuador

HAITI
Clinton Foundation’s chickens coming home to roost in Haiti?

WaPo Reporter: Bill Clinton ‘So Disliked’ in Haiti After Charity Work ‘He Couldn’t Even Run for Mayor’

HILLARY CLINTON’S BROTHER DEFENDS HAITI GOLD MINE DEAL: ‘I RAISE MONEY FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE’

HONDURAS
Are Special Economic Zones the answer? How ZEDEs Can Make Honduras Prosperous
Next-Generation Zones for an Anti-Poverty Success Story

Honduras sends soldiers to protect ‘lost city’ from drug cartels
Expendition team reportedly split on how to safeguard artefacts from looters after ‘lost city’ rediscovered in Honduras jungle also used by drug trafficker

JAMAICA
US Say Courts Crippling Ja Narcotics Fight

MEXICO
US Court Convicts Mexican of Kidnapping Mexican in Mexico
Federal Jury Convicts Mexican Citizen Living in San Antonio for His Role in Kidnapping Scheme

NICARAGUA
Wang Jing: The man behind the Nicaragua canal project

PARAGUAY
Paraguay and Latin America are officially the happiest nations in the world, in a Bobby McFerrin sort of way?

PERU
Peru’s Premier Removes Senior Spy Officials
Peru’s prime minister removed the head of the National Intelligence Service and other high-level officials, as allegations widened that the spy agency for years gathered information on a broad range of well-known people.

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico’s Catholic Church Calls for Referendum on Gay Marriage

SOUTH AMERICA
The Islamization of South America

URUGUAY
After years in Guantanamo, ex-detainees find little solace in Uruguay Apparently they don’t have Uruguayan passports yet.

VENEZUELA

Unbroken: Former Venezuelan Political Prisoner Speaks Out
Police Chief Lucchese Describes His Year Behind Bars at Ramo Verde Military Prison

Enabling Maduro’s Tyranny in Venezuela
US Sanctions Give Perfect Excuse for Crackdown on Dissent
. I disagree – the crackdown has been going on, well before any sanctions.

Maduro’s English in action,

Yes, Venezuela is a security threat

Drums of War or Pipes of Peace?

Brazil: Will the protest matter?

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Anti-Rousseff protests draw 1.5 million across Brazil

About 1.5 million protesters hit the streets across Brazil on Sunday in a major show of anger against leftist President Dilma Rousseff, who faces crises from a faltering economy to a massive corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras.

Many called for the impeachment of Rousseff, less than six months after she was narrowly returned to power in the most bitterly fought presidential race since the end of a military dictatorship in 1985.

The biggest demonstration took place in Sao Paulo, where a million people rallied — according to police estimates — many in the distinctive yellow and green of Brazil’s national football team. The city — South America’s biggest, and Brazil’s business and industrial hub — is a stronghold of opposition to Rousseff.

Peaceful demonstrations also took place in 83 cities and towns around the country, including major protests in the capital Brasilia and in Rio de Janeiro.

Watch Tens of Thousands Demand Brazil President Rousseff’s ImpeachmentThe Guardian, of course, refers to them as “Rightwing demonstrations,” since demanding transparency and an end to corruption is clearly not a leftie “thing,” and Dilma is definitely a leftie.

Indeed,

The latest protests coincide with the 30th anniversary of the year in which Brazil’s military dictatorship ended and democracy was restored. In recent days, Brazilians have debated whether the demonstrations would mark a milestone for democratic expression and free speech or, conversely, signal the country’s unwillingness to obey the verdict of the ballot box when times turn tough.

Will the protests make a difference? Only if the people of Brazil are deteermined to strengthen the institutions that guarantee transparency and the rule of law.

Until then, no.



The terrorist networks Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Two stories on terrorist networks in Latin America deserve our attention this week:
Report: Hezbollah opens base in Cuba
Shiite terror group to use operations center to launch attack on Israeli target in South America, Italian newspaper reports

and Uruguay, la guarida: etarras, islamistas, científicos asesinos, carapintadas y narcos (Uruguay, the lair: ETA terrorists, islamists, killer scientists, ultranationalists, and drug lords)

ARGENTINA
Alberto Nisman ‘was murdered and died in agony': full account of ex-wife’s revelations

Argentine foreign minister: This isn’t Dirty War
Hector Timerman says there’s no comparison between the current mystery death scandal and the country’s dark past

BARBADOS
Barbados to Receive More Swedish Support for Renewable Energy Initiatives

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Ex-Police Commander Accused of Ties to “El Chapo” Guzman

BRAZIL
Brazil Court Approves Probe of Top Lawmakers
A corruption dragnet that has jailed dozens of executives and erased billions from Brazil’s state-controlled oil giant has now snared some of the nation’s top lawmakers, deepening a crisis that’s weighing on South America’s largest economy.

CHILE
Stunning Nighttime Pictures of Chilean Volcano Erupting
Villarrica erupted earlier this week with a bang, spewing lava bombs and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

COLOMBIA
Rights Group Faults Colombia’s Progress on Violence
Grisly murders, disappearances and threats by drug-trafficking gangs continue to plague Buenaventura, a year after the government pledged to restore order there, a human-rights group said.

