Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category

Brazil: Cunha charged with corruption and money laundering

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Eduardo Cunha, whom the WaPo once referred to as Brazil’s evangelical Frank Underwood has been charged:

On Thursday, Brazilian Attorney General Rodrigo Janot formally charged Eduardo Cunha, Brazil’s highest-ranking lawmaker with commanding a farrago of felonies, including shaking down suppliers of Petrobras, the scandal-ridden national oil company, for some $5 million, and then laundering the bribes through more than 100 financial operations from Montevideo to Monaco.

Mac Margolis explains:

Ever since Cunha won the right to the top microphone in Congress, trouncing Rousseff’s own candidate for the job, the Rio de Janeiro lawmaker has dedicated his mandate to making her life miserable, delaying revenue raising initiatives and planting some “fiscal bombs” in Congress that would plump constituents’ earnings at the expense of the swelling public deficit.

So how do you say schadenfreude in Portuguese? After weeks of escalating rhetoric and street protests clamoring for impeachment, suddenly it’s Rousseff’s archenemy who looks to be on the brink.

But hold those vuvuzelas. While Cunha may be hobbled by the scandal, he’s hardly out of play. Even if the Supreme Court accepts Janot’s indictment and sends Cunha to trial, he has no obligation to step aside. Removing him would take half plus one of the 513 members of Brazil’s lower house, an ecosystem where Cunha is at home.

Cunha is second in line to succeed the president. As Speaker of the lower chamber he controls the legislative agenda and the budget.

As you may recall, Cunha made The Economist last month when he announced that he would defect to the opposition without leaving the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB),

If numbers were all that mattered, the PMDB would be the most powerful party by far. Besides having more seats in Congress than any other, it outguns its main rivals, the PT and the centre-right opposition Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB), in state and local governments (see table). The PMDB has 2.4m card-carrying members, more than the PT’s 1.6m.

In Brazil’s Byzantine political environment, the move to charge Cunha may be seen as payback for Cunha’s defection, who in turn may deny approval of Dilma’s (rather weak, if you ask me) proposals to slash government spending, raise taxes and reduce bureaucracy.

More interestingly, the question remains whether Cunha would push to impeach Dilma (as the demonstrators demand), and if he does, will Dilma gather enough congressional support to avoid impeachment – with the help of PMBD members.

The $40/barrell oil Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Oil breaks $40 barrier for first time in six years, which is very important news for our hemisphere.

Menem vows to reveal evidence that could shed light on AMIA attack

The defence of Menem today requested the Federal Oral Court No. 2 (TOF 2), that is leading the investigation into the cover-up of the 1994 deadly attack, to have the Senate withdraw Menem’s state secrets privilege warning the release of the information “could affect” the interests of the Nation and “the breaking of peaceful coexistence” with other countries.

Argentineans Launch Petition against “Donald Trump” Wall with Paraguay
Locals Dry [sic] Infrastructure as Wasteful, Bad for Relations

Bolivian Police Drag Indigenous Protesters Out of Their Homes
Guaraní Pledge to Resist Evo’s Oil Exploration on Their Lands

Translation: Merkel reminds Rousseff that Germans want to get paid. Merkel calls for a free trade accord between the Europe Union and Mercosur. During the “surprise” visit,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Brazil’s government on Thursday to further open its markets to foreign companies, and said she saw an opportunity to reach a free-trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur trade bloc. Merkel is on a two-day visit to Brazil with a large delegation of government officials and representatives from German companies.

Study: Chile likely to draw from stabilization fund due to copper price drop

Colombia slashes gold holdings by two-thirds amid July rout

The reason for and timing of the move are not known, but it came as institutional and speculative investors pulled more cash en masse from commodities, ending a decade-long boom, as the stock market crash in China reignited concerns about demand from the world’s biggest consumer of industrial raw materials.

Obama Plays the Clinton Vietnam Card to Normalize Relations With Cuba, but Turns it On Its Head

Before restoring full diplomatic relations with Vietnam, President Clinton eased a majority of the economic sanctions. A mistake. However, by the time he did this, the Soviets were mostly gone from Vietnam; Vietnamese forces had pulled out from Cambodia and replaced with a UN peacekeeping force; and thousands of former South Vietnamese officials had been freed from political prisons and exiled to other nations including the United States.

