Archive for the ‘Chile’ Category

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

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

LatinAmerVenezuela’s demonstrations continue to be the week’s top story, in spite of the media blackout. Take some time to look at photos and read about The Venezuela Paradox,

After three weeks of repression, fifteen dead, at least 60 reported tortured and more than eight hundred detained, including opposition leaders and reporters, the Venezuelan students have at least shown the world what little respect the Maduro administration has for the human and civil rights of the people.

Keep in mind that

The protests come from people who realize that their future has been robbed by a narco-kleptocracy. Almost anyone in Venezuela that has aspirations to a better future through education, hard work, you name it, questions more or less actively the regime.

More below:

ARGENTINA
Heisenberg: Chapo Guzmán, la conexión argentina

What could possibly go wrong? Argentina Plans Price-Control Measures
President Cristina Kirchner has pledged tougher measures against businesses that raise prices, as her administration tries to stabilize an economy suffering from double-digit inflation and hard currency shortages.

Devaluation Hurts Argentina’s Regional Standing
Colombia Has Likely Overtaken Argentina as Latin America’s Third-Largest Economy

Two Years After Expropriation, Argentina and Repsol Sign Accord on YPF
The agreement establishes compensation for the Spanish oil firm of $5 billion in dollar-denominated government bonds, a debt that will be settled by 2033, at the latest, if the bonds are held to maturity

Upcoming meme alert: Expect MSNBC to start referring to the Venezuelan demonstrations (if they ever notice them) as “attempts at a soft coup”, Presidenta argentina habla de ‘golpe suave’ en Venezuela

BOLIVIA
Bolivia’s 2013 revenue from gas sales to neighbors totals $6 bn

BRAZIL
Pity Brazil’s Military Police

The military police are not part of the armed forces, and yet they operate according to military principles of rank and discipline. They cannot strike or unionize, and are subject to a military-style penal code (meaning transgressions at work can be treated as mutiny or treason, and officers are tried in a special court). They are prohibited from “revealing facts or documents that can discredit the police or disrupt hierarchy or discipline.”

They also can’t openly disapprove of the acts of civilian authorities from the executive, legislative or judicial branches of government, and are forbidden to express their personal political opinions.

Brazil Sings a New Tune
As millions leave poverty behind, Brazilian funk is moving from the slums to the mainstream

CHILE
South American Anarchists Teach Anti-Capitalist Tactics to American Students

Scientists solve mystery of Chile’s ‘whale graveyard’

“This is a site on par with Dinosaur National Monument here in the United States, a whole hillside littered with dinosaur skeletons. We seem to have the same thing except with whales here in Chile.”

COLOMBIA
US Dismisses Colombia FARC Request to Join Peace Negotiations

More women in Colombian politics, please

CUBA
From The Economist story (also posted under Panama, below): Caribbean ports and the Panama canal
Ripple effects

Brazil and Cuba agreed in 2009 to develop the port of Mariel, west of Havana, through a partnership between Brazil’s Grupo Odebrecht and a state-owned Cuban company, with PSA International of Singapore as operator. The port has been dredged to a comfortable 18 metres and was inaugurated in January. But a major transshipment role is blocked by the American trade embargo: ships which have been to Cuba are barred for six months from American ports. More time to complete the Panama expansion means more time for the embargo to lift.

Lining a Dictator’s Pockets
No good would come of lifting the embargo on Cuba.

CURACAO
Curacao’s StartUp Stock Exchange Combines Crowdfunding with Stock Exchange

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
U.S. Medical Tourism To Dominican Republic Could Increase With High-Tech Clinic

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador Could Be the Next Venezuela
Experts say country could morph into Venezuela if ruling party retains control

GUATEMALA
The Fine Tapestry of the Kaqchikel Women of Guatemala

HAITI
UN official urges Haiti compensation
A UN official breaks ranks with the world body, and calls for compensation for Haitian victims of a cholera outbreak many blame on peacekeepers.

HONDURAS
Democracy

MEXICO
Mexican Drug Lord Owns Nearly 300 Companies

NICARAGUA
Why the Plan to Dig a Canal Across Nicaragua Could Be a Very Bad Idea

PANAMA
Caribbean ports and the Panama canal
Ripple effects

The new locks will accommodate ships which can take almost three times that load and need a draft of over 15 metres.

These monsters will slash shipping costs for Pacific cargo en route for Atlantic ports, and boost the 6% share of world trade that the Panama canal now claims.

PARAGUAY
Giant Prehistoric Sloth Fossil Found In Paraguay

PERU
Voting in Peru? Referendum on ballot just got more confusing

PUERTO RICO
Moody’s Issues Junk Rating for Coming Puerto Rico Bond Sale

20 arrested for bank fraud, money laundering in Puerto Rico

VENEZUELA
Whither Venezuela?

The WSJ lists Venezuela’s Opposition Leaders
University students have been the backbone of the antigovernment movement, but demonstrators recently have looked to Leopoldo López, a former mayor of the Chacao district of Caracas and leader of the Popular Will party. Read more about the opposition to President Nicolás Maduro.

Death toll from Venezuela street protests rises to 18
caracas clashes
Anti-government protests continue to Caracas and across Venezuela with ongoing battles between protesters and police claiming the life of a national guardsman

Chavismo Thrives on Mistrust

The U.S. Was Ready to Impose Sanctions on Ukraine. Why Not Venezuela, Too?

