Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

The Winter Olympics week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 10th, 2014

While the Sochi accommodations are nowhere near as nice as those in the more modest hotels in our hemisphere, Mexico sent the most interesting skier in the world, Bermudans wore shorts, and the guys from the Caymans wore shorts and flip-flops (which may explain why there only three). Dominica, Tortola of the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica (whose bobsled is now complete), Paraguay, Brazil, Peru and the US Virgin Islands also have athletes in Sochi.

ARGENTINA
Argentina bus crash near Mendoza kills at least 18

COUNTING THE COST
Argentina’s great decline
It has gone from being one of the world’s wealthiest nations to a serial defaulter, but can it get back on track?

Argentina: Repeat Economic Offender

ARGENTINA FREE FALL
Kirchner Government Doubles Down In Its War Against Math

Argentina is doubling down in its war against math. The WSJ reports that political activists loyal to President Kirchner are publicly targeting retailers by putting posters of the executives up all over Buenos Aires. The posters accuse the leaders of Walmart and other companies of fueling the country’s ruinous inflation by raising prices, even as the government continues to devalue the official currency and ignore traditional IMF economic policy.

Argentina to US senators: Show a little respect

BELIZE
A magical world at Francis Ford Coppola’s luxe resorts in Belize
Need isolation? Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge is in the middle of the untamed, natural beauty of a Belizean forest preserve. Need local culture? Turtle Inn is on the coast near the fishing village of Placencia

BOLIVIA
Bolivia floods kill 38, more heavy rains forecast

The European Union (EU) Thursday called on Bolivia to respect the ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in favor of British power generator Rurelec PLC, said an official. US$41 million.

BRAZIL
Brazil may face water shortages during World Cup, group says, but I’ll bet it won’t be like the Sochi water.

Removida delegada que apura ligação de Lula com mensalão

Responsável pelo inquérito que investiga a suposta participação do ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva no esquema do mensalão, a delegada Andrea Pinho foi removida do cargo nesta sexta-feira, 7. O inquérito que tem Lula como alvo será tocado por outro delegado, ainda não designado que pode pedir novas diligências ou o arquivamento do caso.

CHILE
Chile cool: art, music and graffiti in laid-back Valparaíso
The Chilean city of Valparaíso is alive with avant-garde culture and vibrant street art. Think mini Berlin by the seaside

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s media are wrong; election is up for grabs

Photo of Pres. Santos shaking hands with Timochenko, the FARC leader, back in the day, “If you want Timochenko as president and Iván Márquez in the Senate, you know who to vote for in the upcoming elections.”

COSTA RICA
‘Black Heart’ in Brazil heat drives coffee turnaround h/t DP

CUBA
Gorki Aguila, Cuban Rocker Faces Sham Trial

Cuba Regime Supporters Caught Off Guard with Reaction to Fanjul Story

Oh Happy Day! NBC refers to Communism as “pivotal experiment”

The Truth About Che Guevara

ECUADOR
Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon before:

Freedom of speech in Ecuador
Drawn and quartered
The government orders a newspaper to “correct” a critical cartoon

Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon after:

EL SALVADOR
JJ Rendón is suing Salvador’s president Mauricio Funes for $100 on defamation of character and slander from Funes calling him “a fugitive from justice, a rapist.” (link in Spanish) I hope Rendón wins, and gets to collect.

GUATEMALA
Claudia Paz y Paz, A Guatemalan crusader is reined in

Guatemalan court upholds top prosecutor’s ouster

HONDURAS
Democracy

MEXICO
In Apatzingán:Mexican Vigilantes Enter Key City in Michoacán State
Vigilantes Aim to Take Control of City from Organized Crime Group

THE AMERICAN VIGILANTE VERSUS THE MEXICAN CARTEL

Sochi 2014: ‘Mexican prince’ ready to hit slopes in Mariachi suit

Well, he already was successful lobbying against soft drinks: Look who’s giving advice to Mexico City? Señor Bloomberg. I suggest he brush up his Spanish,

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua: Ortega allowed to run for third successive term

PANAMA
Panama Canal work stops in $1.6bn row
The Spanish-led consortium working on a project to widen the Panama Canal confirms work has been suspended amid a row over cost overruns.

PARAGUAY
Julia Marino becomes Paraguay’s first Winter Olympian

PERU
400 Dead Dolphins Washed Up on Peru Beaches in January

PUERTO RICO
Networks Completely Ignore $70 Billion Puerto Rican Debt Crisis

Puerto Rico Downgrade Puts Bond Deal in Spotlight
Investors are looking beyond the junk-rated credit of Puerto Rico to see if it can sell debt needed for short-term finances, lay groundwork for economic recovery.

URUGUAY
Uruguay’s president nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for legalizing marijuana

VENEZUELA
D.C. mayoral candidate’s business to host Venezuelan government’s pro-Chavez event

Toyota Halts Venezuela Production as Car Sales Fall

Venezuelans fume as government signals end to ‘free’ petrol
In a country where petrol is cheaper than water, ministers say prices must increase for the first time since a rise 15 years ago sparked deadly riots

The fascists in charge of Venezuela want to kill the press, while banging students

The Paradox Of Chavista “Planning”: Even Simple Things Are Hard For Them

Antonio Pardo, A Venezuelan in Sochi (Important Update)

According to Alek Boyd and others, Mr. Pardo is not quite the feel-good story we made him out to be. Turns out he allegedly has links to Antonini Wilson and the suitcase scandal. State news media is falsely reporting he won a gold medal.

