Archive for the ‘China’ Category

Mexico: And now, for #Articulo39RenunciaEPN

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

The latest hashtag, #Articulo39RenunciaEPN (say that fast three times!) refers to a corruption scandal, and twitterers are asking that president Enrique Peña Nieto resign,
Mexico Leader’s Woes Follow Him to China
Revelations that a mansion used by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s family was held by a Mexican company whose owner has won big government contracts reverberated from Mexico to China on Monday.
(emphasis added)

The president’s office defended the home by saying it wasn’t the president’s property, but rather the first lady’s, who was paying the home in installments. It declined to give more information.
. . .
As the president flew to China for trade talks he faced controversy there as well.

A Chinese partner of the Mexican company, Grupo Higa SA, threatened to pursue legal action against Mexico’s government after it abruptly canceled their consortium’s $3.7 billion contract to build a bullet train in Mexico last week.

“The company is extraordinarily shocked by Mexico’s decision,” state-run China Railway Construction Corp. said in a statement late Sunday. “The bidding for the high-speed rail project complied with the requirements of the Mexican government.”

The Mexican government canceled the concession for the high-speed train project Thursday, days before news broke that one of the partners on the project held the title to the first lady’s home.

The house title

The house title is in the name of a company called Ingenieria Inmobiliaria del Centro, according to property records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. That firm is owned by Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantú, the owner of Grupo Higa SA and its unit Constructores Teya, which won part of the bullet-train contract as well as several big contracts during Mr. Peña Nieto’s 2006-2012 term as governor of the State of Mexico, according to public information.

Eduardo Sánchez, a spokesman for the president, told The Wall Street Journal that the home in question, which has six bedrooms and is in one of Mexico City’s most exclusive neighborhoods, belongs to the first lady, Angélica Rivera, a former soap-opera star.

Which gives new meaning to the term “drama queen.”

Pardon my cynicism, but I’m having a Capt. Louis Renault moment,

There’s a candle vigil/demonstration scheduled for tonight at 7PM,



China in Latin America

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Interesting article by Shannon Tiezzi, China’s Goals in South America
China’s main goals in South America are economic, but it also hopes to win public and political support.

an economic push by China is also a soft power push, as Beijing uses its funding (both public and private) to win goodwill in developing countries. This is also accompanied by China’s hope to increase cultural exchanges and establish more Confucius Institutes in the region. There are currently 32 Confucius Institutes in Latin America, according to Xinhua.

It’s China’s hope that economic support and soft power will translate to political backing, a strategy that Beijing has used in Africa as well.

And let’s not forget a little palm greasing may be involved, too.

The Holy Week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 14th, 2014

LatinAmerIt’s Holy Week, and taxes are due tomorrow – not exactly the most cheerful way to start a week.

ARGENTINA
Federal police launch huge raid on Argentina’s ‘drug capital’
More than 3,000 federal agents involved in raids on around 80 ‘bunkers’ in the Argentine city of Rosario, plagued by violence between drug gangs

YPF, Chevron to Invest $1.6 Billion in 2014 in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta
Both companies will share equally in the investment outlay, which will go toward drilling 170 wells and building production facilities in Loma Campana, Neuquen
. Good luck with that.

Argentina hit by general strike over high inflation and taxes

Metro, train and bus services around the country have been paralysed, as Ignacio de los Reyes reports
Public transport in Argentina has been severely disrupted by a huge nationwide strike against the economic policies of the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

So, of course, Cristina’s trying to create a diversion: UK Falklands military exercises ‘provoke’ Argentina

BOLIVIA
Is There A Connection Between Hillary Clinton’s ‘Shoe-icide’ Attacker And Che Guevara?

But while everyone is talking about the shoe, little is talked about what the woman also threw along with it: a copy of a Department of Defense document labeled confidential and dated August 1967; it referred to an operation “Cynthia” in Bolivia. Operation “Cynthia” was a Bolivian army maneuver to capture Argentinean doctor and Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s economic problems cloud 2014 elections
Brazil’s macroeconomic picture poses problems for the country’s 2014 elections, reports Bloomberg’s David Ingles

Fighting breaks out in Rio de Janeiro as police move to clear 5,000 squatters from buildings

Brazil 2014: less than half of country favour hosting World Cup
Just 48 per cent of Brazilians are in support of the country hosting this year’s tournament, which begins in June

CHILE
Fire destroys 500 homes in Valparaiso
Ambulance crews have treated residents for smoke inhalation but so far there have been no deaths

COLOMBIA
Keep FARC leader Timochenko alive for peace?