How Chavez planted the seeds of violence

‘A Perfect Storm’: The Failure of Venezuela’s New President
He was hand-picked by Hugo Chávez, but Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has lost control of the country’s economy. Vast protests have been the result, but the government in Caracas has shown no signs of bending.

Jailed Venezuela protest leader mocks President’s talks

ARE CUBAN SPECIAL FORCES SHOOTING AT VENEZUELAN PROTESTERS?

Senate Resolution Targets Venezuelan Rights Violators

The week’s posts and podcast:
Latin America at the #Oscars2014

Just what the Venezuelans need: Jimmy Carter!

#SOSVenezuela: Hugo loses his head in Táchira

Rubio’s speech on Cuba and Venezuela

Argentina: The more things change . . .

Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua: Russia to add military bases overseas UPDATED

Venezuela, en español: Entrevista con Gen. Ángel Vivas

En español: Terapia intensiva

Venezuela: Tweeting the barricades #SOSVenezuela

Mexico: How Chapo was nabbed

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
What would it take for Latin America’s left-wing populist economies to turn around?

Venezuela: “Don’t you get weary!”

Podcast:
Victor Triay, author PLUS US-Latin America this week

The Venezuelan demonstrations Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 24th, 2014

LatinAmerWithout a doubt, the week’s top story is the opposition’s continuing demonstrations in Venezuela, eclipsing even the capture in Mexico of Chapo Guzmán, the most-wanted criminal of the hemisphere (and who will face charges in at least three US federal courts), . You can click on #LaSalida for all my posts covering the story.

ARGENTINA
Clarin break-up plan passed under Argentine media law
Regulators in Argentina have approved a plan to break up the country’s biggest independent media group into six parts.

The tragedy of Argentina
A century of decline
One hundred years ago Argentina was the future. What went wrong?

. . . three deep-lying explanations help to illuminate the country’s diminishment. Firstly, Argentina may have been rich 100 years ago but it was not modern. That made adjustment hard when external shocks hit. The second theory stresses the role of trade policy. Third, when it needed to change, Argentina lacked the institutions to create successful policies.

“We have spent 50 years thinking about maintaining government spending, not about investing to grow,” says Fernando de la Rúa, a former president who resigned during the 2001 crisis.

This short-termism distinguishes Argentina from other Latin American countries that have suffered institutional breakdowns. Chile’s military dictatorship was a catastrophic fracture with democracy but it introduced long-lasting reforms. Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party governed steadily for most of the 20th century. “In Argentina institution-building has taken the form of very quick and clientilist redistribution,” says Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Elliott vs Argentina: 3 possible resolutions

BAHAMAS
China makes inroads in the Bahamas with Baha Mar mega-resort

BELIZE
Belize Sign On To Jaguar Corridor Initiative

BOLIVIA
Bolivia under water: Why no national disaster declared amid floods?
The Bolivian government says its massive aid operation, which includes food and tents, is well underway, but not everyone is satisfied with the response.

Turnabout in Bolivia as Economy Rises From Instability

BRAZIL
Optics? THE ROUSSEFF TWO STEP
Brazil Sidestepping to the Right
via Instapundit.

Drought Could Drain More Than Brazil’s Coffee Crop

CHILE
Pedophile Priest Defies Vatican Order

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s left; human rights hypocrites

COSTA RICA
5 things that happened this week in Costa Rica’s presidential runoff campaign

CUBA
Venezuela: Another Reason Why Cuba Remains a State-Sponsor of Terrorism

On eighth day of hunger strike, Cuban activist Antunez vomiting blood (UPDATED)

DOMINICA
A husband-and-wife pair of Olympic skiers representing Dominica are having a nightmare week in Sochi

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitians will not be stripped of Dominican Republic citizenship

Plastic Surgery in the Dominican Republic: Is the Cheap Cost of Medical Tourism Worth the Risk?

ECUADOR
Ecuador’s President Correa Faces Test in Regional Elections
Correa Seeks to Strengthen his Hold, Secure Continuity for His Government

GUATEMALA
At least 8 dead, 12 wounded in Guatemala violence

JAMAICA
Jamaican bobsled team faces uncertain future

MEXICO
Stalled Spending Chokes Mexico’s Growth
Mexico posted its worst economic performance in 2013 since the global recession of 2009, thanks in part to massive government spending delays that businesses struggled to overcome.

Obama finds that the world intrudes on his travels

Yet Another Devastating Blow to the Drug Gangs! Another Decisive Victory in the War on Drugs!

Humor:

NICARAGUA
A canal across Nicaragua: Is this for real? Here’s a hint: “The price tag alone is nearly four times Nicaragua’s economic output.”

PANAMA
Panama Canal expansion project resumes after work stoppage

PARAGUAY
Maria Doyle Kennedy speaks about filming ‘Eliza Lynch: Queen of Paraguay’

PERU
Video: Peru creates a special place for expectant mothers to wait — and wait

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Plans $2.86 Billion Offering for 16 Months of Cash, supposedly “to regain financial footing” until June 2015. And then what?

