Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

The free market Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

LatinAmerLatin Free Markets Rule as Pacific Ocean Nations Beat Atlantic

ARGENTINA
Argentina Leaves Singer for Last in Preparing Bond Market Return

After a 20-hour meeting with officials from the Paris-based group of creditor nations, which kept President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner awake until 2 a.m., Argentina said yesterday that it agreed to pay $9.7 billion over five years to settle claims stretching back to the government’s record $95 billion default in 2001. South America’s second-biggest economy hasn’t issued bonds in international markets since it stopped payments.

Solving the remaining dispute with holdout creditors including billionaire Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. is becoming more urgent with foreign-exchange reserves stuck near an eight-year low. Argentina needs the money to fund investment, defend its currency and make payments on restructured bonds, while any proceeds from a U.S. bond sale could be seized by creditors backed by court orders saying they’re owed billions.

BRAZIL
Video (starts right away): Staying safe at the World Cup in Brazil
Health and safety fears are growing as foreign fans prepare to travel to Brazil with worries of crime, disease, policing and fake medicines

Brazil’s World Cup Is An Expensive, Exploitative Nightmare
Brazilians angry at their government and FIFA could turn this giant soccer tournament into a tipping point. Are these corrupt, elitist spectacles worth it?

Nao Vai Ter Copa has become a national rallying cry. There Will Be No World Cup.

CHILE
Will Chile’s politicians ruin the Latin tiger?
The free-market revolution in Chile is remarkable. If you look at the Economic Freedom of the World rankings, Chile was in last place in 1970. Now it’s around 10th. It would be tragic if Leftists ruined it

COLOMBIA
García Márquez’s Blind Spot

CUBA
Two Generations Lost to Communism

The Castros in Their Labyrinth

ECUADOR
No Messiah Please, We’re Ecuadorian

Beware of pickpockets: Tory MP is robbed on first day of mountaineering jaunt to Ecuador – after ignoring Foreign Office advice

MEXICO
Marine jailed in Mexico recounts harrowing attempt to escape from prison

Oil-Tinged Graft Scandal Roils Mexico
Ex-chief of oil-services firm with close ties to the PAN political party is arrested and charged with allegedly defrauding a Citigroup unit

PANAMA
Commercial shipping lanes changed in Panama to save humpback whales

PARAGUAY
World’s Happiest Country? Would You Believe Paraguay?

PERU
Spanish company to upgrade Peru refinery in $3.5 bn deal

PUERTO RICO
In Puerto Rico, Cocaine Gains Access to U.S

VENEZUELA
Tick-tock, on Relojes del Chavismo

The week’s posts and podcast:
Ecuador’s looking for a few good extras

Colombia: Zuluaga change of heart?

Mexico: PRD lobbying Washington

Venezuela: US to sanction chavistas

Cuba: Why is the US Chamber of Commerce chief visiting?

Brazil: World Cup blues UPDATED

En español: Terapia intensiva #209

Venezuela: 9.8% in extreme poverty

Venezuela: Wives of jailed mayors win

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Venezuela: Bi-partisan US Congress approves sanctions bill

Colombia: What the FARC really want

Podcast:
Elections in Colombia PLUS other US-Latin America stories of the week

Colombia: Zuluaga change of heart?

Friday, May 30th, 2014

In an apparent change of heart, Colombian presidential runner-up Oscar Iván Zuluaga declared that he would not suspend the peace negotiations with the FARC taking place in Havana.

He did, however, assert that “we shall continue our fundamental demand, the cease of all criminal action against Colombians.”

Zuluaga

did not say how long he would give the FARC to declare a ceasefire, a condition it has rejected until now, but said he softened his stance at the request of Conservative Party leader Marta Lucia Ramirez in exchange for her support in the run-off vote campaign.

Call me a cynic, but this looks to me like a statement purely for local consumption, designed to diffuse Santos’s false choice of it’s-Santos-or-war, redacted after internal polls may have shown that it would favor his election on the June 15th runoff.

Colombia: What the FARC really want

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

faustaI’m posting at Da Tech Guy Blog on the Colombian election and the FARC negotiations:
Colombia: What the FARC really want

Silvio Canto and I talked on this and other subjects in last night’s podcast.

The Memorial Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 26th, 2014

LatinAmerWith deep gratitude to all who have served our beautiful country in the armed forces, this week’s Carnival.