Venezuelan “skier” in #Sochi2014 has a Swiss bank, is partners with Carlos Kauffmann & Co. His brother’s a partner of L. Oberto in St Barts

The week’s posts and podcast:
“Smart diplomacy”: Ambassador to Argentina may not even speak Spanish

Mexico: The most interesting skier in the world

Brazil: Cuban doctor seeks asylum

Argentina: Burning down the house

Venezuela: Squatting at the Presidential Mansion

Puerto Rico: Junk bond status

Sochi: Airline loses Jamaicans’ bobsled

Mexico: Behind the Peña Nieto-Fidel photo-op

Left turns: El Salvador and Costa Rica

At Da Tech Guy: Ask Fausta: Is now the time to travel to Latin America? The answer is yes.

Podcast: Elections in El Salvador plus other US-Latin America issues


The Groundhog Day / Superbowl weekend Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina’s Luck Is Finally Running Out

Héctor Timerman: el canciller que denunciaba que “Cuba es una dictadura” hoy participa de la CELAC en La Habana

BRAZIL
Debt bondage and indentured servitude in modern-day Brazil: Brazil’s Slaves Are Being Freed, But Owners Go Largely Unpunished

Barbarians at the Mall Entrance

CHILE
Detenida por caso Guzmán relacionaría a Bachelet con el FPMR
“Ella es clave en delitos terroristas y además podría individualizar dirigentes, jerarquías y funciones en que participaron dirigentes actuales de la izquierda chilena”, acusa el abogado Raúl Meza sobre la información que manejaría la “Comandante Ana”.

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s next president; a woman Marta Lucia Ramirez

Colombian chief prosecutor Eduardo Montealegre says he will bring charges against six employees of the US coal mining company, Drummond, over an environmental disaster last year.

COSTA RICA
After yesterday’s elections, Luis Guillermo Solís is ahead: Leftist Costa Rica outsider leads election, run-off expected

Costa Rica Flirts with Chavismo

Costa Rica holds presidential poll
Voters in Costa Rica choose a successor for President Laura Chinchilla, with opinion polls predicting a tight race between four main contenders.

CUBA
Cuba steps up repression on the eve of the CELAC summit

How do Cuban doctors escape Venezuela?
Doctors escape medical missions assigned by the Cuban government. These missions are not only to Venezuela, but to other parts of the world.
Via Babalu.

ECUADOR
Ecuador Fines Leading Newspaper Over Cartoon
The Ecuadorean government has fined newspaper El Universo, saying a political cartoon it recently published was defamatory and promoted social unrest, stoking concerns about press freedom in the South American country.

Lima Journal, Part I, and Part II By Jay Nordlinger

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador: former leftwing guerrilla takes lead in presidential election
Salvador Sanchez Cerén was rebel leader in bloody civil war but with nearly half votes counted he is favourite to win March run off

El Salvador in Peril
If leftist Sánchez Cerén becomes president, the future would be grim.

El Salvador votes for new presidentElection posters in San Salvador, 31 January
El Salvador is voting in a presidential election pitting the left-wing FMLN against the conservative Arena party, amid rising concern gang violence.

GUATEMALA
The Antigua Forum: Exporting A Different Kind of Latin American Revolution

Central America’s largest museum of Mayan culture to be built in Guatemala (h/t DP)

HAITI
Haiti celebrates first cardinal
The first Haitian cardinal didn’t believe the news — until he turned to the Internet.

HONDURAS
Narcos In The Mist

JAMAICA
Tufton wants Jamaicans to open eyes to economic realities

MEXICO
The Violent Gang Wars Behind Super Bowl Guacamole
Mexican growers in the world’s avocado capital chase off a criminal gang that extorted millions of dollars a year.

Humor: Los Horóscopos del Maestro Piyush 30/01/2014

PANAMA
Panama releases majority of crew on North Korean ship

PUERTO RICO
Not surprising: Puerto Rico bonds facing possible junk ratings are no longer part of the S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index because of the debt’s outsized yields and spotty liquidity, S&P Dow Jones Indices said on Friday

Dead Puerto Rico boxer posed standing in the ring

HUMOR: Cinco Parientes De AGP Trabajan En El Gobierno; Aparecen Miles De Garcías Y Padillas A Pedir Cacao

VENEZUELA
At markets, Chavez successor falls short

Venezuela and Argentina
The party is over
Latin America’s weakest economies are reaching breaking-point

Quiqueo throws the towel. He made the news.

Daniel’s recipe for the Venezuelan opposition (for what good it does…)

The week’s posts and podcast:
Brazil: Not quite ready for World Cup prime time

Crazy Venezuelan headline of the day: “Maduro offers 80% discount in tickets to the moon”

Ecuador: Maybe Mia ought to meet Vaca

Argentina: Chronicle of a default foretold, continued

En español: Angry Birds en la Unidad de Quemados

Cuba: CELAC, the hypocrisy summit

Mexico: Michoacán vigilantes to join with police

Guatemala: The lost orphans

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Latin America: What was missing from the SOTU

Podcast: Crime and inflation in Venezuela PLUS other US Latin America issues.

The misplaced Machu Picchu Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 27th, 2014

To err is human, and to misplace the ruins is definitely not divine, so today’s Carnival is dedicated to Hema Maps, the publishers of this guidebook.

ARGENTINA
Wash, Rinse, Repeat: Argentina’s Latest Crisis

THE TWO WORLDS OF BUENOS AIRES: MACRI’S LEGACY OF INEQUALITY

Erosion of Argentine Peso Sends a Shudder Through Latin America
The decline in Argentina’s currency is the steepest since the country’s economic collapse in 2002, and it is raising fears of a global slump in developing countries.