Puerto Rico Diocese Opposes Criminal Investigation Into Sex Abuse Cases

VENEZUELA
Cubanization at work: Venenozuela drives out its Jewish community

Venezuela says ‘fascists’ CNN can stay but calls on media to rectify coverage

Caracas: Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo López Faces 10 Years in Prison

Will Venezuela Follow Ukraine?

On the March in Caracas

Venezuela: chaos and thuggery take the place of the pretty revolution
Hugo Chávez’s dream world has become a nightmare of shot-down protesters, jailed oppositionists, economic meltdown and a brutal war waged against a defiant middle class

Video: Venezuelan Citizens Scream At National Guard “We Are The People, Do Not Hurt Us!”

The week’s posts, radio, and podcast:
Venezuela: #24F Barricading the country

CSpan Panel: #Venezuela and Democracy

Venezuela: En español, las grandes fortunas de los chavistas en el Imperio mismo

Mexico: El Chapo caught

Venezuela: More protests today #22F

Venezuela: Not “a slow news week”

En español: Libro Desarrollo económico y pobreza en América Latina: El rol de los Planes Sociales”

Venezuela: Shooting in the streets

Mexico: Obama arrives for summit

Venezuela: Today’s roundup

Venezuela: What’s happening today #18F #PrayForVenezuela

At Da Tech Guy: Venezuela: “We must become the media”

Radio: DaTechGuy on DaRadio Noon-2 Fausta & Da Magnificent Panel

This week’s podcast had to be cancelled due to software difficulties at Blog Talk Radio.

The Venezuelan riots Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 17th, 2014

This week’s big story: Three dead, several dozen wounded in Venezuela’s ongoing riots as the country enters a new stage of repression:

Twitter reports image blocking in Venezuela

Tomorrow Leopoldo López will lead a march from Venezuela Square and then go to the office of Ministry of Interior and Justice, to hand a petition and hand himself in:

ARGENTINA
Argentina to Replace Bogus Inflation Index to Mend IMF Ties

The nationwide index released on Feb. 13 will replace the benchmark greater Buenos Aires index that has shown inflation at less than half the pace of private estimates since 2007, when former PresidentNestor Kirchner replaced senior staff at the statistics agency. The move comes a year after Argentina became the first nation to becensured by the International Monetary Fund for failing to report accurate economic data.

Soon after, Argentina Fines Retailers
A day after reporting the highest inflation in over a decade, Argentina’s government fined several retail chains for failing to stock certain price-capped products.

BOLIVIA
Peru and Bolivia to meet concerning port sharing proposal

BRAZIL
Brazil’s Economy Seen in a Major Downturn
Data released Friday suggest economic growth has weakened over the past two quarters, illustrating how far a country once considered the darling of emerging-market investors has fallen.

Effects of Brazil’s drought could last through the election

CHILE
Chilean Port Workers End Strike After New Agreement

COLOMBIA
Colombia at crossroads; show us promised land Mr President

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica doubles down on security
While neighboring nations turn to their armed forces for help fighting drug trafficking and violence, no-military Costa Rica taps into other approaches.

CUBA
WaPo editorial: Cuba’s changes are no more than window-dressing

New York Times unmasks selfish motives behind Castro’s ‘reforms’

Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship once again stops consular services in U.S.

Cuba: Release Alan Gross, Maybe US Can Help with “People to People” Banking Transactions

For the third time in a week, Cuban police arrest Antunez

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitian migrants caught, repatriated to Haiti

ECUADOR
Ecuador Faces Legal Quandary over Intra-Indigenous Violence

EL SALVADOR
Castaway back in El Salvador in an emotional homecoming (+video)
After 13 months adrift at sea, and a flight across the Pacific, José Salvador Alvarenga returns to his native El Salvador — and is too overcome for words

HONDURAS
Honduras suspends eight consuls in US

Honduras has suspended eight of its 10 consuls in the United States.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said there would be an investigation into whether the eight had illegally issued identity papers.

JAMAICA
Jamaican dancehall deejay arrested in lottery scam

MEXICO
Vicente Fox says: For Mexico, legalization is freedom

Mexico: A Different Kind of Gun Story

NICARAGUA
Constitutional Changes Take Effect in Nicaragua

Changes to the Nicaraguan constitution that allow President Daniel Ortega to run for re-election as many times as he wishes entered into force Tuesday with their publication in the official gazette.

PANAMA
More on the Chong Chon Gang, U.N.: Cuba weapons shipment to North Korea violated arms embargo

PARAGUAY
Downpour Saves Paraguay Market from Flames

PERU
Misery, poverty greet paroled foreign drug mules in Peru

PUERTO RICO
CNN gets its panties in a bunch over this, but they don’t have time to report on Venezuela: First on CNN: Christie vacationing in Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
The bong show:
Following legalization in US, Uruguay, marijuana gets second look
Experiments with legalizing marijuana in Colorado, Washington, and Uruguay have countries as diverse as Morocco and the Netherlands rethinking how they approach the drug.