CUBA
While Conan goofed, In Raul Castro — and Barack Obama’s — Cuba, police make 492 political arrests in February

Cuba releases new photos of Fidel Castro meeting with five spies

GUYANA
Venezuela Warned Not to Interfere with Guyana’s Ocean Drilling
Caracas Cites Boundary Dispute as Neighbor Hunts for Oil

MEXICO
Mexican drug cartels
Captured capos
Few of the drug lords who terrorised the country remain at large

PANAMA
Panama: So much more than the canal

PARAGUAY
Azerbaijan Lawmakers Begin South American Tour in Paraguay

PERU
“Significant Variation” Found in Skulls From Pre-Contact Peru

PUERTO RICO
Why tax reform could be (really) bad for Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
The Slow Burn of Marijuana Legalization in Uruguay
Prohibition the Only Drug Problem, Says Reformer Diego Pieri

VENEZUELA
Venezuela to impose mandatory visas on Americans
President Nicolas Maduro says move is to control US influence

The week’s posts and podcast
Cuba: Tweet of the week

Last call to complete a survey on political blogs

Ecuador: ISIS death threats to cartoonist

En español: Las colas en supermercados venezolanos

Maradona: Before and after

Colombia: What other weapons were in the Chinese ship heading to Cuba

Argentina: Pollicita appeals dismissal of #Nisman’s suit

Please complete a survey on political blogs

Bolivia: 27 tons of ground coke seized on their way to Lebanon

Live feed to Netanyahu’s speech

Colombia Intercepts Shipment of “War Materiel” Headed to Cuba

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
The attack on LIBRE: What happens when Latinos don’t toe the line

What’s going on, or the consequences of “smart diplomacy”

Podcast:
Iran in Latin America, Argentina PLUS other stories with Silvio Canto, Jr.



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

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Fein expects challenges

Vast Argentine Wildfire Burns Out of Control for Almost 2 Weeks

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Plans to Create “Sovereign Cloud” to Improve Computer Security

BRAZIL
Cops Clear Brazilian Highway Blocked by Protesting Truckers

CHILE
Borrowing a line from Obama? Chile’s President Says She Learned about Her Son’s Deals in the Press

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s Santos Confident of Peace Accord with FARC This Year

CUBA
NY Times Greets Feeble Free Market Moves in Cuba With Pitiful Obsession Over Income Inequality

Venezuela Proves Fallacy of Obama’s Cuba Policy

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haiti Protests Dominican Republic Racism Against Immigrants After Henry Claude Jean Lynching

ECUADOR
Sharon Stone sued for missing anti-Chevron events

HONDURAS
Honduras, Guatemala Inch Closer to Free-Trade Zone
Plan-Colombia Style Initiative in Central America Doomed to Fail, Say Critics

MEXICO
Mexico’s Peña Nieto Replaces Beleaguered Attorney General

PANAMA
The Invisible Hand and the New Panama Locks

PERU
Oil spills in Peru

PUERTO RICO
FDIC Closes Puerto Rico’s Doral Bank; Banco Popular Steps In

VENEZUELA
Intel Leak Reveals Five FARC Commanders Based in Venezuela
Armed Forces Document Drug-Trafficking Guerrilla Stronghold in Southwest

After 10 months behind bars, Marcelo Crovato, Jailed for Defending Human Rights, Gets House Arrest

El bolívar se desploma tras fracaso del nuevo sistema cambiario en Venezuela

The weeks’s posts and podcast:
Mexico: Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, the equipal chair guy

Cuba: The long and the short of it

Venezuela: Criminalizing dissent, pt. 2

Argentina: #Nisman’s lawsuit dismissed

Brazil: No joy in soy

Argentina: #3 port of departure for Europe’s cocaine?

Argentina: Pope Francis worried about “Mexicanization”

Colombia: Aronson special envoy to FARC peace talks

Colombia: Hello FARC, good-bye rule of law

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Spain, moving towards Chavismo?

All about Steve: A review of Birdman

Podcast:
Venezuela, Argentina PLUS other US-Latin America stories

Venezuela: Criminalizing dissent, pt. 2

Friday, February 27th, 2015

The Economist itemizes how the Maduro regime continues to criminalize dissent:

VENEZUELA’S “Bolivarian” regime is lurching from authoritarianism to dictatorship. On February 19th it arrested the elected mayor of metropolitan Caracas, Antonio Ledezma. Then it moved to expel Julio Borges, a moderate opposition leader, from the National Assembly—a fate already suffered by his colleague, María Corina Machado, ejected last year. Leopoldo López, another opposition leader, has been in jail for a year and is now on trial. Almost half the opposition’s mayors now face legal action. The regime’s favourite charge to level at hostile politicians is plotting to overthrow the government, often in conspiracy with the United States. But it is the president, Nicolás Maduro, who is staging a coup against the last vestiges of democracy. Venezuelans call it an autogolpe, or “self-coup”.

