Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category
Remember the Chong Chon Gang, the North Korean rust bucket caught by the Panamenians carrying attack planes and armaments?
Now there’s the Mu Du Bong!
(No, I did not make up that name.)
A North Korean freighter has run aground in the Gulf of Mexico just days after a stop in Havana that sparked comparisons with another Pyongyang vessel captured last summer with an illegal shipment of Cuban weapons.
The 130-metre Mu Du Bong grounded on a reef about 11km from the Mexican port of Tuxpan, according to shipping officials. The task of pulling it off the reef would be complicated and take several days, they said.
And, of course, the Mu Du Bong and the Chong Chon Gang share another feature (aside from the same commercial agent, Ocean Maritime Management Company, and the same penurious lack of maintenance),
Both freighters sailed in Cuba waters but their exact locations were a mystery for several days because there were no reports from their automatic location beacons, required by safety regulations. The Chong Chon Gang turned off its beacon to hide its locations, UN investigators found later.
Nothing to see here . . .
Just as the headlines feature a Video Posted by Ukrainian Government Shows Russian Surface-to-Air Missile Carrier Hightailing It Back to Russia… Missing One Missile, Russia will reopen spy base in Cuba
A report that Russia will reopen a Havana base that eavesdropped on U.S. communications from Key West to Washington has triggered fresh warnings of Moscow’s expansionism and predictions of a continued freeze in U.S.-Cuba relations.
Until its closure in 2002, the Lourdes base was Moscow’s largest intelligence facility abroad, with up to 1,500 KGB and GRU military intelligence officers manning an array of antennas and computers in the super-secret 28-square-mile base.
The article says, “If true, reports that Russia will reopen a spy base in Cuba will complicate, if not halt, any Obama administration effort to warm up relations with Havana,” which is risible, considering current U.S. foreign policy.
Bolivia becomes first nation to legalise child labour from age 10
Bolivia says law reflects reality in country where 1 million children regularly work, but activists complain it will increase poverty and contravenes United Nations conventions
Colombian drug boss ‘The Mouse’ arrested by Spanish police
Hernan Alonso Villa is considered to be leader of the Oficina de Envigado cartel which is accused of 400 killings and is connected to the now-dismantled Medellin cartel
ALBA’s Favorite Lobbyist
Opening of Mexican Energy Sector Takes Step Forward
Mexico’s Senate voted to give Mexican companies a greater role in energy projects under the landmark opening of the country’s oil and gas sectors, tightening the national content rules that President Enrique Peña Nieto had proposed and partly satisfying demands of local industry groups.
On Southern Border, Mexico Faces Crisis of Its Own
Mexico has announced plans for tightened deportation and border control policies as its migrant numbers surge in response to worsening gang violence in Central America.
The week’s posts:
Andrew McCarthy on the border invasion
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
This week in smart diplomacy
Argentina and Brazil go to the World Cup semifinals, and that has been the top story all over the hemisphere.
World Cup police cooperation leads to arrest of fugitive from Argentina’s ‘dirty war’
Salvador Siciliano, a leading member of the notorious Triple A anti-communist death squad in the 1970s, captured in Brazil thanks to heightened communications between international forces around the tournament
Bolivia sanctions child labour as young as 10
Bolivian congress passes laws that allow 12-year-old children to be employed in full-time work for others, with 10-year-olds permitted to work if self-employed
Dominican Authorities Arrest 137 Haitian Migrants
NYT editorializes with this headline, Government of Ecuador Can Sue Fugitive Bankers in U.S.
Jamaica selling out its paradise
The telecom bill is a tough blow for Mr. [Carlos] Slim. It forces mobile unit Telcel to complete calls from competing networks without charge, and establishes that domestic long-distance charges made by Telmex will be phased out starting next year. The bill also gives powers to the new enhanced regulator to set some phone rates of dominant players.
Puerto Rico: The New Detroit
Puerto Rico is moving to restructure a large slice of its debt. More trouble could be on the way. And, Mercado Libre is the eBay of Latin America. But it has a new competitor: eBay itself.
The week’s posts and podcast:
Guatemala: When The Mountains Tremble to be corrected
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Bean-counting Catholic justices
Are Liberals Patriotic?