Currency controls in Argentina
Relaxation therapy

BELIZE
Belize and Guatemala agree on ‘road map’ to address the territorial dispute
Belize and Guatemala agreed at the headquarters of the Organization of American States on a “Road Map and Plan of Action”, which has as its main objective the strengthening of the bilateral relationship between the two countries during 2014 in order to make concrete the holding of popular consultations to enable the consideration of the territorial dispute before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

BOLIVIA
Bolivia ‘to build first nuclear reactor’

Radio Serial About Evo Morales Debuts in Bolivia

BRAZIL
The Brazilian ranch where Nazis kept slaves
On a farm deep in the countryside 100 miles (160km) west from Sao Paulo, a football team has lined up for a commemorative photograph. What makes the image extraordinary is the symbol on the team’s flag – a swastika.

New book claims THIS picture proves Hitler escaped his Berlin bunker and died in South America in 1984 aged 95
Fuhrer ‘fled to Argentina and then Paraguay before settling in Brazil’
Hunted for treasure with a map given to him by Vatican allies, book claims
Author Simoni Renee Guerreiro Dias claims fascist actually died aged 95
Claims he had a black girlfriend to disguise his fascist background
Says her suspicions increased after she photoshopped a moustache [sic] onto the grainy picture and compared it to photos of the Fuhrer

World Cup protesters set fire to car
Brazil World Cup protesters set fire to car
Violence erupts on the streets of Brazil’s largest city Sao Paulo as more than 2,000 demonstrators gathered to protest against the cost of the upcoming soccer World Cup

CHILE
Chile’s president-elect chooses old faces for new cabinet

Chile’s 33 miners still haunted by their past

Magic and Mystery: Isabel Allende
The best-selling author on her new mystery and why her work isn’t so ‘magical’

COLOMBIA
Cash for votes

COSTA RICA
Cato’s ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BULLETIN NO. 18
Growth without Poverty Reduction: The Case of Costa Rica

Costa Rica needs genuine market reforms that eliminate the government’s power to pick winners and losers or otherwise bestow favoritism. In the areas aforementioned, the country should

* Implement a neutral exchange rate regime either by allowing the colón to freely float against the U.S. dollar or by adopting the latter as the country’s official currency.
* Abolish all tariffs on agricultural products as well as other regulations that provide monopoly powers to conglomerates that produce farm goods such as rice, beef, and sugar, and eliminate price controls on rice.
* Dismantle regulations that stifle domestic entrepreneurship, following the guidelines laid out by the World Bank’s Doing Business project.
* Adopt a neutral and competitive tax regime that taxes all businesses domiciled in the country equally but at a low flat rate.

CUBA
Dissidents Arrested Ahead of CELAC Summit

RIP, Inter-American Democratic Charter

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Republic runaways told they cannot return to Stonyhurst College
The two pupils who ran away from Stonyhurst College to the Dominican Republic will not be allowed to return to school

ECUADOR
Ecuador airline suspends flights to Venezuela because of tickets’ debts
Ecuadorean airline Tame has suspended flights to Venezuela, demanding 43m dollars in overdue payments for tickets. Some 80 passengers were left stranded on Thursday at the airport in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito. Tame says the Venezuelan Central Bank has not transferred any money to its account in Ecuador since April 2013.

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador Presidential Election Preview, 2014

Shaky truce: Is El Salvador’s gang war really on hold?

GUATEMALA
Guatemala’s Stranded Orphans
Unicef’s pressure to stop international adoptions has tragic results.

JAMAICA
Mass Burial Site Claim
Police said to be aiding some criminals in the East

LATIN AMERICA
Latin America and the Caribbean: Congressional Priorities for 2014

MEXICO
The American roots of a Mexican militia movement
Many who have joined fight against Michoacan drug cartel once lived and worked in the U.S.

Knights Templar on quest for drugs efficiency
Mexican narco-gang diversifies into mining and iron ore export

PANAMA
Panama Canal Authority Says Proposal on Table That Could End Dispute

Car Shopping Observations

PARAGUAY
Six Hurt in Clash with Police in Paraguay

PERU
Peru Lawmakers Find Evidence of Graft Under Former President

PUERTO RICO
Your taxes just went up: Gobernador convierte en Ley medidas de COFIM

Puerto Rico: The next debt crisis?

Puerto Rico: Harbour of debt
The territory is imposing tough austerity measures as it seeks to allay investor concerns and issue new bonds

URUGUAY
A really big mess: Dead Sperm Whale Washes Up on Beach in Uruguay

Uruguayan Economy Minister Resigns Amid Airline Scandal

VENEZUELA
Carta abierta a @abc_es

Maduro sets limits on company profits and prison terms for hoarding or over charging
Venezuela decreed a new price control law that sets limits on company profits and establishes prison terms for those charged with hoarding or over-charging, part of populist President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to tame inflation.

Jeff Bezos will go to jail in Venezuela

Venezuelan Government Devalues Currency

Miami on the cheap? Venezuelans traveling to Florida face new restrictions

HRW “unlikes” Maduro

Will Venezuela default on its debts?

The week’s posts and podcast:
CELAC: Maduro & Cristina want Puerto Rico’s independence

The question the media should be asking about Menendez

Argentina And Venezuela: Chronicles Of Devaluations Foretold

Who is to gain from smearing Robert Menendez?