Colombia has a loose-tongued president.

Yesterday, Juan Manuel Santos told us he knew where FARC commander alias Timochenko is hiding, but claimed he’d “think twice” before ordering a shoot-to-kill.

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica Installs Coastal Radar to Monitor Drug Smuggling

CUBA
Families of Shootdown Victims: No Spies for Gross Exchange

UPDATED | Cuban political prisoner Lamberto Hernández Plana released after 23 years in Castro gulag

French Foreign Minister Visits Cuba
A French foreign minister visited Cuba for the first time in more than 30 years Saturday, traveling to the communist-run nation at a time when it is seeking to attract more foreign investment and improve ties with the European Union.

ECUADOR
It’s what you call a totalitarian democracy: Does Ecuador’s leader aspire to a perpetual presidency?
Ecuador’s constitution bars Rafael Correa from running for the fourth term. But this won’t stop him from seeking reelection if ‘the people’ want it, he hints.

JAMAICA
Entrepreneurs demand ‘respect’ in Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Chinese lending to Latin America
Flexible friends
China lends disproportionately to countries that lack other options
and, while on the subject of China, A Pax Sinica in the Middle East? Some Conjectures

Andres Oppenheimer: Latin America’s forecasts may be too rosy

MEXICO
Mexico prepares first illegal drug financing blacklist
Mexico’s cartels launder billions of dollars a year made by shipping illegal drugs to U.S.
with a proviso,

[Mexican Finance Minister Luis] Videgaray said individuals identified by OFAC [the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control], or in a similar list put out by the United Nations, could end up being sanctioned in Mexico but that his administration would not necessarily implement all U.S.-identified targets.

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua Sees Series of Arrow Killings of Dogs using crossbows and custom carbon arrows.

PANAMA
Panama Canal expansion draws bigger customers, and criticism
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal, one of the busiest waterways in the world. A massive building project is underway there to widen it for larger ships, but the expansion has not been undisputed.

PERU
Peru Arrests 24 for Alleged Ties to Shining Path Rebels

Bello
Peru’s Italian job
Economic success cannot indefinitely co-exist with political weakness
The “Italian model” holds that the important thing is that the economy was run by responsible technocrats. How’s that working out?

The real lesson from Italy is that if the political system is unable to act in the long-term interest of the majority, it ends up contaminating the economy with its failures. Peru is a democracy without meaningful parties. A regional election in October is likely to repeat the last one, in which 23 of the 25 regional presidents were independents. Thanks to mining and gas royalties, they command a big chunk of public money. One important region, Áncash, has become a mafia mini-state. Ten political opponents of the regional president, César Álvarez, have been murdered after denouncing corruption. His critics accuse Mr Álvarez, who denies all wrongdoing, of having bought off prosecutors. This month Mr Humala froze Áncash’s bank accounts.

It always amazes me that countless “models” – the Danish model, the Swedish model, etc. – are held as examples worth emulating in Latin America, instead of free market capitalism.

PUERTO RICO
Vatican Clears Puerto Rico Bishop Daniel Fernandez in Abuse Case

URUGUAY
Uruguay to make medical marijuana available to prisoners
Any inmates who have been prescribed marijuana to improve their physical or mental health will have access to it according to the country’s drug tsar

VENEZUELA
Venezuela: sector de la oposición rechaza diálogo

Venezuela Update: Violence, protests and … talks?

Massive repression against protestors in Venezuela by security forces of Cuba-backed dictatorship

Venezuela’s Protest Movement Fights The Ghost Of Chavez
The legacy of Hugo Chavez hangs over Venezuela — and the country’s protest leaders are having a hard time bringing his followers into their fold.
Especially with the armed motorcycle gangs threatening them.

