Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentine Government Blasts “Speculation” by Grain Exporters

Argentina Creditors’ Lawyers, Mediator to Meet
A court-appointed mediator will meet next week with lawyers representing Argentina and its holdout creditors, the mediator said Friday

BOLIVIA
Morales confident he will win Sunday’s election in all nine Bolivian districts
At an event to mark the closing of his campaign ahead of Sunday’s elections, a self-assured Evo Morales told Bolivians that he will win all over the country and will even take the opposition’s bastions of support in the east.

Bolivia’s election
Happily Evo after
A third term for a “non-stick” leader

BRAZIL
Number of Attacks in Southern Brazil State Rises to 100
The wave of violence, which has left at least three people dead and 41 buses destroyed, has spread to 31 cities in Santa Catarina, whose authorities say the attacks are ordered by a criminal gang from Argentina.


Brazil’s Election Shows How The Left Thrives On Welfare Dependency

The Key Proposals Of Brazil Presidential Hopeful Aécio Neves

Brazil Suspected Ebola Case Tests Negative
A West African man held in isolation at a Rio de Janeiro hospital on suspicion of bringing the deadly Ebola virus to South America has tested negative for the disease, the Health Ministry said Saturday.

CAYMAN ISLANDS
Former Cayman Premier Acquitted

CHILE
Experts Lower Chile’s Growth Forecast to 1.9%

COLOMBIA
Colombia Authorized Guerrilla Leader’s Trips to Cuba

Hours later, President Juan Manuel Santos said that he personally signed off on the trips, which he described as “part of the process, normal.”

Washington Post reporter: White House spin on Cartegena is “demonstrably false”

CUBA
CASTRO’S MOMUMENT
The Castro Legacy: Untold Thousands of Watery Graves

World Bank Touts Cuba’s Communist Education as Exemplary
All the Better to Indoctrinate Students, Exiles Contend

Cuban: I’d Rather Die Trying to Reach Freedom, Than Live on My Knees Living in Tyranny

ECUADOR
El escándalo uruguayo

A Raúl Sendic, candidato vicepresidencial de Uruguay, junto a Tabaré Vásquez, por el movimiento izquierdista Frente Amplio, del presidente José Mujica, le salpicó la “maldición“ del petróleo. Un cuestionado convenio de canje de crudo por derivados entre Ancap/Trafigura/Petroecuador que involucra USD 6.400 millones, empezó a pasar las primeras facturas, en medio de la campaña electoral. El escándalo ampliamente cubierto por la prensa uruguaya, hace referencia al libro Ecuador Made in China, y a una carta remitida al gobierno uruguayo y a varios legisladores de ese país.
. . .
La referida cláusula del Convenio señala que Ecuador proveerá hasta 36000 barriles diarios de crudo, sin embargo en el contrato firmado el mismo día en Montevideo, se estableció la entrega de hasta 100000 barriles diarios, con lo que se violó el Convenio. Incluir un volumen de 100000 barriles día notificaba al más ingenuo que el crudo no estaba destinado a la refinería uruguaya, cuya capacidad máxima, cuando está operativa, es de 50000 barriles día, y de un crudo diferente al ecuatoriano. Al respecto, la Contraloría abona con conclusiones que dejan sin respuesta a los autores del Acuerdo: “se contrató con Ancap, sin que existan estudios técnicos que demuestren los beneficios para el país de una contratación directa”, señala en organismo.

Feminists Weigh In for Chevron in Racketeering-Oil Pollution Case

The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund urged the appeals court to rule for Chevron on a highly technical but critical issue. You read that correctly: The nation’s oldest women’s-rights legal advocacy organization, a left-leaning group that helped enact the landmark 1994 Violence Against Women Act and represents victims of sexual harassment and spousal brutality, supports the multinational oil company in its struggle against a crusading lawyer who claims to represent the impoverished and oppressed.