ARGENTINA
Spanish oil company Repsol ends operations in Argentina
Spanish oil company Repsol has ended its operations in Argentina, two years after the government seized its assets.

Last month the Argentine congress gave final approval to pay $5bn (£3bn) in compensation for Repsol’s stake in Argentine oil firm YPF.

The Spanish company has now announced that it has sold the last batch of bonds it received to cover its losses.

Argentina’s Jewish community talks fondly of friend Francis in the Vatican
Rabbi Abraham Skorka only one of large number of Argentinian Jews with whom pope has developed strong, personal ties

A Desperate Mother’s Search Leads to a Fight Against Sex Trafficking
Desperate for answers about her daughter’s disappearance in 2002, Susana Trimarco started the Fundación María de los Ángeles, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates sex slaves in Argentina.

BAHAMAS
Ah, Bahamas: Sun, Sand and the NSA Recording Your Cell Phone Calls

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Hires Spain’s Isotron to Build Solar Power Plant

BRAZIL
Brazil Deploys Vast World Cup Security Plan
Brazil is spending $855 million on security and safety during the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup, which the country will host from June 12 to July 13, the government said on Friday.

Freak hail storm strikes World Cup 2014 host city Sao Paulo
A hail storm covers streets in ice in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo which will host the opening match of the football World Cup in less than a month

CHILE
Revolutionary ‘tears-up’ £300m student debt to protest fees
A Chilean artist has destroyed £300m of student debt ‘IOUs’ to protest tuition charges

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s President Santos to face Zuluaga in run-off vote
Official results from Colombia’s presidential election say the incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos will face his main rival, Oscar Zuluaga, in a run-off next month.

Oscar Iván Zuluaga, a conservative candidate closely allied with former President Álvaro Uribe, won the most votes in the first round of Sunday’s presidential election.

CUBA
Yoani Sanchez’s Independent Online Publication Unblocked in Cuba

From Inside Cuba’s Burning Fire

Miami, Safe Haven for Cuban Torturers? Federal Case of Ethiopian Abuser Reminder, You Cannot Hide from US Justice

Andres Oppenheimer: In Cuba, technology may beat censorship

A Cagy KGB Rabbi

ECUADOR
Ecuador to Begin Oil Drilling in Amazonia

Presidente for life: Ecuador’s Correa Seeks to Allow Indefinite Re-Election of All Officials
Ecuador’s President Asks for Constitutional Amendment

EL SALVADOR
6 Gunned Down on Bus in El Salvador

GUATEMALA
U.S. Sentences Guatemala Ex-President to 5 Years for Money Laundering

HONDURAS
In Violent Honduras, Soccer Is Offering Young Children An Escape From Gangs, Drugs

JAMAICA
Lobbyists call for Jamaica to decriminalize pot

MEXICO
Marine hero stuck in Mexican prison on gun charges

Mexican Zapatista head Marcos steps down
The leader of the Zapatista rebels in southern Mexico, Subcomandante Marcos, announces he is leaving the 20-year-old guerrilla group.

Mexican federal forces rescue 68 CentAm migrants being held captive

How Mexico’s New President Is Turning His Country Into a Servile US Client
Enrique Peña Nieto is using violence and repression to dismantle his country’s progressive legacy.
So, is servility why Mexico’s holding Andrew Tahmooressi?

PERU
U.S. Opens Talks with Peru on Waiving Visas

Attorney: Joran van der Sloot to marry in Peruvian prison, become father

PUERTO RICO
Borinqueneers to get Congressional Gold Medal

URUGUAY
Marijuana to Be Sold for Less Than $1 a Gram in Uruguay
Authorities said the price was deliberately set below what marijuana sells for illegally, and the quality control of the drug available at pharmacies would be “very high”

VENEZUELA
CNN team denied right to cover Venezuela local elections

Surprise! Latrine America backs Maduro in Venenozuela

Mythbusting the reduction of poverty

Unfortunately, A Bleak Future For Venezuelans.

Crackdown presents challenge to Citizens Energy, Joe Kennedy II

The week’s posts and podcast:
Puerto Rico: rising volume of drugs coming from Venezuela

Colombia: Who will be the next president?