Venezuela’s old men have a dialogue

Venezuela gives Cuba three aircraft to transport Raúl Castro
The aircrafts –two Dassault Falcon 50 and one Falcon 900– are worth some USD 100-110 million

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: No food in the shops, but 3 jets for Raul

El libro que hay que leer: En español: Infobae entrevista a Casto Ocando, autor de Chavistas en el Imperio

And now for a Venezuela roundup

Ecuador: Rafael Correa at Yale UPDATED

Brazil: Airports not ready yet

Mexico: en español, Terapia Intensiva 203

Mike Hammer goes to Chile

New book: Chavistas en el Imperio

Cuba: Alan Gross on hunger strike – later Gross ends hunger strike in Cuba

At Da Tech Guy:
Bye-bye, Elementary

Cuba’s American hostage

Podcast:
Dr Gross in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador & US-Latin America stories of the week


Venezuela: Slingshots vs tanks

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

A demonstrator uses a slingshot against the National Guard during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in San Cristobal, about 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas, February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuela’s Failing State, by Leopoldo López, jailed since Feb. 18,

For 15 years, the definition of “intolerable” in this country has declined by degrees until, to our dismay, we found ourselves with one of the highest murder rates in the Western Hemisphere, a 57 percent inflation rate and a scarcity of basic goods unprecedented outside of wartime.

Our crippled economy is matched by an equally oppressive political climate. Since student protests began on Feb. 4, more than 1,500 protesters have been detained and more than 50 have reported that they were tortured while in police custody. Over 30 people, including security forces and civilians, have died in the demonstrations. What started as a peaceful march against crime on a university campus has exposed the depth of this government’s criminalization of dissent.

Indeed. As the country goes up in smoke, the same government who claims to have been “democratically elected” is in full assault against elected representatives:

And it’s also jailing the military:

President Nicolás Maduro said Tuesday that three air force generals allegedly plotting to overthrow the government had been arrested amid antigovernment protests that have roiled the country for nearly two months.

While publishing Leopoldo López’s letter, the NYT did a “two newspapers in one” by sending two reporters to gather opinions about Cuba’s interference in Venezuela. Babalu explains,

But alas, this is the New York Times and the outcome of their so-called investigation had already been decided before the reporters were even assigned to the story. Of course the newspaper of record – the same one that has brought us so many honest and respectable journalists such as Herbert Matthews — found absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Cuba’s Castro dictatorship has infiltrated Venezuela. Instead, what they discover are “hardliners” who are “fixated” with going after Cuba. They even trot out Castro regime supporter Arturo Lopez-Levy, a former Castro-intelligence-agent-turned-American-academic who also happens to be a member of the Castro crime family to prove their point.

It’s not just Cuba; it’s also Russia. Back when he was alive, Hugo Chavez offered Putin the use of military installations as Russian bases. A Venezuelan general has even tweeted about it:
SECRET ACCORD with Russia signed in 2009 when Chavez unconditionally offered Russia the use of the Orchilla Island military base.”

Related: Putin’s quiet Latin America play, and it’s not only Russia,

With the American presence waning, officials say rivals such as Russia, China and Iran are quickly filling the void.

Iran has opened up 11 additional embassies and 33 cultural centers in Latin America while supporting the “operational presence” of militant group Lebanese Hezbollah in the region.

“On the military side, I believe they’re establishing, if you will, lily pads for future use if they needed to use them,” Kelly said.

China is making a play for Latin America a well, and is now the fastest growing investor in the region, according to experts. Although their activity is mostly economic, they are also increasing military activity through educational exchanges.

The Chinese Navy conducted a goodwill visit in Brazil, Chile and Argentina last year and conducted its first-ever naval exercise with the Argentine Navy.

It’s slingshots vs tanks.


The disgraced OAS Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 24th, 2014

LatinAmerThe big news of the week: the OAS voted on Friday to shut out the media and the public from Maria Corina Machado’s testimony, thereby disgracing itself.

ARGENTINA
ARGENTINA Y EL NARCOESTADO (PARTE II)

Al menos seis carteles operan en Argentina.Colombianos en Rosario,mexicanos en el Norte de Buenos Aires,narcotransportistas bolivianos en la ruta 34,”la ruta blanca”,sumadas a otras organizaciones criminales transnacionales que incluyen a chinos y serbios.

