Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

Would Peru go for Chavismo?

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Mary O’Grady writes about the reasons behind Peru’s recent economic success: A market model that allows for

  • a vibrant consumer class that is entrepreneurial and creative
  • openness to imports
  • structural reforms that included ending a punishing system of import tariffs and quotas
  • fiscally conservative governance.

However,

Still, the downturn in commodity prices is eating into growth and the slowdown that began last year continues. Market forecasts for GDP growth are in the 3% range for 2015. Peru’s economy is performing far better than most in the region, but lackluster is not what Peruvians have come to expect.

The obvious answer to this lethargy is more aggressive trade opening on key products like sugar and corn, more tax cutting and deregulation. But Mr. Humala’s popularity is sagging and he is unlikely to do anything bold. Meanwhile, opponents of economic freedom will turn slower growth into opportunity by linking stagnant incomes in the market economy and corruption.

As O’Grady points out, this means Peru Is Chavismo’s Next American Target
Corruption scandals give the left an opening in the 2016 presidential election.

On a seemingly unrelated topic,
The Obama administration insists on easing restrictions on Cuba’s merciless Communist dictatorship while Cuba’s dependence on Venezuelan oil goes bust. Once Cuba’s economy improves cosmetically (because you can bet those in power will not give up their acquisitiveness), the Cuban propaganda machine will use this as another tool in its propaganda arsenal against market economies.

No matter how ruinous Cuban-driven Chavismo is in real life; propaganda is the only thing Cuba’s regime is good at, and it is particularly effective in Latin America.

Face it: The fact that the article talks about Chavismo – instead of Castrocommunism – itself is a success for the Cuban propaganda machine; in reality, “The Venezuelan regime is a puppet controlled by the Cubans.”

—————————————

Related reading:
Hernando de Soto’s excellent book, The Other Path, available on Kindle for under $10, and Ian Bremmer’s The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?

The dismissed Nisman case Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 30th, 2015

LatinAmerArgentina’s Federal Criminal Appeals Court refused to open an investigation into the complaint filed in January by former AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman four days before he was found dead

Federal prosecutor Germán Moldes will try to reactivate the investigation against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner next week

Accusations fly that

Prosecutor Viviana Fein is conducting the investigation into the death of Alberto Nisman “with an evident interest” of only showing that the AMIA special prosecutor committed “suicide.”

Meanwhile, Venezuelan defectors from Hugo Chavez inner circle are talking.

ARGENTINA
Falklands defence: Why is Argentina considering an aircraft deal with the Russians?
Russia’s potential deal to lease 12 long-range bombers to Argentina is causing Britain to rethink its protection of the Falklands. Why is Cristina Kirchner cosying up to Moscow?

BOLIVIA
Bolivian Mob Tries to Bury Alive Teacher Accused of Raping Girl

BRAZIL
Brazil Economy to Shrink, Joblessness Rises
The Brazilian central bank’s view of the economy is getting worse, with the official unemployment rate rising in February, as Latin America’s largest economy continues to struggle.

After Ratings Reprieve, Brazil Faces Tough News
President Dilma Rousseff got a big break when Standard & Poor’s maintained Brazil’s investment-grade credit rating, but Friday’s coming report on economic growth is expected to bring the embattled president bad news.

CHILE
Flood torrents devastate Peru and Chile

Two dead as flash flooding hits Chile Atacama desert region

COLOMBIA
Colombian Government, FARC Agree to Begin Land-Mine Removal

New IG Report: DEA Agents in Columbia Partied With Hookers Hired By the Drug Cartels

CUBA
Obama’s Cuba Folly Unfolds

ECUADOR

EL SALVADOR
Half Million People March Against Violence in El Salvador

FALKLAND ISLANDS
Britain to boost Falklands Islands defences

JAMAICA
Jamaican Prime Minister Rebukes Gay-Rights Protestors At New York Townhall

MEXICO
39 Central American Migrants Rescued in Mexico from Human Traffickers

PANAMA
Panama Canal sets sights on new $17 billion expansion project

As it enters the final stretch of a massive expansion, the Panama Canal Authority is setting its sights on an even more ambitious project worth up to $17 billion that would allow it to handle the world’s biggest ships.

