Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

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.

The Mexican Nazi cheerleaders Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 15th, 2015

LatinAmerOf all the odd news I’ve read in the past decade or so, the Mexican Nazi cheerleaders take the cake for crassness and ignorance (and I’m being kind), but they’re an example of the abysmal lack of history education in our hemisphere.

ARGENTINA
More contradictions: Nisman’s laptop not accessed after his death

Argentina president attacks ‘ill-mannered’ Cameron over FalklandsCristina Kirchner condemns David Cameron after PM tells Argentine foreign minister to stop ‘threatening’ residents on South Atlantic islands

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Urges OAS to Approve Declaration of Indigenous Rights after 18 Years

BRAZIL
Brazil $800m money laundering network broken up

CENTRAL AMERICA
CentAm aid cut back

CHILE
Chilean Teachers Vote to Continue Unlimited Strike

COLOMBIA
Colombia Farc rebel attack leave 500,000 without powerColombia’s Farc rebels have shot dead three police officers and cut off power to almost half a million people, the military has said.

CUBA
U.S. Senators Introduce Bill to End Cuba EmbargoThe Cuba Trade Act of 2015 would give private firms, including financial institutions, the right to conduct business with the Communist-ruled island.

Next Phase of the US-Cuba Faustian Bargain Goes Unchecked by Congress

Cuba’s Web Entrepreneurs Search for U.S. Clients, and Reliable Wi-FiAs the United States opens up to Cuba, a little-advertised circle of software developers, web designers and translators are selling their skills long-distance.

CUBA REPORT FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

ECUADOR
Ecuador Gets OPEC’s Support in Dispute with Chevron

GUATAMALA
Guatemalan Supreme Court Rules Pérez Molina Must Face the MusicJudiciary Greenlights Congressional Probe, Removal of Immunity

Guatemalans Demand Resignation of President Accused of Corruption

GUYANA
Economic war (a real one)

HAITI
Time to dissolve the UN: UN peacekeepers ‘barter goods for sex’UN peacekeepers regularly barter goods for sex with people in the countries the world body is meant to be helping, a draft UN report says.

HONDURAS
Wave of Protests Spreads to Scandal-Weary Honduras and Guatemala

JAMAICA
Despite doctor’s advice … J’CAN WOMEN RUSHING ‘VIRGIN SOAP’

MEXICO
Mexico’s mid-term electionsPunishing bad behaviourThe mainstream political parties suffered setbacks. That is no reason for the government to retreat from reform

PANAMA
Panama Canal Expansion Surges Forward into New LocksDouble-Capacity “New Panamax” Ships to Pass from April 2016

PARAGUAY
Fifa crisis: Paraguay ends immunity for ConmebolParaguay is ending the diplomatic immunity of the headquarters for South America’s Conmebol football association, the latest fallout from the corruption scandal engulfing Fifa.

PERU
Visa-Free: Peruvians, Colombians Can Pack Their Bags for the EUOld World Opens Up to 90-Day Visits

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico’s economy matters in the 2016 presidential race

SURINAME
Presidential pardonVoters overlooked Desi Bouterse’s dodgy past, hoping for a better future

VENEZUELA
Venezuela: Running on Fumes?

De genocidas y huelgas de hambre

Spain Brings Pain to Venezuela’s Leftists

The week’s posts:
Mexico: Springtime for Hitler

Cuba: Marielito blood on Fidel’s hands

Mexico: House Votes to Remove Country-of-Origin Labels on Meat Sold in U.S.

Ecuador: Hotlanta PR doesn’t come cheap

Cars: Private enterprise vs. government-owned

Venezuela: And now for the Iranian cars

2 en español: Lucio Gutierrez, Emili Blasco en el show de Bayly

Cuba: “For both sides”?

There was an election in Mexico

Rubio Vice

Argentina: Cristina visits Francis, for the fifth time

Puerto Rico: Flaming June at the Frick

Today at Drudge

The week’s books:

The dollarized Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 8th, 2015

The latest trend: Peoples of Latin America are increasingly favoring the U.S. dollar in monetary transactions.

In other news, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) helicopter was shot down or forced to initiate an emergency landing in Laredo, Texas due to receiving gunfire from the Mexican side of the border.

