Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

The Indoctrinator Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Today’s Carnival is dedicated to cartoonist Luciano Cunha, creator of The Indoctrinator.

ARGENTINA
Pathetic: Now Argentina accuses Falkland Islands fishermen of stealing their FISHA SENIOR Falkland Islands diplomat has hit back at claims by an Argentine minister that the wealth of the remote archipelago derives from “stolen” fish.

PRO’s Macri says government seeking to ‘demonize’ him

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Frees 47 of 51 Arrested after Violent Protests

BRAZIL
Brazilian politics
The power behind the throne
A junior partner in government is running the country

It is the person, not the party, that is abandoning the coalition, the PMDB was quick to declare. Still, Mr [Eduardo] Cunha’s exit is a worry for the president. Last week came news that police are investigating her predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, for possible influence-peddling on behalf of construction firms. He denies the allegation. That is a further blow to the battered PT. Ms Rousseff needs the PMDB more than ever if she is to survive until the end of her term in 2018. Increasingly, it is running the show.

An oil scandal is shaking Brazil’s democracy to its core

New plant species ‘discovered on Facebook’
Experts identified a plant pictured on Facebook as a new species, since named as “drosera magnifica“, or magnificent sundew, according journal research paper
. Someone tell Pope Francis.

CHILE
Chile charges over burning students
A Chilean judge charges seven former soldiers over the burning of two students during a 1986 protest against Gen Augusto Pinochet’s government.

COLOMBIA
Colombians Outraged by Gang Rape of Bus Driver

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica: Examples of How to be Like Greece (h/t JC)

CUBA
Evidence Mounts That Oswaldo Payá Was Assassinated by the Castros
Human Rights Foundation Documents Cuban Agents at Work on Tragic Day
; Victims of Communism organization follows up on Ted Cruz’s address change proposal

Inside the offices of Granma, Cuba’s government newspaper

There’s a sucker born every minute: Cuba Hoping To Kickstart Offshore Oil & Gas Industry

Springtime for America’s EnemiesDangerous and short-sighted U.S. diplomacy has empowered no one except state sponsors of terrorism and fascistic regimes.

ECUADOR
Rafael Correa recibe la asesoría de la chavista Eva Golinger
La «novia de Venezuela», como la llamó Chávez, se ha ocupado en «desacreditar» a quienes critican al presidente de Ecuador

GUATEMALA
Fired for Daring to Prosecute Extortion in Rural Guatemala
Georgetown University’s False Heroine: Part III

HAITI
A Glimpse Of An Everyday Struggle Among Haiti’s Health Care Workers

JAMAICA
Pennies on the dollar: Jamaica to retire $3B in oil debt to Venezuela

Jamaica has forged a deal to retire $3 billion in oil debts to Venezuela thanks to bond sales.

In a Friday statement, Jamaica said it has issued roughly $2 billion in bonds on the international capital market that will pay down the debt it accumulated through Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan program that provides fuel to countries at market prices but under generous credit terms.

Officials say a negotiated settlement with Caracas will dismiss about $3 billion in long-term debt in exchange for $1.5 billion. It was not immediately clear Friday if Jamaica’s deal will retire all of its Petrocaribe debt.
. . .
Jamaica’s Petrocaribe settlement is similar to one the Dominican Republic negotiated with Venezuela earlier this year. That Caribbean country dismissed $4 billion in Petrocaribe debt in exchange for $2 billion.

MEXICO
Mexican judge jails three Joaquin Guzman prison guards

Filmmaker Ridley Scott to bring life of “El Chapo” to the big screen
British director purchases rights to Don Winslow’s bestseller ‘The Cartel’

Is there a rift between Mexico’s president and first lady?
Rumors fly after videos capture allegedly awkward moments between Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife, Angélica Rivera

PANAMA
Panama, Costa Rica join forces, demand corruption investigation of CONCACAF Gold Cup

PARAGUAY
US asks Paraguay to extradite Fifa official Nicolas Leoz

PERU
Police burn down illegal gold mine town in Peru
Action against La Pampa is latest blow in war against illegal mining that is destroying rainforest and spreading mercury poisoning


First pictures of last-uncontacted Amazon tribe
Mashco Piro tribe have lived in the jungle in Peru for at least 600 years, but have never before been approached

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico debt crisis: austerity for residents, but tax breaks for hedge funds
The Caribbean territory has courted some of Wall Street’s richest citizens, selling its debt and offering inducements while local people face high taxes and cuts