Workers are now installing giant, 22-story lock gates to accommodate larger “Post-Panamax” ships through the Canal, one of the world’s busiest maritime routes.

The project involves building a third set of locks on the Canal. It is being headed by Italy’s Salini Impregilo and Spain’s Sacyr, and should open on April 1, 2016.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay Farmers March in Asuncion to Demand President’s Resignation

PERU
Floods in Chile and landslides in Peru after heaviest rain in 80 years

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Prepares for Luxury Shopping Amid Recession

Puerto Rico Mayor Gets 5 Years for Bribery

URUGUAY
Uruguay will no longer grant asylum to Guantanamo prisoners

The new Uruguayan government says it will no longer grant asylum to prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

In December, Uruguay gave sanctuary to six Arab men who had been held at the US base in Cuba for 12 years.

Opinion polls said most Uruguayans rejected the decision taken by outgoing President Jose Mujica.

Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa also said Uruguay would stop taking refugees from the Syrian conflict.

Does that mean they’ll kick Syrians Jihad Abu Wael Dhiab, Ali Husain Shaaban, Ahmed Adnan Ajuri, and Abdelhadi Faraj, Palestinian Mohammed Abdullah Taha Mattan, and Tunisian Adel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi out of the country?

VENEZUELA
“Normalization” update: Venezuelan Castro puppet seeks to humiliate U.S. at the Summit of the Americas but Maduro Says “Venezuela Is Ready” for Dialogue with U.S. Of course. In his spare time, he indulged in vandalism,

Alicia Bárcena’s blinders

The week’s posts and podcast:
Cuba {heart} Iran: Love-terror

Words, words, words

How a German trial relates to the #Nisman case

Ecuador: Chinese loans, social media censorship

Today’s Colombian hookers update

Venezuela-Iran’s Aeroterror: Airplanes full of drugs & money

Podcast: US-Latin America: Cuba-Venezuela, elections in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina & more

Barrio 18 in El Salvador: A View from the Inside

The #Nisman Case and the Whitewashing of Iran

About that “Cuban side or the white side”

Thank you, Newsmax

Argentina: Beef for bombers

Today’s WSV* moment: Now Snowden wants to come back

Today’s immigration headlines

Ted throws his hat in the ring

Cuba {heart} Iran: Love-terror

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

You may recall that a few years ago I recommended this book:
Jon B. Perdue, director of the Latin American program at the Fund for American Studies, has written THE must-read book about our hemisphere, The War of All the People: The Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism.

The title refers to Hugo Chavez’s name for his war on U.S. “imperialism”, an ideological and political, violent war involving Iran, terrorist organizations from around the world, and drug money.

Now we have the Obama administration cozying up to Cuba and Iran (Ace has much more on the awful Iran deal), after having declared “the Monroe Doctrine is over.”

Meanwhile, Iran strives for hegemony.

Jaime Suchlicki writes on Cuba’s love for the ayatollahs (h/t Babalu):From Havana to Tehran
The strange love affair between a theocracy and an atheistic dictatorship.

Communist Cuba’s alliance with the Iran of the Ayatollahs dates to 1979, when Fidel Castro became one of the first heads of state to recognize the Islamic Republic’s radical clerics. Addressing then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, Castro insisted that there was “no contradiction between revolution and religion,” an ecumenical principle that has guided Cuba’s relations with Iran and other Islamic regimes. Over the next two decades, Castro fostered a unique relationship between secular communist Cuba and theocratic Iran, united by a common hatred of the United States and the liberal, democratic West — and by substantial material interests. (In the photo, Iran’s Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Cuba’s Vice Foreign Minister Marcos Rodriguez attend a wreath-laying ceremony on Revolution Square in Havana on Sept. 7, 2011.)

Suchlicki recommends that Washington address Havana’s troublesome alliances with rogue regimes; I’m cynical enough to say it already has.

The crashed plane Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

An Argentine turboprop airplane crashed and burned shortly after taking off, killing all 10 people aboard,

Witnesses at the airport said that a few minutes after takeoff they heard a significant explosion followed by a huge fireball.

The passengers were members of the Argentine company La Rural which is an associate in a project to exploit a Convention Center under construction in the Atlantic resort of Punta del Este and had flown to Uruguay for a business conference with their Uruguayan partners and the local government.

