Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category

Brazil: More of the same?

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

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.

In turn,

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: Dilma up in the polls

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

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.



The missing aliens Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 29th, 2014

LatinAmerSome 45,000 illegals released during the border crisis didn’t show up for their immigration hearings, provoking another Capt. Louis Renault moment.

ARGENTINA
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

Argentine Government Defends Centralizing Air Passengers’ Data

Hedge funds condemned over Argentina
The United Nations Human Rights Council passes resolution backing Argentina in its debt battle against US hedge funds.

BOLIVIA
Indigenous Bolivians Demand Unwritten “Community Democracy”
Campesinos Draw on Native Customs to Elect Officials

BRAZIL
Fallen Mogul Eike Batista Faces Securities Charges in Brazil

CHILE
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.

COLOMBIA
Anibal Guarin Herrera, a.k.a. “Tomate,” Colombian Military Kills Important Rebel Commander

CUBA
Cuba’s Anti-Israel, Pro-Palestinian Activities

South Africa gives $ 31 million gift to Castro Kingdom

ECUADOR
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?

The Global Lawyer: A Review of Paul Barrett’s ‘Law of the Jungle’

Behind the Chevron Case

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador’s total abortion ban lethal, says Amnesty

JAMAICA
Ebola in Jamaica?
Health ministry official dismisses Ebola claim in Jamaica

MEXICO
Laundering Mexico’s drug money
Washing up
Drug kingpins turn to trade-based money-laundering

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.

NICARAGUA
Hundreds protest against Nicaragua Canal

PANAMA
It Must Be The Inequality That Makes Panama The Happiest Country In The World

PARAGUAY
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
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.

PUERTO RICO
Chikungunya Kills 3 in Puerto Rico

VENEZUELA
Venezuela announces ‘temporary occupation’ of US firm Clorox

Clorox Questions Safety After Venezuelan Takeover
Company Closed Facilities Due to Country’s Economic Crisis

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Venezuela: Nothing to dance about

Just what the world needs: Eau de Hugo!

Maduro goes to the South Bronx

FIFA follies

In case you missed them

En español: Miley Cyrus en la Unidad de Quemados

Mexico: La Tuta’s newest YouTube

Argentina: What do Pope Francis and George Soros have in common?

Venezuela: Don’t talk about the Chikungunya

Podcasts:
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

Up next: A mercenary army?


FIFA follies

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

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:


That’s $25,000 for your wrist.

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?

IS QATAR THE FOREMOST SUPPORTER OF THE ISLAMIC STATE’S SUNNI JIHAD?

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.

Think Qatar’s losing the 2022 World Cup? Think again

Tenuously related:
Obama’s UN Speech

Blogging on Latin America will resume shortly.


The celebrity junket Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

LatinAmerI had another Capt. Louis Renault moment this week, provoked by Mia Farrow, of all people. The ex-Mrs Sinatra apparently received from PR firm MCSquared $180,000 for visiting Lago Agrio in Ecuador. Then Ecuador hired another PR firm, Ketchum (Putin’s American flack), to go after Paul M. Barrett for writing a book. Do read Barrett’s book Law of the Jungle, and Judge Kaplan’s 497-page decision, if you haven’t already.

ARGENTINA
Watch: man films attempted gunpoint robbery on GoPro
A tourist travelling to every country in the world captures the terrifying moment an alleged robber points a gun at him in Buenos Aires, Argentina

BOLIVIA
Bolivian President Evo Morales has a dream … to open a barbecue restaurant
Bolivian President Evo Morales is slated to win next year’s election to serve a third term until 2020 but he’s already thinking about life after retiring from politics.

I was hoping for a bakery,

BRAZIL
Brazil cardinal robbed of crucifix at gunpoint
Cardinal Dom Orani Tempesta, archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, held by three armed men as they steal his crucifix and ring

CHILE
Suspect in Chile Bombings Was on Parole

COLOMBIA
Colombia Tightens Borders to Keep Out Ebola

CUBA
It’s official: Raul Castro invited to Latrine Summit

ECUADOR
China and Ecuador Agree to Strengthen Military Ties

Where’s Preet? The unasked question in Chevron v. Donziger

IMMIGRATION
WATCH: Wait’ll You See What Obama’s DHS Boss Just Admitted About Terrorists At Our Border
DHS Secretary Johnson tried to argue that Republicans can be blamed…

JAMAICA
Jamaica on US drug list
Named among 22 major producing, transit countries by President Obama

MEXICO
Mexico Continues Airlift, Clean-Up After Hurricane Odile
State Authorities Report Three Deaths From Storm

NICARAGUA
She survived a plane crash. Now she’s revolutionizing health care in Nicaragua
After narrowly escaping plane’s wreckage, Vivian Pellas seeks to revolutionize medical care for other burn victims in the developing world.