URUGUAY
Uruguay says more Syrian refugees welcome

VENEZUELA
Mega-Gangs the New Plague in Venezuela
Organized Crime Takes Root in Neglected Slums

Venezuela Bars Foreign Lawmakers’ Visit to Jailed Opposition Leader

Memo To Venezuela: The Soviets Nationalized Food Distribution And Guess What? It Didn’t Work

Mother of all battles in scarcity-hit Venezuela: having a baby

The last available health ministry figures for infant mortality under 1 show an increase of 2.35 percent from January to October last year compared with the same period of 2013.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Madrid’s City Hall and the man on the Moon: Tales from a socialist mindset

Puerto Rico: The bets are on

Argentina: #Nisman’s killer washed his hands in the sink

Venezuela: A lesson we can’t forget

Brazil: Meet The Indoctrinator

Mexico: El Chapo’s buddies tunneled out, too UPDATED

Planned Parenthood and the evil of our times

Argentina: Judge in Cristina’s hotel case, “If I turn up suicided, look for the killer”

LatAm currencies slide

Colombia: Today’s infographic

Cuba: “Mojito diplomacy”

Cuban embassy now open in DC



Colombia: Today’s infographic

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

From The Economist:

Click to enlarge

The Communist crucifix Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 13th, 2015

During his visit in Bolivia, pope Francis stepped out of the popemobile to pray at the site where the late Jesuit Luis Espinal’s body had been dumped, after which Evo Morales (who wore a jacket embroidered with Che Guevara’s face to the Pope’s speech) presented Francis with the Communist crucifix designed by Espinal, and a matching medal, which Francis accepted:

Following the ensuing outrage, Francis left the medals and crucifix in Bolivia while the Vatican launched into spin mode.

Evo certainly milked the photo ops. It’ll be interesting to see what Raul Castro does when Francis goes to Cuba.

ARGENTINA
From her official website: Cristina Kirchner interview with The New Yorker – Up Close and Uncut (march 11, 2015) President Cristina Kirchner interviewed by Dexter Filkins from the US magazine The New Yorker, on March 11, 2015

Argentina’s New Intelligence Agency Targets Captains of IndustryPresident Kirchner Fears “Economic Warfare”

The Peronist pope
Francis’s balancing act in Latin America

From March 2013: Sobre el mensaje del arzobispo de Buenos Aires

Cristina travels to Paraguay to meet Francis

BAHAMAS
Bahamas Independence Day 2015: 10 Key, Quick Facts To Know About The Caribbean Paradise

BOLIVIA

Pope gives his backing to Morales’ social programs in BoliviaPontiff reported to have sipped coca-based tea before reaching high-altitude destinationPresident hopes Francis will offer to mediate in border conflict with Chile

Contrast Francis’s visit with Pope John II’s 1983 visit to Nicaragua and his attitude towards liberation theology.

BRAZIL
Brazil: Man’s Lynching Compared to Slave Flogging

Brazil oil giant faces $98bn shareholder lawsuit in US over corruption schemeNew York court to hear case brought by investors including pension funds of British academics and US state workers over ‘Carwash’ scam at Petrobras

The lawsuit claims that Petrobras executives accepted bribes for inflating the value of construction contracts and “used the money to bribe politicians through intermediaries to guarantee they would vote in line with the ruling party while enriching themselves”.

CHILE
Duff idea? Fox hopes Chile’s beer lovers give Simpsons brew a warm receptionCompany to sell beer – which an executive calls fruity with a caramel aromatic – after decades of pirated versions ruling the market

COLOMBIA
Colombian president replaces military chiefs days after scathing report into extra-judicial killingsPresident Juan Manuel Santos overhauls his high command despite rejecting Human Rights Watch claims about role of military commanders in murders of civilians who were then framed as left-wing rebels

Colombian President Welcomes FARC Cease-Fire

The Mixed-Up Brothers of BogotáAfter a hospital error, two pairs of Colombian identical twins were raised as two pairs of fraternal twins. This is the story of how they found one another — and of what happened next.

CUBA
Marco Rubio: Obama’s Faustian Bargain With Cuba

Here’s “What Change Looks Like” Through a Business-First Policy

Twice as Many Cuban Rafters Flee While They Can
2015 Arrivals Exhibit Fear of End to Wet-Foot, Dry-Foot Policy

ECUADOR
Ana’s Story: The Face of Colombia’s Refugee Crisis in Ecuador

EL SALVADOR
This is how bad El Salvador’s murder rate is

El Salvador is on pace to pass its neighbor, Honduras, as the deadliest country on the planet.

