Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

Colombia: The view from Venezuela

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Daniel of Venezuela News and Views, on Santos’s reelection win in Colombia:

What the Castros are getting today with a weakened Santos that owes his seat now to minority leftists in Bogota, is neutrality on Venezuela troubles. We can be almost certain that the Santos second term will not see visits of opposition leaders at Casa de Nariño. Santos second term will never confront UNASUR, and even less about Venezuela. In short, prolonging Havana negotiations between Santos and FARC for a year or two is enough for Colombia to leave alone Maduro until he can exterminate Venezuelan opposition, including massive electoral fraud next year. Then, with chavismo unmovable once and for all, it will always be time to turn the gaze toward taking over Colombia, helped by a Correa in Ecuador who know has taken the open dictatorship road with his own plans for eternal reelection. Well, that is the idea anyway.

UPDATE:
Linked to by NotiDia. Thank you!

The World Cup week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 16th, 2014

LatinAmerYes, the World Cup is front-page news on every newspaper in the hemisphere.

More important news: Santos was re-elected in Colombia.

ARGENTINA
Argentine VP Defends Self Before Judge in Corruption Case

BERMUDA
Guantanamo Uighurs Stranded in Bermuda

BOLIVIA
Don’t tell Maureen Dowd, ‘Coca’ cake for UN chief: Bolivia gives Ban a birthday treat

BRAZIL
How Brazil’s Hubris Jeopardized Its World Cup

5 pieces of World Cup hosting advice for Brazil

Comparing Brazilian states with countries
Brazil’s closest matches

CHILE
Bachelet’s Education Reforms Fall Short, Chilean Students Say

Chile: Patagonia Dams Rejected

COLOMBIA
For war-weary rebels, Colombia invites defections with comforts and kindness

Colombia poised for knife-edge presidential election

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica seizes 4 tons of cocaine at sea

CUBA
Cy Tokmakjian Canadian fears foregone verdict in Cuban court

Four people found murdered in Cuba

Note From the Pro-Cuba, Anti-Castro Lobby

ALICIA ALONSO IS SHOCKED!

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Stateless people in Dominican Republic hope to regain citizenship

ECUADOR
Ecuador Breaks Its Amazon Deal

EL SALVADOR
Central America Newspapers Tout Open US Door for Illegal Minors

IMMIGRATION
JAN BREWER: MS-13 GANG MEMBERS COULD BE CROSSING BORDER WITH CHILDREN; I’d actually be surprised if they weren’t.

FOREIGN POLICY
Fundamentally changing America by emboldening dictators: Obama’s Budget Fails Democracy Promotion Abroad
The administration is proposing to remove language from next year’s budget that would safeguard American foreign aid from repressive foreign leaders.

The proposed removal from the administration’s budget and appropriations request for next fiscal year of a provision instructing the Secretary of State not to seek the prior approval of host governments when funding nonprofits and civil society groups overseas is infuriating American democracy-promotion and human-rights activists, who argue the omission marks a retreat in U.S. leadership.

They warn the Obama administration is in effect signaling to repressive regimes that they can dictate where U.S. democracy-promotion and human rights money goes in their countries—a problem the provision introduced a decade ago was meant to combat.

MEXICO
BIKERS RIDE TO MEXICO TO FREE JAILED MARINE

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua shakedown like highway robbery

PANAMA
Panama Canal chief says new locks operational by January, 2016

PERU
After Eight Decades, Sweden Returns Textile Artifacts to Peru

PUERTO RICO
The results of the welfare state: Some 68% of Babies in Puerto Rico Born to One-Parent Households

VENEZUELA
What leaving Venezuela means to Jews

Venezuelan Government Tightens Noose Around Its Citizens

Can we get a grand unified theory of political physics for Venezuela?

Venezuela: The Protesters’ Power Is Rising

TalCual: Repression vs. Inflation
On Tuesday, a group comprised by 9 human rights NGOs released their own figures. These showed that Nicolás Maduro has repressed 485% more than his predecessor, while inflation may exceed 70% by the end of this yea
r

The week’s posts and podcast:
Immigration: And I still ask, who’s organizing this?

En español: El Foro de Sao Paulo, creación de Castro y da Silva

Mexico: Drug gangs with tanks attack shale wells

Brazil: #WorldCup inaugural today

Venezuela: Tricks for bucks, Trix from Doral

Brazil: Who made out from the #WorldCup money?