En español: Unidad de quemados

Mexico: Kevin’s selfie

Bob Menendez on the Venezuelan nightmare

LatAm in top-10 happiest

UN: Cuba to chair World Health Assembly

Venezuela: Chavistas rolling in dough

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Cuba and moral blindness

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week


Colombia: Who will be the next president?

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Today’s the first round of the Colombian presidential election.

I say the first round because it’s unlikely that current-president Santos will get a large enough majority to avoid a second round.

Uribista Óscar Iván Zuluaga was making headway until the video scandal popped up:
Colombian Presidential Candidate Stumbles Over Campaign Allegations
Conservative Óscar Iván Zuluaga’s Surge in Pre-Vote Polls Hurt by Flap Over Videotapes

A 55-year-old former finance minister who has centered his campaign on sharply criticizing Mr. Santos’ peace talks with Marxist rebels, Mr. Zuluaga became entangled in the scandal after one of his campaign workers was arrested on May 6 for allegedly spying on Mr. Santos’s emails and those of guerrilla commanders participating in negotiations taking place in Havana, Cuba, with the Colombian government.

Eighteen days, two viral videos and numerous denials later, Mr. Zuluaga just can’t shake off accusations he was directly involved in what prosecutors here call a complex case of computer hacking.

Zuluaga denies involvement with the spying that the Santos campaign accused him of orchestrating.

Santos, however, had a scandal, too,

another scandal took off on May 8, when Mr. Zuluaga’s most powerful supporter, former President Álvaro Uribe, alleged $2 million that may have been tainted by drug trafficking was funneled into Mr. Santos’ 2010 presidential campaign. The Santos administration denied accepting funds from drug traffickers, and prosecutors said Mr. Uribe didn’t presented evidence.

Al-Jazeera has Five reasons to care about Colombia’s polls
Arms dealers, coffee drinkers and potential holidaymakers, take note.

5) Colombia is now the closest Western ally in South America, bucking the left’s pink tide

There’s enough dissatisfaction that Colombia Politics blog advises, If no one deserves your vote, vote “en blanco”. The Miami Herald speculates, Analysts say it’s far from clear how badly Zuluaga will be hurt by the scandal, but some have suggested it may sap enough votes to put another candidate into the second round against Santos.The Brazilian psychic predicts Zuluaga will be the next president:

As Drudge says, developing . . .


The abridged Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 19th, 2014

LatinAmerSince last week I was attending my son’s college graduation, this week’s Carnival is brief.

Congratulations to my son in his wonderful achievement.

ARGENTINA
Court In Argentina Strikes Down `Truth Commission` With Iran
A federal appeals court in Argentina declared unconstitutional a controversial agreement between the South American country and Iran to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.

Argentina’s Vice President May Have to Testify
An Argentine federal appeals court decision on Friday opened the door for Vice President Amado Boudou to be called to testify as a suspect in a criminal investigation.

La herencia kirchnerista
La sociedad enfrenta divisiones inducidas desde el poder político, y la unión nacional se ha vuelto a convertir en una asignatura constitucional pendiente

BRAZIL
Police clash with protesters near São Paulo airport
Tear gas and rubber bullets fired amid demonstrations less than a month before Brazilian city hosts World Cup opener

COLOMBIA
Inside Medellin: How Pablo Escobar’s hometown hopes to become South America’s ‘Silicon Valley’
Medellin was once the world’s most murderous city, famed for cocaine cartels and death squads. But now, writes Harriet Alexander, it is putting its business acumen to good use, and reinventing itself as a thriving tech hub

Colombia rebels and government reach agreement on drugs
FARC will divorce itself from the drug trade.
Color me skeptical.

Alvaro Uribe president again in a month. What happens then?

CUBA
Remarks by Cuban author and democracy leader, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C.

ECUADOR
Galapagos emergency over stranded cargo ship
Ecuador has declared an emergency in the Galapagos Islands, saying that a cargo ship which ran aground last week still poses a threat to the archipelago’s fragile ecosystem.

HONDURAS
SLAUGHTER OF HONDURAN CHILDREN LIKELY LINKED TO TEXAS ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION INFLUX

MEXICO
Mexico ‘Los Rojos crime cartel boss’, Leonor Nava Romero, arrested
Mexican authorities say they have jailed the head of a major criminal gang in the southern state of Guerrero.

