Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

Smart diplomacy: “We didn’t want anything in return” from Cuba

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Jason Poblete posts that

“This was not a negotiation … [i]n was in fact, a unilateral decision. We didn’t want anything in return,” Dr. Frank Mora said at a conference in Miami covered by Daily Signal.

Which explains why dissidents were never in the picture.

Netflix in Cuba, yeah, right

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

I cast a jaundiced eye on Netflix’s announcement at Da Tech Guy Blog.

The dropping helicopters Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 9th, 2015

The Indian helicopters that Ecuador bought keep falling off the sky, but the bigger story is Iran’s continued presence in the region.

ARGENTINA
China to supply Argentina five “Malvinas Class” offshore patrol vessels
Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is expected to sign agreements with China to increase military co-operation, including construction of new warships for the Argentine Navy, during her current state visit to Beijing, according to media reports and Jane’s Defense Weekly.

Argentinian president to write letter to Mia Farrow over tweets
Fernández will write letters to the actress and Martina Navratilova in response to tweets about the mysterious death of a federal prosecutor

Death of prosecutor leaves Argentina’s Jewish community angry and distrustful
The mysterious death of Alberto Nisman, who was investigating a 1994 terrorist attack, has alarmed many Jews but others warn against over-simplifying the case

BOLIVIA
Stranger in a Strange Land: An Internship Gone Bad

BRAZIL
Rio carnival downsizing and another cancelled as Brazil feels the pinch
Brazil is tightening its purse strings ahead of the 2016 Olympics and carnivals across the country are downsizing or have been cancelled

CHILE
Chile’s Bachelet Renews Bid to Legalize Abortion
Religious Groups Prepare to Fight Proposed Exemptions

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s FARC rebels invite Miss Universe to attend peace talks
Newly crowned beauty queen Paulina Vega Rebels surprised after being invited to assist guerillas’ peace negotiations with the government.

CUBA
A Tally of What Cuba Owes the World

FPI Bulletin: More Questions than Answers at Cuba Hearings

ECUADOR
Jorge Zabala presenta denuncia ante Consejo de la Judicatura
Posibilidad de fraude procesal, alerta defensor de los hermanos Isaías

Ecuador Grapples With Grounded Freighter
Ecuador has declared a 180-day state of emergency in the protected Galápagos Islands, while it continues to unload and work toward refloating a freighter that ran aground last week.

GUATEMALA
Guatemala volcano eruption forces evacuations
Fuego volcano belches black ash, forcing 100 residents to be moved out and closing the capital’s international airport

IMMIGRATION
Obama administration issues 5.5M work permits to non-citizens; critics call it ‘shadow’ immigration system

POPE FRANCIS: APPLY RULE OF LAW WHEN DEALING WITH IMMIGRANTS

MEXICO
Experts question Mexican investigation of 43 students’ disappearance
Argentinian forensic team hired on behalf of students’ parents says government presented biased analyses of the scientific evidence

Two US Army Vets Missing In Mexican Border City With Raging Cartel War

Conflict of interest in Mexico
A false start
Mixed messages in a new anti-corruption campaign

MISERY INDEX
The five most miserable countries in the world at the end of 2014 are, in order: Venezuela, Argentina, Syria, Ukraine, and Iran.

NICARAGUA
Can a Chinese billionaire build a canal across Nicaragua? Depends on who else is backing him up.

PANAMA
Panama Becomes First Latin American Nation to Join Coalition Against ISIS

PERU
Peru’s no-convictions politician
A failed labour reform exposes the limits of pragmatism

PUERTO RICO
It’s called “rule of law”: Puerto Rico Restructuring Law Thrown Out in Bondholder Win

Investment funds of Franklin Resources Inc. and OppenheimerFunds Inc., which hold more than $1.5 billion in bonds issued by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, convinced a federal judge in San Juan that bankruptcy law and the U.S. Constitution trump the commonwealth’s legislation.

The law, passed under threat of a fiscal emergency, would have allowed public utilities such as the power authority, or Prepa, to negotiate with bondholders to reduce their debt loads, potentially forcing investors to accept unfavorable terms, according to the funds’ complaint.

URUGUAY
Uruguay questioned Iranian diplomat over fake bomb near Israeli embassy
Convincing-looking dummy bomb detonated outside Montevideo offices
Iranian ambassador summoned to Uruguayan foreign office in December
Diplomat denied any connection but has now left country

Jose Mujica Was Every Liberal’s Dream President. He Was Too Good to Be True.
He spoke truth to power, and legalized marijuana and abortion. So why are Uruguay’s progressives so disappointed?