ARGENTINA
Alberto Nisman’s computer ‘accessed more than 60 times after his death’Mystery surrounding death of Argentine prosecutor deepens as judicial sources say his computer was accessed after his death and detectives accused of contaminating crime scene

One More Unsolved Mystery in Argentina

U.S. Judge Orders Argentina to Pay $5.4 Billion to Other Bondholders

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Hands Over Fugitive Businessman to Peru Authorities

Bolivia’s government on Friday handed over fugitive businessman Martin Belaunde Lossio, who was captured the day before in Bolivia’s Amazon region after escaping house arrest last weekend.

Belaunde, a former adviser to Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, is wanted in his homeland on corruption charges.

BRAZIL
Debts of Brazil Companies Probed in Petrobras Scandal up 1,424%

Brazil court convicts two firefighters in nightclub fireA court convicts two of eight firefighters in connection with 2013 nightclub fire that killed more than 200 people in southern Brazil

Lt Col Moises da Silva Fuchs and Cpt Alex da Rocha Camillo were found guilty at a military court of making a false declaration in the licence for Kiss nightclub in the university town of Santa Maria in Rio Grande do Sul.

Fuchs was also convicted of misconduct for not sanctioning an officer, who also managed a company responsible for renovations at the club.

Six other firefighters were cleared over inspection failures before the fire after a two-day hearing.

CHILE
Bachelet’s Popularity in the Toilet after Corruption CrisisPresident’s Support Halves in Just One Year to 26 Percent

COLOMBIA
11-year-old daughter of high-ranking official in Colombia abducted and held for ransom

Colombia Re-Arrests Suspected Rapist of Journalist Bedoya

How Libertarianism Can End Bogotá’s Traffic ChaosShared-Spaced Designs Can Lift the Burden of Unnecessary State Controls

CUBA
Human rights group: Political repression in Cuba almost doubles in May

Dictatorship and the Nature of the Vatican

In an online world, Cuba remains a stand-in-line society
Waiting in long lines for just about everything is an inescapable fact of life on the island.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Republic Inches Closer to Consecutive Presidential ReelectionDanilo Medina Clears Another Hurdle toward 2016 Bid

ECUADOR
Ecuador’s Pope Francis Propaganda Reaches Critical MassCorrea Splits with Bishops over Papal Visit Branding

GUATEMALA
Another Guatemalan Minister Calls It Quits as Protests SpreadMounting Money Trail Goes Right to the Top

Rios Montt Defense Lawyer Slain in Guatemala

HONDURAS
Thousands rally in Honduras calling for president to quit

JAMAICA
Building Jamaica from Burma through IndiaLachu Ramchandani started with nothing, now opens up possibilities for many

LATIN AMERICA
Crime in Latin AmericaQuickie kidnappingsAs abductions get faster, the poor are being targeted along with the rich

MEXICO
**UPDATES** BREAKING: US CBP CHOPPER DOWN AT TEXAS BORDER, FIRED ON FROM MEXICO

DABIQ: ISIS COULD TRANSPORT NUKE FROM NIGERIA INTO U.S. THROUGH MEXICO

Video of Mexican Prison Riot Highlights a Crisis as Elections NearThe footage of a deadly melee illustrated the difficulty the government has in controlling inmates in its overcrowded and violent prison system.

Mexico’s Midterm Elections Likely to Reflect President’s WoesSunday’s vote is shaping up as a referendum on President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose early popularity has been undercut by a resurgence in gang violence and corruption scandals.

PERU
Peru Two land roles as hairdressers in Peruvian jail in bid to get early parole

PUERTO RICO
Broke And Barred From Bankruptcy, Puerto Rico Seeks Outside Cash

Thank God this was not a trend when I lived there, Dead man standing: Macabre wakes of Puerto Rico prop up the dead

URUGUAY
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee weds Muslim convert in UruguayAdel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi, a 50-year-old Tunisian, married Roma Blanco, a 24-year-old Uruguayan; Omar Abdelhadi Faraj’s wedding was postponed to next week.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan President Maduro Cancels Visit With Pope FrancisMaduro, criticized on human rights record, says he is ill and cannot travel

Good luck with that: Pope asked to intercede in Venezuelan hunger strike
Pope and President Maduro are due to meet in Rome on Sunday amid concerns that jailed opposition figures beginning to develop serious health problems as a result of their fast
. As you can see above, Maduro’s not going.