What ultimately made it politically palatable for Clinton to remove sanctions was a 1993 Senate Select Committee report on POW matters that afforded Clinton the domestic political cover he needed to move forward to ease sanctions. Vietnam also started to return POW remains and allowed U.S. inspectors as part of the Joint Task Force for Full Accounting (JTF-FA) to visit various places throughout the country to investigate POW/MIA claims.

Ecuador Protests: Correa’s Oil Crisis, Policies Could Spell End Of Latin America Success Story

Ecuador’s Cotopaxi volcano roars back to life, locals speak of lava flow fears and damage to tourism

Prosecution requests impeachment of Guatemala president Otto Perez

IMF Considering Adjusting Some Measures Under Deal With Jamaica

International Monetary Fund (IMF’s) Mission Chief to Jamaica, Dr Uma Ramakrishnan says the fund is considering relaxing some of the targets under Jamaica’s economic support programme

Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, Mexican who led search for mass graves found shot to death
Activist’s group had unearthed 129 bodies in Guerrero, where students went missing last year.

He worked for the politically active group called the Union of Towns and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (known as UPOEG)

Previously Deported Illegals Caught Smuggling Thousands of People Across Border

3-Time Deported Top Mexican Drug Trafficker Caught Illegally Re-Entering Texas

Investigation Lifts a Cloud Over President of Mexico
A seven-month conflict-of-interest investigation into the purchase of luxury homes by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s wife and his finance minister from a government contractor found no wrongdoing, Mexico’s comptroller said Friday.

Why am I not surprised? China’s Building a Huge Canal in Nicaragua, But We Couldn’t Find It

Turkey’s new direct connection to Panama may facilitate terrorist financing for Hamas

Turkey and Panama have no international trade to speak of, raising questions as to why, of the 28 countries not served by the airline, is Turkish Airlines expanding to Panama.

Likewise, New nonstop flight from Dubai to Panama a terrorist financiers’ dream? (h/t JC)

Financiers for Hezbollah and a number of other sanctioned Middle East terrorist groups must be jumping up and down for joy, for their jobs will become much easier. The amount of international trade between Panama and the Middle East is nominal, but the nonstop flights will greatly facilitate both illicit (i.e. money laundering) transactions, and terrorist financing operations.

Expect more of that if Obama’s Iran deal goes through.

Rogelio Livieres Plano, ousted bishop in Paraguay, dies at 69

The migrant nation
Urbanisation in Peru has brought citizenship but also a host of problems

Peruvian newspaper cancels cardinal column after papal ‘plagiarism’
Peruvian newspaper says it will not publish any more articles by Roman Catholic cardinal Luis Cipriani after papal plagiarism revelations

Now Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani has been unceremoniously dumped from his occasional column at El Comercio, Peru’s oldest privately-owned newspaper, after his writings were proved to include plagiarised words of popes.

Governor Luis Fortuño On The Lessons The US Must Learn From Puerto Rico

The former Governor of Puerto Rico explains that “bottom line, you can never tax yourself out of a hole.”

Hurricane Danny Has Begun Its Weakening; Drought Relief For Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico?

Good luck with that: Venezuelans Launch Mises Institute to Take Down ChavismoLibertarians Offer Ideological Cure to Economic Crisis

The week’s posts and podcast:
Nicaragua: Where’s the canal?

Argentina: Wheelchair tango

The Falklands: Pope Francis, what fresh hell can this be? UPDATED

Venezuela: Circling the drain

Somebody tell Al Sharpton Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens

Venezuela: Cuban doctors stuck in limbo, as the country collapses

Cuba: Air-travel, credit cards next . . . by executive action?

Menendez on Iran: Failure Theater, or not?

Cuba: “Who fears the billboard?”

“Culture is how we pass the time between hypocrisies.”

Brazil: Will Dilma get it?

Mexico: @Leon_Krauze looks at the big White House

Podcast: Cuba, marches in Brazil & other US-Latin America stories of the week

The foreign policy house of lies

Brazil: Will Dilma get it?