La Rural is a leading company in Argentina and Latin America in the fairs, congress and events industry.

Was it an accident?

ARGENTINA
Exactly two months after his murder, Argentine Government Accuses Nisman of Embezzlement

Dead Argentine prosecutor was zeroing in on a terror threat to the entire Western Hemisphere

Investigan un supuesto refugio de jerarcas nazis en Argentina

BRAZIL
POLL NUMBERS!!! Dilma’s drop

Why is Brazil so angry?
Big Question: Over a million people took to the streets over the weekend calling for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, five months after she won a general election

CHILE
Hundreds protest over Chile bishopProtesters shout as Rev Juan Barros enter the Osorno cathedral
Hundreds of people in Chile try to stop the ordination of Catholic Bishop Juan Barros, accusing him of covering up a sex abuse scandal.

COLOMBIA
Drug Gang Led by Female Trafficker from Mexico Nabbed in Colombia

Guerra y paz en Colombia

CUBA
[pdf file] An Illusory Opening to Cuba:
Why Florida Shouldn’t Walk Through the Breach

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Where “Cold War Charm” is the half-century long misery endured by the inmates of the island-prison: Cuba’s Cold War charm has D.R. wary about losing U.S. tourists to next-door neighbor

ECUADOR
#19M Protests Put Correa’s Citizen Revolution on Notice
Thousands March in Ecuador as Anti-Authoritarian Outrage Boils Over

Populist Playbook: The Slow Death of Democracy in Correa’s Ecuador

HAITI
Clinton Foundation’s chickens coming home to roost in Haiti?

WaPo Reporter: Bill Clinton ‘So Disliked’ in Haiti After Charity Work ‘He Couldn’t Even Run for Mayor’

HILLARY CLINTON’S BROTHER DEFENDS HAITI GOLD MINE DEAL: ‘I RAISE MONEY FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE’

HONDURAS
Are Special Economic Zones the answer? How ZEDEs Can Make Honduras Prosperous
Next-Generation Zones for an Anti-Poverty Success Story

Honduras sends soldiers to protect ‘lost city’ from drug cartels
Expendition team reportedly split on how to safeguard artefacts from looters after ‘lost city’ rediscovered in Honduras jungle also used by drug trafficker

JAMAICA
US Say Courts Crippling Ja Narcotics Fight

MEXICO
US Court Convicts Mexican of Kidnapping Mexican in Mexico
Federal Jury Convicts Mexican Citizen Living in San Antonio for His Role in Kidnapping Scheme

NICARAGUA
Wang Jing: The man behind the Nicaragua canal project

PARAGUAY
Paraguay and Latin America are officially the happiest nations in the world, in a Bobby McFerrin sort of way?

PERU
Peru’s Premier Removes Senior Spy Officials
Peru’s prime minister removed the head of the National Intelligence Service and other high-level officials, as allegations widened that the spy agency for years gathered information on a broad range of well-known people.

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico’s Catholic Church Calls for Referendum on Gay Marriage

SOUTH AMERICA
The Islamization of South America

URUGUAY
After years in Guantanamo, ex-detainees find little solace in Uruguay Apparently they don’t have Uruguayan passports yet.

VENEZUELA

Unbroken: Former Venezuelan Political Prisoner Speaks Out
Police Chief Lucchese Describes His Year Behind Bars at Ramo Verde Military Prison

Enabling Maduro’s Tyranny in Venezuela
US Sanctions Give Perfect Excuse for Crackdown on Dissent
. I disagree – the crackdown has been going on, well before any sanctions.

Maduro’s English in action,

Yes, Venezuela is a security threat

Drums of War or Pipes of Peace?

Meanwhile, over in Cuba,

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

following Obama declaring Venezuela a “national security threat”,

More from Noah Rothman.

Venezuela, “national-security threat”

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 09, 2015
FACT SHEET: Venezuela Executive Order

President Obama today issued a new Executive Order (E.O.) declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela. The targeted sanctions in the E.O. implement the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, which the President signed on December 18, 2014, and also go beyond the requirements of this legislation.

At the WSJ:
U.S. Freezes Assets of Seven Venezuelan Officials
President Obama declares Venezuela a national-security threat

President Barack Obama declared Venezuela a national-security threat and froze the assets of seven senior officials over alleged rights abuses and political repression.