Argentina: Chronicle of a default foretold

Cuba: Success through ruination

En español: Terapia intensiva

Cuba: Michael Totten’s road trip

Mexico: Michoacan’s fighting priests

The BVI, China’s new tax haven

Venezuela: Worst judicial system

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
UN Climate chief: Communism fights global warming

Cuba: What a “prosperous and sustainable socialism” looks like UPDATED

The week’s podcast:
Venezuela & US-Latin America stories of the week


The Corcovado thumb Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 20th, 2014

The statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio was struck by lightning, damaging its right thumb. Here’s the striking photo.

ARGENTINA
Argentine Government Rules Out Military Role in Drug Enforcement

The fish are biting . . . you: Carnivorous fish injure 10 Argentine river bathers in area where 70 were wounded last month

BOLIVIA
Bolivian President Touts Nuclear Power Program

BRAZIL
The Laureus World Sports Awards, abruptly cancelled, Sporting events in Rio
We regret to announce

Inri Cristo, preacher on a scooter

Mulher de malandro decidirá eleição
O eleitorado diz que quer mudança, mas pretende reeleger Dilma. É puro chavismo

CHILE
The drugs industry in Chile
Getting the treatment

COLOMBIA
Someone explain to me why should anyone trust the FARC, Bomb explodes in Colombian town as rebel ceasefire ends
At least one person was killed when a bomb went off in the town of Pradera in western Colombia, officials say.

Bogota; time to move on

CUBA
Cuban political prisoner Osvaldo Rodriguez Acosta starts hunger to protest denial of family visit

Another Moronic Offensive Stunt to Take Place in Castrogonia

One Year of Immigration And Travel Reform… What Changed?

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
OBAMA CALLS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ‘THE DOMINICAN REPUBLICAN’

ECUADOR
A tale of two hacks: Ecuador’s continued assault on the press

Ecuadorian state newspaper says new media outlet would seek to destabilize the government

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador’s first presidential debate brims with pledges – but can candidates deliver?
El Salvador’s presidential election takes place next month, and topics of gang violence, the economy, and healthcare are top of mind.

GUATEMALA
Guatemala’s president and vice president withdraw criminal complaints against newspaper editor

HAITI
Haitians living abroad weigh investment opportunities
After four years in Washington, D.C., a diaspora investment conference moves to Port-au-Prince

JAMAICA
LGBT tolerance growing in Jamaica, push to repeal of anti-gay law

LATIN AMERICA
Cuban Actress Maria Conchita Alonso Has Lived in an Oppressive Society

Andres Oppenheimer is optimistic: Latin America’s downward spiral?

Sure, Venezuela may descend into further chaos, but it doesn’t have many followers. Argentina will most likely change course within the next two years, and Brazil will, in the worst-case scenario, remain stagnant.

More importantly, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile are doing well, and may drag several other countries in their direction. Together with Brazil, the four Pacific-coast countries make up more than 75 percent of Latin America’s economy.

More than a downward spiral, we may soon see the end of the populist cycle, and the beginning of an upward spiral.

Organized crime in 2014: What can Latin America expect?
Organized crime is adaptable and profit-driven, and in 2014, that could mean moving beyond Mexico and Colombia to a more diverse set of nations.

MEXICO
Adrift in Mexico’s deportation capital
Mexicali has became the U.S. government’s biggest dumping ground for deportees who often have deep ties in America.

Michoacan replaces security chiefsMexican soldiers patrol the streets of Apatzingan, Michoacan. Photo: 16 January 2014
Mexico’s authorities say top security officials will be replaced in the western state of Michoacan that has recently been rocked by violence.

Deep-water drilling is a test for Mexican oil company Pemex

Gangs from Central America on the rise in Mexico: Report
A new report out of Mexico details the growing links between Central American Maras and the nation’s main criminal groups, highlighting more cross-border gang activity

El pincel de la justicia
Ramiro Gómez hace su primera presentación en un espacio formal, en una pequeña galería en Chinatown. No tiene un taller: el dueño del lugar le prestó el primer piso para que ahí concluyera cuatro lienzos que son parte de la obra que expone.

PANAMA
Canal Standoff Worries Panamanians
A standoff over cost overruns in the Panama Canal expansion has Panamanians as anxious as the global shipping industry.

PERU
Peru: Media Merger Serving as Pretext for Manipulation
Let the People, Not Caudillos, Determine the Role of the Press

Disagreement between Vargas Llosa and his son illustrates the debate in Peru over media concentration

PUERTO RICO
Fixing Puerto Rico: Part I

URUGUAY
A leopard never changes its spots: Paris Hilton poses up a storm on the beach in Uruguay wearing animal print dress

VENEZUELA
Regulation, Death by a thousand cuts (Updated)

Thomas Berry died ‘trying to show family real Venezuela’, parents say
Berry family speaks for the first time of grief at death of their son and his wife, killed by robbers in front of their daughter after their car broke down on a dangerous stretch of highway

Pet rights? When all are rights there are no rights

Venezuelan economic controls lead to newsprint shortage

The week’s posts and podcast:
Puerto Rico: Festival success

Brazil: Corcovado damaged by lightning

Argentina: Where’s Cristina?

Panama: North Korea to pay fine for the rust bucket

Mexico: Mireles won’t back down

Puerto Rico: Take down that fence!

Venezuela: Shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic UPDATED

Mexico: Military clash with cartel-fighting militias

Ecuador, Iran, Syria: The new axis?

Argentina’s crumbling economy

Mexico: El Universal claims DEA-Sinaloa deal in Fast & Furious

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Do heed those travel warnings.