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Impeachment, that is,

Protesters Call for Ouster of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff

Wrapping themselves in the national flag, Brazilians swarm city centers

According to Brazilian media and on social networks, protests were staged in all of Brazil’s 26 states, as well as in the capital district of Brasília.

In the city of São Paulo, the antigovernment protest was the second-largest since March, with estimates ranging from 135,000 to 350,000 protesters on Avenida Paulista on Sunday afternoon.
. . .
Yet, over the past two weeks, some of Ms. Rousseff’s severest critics have been making conciliatory remarks, suggesting that Brasília’s ruling elites are looking for ways to defuse the crisis without a regime change. Moody’s Investors Service recently reduced Brazil’s credit rating to one notch above junk status, lending urgency to some politicians’ desire to end the standoff quickly.

O Globo has a photo gallery, complete with blow-up doll of Lula in stripes.

I could find no information on the line of succession in case of presidential impeachment in Brazil. Does it mean there will be an immediate election? Considering the rumors around when Dilma was re-elected, what measures would guarantee a clean vote?


In US news,
Trump’s Defective EconomicsThe candidate is promoting currency devaluation—he should ask Argentina and Brazil how that worked out.

If “competitive devaluation” worked, Argentina would be the national equivalent of Donald Trump. That means very, very rich, in case you somehow missed the Donald’s constant assertion about his net worth.

Brazil has a similar history. It began to cultivate middle-income earners only after it pegged its currency to the dollar in 1994 to halt hyperinflation. Brazil abandoned the peg in 1999 but that didn’t make the Brazilian economy more globally competitive. Quite the opposite occurred, because devaluation acts as a form of protectionism. When the Brazilian real weakens, Brazilians lose purchasing power and can no longer afford high-tariff imports. They’re forced to buy lower-quality goods from inefficient Brazilian industries.

Read the whole thing.

The Swedish model Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Contrary to what the uninformed Left would believe, the Swedish model won’t be working in LatAm any time soon.

Whale appears alongside yachts in luxury Argentine area
News of the whale quickly spread on social media and was broadcast live by local stations, prompting hundreds to line up along the port area to catch a glimpse

Post-Kirchner Argentina Promises More Populist MiseryNo Matter What Party Tops the Election, the Welfare State Wins

Argentine Tango With Creditors Takes a TwirlArgentine officials are hinting at a thaw in a long-running standoff with hedge-fund creditors, boosting investors’ interest in the struggling South American nation ahead of a New York court date Wednesday.

El narcotráfico salvó la campaña

After some delays in early voting, Argentineans cast their ballots to elect presidential candidates

Law Requires Bolivian Officials to Speak an Indian Language

Delivering a message, with a hit, Brazilian anti-corruption radio DJ shot dead live on air
Gleydson Carvalho gunned down in studio as he broadcast
; Two Arrested in Killing of Brazil Radio Host

Brazil’s space programme
Ten, nine, ten…
Rocket science is hard. Rocket diplomacy is harder

Brazil’s space programme suffered a blow in July when President Dilma Rousseff scrapped an 11-year-old agreement with Ukraine to launch satellites aboard Ukrainian Cyclone-4 rockets from Brazil’s Alcântara spaceport in the northeastern state of Maranhão. The official explanation implied that the much-delayed project, which had been budgeted at 1 billion reais ($290m), had become too expensive. Brazil may also fear that Ukraine will not fulfil its part of the deal, not least because its space industry is located near Donetsk, which is controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

8%: Brazilian President’s Approval Rating Hits Record Low
The country’s economy is struggling and nation faces a growing corruption scandal

Gunmen shoot Spanish convict dead in front of his home in Brazil
Galician Anxo Antono Valiño had been convicted of murdering a businessman in 2007

Chile ex-spymaster, Manuel Contreras, dies at 86

Santos: Colombia Government Negotiator Met Twice with FARC’s Top Leader

Santos Pisses Away Colombian Tax Dollars on His Own BrandingState Propaganda Makes Mockery of Accountable Presidency

Havana’s hottest spot is a crowded ramp to WiFi bliss
At one the world’s most unusual Web lounges, Cubans have been trying WiFi for the first time

Locarno: Andy Garcia on Hemingway, Family, Directing and Cuba

“The political situation is Cuba has not turned,” Andy Garcia said politely, but very adamantly. “There is one government, a dictatorship. The Castros are still in power. There’s never been a popular election in Cuba. Nothing will change in Cuba until the Castro regime leaves and the people are free.”