MEXICO
Mexican Police Deliver Wrong Corpses to Get Murder Case Closed
Victim Families Allege Cover-Up, Demand Prosecutor’s Resignation

Mexican Ex-Governor Arrested on Tax-Fraud Charges

Some Ford lines may be heading to Mexico

Mexican helicopter trades fire with gunmen on ground near border, kills 6

GUATEMALA
Guatemala: Ex-ruler Rios Montt found unfit for trial
A former Guatemalan general, Efrain Rios Montt, who ruled the country briefly in the 1980s, has been found mentally incapable of standing trial.

MEXICO
A matter of when, not if? Mexican Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Escapes From PrisonMexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has escaped from a maximum-security prison in central Mexico, almost a year and a half after being captured, prompting a major search operation.

NICARAGUA
Panama and Nicaragua – Two Canals, One Shared Dream, but with the Chinese financial market in flux, what will happen to the Nicaraguan project?

PANAMA
Venezuelans heading to Panama

PARAGUAY
Pope Praises Paraguayan Women
Pope Francis celebrated Paraguayan women as the “most glorious women of America” in a sermon at the shrine of the country’s patron Madonna Saturday, the second-to-last day of his weeklong visit to South America.

Argentina Sees Exodus as Pope Visits Paraguay
Roughly one million people will cross the border into Paraguay from Argentina to see Pope Francis in the capital, Asunción, immigration officials estimate.

PERU
Better keep Greenpeace away: New Nazca geoglyphs in Peru could be older than famous Unesco siteJapanese team believes new images are older than the famous monkey, spider and hummingbird at the Unesco World Heritage site

Ubinas Erupts in Peru Dispersing Ash Up to Radius of 9.3 Miles

PUERTO RICO
America’s Greece: Fixing Puerto Rico Could Provide Answers for Europe

VENEZUELA
Now it’s serious! Venezuela is almost out of beer

The week’s posts and podcast:
The new perfect Latin American idiot

“Economy class cabin hexagon”? No. Just no.

What current Mexican immigration law is like

Cuba: Policy paper shows correlation between US engagement and rising repression in Cuba

Two books that don’t exist for the NYT

Argentina: Cristina drops the mask on anti-semitism

Bolivia: Evo gives Francis hammer and sickle crucifix UPDATED

Business at the BBC: Firing Clarkson will cost them BIG

NYSE down

Ecuador: Pope calls for “new economic and ecological world order”

Meanwhile, over in Cuba,

Argentina: Cristina cheers for Greece

Today’s immigration headlines

Monday night “It takes 1 to tango”

Ecuador: Pope’s visiting, crowd clamors “Out, Correa, out”



The visiting pope Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Pope Francis is touring Ecuador, Bolivia – where the witches are protesting – and Paraguay, extolling the Bolivarian revolution’s idea of a “great motherland.”

What a guy.

Bolivia’s Adepcoca (Asociación Departamental de Productores de la Hoja de Coca i.e., Coca Leaf Growers’ Departamental Association) have prepared 20,000 bags of coca leaves to gift the people lining up from the airport to La Paz, giving new meaning to the term goodie bag.

You really can’t make up this stuff.

ARGENTINA
Live sex show at Buenos Aires university sparks scandal
School authorities investigating why ‘post-porn’ exhibition was held in an open public lobby

La oposición argentina se examina en Buenos Aires y Córdoba
La derecha y el peronismo opositor aspiran a vencer en la capital argentina y en la segunda provincia más poblada del país

Report: Argentinean Government Robs over 90% of Farmer Profits
Soybeans Garner Attention as Workaround for High Tariffs, Export Restrictions

BOLIVIA
Tensions Rise In Bolivia As Indigenous Witches Prepare For The Pope’s Visit

BRAZIL
Dilma in the back seat of a driverless car. Lovely metaphor for today’s Brazil.

Calling Capt. Louis Renault, US ‘routinely spied’ on Brazil
Wikileaks says it has evidence that the United States has routinely spied on senior Brazilian government officials since 2011 or earlier.

Brazil Says Diplomatic Spat with U.S. is Over

Brazilian Evangelicals set up a ‘sin free’ version of Facebook
A group of Evangelical Christians in Brazil created Facegloria as their own, sin-free, version of Facebook

CHILE
British musician faces five years in Chilean jail after admitting dealing drugs
Alexander Harrild, who was educated at exclusive Dulwich College, is being held in one of Santiago’s most notorious prisons with rapists and murderers

Chile secured the first major trophy in their history on home soil courtesy of a penalty shootout win over Argentina in the Copa America final

COLOMBIA
Time to call the FARC’s bluff
Colombia’s peace process risks drifting to collapse

The president, whose hobbies include poker, now faces a choice. Call the FARC’s bluff by laying on the table a take-it-or-leave-it offer on justice—or risk the talks collapsing anyway in the cycle of retaliation. Burdened by disappointments in other areas, Mr Santos has staked his presidency on a peace agreement. But objectively it is the FARC’s negotiators who need it more. Return to war in Colombia, and sooner or later they will be killed.