The week’s podcast: The US-Latin America stories of the week


The “I swear it by Louis Vuitton” Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 13th, 2014

LatinAmerThe week’s big news in Latin America was the terrible murder of Mónica Spear and ex-husband Henry Thomas Berry in Venezuela.

However, I dedicate this week’s Carnival to the best-named style blog Te lo juro por Louis Vuitton (I swear it by Louis Vuitton), which comes from Argentina.

ARGENTINA
Comodidad

Latin American rivers among most polluted in the world, says new study
Experts are warning of a possible public health and environmental crisis after it was revealed that rivers in Latin America are some of the most polluted in the world

US Supreme Court to Hear Appeal In Argentina Case
Argentina seeks to stop Elliott Management unit from obtaining records on accounts maintained by officials, including President Kirchner

The court, in a brief written order, agreed to hear an appeal by Argentina seeking to stop Elliott Management Corp.’s NML Capital Ltd. from obtaining records on accounts maintained by Argentina and leading public officials, including its president, Cristina Kirchner.

BAHAMAS
$100M lawsuit over Bahamas chopper crash refiled

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Uses G77 Post to Put Coca Legalization on International Agenda

BRAZIL
Gunmen kill Brazil church’s pastor
Police in Brazil say two gunmen killed an evangelical pastor by shooting him at his church in the city of Belo Horizonte.

Brazil Forging Economic Ties With Cuba, While Hiring Its Doctors

Brazilian College Student Auctions Off Her Virginity AGAIN, h/t Instapundit

CHILE
Chile forest fires spark health alert as smoke spreads
The Chilean government has declared a health alert in four of the country’s 15 regions as smoke from dozens of forest fires spreads

Chilean fishermen win court backing
Chile’s Supreme Court sides with fishing groups and orders the operator of two coal power plants to ensure they do not pollute or kill marine life.

Spain’s Crown Prince Honors Indigenous Latin America Moviemakers

COLOMBIA
Colombia once again ranked happiest country in the world: survey

CUBA
WARNING
: Very gruesome photos Atrocity in Cuba: revisiting the horrors of Mazorra

Mysterious Death of Young American in Cuba

Spreading Use of Internet Tools in Cuba, Other Repressive Lands is Essential for Freedom

Cuban rights group counts more than 6,400 political arrests in 2013

ECUADOR
El Comercio: Enlace ciudadano 356, desde Babahoyo, provincia de Los Ríos

Read the Overwhelming Evidence of Fraud, Extortion and Other Misconduct

During a six-week federal trial in New York, Chevron introduced overwhelming evidence of fraud, extortion and other misconduct as part of a civil lawsuit against Steven Donziger and his associates.

Read a comprehensive summary of Chevron’s claims and supporting evidence against Steven Donziger and his associates in the company’s post-trial brief here.

HONDURAS
World Bank Is Criticized for Honduran Loan
The bank’s ombudsman delivered a stinging review of a loan to a palm-oil company engaged in a violent conflict with poor farm workers over land in Honduras.

LATIN AMERICA
‘Moderate’ Iran maintains terrorist cells in Latin America.

MEXICO
Los caballeros templarios: Executive Slaying Sparks New Fears
The death of a top ArcelorMittal executive, believed to be the work of a powerful drug cartel, raises concerns about foreign companies operating in Mexico.

Vanished
In 2011, Israel Arenas Durán disappeared in northern Mexico. Why can’t the government find him — and the thousands of others who’ve gone missing in the country’s drug war?

Deep-water drilling is a test for Mexican oil company Pemex

PANAMA
As Costs Soar, Who Will Pay For The Panama Canal’s Expansion?

Panama named best place in the world to retire
That’s where retirees will get the most bang for their buck, and be able to bask in the sun and warm weather every day. Plus, a new program makes it easy to establish residence in Panama. Also on the list of top places to retire are Ecuador, Malaysia and Costa Rica.
I don’t know about Malaysia, but Ecuador would not be on my list. The Huffpo has a 5-part series: Is Panama Truly a Retirement Haven?

PARAGUAY
Paraguay, world’s second largest producer of marijuana will not legalize

PERU
Vigilantes whip ‘prostitutes’ in Peruvian nightclub attack
In disturbing scenes, members of a local vigilante group in Peru storm a nightclub, whipping and shoving dozens of female employees

PUERTO RICO
In Puerto Rico, ditching sun and sand for a day in the caves

TURKS & CAICOS
Michael Misick, Former Turks and Caicos leader extradited from Brazil under U.S. escort, spends first night in prison on corruption charges.

URUGUAY
8 reasons Uruguay’s not all that
Media have hyped up the tiny South American country that just legalized weed. Sorry for the buzz kill, but …

VENEZUELA
Hundreds protest over murdered Miss Venezuela
Hundreds took to the streets of Caracas to demand the government protect its citizens from callous killers, following the murder of a former Miss Venezuela and her British ex-husband

Violence in Venezuela
Crime and impunity

Cubazuela Aims to Annex Puerto Rico

The week’s posts:
Puerto Rico: 6.4 earthquake

Mexico: “Shame and Name”, Blacklisting for taxes

Colombia: When El Dorado is the gateway to freedom

Cuba: Dementor sighting at an art gallery

Venezuela: Aftermath of the Spears murder

Chile: Somebody didn’t read the instructions for the #CauCau bridge

Panama: no deal on Canal overruns

En español: Terapia intensiva 190

Libre’s initiative

Chile: Palestinian shirts making a statement

Uruguay: What not to wear

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Venezuela: Killing beauty


Colombia: When El Dorado is the gateway to freedom

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Note:
All links except Carlos Eire‘s are in Spanish.

