Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

The Labor Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 7th, 2015

First the Chong Chong Gang, then the Mu Du Bong, now the Haddad 1: Weapons smuggling to and from rogue states.

Menem said no: Argentina Former Prez Refuses to Testify in AMIA Bombing Cover Up

Menem refused to testify on grounds that he was under obligation to maintain ‘state secrets’ which only the Senate could lift.

Argentine Jewish leader: What happened to Alberto Nisman?

Lengthy but must-read: Inside the Spyware Campaign Against Argentine Troublemakers, including Lanata and Nisman.

Argentina orders HSBC to replace local bossArgentina’s central bank has ordered HSBC to replace its chief executive in the country within 24 hours and accused the bank of failing to prevent tax evasion and money laundering.

Raid in Sao Paulo discovers ISIS money-laundering network: Polícia Federal descobre rede de apoiadores do Estado Islâmico em São Paulo. O achado assusta. Ainda mais porque terrorismo, no Brasil, não é crime

Desperate times, desperate movesBeset by dismal economic data, Dilma Rousseff tosses Congress a challenge

On August 31st Dilma Rousseff, their president, sent Congress a budget for 2016 with a gaping primary deficit (before interest payments) of 30.5 billion reais ($8 billion), or 0.5% of GDP, challenging its members to close the gap. It was a break with the sound-money practices that have underpinned Brazil’s economy. It was, some critics say, illegal. Certainly nothing similar has happened since at least 2000, when Fernando Henrique Cardoso, then the president, transformed public finances.

On a charitable view, Ms Rousseff was shocking legislators into making hard decisions rather than simply blocking her fiscal proposals. A harsher reading is that she does not know how to lead Brazil out of recession.

Rio attempts to tackle widespread homelessness ahead of OlympicsAn estimated 5,600 people live on the streets of Rio, of which more than 340 are children

Chile on Path to “Modest” Recovery, Central Bank Says


Russian Spy Ship Targets U.S. Nuclear Submarines, Then Heads to Cuba

Hope in change: August was worst month for political repression in Cuba since June 2014

Ecuadorian Watchdog Warns Journos, Activists of Spyware Attacks. Emails Circulate the Same Infected Files That Targeted Nisman in Argentina

Canada’s Top Court Rules in Favor of Ecuador Villagers in Chevron Case. The case will go back to an Ontario court, where the two sides will argue over a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron


What’s Happening in Guatemala?With its government about to fall, Guatemala is finally questioning the neoliberal orthodoxy of the post–Cold War world. Not that they actually tried it.


Leaks Sink Deadline for Panama Canal Expansion
All Hands on Deck after Structural Flaws Circulate on Social Media

In Paraguay’s remote north guerrillas are still at large, armed and dangerous. The Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) have killed more than 50 people in the last two years but some wonder if the government is really trying to defeat them

Newly buzzing Lima vies with Peru’s ancient sites for visitor attention. Tourists who once made a beeline for Machu Picchu are now finding the contemporary art and food scene of Peru’s capital, Lima, as much of a draw

Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton lock horns over Puerto Rico’s financesPresidential candidates offer opposing solutions to commonwealth’s $72bn debt, with Democrat backing bankruptcy status. Rubio:

“I don’t believe Chapter 9 would solve Puerto Rico’s problems,” he said. “I believe what would solve Puerto Rico’s problems is the same thing that would solve Washington’s problems, and that is to restructure the way government spends its money.

“No organisation, whether it’s a government, a company or a family, can survive long-term spending more money than it takes in.”

Aides: Clinton raised up to $500,000 during Puerto Rico trip

You can’t cure stupid: Puerto Rico Senate Declares Spanish over English as First Official Language

Maduro castiga a Colombia para proteger al Cartel de los Soles [Maduro punishes Colombia to protect the Cartel of the Suns.]

Cartel de los Soles busca jefatura del Ministerio de Defensa en Venezuela. Cáncer de Vladimir Padrino López genera dudas sobre si continuará como Ministro de Defensa. Diosdado Cabello y Tarek El Aissami compiten por colocar sus fichas en el cargo. Los dos potenciales candidatos están siendo investigados en EEUU por narcotráfico

Read more here:

Why is China Bankrolling Venezuela?

