Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

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

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Fein expects challenges

Vast Argentine Wildfire Burns Out of Control for Almost 2 Weeks

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Plans to Create “Sovereign Cloud” to Improve Computer Security

BRAZIL
Cops Clear Brazilian Highway Blocked by Protesting Truckers

CHILE
Borrowing a line from Obama? Chile’s President Says She Learned about Her Son’s Deals in the Press

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s Santos Confident of Peace Accord with FARC This Year

CUBA
NY Times Greets Feeble Free Market Moves in Cuba With Pitiful Obsession Over Income Inequality

Venezuela Proves Fallacy of Obama’s Cuba Policy

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haiti Protests Dominican Republic Racism Against Immigrants After Henry Claude Jean Lynching

ECUADOR
Sharon Stone sued for missing anti-Chevron events

HONDURAS
Honduras, Guatemala Inch Closer to Free-Trade Zone
Plan-Colombia Style Initiative in Central America Doomed to Fail, Say Critics

MEXICO
Mexico’s Peña Nieto Replaces Beleaguered Attorney General

PANAMA
The Invisible Hand and the New Panama Locks

PERU
Oil spills in Peru

PUERTO RICO
FDIC Closes Puerto Rico’s Doral Bank; Banco Popular Steps In

VENEZUELA
Intel Leak Reveals Five FARC Commanders Based in Venezuela
Armed Forces Document Drug-Trafficking Guerrilla Stronghold in Southwest

After 10 months behind bars, Marcelo Crovato, Jailed for Defending Human Rights, Gets House Arrest

El bolívar se desploma tras fracaso del nuevo sistema cambiario en Venezuela

The weeks’s posts and podcast:
Mexico: Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, the equipal chair guy

Cuba: The long and the short of it

Venezuela: Criminalizing dissent, pt. 2

Argentina: #Nisman’s lawsuit dismissed

Brazil: No joy in soy

Argentina: #3 port of departure for Europe’s cocaine?

Argentina: Pope Francis worried about “Mexicanization”

Colombia: Aronson special envoy to FARC peace talks

Colombia: Hello FARC, good-bye rule of law

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Spain, moving towards Chavismo?

All about Steve: A review of Birdman

Podcast:
Venezuela, Argentina PLUS other US-Latin America stories

Colombia: Obama Elbows Into the Colombia Peace Talks – what could possibly go wrong?

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Mary O’Grady doesn’t mince words at the appointment of Bernard “Bernie” Aronson as Special Envoy to Colombia’s peace talks with the FARC:
Obama Elbows Into the Colombia Peace Talks
Meddling in the FARC negotiations advances his Cuba policy; the rest is collateral damage

God save us from politicians in pursuit of a “legacy.”

Exactly as Cuba’s Communist regime has remained unchanged,

After almost 3½ years of “negotiating” with the Colombian government, the FARC remains intransigent. Last week FARC negotiator Iván Márquez said “the surrendering of weapons is out of the question” and that for his side “there will be zero jail time.”

Likewise, just as Obama’s envoys didn’t ask for anything in return, O’Grady points out that

Colombian President Manuel Santos ’s response during the negotiations has been to offer more concessions. In December he proposed downgrading the FARC’s extensive drug trafficking from a felony to a political crime, which could carry no penalty. He has talked of letting them do “community service” in lieu of jail time for their many atrocities. Some congressmen have called for giving the FARC unelected seats in Congress.

Not only that, Santos blurted out last month he wants former FARC as cops.

What could possibly go wrong?

Venezuela: Criminalizing dissent, pt. 2

Friday, February 27th, 2015

The Economist itemizes how the Maduro regime continues to criminalize dissent:

VENEZUELA’S “Bolivarian” regime is lurching from authoritarianism to dictatorship. On February 19th it arrested the elected mayor of metropolitan Caracas, Antonio Ledezma. Then it moved to expel Julio Borges, a moderate opposition leader, from the National Assembly—a fate already suffered by his colleague, María Corina Machado, ejected last year. Leopoldo López, another opposition leader, has been in jail for a year and is now on trial. Almost half the opposition’s mayors now face legal action. The regime’s favourite charge to level at hostile politicians is plotting to overthrow the government, often in conspiracy with the United States. But it is the president, Nicolás Maduro, who is staging a coup against the last vestiges of democracy. Venezuelans call it an autogolpe, or “self-coup”.