PANAMA
Panama’s Supreme Court Confirms New Trial Against Noriega

PERU
Peru’s economy
Replacing the pilot
, as Alonso Segura replaced for his long-serving boss, Luis Miguel Castilla, on September 14th.

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico’s main barrier for Caribbean trade and exports is logistics

URUGUAY
Guardian puff piece on José Mujica: is this the world’s most radical president?
Uruguay’s José Mujica lives in a tiny house rather than the presidential palace, and gives away 90% of his salary. He’s legalised marijuana and gay marriage. But his greatest legacy is governing without giving up his revolutionary ideals

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan cartoonist ‘fired’ over healthcare satire
Rayma Suprani says she was axed after representing Chávez’s signature as a flatline heartbeat in protest over health system

Venezuela’s economy
Of oil and coconut water
Probably the world’s worst-managed economy

S&P Downgrade Of Venezuela’s Debt To Add To The Noise

Venezuela’s Criminal Gangs: Warriors of Cultural Revolution

Les fraudeurs

The ongoing Damage to the Venezuelan Economy

The week’s posts:
Venezuela: Beyond-the-grave nepotism

Venezuela: What hemorrhagic fever? UPDATED

Argentina: Cristina’s vultures

Venezuela: Celebrities’ ire

Ecuador: Celebrities for hire

En español: Guillermo Padrés en la Unidad de Quemados

Ecuador: If Correa ain’t happy . . .

Is ISIS at the border? UPDATED

Venezuela: What do El Puma & Ricardo Hausmann have in common?

Beethoven goes salsa

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
And now for something completely different

Why the game should stand tall, a review of When the Game Stands Tall


The third Monday in September Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 15th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Judge Thomas Griesa Rules Against NML Capital in Argentine Debt Case
Citibank Doesn’t Have to Hand Over Documents in Hedge Fund’s Bid to Block Next Interest Payment

Argentina: Down the Tubes, Again

BOLIVIA
A Nuclear Bolivia? Why Not?

BRAZIL
Pelé unveils unique football pitch where players’ energy produces electricity
Brazillian football legend launches a revolutionary artificial pitch that converts players’ energy into electricty to power Rio de Janeiro favela

Brazilian Tycoon Faces Criminal Charges
Brazil’s federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against Brazilian businessman Eike Batista, compounding the legal woes of the once high-flying entrepreneur.

CHILE
Memory is not history
“Dirty war” memorials should not be used to rewrite the past

The historical truth silenced by “memory” is that the cold war in Latin America was fought by two equally authoritarian sides. Argentina’s coup in 1976 was triggered in part by the violence of the Montoneros, a leftist-nationalist guerrilla group of which several of Ms Fernández’s officials were members.

In Chile, too, memories of history can be incomplete. The museum in Santiago is not trying to impose an interpretation of history, just recounting facts, Ms Bachelet told Bello in July. Yet the only clue that Allende’s government, through its attempt to impose a Marxist programme, had itself contributed to the breakdown of democracy and “the destruction or weakening of many points of consensus” is contained in a quote from a Truth Commission of 1991, which is inscribed on a wall tucked away by the toilets. Allende will be commemorated on this week’s anniversary of the coup as a fallen hero of democracy, with no mention of his own mistakes—even Zhou Enlai, then China’s leader, warned him that he was moving too fast towards communism.

Chile MP charged over 1981 killings
Chilean MP Rosauro Martinez is charged with the killing of three left-wing militants during the dictatorship of Gen Augusto Pinochet.

COLOMBIA
Chikungunya infections spread to Colombia

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica seizes 1.5 tons of pot in chase at sea

CUBA
Cuba to send doctors to Ebola areas

Cuban Political Prisoner of the Day, Daniel Enrique Quesada Chaveco, Sept. 13, 2014

Gerard Depardieu, great friend of the Castro dynasty, avatar of hypocrisy

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Poll Shows Dominicans Most Worried About Crime, Economy

ECUADOR
State Oil Firms to Invest $400 Million in Ecuador Oil Block
Exploration in the 490,000-Acre Oil Concession to Start in January

Ecuador’s Petroamazonas will have a 51% stake in the project, while Sipetrol SA, a unit of Chile’s state-owned Empresa Nacional de Petroleo, or Enap, will own 42% and Belarus’s Belorusneft will have the remaining 7%.

