I wrote today on What may be the most consequential election of the decade. Go read it at Da Tech Guy Blog.
Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category
Morales confident he will win Sunday’s election in all nine Bolivian districts
At an event to mark the closing of his campaign ahead of Sunday’s elections, a self-assured Evo Morales told Bolivians that he will win all over the country and will even take the opposition’s bastions of support in the east.
Number of Attacks in Southern Brazil State Rises to 100
The wave of violence, which has left at least three people dead and 41 buses destroyed, has spread to 31 cities in Santa Catarina, whose authorities say the attacks are ordered by a criminal gang from Argentina.
Brazil Suspected Ebola Case Tests Negative
A West African man held in isolation at a Rio de Janeiro hospital on suspicion of bringing the deadly Ebola virus to South America has tested negative for the disease, the Health Ministry said Saturday.
Former Cayman Premier Acquitted
Hours later, President Juan Manuel Santos said that he personally signed off on the trips, which he described as “part of the process, normal.”
— Coco Farinas (@cocofarinas) October 9, 2014
El escándalo uruguayo
A Raúl Sendic, candidato vicepresidencial de Uruguay, junto a Tabaré Vásquez, por el movimiento izquierdista Frente Amplio, del presidente José Mujica, le salpicó la “maldición“ del petróleo. Un cuestionado convenio de canje de crudo por derivados entre Ancap/Trafigura/Petroecuador que involucra USD 6.400 millones, empezó a pasar las primeras facturas, en medio de la campaña electoral. El escándalo ampliamente cubierto por la prensa uruguaya, hace referencia al libro Ecuador Made in China, y a una carta remitida al gobierno uruguayo y a varios legisladores de ese país.
. . .
La referida cláusula del Convenio señala que Ecuador proveerá hasta 36000 barriles diarios de crudo, sin embargo en el contrato firmado el mismo día en Montevideo, se estableció la entrega de hasta 100000 barriles diarios, con lo que se violó el Convenio. Incluir un volumen de 100000 barriles día notificaba al más ingenuo que el crudo no estaba destinado a la refinería uruguaya, cuya capacidad máxima, cuando está operativa, es de 50000 barriles día, y de un crudo diferente al ecuatoriano. Al respecto, la Contraloría abona con conclusiones que dejan sin respuesta a los autores del Acuerdo: “se contrató con Ancap, sin que existan estudios técnicos que demuestren los beneficios para el país de una contratación directa”, señala en organismo.
The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund urged the appeals court to rule for Chevron on a highly technical but critical issue. You read that correctly: The nation’s oldest women’s-rights legal advocacy organization, a left-leaning group that helped enact the landmark 1994 Violence Against Women Act and represents victims of sexual harassment and spousal brutality, supports the multinational oil company in its struggle against a crusading lawyer who claims to represent the impoverished and oppressed.
Mexico Arrests Alleged Head of Juárez Drug Cartel
Federal police arrested alleged Juárez drug cartel leader Vicente Carrillo Fuentes in the northern city of Torreón on Thursday, Mexican officials said. His Arrest Is Seen as Symbolic Amid Police Scandal
Trinidad and Tobago Mulls Postponing Carnival over Ebola Fears
Wouldn’t it be better if they had done this while Maduro was speakinVenezuela: Exxon wins $1.6 billion settlementg at the UN? UN urges Venezuela to release dissenter leader Leopoldo López
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations (UN) described as illegal the actions of the Venezuelan authorities in the proceedings against the political opposition leader for the events of February 12
Venezuela: a land of political killings and gang turf wars
Politician Robert Serra was murdered in his home
The grisly murder of a young politician and killing of a pro-regime militia leader in police shoot-out signal a bloody power struggle for the legacy of Hugo Chavez, writes Phillip Sherwell
The week’s posts and podcast:
Why Venezuela should not have a seat at the UN Security Council
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Why bother covering up the Cartagena, Colombia, prostitution scandal?
In the wake of Dilma’s dismal administration, Aécio Neves will campaign until the Oct. 26 run-off against failing state-run economics. He has Marina Silva’s backing:
Brazil Candidate to Hit Rival on Economy
Brazil’s pro-business candidate Aécio Neves plans to hammer the state-centric economic policies of his rival, President Dilma Rousseff, before their Oct. 26 electoral showdown.