For us not-fans, the World Cup drags on forever, but it’s only on its third week. The half-time verdict Expectations were low. They have been exceeded
— Sábado Gigante (@SabadoGigante) June 28, 2014
Bank of New York Mellon Corp. must return a $539 million deposit from Argentina intended for restructured bondholders, a U.S. judge ruled, calling the transfer an “explosive action” that disrupted potential settlement talks with holders of defaulted debt.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in New York has ruled that Argentina can’t pay holders of its restructured debt without also paying more than $1.5 billion to a group of defaulted bondholders, raising the possibility of a new default as the South American nation approaches a June 30 payment deadline.
Robert Cohen, a lawyer for hedge funds holding the defaulted debt, told Griesa that Argentina “defiantly and contemptuously” violated his court orders.
Prince Harry thanks Brazilians in first ever royal video message
Prince Harry thanks the people of Brazil for their hospitality in the first ever video message to be recorded by a member of the Royal family
The World Cup of Dirty Dreams: Inside Brazil’s Most Infamous Brothel
Full of beautiful women and XXX behavior, Rio de Janeiro’s Centaurus has enticed celebrities, soccer stars and anyone else willing to pay a fee and go inside. We go behind the doors of a scandalous sin palace
Central America Border Rush Fueled By Remittances
Pablo Escobar’s hippos: A growing problem. Jaime Bayly interviewed his former girlfriend. They did not talk about hippos:
StarTek leaves: Another US company closes operations in Costa Rica; 550 workers to lose jobs
Amnesty International DOCUMENT – CUBA: FURTHER INFORMATION: PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE AWAIT SENTENCING
Vatican Defrocks Ambassador in Abuse Inquiry
The Vatican has defrocked its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, an archbishop from Poland who was accused of sexually abusing boys while he served as the pope’s representative in the Caribbean nation.
The former archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, 65, is the first papal nuncio known to have been removed from the priesthood because of accusations of child sexual abuse.
Falkland Islands UN resolution siding with Argentina ‘outdated’ and ‘not relevant’, says Britain
United Nations committee resolution calling on Britain and Argentina to negotiate a Falkland Islands solution – essentially favouring Argentina’s stance – dismissed by Foreign Office
Take a bite out of crime? Mujica strongly supports Suárez and blasts FIFA: “they went too far”
Uruguay’s president Jose Mujica blasted FIFA’s Thursday decision to fine and suspend the country’s main scorer Luis Suarez from any football activity for four months arguing the association that rules world football measures things with different rods, and since Uruguay “is a small country, it’s cheap for them”.
Let’s wiki-audit PDVSA
Venezuela blackout interrupts live-television broadcast from President Maduro
A blackout cut electricity in various parts of Venezuela on Friday and twice interrupted the live television broadcast of a speech by President Nicolas Maduro, who said authorities were seeking more information about the outage.
The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina: Boudou’s voodoo may land him in the hoosgow
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
O’s foreign policy, Northern Triangle edition
US-Latin America stories of the week
The folks building the deepwater port in the island-prison are being charged with slave labor:
Prosecutors in Brazil have begun legal action against a leading construction company, Odebrecht, accusing it of maintaining 500 Brazilian workers in “slave-like conditions” in Angola, (yet another blighted land where Fidel and Che failed)
Prosecutors say Odebrecht committed “human trafficking” while transporting workers to a biofuel plant.
They are demanding 500m reais ($220m; £130m) in compensation for workers.
Odebrecht, which made out like gangbusters from its World Cup contracts, is one of the biggest contributors to Rousseff’s Worker’s Party, has 21 projects in Venezuela, where Alek Boyd notes Lula and Dilma intervened on Odebrecht’s behalf.
Carlos Eire points out,
Twenty-first century slavery and twenty-first socialism are two sides of the same coin.
Every now and then, someone wakes up to this fact.
In the meantime, the Brazilian slave conglomerate of Odebrecht continues to prosper and grow.
Their deal for slave labor at the Castrogonian port of Mariel didn’t stop officials in South Florida from striking deals with them. Neither has Odebrecht’s latest deal for a sugar mill in Cienfuegos, Castrogonia, which will also employ slave labor.
Will a lawsuit against them in Brazil slow them down or stop them?
Take-away question: And why does Cuba need a deepwater port just now? Apparently it is “for larger ships passing through an expanded Panama Canal.” In which case, why would the so-called embargo make any difference?
All of Latin America is absorbed in the World Cup; all, that is, except for the tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children arriving in the United States. This invasion, which until recently the White House ignored – as if it was a really, really big field trip – but now blames on the drug cartels, will not end because the federal government has no intention of stopping this influx, other that throw $250million at it – while doing nothing to secure the border.
A good week for some investors
Vulture funds win a legal victory over Argentina’s government; The Economist ought to do a little less editorializing on its headlines.