VENEZUELA
Venezuela accuses UK of smuggling ‘spy glasses’ into trial of opposition leader
Leopoldo Lopez’s father says it was he, not a British diplomat, who brought in the video glasses, but prosecutor claims there was collusion with the family

Nelson Mandela’s Lawyer on a Mission for Leopoldo’s Release
Irwin Cotler Joins Imprisoned Opponent’s Defense Team amid Human-Rights Row

Running Out of Time: Dimming Prospects for Reform in Venezuela

Venezuela Maduro: State seizes supermarket chain

The week’s posts and podcast:
Separated at birth?

Sunday evening tango: Mario Bournissen & Laura Rusconi

Uruguay: Iranian diplomat expelled after bomb explosion near Israeli embassy

Argentina: And now the spy is missing

Moral equivalence strikes again

Cuba: Next, O will give away Gitmo

Colombia: Is that a Russian RPG in your pocket?

China: Cristina’s twit UPDATED

Argentina: #Nisman is front-page news at the NYT

Argentina: Nisman wanted Cristina’s arrest UPDATE

50 Shades of meh

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
A few thoughts about Bruce Jenner

Univision plays the world’s smallest violin

Podcast:
On Silvio Canto‘s

[Post corrected for html errors]



Cuba: Next, O will give away Gitmo

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

I’m seeing this in the crystal ball: The Obama administration’s objective is to give Guantanamo Base to Cuba. They understand that,

Once played, the Guantanamo card will be gone and Washington’s long-term leverage over Havana will be forever altered.

Obama Does Have a Strategy
Once you see what he is trying to accomplish, it all makes sense.

The Groundhog Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

To many observers of Latin America, watching developing news in our hemisphere almost makes every day Groundhog Day.

So let’s start with a little humor, since otherwise there are plenty of bad news,

ARGENTINA
Free press flees Argentina

Cry for Argentina as terrorists and gangsters get away with murder

The view from Buenos Aires
Justice in the dock
The mysterious death of a prosecutor who accused the president of misconduct has Argentines up in arms

Nisman did not trust his bodyguards, says friend who loaned him gun

BRAZIL
Brazil’s Economy Is On The Verge Of Total Collapse

Brazil Ends 2014 with First Budget Deficit in 13 Years

New Surge in Street Violence Plagues Rio de Janeiro
Amid a police ‘pacification’ effort, residents of the city’s poorer neighborhoods are getting caught in the crossfire as criminal gangs fight back.

CENTRAL AMERICA
Obama administration requests $1 billion in aid for Central America

CHILE
Periodista Tomás Mosciatti remece las redes sociales con análisis sobre el gobierno de Bachelet

Chile Trims Copper Prices Expectations for 2015

Chile’s President Bachelet proposes end to total abortion ban

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s Fugitive Ex-Spy Chief to Surrender, Lawyer Says

The Jesus race: Colombia builds ‘tallest Jesus statue’ in Americas

CUBA
Must-read: Cuba Relations: Another Obama Fiasco in the Making?

Castro Is Now Issuing Demands On U.S. — Well Done, Mr. Obama

The Cuba Deal: Coexisting And Profiting With Tyrants

How Tourism Foments Repression 101

ECUADOR
Twitter Suspends User Account over Jokes at Correa’s Expense
Ecuadorian President Vows to Expose His Online Critics

HONDURAS
Honduran official angered by citizen perceptions of crime
Honduras’ foreign minister wrote a stern letter after a think tank published a report saying more than 30 percent of Hondurans indicated they were victims of crime last year. Official crime statistics are lower, but many lack confidence in police and don’t report all crimes.

IMMIGRATION
1,000 CRIMINAL IMMIGRANTS RELEASED IN 2013 COMMITTED NEW CRIMES

MEXICO
Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

Mexico to Cut Planned Spending
Government Seeks to Offset Effects of Lower Oil Prices and Adverse Global Economic Conditions

NICARAGUA
Tackling Cold War Demons in Nicaragua

PANAMA
Panama Supreme Court to Open Graft Probe against Martinelli

PARAGUAY
German Couple Working As Farmers Killed In Paraguay; Government Blames Leftist Guerrillas

PERU
Peru Repeals Controversial Labor Law

PUERTO RICO
You’re still on time for the Festival Casals (Feb 26 – Mar 14, 2015). Yo-Yo Ma is playing Elgar on the 15th.

VENEZUELA
“We love Venezuela because it welcomes foreigners as one of their own:”

Because nothing says “heartwarming” like spending 48 hours in detention: Odd Photo Choice for Venezuela Promotional Effort

VENEZUELAN SECURITY HEAD DEFECTS, BLOWS WHISTLE ON REGIME

Volver a ser pobre en Venezuela
La inflación galopante lleva a miles de ciudadanos a recaer en la pobreza. Los programas oficiales de ayuda no dan para más

THE WEEK’S POSTS AND PODCAST
El Salvador: Two American detainees, zero evidence

Puerto Rico, la isla estrella

Cuba: US clueless on number of fugitives

Today’s Capt. Louis Renault moment: Hugo Chavez died before he was of officially “dead”

Venezuela: Fire at will

Colombia: Santos wants former FARC as cops

Argentina: Tango and fireworks

Argentina: #Nisman’s funeral

Cuba: Gimme, gimme, gimme Gitmo!