PUERTO RICO
The Fight To Save Puerto Rico’s ‘Alcatraz Of The Caribbean’, the Oso Blanco,

Oso Blanco is on the National Register of Historic Places and was named after the cement brand used to build it. Among its claims to fame: a 1974 exhibition fight featuring boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who sparred with an inmate while Puerto Rican actress and singer Iris Chacón served as referee.

PERU
Peruvian Regional President Suspected in Murder of a Rival
Court Issues Arrest Warrants for Cesar Alvarez and Others in Connection With Killing of Activist in March

VENEZUELA
Taps: Last of Protesters Keep Vigil in Venezuela
A small group of protesters in the city San Cristóbal, the town where the recent nationwide demonstrations began, try to keep up the pressure after the government largely succeeded in cowing the opposition.

I am afraid there is no peaceful outcome for Venezuela anymore

In the land of silicone socialism

The week’s posts:
Argentina: Joseph Stiglitz’s conflict of interest

Argentina: World’s largest dinosaur found

Saturday night kizomba: Isabelle and Félicien

Brazil: 1 stadium, 3 x the cost

En español: La historia de Argenzuela

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Venezuela: Crackdown time


The Chevron settlement Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 12th, 2014

LatinAmerLast week Chevron received from Patton Boggs, the former #1 lobbying law firm in the country, an apology, a $15million payment, and most remarkably,

Perhaps more unusual is the law firm’s agreement to deliver partners James Tyrrell and Eric Westenberger to Gibson Dunn’s New York offices for depositions overseen by a court-appointed special master. The firm has also agreed to turn over documents, provided its former clients don’t prevail on challenges under the attorney-client privilege.

This apology is phenomenally interesting.

ARGENTINA
Litigious investors ask US Supreme Court to deny Argentina a ‘do-over’ on $1.4B debt ruling

BOLIVIA
Bolivian mayor caught on video groping journalist, and he was persistent, too,

BRAZIL
Is Brazil Losing Global Momentum?

1,500 Attack Brazilian Construction Giant’s HQ

Brazil’s frantic eleventh hour World Cup preparations

CHILE
Chile president to visit Obama on June 30

Bachelet won but Chile police clash with activists as thousands protest for free education

COLOMBIA
Colombia: Hacker Tried to Sabotage Peace Talks

CUBA
Cuba: The Splendid Little War – A Boardgaming Way Review

AIG Fined for Cuba Sanctions Violations

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haiti, Dominican Republic Postpone Meeting

ECUADOR
In Self-Promotion Abroad, Ecuador’s Correa Omits His Repression of Critics at Home

GUATEMALA
A Coffee Crop Withers
Fungus Cripples Coffee Production Across Central America

MEXICO
Mexico to Try Former State Governor for Embezzlement

NICARAGUA
BORDER DISPUTE
Costa Rica’s foreign minister accuses Russia of helping militarize Nicaragua

Russia “announced the desire to have bases in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, with the euphemistic name of ‘bases for refueling and resupplying’ for its ships. But we know it’s not just about that,” Castillo said.

PANAMA
Panama’s Construction Union Ends Strike

PERU
A 5,000 feet free fall: Peru air force officer survives fall after parachute malfunction

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Unveils Economic Recovery Plan Details

URUGUAY
Monsanto plans to patent genetically modified marijuana in Uruguay

VENEZUELA

 

Policeman killed in Venezuela after security forces break up protester camp
Violent clashes between police and protesters after troops arrest 243 students in pre-dawn raids on tented camps in Caracas leaves one officer dead

Venezuelans Ask What Now After Protest Camp Raids

Machurucuto, 1967 – Venezuela’s Bay of Pigs: Fidel Castro’s first ploy to lay his hand on Venezuela’s oil riches

Can the United States Play a Role in Venezuela?

Is Venezuela seeking the status of pariah state?

BREAKING NEWS: Ros-Lehtinen Venezuela sanctions bill passes House Foreign Affairs Committee, clears first hurdle to holding Maduro accountable

Capital flight in Venezuela could well exceed $405.8 billion

One for the “no sh*t, Sherlock” file: The ‘Dialogue’ in Venezuela Is a Fraud
More than 500 citizens have been arrested since negotiations began.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Panama: And now, price controls

The Boring Veins of Latin America

En español: Terapia Intensiva 206

Chile: Down with entrepreneurs

Ecuador: Patton Boggs to pay Chevron $15 million

Colombia: Another campaign aide quits

Venezuela: Armed civilians fight protesters

Colombia: Santos campaign chief resigns

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
What the #hashtag?