While blaming the president for Brazil’s 6.5% inflation rate, stagnant growth and lackluster productivity, Mr. Neves will tout his achievements as a former two-term governor of prosperous Minas Gerais state, taking credit for rescuing it from near-bankruptcy by cutting expenses and boosting revenue under a program dubbed “management shock.”
And he will criticize a series of scandals that have tarnished Ms. Rousseff’s center-left Workers’ Party, or PT, which has dominated Brazilian politics for 12 years, including alleged widespread corruption and cronyism at state-owned companies like oil giant Petrobras.
From commenter N,
there are some interesting voting maps around (on the web) showing that Dilma Roussef’s votes correlate almost perfectly with he number of people receiving federal government’s handouts.
Neves has his work cut out for him,
Ms. Rousseff starts the runoff as the favorite given the leftist drift of Brazilian politics, but Mr. Neves has a chance if he can convince voters that her policies are responsible for Brazil’s current malaise and that he has a better agenda. Brazil’s populist, redistributionist policies have squandered its potential for decades, and more of the same for another four years won’t bring the change the country needs.
I wish him luck.
“When we saw people on Twitter getting upset we took the plate off. But they still attacked us so we made a break for it to our hotel in Ushuaia.
“The mob just descended on the hotel and encircled us. State representatives came and ordered us out of the country.”
Here’s the car that caused the fracas,
This is my car on its last day in Argentina. Note the plates that everyone says caused offence. pic.twitter.com/mCfncbMa6F
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) October 4, 2014
Video of the police escorting them.
They include corruption, political machinations with the state-controlled oil company, and delays and overspending on a multibillion-dollar oil refinery that Brazil needs desperately.
Extreme skiers Auclair and Fransson die in Chile avalanche
Police in Chile have found the bodies of two extreme skiers who had been missing since an avalanche struck a mountain in southern Chile on Tuesday.
Former Haiti president Duvalier diesJean-Claude Duvalier
Haiti’s notorious former ruler Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has died of a heart attack in the capital Port-au-Prince, reports quoting official sources say.
Leader of Cartel Is Captured
The leader of one of Mexico’s largest cartels, Héctor Beltrán-Leyva of the Beltrán-Leyva gang, has been captured, the authorities said Wednesday night, giving President Enrique Peña Nieto another high-profile victory against organized crime.
Hayes agreed to negotiate a long-held border dispute between Argentina and Paraguay, and the decision gave the nation 60 percent of its land.
Venezuela Oil Price Continues Tumbling
Venezuela’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum reports that the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending October 3 fell to its lowest price since January of 2011. The Latin American Herald Tribune notes that the Ministry continues to post an inaccurate average for the year and reduced the average price for the whole of 2013 by $1.41 without explanation
Venezuela: Lawmaker Killed in His Home, Police Say
A day after Robert Serra, a rising star in Venezuela’s governing party, was stabbed to death in his home, officials said Thursday that it was a carefully planned murder.
The week’s posts and podcasts:
Brazil: Aécio goes to the runoff
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
I’m a tax exile, and proud of it
The week’s podcast:
Let’s chat with Alina Garcia-Lapuerta, author of “La Belle Creole”
While the local and international press were busy talking about Marina Silva, voters were looking at pro-market senator Aécio Neves:
Mr. Neves has said he would go after Ms. Rousseff on what he considers her vulnerability: Brazil’s struggling economy. He has vowed to slash government ministries, simplify Brazil’s tax code and tackle inflation.
Popular with investors and businessmen, Mr. Neves has said that, if elected, he would appoint respected economist Arminio Fraga, the former head of the central bank, to be his finance minister.
The reason for Neves’s ascendance?
the economy is undergoing a wrenching U-turn. Brazil slipped into recession this year after four years of stagnation, and inflation is on the rise. The state-owned oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA is mired in alleged embezzlement and other scandals. Since Ms. Rousseff took office, the real has lost a third of its value against the dollar and the stock market is down by 21%.
Silva was Dilma-light, and Dilma promises “More Changes, More Future.”
The question is, Does Aécio have the personality to sway the uneducated, low-information, low-income voter?