Uruguay President Jose Mujica urges US and Europe to change drug policy
After legalising the production and sale of cannabis in his own country, Uruguayan President Jose Mucjica calls on rich, “developed countries” to re-evaluate their strategy for dealing with narcotics

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan Opposition Leader Says He Will Risk Arrest
Leopoldo Lopez Says He Plans to March With Antigovernment Protesters Tuesday

A new landmark date for repression in Venezuela: confirming the dictatorship

5 Ways To Invest In Venezuelan Freedom

Venezuelan dissenter Leopoldo López: Maduro waits for orders from Havana
On Thursday night, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro rejected violent events and, without naming opposition leader Leopoldo López or ex Venezuelan ambassador to Colombia Fernando Gerbasi, said they were “fugitives from justice”

Maduro says the solution to shortages is to eat less:

Chocolate and Chávez

“The final stage of socialism isn’t Communism. It’s an empty shelf.” Gone With the Whine

The week’s posts and podcast:
Panama: World-wide port expansions

Venezuela: Today’s headlines

Panama: Chong Chon Gang goes back to Cuba, captain goes to jail, garage sale coming up

Venezuela: Street scenes UPDATED

En español: Los Horóscopos del Maestro Piyush

Is Venezuela collapsing?

Cuba: The truth about Che

Venezuela: Now reporting

Venezuela: Huge demonstrations UPDATED

Sochi? No, Princeton!

Puerto Rico: Growth yes, more taxes no

Iran in U.S. maritime borders: A question

At Da Tech Guy Blog: The truth about Che.

This week’s podcast: A book about Fidel Castro PLUS US-Latin America issues of the week

The Groundhog Day / Superbowl weekend Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina’s Luck Is Finally Running Out

Héctor Timerman: el canciller que denunciaba que “Cuba es una dictadura” hoy participa de la CELAC en La Habana

BRAZIL
Debt bondage and indentured servitude in modern-day Brazil: Brazil’s Slaves Are Being Freed, But Owners Go Largely Unpunished

Barbarians at the Mall Entrance

CHILE
Detenida por caso Guzmán relacionaría a Bachelet con el FPMR
“Ella es clave en delitos terroristas y además podría individualizar dirigentes, jerarquías y funciones en que participaron dirigentes actuales de la izquierda chilena”, acusa el abogado Raúl Meza sobre la información que manejaría la “Comandante Ana”.

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s next president; a woman Marta Lucia Ramirez

Colombian chief prosecutor Eduardo Montealegre says he will bring charges against six employees of the US coal mining company, Drummond, over an environmental disaster last year.

COSTA RICA
After yesterday’s elections, Luis Guillermo Solís is ahead: Leftist Costa Rica outsider leads election, run-off expected

Costa Rica Flirts with Chavismo

Costa Rica holds presidential poll
Voters in Costa Rica choose a successor for President Laura Chinchilla, with opinion polls predicting a tight race between four main contenders.

CUBA
Cuba steps up repression on the eve of the CELAC summit

How do Cuban doctors escape Venezuela?
Doctors escape medical missions assigned by the Cuban government. These missions are not only to Venezuela, but to other parts of the world.
Via Babalu.

ECUADOR
Ecuador Fines Leading Newspaper Over Cartoon
The Ecuadorean government has fined newspaper El Universo, saying a political cartoon it recently published was defamatory and promoted social unrest, stoking concerns about press freedom in the South American country.

Lima Journal, Part I, and Part II By Jay Nordlinger

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador: former leftwing guerrilla takes lead in presidential election
Salvador Sanchez Cerén was rebel leader in bloody civil war but with nearly half votes counted he is favourite to win March run off

El Salvador in Peril
If leftist Sánchez Cerén becomes president, the future would be grim.

El Salvador votes for new presidentElection posters in San Salvador, 31 January
El Salvador is voting in a presidential election pitting the left-wing FMLN against the conservative Arena party, amid rising concern gang violence.

GUATEMALA
The Antigua Forum: Exporting A Different Kind of Latin American Revolution

Central America’s largest museum of Mayan culture to be built in Guatemala (h/t DP)

HAITI
Haiti celebrates first cardinal
The first Haitian cardinal didn’t believe the news — until he turned to the Internet.

HONDURAS
Narcos In The Mist

JAMAICA
Tufton wants Jamaicans to open eyes to economic realities

MEXICO
The Violent Gang Wars Behind Super Bowl Guacamole
Mexican growers in the world’s avocado capital chase off a criminal gang that extorted millions of dollars a year.

Humor: Los Horóscopos del Maestro Piyush 30/01/2014

PANAMA
Panama releases majority of crew on North Korean ship

PUERTO RICO
Not surprising: Puerto Rico bonds facing possible junk ratings are no longer part of the S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index because of the debt’s outsized yields and spotty liquidity, S&P Dow Jones Indices said on Friday

Dead Puerto Rico boxer posed standing in the ring

HUMOR: Cinco Parientes De AGP Trabajan En El Gobierno; Aparecen Miles De Garcías Y Padillas A Pedir Cacao

VENEZUELA
At markets, Chavez successor falls short

Venezuela and Argentina
The party is over
Latin America’s weakest economies are reaching breaking-point

Quiqueo throws the towel. He made the news.

Daniel’s recipe for the Venezuelan opposition (for what good it does…)

The week’s posts and podcast:
Brazil: Not quite ready for World Cup prime time

Crazy Venezuelan headline of the day: “Maduro offers 80% discount in tickets to the moon”

Ecuador: Maybe Mia ought to meet Vaca

Argentina: Chronicle of a default foretold, continued

En español: Angry Birds en la Unidad de Quemados

Cuba: CELAC, the hypocrisy summit

Mexico: Michoacán vigilantes to join with police

Guatemala: The lost orphans

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Latin America: What was missing from the SOTU

Podcast: Crime and inflation in Venezuela PLUS other US Latin America issues.

