Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

En español: Mares de infelicidad, por Enrique Krauze

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Mares de infelicidad
La lógica de Hugo Chávez obedecía a una combinación de poder y delirio: quería ser el heredero histórico de Castro. Y quería demostrarle al mundo que el socialismo cubano, el original, el fidelista, sí podía funcionar

Nunca dejará de sorprender el daño que el poder absoluto, concentrado en una persona, puede causar en la vida de los pueblos. Pero aún más misteriosa es la incapacidad de muchos pueblos para ver de frente el fenómeno, comprenderlo y evitarlo. Es el triste caso de un sector del pueblo venezolano, ciego al desmantelamiento de su propio país perpetrado por Hugo Chávez y su Gobierno en beneficio del régimen dictatorial más longevo del mundo actual: el de los hermanos Castro.

Leerlo completo.

Y me gusta el dibujo,

English article here (but rather watered-down for a NYT audience?).

The Putinesco Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Everything old is new again, so this week’s word is Putinesco, the 21st century non-Soviet.

ARGENTINA
DEBKA investigation: A fake Iranian “defector” assassinated Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman

Witness is latest in string of false ‘leaks’

Argentina, Iran and the strange death of Alberto Nisman
The death of a prosecutor investigating links between Buenos Aires and Tehran has quickly gone from being a criminal case to a political affair
It always was.

BOLIVIA
Bolivia’s “spaceship architecture” showcases the new wealth of indigenous people

BRAZIL
Brazil Rio carnival: Beija-Flor wins despite ‘Obiang link’
A Brazilian samba school, which is alleged to have received funding from Equatorial Guinea, has been crowned champion of Rio de Janeiro’s carnival.
Equatorial Guinea?

CHILE
Bachelet’s Virtuous Facade
Hypocrisy Runs Deep Throughout Chile’s Political Elite

COLOMBIA
A court in Colombia rules that same-sex couples can adopt children, but only if the child is the offspring of one of the partners.

Colombian teacher changes her name to ABCDEFG HIJKLMN OPQRST UVWXYZ

CUBA
Whitewashing & Policy Laundering Cuban Terrorism

ECUADOR
No Referendum on Correa’s Indefinite Reelection in Ecuador
National Electoral Council Denies Request for Popular Vote

MEXICO
Mexico to stop shipping ready-to-use fuel to curb thefts

Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex has announced it will stop shipping ready-to-use petrol and diesel through its pipelines, in an effort to curb fuel thefts.

Pemex says it will use its pipelines across Mexico only for unfinished fuel.

That fuel will go through a last phase of mixing when it reaches the company’s storage plants.

More than $1bn (£650,000) worth of fuel was stolen by Mexican gangs in 2014, an increase of 70% over the previous year.

TOWERS OF SECRECY
Mexican Political Family Has Close Ties to Ruling Party, and Homes in the U.S.
The properties stand in contrast to the working-man image promoted by José Murat Casab, a longtime party insider, and his son, a top housing official.

NICARAGUA
Trouble Brewing in Nicaragua

PUERTO RICO
Race to the bottom: Moody’s Cuts Puerto Rico Rating Further into Junk
Two-notch downgrade brings the rating on Puerto Rico’s general obligation bonds to Caa1

VENEZUELA
Turmoil in Venezuela
Sliding toward dictatorship
The arrest of the mayor of Caracas is a sign that the regime will do whatever it takes to hold on to power.
Sliding?

The sudden rise of the bodyguards



Machiavellian? No, Putinesco!

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Old: Machiavellian

New: Putinesco.

Russia Boosts Arms, Training for Leftist Latin Militaries
Moscow defense minister inks deals with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua for joint exercises

Shoygu met with defense and military leaders in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua and signed several agreements on warship visits and military training during the visit, which ran from Feb. 11 to 14. It is not clear whether any new arms deals were completed during the visit.

Of course, everything old again,

Dan Goure, a Russia expert with the Lexington Institute, said Russia’s current moves into Latin America “are like a page Xeroxed from the Soviet political-military playbook.”

But, hey, the Monroe doctrine is dead, so there.

Cuba: Nancy at the Saratoga

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Ah, for the optics!

My friend Silvio Canto, Jr. was keeping track of how many times the Hotel Saratoga, where Nancy Pelosi stayed during her Havana junket, had been expropriated by the Communist regime. He found out it was expropriated twice: once in 1959, and again in 2011:

in 2011, Castro confiscated Coral Capital’s minority stake in The Hotel Saratoga.

And for giggles, he had Coral Capital’s two senior executives in Cuba, Amado Fahkre and Stephen Purvis, imprisoned in the notorious torture facility known as Villa Marista (akin to Moscow’s infamous Lubyanka).

Fahkre and Purvis spent nearly two years arbitrarily imprisoned, had all their assets confiscated and were finally expelled to Britain.

Purvis, as you may recall, does not hold fond memories of the sixteen months he was jailed, and Coral was contemplating suing the Cuban regime for the $20+million it seized.

Indeed, the Saratoga ought to be an object lesson to all who contemplate investing with the Cuban regime; a lesson lost on Nancy.

2 podcasts and a few short items

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Today at 1PM Eastern I’m in Silvio Canto’s podcast talking about the US-Cuba talks, Argentina and other US-Latin America issues of the week with Jorge Ponce.