Hugo Chávez, who created and presided over the Bolivarian state-socialist system until his death in 2013, was repeatedly elected by Venezuelans, thanks to windfall oil revenues and his rapport with the poor. He took his majority as a mandate to squeeze the life out of Venezuelan democracy, seizing control of the courts and the electoral authority, and suppressing opposition media.

The Economist calls for other LatAm countries to become involved:

For too long Latin America has tolerated Venezuela’s abuse of democratic norms. The latest outrages have provoked expressions of concern from Brazil, the Organisation of American States and others. They must do more. They should demand the release of Mr Ledezma and Mr López and call for guarantees that the election will be fair. If they fail to get them, they should suspend Venezuela from regional groupings, such as the South American Union, which require their members to be democracies. The threat of becoming a pariah might just give Mr Maduro pause.

Over in Colombia, President Santos has offered to mediate between the Communist regime and the opposition, since “only dialogue can save Venezuela from its current crisis,” adding that the presidents of Brazil and Ecuador are also willing to help.

By calling for dialogue instead of demanding a stop to the government’s abuse, Santos and his buddies are willing to turn a blind eye to Maduro’s egregious violations.

The opposition in Brazil, however, are the ones on the right track as they passed by a large majority yesterday a motion repudiating Venezuela’s “violation of democratic principles” and demanding that Rousseff’s administration to harden its stance on Venezuela. The only three parties that didn’t join in were Rousseff’s own, the Communist Party, and the far-left PSOL Socialism and Liberty Party.

Brazil: No joy in soy

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Soybean prices have gone up following a truckers’ strike protesting a recent increase in the federal tax on diesel fuel in Brazil, according to the WSJ:
Brazil Truckers Jar Soybean Markets
Work stoppage impedes shipments to ports, fuels speculation that buyers could turn to the U.S.

U.S. soybean futures surged to a six-week high on Tuesday as truckers across Brazil’s main farming regions blocked roads to protest fuel-tax increases and low wages, impeding shipments to ports and fueling speculation the U.S. would enjoy increased overseas demand for soybeans at Brazil’s expense. Prices pulled back Wednesday as police officers cleared some roads, but analysts said the situation remained fluid as the protests spread to more states.

The effect will be felt by the farmers, further cramping Brazil’s economy.

Over in Argentina (the world’s largest exporter of soybean oil and derivatives), rather than expedite exports,

farmers defending their fields at night amid accusations that they’re hoarding crops to undermine the government.

Argentina imposes an insanely high 35 percent export tax on soy.

The Putinesco Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Everything old is new again, so this week’s word is Putinesco, the 21st century non-Soviet.

ARGENTINA
DEBKA investigation: A fake Iranian “defector” assassinated Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman

Witness is latest in string of false ‘leaks’

Argentina, Iran and the strange death of Alberto Nisman
The death of a prosecutor investigating links between Buenos Aires and Tehran has quickly gone from being a criminal case to a political affair
It always was.

BOLIVIA
Bolivia’s “spaceship architecture” showcases the new wealth of indigenous people

BRAZIL
Brazil Rio carnival: Beija-Flor wins despite ‘Obiang link’
A Brazilian samba school, which is alleged to have received funding from Equatorial Guinea, has been crowned champion of Rio de Janeiro’s carnival.
Equatorial Guinea?

CHILE
Bachelet’s Virtuous Facade
Hypocrisy Runs Deep Throughout Chile’s Political Elite

COLOMBIA
A court in Colombia rules that same-sex couples can adopt children, but only if the child is the offspring of one of the partners.

Colombian teacher changes her name to ABCDEFG HIJKLMN OPQRST UVWXYZ

CUBA
Whitewashing & Policy Laundering Cuban Terrorism

ECUADOR
No Referendum on Correa’s Indefinite Reelection in Ecuador
National Electoral Council Denies Request for Popular Vote

MEXICO
Mexico to stop shipping ready-to-use fuel to curb thefts

Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex has announced it will stop shipping ready-to-use petrol and diesel through its pipelines, in an effort to curb fuel thefts.

Pemex says it will use its pipelines across Mexico only for unfinished fuel.

That fuel will go through a last phase of mixing when it reaches the company’s storage plants.

More than $1bn (£650,000) worth of fuel was stolen by Mexican gangs in 2014, an increase of 70% over the previous year.

TOWERS OF SECRECY
Mexican Political Family Has Close Ties to Ruling Party, and Homes in the U.S.
The properties stand in contrast to the working-man image promoted by José Murat Casab, a longtime party insider, and his son, a top housing official.

NICARAGUA
Trouble Brewing in Nicaragua

PUERTO RICO
Race to the bottom: Moody’s Cuts Puerto Rico Rating Further into Junk
Two-notch downgrade brings the rating on Puerto Rico’s general obligation bonds to Caa1

VENEZUELA
Turmoil in Venezuela
Sliding toward dictatorship
The arrest of the mayor of Caracas is a sign that the regime will do whatever it takes to hold on to power.
Sliding?

The sudden rise of the bodyguards