Archive for the ‘China’ Category

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.

Maduro goes to China

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro went to China, signing over oil exploration and gold mining rights in exchange for foreign currency,

President Maduro told his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, that the main goal of his trip was to further consolidate and expand the strategic partnership between the two countries that late President Hugo Chávez began with Chinese leaders. Chávez died in March after 14 years in power.

The two leaders signed 12 agreements on Sunday, including ones related to a finance fund deal, education, and a joint development between Chinese state-owned oil producer Sinopec and Venezuela’s national oil company. They also signed a cooperation and exchange agreement between China’s space flight administration and Venezuela’s science and innovation ministry relating to remote satellites. No details were given on any of the agreements.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro met with China’s President Xi Jinping over the weekend in Beijing and said that China had granted Venezuela another $5 billion credit line

The $5 billion will be invested in the country, through a credit from the China Development Bank (BDC) for the financing of strategic projects in the field of health, science road, transport, technology, industry, electricity and mining, which will improve the quality of life of the Venezuelans.

“With this Bank funding we will develop also the Las Cristinas mine. All for the benefit of our beloved people,” wrote Maduro about the long delayed gold mining project.

Maduro tweeted his trip. He also retweeted this, fromForeign Minister Elías Jaua,

Translation: “The Integrated Citizen Protection System (video surveillance) signed with China will have its first installation in the municipality of Sucre in the state of Miranda!”

It so happens that the governor of Miranda is Henrique Capriles, opposition leader.

Here’s looking at you, kid!

More on Maduro’s Chinese deal at Caracas Chronicles.


Central America: Everybody wants a canal

Monday, July 29th, 2013

and I have a bridge to sell you,

Two, Three, Many Canals in Central America (emphasis added):

Besides, the Panama Canal is already undergoing an expansion of its capacity to accommodate the latest class of super tankers through the isthmus. But everywhere you go in Central America today there is talk of new canals and of China’s willingness to pay for them.

Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Honduras, too. And there’s even a dry canal, “high-speed rail system powered by a hydro-generated plant in the Gulf of Fonseca.”

The whole thing sounds very pie-in-the-sky to me. As I mentioned last month, the Nicaragua Canal is not underwritten by the Chinese government, but instead by some guy with experience only in the telecommunications industry who’s not even started the feasibility studies – but has a track record of floating stocks, and who was awarded a $300 million telecommunications contract in Nicaragua by Daniel Ortega.

The Chinese government apparently has nothing to do with it. More to the point, why would the Chinese government involve itself with such high-cost, high-risk projects when the Panama Canal expansion is going well?

Could it be that the next Chinese stock market bubble will feature Central American canal stocks?

Somewhere in a jail cell, Bernie Madoff is asking himself, “why didn’t I think of that?”

Latin America and the China bubble

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Andres Oppenheimer: China-Latin America fiesta is over

Oppenheimer points out that Paul Krugman, George Friedman (founder of the geo-political newsletter Stratfor), and

even the usually upbeat United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) downgraded its growth projections for Latin America in 2013 from 3.5 percent to 3 percent, to a large extend because of China’s decreasing raw material purchases from the region.

Latin American exports to China — mainly commodities — had soared from nearly $4 billion in 2000 to $71 billion in 2012. Some economists had predicted that China would surpass the United States as Latin America’s top trading partner by 2015. But that seems increasingly unlikely.

The Chile-based ECLAC warned this week that we are witnessing “the likely end of the boom in commodity export prices brought about by China’s growth.”

Among the Latin American countries that will be most affected are metal exporters such as Peru, Chile and Suriname, oil exporters such as Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia, and food exporters such as Argentina, the U.N. agency said.

Mexico and Brazil will be less affected by China’s slowdown because they have more diversified economies and are less China-dependent, it said.

Oppenheimer is hopeful that

China’s economic slowdown may mark the end of the commodity-based populist cycle in Latin America, in which Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and other countries squandered their raw material export booms in feel-good subsidies, instead of investing in infrastructure and education.