O’Reilly Discusses WFB’s Reporting On Ecuador PR Firm Paying Liberal US Celebrities

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador tries to rein in crime with community policing

IMMIGRATION
FUSION TV LAMENTS ‘UNDOCUMENTED’ WOMEN HAVING HARD TIME GETTING ABORTIONS IN TEXAS

MEXICO
Mexico Arrests Alleged Head of Juárez Drug Cartel
Federal police arrested alleged Juárez drug cartel leader Vicente Carrillo Fuentes in the northern city of Torreón on Thursday, Mexican officials said.
His Arrest Is Seen as Symbolic Amid Police Scandal

Iguala, Mexico and police crimes

NICARAGUA
Russia ban opens opportunities to Iran, Nicaragua

PANAMA
Panama’s National Assembly Ratifies Trade Pact with Mexico

PERU
The Man Behind Peru’s Culinary Ascent
Chef Gastón Acurio Built an Empire With 44 Restaurants in 13 Countries on Ceviche, Guinea Pig and Ethnic Influences

Divide and bribe
Corruption and political fragmentation threaten Peru’s democracy

PUERTO RICO
No More Dunkin’ Donuts for Puerto Rico
Island’s Franchisee Fails to Make Payments, 18 Stores to Close

TRINIDAD TOBAGO
Trinidad and Tobago Mulls Postponing Carnival over Ebola Fears

URUGUAY
Uruguay Welcomes First Group of 42 Syrian Refugees

VENEZUELA
Wouldn’t it be better if they had done this while Maduro was speakinVenezuela: Exxon wins $1.6 billion settlementg at the UN? UN urges Venezuela to release dissenter leader Leopoldo López
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations (UN) described as illegal the actions of the Venezuelan authorities in the proceedings against the political opposition leader for the events of February 12

Venezuela: a land of political killings and gang turf wars
Politician Robert Serra was murdered in his home
The grisly murder of a young politician and killing of a pro-regime militia leader in police shoot-out signal a bloody power struggle for the legacy of Hugo Chavez, writes Phillip Sherwell

Miami Venezuelans vs. Mary Landrieu

The week’s posts and podcast:
Why Venezuela should not have a seat at the UN Security Council

Could capitalism save the Arabs?

Mexico: Government paying its citizens to avoid deportation from U.S.

Venezuela: Exxon wins $1.6 billion settlement

No More Che Day

4 ISIS Terrorists Arrested in Texas

Mexico: 43 students missing since September 26

Brazil: Aécio’s plan is the economy

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Why bother covering up the Cartagena, Colombia, prostitution scandal?

Ecuador’s “dirty hand,” and Mia Farrow’s greased palm

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week.

“All communist countries revert to capitalism eventually. Some just get there quicker than others”

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Michael J. Totten continues his excellent reporting by going From Havana to Hanoi, and concludes,

Decades of disinformation to the contrary, Cuba never had a kinder and gentler version of communism that works. No, the island is not North Korea or Cambodia under Pol Pot, but it was never any better than Vietnam or East Germany in the 1970s and the 1980s. It just had better PR. The sorry truth is that of all the communist regimes that have ever existed—with the single exception of North Korea’s—Cuba’s is the most stubborn, the most reactionary, and the slowest to figure out how economics actually works.

Read the whole eye-opening thing.

No More Che Day

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

The Top Gear Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, October 6th, 2014

The Top Gear lads got ‘chased by thousands and ordered out of country’

“When we saw people on Twitter getting upset we took the plate off. But they still attacked us so we made a break for it to our hotel in Ushuaia.

“The mob just descended on the hotel and encircled us. State representatives came and ordered us out of the country.”

Here’s the car that caused the fracas,

Video of the police escorting them.

ARGENTINA
Barcelona star Lionel Messi to face tax evasion trial
Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi is to face trial for alleged tax evasion, a Spanish judge has ruled.

Argentina central bank governor resigns amid economic woes
Argentina’s central bank governor Juan Carlos Fabrega has resigned after less than a year in office.

BOLIVIA
Bolivian Couple Arrested in Argentina Accused of Killing Their Daughter

BRAZIL
With election Sunday, Brazil deals with oil scandal
With election Sunday, Brazil deals with oil scandal
Corruption charges in a refinery project complicate the race for the ruling party
.

They include corruption, political machinations with the state-controlled oil company, and delays and overspending on a multibillion-dollar oil refinery that Brazil needs desperately.

CARIBBEAN
20141004_AMC803PetroCaribe and the Caribbean
Single point of failure
Venezuela’s financing programme leaves many Caribbean countries vulnerable

CHILE
Extreme skiers Auclair and Fransson die in Chile avalanche
Police in Chile have found the bodies of two extreme skiers who had been missing since an avalanche struck a mountain in southern Chile on Tuesday.