Like something out of The Terminal (video in Spanish):

Six Cubans Ask for Asylum in Colombia, Remain in Airport Limbo

Their names are Ángel, Briam, Edualdo, Greisy, Yoanker and Nayip, and they say in unison: “Nosotros no nos vamos para Cuba, queremos quedarnos en Bogotá” (We won’t return to Cuba, we want to stay in Bogotá).

All six –one woman and six men — are under the age of 41, as their Castro era names attest, and they have been asking for asylum since the first of the year.

The would-be refugees have been camping out in the airport, refusing to move, rejecting all offers to fly them back to Castrogonia. The Colombian government, in turn, has refused them asylum, and now the United Nations is getting involved.

How they got into this predicament is still being figured out. And no one seems to know how it will be resolved.

They claim that they left Castrogonia for Ecuador with all of the right papers, but were refused entry. After arguing their case for six days at the airport in Ecuador, they were sent back to the Castro Kingdom via Colombia, but when they reached the Bogotá airport they refused to board their flight back to the slave plantation.

Five other Cubans returned to Havana.

The Colombian government declined asylum since the Cubans had not filed a formal application while they remained at El Dorado airport in Bogota (link in Spanish – my translation, please link & credit me if you use it):

The Ministry’s statement said that the refugees’ intention to seek asylum, which they have expressed through the media, “can not be processed” since Colombian law directly prohibits it when it involves foreigners in international transit zones. “According to the law, they haven’t entered national territory,” it explained.

According to the statement, “Colombian Immigration has had no access to their passports” since they are in the international transit zone.

When I first read about this, my question was, is there a Colombian immigration lawyer who would be willing to take their case (most likely on a pro bono basis)? If they have legal representation, would they be able to apply for asylum?

Yes.

This morning Colombian daily El Universal reports that Colombian Immigration has granted the six Cubans safe-conduct for five working days so they can file a formal asylum request through the Foreign Relations Ministry. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is filing the application and transferred them to a shelter.

There may be a happy ending to this story!

Related:
Jaime Bayly interviewed Andrés Carrión, the Cuban dissident who hollered “Down with Communism” during Pope Benedict’s 2012 visit to Cuba (in Spanish), which highlights the importance of garnering international attention:

UPDATE:
Linked to by Carlos. Thank you!

The first 2014 Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 6th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Ex-Israeli envoy to Argentina: Israel killed most perpetrators of AMIA, embassy bombings
Former ambassador Itzhak Aviran accuses Argentine gov’t of not doing enough to probe 1990s Buenos Aires terrorist attacks.

Dejó un mensaje telefónico porque las monjas no pudieron atender la llamada
El Papa llama a un convento de Lucena para felicitar el año nuevo
La conversación con el Pontífice duró 15 minutos y la pudieron escuchar cinco monjas
El Santo Padre envió su bendición a toda la buena gente de la localidad cordobesa

Argentina Criticizes Utilities After Outages
Argentina’s government has ruled out raising electricity rates and instead repeated threats to revoke the concessions of the two largest utilities that serve the capital if they don’t invest more to prevent a repeat of recent blackouts.

BOLIVIA
Headbanging in Bolivia to the Flutes of Yore
Heavy metal, Bolivian style, is a fusion of thrashing guitars and shrieking lyrics with the rhythms and instruments of pre-Incan Andean folk tunes.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s fighter jet decision

CHILE
Photos: Violent protests in Chile

Chilean miracle miners back in spotlight, with Antonio Banderas.

COLOMBIA
Bogota needs a “Bloomberg”; maybe, but it’ll do much better with a Giuliani.

CUBA
Reuters shocked…. shocked! … by Cuban car pricing

Mujeres: la carne barata de la revolución

The media
The most absurdly oblivious headline you’ll read all year

Cuba’s unhappy birthday

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitians without a nation
A ruling in the Dominican Republic divides immigrants in Boston

ECUADOR
Ecuador Authorities Raid Journalist’s Home
The raid is the latest crackdown on the press following a recent law restricting negative reporting.

USAID to Pull Out of Ecuador
Organization cites efforts of Correa admin to stifle aid programs

Sitting in the Ecuadorian embassy, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange derides Catholic confessional system but can’t come up with an original thought.

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador orders evacuation from volcano’s slopes
Authorities in El Salvador have resumed evacuating residents living on the slopes of the Chaparrastique volcano

HONDURAS
Election fraud in Honduras

JAMAICA
Cool Runnings Again? Jamaican Bobsleigh Team Return for Sochi Winter Olympic Glory Bid

LATIN AMERICA
Nafta at 20: A Model for Trade Policy
Opponents of the 1993 agreement have been proven definitively wrong.

MEXICO
Mexico: 6 Police Officers Charged in Death of U.S. Citizen in Custody
The man, Yeudi Estrada, was dead when he arrived at Police Headquarters in the resort of Playa del Carmen after his arrest, local prosecutors said.

Mexico 2013: End of the Year Reflections and the Year to Come

Suspected leader of Mexican drug cartel nabbed at Amsterdam airport, via Gates of Vienna.

PANAMA
Trouble at the Panama Canal
Your money or your locks

THE $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal is one of the world’s great infrastructure projects, aimed at enabling giant mega-tankers to pass through the 100-year-old waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific. So a threat by an international consortium, led by Spain’s Sacyr, to halt construction work on January 20th if the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) doesn’t pay it $1.6 billion for cost overruns, is serious. The amount it is claiming is fully half the $3.2 billion it bid in 2009 for its part of the project.