EL SALVADOR
Even Stronger: Truce Between El Salvador Gangs Has Unintended Consequence

But free of violence does not mean free of gangs. The entrance to Ilopango is still controlled by the Mara Salvatrucha, while a northern stretch of the suburb is controlled by 18th Street. Nothing about the agreement has impeded Gonzalez or any of his gang from walking around freely and exerting full control. In fact, it’s only strengthened their power.

GUATEMALA
Firms from Russia, China, Spain, U.S. Interested in Guatemala Pipeline

Companies from Russia, China, Spain and the United States are interested in participating in the construction of a pipeline linking Mexico and Guatemala, the Central American nation’s economy minister said Thursday.

HAITI
Ex-President of Haiti Put Under House Arrest

JAMAICA
In Jamaica, Rastas Ready for Pot Decriminalization

MEXICO
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif calls for deepening of ties with Mexico

ICE OFFICIALS DEPORT MEXICAN NATIONAL WANTED FOR MURDER

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua Requests U.S. Help in Investigating Meteorite

PANAMA
Egypt issues stamps to mark new Suez Canal – but uses pictures of Panama Canal
The multi-billion pound scheme to widen the canal was announced last month, but officials have suffered a series of false starts

PARAGUAY
Paraguayan bus drivers in crucifixion protest

PERU
Assassinations in the Amazon: how will Peru respond?
Indigenous leaders killed near Brazil border following logging and land title battle

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Finds It Has New Friends in Hedge Funds

VENEZUELA
Venezuela to charge two opposition activists deported from Colombia last week
Lorent Saleh and Gabriel Valles, two Venezuelan opposition activists, will face charges after they were deported last week from Colombia.

Venezuela Arrests 64 for Anti-Maduro Protests: Rights Group

Now what? Venezuela on static noise

Venezuela’s ongoing collapse

Glen Chavez?

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Venezuela: The next default

Venezuela: Deadly new illness

Today’s illegal invasion headlines

En español: Unidad de quemados

Chile seeks foreign help in subway bombing case

September 11: In memory of Joe Angelini, Jr.

55 years a slave: The new Cuba-Brazil human traffic

Venezuela, springboard for Hezbollah

Puerto Rico: Trump golf course defaults

Chile: Terrorist attack injures 14

This week’s podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week with Fausta Wertz editor of Fausta’s Blog

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
“Obama’s Betrayal of the Constitution”

Gov. Walker and the curious case of the district attorney’s wife

55 years a slave: The new Cuba-Brazil human traffic

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

From The Economist’s Intelligence Unit,
Brazil extends contracts for 11,500 Cuban doctors

Since August 2013, Cuba has collected over US$700m from the Brazilian government in exchange for the services of 11,456 Cuban medical professionals working in over 2,700 towns and cities across the country. The Brazilian government recently announced that the programme will continue next year, with total payments amounting to US$511m.

Communist Cuba is broke, and its main source of income is selling off its citizens (emphasis added),

Currently, the sale of services abroad is Cuba’s largest source of hard currency: in 2014, the government estimates that it will collect US$8.2bn from these deals. Around 50,000 Cuban health professionals work in 66 countries worldwide, although around half of those work in Venezuela, with an additional 11,456 in Brazil. The agreements with other foreign countries are similar to the Brazilian setup, with Cuban doctors paid less than the salary of local medical staff, and the remainder of their pay being transferred to the Cuban government.

I am disgusted to read that The Economist’s Intelligence Unit ended its report with this,

The Economist Intelligence Unit is not changing its macroeconomic forecasts in light of the renewal of the programme, but it will come as a relief to the Cuban government and will help to mitigate the scaling-back of the sale of professional services to Venezuela.

As Capitol Hill Cubans correctly points out,

These government-to-dictatorship contracts, whereby Cuban doctors have absolutely no say about salary, work conditions and have their passports confiscated, have been denounced internationally — andwithin Brazil – as forced labor.

(Read here the testimony of a Cuban doctor who defected.)

They are clearly in violation of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the International Labor Organization’s (“ILO”) Convention on the Protection of Wages.

As Brazil’s National Federation of Physicians (FENAM, in Portuguese), has stated, “the contracts of the Cuban doctors have the characteristics of slave labor and only serve to finance the Cuban government.”

Meanwhile, in the island-prison,

“The USSR discovered that the best way to control its people was by keeping them standing in line all day long.”


The postponed amnesty Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 8th, 2014

LatinAmerHow convenient: Abandoning his pledge to act by the end of summer, President Barack Obama has decided to delay any executive action on immigration until after the November congressional elections, White House officials said.