The Corcovado thumb Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 20th, 2014

The statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio was struck by lightning, damaging its right thumb. Here’s the striking photo.

ARGENTINA
Argentine Government Rules Out Military Role in Drug Enforcement

The fish are biting . . . you: Carnivorous fish injure 10 Argentine river bathers in area where 70 were wounded last month

BOLIVIA
Bolivian President Touts Nuclear Power Program

BRAZIL
The Laureus World Sports Awards, abruptly cancelled, Sporting events in Rio
We regret to announce

Inri Cristo, preacher on a scooter

Mulher de malandro decidirá eleição
O eleitorado diz que quer mudança, mas pretende reeleger Dilma. É puro chavismo

CHILE
The drugs industry in Chile
Getting the treatment

COLOMBIA
Someone explain to me why should anyone trust the FARC, Bomb explodes in Colombian town as rebel ceasefire ends
At least one person was killed when a bomb went off in the town of Pradera in western Colombia, officials say.

Bogota; time to move on

CUBA
Cuban political prisoner Osvaldo Rodriguez Acosta starts hunger to protest denial of family visit

Another Moronic Offensive Stunt to Take Place in Castrogonia

One Year of Immigration And Travel Reform… What Changed?

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
OBAMA CALLS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ‘THE DOMINICAN REPUBLICAN’

ECUADOR
A tale of two hacks: Ecuador’s continued assault on the press

Ecuadorian state newspaper says new media outlet would seek to destabilize the government

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador’s first presidential debate brims with pledges – but can candidates deliver?
El Salvador’s presidential election takes place next month, and topics of gang violence, the economy, and healthcare are top of mind.

GUATEMALA
Guatemala’s president and vice president withdraw criminal complaints against newspaper editor

HAITI
Haitians living abroad weigh investment opportunities
After four years in Washington, D.C., a diaspora investment conference moves to Port-au-Prince

JAMAICA
LGBT tolerance growing in Jamaica, push to repeal of anti-gay law

LATIN AMERICA
Cuban Actress Maria Conchita Alonso Has Lived in an Oppressive Society

Andres Oppenheimer is optimistic: Latin America’s downward spiral?

Sure, Venezuela may descend into further chaos, but it doesn’t have many followers. Argentina will most likely change course within the next two years, and Brazil will, in the worst-case scenario, remain stagnant.

More importantly, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile are doing well, and may drag several other countries in their direction. Together with Brazil, the four Pacific-coast countries make up more than 75 percent of Latin America’s economy.

More than a downward spiral, we may soon see the end of the populist cycle, and the beginning of an upward spiral.

Organized crime in 2014: What can Latin America expect?
Organized crime is adaptable and profit-driven, and in 2014, that could mean moving beyond Mexico and Colombia to a more diverse set of nations.

MEXICO
Adrift in Mexico’s deportation capital
Mexicali has became the U.S. government’s biggest dumping ground for deportees who often have deep ties in America.

Michoacan replaces security chiefsMexican soldiers patrol the streets of Apatzingan, Michoacan. Photo: 16 January 2014
Mexico’s authorities say top security officials will be replaced in the western state of Michoacan that has recently been rocked by violence.

Deep-water drilling is a test for Mexican oil company Pemex

Gangs from Central America on the rise in Mexico: Report
A new report out of Mexico details the growing links between Central American Maras and the nation’s main criminal groups, highlighting more cross-border gang activity

El pincel de la justicia
Ramiro Gómez hace su primera presentación en un espacio formal, en una pequeña galería en Chinatown. No tiene un taller: el dueño del lugar le prestó el primer piso para que ahí concluyera cuatro lienzos que son parte de la obra que expone.

PANAMA
Canal Standoff Worries Panamanians
A standoff over cost overruns in the Panama Canal expansion has Panamanians as anxious as the global shipping industry.

PERU
Peru: Media Merger Serving as Pretext for Manipulation
Let the People, Not Caudillos, Determine the Role of the Press

Disagreement between Vargas Llosa and his son illustrates the debate in Peru over media concentration

PUERTO RICO
Fixing Puerto Rico: Part I

URUGUAY
A leopard never changes its spots: Paris Hilton poses up a storm on the beach in Uruguay wearing animal print dress

VENEZUELA
Regulation, Death by a thousand cuts (Updated)

Thomas Berry died ‘trying to show family real Venezuela’, parents say
Berry family speaks for the first time of grief at death of their son and his wife, killed by robbers in front of their daughter after their car broke down on a dangerous stretch of highway

Pet rights? When all are rights there are no rights

Venezuelan economic controls lead to newsprint shortage

The week’s posts and podcast:
Puerto Rico: Festival success

Brazil: Corcovado damaged by lightning

Argentina: Where’s Cristina?

Panama: North Korea to pay fine for the rust bucket

Mexico: Mireles won’t back down

Puerto Rico: Take down that fence!

Venezuela: Shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic UPDATED

Mexico: Military clash with cartel-fighting militias

Ecuador, Iran, Syria: The new axis?

Argentina’s crumbling economy

Mexico: El Universal claims DEA-Sinaloa deal in Fast & Furious

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Do heed those travel warnings.