FARC & ELN commit crime together or coordinating, regardless of how the Govt may want to treat them:”

Why Colombia’s first euthanasia was stopped with 15 minutes to go
Doubting doctors have now approved procedure for cancer patient they canceled last week

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica becomes 33rd country to launch pro-Israel caucus
The 20 Parliamentarians signed a foundation document reaffirming Israel as a Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital.

CUBA
No, Mr. President, Castroite Cuba Is Not What Change Looks Like

How Global Threats Have Crowded Obama’s Diplomacy AgendaPresident has sought to focus on Iran, Cuba, climate and trade, but Islamic State, China and Russia have muscled in

Optimist: US-Cuba Relations, A Race to the Bottom. But, in the End, Truth and Freedom Always Triumph

5 Questions Obama Must Answer About the Potential US Embassy in Cuba

Despite Obama, Business as Usual for Cuban Tyrants

ECUADOR
Mensaje de la Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa a Su Santidad

Ecuador’s Libertarian Movement Rolls Out a Rescue Plan
Protesters Want Dialogue with Correa to Solve the Crisis

Ecuador under threat of “soft coup” by opposition, says Correa
Officials fear that spike in anti-government marches may mar pope’s visit on Sunday

GUYANA
Maduro Denounces Guyana “Aggression” against Venezuela

IMMIGRATION
80% Of Central American Women, Girls Are Raped Crossing Into The U.S.

MEXICO
Mexican Police Recover Nearly 10,000 Stolen U.S. Visas

Mexico wants to tame disruptive teachers union

EXCLUSIVE: Illegal Who Confessed to Murdering Wife with Hammer Deported Four Times

NICARAGUA
Five Sentenced In $25M Medicare Fraud Involving Nicaragua, D.R.

PANAMA
Go.Away.Trump. Trump Fallout Continues: Panama Pulls Out of Miss Universe Pageant

PARAGUAY
Paraguay hero’s uncle dies while watching victory against Brazil
Derlis Gonzalez’s uncle suffered a heart attack

PERU
Peru drug mule’s transfer to Scottish prison ‘approved’
Melissa Reid could be back in the UK within weeks after reports Peru has agreed to move her to Scotland

PUERTO RICO
It is not in Gov. García Padilla’s interest to improve the economy – you can bank on that. Treasurer Admits Puerto Rico Can Pay Debts, Doesn’t Want To
“Shameful” Myth Diverts Attention from Need for Frugality

Puerto Rico’s Financial Crisis Is U.S.’ Crisis, Too

The Beeb starts to catch on, Puerto Rico: The Greece of the Caribbean?

URUGUAY
How a pie factory in South America is taking on the world
Fray Bentos – the town in Uruguay famous for its pies – could be named a World Heritage Site alongside the Forth Bridge, Sicilian churches and Genghis Khan’s birthplace at the end of this year’s Unesco meeting

VENEZUELA
Venezuela faces national beer drought
Striking workers linked to the Maduro government have forced the closure of breweries at Polar, the country’s largest producer and a beloved household name

Cuba and FARC, and their Sinister Presence in Venezuela

Tanta Pasión Por El Socialismo Y Para Ellos Solo Vales 15$ Al Mes

One year on, El Universal is fully “hegemonized”

The week’s posts and podcast
Happy Independence Day

On Independence Day, let’s thank Caesar

Ecuador: Sing along with Rafael

Venezuela: Corker in Caracas

Today’s “WTH moment” courtesy of the NYT

Repeat, it is not in Gov. García Padilla’s interest to improve the economy – you can bank on that. Puerto Rico: A few thoughts on the economic crisis

What amnesty means to legal immigrants

Up next: The King’s Spanish

Puerto Rico: Countdown to the Greecespot

Brazil: Dilma wants U.S. investment

Argentina: Buenos Aires closes Sunderland

Venezuela’s moola from the mullah: Iran’s new $500million credit line

Puerto Rico: the Greece of the Caribbean UPDATED

Podcast: “Che” & Walmart, US-Cuba embassies, Puerto Rico & US-Latin America issues



The unsubsidized Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The week’s headlines in a sentence: While the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare subsidies and gay marriage, the deadline for the Iran negotiations looms and terrorists are blowing up people and pipelines all over the place.