Hugo Chávez, who created and presided over the Bolivarian state-socialist system until his death in 2013, was repeatedly elected by Venezuelans, thanks to windfall oil revenues and his rapport with the poor. He took his majority as a mandate to squeeze the life out of Venezuelan democracy, seizing control of the courts and the electoral authority, and suppressing opposition media.

The Economist calls for other LatAm countries to become involved:

For too long Latin America has tolerated Venezuela’s abuse of democratic norms. The latest outrages have provoked expressions of concern from Brazil, the Organisation of American States and others. They must do more. They should demand the release of Mr Ledezma and Mr López and call for guarantees that the election will be fair. If they fail to get them, they should suspend Venezuela from regional groupings, such as the South American Union, which require their members to be democracies. The threat of becoming a pariah might just give Mr Maduro pause.

Over in Colombia, President Santos has offered to mediate between the Communist regime and the opposition, since “only dialogue can save Venezuela from its current crisis,” adding that the presidents of Brazil and Ecuador are also willing to help.

By calling for dialogue instead of demanding a stop to the government’s abuse, Santos and his buddies are willing to turn a blind eye to Maduro’s egregious violations.

The opposition in Brazil, however, are the ones on the right track as they passed by a large majority yesterday a motion repudiating Venezuela’s “violation of democratic principles” and demanding that Rousseff’s administration to harden its stance on Venezuela. The only three parties that didn’t join in were Rousseff’s own, the Communist Party, and the far-left PSOL Socialism and Liberty Party.

Colombia: Aronson special envoy to FARC peace tallks

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

U.S. Names Aronson Special Envoy to Colombia
Former assistant secretary of state will help Colombian government and FARC in negotiations

On Friday, President Barack Obama named Bernard “Bernie” Aronson, a U.S. assistant secretary of state for inter-American Affairs from 1989 to 1993, as the envoy. He will help the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, overcome roadblocks in the final stretch of negotiations.

Let’s hope it’s not another case of “not wanting anything in return.”

But they do look glum, don’t they?

Colombia: Hello FARC, good-bye rule of law

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Colombia’s new Supreme Court president is not quite in Marie Harf’s “jobs for ISIS” class, but comes close: When it comes to ending FARC violence, he thinks that

denying justice to the FARC’s victims and offering the rebels minimal penalties (e.g., community service in lieu of prison) for their war crimes solves the problem.

Mary O’Grady has the story of how the FARC wants amnesty by claiming that Colombia’s military is as guilty of war crimes as they are.

Kidnapping, murder, extortion, drug trade, child soldiers, raping women and forced abortion: what the FARC stands for.

Nice going, judge.

The Putinesco Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Everything old is new again, so this week’s word is Putinesco, the 21st century non-Soviet.

ARGENTINA
DEBKA investigation: A fake Iranian “defector” assassinated Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman

Witness is latest in string of false ‘leaks’

Argentina, Iran and the strange death of Alberto Nisman
The death of a prosecutor investigating links between Buenos Aires and Tehran has quickly gone from being a criminal case to a political affair
It always was.

BOLIVIA
Bolivia’s “spaceship architecture” showcases the new wealth of indigenous people

BRAZIL
Brazil Rio carnival: Beija-Flor wins despite ‘Obiang link’
A Brazilian samba school, which is alleged to have received funding from Equatorial Guinea, has been crowned champion of Rio de Janeiro’s carnival.
Equatorial Guinea?

CHILE
Bachelet’s Virtuous Facade
Hypocrisy Runs Deep Throughout Chile’s Political Elite

COLOMBIA
A court in Colombia rules that same-sex couples can adopt children, but only if the child is the offspring of one of the partners.