Jorge Quijano, administrator of the PCA, told The Economist that the authority would not pay the money because cost increases were accounted for in the contract.

Panama Canal expansion: Spain steps in to negotiations

Meanwhile, In 2013 Chiriquí Had 673 Earthquakes

PARAGUAY
Paraguay drug seizures up by 39% in 2013

PERU
Peru Plans to Increase Eradication of Coca Leaf
The nation’s drug czar says Peru plans to eradicate an estimated 30,000 hectares of illegally grown coca leaf in 2014.

PUERTO RICO
Could a Puerto Rico Default Hammer the $3.7 Trillion US Muni-Bond Market in 2014?

Puerto Rico Marijuana Reform Gets A Second Life

Puerto Rico’s Population Continues Rapid Decline

USA
No, an illegal immigrant should not be admitted to the bar

URUGUAY
Uruguay consumer prices up 8.5 pct in 2013, top government target

VENEZUELA
Venezuela’s surveillance state strikes again

Transforming a mistake into a revamped tool of repression: the Delcy Rodriguez scandal

Venezuelan Central Bank Joins The Dark Side

The inflationary monster (in Spanish)

The week’s posts:
Argentina: More price controls

Latin America: Free trade vs. Mercosur

Cuba: Lies, lies, and more lies

Mexico: Another Fast & Furious gun found

Italy: Latin American thieves pick the wrong town to hide

Cuba: The new car

Is 2014 Latin America’s “big year”?

Mexico: What has changed

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Ringin’ in the New Year in yellow undies: A brief story by Fausta


Is 2014 Latin America’s “big year”?

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Alexa L. McMahon asks, 2014: Is This Latin America’s Big Year?

In fact, thanks to its strong economic growth and growing international influence, 2014 has the potential to be Latin America’s best year yet.

Latin America’s economic growth will only increase in its upward trajectory in 2014, driven by countries such as Brazil, Chile and particularly Mexico. According to the U.N., “Based on promising signs of private consumption and manufacturing, the region will see [expected] growth rates of 3.6 in 2014 and 4.1 percent in 2015, according to World Economic Situation and Prospects 2014, a report that launches in January.” The U.N. Economic Commission on Latin America forecasts that Latin-American Economic development will be the highest of all global regions for 2014. Brazil is slowing down compared to its explosive performance in recent years, but still very strong. Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega said in December that foreign direct investment continues to be robust and, according to the Wall Street Journal, “pointed to $8.3 billion in foreign direct investment posted in November as a strong signal investors continued to favor the country. In October, the figure was $5.4 billion.”

McMahon looks at Mexico, Chile and Brazil, and concludes,

All in all, things are looking up for Latin America next year, and as they’ve shown in multiple avenues, the sky’s the limit.

I wish I could share her optimism.

I am cautiously optimistic about Mexico: their recent (and very overdue) reforms may have staying power, which will propel a new era of growth and prosperity – if the opposition allows it.

I’m not optimistic on Chile: re-elected president Michelle Bachelet has promised to amend the constitution, and to expand the welfare state by raising tax rates and taxing shareholders on retained earnings along with the dividend taxes they already pay. She’s also asking for an “exhaustive review” of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; the Partnership was one of the few authentically good news of 2013 for the region,

The goal of the alliance is to create a free-trade corridor of all countries in the Americas with a Pacific coast. The hope is that dropping barriers on labor, finance and trade will help the Alliance become a hub for commerce with Asia.

If Bachelet’s changes include changing the way proceeds from copper are used (since 2000 this process has been carried out according to a rule that requires generating a structural surplus equal to 0% of the Gross Domestic Product), Chile may be in for disastrous economic policies. She had attempted to use those mining revenues during her first term, and promised “likely changes to include altering mining royalties and funding programs” during her re-election campaign.

McMahon is very bullish on Brazil hosting the World Cup this year and the Olympics in 2016, because of the “worldwide media attention,”

which will help Brazil, and Latin America more broadly, brand itself on the global stage as vibrant and culturally rich a place as any in Europe or the United States.

Some of us thought it already is “as vibrant and culturally rich a place as any,” but the question is, how will Brazil emerge financially after the billions of dollars spent on these two hugely expensive events?

Just a month ago, The Economist published this:
Brazil’s economy
The deterioration
Slow growth, stubborn inflation and mounting deficits

McMahon states, and I hope she’s right,

Brazil is projected to be the world’s fifth largest economy by the time they host the Olympics in just two short years

But the facts right now point to a flat economy that may lapse into recession.

Turning a profit on World Cups and Olympics is a risky business, and Brazil rolled the dice twice, once for the World Cup, and once for the Olympics; the structural problems of slow growth, inflation and deficits will remain, regardless of the outcome, because of its government’s current economic policies.

Two other large economies, Argentina, with a GDP of $716.4 billion, and Venezuela, with a GDP of $374.1 billion – compared with Chile’s GDP of $299.6 billion – are in dire trouble. In Argentina:

The policy mix of harsh capital controls, restrictions on imports, and a series of nationalizations has severely undercut economic freedom. Regulatory pressure on the private sector has continued to rise, with populist spending measures and price controls further distorting markets. The central bank’s independence was essentially destroyed in 2012 when its charter was changed to allow the government unlimited use of the bank’s reserves to pay its debts. Efforts to reform the rigid labor market have long been stalled.