COLOMBIA
Colombian Attorney General Says Conflict Cases Could Be Shelved

Prince Charles and Camilla to Visit Colombia and Mexico

Who will save Bogota?

CUBA
Keep Cuba out of hemispheric summits

Prosecutors seek 5-year prison term for Cuban opposition activist Ciro Alexis Casanova

Fraternal Relations, Part III

ECUADOR
The Dark Side of Green Justice
Review: ‘Law of the Jungle’ by Paul Barrett

HAITI
Former Haiti president Duvalier diesJean-Claude Duvalier
Haiti’s notorious former ruler Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has died of a heart attack in the capital Port-au-Prince, reports quoting official sources say.

JAMAICA
Jamaica Gets Help Preparing for Possible Ebola Cases

MEXICO
Leader of Cartel Is Captured
The leader of one of Mexico’s largest cartels, Héctor Beltrán-Leyva of the Beltrán-Leyva gang, has been captured, the authorities said Wednesday night, giving President Enrique Peña Nieto another high-profile victory against organized crime.

Indeed, How Dare We Leave Andrew Tahmooressi Behind?

PANAMA
Is Panama’s President Being Coerced by Cuba’s Regime?

1,400 Cops Occupy Unruly Panamanian Prison

Panama President Demands That Judge Explain Growing Wealth

PARAGUAY
Rutherford B. Hayes: An OK President but a hero in Paraguay

Hayes agreed to negotiate a long-held border dispute between Argentina and Paraguay, and the decision gave the nation 60 percent of its land.

PERU
Spanish Speleologist in Hospital after 12 Days in Peruvian Cave

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Offers Itself as a Gateway to U.S. Market, Official Says

VENEZUELA
Venezuela Oil Price Continues Tumbling
Venezuela’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum reports that the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending October 3 fell to its lowest price since January of 2011. The Latin American Herald Tribune notes that the Ministry continues to post an inaccurate average for the year and reduced the average price for the whole of 2013 by $1.41 without explanation

Venezuela: Lawmaker Killed in His Home, Police Say
A day after Robert Serra, a rising star in Venezuela’s governing party, was stabbed to death in his home, officials said Thursday that it was a carefully planned murder.

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Brazil: Aécio goes to the runoff

Argentina: Top Gear fracas

Brazil: More of the same?

En español: El Alcalde de Iguala en la UdQ

Argentina: Hoping it’s hit rock bottom

Cuba: Risky business

Taxes, and a book

Brazil: Dilma up in the polls

En español: Últimas noticias del idiota iberoamericano

Venezuela: Why the military won’t rise up

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
I’m a tax exile, and proud of it

And now for something completely different: A book on Cuban history

The week’s podcast:
Let’s chat with Alina Garcia-Lapuerta, author of “La Belle Creole”

Cuba: Risky business

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian, age 74, was sentenced to 15 years in jail, effectively a life sentence, by the Communist regime, after

Cuba offered to free jailed Canadian executive Cy Tokmakjian in return for $55-million and company assets, his company said on Monday, but the deal fell through because the firm didn’t have the money and the businessman wanted to clear his name.

Of course he was denied that chance, was convicted of bribery and other economic charges, and the Communist thugs carried on as usual,

Cuba seized about $100-million worth of the firm’s assets on the island and also sent two Tokmakjian aides[,Claudio Vetere and Marco Puche,] to prison.

Peter Foster writes about the Risky business in Cuba
After forty years of ‘constructive engagement’ with Cuba, government-backed Canadian investment has effectively propped up the regime
Read the whole article.

Among other businessmen who have been imprisoned: Krikor Bayassalian, Nessin Abadi, Sarkis Yacoubian, Stephen Purvis, Amado Fakhre.

The missing aliens Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 29th, 2014

LatinAmerSome 45,000 illegals released during the border crisis didn’t show up for their immigration hearings, provoking another Capt. Louis Renault moment.