Pope meets Argentine Falklands veterans and calls for South Atlantic peace
Former archbishop of Buenos Aires has previously backed Argentina’s claim on the islands

How convenient: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner turns Pope Francis from foe to friend
Argentinian president praises cardinal’s commitment and vision, despite previously treating him as a political arch-enemy

BOLIVIA
Más de dos millones de libras de coca ilegal incautada colapsan los depósitos – Erbol

BRAZIL
Brazil’s ‘Constitution Of The Internet’ Puts Net Neutrality In The Spotlight

Brazil troops to quell Rio violenceHeavily-armed police patrol a shanty town in Rio de Janeiro, on March 13, 2014
Brazil’s government says it will send federal troops to Rio de Janeiro to quell recent attacks targeting police ahead of the World Cup in June
.

On Thursday, three police bases in the city were attacked by suspected gangs.

Four police officers have been killed since February in similar attacks.

CHILE
6.2 magnitude earthquake hits northern Chile, no damage reported

Chile asks extradition of alleged ex-guerrilla Marie Emmanuelle Verhoeven,

The 54-year-year-old has been wanted since 1996 on an international arrest warrant for the 1991 slaying of Jaime Guzman, leader of the conservative Chilean party Independent Democratic Union.

Andres Oppenheimer: Bachelet’s Chile: moving closer to Venezuela?

Chile: huge protest to urge new president to adopt reforms, via Bad Blue.

COLOMBIA
“Colombia’s democracy is mortally wounded”; Petro

CUBA
CUBA GIVES DOCTORS BIG PAY RAISE–TO $64 A MONTH

Obama Shouldn’t Forget Our Man in Havana

Uruguay’s Mujica Found Fidel Castro “Deteriorated” But Engaged

ECUADOR
Chevron seeks $32 million in legal fees in Ecuador case

GUATEMALA
Alfonso Portillo, Ex-President Admits Taking Taiwan Bribes

HAITI
Documentary: Post-quake Haiti rebuilding, a ‘Fatal Assistance

JAMAICA
Jamaica’s gang culture
Bad Vybz

LATIN AMERICA
Global Economy and Development – Brookings: A HIGH-CARBON PARTNERSHIP?
CHINESE-LATIN AMERICAN RELATIONS IN A CARBON-CONSTRAINED WORLD

MEXICO
US Sentences Mexican to 40 Years for Murder of Border Patrol Agent
Fourth Defendant Sentenced in Murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas

PANAMA
Behind the Chong Chon Gang Affair: North Korea’s Shadowy Arms Trade

PERU
Police, striking miners clash in Peru, 11 injured

PUERTO RICO
Finra Examining Trading in Puerto Rico Bonds
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is examining trading in Puerto Rico bonds, just a week after the island territory’s $3.5 billion bond sale.

VENEZUELA
Drone Camera Corrects CNN Español Report on Caracas Demonstrations

VenEconomy: Silence Means Consent

Airlines Move to Cut Off Service to Venezuela

Earlier this month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned that international airlines would likely stop serving Venezuela unless the country took steps to resolve the issue. Carriers don’t want to acquire more bolivars, which aren’t exchangeable outside the country.

Venezuela says street protests have caused $10 billion in damage

Venezuela’s protests
Inside the barrios
Support among the poor for the government of Nicolás Maduro is conditional

Can the Chavistas Save Venezuela from Cuba?

Chavistas want to save their movement from incompetent leadership and foreign interference and to protect their social base. Student protesters want to roll back the authoritarian intrusions and economic mismanagement that threaten their future. These fundamental goals are far from mutually exclusive for Venezuelans of good will looking to rescue their country.

Venezuela Battles Media, Social and Otherwise, to Restrict Protest Coverage

Venezuela Goes Mad

The week’s posts and podcast:
#SOSVenezuela: Who’s doing the killing? UPDATED

#SOSVenezuela: Yesterday’s #22M march

#SOSVenezuela, Maria Corina, and the OAS

LIVE: OAS hearing on Maria Corina Machado blacked out?

Insourcing from . . . Mexico?

Venezuela-Cuba Military Cooperation and the Narco-Terrorist Connection

En español: Terapia intensiva #200 ¡Felicidades a @DrNetas por las doscientas terapias!