Leaked Documents Blow Rafael Correa’s Spying Ways Wide OpenEcuadorian Watchdog Alleges Long-Term Surveillance, Infiltration of Opposition

String of Driver Murders Invoke Militarized Transport for El SalvadorSánchez Cerén Will Not Negotiate with Narcos

Haitians vote in delayed elections
Haitians vote in legislative elections that have been repeatedly delayed since 2011, in a test of stability for the impoverished nation.


Mexico’s economy was supposed to soar. It’s starting to flop.
President Peña Nieto’s economic reforms have yet to produce growth, and the peso has been battered.

6 Tons of Cocaine Seized in Homemade Submarine

Convicted rapist arrested in Mexican journalist murder case
Still no official motive as to why Rubén Espinosa and four women were brutally killed

US Lifts Restrictions Over Seized Property in Nicaragua

Panama Canal to limit ship draft due to drought

Peru’s Shining Path Rebels still Enslaving Around 200 People

Pain of Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Is Weighing on the Little Guy, Too

St. Lucia to Launch Citizenship-by-Investment Program

Venezuela shortages: ‘Take away beer and things get risky’
Venezuelans facing prospect of heatwave without their favourite beer, latest in a series of shortages from disposable nappies to light bulbs

Obama’s failed ‘charm offensive’ in Venezuela

The week’s posts and podcast:
Sunday palate cleanser: Carlos Copello & Anabela Brogioli

Saturday essay: The Swedish model again, and why it won’t work in Latin America

Venezuela: Food riots

Don’t call that a debate

Another Capt.Louis Renault moment, Mexico: People’s disbelief at official story of El Chapo’s escape

Today’s must-read: It’s Time for an Encyclical on Christian Persecution

Brazil: File this under “Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas”

Argentina: A story in 5 tweets

Hillary’s sinking, roll out Princess Chelsea

Cuba: Hillary’s ignorance

Running out of people’s money: Puerto Rico UPDATED

Venezuela: The shocking state of its health service

Brazil: File this under “Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas”

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Inside Royal Bank of Canada’s Latin Misadventure

Dilemma surrounding RBC’s star Brazilian client highlights regulatory risks of potentially lucrative emerging markets (emphasis added)

As Royal Bank of Canada mounted an aggressive campaign to reel in business from Latin America’s growing class of superrich, a Miami-based banker made a big catch: Gilberto Miranda Batista, a former Brazilian senator with a $500 million fortune, three houses, four farms and a Rolls Royce.
. . .
In 2013, Mr. Miranda’s accounts attracted the attention of a U.S. banking regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which that year deemed RBC’s anti-money-laundering controls unsatisfactory, according to people familiar with the matter.


RBC moved to close down this business late last year after facing government investigations in several countries, including the U.S., Uruguay, and France. Just as it was unwinding its operations, RBC was contacted by the Department of Justice and by the Department of Homeland Security about separate Venezuelan accounts, according to people familiar with the matter. Those people said the Venezuelan accounts had, like Mr. Miranda’s, been previously flagged by internal compliance officers.

This is a huge problem, as the prospective clients may likely attained their financial status by being involved in “troublesome” transactions.

The dog days of summer Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Yes. It’s summer in the northern hemisphere. Deal with it.

Audio slideshow: The Welsh in Patagonia, 150 years on

‘Judicial officials sought to delay AMIA cover-up trial’Luciano Hazan is the Justice Ministry’s under-secretary for Criminal Policy and will be representing the Executive in the AMIA cover-up trial. In conversation with the Herald, Hazan pointed fingers at the judges for their reluctance to investigate their colleague’s alleged implication in crimes.

Los presos ahora ganan 46% más que un jubilado

Bolivia Ready to Renew Ties with Chile to Resolve Maritime Claim, at least until the next time.