ARGENTINA
While the government sends drones and goes into travel records, who does the UN Human rights Council complain about?
Argentina uses drones to root out wealthy tax evaders
Drones deployed by tax inspectors near Buenos Aires found 200 mansions and 100 swimming pools that hadn’t been declared

Argentine Government Defends Centralizing Air Passengers’ Data

Hedge funds condemned over Argentina
The United Nations Human Rights Council passes resolution backing Argentina in its debt battle against US hedge funds.

BOLIVIA
Indigenous Bolivians Demand Unwritten “Community Democracy”
Campesinos Draw on Native Customs to Elect Officials

BRAZIL
Fallen Mogul Eike Batista Faces Securities Charges in Brazil

CHILE
Chile Investigating Thursday’s Bombing
Chile officials said they were unsure who made a homemade bomb that exploded yesterday in central Santiago that killed a 29-year-old man but were vowing to track down those responsible.

COLOMBIA
Anibal Guarin Herrera, a.k.a. “Tomate,” Colombian Military Kills Important Rebel Commander

CUBA
Cuba’s Anti-Israel, Pro-Palestinian Activities

South Africa gives $ 31 million gift to Castro Kingdom

ECUADOR
More on Law of the Jungle:
La Ley de la Jungla
¿Cómo pudo un abogado americano graduado en Harvard lograr una sentencia judicial por más de 19 mil millones de dólares en contra de la segunda empresa petrolera más grande de EE UU?

The Global Lawyer: A Review of Paul Barrett’s ‘Law of the Jungle’

Behind the Chevron Case

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador’s total abortion ban lethal, says Amnesty

JAMAICA
Ebola in Jamaica?
Health ministry official dismisses Ebola claim in Jamaica

MEXICO
Laundering Mexico’s drug money
Washing up
Drug kingpins turn to trade-based money-laundering

On September 10th roughly 1,000 law-enforcement officials raided the Garment District of Los Angeles, seizing at least $65m in cash and arresting nine people. According to court documents, several garment businesses allegedly helped drug traffickers ferry proceeds from sales back into Mexico. The scheme is relatively simple. Black-market peso brokers contact Mexican importers who want to buy goods from a business in Los Angeles. The broker then finds a gang associate in the United States to pay the bill on behalf of the Mexican importer, using dollars from drug sales. The importer pays the broker in pesos; the broker takes a cut and passes along the remainder to the gang in Mexico.

Kidnapped Mexican Congressman Gabriel Gomez killed
The Mexican authorities say one of two burned bodies found in a car in the central state of Zacatecas is that of a federal Congressman abducted on Monday.

NICARAGUA
Hundreds protest against Nicaragua Canal

PANAMA
It Must Be The Inequality That Makes Panama The Happiest Country In The World

PARAGUAY
Pope sacks Paraguay bishop accused of protecting abuser priest
Pope Francis’s latest crackdown on clerical sex abuse comes days after Vatican ordered Polish archbishop to be put on trial for allegedly abusing young boys

PERU
Peru: Suspects Arrested in Killings of 4 Environmental Activists
Peru has arrested two loggers suspected of murdering four environmental activists to keep them from opposing timber extraction on native lands near the border with Brazil.

PUERTO RICO
Chikungunya Kills 3 in Puerto Rico

VENEZUELA
Venezuela announces ‘temporary occupation’ of US firm Clorox

Clorox Questions Safety After Venezuelan Takeover
Company Closed Facilities Due to Country’s Economic Crisis

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Venezuela: Nothing to dance about

Just what the world needs: Eau de Hugo!

Maduro goes to the South Bronx

FIFA follies

In case you missed them

En español: Miley Cyrus en la Unidad de Quemados

Mexico: La Tuta’s newest YouTube

Argentina: What do Pope Francis and George Soros have in common?

Venezuela: Don’t talk about the Chikungunya

Podcasts:
Rick Moran’s show, Cry Havoc! And let slip the dogs of war

This morning’s podcast with Silvio Canto, Jr., US-Latin America stories of the week

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Pretty good news from Latin America: the Pacific Alliance

Up next: A mercenary army?