ARGENTINA
Contraband Economy Booming on the Argentina-Bolivia Border
High Inflation, Tariffs Fuel Thriving Black Market

The location of the judge is rather interesting: Argentine judge orders seizure of Falklands drillers’ assets

Lilian Herraez, a federal judge in Tierra del Fuego, ordered the seizure of $156 million in bank accounts, boats and other property, the government said on Saturday.

BOLIVIA
Pope sends video-message to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. The guy can’t stay away from socialist throwaway terminology:

“I want to be a witness of this joy of the Gospel and bring to you the tenderness and caress of God, our Father, especially to your children most in need, to the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, to those who are victims of this throwaway culture,” he said.

BRAZIL
Brazil to Narrow Inflation Target Range
Brazil will narrow the inflation target range for its central bank starting in 2017, but the center point of the range will remain unchanged at 4.5%. The tolerance band will be cut to a range of 3% to 6%

Working Within the System to Disrupt Brazilian PoliticsRoberto Mangabeira Unger, a Harvard philosopher born in Brazil and raised in Manhattan, has settled into a career as an appointed public figure charged with fostering long-term thinking about Brazil.

CHILE
Chile’s Bachelet Hits New Low Approval Rating

COLOMBIA
Colombian army killed civilians to fake battlefield success, rights group saysA new report on “false-positive” killings looks into one of the darkest episodes of the country’s civil war.

FARC rebels kill four and rupture Colombian pipeline

CUBA
Cardinal SinsA Castro cleric brings disgrace.

Cuban artist pushes boundary between art and politics, and pays a price
What Tania Bruguera’s ordeal in Cuba says about the state of artistic expression “within the Revolution.”

Top Intelligence-Defense Lawmakers Introduce Cuban Military Transparency Act

Double surprise! Cruz and Rubio are “non-whites”!

State Dept: No Change in Iran, Cuba Human Rights, Despite Obama Overtures

ECUADOR
Galápagos Residents Decry Fiscal Milking of World Heritage SiteIsland Representative Resigns, Parts Ways with Correa over “Unconstitutional” Law

GUYANA
Guyana Assures Exxon Amid Venezuela Row
Guyana’s president has sought to reassure Exxon Mobil that a territory dispute with Venezuela won’t interfere with the company’s recent oil discovery off the coast of Guyana, one that Caracas claims as its own.

HAITI
A Haitian border town struggles with new rules in the Dominican RepublicThe Dominican’s new rules have Haitians nervously heading back to a homeland with fewer jobs.

HONDURAS
Thousands march in Honduras to demand resignation of president

Thousands of angry, torch-bearing Hondurans marched on Friday to call for the resignation of President Juan Hernandez and demand an independent probe into one of the worst corruption scandals in the country’s history.

JAMAICA
PM: Jamaica’s Economic, Industrial Climate In ‘Delicate Situation’

LATIN AMERICA
Interesting premise, but premature, Move over, China: Latin America may welcome India. The operative word is may.

MEXICO
Mexican President Undergoes Gallbladder Surgery
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto underwent surgery to have his gallbladder removed and was recovering satisfactorily at a military hospital, officials said.

HARDBALL: DONALD TRUMP BLASTS JORGE RAMOS’S CELL PHONE NUMBER TO 200,000 INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua’s Bizarre Plan to Bury the Panama CanalThe country’s Sandinista government has cut a deal with a reclusive Chinese businessman willing to spend $50 billion on a larger-than-life transport waterway. There are a few unanswered questions, starting with whether Nicaraguans really want it and how much priceless habitat would be wrecked. Traveling the proposed route by motorcycle, boat, and boots, the author hunts for answers.

PANAMA
Odebrecht Wins Contract to Renovate Panamanian City of Colon

Manuel Noriega apologises over military rule of PanamaJailed former dictator gives first interview since 1996 and asks for forgiveness over brutal reign – ‘I want to to close the cycle of the military era’

PERU
Peru’s support for Bolivian sea access claim creates tensions with Chile
Chilean President Bachelet cancels next week’s meeting with Peruvian leader Humala

PUERTO RICO
The perfect Summer portrait, A Sleeper Awakened With Color
Frederic Leighton’s “Flaming June” is on loan to the Frick Collection in New York for the next three months.