Colombian teacher changes her name to ABCDEFG HIJKLMN OPQRST UVWXYZ

CUBA
Whitewashing & Policy Laundering Cuban Terrorism

ECUADOR
No Referendum on Correa’s Indefinite Reelection in Ecuador
National Electoral Council Denies Request for Popular Vote

MEXICO
Mexico to stop shipping ready-to-use fuel to curb thefts

Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex has announced it will stop shipping ready-to-use petrol and diesel through its pipelines, in an effort to curb fuel thefts.

Pemex says it will use its pipelines across Mexico only for unfinished fuel.

That fuel will go through a last phase of mixing when it reaches the company’s storage plants.

More than $1bn (£650,000) worth of fuel was stolen by Mexican gangs in 2014, an increase of 70% over the previous year.

TOWERS OF SECRECY
Mexican Political Family Has Close Ties to Ruling Party, and Homes in the U.S.
The properties stand in contrast to the working-man image promoted by José Murat Casab, a longtime party insider, and his son, a top housing official.

NICARAGUA
Trouble Brewing in Nicaragua

PUERTO RICO
Race to the bottom: Moody’s Cuts Puerto Rico Rating Further into Junk
Two-notch downgrade brings the rating on Puerto Rico’s general obligation bonds to Caa1

VENEZUELA
Turmoil in Venezuela
Sliding toward dictatorship
The arrest of the mayor of Caracas is a sign that the regime will do whatever it takes to hold on to power.
Sliding?

The sudden rise of the bodyguards



The Presidents’ Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 16th, 2015

ARGENTINA
Prosecutor Pollicita charges President CFK in AMIA cover-up case

Alberto Nisman’s Death Just The Latest Example Of Large-Scale Corruption, Argentines Say

BOLIVIA
From Stratfor: U.S., Bolivia: The Pieces Are in Place for Improved Relations

BRAZIL
Whose oil in Brazil?
One of the many casualties of the Petrobras scandal is a misguided industrial policy

Carnival time in Brazil

CHILE
Son of Chilean president resigns
The son of Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet resigns as head of a government charity after being accused of influence peddling.

COLOMBIA
Colombian Oil Firm Recruits FBI to Weed Out Bribery
Four Years Pass before Friends-with-Benefits Contracts Surface

Uribe meets with US Congressmen to seek support for Colombia opposition

Colombia proposes world’s largest eco-corridor with Brazil, Venezuela

CUBA
Former Obama Official on Cuba Talks: “We didn’t want anything in return”

Dissident savagely attacked by Castro thugs

Aggressive new HIV strain detected in Cuba
Researchers said an aggressive HIV strain in Cuba progresses into AIDS so fast that treatment with antiretroviral drugs may come too late.

Turkey’s Erdogan wants to build a mosque in Cuba. It’s based on a historical fallacy.

ECUADOR
The President Of Ecuador Just Went Off On John Oliver In Hilarious Rant

IMMIGRATION
OBAMA’S AMNESTY: IT’S EVEN WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT

JAMAICA
In historic move, Jamaica extradites fraud suspect

LATIN AMERICA
What’s Putin’s Game in the Western Hemisphere?
The Russians are coming—again
.

Worldwide Threat Assessment

MEXICO
Heisenberg: Bill Clinton apologizes to Mexico for the war on drugs which he blames for fueling violence in the country
Bill Clinton spoke at a summit on Youth and Productivity in Mexico
He said: ‘I wish you had no narco-trafficking, but it’s not really your fault’
He then blamed U.S. efforts which had forced trafficking over land
Clinton’s administration followed past president’s efforts on drugs war

HSBC has form: remember Mexico and laundered drug money
For the bank to get off with hollow statements of apology is to treat us all with contempt

NICARAGUA
Skeptical Panama takes heed of planned Nicaraguan canal

PANAMA
Ohio? Panama Canal expansion shipping jobs to Ohio

Appalachian Ohio could benefit most, in part because the Ohio River could receive goods from the canal after they’ve made their way to the United States via the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River or the East Coast and the Port of Virginia.