Whatever Beijing’s motivations, the practical effect of said loans, according to Ellis [Evan Ellis of the U.S. Army War College], has “enabled countries such as Venezuela to continue as de facto sanctuaries for criminal and insurgent groups, and also, as points of entry into the region for Russia, Iran and other actors with potentially hostile intentions toward the United States.”

Woman, 80, trampled to death in Venezuelan supermarket stampede. Rush for subsidized goods sees 75 people injured as thousands besiege supermarket

The week’s posts and podcast:
The mysterious Bolivian ship and its tons of weapons UPDATED

Guatemala: President resigns, is charged and jailed

Labor Day weekend film review: Wild about Wild Tales

Brazil: U.S. fast food chains expanding

Venezuela: Well on the road from “malgoverned space” to failed state

Haiti: Hillary’s “campaign against the negative stories concerning our involvement in Haiti”

Breaking: Obama Clinches Vote to Secure Iran Nuclear Deal

Pedro Pan exhibit and panel coming up

Wikileaks is a Front for Russian Intelligence

Guatemala: Central America’s Next Flashpoint

Chile: Bachelet’s proposal for failure

En español: Mensaje a Jorge Ramos (with English excerpts)

Mexico: House Votes to Remove Country-of-Origin Labels on Meat Sold in U.S.

Friday, June 12th, 2015

House Votes to Remove Country-of-Origin Labels on Meat Sold in U.S.Washington seeks to prevent a long battle over the labels with Canada and Mexico. It’s not just meat,

Wednesday’s 300-131 vote repealing the country-of-origin labels for meat follows a series of rulings by the World Trade Organization finding the labeling discriminates against animals imported from Canada and Mexico.

Canada and Mexico won a final WTO ruling in May, and are now seeking retaliatory actions valued at a combined $3.7 billion a year. Canada has threatened trade restrictions on a range of U.S. products, including meat, wine, chocolate, jewelry and furniture.

I can understand why tracking Canadian and Mexican imported animals slaughtered in the U.S. is expensive and inefficient; however, I have qualms when it comes to chicken from China.

Linked to by Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!

Coming up next: The Summit of the Americas circus

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Coming up next: The Summit of the Americas circus

Read all about it here.

Venezuela, springboard for Hezbollah

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Tarek El Aissami

The Center for a Secure and Free Society has released a report,CANADA ON GUARD: Assessing the Immigration Security Threat of
Iran, Venezuela and Cuba

highlights attempts to violate Canada’s immigration system, examines Venezuela’s role as a “bridge” for Iranian covert access to Canada, reviews the use of cultural exchange and other soft power strategies to win support for state sponsors of terrorism, and presents preliminary policy recommendations for strengthening Canada’s immigration and national security system

The report’s key points are:

  • Iran is cooperating with Venezuela and Cuba to exploit the seams in the Canadian immigration system.
  • From 2009 t0 2011, Latin America was the largest embarkation region for improperly documented Iranians migrating to Canada who seek refugee status.
  • Venezuelan authorities provided at least 173 passports, visas and other documentation to Islamist extremists seeking to slip unnoticed into North America.
  •  Soft power solidarity networks in Canada serve as a “Trojan Horse” for Iran and ALBA to establish cover for spies, saboteurs and other nefarious actors.

Less than a year after Canada shuttered the Iranian embassy in Ottawa, the Iranian regime opened an “unofficial” consulate in Montreal and began shuttling paperwork back and forth to the Iranian embassy in Cuba for processing.

Especially interesting: the sections on how Cuba’s role in the Misión Identidad (biometric ID cards) immigration system facilitates the entry of Cuban agents into Venezuela, and Tare[c]k El Aissami’s role as Iran, Syria and Hezbollah’s man in Mérida.

Read more about Iranian infiltration in Canada and the Americas here.

Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

Warren Buffett and his American dollars for Canadian doughnuts

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog, Warren Buffett and his American dollars for Canadian doughnuts, on the newest tax exile, is up.

Please read it and contribute to Da Tip Jar!