Argentina: Cristina wants to dissolve Secretariat of Intelligence

Venezuela: The talking bodyguard

Argentina: Today’s cartoon

Venezuela: Turned away at the prison gates

Argentina: Yesterday, and today

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Coaching Loretta

Mexico: What happened to the 43 students?

Podcast:
Cuba, Argentina & US-Latin America stories of the week



Cuba: US clueless on number of fugitives

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Smart diplomacy today,
U.S. has no idea how many fugitives Cuba’s harboring

Nobody tracks it. Nobody even routinely asks for the return of those wanted on serious federal charges, much less more common state offenses, the Sun Sentinel has found.

And,

The Sun Sentinel, in a recent far-reaching investigation into Cuban crime rings in America, disclosed that Cuban nationals are taking advantage of generous U.S. immigration laws to come to the U.S. and steal billions from government programs and businesses.

Millions of dollars have traveled back to Cuba, and many individuals flee there when police close in on scams the Cubans specialize in. These typically involve health care, auto insurance, or credit-card fraud; cargo theft; or marijuana trafficking, the Sun Sentinel found.

“Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.”

Cuba: Gimme, gimme, gimme Gitmo!

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Now that the murderous Communist regime in Cuba knows that to the Obama administration the word “easement” means “A deal for which the U.S. gets nothing in exchange”, they want more.

Who wouldha thunk it!

How much more?

The whole enchilada (YES, I KNOW ENCHILADAS ARE MEXICAN. Bear with me here!):

  • Ending what’s left of the embargo
  • Ending all TV and radio broadcasts to the island
  • Cutting off support to dissidents
  • Removal from the states sponsors of terror list
  • Giving Guantanamo Base to Cuba

and (drumroll please)

  • Reparations! “just compensation to our people for the human and economic damage that they’re suffered.”

Since Communists love slogans, Gimme, gimme, gimme Gitmo!

Lest you believe that gifting Gitmo to Russia and all of these concessions are unlikely to come about, keep in mind that Obama is obsessed with his “legacy”. Take it away, Ed!

Only if one believes that these conditions will discourage Obama. He’s desperate for a foreign-policy achievement that will allow him to claim a legacy, and Castro knows it. (So does Iran.) Castro isn’t anywhere near as desperate for normalized relations with the US; he gets plenty of hard currency from the rest of the world, and exchanges it with the near-worthless Cuban peso with which he pays Cubans. Castro wants to strengthen his regime, and humiliating Obama will raise his prestige immeasurably at home.

Gifting Gitmo already has support among some, but as Joshua Treviño commented on Facebook (emphasis added),

We need to establish a new rule of thumb: anyone arguing that major bargaining points should be ceded in exchange for unforced goodwill does not understand basic power dynamics and should be ignored in policymaking henceforth. The Cuban regime isn’t going to be any more grateful or well-disposed toward us after occupying Guantanamo than they are now. They’ll just feel, with some justification, like they’ve won — and moreover won cheaply. What good that does us, well, ask the Israelis about the goodwill garnered after leaving Lebanon and Gaza.

As for the hand-waving dismissal of the modern importance of “conventional hemispheric defense,” that is the sort of thing one writes when one’s historical horizons are confined to an exceedingly small slice of history.

The small slice of history, in this case, “is all about the O.”

Somewhere in Cuba, Fidel’s amanuensis is gloating,

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The Nisman murder Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 26th, 2015

LatinAmerThe hemisphere’s top story continues to be the murder of Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman. This weekend it was revealed that Damián Pachter of the Buenos Aires Herald, the first to journalist break the news of Nisman’s death on Twitter last Sunday, reportedly fled the country because he feared for his life.

ARGENTINA
Nisman death: ‘Now we will never know what happened’
Mother of one of the victims of the 1994 terrorist attack in Argentina tells The Telegraph that she fears they will never have justice, after prosecutor Alberto Nisman found dead

Cash-starved Argentina tried to protect Iran, cover up Jewish Center bombings for cheap oil

Can Castro admirer Cristina from Argentina survive the Nisman murder scandal? All she has to do is hang in there until the Ocotber 25 election, and the November 9 runoff, if there is one.