Good luck with that: Rio’s favelas to accommodate visitors to 2016 Olympics

Chile’s Pinochet covered up report on death of U.S. student, documents say

Colombia’s Ecopetrol to Export 1st-Ever Cargo of Crude to Japan in August

El Monótono Dialogo De Paz En Colombia, ¿Qué Intenciones Tiene?

Colombia’s biggest ever exhumation begins at Medellin rubbish dumpOfficials believe the remains of 300 people could be unearted from La Escombrera (The Dump) as the city begins the long-awaited exhumation

Senators probe political motivations for trafficking report
Corker, Cardin question whether the State Department was motivated by politics to upgrade Cuba and Malaysia in annual report on human trafficking.

Cuba Emerges as Paradise for Gay Tourism

The U.S. now has an embassy in Cuba. But relations are hardly normal.With U.S. Embassy open in Havana, American diplomats face a changing mission.

Secretive White House meeting reveals Obama’s plan to visit Cuba in 2016

Cabarete: Dominican Resort Is a Refuge Twice AbandonedHaitians, who had brought new life to an abandoned seaside hotel, face ejection under new laws and conflict with their island neighbors.

Scraping the barrel
Will Ecuador turn into Latin America’s Greece?

Ecuador’s “Liberation Front” Attacks Newspapers with Homemade BombsSelf-Proclaimed Revolutionaries Debut with Guerrilla Marketing in Guayaquil

Salvadoran Government Deploys Armored Cars to Support Police against Gangs

We need to talk about GuatemalaGuatemala has been described as the worst place in the world to be a child.

Was the PetroCaribe buyback a good deal for Jamaica?

Latinoamérica, ¿Para Qué Utilizan Los Gobiernos Socialistas La Ley?

‘Progress’ but no deal at TPP talks
Negotiators from 12 Pacific nations have finished a week of talks without agreement on a regional trade deal.

Annals of ExcavationUnderworldHow the Sinaloa drug cartel digs its tunnels.


A Transformation in Mexican Migration to the United States, Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire – 27 July 2015 (H/T Mexidata)

Supreme Court ruling allows work to resume on Panama’s 29-MW Barro Blanco hydropower project

Watch: Panama Canal July Update (h/t JC),

Puerto Rico to miss debt payment, signalling default

Here’s why a historic meat packing plant in Uruguay was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ciudad Guayana: Venezuela supermarket looting leaves one dead, dozens detained

Caracazo en Gotas: San Felix Edition

Mega-Gangs the New Plague in VenezuelaOrganized Crime Takes Root in Neglected Slums

Meanwhile, back in Caracastan: Maduro steals foreign-owned property

Venezuela Runs Out of Birth Control

Maduro takes over brewers complex as Venezuela runs out of beer because of lack of barley

The week’s posts and podcast:
Chile: Eat your rock before it gets cold

Brazil: How to make coxinhas

Argentina: Cristina tweets Iran

Answers: Where can women go, instead of Planned Parenthood?

Peru: Shining Path’s shameful prisoner camps

En español: @OLPL visita Bayly

New Jersey: It’s the taxes, stupid.

Why dress up?

Blogging shall resume shortly

Argentina: Tokyo Rose does the Falklands?

Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez still in jail, FP fails

As expected: WH finishing up latest plan for closing Guantánamo

A word about Che merchandise plus US-Latin America this week

Brazil: How to make coxinhas

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Found this at my friend Augusto’s Facebook feed:

conxinha minionMoney doesn’t buy happiness.

But it buys coxinhas, have you seen anyone uhnappy while eating a coxinha? It’s impossible to be unhappy with a coxinha.”

Of course I had to ask Augusto for a recipe. Augusto, in turn, asked his friend, chef Ripp Cozzella (a chef!) for advice. Ripp kindly replied,

A cozinha autêntica não tem muita frescura,
Coloca-se em uma panela óleo (pode ser azeite), alho esmagado (algumas pessoas colocam cebola ralada) e caldo de galinha.
Quando levanta fervura, faz como a Patê a Choux e coloca de uma vez a farinha.
Mexe até soltar do fundo. Espera amornar e molda.
Passa pela farinha de rosca fina.
O recheio é o frango desfiado ou picado temperado a gosto.

Which Augusto beautifully translated,

He said that authentic cuisine is not and needs not be fussy or complicated.