Venezuela-Cuba Facilitate Infiltration of Iranian Agents

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Capitol Hill Cubans have the story, 

The report entitled, “Canada on Guard: Assessing the Immigration Security Threat of Iran, Venezuela and Cuba,” highlights the following key points:

– Iran is collaborating with Venezuela and Cuba to exploit the seams in the Canadian immigration system.

– From 2009 to 2011, Latin America was the largest prior embarkation region for improperly documented Iranians migrating to Canada to seek refugee status.

– Venezuelan authorities provided at least 173 passports, visas and other documentation to Islamist extremists seeking to slip unnoticed into North America.

– Soft power solidarity networks in Canada serve as a “Trojan Horse” for Iran and ALBA to establish cover for spies, saboteurs and other nefarious actors.

As regards the passports, visas and other documentation to Islamist extremists, it’s important to remember that Venezuela’s immigration system has been under Cuban control since 2004. 

Victoria L. Henderson, Joseph M. Humire, and Fernando D. Menéndez wrote the report, which you can read in full at InterAmerican Secuity Watch.

Mexico: Obama arrives for summit

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Obama Heads to Mexico Amigos Meeting Strained by Keystone

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s frustration with U.S. President Barack Obama’s failure to approve the Keystone XL pipeline may make this installment of the North America summit, known as the “Three Amigos,” the frostiest since the annual meetings began almost a decade ago.

At the one-day meeting tomorrow in Toluca, Mexico, with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Harper, Obama is bringing an agenda focused on trade, education, border security and stopping drug trafficking. Yet 20 years after the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect, the U.S. and Canada are at loggerheads over a $5.4 billion collaboration that would carry oil south from the thick sands of Alberta to American refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana.

Hey, Canada has the oil, and will sell it.

Obama arrives in Mexico for summit that may show NAFTA strains

Rather than re-debate NAFTA, Obama is expected to press Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to speak with one voice as they negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade bloc that includes 12 countries around the Pacific Rim.

Comment from prior post:

In the 1980′s Reagan had Saudi Arabia increase oil production to drop the price and hurt the USSR’s cash cow. Why can’t we allow Keystone XL to be completed to kill Venezuela’s cash cow? Canadian heavy blend and Venezuelan crudes are all the same type of crude oil which are used by several very major Gulf Coast refineries. Other crude oils cannot economically replace them.


Good news Sunday: The Pacific Alliance

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

The Pacific Alliance met in Colombia last week, for the seventh time since its creation in June of 2012; This is good news for the world, not just for the region.

For starters,

there are two major “requirements” for a nation to join the Alliance. First, the government of the aspiring member state must adhere to the charter of the Alliance, which stresses respect for democracy.

In addition, the second requirement to joining the Alliance is that a new member must have free trade agreements with the other Alliance members before becoming full members. Hence, Costa Rica will only join the Alliance after President Chinchilla signs a free trade agreement with the Colombian government (San José [Costa Rica] already has FTAs with other Alliance members).

Member countries Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico were joined by Canada, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Japan, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama,

These countries and investors from outside of Latin America are attracted by the positive business climate among Alliance members—they occupy four of the top-five spots in the World Bank’s Doing Business in Latin America ranking—and encouraged by the fact that the bloc is serious. It is focused on trade, investment and immigration rather than politics and ideology.

Keep in mind that

The goal of the alliance is to create a free-trade corridor of all countries in the Americas with a Pacific coast. The hope is that dropping barriers on labor, finance and trade will help the Alliance become a hub for commerce with Asia.

The reason Japan, Canada, Spain and Australia attended as observers is that members of the Pacific Alliance are all part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; they are serious about growth and prosperity. Bloggings by Boz lists what they are getting done:

  • The four current members dropped tariffs on 90% of the goods traded among them (something that was mostly done due to bilateral free trade agreements) and committed to completing the final 10% within the next few years.
  • The countries have dropped visa requirements with each other.
  • The four countries will likely create a joint visa system – Visa Alianza del Pacífico – that will allow tourists to visit all four countries on just one visa.
  • Peru dropped business visa requirements for the other three members.
  • The four current members agreed to open joint embassies in Africa and Asia.
  • The countries will conduct a coordinated trade mission in Africa and tourism promotion globally.
  • The creation of a fund to support small and medium sized businesses.
  • A fiscal transparency agreement to prevent businesses from avoiding taxes.
  • Agreement on educational exchanges, including 400 annual scholarships.
  • Agreement to consolidate a scientific network on adapting to climate change challenges.
  • Mexico signed an agreement with Chile to export meat.
  • Mexico moved forward on integration into the Integrated Latin American stock Market (MILA).
  • Costa Rica signed a free trade agreement with Colombia.
  • Guatemala and Peru will have a free trade agreement within the next few months.
  • Guatemala dropped its tourist visa requirements for Colombia.

Decreasing Trade Barriers and Increasing Economic Growth

This initiative is a significant step forward to synchronize members’ trade commitments and is aimed at enhancing trade with the bloc’s most dynamic partners in East Asia.

The Pacific Alliance numbers speak for themselves. These four economies are the most dynamic in the region, representing more than 40 percent of Latin America’s economy with a market of more than 210 million people—more than one-third of the region’s population. Since 2010, these four economies have grown at a higher rate than their neighbors and have also invested at a greater rate—25 percent of their combined gross domestic product (compared to just 20 percent elsewhere).

The Pacific Alliance is already having an effect on regional politics. Daniel Duquenal posts,

Brazil in recent years had a campaign to gain a permanent seat in the security council of the United Nations. All the efforts have been lost, I dare say with the recent fiascoes. How can a country aspire to such a rank when it is unable to protect democracy in its area of influence, and furthermore generates deep divisions as it may happen soon between Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance? Clearly Itamaraty hopes of world leadership are seriously compromised as its actors are revealed to be mere grocery shop managers, more worried about Venezuela paying its bills to them than the long term perspective. Or mere amoral operatives if you prefer. Let’s say it: Brazil is not ready for the major leagues, Colombia is.

Democracy, free trade, investment and immigration: keys to the well being of the region, and the world.

Al-Qaeda plot thwarted in Canada

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, their feds, have averted a potential bomb plot on a passenger train over the Niagara River

One police source said there were several scenarios being looked at during the year the suspects were tracked, including the train plot.

One of the plots uncovered by the RCMP and other agencies was a planned bombing of a passenger train on the bridge that connects Canada and the United States at Niagara Falls, a police source says.

The plot was “al-Qaeda supported” by al-Qaeda elements “located in Iran” consisting of “direction and guidance.”

Ed Morrissey has more.

Federalism and Canada

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Chris Edwards, writing on We Can Cut Government: Canada Did, brings up a very important point,


One of Canada’s strengths is that it is a decentralized federation. The provinces compete with each other over fiscal and economic matters, and they have wide latitude to pursue different policies. Federalism has allowed for healthy policy diversity in Canada, and it has promoted government restraint.

Government spending has become much more centralized in the United States than it has in Canada. In the United States, 71 percent of total government spending is federal and 29 percent is state-local. In Canada it’s the reverse — 38 percent is federal and 62 percent is provincial-local.

The federalism difference between the countries is striking with regards to K-12 education. While federal control over U.S. schools has increased in recent decades, Canada has no federal department of education. School funding is left to the provinces, which seems to work: Canadian school kids routinely score higher on international comparison tests than do U.S. kids.

The countries also differ with regards to the amount of top-down control exerted on subnational governments through federal aid programs. The United States has a complex array of more than 1,000 aid-to-state programs for such things as highways and education. Each of these aid programs comes with a pile of regulations that micromanage state and local affairs.

By contrast, Canada mainly has just three large aid programs for provincial governments, and they are structured as fixed block grants. It is true, however, that one of these grants helps to fund the universal health care system, which is a big exception to the country’s generally decentralized policy approach. Nonetheless, having just a few large block grants is superior to the U.S. system of a vast number of grants, each with separate rules and regulations.

A final federalism advantage in Canada is that provincial and local taxes are not deductible on federal individual tax returns. That structure promotes vigorous tax competition between the provinces. In the United States, state and local income and property taxes are deductible on federal income tax returns, which has the effect of blunting competition by essentially subsidizing hightax states and cities.

Go read the whole article.