Just what the world needs: Eau de Hugo! UPDATED

Friday, September 26th, 2014

UPDATE

I guess Raul’s not getting a cut,
Insólito escándalo en Cuba: Raúl Castro prohibió los perfumes “Ernesto” y “Hugo” [Incredible scandal in Cuba: Raúl Castro forbids “Ernesto” and “Hugo” perfume]

Earlier post:

No, not the German designer, the Venezuelan dictator:
“Eau de Revolution”: Cuba scents honor Che, Chavez

Cuba’s biggest producer of natural products has come up with a pair of colognes for the discerning supporter of international socialism who wants something more than just the iconic “Che” T-shirt.

A woodsy and refreshing citric scent with notes of talcum powder called “Ernesto” honors guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara. For those seeking something softer and fruitier, there’s a blend with hints of mango and papaya called “Hugo,” for the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

“Cuba’s biggest producer of natural products” ought to produce some soap and shampoo that the locals could afford, but I digress.

I can’t imagine why death would smell like “a woodsy and refreshing citric scent with notes of talcum powder” in the bottles of Che stink, but the fruitier Chavez ought to have some notes of sulfur, in honor of Hugo Chavez’s 2006 appearance at the UN and his 2009 Copenhagen speech, where he went heavy on the sulfur. In 2006 he said George W. Bush smelled of it, and by 2009 it was Barack Obama’s turn.

The sulfur scent can be easily replicated – back when I was a kid, you could buy this, and what could be more suitable for the “discerning supporter of international socialism”?

Tip of the hat to the esteemed Carlos Eire, who finds the news completely nauseating,

Creating a line of perfumes that honors dead tyrants and sociopaths is the last thing that would have ever crossed my mind, but I’m no genius and am only 1/16th French.

Clearly neither Carlos nor I are “discerning supporters of international socialism.”

And,
My late uncle Ernesto, were he still alive, would surely have made several off-color jokes about Che stinking of a “woodsy and refreshing citric scent with notes of talcum powder.” I’ll leave that to the reader’s imagination.

NOTE: If anyone has a clip of the Pinky and the Brain Calvin Brain Subjugation ad, I’d love to post it!


The celebrity junket Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

LatinAmerI had another Capt. Louis Renault moment this week, provoked by Mia Farrow, of all people. The ex-Mrs Sinatra apparently received from PR firm MCSquared $180,000 for visiting Lago Agrio in Ecuador. Then Ecuador hired another PR firm, Ketchum (Putin’s American flack), to go after Paul M. Barrett for writing a book. Do read Barrett’s book Law of the Jungle, and Judge Kaplan’s 497-page decision, if you haven’t already.

ARGENTINA
Watch: man films attempted gunpoint robbery on GoPro
A tourist travelling to every country in the world captures the terrifying moment an alleged robber points a gun at him in Buenos Aires, Argentina

BOLIVIA
Bolivian President Evo Morales has a dream … to open a barbecue restaurant
Bolivian President Evo Morales is slated to win next year’s election to serve a third term until 2020 but he’s already thinking about life after retiring from politics.

I was hoping for a bakery,

BRAZIL
Brazil cardinal robbed of crucifix at gunpoint
Cardinal Dom Orani Tempesta, archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, held by three armed men as they steal his crucifix and ring

CHILE
Suspect in Chile Bombings Was on Parole

COLOMBIA
Colombia Tightens Borders to Keep Out Ebola

CUBA
It’s official: Raul Castro invited to Latrine Summit

ECUADOR
China and Ecuador Agree to Strengthen Military Ties

Where’s Preet? The unasked question in Chevron v. Donziger

IMMIGRATION
WATCH: Wait’ll You See What Obama’s DHS Boss Just Admitted About Terrorists At Our Border
DHS Secretary Johnson tried to argue that Republicans can be blamed…

JAMAICA
Jamaica on US drug list
Named among 22 major producing, transit countries by President Obama

MEXICO
Mexico Continues Airlift, Clean-Up After Hurricane Odile
State Authorities Report Three Deaths From Storm

NICARAGUA
She survived a plane crash. Now she’s revolutionizing health care in Nicaragua
After narrowly escaping plane’s wreckage, Vivian Pellas seeks to revolutionize medical care for other burn victims in the developing world.

PANAMA
Panama’s Supreme Court Confirms New Trial Against Noriega

PERU
Peru’s economy
Replacing the pilot
, as Alonso Segura replaced for his long-serving boss, Luis Miguel Castilla, on September 14th.