PERU
Argentina oil company leaves Peru town after protests

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico bankruptcy bill to get House hearing: source

URUGUAY
Uruguay: Árabes, persas y espías, último capítulo de la gestión Almagro

You think? Uruguay Undecided on Accepting More Syrian Refugees

VENEZUELA
‘Coup plot foiled’ in Venezuela
An ex-air force general is arrested and more than 10 others implicated in a plot to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, officials say.

Coup = toucan’s saliva

Clashes in Venezuela as economic shortages continue to bite
A year after violent clashes between opposition protestors and government forces left 43 dead, protestors returned to the streets of Venezuela

Reporters without Borders: Venezuela flunks in Press Freedom Index
The 2015 World Press Freedom Index, prepared by NGO Reporters without Borders, highlights increasing difficulties in Latin America for journalists to do their job in 2014. Venezuela fell 21 places from 2013

Escándalo en el HSBC revela cuenta en Suiza de Hugo Chávez con 12 mil millones de dólares

The week’s posts and podcast:
Smart diplomacy: “We didn’t want anything in return” from Cuba

Today on Drudgereport

Argentina: Gitmo alumnus “ready to fight”

Latin America: Worldwide Threat Assessment

Ecuador: John Oliver goofs on Correa

Argentina: Why we’ll probably never learn the truth about the #Nisman murder

Venezuela: Persecuting the retailers

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Argentina: A case of “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown?” UPDATE

Netflix in Cuba, yeah, right

Podcast:
On Venezuela, Argentina & US-Latin America

The dropping helicopters Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 9th, 2015

The Indian helicopters that Ecuador bought keep falling off the sky, but the bigger story is Iran’s continued presence in the region.

ARGENTINA
China to supply Argentina five “Malvinas Class” offshore patrol vessels
Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is expected to sign agreements with China to increase military co-operation, including construction of new warships for the Argentine Navy, during her current state visit to Beijing, according to media reports and Jane’s Defense Weekly.

Argentinian president to write letter to Mia Farrow over tweets
Fernández will write letters to the actress and Martina Navratilova in response to tweets about the mysterious death of a federal prosecutor

Death of prosecutor leaves Argentina’s Jewish community angry and distrustful
The mysterious death of Alberto Nisman, who was investigating a 1994 terrorist attack, has alarmed many Jews but others warn against over-simplifying the case

BOLIVIA
Stranger in a Strange Land: An Internship Gone Bad

BRAZIL
Rio carnival downsizing and another cancelled as Brazil feels the pinch
Brazil is tightening its purse strings ahead of the 2016 Olympics and carnivals across the country are downsizing or have been cancelled

CHILE
Chile’s Bachelet Renews Bid to Legalize Abortion
Religious Groups Prepare to Fight Proposed Exemptions

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s FARC rebels invite Miss Universe to attend peace talks
Newly crowned beauty queen Paulina Vega Rebels surprised after being invited to assist guerillas’ peace negotiations with the government.

CUBA
A Tally of What Cuba Owes the World

FPI Bulletin: More Questions than Answers at Cuba Hearings

ECUADOR
Jorge Zabala presenta denuncia ante Consejo de la Judicatura
Posibilidad de fraude procesal, alerta defensor de los hermanos Isaías

Ecuador Grapples With Grounded Freighter
Ecuador has declared a 180-day state of emergency in the protected Galápagos Islands, while it continues to unload and work toward refloating a freighter that ran aground last week.