URUGUAY
‘Gourmet cannabis': Take a peek inside a Uruguay marijuana club , if you must. To paraphrase Dean Wormer, “fat, stoned and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

VENEZUELA
MUD, the Sausage Fest

Gay marriage, at long last (but not here)

The week’s posts and podcast:
Colombia: FARC blows up oil pipeline

Bloody Friday: France, Tunisia, Kuwait terror attacks UPDATED
Morgenthau on the Iran-terror connection

Ecuador: Demonstrations against Correa

SCOTUS upholds Obamacare subsidies

Venezuela’s deadly colectivos

The other flag controversy: US Embassy in London flies the rainbow flag

Today’s WTH moment: Venezuelan vet arrested for smuggling heroin in puppies UPDATED

Mexico: EL GRAN HERMANO del cartel TE VIGILA

Venezuela: Next stop on the Obama administration’s “normalizing” with dictators?

Podcast: The flag controversy plus US-Latin America stories of the week



Colombia: FARC blows up oil pipeline

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

This week the FARC attacked Colombia’s oil infrastructure, the major way the Colombian economy is not held hostage by the narco-terrorist group. The worst attack was an explosion at a pipeline in the southeastern Nariño province.

FARC attack caused Colombia’s ‘biggest environmental disaster in 10 years’

A FARC attack on an oil pipeline in the southwest of Colombia has caused the country’s biggest environmental disaster in the past decade, said the country’s environment Minister on Thursday.

Alleged FARC rebels blew up a pipeline in the southeastern Nariño province on Monday, causing the spilling of more than 400,000 gallons of crude oil into nearby rivers, streams and mangroves.
. . .
Not only does the oil threaten the local ecosystem, it has cut off the water supply of the approximately 160,000 inhabitants of the town of Tumaco who depend on the polluted waters for their drinking water.

Rebel attacks on oil sites threaten peace talks in Colombia (emphasis added)

The FARC’s motive is thought to be a show of strength to force the government to agree to a bilateral cease-fire, something the Santos government has refused to do until a overall peace agreement has been signed, said Bruce Bagley, a Colombia specialist at the University of Miami.
. . .
Adam Isacson, a Colombia researcher at the Washington Office on Latin America, a think tank in Washington, said that despite the upsurge in violence, the odds are good that the peace talks will continue, noting that slow but incremental progress has been made. But the future hinges on whether the attacks continue.

The talks have stalled over the issue of

whether FARC commanders will stand trial and serve prison time for crimes against humanity, a prospect the rebels reject.

To an outsider like myself, the latest actions from the FARC make the answer to that crystal-clear.

Venezuela’s deadly colectivos

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Readers of this blog may be familiar with Venezuela’s colectivos, the government-sponsored marauding motorcycle gangs doing the dirty work, that I’ve written about in the past.

Panampost has an article on how Venezuelan Paramilitaries Wreak Havoc with Cuban, FARC Support

Studies Reveal Colectivos with 10,000 Active Members

Studies released by the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies(ICCAS) at the University of Miami have revealed that the Cuban regime is training Venezuelan paramilitary groups, including Los Tupamaros, La Piedrita, Simón Bolívar, and Alexis Vive. These groups have killed more than 25 students during protests, and injured over 300.

These studies show that for years the Venezuelan government has sent regime supporters to Havana to learn repression tactics in order to help their leaders stay in power. Furthermore, there is evidence that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a group designated as a terrorist organization by the US government, also trains these groups on Venezuela’s border with Colombia.

Remember Raul Reyes‘s computer? Not only did it reveal that the Venezuelan government may have had the FARC act as hit men against political opponents, Panampost adds that (emphasis added),

In 2011, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, on behalf of the Colombian Defense Ministry, conducted an independent analysis of the computers of Raúl Reyes, a member of FARC’s Central High Command who was killed in an ambush in 2008. The investigation revealed important intelligence material on the guerrilla, including information that linked senior members of the Venezuelan army with drug trafficking.

The IISS also found evidence of that the FARC had trained Venezuelan colectivos in exchange for the campgrounds Hugo Chávez allowed the guerrilla to establish on the border.

The ICCAS report concludes,

The most troubling aspects of this relationship are the growing drug trafficking and the continuous opposition to U.S. policies. The inclusion of Iran in rounding out this triumvirate, has added a dimension of strategic importance. The proximity of Cuba and Venezuela to the U.S. makes the two countries ideal platforms for anti-American activities, specifically in the event of a U.S. conflict with Iran. These two allies may be called upon to support Iranian policies and objectives.