ARGENTINA
Argentine High Court to Rule on Right-to-Die

Behemoth Argentine dinosaur Dreadnoughtus made T. rex look puny
Researchers are studying the remains of a colossal, long-necked dinosaur, named Dreadnoughtus meaning “fearing nothing”, that shook the Earth about 77 million years ago

Gustavo Cerati: Argentine rock legend dies after long coma

BOLIVIA
Blind jazz prodigy, aged nine, wowing Bolivian audiences

BRAZIL
Auto Production Falls Sharply in Brazil

Brazil’s Politicians Often Play the Clown in Ads

CHILE
Central Bank Cuts Forecast for Chile’s Growth in 2014

COLOMBIA
Colombia Expels Venezuelan Opposition Student Activist Lorent Gomez Saleh

ECUADOR
Correa-Tied Anti-Piracy Firm Targets Reporters Investigating Ambassador
Days after Ecuadorian news outlet exposed potential corruption, Ares Rights filed a copyright complaint

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador ex-head hands himself in
El Salvador ex-President Francisco Flores hands himself in to a judge after months on the run from allegations of corruption.

GUATEMALA
Prisoner Faces New Charges

HONDURAS
Gun Deaths in Honduras Double in 9 Years

JAMAICA
Unresponsive plane crashes into seaIn this July 11, 2009, image obtained from the US Navy, Two F-15 Strike Eagles assigned to the Louisiana Air National Guard 159th Fighter Wing fly over southern Louisiana’s wetlands during a photo exercise
A private plane tailed by US fighter jets when it failed to respond to air traffic control, crashes off Jamaica, with an American couple on board.

MEXICO
Amnesty says torture rife in Mexico
Torture is still rife in Mexico and routinely used to extract confessions, human rights organisation Amnesty International says.

Billboard Drives Home Extent of Corruption as Schools Suffer

NICARAGUA
5 gold miners still trapped in Nicaragua

PANAMA
Panama Canal expansion dredges up treasure

PARAGUAY
Peru’s Congress Denounces Former President Toledo for Money Laundering

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Luring Buyers With Tax Breaks

URUGUAY
Pepe Mujica a Libertarian? If Only…
Talk Is Cheap for Uruguay’s “Humble President”

VENEZUELA
Dude, Your Strategic Fund Has Less than a Week’s Worth of Imports In It

There IS Too Much Money To Be Made In The Bolivarian Revolution Part II: The Cadivi Rackets

Ciudad Guayana: In Venezuela’s model city, a dream sputters
Amid labor conflicts, a once-proud industrial city is a monument to the nation’s economic woes.

PDVSA Said to Hire London PR Firm as Venezuela Struggles

The week’s posts:
Brazil: Marina Silva is now frontrunner

US Signs Agreement with Mexico to Protect Mexican Workers–Including Illegals

Iran’s tango with Latin America

En español: Jennifer Lawrence en la Unidad de Quemados

Chile: $30m of cocaine and marijuana seized

Corruption: Brazil not on the map

US can’t locate 60,000 on student visas

Venezuela: Chavista Lord’s Prayer UPDATED

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
The week in the administration

Just what are “immigration rights”?


Brazil: Marina Silva is now frontrunner

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

The former Lula cabinet member is now ahead in the polls:
Brazil’s Marina Silva Woos Farmers Ahead of Presidential Poll
Frontrunner Needs Powerful Agriculture Lobby She Alienated as Environment Minister

Ms. Silva doesn’t need the support of farmers like Mr. Ceolin to win the elections in October—an initial Oct. 5 vote and what polls indicate will be an inevitable runoff. All the polls taken since she officially became the Socialists’ candidate, replacing the late candidate Eduardo Campos, show her beating incumbent Dilma Rousseff in the Oct. 26 runoff.

But if she becomes president, strong opposition from Brazil’s wealthy and influential agricultural sector could make governing more difficult, said Paulo Calmon, a political-science professor at the University of Brasilia.

Additionally,

Ms. Silva promises to end Ms. Rousseff’s policy of forcing state-controlled oil company Petrobras to subsidize the price of gasoline to help control inflation, a policy that ethanol producers have strongly criticized because cheaper gasoline boosts competition for ethanol fuel. The Silva stance doesn’t just play to farmers: The prospect of less interference with Petrobras has boosted the company’s shares, and the benchmark Ibovespa stocks index, to the highest levels in more than a year.

Will see how it all develops; Guido Mantega, the finance minister for the last eight years, is on his way out.

Corruption: Brazil not on the map

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer map is out,

and Brazil’s not in it,

Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer gathered data from 95 countries on bribery. For a small number of them, including Brazil and Russia, data on particular questions has been excluded because of concerns about validity and reliability. For the question on corrupt institutions 105 countries were covered.

An estimated $1tn (£600bn) a year is being taken out of poor countries and millions of lives are lost because of corruption, according to campaigners.

You can read the report here.