The Economist reports on Pre-election spending in Brazil
A final splurge
The primary deficit (before interest payments) reached 14.4 billion reais ($5.9 billion) in that month, the fourth in a row in which the government has failed to put aside cash to pay creditors. The consolidated primary surplus in the eight months to August stood at just 0.3% of GDP. Most of that came from the states; the central government managed just 1.5 billion reais, a piffling 0.05% of GDP and the worst result for the period since 1998. The overall budget deficit climbed to 4% of output, the highest level since Ms Rousseff’s predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, embarked on a huge stimulus package in 2009, as the global financial crisis took hold.
On September 30th the ratings agency told an investors’ conference in São Paulo that it will refrain from re-appraising Brazil’s credit risk until 2016, once it becomes apparent what the next government is doing to tackle weak growth (which will average just 1.5-1.7% a year during Ms Rousseff’s four years in power), and a wonky budget.
On paper, Marina Silva, candidate of the centrist Brazilian Socialist party, promises a more responsible fiscal policy. So does Aécio Neves of the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy, the most market-friendly of the main contenders.
The odds odds Neves winning are slim-to-none. Silva is getting a lot of media attention, particularly in foreign media outlets, but Dilma will most likely win, as a commenter points out,
Perhaps you`re right, and that awful woman will be reelected. But not only because she has a “huge… and well funded political machine”. She also has absolutely no scruples whatsoever about lying, scheming and – most importantly – putting the gigantic State machine to work full-time for her campaign. Disgraceful. Worse times ahead for us Brazilians.
Brazil is holding a presidential election this Sunday.
The Miami Herald has this headline,
Brazil heads into white-knuckle presidential race — Bolivia, Uruguay follow
It’s an active political season in South America. As Brazil and Uruguay head into tight presidential races, Bolivian President Evo Morales is poised to clench a third term.
For the moment, all eyes are on Brazil, which is in a technical recession and expected to grow by less than 1 percent this year. That means the election will largely turn on voters’ perceptions of who can best lift the world’s eighth-largest economy out of the doldrums.
In 2010, the year Rousseff, a former leftist guerrilla and hand-picked choice of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was elected, the economy grew 7.5 percent. It slowed to 2.7 percent the following year as the shocks of the global financial crisis took their toll.
But as other Latin American economies improved, Rousseff, stubbornly sticking to centralized economic policy, hasn’t been able to rekindle growth.
That’s true, but, perhaps more importantly, Dilma has a huge, well established and funded, political machine. Hence, I was not surprised by this other headline,
Brazil Leader Regains Edge in Election Polls
Two new electoral polls shows Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff widening her lead over her main challenger in a likely second-round runoff, surveys that disappointed many investors who hope for the incumbent’s ouster.
After a fast rise, Ms. Silva appears to be fading as she heads into this Sunday’s first round of voting. She surged in the polls after announcing that she would run for president in the place of running mate Eduardo Campos, who died in a plane crash Aug. 13. Voters fed up with politics as usual flocked to her in the early going. So did investors and businessmen who liked her market-friendly mix of ideas for getting tough on inflation and reducing state interference in the economy.
But a barrage of television attack ads by Ms. Rousseff has taken a toll on Ms. Silva, who so far has been unwilling and unable to respond in kind. Under Brazil’s unique election laws, Ms. Silva has only a fraction of the TV time allotted to Ms. Rousseff and third-place candidate Aécio Neves in the initial round of voting. Ms. Silva has also refused to go negative in her own campaign ads, despite encouragement from supporters to fight back.
Questions about her toughness persisted after she cried in front of a reporter following an interview. And her campaign has appeared disorganized and unprepared at times, lacking the depth and experience of Ms. Rousseff’s team.
I fully expect Dilma to win.
White knuckle? Not so much.
Some 45,000 illegals released during the border crisis didn’t show up for their immigration hearings, provoking another Capt. Louis Renault moment.
While the government sends drones and goes into travel records, who does the UN Human rights Council complain about?
Argentina uses drones to root out wealthy tax evaders
Drones deployed by tax inspectors near Buenos Aires found 200 mansions and 100 swimming pools that hadn’t been declared
— Prof. Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) September 27, 2014
Chile Investigating Thursday’s Bombing
Chile officials said they were unsure who made a homemade bomb that exploded yesterday in central Santiago that killed a 29-year-old man but were vowing to track down those responsible.