The dough is simple: you sauté crushed garlic (some people used grated onions) in oil (it can be olive, or plain vegetable oil) and add chicken stock. When it boils, you proceed like in a pâte a choux, dumping the wheat flour all at once. You stir until it comes off the bottom of the pan, then wait until its just warm. You can then mold the coxinhas then. The filling is simply shredded checken (breasts or even thigh meat), sauteed with regular seasoning (salt, pepper, parsley, garlic, onions).

I’m heading to the supermarket this weekend to get the ingredients.

Warmest thanks to Augusto and chef Ripp.

Bon appetit!

The Indoctrinator Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Today’s Carnival is dedicated to cartoonist Luciano Cunha, creator of The Indoctrinator.

Pathetic: Now Argentina accuses Falkland Islands fishermen of stealing their FISHA SENIOR Falkland Islands diplomat has hit back at claims by an Argentine minister that the wealth of the remote archipelago derives from “stolen” fish.

PRO’s Macri says government seeking to ‘demonize’ him

Bolivia Frees 47 of 51 Arrested after Violent Protests

Brazilian politics
The power behind the throne
A junior partner in government is running the country

It is the person, not the party, that is abandoning the coalition, the PMDB was quick to declare. Still, Mr [Eduardo] Cunha’s exit is a worry for the president. Last week came news that police are investigating her predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, for possible influence-peddling on behalf of construction firms. He denies the allegation. That is a further blow to the battered PT. Ms Rousseff needs the PMDB more than ever if she is to survive until the end of her term in 2018. Increasingly, it is running the show.

An oil scandal is shaking Brazil’s democracy to its core

New plant species ‘discovered on Facebook’
Experts identified a plant pictured on Facebook as a new species, since named as “drosera magnifica“, or magnificent sundew, according journal research paper
. Someone tell Pope Francis.

Chile charges over burning students
A Chilean judge charges seven former soldiers over the burning of two students during a 1986 protest against Gen Augusto Pinochet’s government.

Colombians Outraged by Gang Rape of Bus Driver

Costa Rica: Examples of How to be Like Greece (h/t JC)

Evidence Mounts That Oswaldo Payá Was Assassinated by the Castros
Human Rights Foundation Documents Cuban Agents at Work on Tragic Day
; Victims of Communism organization follows up on Ted Cruz’s address change proposal

Inside the offices of Granma, Cuba’s government newspaper

There’s a sucker born every minute: Cuba Hoping To Kickstart Offshore Oil & Gas Industry

Springtime for America’s EnemiesDangerous and short-sighted U.S. diplomacy has empowered no one except state sponsors of terrorism and fascistic regimes.

Rafael Correa recibe la asesoría de la chavista Eva Golinger
La «novia de Venezuela», como la llamó Chávez, se ha ocupado en «desacreditar» a quienes critican al presidente de Ecuador

Fired for Daring to Prosecute Extortion in Rural Guatemala
Georgetown University’s False Heroine: Part III

A Glimpse Of An Everyday Struggle Among Haiti’s Health Care Workers

Pennies on the dollar: Jamaica to retire $3B in oil debt to Venezuela

Jamaica has forged a deal to retire $3 billion in oil debts to Venezuela thanks to bond sales.

In a Friday statement, Jamaica said it has issued roughly $2 billion in bonds on the international capital market that will pay down the debt it accumulated through Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan program that provides fuel to countries at market prices but under generous credit terms.

Officials say a negotiated settlement with Caracas will dismiss about $3 billion in long-term debt in exchange for $1.5 billion. It was not immediately clear Friday if Jamaica’s deal will retire all of its Petrocaribe debt.
. . .
Jamaica’s Petrocaribe settlement is similar to one the Dominican Republic negotiated with Venezuela earlier this year. That Caribbean country dismissed $4 billion in Petrocaribe debt in exchange for $2 billion.