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico’s main barrier for Caribbean trade and exports is logistics

URUGUAY
Guardian puff piece on José Mujica: is this the world’s most radical president?
Uruguay’s José Mujica lives in a tiny house rather than the presidential palace, and gives away 90% of his salary. He’s legalised marijuana and gay marriage. But his greatest legacy is governing without giving up his revolutionary ideals

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan cartoonist ‘fired’ over healthcare satire
Rayma Suprani says she was axed after representing Chávez’s signature as a flatline heartbeat in protest over health system

Venezuela’s economy
Of oil and coconut water
Probably the world’s worst-managed economy

S&P Downgrade Of Venezuela’s Debt To Add To The Noise

Venezuela’s Criminal Gangs: Warriors of Cultural Revolution

Les fraudeurs

The ongoing Damage to the Venezuelan Economy

The week’s posts:
Venezuela: Beyond-the-grave nepotism

Venezuela: What hemorrhagic fever? UPDATED

Argentina: Cristina’s vultures

Venezuela: Celebrities’ ire

Ecuador: Celebrities for hire

En español: Guillermo Padrés en la Unidad de Quemados

Ecuador: If Correa ain’t happy . . .

Is ISIS at the border? UPDATED

Venezuela: What do El Puma & Ricardo Hausmann have in common?

Beethoven goes salsa

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
And now for something completely different

Why the game should stand tall, a review of When the Game Stands Tall


The third Monday in September Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 15th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Judge Thomas Griesa Rules Against NML Capital in Argentine Debt Case
Citibank Doesn’t Have to Hand Over Documents in Hedge Fund’s Bid to Block Next Interest Payment

Argentina: Down the Tubes, Again

BOLIVIA
A Nuclear Bolivia? Why Not?

BRAZIL
Pelé unveils unique football pitch where players’ energy produces electricity
Brazillian football legend launches a revolutionary artificial pitch that converts players’ energy into electricty to power Rio de Janeiro favela

Brazilian Tycoon Faces Criminal Charges
Brazil’s federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against Brazilian businessman Eike Batista, compounding the legal woes of the once high-flying entrepreneur.

CHILE
Memory is not history
“Dirty war” memorials should not be used to rewrite the past

The historical truth silenced by “memory” is that the cold war in Latin America was fought by two equally authoritarian sides. Argentina’s coup in 1976 was triggered in part by the violence of the Montoneros, a leftist-nationalist guerrilla group of which several of Ms Fernández’s officials were members.

In Chile, too, memories of history can be incomplete. The museum in Santiago is not trying to impose an interpretation of history, just recounting facts, Ms Bachelet told Bello in July. Yet the only clue that Allende’s government, through its attempt to impose a Marxist programme, had itself contributed to the breakdown of democracy and “the destruction or weakening of many points of consensus” is contained in a quote from a Truth Commission of 1991, which is inscribed on a wall tucked away by the toilets. Allende will be commemorated on this week’s anniversary of the coup as a fallen hero of democracy, with no mention of his own mistakes—even Zhou Enlai, then China’s leader, warned him that he was moving too fast towards communism.

Chile MP charged over 1981 killings
Chilean MP Rosauro Martinez is charged with the killing of three left-wing militants during the dictatorship of Gen Augusto Pinochet.

COLOMBIA
Chikungunya infections spread to Colombia

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica seizes 1.5 tons of pot in chase at sea

CUBA
Cuba to send doctors to Ebola areas

Cuban Political Prisoner of the Day, Daniel Enrique Quesada Chaveco, Sept. 13, 2014

Gerard Depardieu, great friend of the Castro dynasty, avatar of hypocrisy

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Poll Shows Dominicans Most Worried About Crime, Economy

ECUADOR
State Oil Firms to Invest $400 Million in Ecuador Oil Block
Exploration in the 490,000-Acre Oil Concession to Start in January

Ecuador’s Petroamazonas will have a 51% stake in the project, while Sipetrol SA, a unit of Chile’s state-owned Empresa Nacional de Petroleo, or Enap, will own 42% and Belarus’s Belorusneft will have the remaining 7%.