Milton Friedman and the Sahara, Caracas and water

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week


Colombia: Another campaign aide quits

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

First Rendon, now Andres Fernando Sepulveda; Rendon has not been charged, but Sepulveda is under arrest (emphasis added):
Aide to Colombia Presidential Candidate Arrested on Spy Charge
Advisor to Oscar Ivan Zuluaga Charged With Intercepting Emails of President, Chief Rebel Negotiator

An adviser to a leading candidate in Colombia’s presidential election was arrested Tuesday and charged with heading a spy ring that allegedly intercepted the emails of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Marxist rebels’ chief negotiator in peace talks with the government.

Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre read the charges at a news conference after authorities raided a Bogotá office and arrested Andres Fernando Sepulveda, who is an adviser to Oscar Ivan Zuluaga. Mr. Zuluaga, a conservative supported by former President Álvaro Uribe in his quest to win the presidency on May 25, is in second place in the latest polls behind Mr. Santos, who is seeking re-election.
. . .
The attorney general said that the spy ring’s objective appeared to have been to sabotage the peace talks, which began in November 2012 and are being held in Havana, Cuba. Mr. Montealegre said investigators had not determined who was benefiting from the information.

Colombia: Santos campaign chief resigns

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Today’s top news in Latin America:
J.J. Rendón, who has managed some of the most successful political campaigns in Latin America (and the failed campaign for Henrique Capriles in Venezuela, which he did pro-bono), has resigned as campaign manager for Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos on allegations that Rendón had negotiated with drug traffickers an offer to surrender in 2011 and shut down their operations.

Who is J.J. Rendón?

Rendón is THE topmost campaign advisor in Latin America. He plays to win, and plays hardball. Here’s his talk on neo-totalitarianism:

Who is the accuser?
The man making the accusations, Javier Antonio Calle, was one of Colombia’s most hunted drug traffickers. He turned himself in to the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2012 and is now in jail in the U.S.

The firestorm:
Since Colombia is holding a presidential election on May 25, this has generated a political firestorm.

Adding to the fire, there’s also the 18-month old FARC negotiations in Havana, Rendón’s opposition to Chavismo (he’s Venezuelan), and speculation as to what role international players may have had in the release of this news. One may also have to consider Calle’s motivations, too.

The Espectador story:
Last Sunday El Espectador newspaper published an article claiming that Rendón was given $12 million for submitting a proposal to end 90% the country’s lucrative drug trade

According to El Espectador, the former drug lord, Javier Antonio Calle, alias “Comba,” has told prosecutors that several of the country’s drug traffickers made ​​a deal in 2011 with Rendon in order to submit the proposal to the government.

The proposal outlined a route to shutting down 90% of Colombia’s drug trade, with the surrender of top capos and their henchmen. Among those who participated in the proposal were some of Colombia’s top drug lords, such as Luis Enrique Calle, alias “Comba,” alias “Cuchillo,” Diego Rastrojo, and Loco Barrera.

The 2011 document called ”Agenda for solving the problem of drug trafficking and the violence it generates,” allegedly shows that Rendon officiated as a general strategist for the proposal, which was facilitated by former ELN guerrillas Francisco Galan and Jorge Castañeda. Other sources consulted by El Espectador confirmed that Rendon was actively involved in creating the plan.

Rendon subsequently told El Espectador that there was no exchange of money, that he “acted as a simple messenger”. He insists that he only recently learned the details of the proposal, adding that he will take legal action in response to the allegations.

In the dossier held by El Espectador, Rendon is described as the “general strategist” charged with “damage control, crisis management and facilitator of the negotiations.”

When asked by the journalist Daniel Coronell of Semana Magazine if money had been involved, Rendon replied that, “if there was money involved it must have been in the hands of those who put him in touch with representatives of the narcos: the then senior presidential advisor for political affairs German Chica.”

Rendón has tweeted seven points in response, which I translate (Rendón’s tweets posted below the fold)

1. I received from F[rancisco] Galán a request to communicate to the Government the illegal groups’ proposal to submit to justice.

2. I communicated to Mr. President @JuanManSantos in the presence of prosecutor @Viviane_Morales and General Naranjo their intention.