Anibal Guarin Herrera, a.k.a. “Tomate,” Colombian Military Kills Important Rebel Commander
More on Law of the Jungle:
La Ley de la Jungla
¿Cómo pudo un abogado americano graduado en Harvard lograr una sentencia judicial por más de 19 mil millones de dólares en contra de la segunda empresa petrolera más grande de EE UU?
On September 10th roughly 1,000 law-enforcement officials raided the Garment District of Los Angeles, seizing at least $65m in cash and arresting nine people. According to court documents, several garment businesses allegedly helped drug traffickers ferry proceeds from sales back into Mexico. The scheme is relatively simple. Black-market peso brokers contact Mexican importers who want to buy goods from a business in Los Angeles. The broker then finds a gang associate in the United States to pay the bill on behalf of the Mexican importer, using dollars from drug sales. The importer pays the broker in pesos; the broker takes a cut and passes along the remainder to the gang in Mexico.
Kidnapped Mexican Congressman Gabriel Gomez killed
The Mexican authorities say one of two burned bodies found in a car in the central state of Zacatecas is that of a federal Congressman abducted on Monday.
Hundreds protest against Nicaragua Canal
Pope sacks Paraguay bishop accused of protecting abuser priest
Pope Francis’s latest crackdown on clerical sex abuse comes days after Vatican ordered Polish archbishop to be put on trial for allegedly abusing young boys
Peru: Suspects Arrested in Killings of 4 Environmental Activists
Peru has arrested two loggers suspected of murdering four environmental activists to keep them from opposing timber extraction on native lands near the border with Brazil.
Chikungunya Kills 3 in Puerto Rico
The week’s posts and podcasts:
Venezuela: Nothing to dance about
Rick Moran’s show, Cry Havoc! And let slip the dogs of war
This morning’s podcast with Silvio Canto, Jr., US-Latin America stories of the week
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Pretty good news from Latin America: the Pacific Alliance
That’s what I call a goody bag! Football Association dragged into Fifa controversy over £1million worth of watches handed to World Cup nations
Fifa’s ethics committee have confirmed the acceptance of the £16,000 Parmigiani Fleurier timepieces
Telegraph Sport was seeking a response from the FA on Thursday as to whether any of its officials took home a goody bag distributed by the Brazilian Football Confederation in June to commemorate this summer’s World Cup and which contained a watch bought from one of its sponsors.
According to the UK’s Mirror, this is the watch:
Why did Qatar win the bid? FIFA isn’t telling:
FIFA Investigator Wants Report Made Public
Michael Garcia, the former U.S. attorney in charge of investigating the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, on Wednesday said he wants his report to be made public.
FIFA hired Garcia in 2012 to investigate the bid process, which generated much controversy after Russia and Qatar won the voting to host the next two World Cups. Garcia delivered the report to FIFA’s ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert earlier this month.
Qatar beat out bids from Australia, the U.S. and Japan to host the event in 2022 despite temperatures of up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Since that vote in 2010, Qatar has been dogged by allegations that it secured the outcome through a series of secret deals. Organizers of the Qatar bid have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Earlier this year, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said selecting Qatar was a mistake.
Is Qatar building air-conditioned venues?
Will they move the tournament to a season when the temperatures are not as high?
In other Qatar news,
Qatar quits basketball over headscarf ban
If chosing [sic] Qatar as a World Cup finals venue was bad, Russia’s tournament in 2018 offers a recipe for disaster
Best way of halting Russia expansionism is not travel sanctions – it is the threat of stripping it of World Cup
The more we find out about them, the more delightful the hosts of the 2022 World Cup finals sound.
How endearing is the way they treat their workers – dying in their dozens in death traps masquerading as work places. How refreshing their approach to those who ask questions – at least two journalists have gone missing in Doha in the past six months after attempting to investigate the working conditions of those tasked with building World Cup stadiums. How enlightened is their foreign policy – Qatar is a sizeable financial sponsor of the Islamic State thugs as they go about their business of forcefully returning Syria and Iraq to the Stone Age. What fun it is going to be playing games with them. How relaxed and carefree. And that is before we even mention women’s and gay rights. Or the heat.
There is one thing, though, to be said in favour of Qatar. And it is not an insignificant virtue. At least it is not Russia.
Obama’s UN Speech
Blogging on Latin America will resume shortly.