Mexican judge jails three Joaquin Guzman prison guards

Filmmaker Ridley Scott to bring life of “El Chapo” to the big screen
British director purchases rights to Don Winslow’s bestseller ‘The Cartel’

Is there a rift between Mexico’s president and first lady?
Rumors fly after videos capture allegedly awkward moments between Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife, Angélica Rivera

Panama, Costa Rica join forces, demand corruption investigation of CONCACAF Gold Cup

US asks Paraguay to extradite Fifa official Nicolas Leoz

Police burn down illegal gold mine town in Peru
Action against La Pampa is latest blow in war against illegal mining that is destroying rainforest and spreading mercury poisoning

First pictures of last-uncontacted Amazon tribe
Mashco Piro tribe have lived in the jungle in Peru for at least 600 years, but have never before been approached

Puerto Rico debt crisis: austerity for residents, but tax breaks for hedge funds
The Caribbean territory has courted some of Wall Street’s richest citizens, selling its debt and offering inducements while local people face high taxes and cuts

Uruguay says more Syrian refugees welcome

Mega-Gangs the New Plague in Venezuela
Organized Crime Takes Root in Neglected Slums

Venezuela Bars Foreign Lawmakers’ Visit to Jailed Opposition Leader

Memo To Venezuela: The Soviets Nationalized Food Distribution And Guess What? It Didn’t Work

Mother of all battles in scarcity-hit Venezuela: having a baby

The last available health ministry figures for infant mortality under 1 show an increase of 2.35 percent from January to October last year compared with the same period of 2013.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Madrid’s City Hall and the man on the Moon: Tales from a socialist mindset

Puerto Rico: The bets are on

Argentina: #Nisman’s killer washed his hands in the sink

Venezuela: A lesson we can’t forget

Brazil: Meet The Indoctrinator

Mexico: El Chapo’s buddies tunneled out, too UPDATED

Planned Parenthood and the evil of our times

Argentina: Judge in Cristina’s hotel case, “If I turn up suicided, look for the killer”

LatAm currencies slide

Colombia: Today’s infographic

Cuba: “Mojito diplomacy”

Cuban embassy now open in DC

Brazil: Meet The Indoctrinator

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

I can hear Vin Diesel speaking in Portuguese.

Brazilian comic-book antihero out for revenge against corruptionThe Indoctrinator’s battle against unscrupulous officials has made the character a cult hit

Get this man an agent!

O Doutrinador is the creation of Rio native Luciano Cunha, who started the strip on line
The Indoctrinator appears to personify, in an extreme way, the indignation many Brazilians hold against the political class in their country, their bad feelings about government, and the protests “against everything” that has sprouted up over the past few years.

But Cunha’s fans are just not typical comic-book readers. He believes people read his creation not because of the artwork but because of the message the main character tries to get across: that “some sort of justice” will be handed down against corrupt public officials.

Cunha isn’t able to make a living from O Doutrinador. Any agents out there? I want to see him at Comicon, and getting bids on movie rights!

You can read O Doutrinador online. Here’s the Facebook page.

The Communist crucifix Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 13th, 2015

During his visit in Bolivia, pope Francis stepped out of the popemobile to pray at the site where the late Jesuit Luis Espinal’s body had been dumped, after which Evo Morales (who wore a jacket embroidered with Che Guevara’s face to the Pope’s speech) presented Francis with the Communist crucifix designed by Espinal, and a matching medal, which Francis accepted:

Following the ensuing outrage, Francis left the medals and crucifix in Bolivia while the Vatican launched into spin mode.

Evo certainly milked the photo ops. It’ll be interesting to see what Raul Castro does when Francis goes to Cuba.

From her official website: Cristina Kirchner interview with The New Yorker – Up Close and Uncut (march 11, 2015) President Cristina Kirchner interviewed by Dexter Filkins from the US magazine The New Yorker, on March 11, 2015

Argentina’s New Intelligence Agency Targets Captains of IndustryPresident Kirchner Fears “Economic Warfare”

The Peronist pope
Francis’s balancing act in Latin America

From March 2013: Sobre el mensaje del arzobispo de Buenos Aires

Cristina travels to Paraguay to meet Francis

Bahamas Independence Day 2015: 10 Key, Quick Facts To Know About The Caribbean Paradise


Pope gives his backing to Morales’ social programs in BoliviaPontiff reported to have sipped coca-based tea before reaching high-altitude destinationPresident hopes Francis will offer to mediate in border conflict with Chile

Contrast Francis’s visit with Pope John II’s 1983 visit to Nicaragua and his attitude towards liberation theology.