3. Mr. President @JuanManSantos requested that I channel to the Prosecutor’s Office the documents of that intention to submit to justice.

4. So I did: transparently and officially. With the document # 2011-100-001832-3 dated 7/5/2011 at the General Prosecutor’s Office (Despacho de la Fiscal General).

5. The document was on the hands of the competent authority, for study and follow-up. That was the extent of my part in that matter.

6. I firmly insist that I have not received any money, stipend or benefit, and I dare anyone who says I have to prove it.

7. I am fully willing to collaborate with the competent authorities to clarify anything they may consider relevant, as always!

Uribe’s tweets:
Former president Álvaro Uribe, who is staunchly opposed to negotiations with the narcoterrorists, in turn tweeted,

Pres. Santos has been carrying a long dialogue with ELN in spite of that terrorist organization’s continuous crime, adding it to the FARC’s impunity.”

and,

Pres. Santos announces reform to Prosecutor’s [Office] on the day they ordered to investigate him.”

My question:
Never mind Santos; Who gains the most by taking down Rendón?

(more…)

The cinco de mayo Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Today is May 5th, in Spanish cinco de mayo, and whether you celebrate or not, ignore the insecure who don’t want you to avail yourself of business opportunities.

juan_soloStay thirsty, my friends.

(Juan Solo via Doug Mataconis‘s FaceBook feed)

ARGENTINA
ARGENTINA Y LA NARCO-CORRUPCION

Slums in Buenos Aires
The unplugged
Efforts to integrate shantytowns are hampered by a lack of trust and money

BRAZIL
Welfare and tax boost for Brazil poor
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff announces an increase in social security payments and tax cuts ahead of her re-election campaign in October.

Poll Shows Brazil President Could Face Runoff
The latest poll of Brazilian voters is showing for the first time that President Dilma Rousseff may face a runoff in October’s presidential election
due to a lackluster economy.

Inflation is running around 6%, while economic growth isn’t expected to surpass 2% this year.

CHILE
Chile’s electoral system
Ending the permanent draw

COLOMBIA
A Dutch Guerillera: The Foreign Face of FARC’s Civil War
Tanja Nijmeijer of Holland spent more than 10 years fighting with the rebel group FARC in the jungles of Colombia. More recently, she has been part of the guerillas’ peace negotiating team in Cuba. What drives her?

A Building Boom in Bogotá
With a growing economy, a declining crime rate and an influx of developers, Colombia’s capital is seeing a rise in luxury housing; Richard Meier’s vision in glass and steel

Rescuers search for Colombia miners
Rescuers are using large mechanical diggers to try to reach people trapped underground after an illegal gold mine collapsed in Colombia.

CUBA
Pastor/ex-political prisoner Omar Gude and wife testify on lack of religious liberty in Cuba

Castro’s Russian Power Play Over the European Union

Castronoid lobby launches propaganda campaign on Twitter, on the Web, and in Washington D.C

ECUADOR
Ecuadorian president demands that indigenous group give up defamers
Rafael Correa accuses Kichwa leaders of acting above the law in holding three opposition activists convicted of defaming him

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador: Ex-President Faces Charges
Former President Francisco Flores will face embezzlement and other corruption charges related to what prosecutors said Wednesday was the misappropriation of at least $5.3 million in loans from Taiwan during his tenure, from 1999 to 2004.

GUATEMALA
Attorney General in Guatemala Excluded From Re-election Bid
Claudia Paz y Paz, who has taken on a former dictator and top drug traffickers, was left off of a shortlist of candidates to be considered for re-election.

HONDURAS
Honduras Detains 9 Undocumented Cuban Migrants en Route to U.S.

Honduras children ‘killed by gangs’
Authorities in Honduras are investigating the deaths of at least seven children who may have been murdered after refusing to join criminal gangs.

JAMAICA
Jamaica scraps bank withdrawal tax, but Paco Santos may have had a business opportunity:

MEXICO
MEXICO CONSIDERS INCREASE IN MARRIAGE AGE TO 18

Mexico seizes ship carrying 68,000 tonnes of illegal iron
Mexican authorities say they have seized a ship belonging to a drugs cartel which was carrying 68,000 tonnes of illegal iron ore.