The week’s podcast: The US-Latin America stories of the week


The “I swear it by Louis Vuitton” Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 13th, 2014

LatinAmerThe week’s big news in Latin America was the terrible murder of Mónica Spear and ex-husband Henry Thomas Berry in Venezuela.

However, I dedicate this week’s Carnival to the best-named style blog Te lo juro por Louis Vuitton (I swear it by Louis Vuitton), which comes from Argentina.

ARGENTINA
Comodidad

Latin American rivers among most polluted in the world, says new study
Experts are warning of a possible public health and environmental crisis after it was revealed that rivers in Latin America are some of the most polluted in the world

US Supreme Court to Hear Appeal In Argentina Case
Argentina seeks to stop Elliott Management unit from obtaining records on accounts maintained by officials, including President Kirchner

The court, in a brief written order, agreed to hear an appeal by Argentina seeking to stop Elliott Management Corp.’s NML Capital Ltd. from obtaining records on accounts maintained by Argentina and leading public officials, including its president, Cristina Kirchner.

BAHAMAS
$100M lawsuit over Bahamas chopper crash refiled

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Uses G77 Post to Put Coca Legalization on International Agenda

BRAZIL
Gunmen kill Brazil church’s pastor
Police in Brazil say two gunmen killed an evangelical pastor by shooting him at his church in the city of Belo Horizonte.

Brazil Forging Economic Ties With Cuba, While Hiring Its Doctors

Brazilian College Student Auctions Off Her Virginity AGAIN, h/t Instapundit

CHILE
Chile forest fires spark health alert as smoke spreads
The Chilean government has declared a health alert in four of the country’s 15 regions as smoke from dozens of forest fires spreads

Chilean fishermen win court backing
Chile’s Supreme Court sides with fishing groups and orders the operator of two coal power plants to ensure they do not pollute or kill marine life.

Spain’s Crown Prince Honors Indigenous Latin America Moviemakers

COLOMBIA
Colombia once again ranked happiest country in the world: survey

CUBA
WARNING
: Very gruesome photos Atrocity in Cuba: revisiting the horrors of Mazorra

Mysterious Death of Young American in Cuba

Spreading Use of Internet Tools in Cuba, Other Repressive Lands is Essential for Freedom

Cuban rights group counts more than 6,400 political arrests in 2013

ECUADOR
El Comercio: Enlace ciudadano 356, desde Babahoyo, provincia de Los Ríos

Read the Overwhelming Evidence of Fraud, Extortion and Other Misconduct

During a six-week federal trial in New York, Chevron introduced overwhelming evidence of fraud, extortion and other misconduct as part of a civil lawsuit against Steven Donziger and his associates.

Read a comprehensive summary of Chevron’s claims and supporting evidence against Steven Donziger and his associates in the company’s post-trial brief here.

HONDURAS
World Bank Is Criticized for Honduran Loan
The bank’s ombudsman delivered a stinging review of a loan to a palm-oil company engaged in a violent conflict with poor farm workers over land in Honduras.

LATIN AMERICA
‘Moderate’ Iran maintains terrorist cells in Latin America.

MEXICO
Los caballeros templarios: Executive Slaying Sparks New Fears
The death of a top ArcelorMittal executive, believed to be the work of a powerful drug cartel, raises concerns about foreign companies operating in Mexico.

Vanished
In 2011, Israel Arenas Durán disappeared in northern Mexico. Why can’t the government find him — and the thousands of others who’ve gone missing in the country’s drug war?

Deep-water drilling is a test for Mexican oil company Pemex

PANAMA
As Costs Soar, Who Will Pay For The Panama Canal’s Expansion?

Panama named best place in the world to retire
That’s where retirees will get the most bang for their buck, and be able to bask in the sun and warm weather every day. Plus, a new program makes it easy to establish residence in Panama. Also on the list of top places to retire are Ecuador, Malaysia and Costa Rica.
I don’t know about Malaysia, but Ecuador would not be on my list. The Huffpo has a 5-part series: Is Panama Truly a Retirement Haven?

PARAGUAY
Paraguay, world’s second largest producer of marijuana will not legalize

PERU
Vigilantes whip ‘prostitutes’ in Peruvian nightclub attack
In disturbing scenes, members of a local vigilante group in Peru storm a nightclub, whipping and shoving dozens of female employees

PUERTO RICO
In Puerto Rico, ditching sun and sand for a day in the caves

TURKS & CAICOS
Michael Misick, Former Turks and Caicos leader extradited from Brazil under U.S. escort, spends first night in prison on corruption charges.