GUATEMALA
Guatemala volcano eruption forces evacuations
Fuego volcano belches black ash, forcing 100 residents to be moved out and closing the capital’s international airport

IMMIGRATION
Obama administration issues 5.5M work permits to non-citizens; critics call it ‘shadow’ immigration system

POPE FRANCIS: APPLY RULE OF LAW WHEN DEALING WITH IMMIGRANTS

MEXICO
Experts question Mexican investigation of 43 students’ disappearance
Argentinian forensic team hired on behalf of students’ parents says government presented biased analyses of the scientific evidence

Two US Army Vets Missing In Mexican Border City With Raging Cartel War

Conflict of interest in Mexico
A false start
Mixed messages in a new anti-corruption campaign

MISERY INDEX
The five most miserable countries in the world at the end of 2014 are, in order: Venezuela, Argentina, Syria, Ukraine, and Iran.

NICARAGUA
Can a Chinese billionaire build a canal across Nicaragua? Depends on who else is backing him up.

PANAMA
Panama Becomes First Latin American Nation to Join Coalition Against ISIS

PERU
Peru’s no-convictions politician
A failed labour reform exposes the limits of pragmatism

PUERTO RICO
It’s called “rule of law”: Puerto Rico Restructuring Law Thrown Out in Bondholder Win

Investment funds of Franklin Resources Inc. and OppenheimerFunds Inc., which hold more than $1.5 billion in bonds issued by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, convinced a federal judge in San Juan that bankruptcy law and the U.S. Constitution trump the commonwealth’s legislation.

The law, passed under threat of a fiscal emergency, would have allowed public utilities such as the power authority, or Prepa, to negotiate with bondholders to reduce their debt loads, potentially forcing investors to accept unfavorable terms, according to the funds’ complaint.

URUGUAY
Uruguay questioned Iranian diplomat over fake bomb near Israeli embassy
Convincing-looking dummy bomb detonated outside Montevideo offices
Iranian ambassador summoned to Uruguayan foreign office in December
Diplomat denied any connection but has now left country

Jose Mujica Was Every Liberal’s Dream President. He Was Too Good to Be True.
He spoke truth to power, and legalized marijuana and abortion. So why are Uruguay’s progressives so disappointed?

VENEZUELA
Venezuela accuses UK of smuggling ‘spy glasses’ into trial of opposition leader
Leopoldo Lopez’s father says it was he, not a British diplomat, who brought in the video glasses, but prosecutor claims there was collusion with the family

Nelson Mandela’s Lawyer on a Mission for Leopoldo’s Release
Irwin Cotler Joins Imprisoned Opponent’s Defense Team amid Human-Rights Row

Running Out of Time: Dimming Prospects for Reform in Venezuela

Venezuela Maduro: State seizes supermarket chain

The week’s posts and podcast:
Separated at birth?

Sunday evening tango: Mario Bournissen & Laura Rusconi

Uruguay: Iranian diplomat expelled after bomb explosion near Israeli embassy

Argentina: And now the spy is missing

Moral equivalence strikes again

Cuba: Next, O will give away Gitmo

Colombia: Is that a Russian RPG in your pocket?

China: Cristina’s twit UPDATED

Argentina: #Nisman is front-page news at the NYT

Argentina: Nisman wanted Cristina’s arrest UPDATE

50 Shades of meh

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
A few thoughts about Bruce Jenner

Univision plays the world’s smallest violin

Podcast:
On Silvio Canto‘s

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Colombia: Is that a Russian RPG in your pocket?

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

The Santos administration’s peace talks with the FARC resumed yesterday in Havana. Maybe they’ll bring this up:

Colombia military seizes anti-aircraft rockets ‘meant for FARC’

Colombia’s military said Wednesday it had seized 16 anti-aircraft rockets which were allegedly destined for the rebel group FARC.

The commander of the Pegasus Task Force, General Luis Fernando Rojas, announced that as well as the rockets which are capable of taking down an aircraft, the army also seized 20 other cargoes and 470 loads of 40mm grenades.

The Russian-made RPG 7V anti-tank rockets were on their way to the 29th Front of the FARC when they were intercepted by the military, Rojas said.

The general stated that the operation was conducted in the municipality of Aldana, which borders Ecuador.

How’s that truce going, folks?

The Groundhog Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

To many observers of Latin America, watching developing news in our hemisphere almost makes every day Groundhog Day.