EL SALVADOR
Even Stronger: Truce Between El Salvador Gangs Has Unintended Consequence

But free of violence does not mean free of gangs. The entrance to Ilopango is still controlled by the Mara Salvatrucha, while a northern stretch of the suburb is controlled by 18th Street. Nothing about the agreement has impeded Gonzalez or any of his gang from walking around freely and exerting full control. In fact, it’s only strengthened their power.

GUATEMALA
Firms from Russia, China, Spain, U.S. Interested in Guatemala Pipeline

Companies from Russia, China, Spain and the United States are interested in participating in the construction of a pipeline linking Mexico and Guatemala, the Central American nation’s economy minister said Thursday.

HAITI
Ex-President of Haiti Put Under House Arrest

JAMAICA
In Jamaica, Rastas Ready for Pot Decriminalization

MEXICO
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif calls for deepening of ties with Mexico

ICE OFFICIALS DEPORT MEXICAN NATIONAL WANTED FOR MURDER

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua Requests U.S. Help in Investigating Meteorite

PANAMA
Egypt issues stamps to mark new Suez Canal – but uses pictures of Panama Canal
The multi-billion pound scheme to widen the canal was announced last month, but officials have suffered a series of false starts

PARAGUAY
Paraguayan bus drivers in crucifixion protest

PERU
Assassinations in the Amazon: how will Peru respond?
Indigenous leaders killed near Brazil border following logging and land title battle

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Finds It Has New Friends in Hedge Funds

VENEZUELA
Venezuela to charge two opposition activists deported from Colombia last week
Lorent Saleh and Gabriel Valles, two Venezuelan opposition activists, will face charges after they were deported last week from Colombia.

Venezuela Arrests 64 for Anti-Maduro Protests: Rights Group

Now what? Venezuela on static noise

Venezuela’s ongoing collapse

Glen Chavez?

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Venezuela: The next default

Venezuela: Deadly new illness

Today’s illegal invasion headlines

En español: Unidad de quemados

Chile seeks foreign help in subway bombing case

September 11: In memory of Joe Angelini, Jr.

55 years a slave: The new Cuba-Brazil human traffic

Venezuela, springboard for Hezbollah

Puerto Rico: Trump golf course defaults

Chile: Terrorist attack injures 14

This week’s podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week with Fausta Wertz editor of Fausta’s Blog

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
“Obama’s Betrayal of the Constitution”

Gov. Walker and the curious case of the district attorney’s wife

55 years a slave: The new Cuba-Brazil human traffic

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

From The Economist’s Intelligence Unit,
Brazil extends contracts for 11,500 Cuban doctors

Since August 2013, Cuba has collected over US$700m from the Brazilian government in exchange for the services of 11,456 Cuban medical professionals working in over 2,700 towns and cities across the country. The Brazilian government recently announced that the programme will continue next year, with total payments amounting to US$511m.

Communist Cuba is broke, and its main source of income is selling off its citizens (emphasis added),

Currently, the sale of services abroad is Cuba’s largest source of hard currency: in 2014, the government estimates that it will collect US$8.2bn from these deals. Around 50,000 Cuban health professionals work in 66 countries worldwide, although around half of those work in Venezuela, with an additional 11,456 in Brazil. The agreements with other foreign countries are similar to the Brazilian setup, with Cuban doctors paid less than the salary of local medical staff, and the remainder of their pay being transferred to the Cuban government.

I am disgusted to read that The Economist’s Intelligence Unit ended its report with this,

The Economist Intelligence Unit is not changing its macroeconomic forecasts in light of the renewal of the programme, but it will come as a relief to the Cuban government and will help to mitigate the scaling-back of the sale of professional services to Venezuela.

As Capitol Hill Cubans correctly points out,

These government-to-dictatorship contracts, whereby Cuban doctors have absolutely no say about salary, work conditions and have their passports confiscated, have been denounced internationally — andwithin Brazil – as forced labor.

(Read here the testimony of a Cuban doctor who defected.)

They are clearly in violation of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the International Labor Organization’s (“ILO”) Convention on the Protection of Wages.

As Brazil’s National Federation of Physicians (FENAM, in Portuguese), has stated, “the contracts of the Cuban doctors have the characteristics of slave labor and only serve to finance the Cuban government.”

Meanwhile, in the island-prison,

“The USSR discovered that the best way to control its people was by keeping them standing in line all day long.”