URUGUAY
8 reasons Uruguay’s not all that
Media have hyped up the tiny South American country that just legalized weed. Sorry for the buzz kill, but …

VENEZUELA
Hundreds protest over murdered Miss Venezuela
Hundreds took to the streets of Caracas to demand the government protect its citizens from callous killers, following the murder of a former Miss Venezuela and her British ex-husband

Violence in Venezuela
Crime and impunity

Cubazuela Aims to Annex Puerto Rico

The week’s posts:
Puerto Rico: 6.4 earthquake

Mexico: “Shame and Name”, Blacklisting for taxes

Colombia: When El Dorado is the gateway to freedom

Cuba: Dementor sighting at an art gallery

Venezuela: Aftermath of the Spears murder

Chile: Somebody didn’t read the instructions for the #CauCau bridge

Panama: no deal on Canal overruns

En español: Terapia intensiva 190

Libre’s initiative

Chile: Palestinian shirts making a statement

Uruguay: What not to wear

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Venezuela: Killing beauty


Chile: Somebody didn’t read the instructions for the #CauCau bridge

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

A slight drawback! Chile’s first drawbridge delayed after engineers realise at least one traffic deck has been fitted upside-down
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera blames Spanish developers for mistake
Bridge connecting Valdivia with Teja Island was set to open this month
Gaffe becomes a laughing stock among Chileans using social media
(emphasis added)

The mistake emerged when inspectors getting ready for opening day found that either one or two of the traffic decks were installed backwards, authorities said.

Azvi, the Spanish infrastructure company behind the bridge development, did not immediately comment. A new opening date has not been announced.

#CauCau Tweets followed:

‘And don’t miss the road sign the “excellent” were going to put up by the bridge exit:
NORTH —>
SOUTH —>’

‘Leak of the blueprints for the Cau Cau bridge in Valdivia.’

‘One of the first tenders won by the goofs that made the bridge in Valdivia.’

‘Exclusive: We visit the home of the architect who designed the bridge’


Chile: Palestinian shirts making a statement

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

against Israel, that is. As reported by AP:

The Palestino soccer Club of Chile’s first division recently released its new jersey. But many are outraged because shirts that include the number “1″ show the numeral in the shape of Israel and the Palestinian territories, implying all the land is Palestinian.

Here’s a photo:

Representatives of the Chilean Jewish community have urged Fifa to take action against the Santiago-based Club Deportivo Palestino.

The first 2014 Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 6th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Ex-Israeli envoy to Argentina: Israel killed most perpetrators of AMIA, embassy bombings
Former ambassador Itzhak Aviran accuses Argentine gov’t of not doing enough to probe 1990s Buenos Aires terrorist attacks.

Dejó un mensaje telefónico porque las monjas no pudieron atender la llamada
El Papa llama a un convento de Lucena para felicitar el año nuevo
La conversación con el Pontífice duró 15 minutos y la pudieron escuchar cinco monjas
El Santo Padre envió su bendición a toda la buena gente de la localidad cordobesa

Argentina Criticizes Utilities After Outages
Argentina’s government has ruled out raising electricity rates and instead repeated threats to revoke the concessions of the two largest utilities that serve the capital if they don’t invest more to prevent a repeat of recent blackouts.

BOLIVIA
Headbanging in Bolivia to the Flutes of Yore
Heavy metal, Bolivian style, is a fusion of thrashing guitars and shrieking lyrics with the rhythms and instruments of pre-Incan Andean folk tunes.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s fighter jet decision

CHILE
Photos: Violent protests in Chile

Chilean miracle miners back in spotlight, with Antonio Banderas.

COLOMBIA
Bogota needs a “Bloomberg”; maybe, but it’ll do much better with a Giuliani.

CUBA
Reuters shocked…. shocked! … by Cuban car pricing

Mujeres: la carne barata de la revolución

The media
The most absurdly oblivious headline you’ll read all year

Cuba’s unhappy birthday

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitians without a nation
A ruling in the Dominican Republic divides immigrants in Boston

ECUADOR
Ecuador Authorities Raid Journalist’s Home
The raid is the latest crackdown on the press following a recent law restricting negative reporting.

USAID to Pull Out of Ecuador
Organization cites efforts of Correa admin to stifle aid programs

Sitting in the Ecuadorian embassy, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange derides Catholic confessional system but can’t come up with an original thought.

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador orders evacuation from volcano’s slopes
Authorities in El Salvador have resumed evacuating residents living on the slopes of the Chaparrastique volcano

HONDURAS
Election fraud in Honduras

JAMAICA
Cool Runnings Again? Jamaican Bobsleigh Team Return for Sochi Winter Olympic Glory Bid

LATIN AMERICA
Nafta at 20: A Model for Trade Policy
Opponents of the 1993 agreement have been proven definitively wrong.

MEXICO
Mexico: 6 Police Officers Charged in Death of U.S. Citizen in Custody
The man, Yeudi Estrada, was dead when he arrived at Police Headquarters in the resort of Playa del Carmen after his arrest, local prosecutors said.

Mexico 2013: End of the Year Reflections and the Year to Come

Suspected leader of Mexican drug cartel nabbed at Amsterdam airport, via Gates of Vienna.

PANAMA
Trouble at the Panama Canal
Your money or your locks

THE $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal is one of the world’s great infrastructure projects, aimed at enabling giant mega-tankers to pass through the 100-year-old waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific. So a threat by an international consortium, led by Spain’s Sacyr, to halt construction work on January 20th if the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) doesn’t pay it $1.6 billion for cost overruns, is serious. The amount it is claiming is fully half the $3.2 billion it bid in 2009 for its part of the project.

Jorge Quijano, administrator of the PCA, told The Economist that the authority would not pay the money because cost increases were accounted for in the contract.

Panama Canal expansion: Spain steps in to negotiations

Meanwhile, In 2013 Chiriquí Had 673 Earthquakes

PARAGUAY
Paraguay drug seizures up by 39% in 2013

PERU
Peru Plans to Increase Eradication of Coca Leaf
The nation’s drug czar says Peru plans to eradicate an estimated 30,000 hectares of illegally grown coca leaf in 2014.