The move puts all seven officials on a U.S. government blacklist that freezes any assets in the U.S. and prohibits American citizens from dealing with them.

Declaring a country a national-security threat is a formality that allow the U.S. government to impose sanctions on individuals or other countries.

Seven Venezuelan officials targeted by US The seven are:
The President imposed sanctions on the following seven individuals listed in the Annex to the E.O.:

1. Antonio José Benavides Torres: Commander of the Strategic Region for the Integral Defense (REDI) of the Central Region of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) and former Director of Operations for Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).
2. Gustavo Enrique González López: Director General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and President of Venezuela’s Strategic Center of Security and Protection of the Homeland (CESPPA).
3. Justo José Noguera Pietri: President of the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana (CVG), a state-owned entity, and former General Commander of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).
4. Katherine Nayarith Haringhton Padron: national level prosecutor of the 20th District Office of Venezuela’s Public Ministry.
5. Manuel Eduardo Pérez Urdaneta: Director of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Police.
6. Manuel Gregorio Bernal Martínez : Chief of the 31st Armored Brigade of Caracas of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Army and former Director General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN).
7. Miguel Alcides Vivas Landino: Inspector General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) and former Commander of the Strategic Region for the Integral Defense (REDI) of the Andes Region of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces.

Caracas Chronicles applauds it

In that regard, the language in the Executive Order makes perfect sense. In sidestepping sanctions for ordinary Venezuelans while targeting the actual human rights abusers, the Obama administration is zeroing in on the problem without creating unnecessary controversies regarding “embargoes” or other nonsense.

It has also chosen the perfect time for its offensive, right when the Maduro administration is at its weakest. It is most certainly creating tension and conflict within the ranks of chavismo. After all, it’s probably more difficult to target sanctions against someone like Diosdado Cabello, who has probably prepared for years for something like this, than it is to zero in on the guys in the second-tier of decision making, the ones actually implementing the orders from Miraflores. I doubt poor old Katherine Harrington-Colby has the testaferros that Diosdado has.

Maduro and his cronies are a threat to US national security. Let’s hope the pressure makes Maduro bend a little and free some of the political prisoners. After all, how much worse can things get for them?

VN&V is skeptical: Another day, another US sanction against Venezuelan apparatchicks [sic].

So is Carlos Eire:

Get ready for a wild ride. The current occupant of the White House and his acolytes are slapping Venezuela on the wrist for its human rights violations at exactly the same time that they are rewarding those in Havana who are ultimately responsible for those violations with all sorts of outlandish concessions, including the agreement to never, ever bring up the issue of human rights abuses in the “normalization” talks between the U.S. and the Castro regime.

Heading the race to the bottom, Venezuela’s Minimum Wage Is Now $20 A Month; Congratulations To Bolivarian Socialism

The terrorist networks Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Two stories on terrorist networks in Latin America deserve our attention this week:
Report: Hezbollah opens base in Cuba
Shiite terror group to use operations center to launch attack on Israeli target in South America, Italian newspaper reports

and Uruguay, la guarida: etarras, islamistas, científicos asesinos, carapintadas y narcos (Uruguay, the lair: ETA terrorists, islamists, killer scientists, ultranationalists, and drug lords)

ARGENTINA
Alberto Nisman ‘was murdered and died in agony': full account of ex-wife’s revelations

Argentine foreign minister: This isn’t Dirty War
Hector Timerman says there’s no comparison between the current mystery death scandal and the country’s dark past

BARBADOS
Barbados to Receive More Swedish Support for Renewable Energy Initiatives

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Ex-Police Commander Accused of Ties to “El Chapo” Guzman

BRAZIL
Brazil Court Approves Probe of Top Lawmakers
A corruption dragnet that has jailed dozens of executives and erased billions from Brazil’s state-controlled oil giant has now snared some of the nation’s top lawmakers, deepening a crisis that’s weighing on South America’s largest economy.

CHILE
Stunning Nighttime Pictures of Chilean Volcano Erupting
Villarrica erupted earlier this week with a bang, spewing lava bombs and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

COLOMBIA
Rights Group Faults Colombia’s Progress on Violence
Grisly murders, disappearances and threats by drug-trafficking gangs continue to plague Buenaventura, a year after the government pledged to restore order there, a human-rights group said.