Venezuela: Not Hyperinflating — Yet

The week’s posts and podcast:
Uruguay: De facto dollarization

Nicaragua: The canal, a pretext for expropriation?

An exquisitely civilizing moment: Sinatra and Jobim

Cuba: Outside the Tourist Bubble

Argentina: Who went into #Nisman’s laptop?

Venezuela: Maradona for FIFA president!

Why do we talk about Jenner?

En español: Lo que sabía #Nisman: la conexión iraní

Colombia: Today’s Capt. Louis Renault moment

Ecuador: Hasta la vista, dollars!

Argentina: Crime scene video from #Nisman apartment



Colombia: Today’s Capt. Louis Renault moment

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Push for Colombians to Stop Farming Coca Falls Short
The effort has gained new urgency since the government’s decision last month to halt an American-backed campaign to kill coca crops with spraying.

The project set out to bring rural residents under the governmental umbrella for the first time and create the conditions for them to succeed. That meant improving roads needed to bring crops to market, giving titles to farmland, granting agricultural loans, bringing electricity to isolated hamlets, and setting up government services like courts, schools and health clinics.

But critics say that after Mr. Santos was elected president in 2010, the government’s interest seemed to wane.

Santos’s commitment is to negotiations, not actions.

Rather than spray and build infrastructure, the government will be sending groups of workers to pull up coca crops by hand. Meanwhile, the farmers have had to continue paying the FARC protection money all the same.

It comes as no surprise, then, that “the effort here has fallen far short of expectations,” or, as Louis would put it,

The off-the-sponsors-of-terror-list Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 1st, 2015

LatinAmerThe week’s big news: Pres. Obama removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terror, as part of a deal brokered by the Vatican, in exchange for which Cuba had to do nothing.

The top headlines in the hemisphere: FIFA corruption; as expected, its re-elected president blames the U.S. and England.

ARGENTINA
Cristina’s not running: ‘CFK will not be candidate in the upcoming elections’ . . . maybe.

Re: Nisman, Calls on prosecutor Fein to hurry probe into Nisman’s deathJudge: investigate Lagomarsino

‘Meteorite thieves’ held by policePolice in Argentina arrest four men who appear to have been trying to steal more than a tonne of meteorites in the northern province of Chaco.

BAHAMAS
China mulls air route to Bahamas

BOLIVIA
“Refugio de corruptos”

BRAZIL
Former Petrobras Executive Sentenced to Five Years
Nestor Cerveró, Petrobras’ former director of international operations, was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to five years in prison.

Brazil Dangles Leniency to Spur Energy Industry
Brazil’s government is preparing to offer U.S.-like leniency deals to several private companies linked to the Petrobras corruption scandal to lessen its drag on the nation’s economy

CAYMAN ISLANDS
How the Cayman Islands Became a FIFA Power

CHILE
When a government spies on its citizens: lessons from Chile

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s peace process
Bullet proof
Despite an escalation of violence, the talks continue

One reason for the talks’ resilience is that both sides are used to negotiating during bouts of violence, which did not end even during the quietest periods. Military action by the FARC fell by 85% during its ceasefire and civilian deaths fell by 73%, according to the Conflict Analysis Resource Centre (CERAC), a think-tank in Bogotá. Even so, CERAC recorded 21 attacks by the FARC (and suspects it was responsible for another 75). Mr Santos has staked his reputation on concluding a peace agreement (by the end of this year, he hopes). For the FARC, the alternative to peace is further pounding by the armed forces; it no longer hopes for victory.