So let’s start with a little humor, since otherwise there are plenty of bad news,

ARGENTINA
Free press flees Argentina

Cry for Argentina as terrorists and gangsters get away with murder

The view from Buenos Aires
Justice in the dock
The mysterious death of a prosecutor who accused the president of misconduct has Argentines up in arms

Nisman did not trust his bodyguards, says friend who loaned him gun

BRAZIL
Brazil’s Economy Is On The Verge Of Total Collapse

Brazil Ends 2014 with First Budget Deficit in 13 Years

New Surge in Street Violence Plagues Rio de Janeiro
Amid a police ‘pacification’ effort, residents of the city’s poorer neighborhoods are getting caught in the crossfire as criminal gangs fight back.

CENTRAL AMERICA
Obama administration requests $1 billion in aid for Central America

CHILE
Periodista Tomás Mosciatti remece las redes sociales con análisis sobre el gobierno de Bachelet

Chile Trims Copper Prices Expectations for 2015

Chile’s President Bachelet proposes end to total abortion ban

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s Fugitive Ex-Spy Chief to Surrender, Lawyer Says

The Jesus race: Colombia builds ‘tallest Jesus statue’ in Americas

CUBA
Must-read: Cuba Relations: Another Obama Fiasco in the Making?

Castro Is Now Issuing Demands On U.S. — Well Done, Mr. Obama

The Cuba Deal: Coexisting And Profiting With Tyrants

How Tourism Foments Repression 101

ECUADOR
Twitter Suspends User Account over Jokes at Correa’s Expense
Ecuadorian President Vows to Expose His Online Critics

HONDURAS
Honduran official angered by citizen perceptions of crime
Honduras’ foreign minister wrote a stern letter after a think tank published a report saying more than 30 percent of Hondurans indicated they were victims of crime last year. Official crime statistics are lower, but many lack confidence in police and don’t report all crimes.

IMMIGRATION
1,000 CRIMINAL IMMIGRANTS RELEASED IN 2013 COMMITTED NEW CRIMES

MEXICO
Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

Mexico to Cut Planned Spending
Government Seeks to Offset Effects of Lower Oil Prices and Adverse Global Economic Conditions

NICARAGUA
Tackling Cold War Demons in Nicaragua

PANAMA
Panama Supreme Court to Open Graft Probe against Martinelli

PARAGUAY
German Couple Working As Farmers Killed In Paraguay; Government Blames Leftist Guerrillas

PERU
Peru Repeals Controversial Labor Law

PUERTO RICO
You’re still on time for the Festival Casals (Feb 26 – Mar 14, 2015). Yo-Yo Ma is playing Elgar on the 15th.

VENEZUELA
“We love Venezuela because it welcomes foreigners as one of their own:”

Because nothing says “heartwarming” like spending 48 hours in detention: Odd Photo Choice for Venezuela Promotional Effort

VENEZUELAN SECURITY HEAD DEFECTS, BLOWS WHISTLE ON REGIME

Volver a ser pobre en Venezuela
La inflación galopante lleva a miles de ciudadanos a recaer en la pobreza. Los programas oficiales de ayuda no dan para más

THE WEEK’S POSTS AND PODCAST
El Salvador: Two American detainees, zero evidence

Puerto Rico, la isla estrella

Cuba: US clueless on number of fugitives

Today’s Capt. Louis Renault moment: Hugo Chavez died before he was of officially “dead”

Venezuela: Fire at will

Colombia: Santos wants former FARC as cops

Argentina: Tango and fireworks

Argentina: #Nisman’s funeral

Cuba: Gimme, gimme, gimme Gitmo!

Argentina: Cristina wants to dissolve Secretariat of Intelligence

Venezuela: The talking bodyguard

Argentina: Today’s cartoon

Venezuela: Turned away at the prison gates

Argentina: Yesterday, and today

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Coaching Loretta

Mexico: What happened to the 43 students?

Podcast:
Cuba, Argentina & US-Latin America stories of the week