CUBA
While Conan goofed, In Raul Castro — and Barack Obama’s — Cuba, police make 492 political arrests in February

Cuba releases new photos of Fidel Castro meeting with five spies

GUYANA
Venezuela Warned Not to Interfere with Guyana’s Ocean Drilling
Caracas Cites Boundary Dispute as Neighbor Hunts for Oil

MEXICO
Mexican drug cartels
Captured capos
Few of the drug lords who terrorised the country remain at large

PANAMA
Panama: So much more than the canal

PARAGUAY
Azerbaijan Lawmakers Begin South American Tour in Paraguay

PERU
“Significant Variation” Found in Skulls From Pre-Contact Peru

PUERTO RICO
Why tax reform could be (really) bad for Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
The Slow Burn of Marijuana Legalization in Uruguay
Prohibition the Only Drug Problem, Says Reformer Diego Pieri

VENEZUELA
Venezuela to impose mandatory visas on Americans
President Nicolas Maduro says move is to control US influence

The week’s posts and podcast
Cuba: Tweet of the week

Last call to complete a survey on political blogs

Ecuador: ISIS death threats to cartoonist

En español: Las colas en supermercados venezolanos

Maradona: Before and after

Colombia: What other weapons were in the Chinese ship heading to Cuba

Argentina: Pollicita appeals dismissal of #Nisman’s suit

Please complete a survey on political blogs

Bolivia: 27 tons of ground coke seized on their way to Lebanon

Live feed to Netanyahu’s speech

Colombia Intercepts Shipment of “War Materiel” Headed to Cuba

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
The attack on LIBRE: What happens when Latinos don’t toe the line

What’s going on, or the consequences of “smart diplomacy”

Podcast:
Iran in Latin America, Argentina PLUS other stories with Silvio Canto, Jr.



Cuba: Tweet of the week

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Related:
Joke and dance about this, Conan: children of jailed Cuban dissidents face rape threats

Colombia: What other weapons were in the Chinese ship heading to Cuba

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Along with long-range weapons systems, the BBC reports that the Chinese ship Da Dan Xia, intercepted last week by Colombian authorities as it headed to Cuba, was carrying

About 100 tonnes of gunpowder, almost three million detonators and some 3,000 cannon shells were found on board the Da Dan Xia, officials said.

But according to the ship’s records, it was carrying grain products.
. . .
The Da Dan Xia is operated by China’s largest shipping company, Cosco Shipping.

Cuba isn’t saying anything yet, but the Chinese say,

We were engaged in “normal trade cooperation involving normal military supplies.”

Rather than dig into the illegal weapons trade, American media is focused instead on Conan’s trip to Cuba,

Looks like Conan spent more time interacting with dogs than with dissidents.

Humberto Fontova reminds us that

(BTW, over TWENTY TIMES as many people have died trying to escape the place Conan advertised last night, as died trying to escape East Berlin.)



Colombia Intercepts Shipment of “War Materiel” Headed to Cuba

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

From the U.S. State Department website:

State Sponsors of Terrorism:

Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.

Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors. Currently there are four countries designated under these authorities: Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria

In the news:
Colombia Intercepts Shipment of “War Materiel” Headed to Cuba (emphasis added)

Colombian authorities have intercepted a Chinese-flagged ship loaded with “war materiel” headed for Cuba.

Headline in Spanish: Autoridades Colombianas interceptan barco de bandera china cargado de armamento de guerra de largo alcance con destino a Cuba.

It was intercepted near the Port of Cartagena. The cargo includes long-range weapons systems.

According to El Tiempo, the ship did not have appropriate documentation — indicating that this was a clandestine shipment.

Capitol Hill Cubans point out,

Cuba was found to be in violation of U.N. sanctions — the most egregious violation of these sanctions to date.

Yet, Castro’s regime got away scot-free — despite a U.N. Panel of Experts documenting how the Cuban authorities lied and sought to conceal the weapons shipment.

Instead, the Obama Administration rewarded Castro’s regime with the normalization of diplomatic relations and eased sanctions for travel and trade with the Cuban military’s monopolies.

While everybody’s talking about Paris Hilton in Havana, the Communist regime’s importing long-range weapons systems; That’s today’s news in “smart diplomacy.”