Brazil: Man’s Lynching Compared to Slave Flogging

Brazil oil giant faces $98bn shareholder lawsuit in US over corruption schemeNew York court to hear case brought by investors including pension funds of British academics and US state workers over ‘Carwash’ scam at Petrobras

The lawsuit claims that Petrobras executives accepted bribes for inflating the value of construction contracts and “used the money to bribe politicians through intermediaries to guarantee they would vote in line with the ruling party while enriching themselves”.

Duff idea? Fox hopes Chile’s beer lovers give Simpsons brew a warm receptionCompany to sell beer – which an executive calls fruity with a caramel aromatic – after decades of pirated versions ruling the market

Colombian president replaces military chiefs days after scathing report into extra-judicial killingsPresident Juan Manuel Santos overhauls his high command despite rejecting Human Rights Watch claims about role of military commanders in murders of civilians who were then framed as left-wing rebels

Colombian President Welcomes FARC Cease-Fire

The Mixed-Up Brothers of BogotáAfter a hospital error, two pairs of Colombian identical twins were raised as two pairs of fraternal twins. This is the story of how they found one another — and of what happened next.

Marco Rubio: Obama’s Faustian Bargain With Cuba

Here’s “What Change Looks Like” Through a Business-First Policy

Twice as Many Cuban Rafters Flee While They Can
2015 Arrivals Exhibit Fear of End to Wet-Foot, Dry-Foot Policy

Ana’s Story: The Face of Colombia’s Refugee Crisis in Ecuador

This is how bad El Salvador’s murder rate is

El Salvador is on pace to pass its neighbor, Honduras, as the deadliest country on the planet.

Mexican Police Deliver Wrong Corpses to Get Murder Case Closed
Victim Families Allege Cover-Up, Demand Prosecutor’s Resignation

Mexican Ex-Governor Arrested on Tax-Fraud Charges

Some Ford lines may be heading to Mexico

Mexican helicopter trades fire with gunmen on ground near border, kills 6

Guatemala: Ex-ruler Rios Montt found unfit for trial
A former Guatemalan general, Efrain Rios Montt, who ruled the country briefly in the 1980s, has been found mentally incapable of standing trial.

A matter of when, not if? Mexican Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Escapes From PrisonMexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has escaped from a maximum-security prison in central Mexico, almost a year and a half after being captured, prompting a major search operation.

Panama and Nicaragua – Two Canals, One Shared Dream, but with the Chinese financial market in flux, what will happen to the Nicaraguan project?

Venezuelans heading to Panama

Pope Praises Paraguayan Women
Pope Francis celebrated Paraguayan women as the “most glorious women of America” in a sermon at the shrine of the country’s patron Madonna Saturday, the second-to-last day of his weeklong visit to South America.

Argentina Sees Exodus as Pope Visits Paraguay
Roughly one million people will cross the border into Paraguay from Argentina to see Pope Francis in the capital, Asunción, immigration officials estimate.

Better keep Greenpeace away: New Nazca geoglyphs in Peru could be older than famous Unesco siteJapanese team believes new images are older than the famous monkey, spider and hummingbird at the Unesco World Heritage site

Ubinas Erupts in Peru Dispersing Ash Up to Radius of 9.3 Miles

America’s Greece: Fixing Puerto Rico Could Provide Answers for Europe

Now it’s serious! Venezuela is almost out of beer

The week’s posts and podcast:
The new perfect Latin American idiot

“Economy class cabin hexagon”? No. Just no.

What current Mexican immigration law is like

Cuba: Policy paper shows correlation between US engagement and rising repression in Cuba

Two books that don’t exist for the NYT

Argentina: Cristina drops the mask on anti-semitism

Bolivia: Evo gives Francis hammer and sickle crucifix UPDATED

Business at the BBC: Firing Clarkson will cost them BIG

NYSE down

Ecuador: Pope calls for “new economic and ecological world order”

Meanwhile, over in Cuba,

Argentina: Cristina cheers for Greece

Today’s immigration headlines

Monday night “It takes 1 to tango”

Ecuador: Pope’s visiting, crowd clamors “Out, Correa, out”