Argentine Prosecutor’s Death May Warrant U.S. Economic Sanctions, More

BERMUDA
CDC Removes Chikungunya Notice For Bermuda

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Caravan Celebrates Return of God of Prosperity

Evo Morales sworn in for third term as president which brings up to the tweet of the week,

Drug trafficking, Corruption, Treason, Terrorism, Poverty. All of Latin America’s problems in one picture.

BRAZIL
Petrobras Says It’s Still Tallying Up Losses from Kickback Scheme

CHILE
Was Pablo Neruda, Chile’s greatest poet, murdered by Pinochet?
Fresh tests to see whether Nobel laureate’s body displays signs of poisoning – or whether he really did die of prostate cancer more than 40 years ago

COLOMBIA
25 Colombia Military, Police Sanctioned for Spying on Peace Talks

CUBA
U.S.-Cuba Talks Recap: Castro Coerces, Obama Acquiesces

Did U.S. send Cuba its next leaders when it released the ‘Cuban Five’?
There’s no clear successor to Castro, and the five men have youth, fame and revolutionary credentials.

ECUADOR
Ecuador goes for Super Bowl exposure with halftime ad

China and Ecuador Do Away with Tourist Visas, Sign Broad Range of Agreements

GUATEMALA
Police Chief Found Guilty of 1980 Massacre at Spanish Embassy in Guatemala

HAITI
Haitians Desperately Seek Ways to Get into Dominican Republic

Haiti ‘back on democratic path’
Haiti installs a Provisional Electoral Council to organise long-delayed elections – after weeks of protests and political uncertainty.

HUMOR

JAMAICA
Jamaica considers marijuana legalisation and production, while Jamaica to Discourage Pot Use Among Teens, Pregnant Women

MEXICO
U.S., Mexico Increasingly Competing for Farm Labor
Dwindling Pool of Workers Likely to Have Implications on U.S. Agricultural Sector

Top Mexico State Police Official Arrested
The head of Tlaxcala’s state police has been arrested on kidnapping charges, underscoring the challenges Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto faces trying to overhaul corrupt police forces and quell rampant crime.

PANAMA
Ton of Cocaine Seized on Panamanian Island

PERU
Greenpeace Seeks to Exclude Journalists From Peru Case

PUERTO RICO
16 Cubans repatriated after boat sinks near Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
Uruguay’s Mujica Believes Europe Is “Lashing Out Blindly” in Fight Against Fanaticism

VENEZUELA
Venezuela Oil Barrel Stays Below $40
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 January 23 remained below $40

Venezuelan Free Press for Sale, under “Siege”
Hotel Magnate Buys Notitarde, Tal Cual to Close Due to Regime Pressure

Notitarde: Censorship in the 21st Century

After his unsuccessful begging tour, Maduro’s Answer for Venezuela’s Economic Woe: “God Shall Provide”
President Rolls Out Plan to Expand Biometric ID Ration Cards to Counter Shortage

Maduro’s Announcements: The Devil Sees Few Details

Choses vues at the Hunger Games

The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina: Why Nisman’s lawsuit matters

Cuba: File this one under “No sh*t, Sherlock

Argentina: Today’s Nisman roundup

Cuba: For Rangel, “there’s always pain”

Argentina: #Nisman’s murder is all about Iran

Argentina: Nisman’s door was unlocked

Ecuador: Censorship on line

Argentina: Who killed #Nisman?

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
It’s all about Iran

The curious case of the dead Argentinian prosecutor UPDATED

Podcast:
Argentina, Cuba and other US-Latin America stories



Cuba: File this one under “No sh*t, Sherlock”

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Pres. Obama gave a speech the week before Christmas, and everything was taken care of: Cuba’s outdated Cold War mentality magically transformed into an age of enlightenment and human rights.

So here we go,
After First Normalization Talks With Cuba, U.S. Says Deep Divisions Remain
Human Rights, Support for Dissidents Are Main Areas of Disagreement
.

Who wouldha thunk it!

Back in the olden days enlightened despots

did not propose reforms that would undermine their sovereignty or disrupt the social order.

Nowadays there’s the Viet Nam outcome,

The Vietnam outcome is what the Castros are counting on: a flood of U.S. tourists and business investment that will allow the regime to maintain its totalitarian system indefinitely.

Same old, same old.

UPDATE,
Linked to by Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!



Cuba: For Rangel, “there’s always pain”

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) took time off from not paying his taxes to insult Cubans suffering under the island-prison’s Communist oppression,

“How would you explain the president’s plan to normalize relations to Americans, like the ones in the audience tonight, that have lost everything, that have lost family members to the Castro regime?” asked MSNBC anchor Ronan Farrow.

“Well there’s always pain when people have suffered under a Communist regime,” said Rangel. The career politician believes that relaxing restrictions on Cuba will eventually help to “ease the pain” that the Cuban people are feeling.

Grok the empathy here, if you can stand it,

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