Farc peace negotiator killed in Colombia bombingPedro Nel Daza Martínez, the Farc leader better known as “Jairo Martínez”, had returned from peace talks in Havana when he was killed by a government bombing raid

Public opinion and pessimism in Colombia’s peace talks

CUBA
Raul Castro Meets with Leaders of Mexican Left

Voluntary Corporate Code of Conduct for Cuba Needed

Interamerican Human Rights Commission asked to intervene on behalf of besieged Cuban pastor

On Cuba’s Removal From the State-Sponsors of Terrorism List

Carlos Eire writes on how “they hate it so much when we refuse to be the caricatures they want us to be:” Okay, that’s it. Se acabó la pachanga. The party’s over. Time to say “Hell is my homeland.”

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Legal Limbo over for Haitian Descendants in Dominican RepublicCritics Fear Many Still Fall through the Cracks

ECUADOR
Bye-bye, dollarization: Ecuador Moves Toward Electronic Currency

Ecuador’s Monetary Council has published a resolution making it mandatory for private and public banks to deal with transactions in electronic currency.

Depending on their size, banks will have between 120 and 360 days to register as Macro Agents of the electronic currency system in the central bank.

The resolution reiterated that the central bank is the only entity authorized to issue electronic currency, and that the electronic currency must be backed up by liquid assets of the central bank.

Tax Me, I’m Ecuadorian
Taking More from Inheritances Will Depress Salaries, Impoverish Middle Class

EL SALVADOR
How gang violence is spreading fear in El Salvador

HAITI
Accused Clinton Donation Solicitation Used For Haiti Projects

The money will be used for “undetermined” projects in Haiti.

Yeah, right.

LATIN AMERICA
U.S. Soccer Probe Brings Adulation From AbroadUnexpectedly, the FBI’s case is garnering plaudits even in regions like Latin America that are traditionally suspicious of Washington’s motives

MEXICO
Mexico Shelves Key Part of Education OverhaulThe Mexican government suspended its planned teacher evaluations that were a cornerstone of the country’s education overhaul, in a decision ahead of midterm elections that dissident teacher groups threatened to boycott.

Major US Banks Closing Border Branches to Fight Money Laundering

LIFE AND DEATH ON THE AVOCADO TRAIL
A fearless Mexican-American cook routinely travels 2,000 miles, driving through a drug war and slipping out of kidnappers’ fingers, all in the name of a decent mole poblano for her New York customers.
Inexplicably, they let her go.

NICARAGUA
DRUG TRAFFICKING
Beachcombing along the Caribbean drug trail in Nicaragua

PANAMA
Global Migrants Brave Panama’s Vipers, Bats, Bandits to Reach U.S.
Africans, Asians, Cubans cross the treacherous jungle of the Darien Gap

PERU
Peru planning to dam Amazon’s main source and displace 1000s
Over 20 hydroelectric projects proposed for the main trunk of the River Maranon would have devastating impacts

PUERTO RICO
Fat lot of good that’s going to do: Puerto Rico Governor Signs Law Raising Sales Tax to 11.5 Pct. To cover its $1.2 billion in debt service due this year from sales tax alone, it would have to raise over $10 trillion in sales – absurd.

URUGUAY
June brides: Ex-Guantanamo Prisoners to Marry Uruguayan Women

Abd al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj [a.k.a. Abd al Hadi Faraj], 40, from Syria and Tunisian Abdul Bin Mohammed Ourgy [a.k.a. Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy], 50, will marry Muslim women at a mosque in Montevideo.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelans March in Caracas to Demand Release of Jailed Opposition Leaders


Diosdado is now reading members of NGOs Provea and Public Forum emails on TV.

#SOSVenezuela: Venezuelans, Cubans, others protest for freedom, democracy in Venezuela #30M

Leopoldo Lopez shows us what a selfie should be all about

The week’s posts and podcast:
Cuba: Willfull blindness

Masplaining and the shrinking violets

This just in: Cuba off sponsors of terror list

Latin America: Breitbart news report on Iranian expansion in our hemisphere

Brazil: The WaPo’s evangelical Frank Underwood

Is Venezuela dollarizing

Argentina: #FIFAarrests in 22 tweets

Cuba: Is China rebuilding Cuba’s ports?

The era of moral imbecility

Brazil: Beam him up, Scotti

Mexico: The independent El Bronco

Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez’s jail video

Note to all Latin Americans: Being a populist socialist won’t save you from ISIS

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week