Colombia: Santos wets himself UPDATED

Brazil’s high operating costs

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Latin America: Putin gets his license

Venezuela: The Left vs. reality

Podcast:
Venezuela & US-Latin America stories of the 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.

UN Climate chief: Communism fights global warming

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog,
UN Climate chief: Communism fights global warming

Related:
GLOBAL WARMING – AN EXAMPLE OF THE DEGRADATION OF RATIONAL DISCUSSION

The BVI, China’s new tax haven

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The Caymans are so 1990s:
China’s princelings storing riches in Caribbean offshore haven
Relatives of political leaders including China’s current president and former premier named in trove of leaked documents from the British Virgin Islands

The disclosure of China’s use of secretive financial structures is the latest revelation from “Offshore Secrets”, a two-year reporting effort led by theInternational Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which obtained more than 200 gigabytes of leaked financial data from two companies in the British Virgin Islands, and shared the information with the Guardian and other international news outlets.

In all, the ICIJ data reveals more than 21,000 clients from mainland China and Hong Kong have made use of offshore havens in the Caribbean, adding to mounting scrutiny of the wealth and power amassed by family members of the country’s inner circle.

Inner circle indeed. Go to link above to read the names of the people involved.

Of course, there’s no disclosure required from party leaders, so, who knows?

Ecuador: How China took control of Ecuador’s oil

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Remember how Correa made the country default on its debt “because he could”? Well, here’s the price:
How China took control of Ecuador’s oil

Shunned by most lenders since a $3.2 billion debt default in 2008, Ecuador now relies heavily on Chinese funds, which are expected to cover 61 percent of the government’s $6.2 billion in financing needs this year. In return, China can claim as much as 90 percent of Ecuador’s oil shipments in coming years, a rare feat in today’s diversified oil market.

After 2009, terms changed in new Chinese loans, documents show. A 2010 deal for another $1 billion credit line from China Development Bank cut the premium that PetroChina would pay for Ecuador’s oil, and granted PetroChina approval to resell the crude in any market.

In early 2011, Ecuador got another $1 billion loan, and authorized PetroChina to collect money from any other companies that owed PetroEcuador if Ecuador failed to meet repayment terms.

This is close to 11 percent of Ecuador’s gross domestic product.

There’s also the decades-long Chevron lawsuit, which has turned many private companies away from dealing with Ecuador. Last September, Chevron won a major arbitration victory when the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague unanimously ruled that

all such “collective” or “diffuse” forms of environmental relief had been settled and extinguished by the 1995 settlement agreement between Ecuador and Texaco. Accordingly, they reasoned, even if individual third parties were later given standing to seek such relief, they had, by that time, no rights left to assert. The only party that possessed such rights in 1995 — the government — had settled all those claims.

Today is the last day of the Chevron racketeering suit against Steven Donziger.

But back to the report on China,

Chinese firms serve as middleman in most of the Ecuadorean oil sales, while keeping a strategic option to divert barrels to China if needed. As China’s trade grows in the region, U.S. relations have soured with Venezuela and Ecuador, whose leaders are outspoken U.S. critics.

The US needs to become totally independent of foreign oil, right now. Until it does, all foreign policy is at someone else’s mercy.


Venezuela: Did anyone miss Maduro at the UN?

Saturday, September 28th, 2013


Maybe a birdie told him to stay away.

As you may have noticed, all the talk at last week’s UN meeting was focused on Obama and Iran, and not on NicoláMaduro, who may enviously look back at the days when Hugo Chávez could make the headlines around the world just by doing stand-up.

Instead, Maduro had to skip the UN altogether and rush back to Venezuela – after signing off oil exploration and gold mining rights to the Chinese (and still coming short on cash) – because

  • while refueling in Vancouver, Canada, he became aware that the DEA could arrest three members of his entourage on charges of drug trafficking, based on information provided by former Aragua state Chavista governor Rafael Isea, now a protected witness for the DEA
  • Cuban spies traveling with Maduro, and identified by Spanish newspaper ABC, would not have been allowed to land in the USA
  • and the fear that, if he prolonged his absence from the country, he may have a coup from the military and/or members of his own party.

Instead Maduro flew back to Caracas and claimed he had to because of not one but two plots against his life, which President Obama’s weakness could not prevent.

Carlos Eire translated the ABC article, which you must read.