NICARAGUA
Costa Rica warns Russia is arming Nicaragua

Last month, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his country was “committed to further strengthening and modernising the army” with the help of any country willing to provide aid.

He did not give details of an agreement between Nicaragua and Russia.

But Russia’s ambassador in Managua had confirmed in March that Moscow is interested in building a military resupply base in Nicaragua.

Russian defense chief Sergei Shoigu has said that Russia is weighing increasing its military presence in countries including Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela – particularly bases to refuel Russian warplanes far from home.

PANAMA
Juan Carlos Varela Declared Victor in Panamanian Presidential Vote
Current Vice President Has 39% of the Vote With 60% of Votes Counted
, with 76% turnout:

Panama’s economy has grown by an average of more than 8% in recent years and is expected to expand by 7% this year, by far the best performance in the Americas. Since 2002, poverty has been slashed from more than 40% to a quarter of the population.

“One good thing is that that there are no big ideological differences,” Nicolás Ardito-Barletta, a former World Bank economist who served less than a year as president in the mid-1980s, said before the vote. “Nobody’s going to kill the goose.”

In Panama Vote, a Noncandidate Matters
Presidential elections in Panama on Sunday feature a crowded field of seven candidates, but are widely seen here as a referendum on one man who won’t appear on the ballot: conservative President Ricardo Martinelli.

PERU
Visit Choquequirao, Peru
Explore Peru’s famous Incan ruins in the lesser-known but still breathtaking city of Choquequirao

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico leads world in Walgreens, Walmart stores per sq. mile

Drug Trade Takes a Toll on Puerto Rico, Police Chief Says

URUGUAY
Uruguay unveils legal marijuana plan
Uruguay’s authorities reveal how marijuana will be produced and sold legally in the country at less than $1 a gramme.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan government arrests 58 foreigners ‘for inciting protests’
Interior Minister denounces alleged plot to promote unrest and overthrow Venezuela’s government as it is revealed dozens of foreign nationals are among the detained

Venezuelan Jewish Leader Says Anti-Semitism Has ‘Exploded’ in Recent Years in Latin America

Tales Of Bolivarian Inefficiency III: Chávez’ Frozen Cuban Dream

Chávez initially promised that Coppelia ice cream would be made with Venezuelan products and supplies. Milk products from Lacteos Los Andes (now practically bankrupt), sugar from CVA Azucar (now shut down, see first post) and orange, guava, mango, peach and coconut.

Well, 18 months later and now Chávez is dead, Coppelia produces ice cream, mostly creamy flavors, in irregular and limited fashion. Raw materials and supplies are all imported. Forget about all those fruit flavors, but its manager says raw materials come from Lacteos Los Andes, which is practically shut down. [See also Chavez’s Farming Utopia Withers as Pet Projects Abandoned]

The Money-Losing Machine in Caracas
Forget Chávez and his Bolivarian Revolution — it’s oil that wrecked the Venezuelan state.

Which brings us, finally, to the million-dollar question: In post-Chávez Venezuela, who has the political capital to institute the deep and painful reforms the country requires to break out of this wicked cycle? If Chávez himself — who was the closest to God you can get in Venezuelan politics — didn’t dare to touch the gasoline subsidy or move against the Armed Forces’ involvement in organized crime, who would dare? In the answer to that question, more than in the epic battles painted by the likes of María Corina Machado, lies the key to Venezuela’s long term future.

May 1 follies

Cedice: Fighting Socialism In Venezuela: The Work Of A Heroic Think Tank

The official corruption
The General Comptroller’s Office just published its latest report, and between lines, front firms which got away with dollars came to the spotlight again. The following list presents the irregularities admitted by the Venezuelan Government

The week’s posts and podcast:
Nestor fever #PoneleNestorATodo: Tympanoctomys Kirchnerorum UPDATED

Chile: Bienvenido, Putin

Mexico: Impunity for attacks on the press

@MarkSteynOnLine on the Benghazi lies

Highjacker returns from Cuba, objects to terms of conviction

Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez’s jail birthday

6 good writers from Latin America + 1

Iran in Latin America: Must-read report

Argentina: Trade surplus plummets

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
‘Dude, this was like two years ago’, and don’t miss the chart.

Brazil: Welcome to Usama’s!

Podcast:
“Foreign investment reforms” in Cuba PLUS US-Latin America this week