Uh-oh: China backs Argentina’s position on Falkland Islands
Chinese support calls at two-day G77 summit for the governments of Argentina and the UK to resume negotiations on ‘the Malvinas Islands question’
Ending a six-year winning streak, Spain upset after World Cup ouster
5 Things to know about Costa Rica
Cuba ends censorship — NOT
For a brief and shinning moment, it seemed that Cuba had unblocked access to several websites censored for years because of their criticisms of the government, including the U.S. government’s Radio/TV Marti.
New US-Caribbean energy initiative
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman denied that the official had been served.
Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., visited Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi at the El Hongo II prison in Tecate, Mexico.
As far as I could find, VP Joe Biden didn’t mention Sgt. Tahmooressi when visiting with Peña Nieto.
Unesco grants Inca Qhapaq Nan road system World Heritage status
A road system built by the Inca Empire has been granted World Heritage status by the United Nations cultural agency, Unesco.
The Qhapaq Nan roads go through six South American countries
It covers some 30,000 km (18,600 miles), from modern-day Colombia in the north to Argentina and Chile in the south, via Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.
It’s already out of toilet paper and flour, but now Venezuela Is Running Out of Cookies and Coffins
Thanks to an economic crisis, the list of things you actually can buy in Venezuela seems to be getting shorter every day
The week’s posts and podcast:
WH blames cartels for immigration surge
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
The new twist in illegal immigration: Children as human shields for the cartels
Without further comment,
Life in short supply at the Hospital Universitario’s HIV department,
“There are like sixty-five thousand patients receiving treatment in the country. We receive about ten percent of them,” he says, referring to the Universitario, a public entity supported by the government. “There are normally about twenty types of antiretrovirals in the country, of about thirty that exist in the world. Most of them are now not available.”
Daniel of Venezuela News and Views, on Santos’s reelection win in Colombia:
What the Castros are getting today with a weakened Santos that owes his seat now to minority leftists in Bogota, is neutrality on Venezuela troubles. We can be almost certain that the Santos second term will not see visits of opposition leaders at Casa de Nariño. Santos second term will never confront UNASUR, and even less about Venezuela. In short, prolonging Havana negotiations between Santos and FARC for a year or two is enough for Colombia to leave alone Maduro until he can exterminate Venezuelan opposition, including massive electoral fraud next year. Then, with chavismo unmovable once and for all, it will always be time to turn the gaze toward taking over Colombia, helped by a Correa in Ecuador who know has taken the open dictatorship road with his own plans for eternal reelection. Well, that is the idea anyway.
Linked to by NotiDia. Thank you!
Yes, the World Cup is front-page news on every newspaper in the hemisphere.
More important news: Santos was re-elected in Colombia.
Don’t tell Maureen Dowd, ‘Coca’ cake for UN chief: Bolivia gives Ban a birthday treat
Costa Rica seizes 4 tons of cocaine at sea
Cy Tokmakjian Canadian fears foregone verdict in Cuban court
Stateless people in Dominican Republic hope to regain citizenship
Ecuador Breaks Its Amazon Deal
JAN BREWER: MS-13 GANG MEMBERS COULD BE CROSSING BORDER WITH CHILDREN; I’d actually be surprised if they weren’t.
Fundamentally changing America by emboldening dictators: Obama’s Budget Fails Democracy Promotion Abroad
The administration is proposing to remove language from next year’s budget that would safeguard American foreign aid from repressive foreign leaders.
The proposed removal from the administration’s budget and appropriations request for next fiscal year of a provision instructing the Secretary of State not to seek the prior approval of host governments when funding nonprofits and civil society groups overseas is infuriating American democracy-promotion and human-rights activists, who argue the omission marks a retreat in U.S. leadership.
They warn the Obama administration is in effect signaling to repressive regimes that they can dictate where U.S. democracy-promotion and human rights money goes in their countries—a problem the provision introduced a decade ago was meant to combat.
Nicaragua shakedown like highway robbery
The results of the welfare state: Some 68% of Babies in Puerto Rico Born to One-Parent Households
What leaving Venezuela means to Jews
TalCual: Repression vs. Inflation
On Tuesday, a group comprised by 9 human rights NGOs released their own figures. These showed that Nicolás Maduro has repressed 485% more than his predecessor, while inflation may exceed 70% by the end of this year
The week’s posts and podcast:
Immigration: And I still ask, who’s organizing this?
At Da Tech Guy:
The case for harmless escapism