Let’s hope he’s right. As far as Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina go, I’m nowhere near as optimistic.


Is Edward Snowden about to become the world’s most famous illegal alien?

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Rick Moran mentioned in last night’s podcast that Jaime Darenblum had a great article on Ecuador coming up at Pajama’s Media today. Indeed he does:

Why Snowden Picked Ecuador
The NSA leaker knows that President Rafael Correa wants to be the next Hugo Chávez.

Why did Snowden pick Ecuador? Like Assange, he recognizes that President Rafael Correa is an anti-American leftist who has repeatedly clashed with Washington and has eagerly embraced U.S. adversaries. Indeed, Correa is a Hugo Chávez acolyte who reportedly receivedmoney from Colombian FARC terrorists during his 2006 presidential campaign; who in 2009 expelled a U.S. embassy official named Armando Astorga and forced the U.S. military to leave Manta air base (which had been used for anti-drug operations); who in 2011expelled U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges; who in 2012 withdrewEcuadorean troops from the U.S.-based Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation and also threatened to expel USAID from Ecuador; and who boycotted the 2012 Summit of the Americas to protest the exclusion of Cuba. His government has also strengthened ties with Iran, and there is compelling evidence that the Iranians have used their close relationship with Ecuador to evade international sanctions and access the global financial system. Ecuadorean foreign minister Ricardo Patiño has called Iran a “strategic partner,” and Correa has defended the Iranian nuclear program.

Related: Re Edward #Snowden: read the info about Ecuador Assange’s Wikileaks will not publish regarding the purchase of surveillance equipment the government will be using against the Ecuadorian people. Darenblum continues,

As Ramiro Crespo of Quito-based Analytica Investments tells the Washington Post, “Ecuador is looking to be an antagonist of the United States and looking for causes that will permit it to do that.” That’s why it granted asylum to Julian Assange, and that’s why it may soon grant asylum to Edward Snowden. Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Patiño condemned U.S. officials for their efforts to apprehend the NSA leaker. “The one who is denounced pursues the denouncer,” he said,according to the New York Times. “The man who tries to provide light and transparency to issues that affect everyone is pursued by those who should be giving explanations about the denunciations that have been presented.” For his part, President Correa tweeted that “we will analyze the Snowden case very responsibly and we will make with absolute sovereignty the decision that we believe is most appropriate.”

Given his anti-U.S. record and his desire to succeed the late Hugo Chávez as the leader of Latin America’s populist-left coalition, there is good reason to expect that Correa will approve Snowden’s request.

And, by the way, sheltering Julian Assange, a Swedish and Australian citizen, at the London embassy is nowhere near the same as granting asylum to an American, since,

while Correa is known for his “anti-imperialist” rants and frequent denunciations of U.S. foreign policy, Ecuador still has a dollarized economy, and it still sends 45 percent of its exports to the United States (mostly oil, food products, and flowers), making America its largest trade partner. Since the early 1990s, Ecuador has benefited from U.S. trade preferences that are scheduled to expire on July 31. Thanks to these preferences, 23 percent of Ecuador’s U.S.-bound exports are exempt from tariffs. If Correa shelters Snowden, he will obviously jeopardize his country’s trade status.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has hailed NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s “courage” and offered to consider an asylum application. Venezuela, on the other hand, may not want to rush to a decision, considering that the USA is its #1 oil customer and refiner.

Snowden sent encrypted copies of his NSA files to people in case anything happens to him, which means he would have us believe he’s willing to head over to China and Russia in the belief that they can’t break/wouldn’t already have his encryption, but will have released all sorts of information damaging to the US if anyone knocks him off? And, another question,

How would you arrange to send a password to unlock encrypted files if you’re working alone?

For now, it looks like Edward Snowden may be stuck in Russia; the US revoked his passport, and, unless he has made other arrangements, his Russian transit visa (if he has one), may be about to expire, currently making him the world’s most famous illegal alien.


Video below the fold since it starts right away,
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