I was in Rick Moran’s podcast last night talking about the GOP playing chicken with Homeland Security funding with Noah Rothman of Hot Air.

Both podcasts are archived for your listening convenience.

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Daniel Duquenal is running a series of posts analyzing Venezuela’s situation. Go here for links.

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Over in Bolivia, Evo Morales, following Cristina Fernandez’s example in Argentina, is resorting to thieving private pensions, since he’s running out of money now that oil prices are down.

It’s his third term, so he’s declared himself planetary leader at the Tiwanaku ruins, just for show:

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Today in history, Feb 18, 1964:
United States punishes nations for trading with Cuba

The United States cuts off military assistance to Britain, France, and Yugoslavia in retaliation for their continuing trade with the communist nation of Cuba.

Nowadays we send hashtags instead.

Cuba: And now, Conan

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Because you keep your edge by touting island-prisons,
Light A Cigar! Conan Storms Cuba Ahead Of Late-Night Competitors

The episode is intended to give O’Brien’s audience a rare glimpse into Cuban daily life, said show representatives in confirming the report to Deadline.

I doubt that his target audience will hear anything about the beatings and arrests taking place while Conan is “storming Cuba.”

The Presidents’ Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 16th, 2015

ARGENTINA
Prosecutor Pollicita charges President CFK in AMIA cover-up case

Alberto Nisman’s Death Just The Latest Example Of Large-Scale Corruption, Argentines Say

BOLIVIA
From Stratfor: U.S., Bolivia: The Pieces Are in Place for Improved Relations

BRAZIL
Whose oil in Brazil?
One of the many casualties of the Petrobras scandal is a misguided industrial policy

Carnival time in Brazil

CHILE
Son of Chilean president resigns
The son of Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet resigns as head of a government charity after being accused of influence peddling.

COLOMBIA
Colombian Oil Firm Recruits FBI to Weed Out Bribery
Four Years Pass before Friends-with-Benefits Contracts Surface

Uribe meets with US Congressmen to seek support for Colombia opposition

Colombia proposes world’s largest eco-corridor with Brazil, Venezuela

CUBA
Former Obama Official on Cuba Talks: “We didn’t want anything in return”

Dissident savagely attacked by Castro thugs

Aggressive new HIV strain detected in Cuba
Researchers said an aggressive HIV strain in Cuba progresses into AIDS so fast that treatment with antiretroviral drugs may come too late.

Turkey’s Erdogan wants to build a mosque in Cuba. It’s based on a historical fallacy.

ECUADOR
The President Of Ecuador Just Went Off On John Oliver In Hilarious Rant

IMMIGRATION
OBAMA’S AMNESTY: IT’S EVEN WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT

JAMAICA
In historic move, Jamaica extradites fraud suspect

LATIN AMERICA
What’s Putin’s Game in the Western Hemisphere?
The Russians are coming—again
.

Worldwide Threat Assessment

MEXICO
Heisenberg: Bill Clinton apologizes to Mexico for the war on drugs which he blames for fueling violence in the country
Bill Clinton spoke at a summit on Youth and Productivity in Mexico
He said: ‘I wish you had no narco-trafficking, but it’s not really your fault’
He then blamed U.S. efforts which had forced trafficking over land
Clinton’s administration followed past president’s efforts on drugs war

HSBC has form: remember Mexico and laundered drug money
For the bank to get off with hollow statements of apology is to treat us all with contempt

NICARAGUA
Skeptical Panama takes heed of planned Nicaraguan canal

PANAMA
Ohio? Panama Canal expansion shipping jobs to Ohio

Appalachian Ohio could benefit most, in part because the Ohio River could receive goods from the canal after they’ve made their way to the United States via the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River or the East Coast and the Port of Virginia.

PERU
Argentina oil company leaves Peru town after protests

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico bankruptcy bill to get House hearing: source

URUGUAY
Uruguay: Árabes, persas y espías, último capítulo de la gestión Almagro

You think? Uruguay Undecided on Accepting More Syrian Refugees

VENEZUELA
‘Coup plot foiled’ in Venezuela
An ex-air force general is arrested and more than 10 others implicated in a plot to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, officials say.

Coup = toucan’s saliva

Clashes in Venezuela as economic shortages continue to bite
A year after violent clashes between opposition protestors and government forces left 43 dead, protestors returned to the streets of Venezuela

Reporters without Borders: Venezuela flunks in Press Freedom Index
The 2015 World Press Freedom Index, prepared by NGO Reporters without Borders, highlights increasing difficulties in Latin America for journalists to do their job in 2014. Venezuela fell 21 places from 2013

Escándalo en el HSBC revela cuenta en Suiza de Hugo Chávez con 12 mil millones de dólares

The week’s posts and podcast:
Smart diplomacy: “We didn’t want anything in return” from Cuba

Today on Drudgereport

Argentina: Gitmo alumnus “ready to fight”

Latin America: Worldwide Threat Assessment

Ecuador: John Oliver goofs on Correa

Argentina: Why we’ll probably never learn the truth about the #Nisman murder

Venezuela: Persecuting the retailers

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Argentina: A case of “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown?” UPDATE

Netflix in Cuba, yeah, right

Podcast:
On Venezuela, Argentina & US-Latin America

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

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