You can read the ICCAS’s Cuba Transition Project report by Pedro Roig below the fold:
(more…)

Today’s WTH moment: Venezuelan vet arrested for smuggling heroin in puppies UPDATED

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Venezuelan news have become the stuff Werner Herzog movies are made of. Exhibit 1, today’ s WTH moment:

Venezuelan vet arrested for smuggling heroin in puppies
Puppies

Spanish police arrest man who allegedly sent liquid heroin from Colombia to the United States by implanting it in puppies

More headlines from Venezuela:
Sources tell me Leopoldo Lopez may suspend his hunger strike. He won’t be long of this world if he persists in starving himself. UPDATE: Indeed, he ended his hunger strike.

An election was announced – Good luck with that:

In her announcement today, Venezuelan elections chief Tibisay Lucena implied that only UNASUR would be invited, and then only to “accompany” the elections.

There are multiple problems with that. First off, UNASUR – the Union of South American Nations – was founded by Chávez and is widely seen as pliant to the Venezuelan regime. What’s more, “accompaniment” is not “monitoring”.

Elections Are Coming! Elections are Coming!

Hunger strike succeeded? Elections on December 6

Venezuela Vote, in Doubt, Is Now Set
Venezuela will hold parliamentary elections Dec. 6, the country’s National Electoral Council announced, ending months of speculation that the vote may be postponed.Vote is being closely watched as polls show ruling Socialist party is suffering a major setback

In Venezuela, Elections Are the Lesser of Two Evils

Venezuela’s government is a complex web of interlocking political relationships built during chavista rule. Several groups and individuals merit closer observation to determine how Venezuela’s immediate future will develop. The first person to consider is Cabello. As National Assembly speaker, he stands to lose immunity if the opposition sweeps the December elections — a possibility that is growing more likely as a majority of opinion polls show the ruling party trailing the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable. Cabello faces an investigation for cocaine trafficking through Venezuela to the United States — a crime entailing potential arrest and extradition if Cabello loses his immunity. Consequently, Cabello has joined Maduro in reaching out to the United States on the modest goal of appointing ambassadors, and Cabello likely will remain involved in this outreach to reduce his personal risk. Initially, Cabello was publicly absent from the negotiations. But in the face of growing political challenges from Maduro, Cabello seems to have inserted himself in the negotiations for the long run.

$5 says the die has already been cast: The date is a symbolic one for Venezuela. Maduro’s charismatic predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, who founded the populist “Chavismo” movement, was first elected to the presidency on Dec. 6, 1998.

Desperate Venezuela 3: Will China Learn The Value Of Friendship?

It’s not clear that a leadership change in Caracas will negate the goodwill China has built up, since Maduro might be replaced by a colleague from the USP. The political opposition might come into power at some point, but the next presidential elections are far off, and it seems hardly likely that Maduro will survive that long. Of course, few would want the thankless task of attempting to clean up the mess that is Venezuela, which might be the only thing preventing a palace coup.

However, even if Maduro is replaced by someone in his party who regards China favorably, there will almost certainly be a demand for debt renegotiation, simply because the Venezuelans can’t afford to repay what they owe.

Venezuela’s learning from China, though: Colombia Condemns Venezuela’s South China Sea-Style Caribbean Territory Grab, and Guyana says Venezuela threatens ‘peace and security’ over oil and border row
Potentially valuable oil discovery in waters claimed by Guyana sets up conflict as Venezuela extends territorial claims further into Atlantic Ocean
.

Last, but not least, Maduro blames Exxon-Mobil for his regime’s attacks on its neighbors (video in Spanish),

Any similarities between the new aggression and the Argentinian attack on the Falklands are purely coincidental.

[Post corrected to include omitted links]

UPDATE 2:
Linked to by Dustbury. Thank you!

The globally warmed encyclical Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Oblivious to current scientific data, pope Francis I, under the advice of German climate activist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, threw the Catholic Church into the global warming morass and a tailspin of pessimism, thereby making headlines across the world. Francis also banned skeptic Philipe de Larminat.
(I hope to throw in enough metaphors to make it to Taranto one of these days.)