As it collapses into communism, Venezuela‘s,

overall score has recorded one of the 10 largest declines in the 2013 Index

In Colombia ($472.0 billion GDP), lingering institutional shortcomings undermine prospects for broad-based long-term economic development, but at least is making progress. Likewise, Peru ($302.0 billion GDP), whose economy has grown in the last few years, still has weak property rights and weak institutions impeding progress.

Indeed, I hope McMahon is right in saying “the sky’s the limit;” but from where I see it, there’s a lot of pie-in-the-sky there.


Ringin’ in the New Year in yellow undies: A brief story by Fausta

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

A happy and blessed 2014 to you!

Read about two countries, one tradition: Ringin’ in the New Year in yellow undies: A brief story by Fausta at Da Tech Guy Blog.

The year-end Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 30th, 2013

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Nine-year-old US boy climbs Aconcagua peak in Argentina
A nine-year-old boy from the United States has become the youngest person to reach the summit of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas.

BRAZIL
Brazil jail fights kill 59 in 2013
At least 59 inmates have been killed in a single northern Brazilian prison this year
; the town is Pedrinhas.

Smart Diplomacy: Boeing’s Super Hornet Banned From Brazil’s Fighter Sales Because of Fury Over NSA Scandal

Brazil Boosts Levy On Overseas Transactions
Brazil is raising taxes on more transactions its residents make abroad, as the country tries to increase government revenue and reduce the outflow of dollars.

ICYMI, Smart Diplomacy: Brazilian President complains to Obama about “a grave violation of human rights” and “especially of disrespect to national sovereignty

CHILE
Statistics in Chile
No consensus

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s year of peace

Colombian military kills 10 Farc rebels in bombing raid
The Colombian military says it has killed at least 10 members of the left-wing Farc rebel group in an operation in central Meta province.

CUBA
The Free Alan Gross website.

Magazine Celebrates Mass Murderer Che

Man who shouted “Down with communism!” during pope’s visit to Cuba is now in Chattanooga
Andrés Carrión Says security agents threatened to kill him, fired his wife, forced them out of their home and sent two snitches to get close to him.

ECUADOR
Ecuador Faces Legal Quandary over Intra-Indigenous Violence

HONDURAS
Honduran High Court Rejects Challenge to Presidential Vote

JAMAICA
Police in Jamaica probe slaying of New York teen

MEXICO
Observations and Questions as NAFTA Reaches 20 Years of Age

Mexico to Tax Luxury Item: Pet Food
Mexico’s pet owners are bracing for a new tax on pet food, which the government recently declared a “luxury item.
A 16% Sales Tax to Kick In as Government Scrounges for Revenue

A Civil Servant in Mexico Tests U.S. on Asylum

NICARAGUA
A must-read firsthand account from a former NGO worker: 32 years after the revolution Reagan is right

PERU
The Dark Side of El Dorado: Illegal Gold Mining In Peru Generating More Money Than Drug Trafficking (emphasis added)

In fact, so much gold has been produced by the “informal” (or “illegal’) mining sector in Peru – involving some 40,000 miners who have tried to scrape whatever they can in abandoned mines around the country, from the jungle province of Puerto Maldonado to the deserted landscape of Ica – that gold has become more lucrative than cocaine trafficking (of which Peru is the largest exporter, having surpassed Colombia in 2012, according to the United Nations).

PUERTO RICO
PENSION WARS
Pension Update: Puerto Rico Up, San Jose Down
It’s been an up-and-down week for public pensions. In San Jose, a judge struck down a significant piece of the city’s pension reform plan, setting the stage for a big ballot fight next year. In Puerto Rico, on the other hand, the Senate finally passed a measure to put the Teachers Pesion Fund on solid footing.

With A Downgrade On Debt Imminent, Puerto Rico Needs A Visit From Santa Claus

TURKS & CAICOS
Turks and Caicos Islands: 18 Believed to Be Migrants From Haiti Drown
Eighteen people believed to be migrants from Haiti died Wednesday when their overloaded sailboat overturned as it was being escorted to shore in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

URUGUAY
Uruguayan Navy Seizes Over 1 Ton of Cocaine

USA
‘Military-Style’ Raid on California Power Station Spooks U.S.

The Most Underreported Foreign News Stories of 2013

The Most Underreported Domestic News Stories of 2013

VENEZUELA
Caracas Says It Received China Credits
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said China has given his country $5 billion in credits under a deal reached in September.
Money Pledged in September to Be Used for Several Purposes

PDVSA awards crude tender to U.S. refiner at wide discounts-trade, via Kermit, wjo points out,

A decade or so ago Venezuelan crude was sold on longterm contracts at about $10 per barrel discount from the two widget fiction crudes, WTI & Brent. Looks like it is now $20 discount and crude production has declined quite a bit.

What Will Happen In Venezuela In 2014?

2013 in review: the year we realized that the Venezuelan electorate is wretched and vile

Muere Hugo Chávez, nace el chavismo
Con o sin el expresidente, el chavismo es una plataforma viable, y es la preferida por los venezolanos. De eso ya no queda duda

ICYMI, The Venezuelan State’s Occupy “Movement”: The Victory of Socialism!

The week’s posts:
Cuba: Institutionalized racism

Argentina: Rocket up, power out

Ecuador: Cléver Jiménez, accused of hacking, gets raided. Assange & Snowden could not be reached for comment.

Mexico showed the way in 2013

Argentina: 60 wounded by piranha attack

Cuba: Doctors to earn $40 a month

Nicaragua: Paul Berman writes to de Blasio

Reformed dictators don’t exist

At Da Tech Guy: Fausta’s Puerto Rican Christmas menu