PUERTO RICO
Could a Puerto Rico Default Hammer the $3.7 Trillion US Muni-Bond Market in 2014?

Puerto Rico Marijuana Reform Gets A Second Life

Puerto Rico’s Population Continues Rapid Decline

USA
No, an illegal immigrant should not be admitted to the bar

URUGUAY
Uruguay consumer prices up 8.5 pct in 2013, top government target

VENEZUELA
Venezuela’s surveillance state strikes again

Transforming a mistake into a revamped tool of repression: the Delcy Rodriguez scandal

Venezuelan Central Bank Joins The Dark Side

The inflationary monster (in Spanish)

The week’s posts:
Argentina: More price controls

Latin America: Free trade vs. Mercosur

Cuba: Lies, lies, and more lies

Mexico: Another Fast & Furious gun found

Italy: Latin American thieves pick the wrong town to hide

Cuba: The new car

Is 2014 Latin America’s “big year”?

Mexico: What has changed

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Ringin’ in the New Year in yellow undies: A brief story by Fausta


Is 2014 Latin America’s “big year”?

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Alexa L. McMahon asks, 2014: Is This Latin America’s Big Year?

In fact, thanks to its strong economic growth and growing international influence, 2014 has the potential to be Latin America’s best year yet.

Latin America’s economic growth will only increase in its upward trajectory in 2014, driven by countries such as Brazil, Chile and particularly Mexico. According to the U.N., “Based on promising signs of private consumption and manufacturing, the region will see [expected] growth rates of 3.6 in 2014 and 4.1 percent in 2015, according to World Economic Situation and Prospects 2014, a report that launches in January.” The U.N. Economic Commission on Latin America forecasts that Latin-American Economic development will be the highest of all global regions for 2014. Brazil is slowing down compared to its explosive performance in recent years, but still very strong. Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega said in December that foreign direct investment continues to be robust and, according to the Wall Street Journal, “pointed to $8.3 billion in foreign direct investment posted in November as a strong signal investors continued to favor the country. In October, the figure was $5.4 billion.”

McMahon looks at Mexico, Chile and Brazil, and concludes,

All in all, things are looking up for Latin America next year, and as they’ve shown in multiple avenues, the sky’s the limit.

I wish I could share her optimism.

I am cautiously optimistic about Mexico: their recent (and very overdue) reforms may have staying power, which will propel a new era of growth and prosperity – if the opposition allows it.

I’m not optimistic on Chile: re-elected president Michelle Bachelet has promised to amend the constitution, and to expand the welfare state by raising tax rates and taxing shareholders on retained earnings along with the dividend taxes they already pay. She’s also asking for an “exhaustive review” of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; the Partnership was one of the few authentically good news of 2013 for the region,

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.

If Bachelet’s changes include changing the way proceeds from copper are used (since 2000 this process has been carried out according to a rule that requires generating a structural surplus equal to 0% of the Gross Domestic Product), Chile may be in for disastrous economic policies. She had attempted to use those mining revenues during her first term, and promised “likely changes to include altering mining royalties and funding programs” during her re-election campaign.

McMahon is very bullish on Brazil hosting the World Cup this year and the Olympics in 2016, because of the “worldwide media attention,”

which will help Brazil, and Latin America more broadly, brand itself on the global stage as vibrant and culturally rich a place as any in Europe or the United States.

Some of us thought it already is “as vibrant and culturally rich a place as any,” but the question is, how will Brazil emerge financially after the billions of dollars spent on these two hugely expensive events?

Just a month ago, The Economist published this:
Brazil’s economy
The deterioration
Slow growth, stubborn inflation and mounting deficits

McMahon states, and I hope she’s right,

Brazil is projected to be the world’s fifth largest economy by the time they host the Olympics in just two short years

But the facts right now point to a flat economy that may lapse into recession.

Turning a profit on World Cups and Olympics is a risky business, and Brazil rolled the dice twice, once for the World Cup, and once for the Olympics; the structural problems of slow growth, inflation and deficits will remain, regardless of the outcome, because of its government’s current economic policies.

Two other large economies, Argentina, with a GDP of $716.4 billion, and Venezuela, with a GDP of $374.1 billion – compared with Chile’s GDP of $299.6 billion – are in dire trouble. In Argentina:

The policy mix of harsh capital controls, restrictions on imports, and a series of nationalizations has severely undercut economic freedom. Regulatory pressure on the private sector has continued to rise, with populist spending measures and price controls further distorting markets. The central bank’s independence was essentially destroyed in 2012 when its charter was changed to allow the government unlimited use of the bank’s reserves to pay its debts. Efforts to reform the rigid labor market have long been stalled.

As it collapses into communism, Venezuela‘s,

overall score has recorded one of the 10 largest declines in the 2013 Index

In Colombia ($472.0 billion GDP), lingering institutional shortcomings undermine prospects for broad-based long-term economic development, but at least is making progress. Likewise, Peru ($302.0 billion GDP), whose economy has grown in the last few years, still has weak property rights and weak institutions impeding progress.

Indeed, I hope McMahon is right in saying “the sky’s the limit;” but from where I see it, there’s a lot of pie-in-the-sky there.