ARGENTINA
Argentine Presidential Race Comes into FocusArgentine Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo bowed out of the race for the ruling party’s 2015 presidential nomination, leaving Buenos Aires provincial Gov. Daniel Scioli as the only candidate

BOLIVIA
Facebook Signs Agreement with Bolivian Telecom to Promote Free Internet

CHILE
Chilean grandma carried mummified foetus for 50 years92-year-old Chilean grandmother has been bearing large mummified foetus for at least 50 years in what is a rare condition known as lithopedion, doctors have discovered

COLOMBIA
[Video show the FARC using schools to train minors and store explosives in Putumayo]

Colombia’s Farc blows up oil pipeline in Catatumbo

CUBA
Obama Admits Cuba Sponsors Terrorism, But…

By Carlos Eire: A Father’s Day Tribute

Stella McCartney’s Anti-Cruelty Fashion Line Celebrates Marxist Killers Fidel Castro & Che Guevara

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The DR makes deportation plans but Dominican Deadline Passes Without Mass Expulsion of Haitian Migrants

ECUADOR
No skin off Correa’s back: Julian Assange’s three-year stay in Ecuadorean embassy has cost taxpayer £11.1mThree years ago the WikiLeaks founder fled bail and sought asylum in Ecuador – resulting in millions being spent on policing the embassy

GUATEMALA
Lone protester ends Guatemala marchA lone protester in Guatemala receives a hero’s welcome after covering more than 200 km (125 miles) in a protest against corruption.

MEXICO
Mexico beer centre attack leaves 10 dead

NICARAGUA
Why is a Chinese Tycoon Building a $50 Billion Canal in Nicaragua That No One Wants?

Remaking world trade?

PANAMA
Panama Ready to Help Normalize Relations Between OAS, Cuba

PERU
Peru Inflation Churns as Consumer Confidence Falls

PUERTO RICO
5 Indicted for Bid-Rigging in Puerto Rico School Bus Auction

[US court orders seizure of Puerto Rico’s Department of Health accounts]

VENEZUELA

Brazilian senators forced out of Venezuela after failed solidarity missionVenezuelan opposition prisoners Leopoldo Lopez, Daniel Ceballos and Antonio Ledezma were due to be visited by a delegation from Brazil – until their path was blocked, and their bus was attacked

Swiss embassy warns Venezuela’s golf players its balls could killMembers of the exclusive Caracas Country Club have reacted with anger to a sign posted by the Swiss embassy warning that stray balls could be in breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations



Colombia: Pope Francis wants to meddle with the “peace process”

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

After earning Raul Castro’s thanks and praise for brokering the restoration of relations between Cuba and the US, and thereby screwing the dissidents as repression becomes more severe, now Francis wants to meddle in the Colombian “peace process.”

During a private audience with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, Francis

“. . . se mostró enseguida “dispuesto a desempeñar el papel que sea necesario” para poner fin al “más viejo conflicto de Latinoamérica”. [My translation: . . . he’s immediately “willing to take whatever part is needed” to put an end to “Latin America’s oldest conflict”.]

“Peace process” is a fluid term, as last week the Colombian military finally killed Jose Amin Hernandez Manrique, known as Marquitos, a top commander from the country’s second largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), a group urging the FARC to continue its war following a surprise FARC attack that killed 11 soldiers.

To his credit, Santos didn’t jump at Francis’s offer. However, the FARC already thanked Pope Francis for his interest regarding the peace talks.

Why the hell does Francis want to meddle? First with Cuba/U.S., then with the global warming scam, and now with Colombia/FARC?

Is he after a Nobel Peace Prize?

Where did Church doctrine and spiritual matters go?

While a majority do call themselves at least nominally Catholic, Colombia does not have a state religion. The Pope’s words carry weight, but only among those who follow him.

Francis is working on the premise that, as head of the Catholic Church, his intervention will carry moral suasion.

Here’s the catch: It cannot.

The FARC, the ELN, and any of the other sundry Marxist narco-terrorist groups, have, for half a century, kidnapped, tortured, killed, maimed, raped, stolen from, and perpetrated heinous crimes on their fellow countrymen. They will only go along for as long as, and only if, it serves their purpose. They are immune to moral suasion.

Likewise on global warming, Francis speaks pretty words,

“Enlighten the masters of power and money so that they should not fall prey to the sin of indifference, so that they should love the common good, support the weak, and care about this world that we inhabit,”

Apparently Francis hasn’t realized that fossil fuels work for the common good. I highly recommend that he read Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels which makes a convincing case that fossil fuels are the only way to develop cheap, reliable, plentiful energy for seven billion people, and that it’s immoral to deny it to the developing world.

For Francis, the thousands of Christians martyred wholesale by ISIS, the Cuban dissidents, the hundreds of millions relying on the use of fossil fuels, are just window dressing. Now the FARC stands to benefit from Francis’s intercession.

But back to Latin America:
Until and unless Francis publicly denounces the role of the Catholic Church in the safe passage of Nazis (among them Josef Megele) into Argentina, his country of birth, as far as I’m concerned, he can STFU.