Ecuador: The bond and pony show

At Da Tech Guy:
The case for harmless escapism

Immigration and the new vulnerabilities of fundamental transformation

Podcast:
Kids on the US-Mexico border & other US-Latin America stories of the week

En español: El Foro de Sao Paulo, creación de Castro y da Silva

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Julio M Shilling, escritor y politólogo explica como Fidel Castro y Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva crean y organizan el Foro de Sao Paulo, para destruir la democracia en America a traves del proceso electoral, rescatando e implantando régimenes comunistas.

The upcoming World Cup Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 9th, 2014

LatinAmerThe spotlight’s on Brazil this week, as the World Cup inaugural game is scheduled for Thursday, June 12 in Sao Paolo. Let’s hope the games don’t turn into a disaster.

ARGENTINA
Study: Poverty Tops 30% in Suburbs of Buenos Aires

In Argentina, Wine, Art and Altitude

BAHAMAS
BAHAMAS HIRES LAW FIRM FOR ‘SURVEILLANCE AND PRIVACY MATTERS’ AFTER NSA REVELATIONS

BOLIVIA
Chic Stops in the Suburbs of La Paz, Bolivia

BRAZIL
São Paulo unions threaten general strike for World Cup amid subway protests
Days of subway strikes raise fears of transport chaos during tournament in Brazil; union leaders say other sectors could join industrial action

Brazil finds bumpy path on way to becoming world oil power

CHILE
More Than 8,000 Affected in Chile by Storm

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s Peace Talks Backfire on Santos
FARC bombings of pipelines and electricity towers increase while negotiations drag on.

The Economist endorses Santos: Colombia’s presidential election
A vote for peace
To stop the killing, Colombians should re-elect Juan Manuel Santos
, while Colombia Politics points out that We’re voting for a president not for peace. Meanwhile, pressure from candidate Zuluaga is already achieving a cease-fire from the FARC.

Colombia to set up truth commissionIvan Marquez, Farc commander, Havana, 27 May 14
Colombia’s government and Farc rebels agree to set up a truth commission to investigate thousands of deaths in five decades of conflict.

CUBA
Gag-inducing Travel Tips from Sarah Hall

Where Are the “Self-Employed” and “Reform” Defenders?

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Republic delivers on immigration promise

ECUADOR
In the cradle of Ecuadorean soccer, the beach is the fiercest field
Esmeraldas, Ecuador, is home to only 3 percent of the national population but it makes up almost half of the country’s World Cup team. Is the beach the secret?

GUATEMALA
Guatemala ex-police chief jailed for life by Swiss court

HAITI
Haiti police fire tear gas at anti-government protest

HONDURAS
More effects of America’s weak foreign policy: U.S. Crew Is Arrested on Honduras River Job
A salvage company has a contract to dredge the Patuca River and raise valuable mahogany and cedar logs, but weapons on the company ship mean time in jail.

Honduran Police Arrest 11 Undocumented Cubans

IMMIGRATION
REPORT: Illegals Bring Contagious Diseases Across Border – Obama Spreads Them Around Country

JAMAICA
Gun-toting gays drive fear in citizens of garrison communities

MEXICO
In Tampico, Mexico, where the drug war rages, ‘the walls have ears’

LA Times Columnist Is Happy US Marine Is in Mexican Prison

Mexico defends decision to prosecute US marine

Pope Francis accepts invitation to visit Mexico

PANAMA
Panama’s Canal Divides A Country Into Haves And Have-Nots

PERU
Peru’s Mining Communities Left In The Dust With Broken Promises Of Schools, Jobs

PUERTO RICO
You heard about it from Fausta’s blog, but now BLUE MODEL GOES BELLY-UP
Media Catches Up on Puerto Ric
o

Work Stoppages at Public Firms in Puerto Rico Against Cuts

URUGUAY
Puff-piece on Mujica at al-Jazeera:
Uruguay’s Mujica: New global role model?
Uruguay’s ‘humble’ president defies imperial and corporate hegemony with a series of unorthodox policies.

Mujica certainly knows how to make a fashion statement:

VENEZUELA
21st Century Socialism:
Poverty Shoots Up in Venezuela; as I mentioned last week, in the last year of Hugo Chavez’s life, extreme poverty increased by a whopping 38% over the prior year.

THE FRACAS IN CARACAS
Venezuela Runs out of Drinking Water

The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina: Secretary of national thought

#DDay70 Interpretive dance?

Ecuador: Something’s rotten in the gold swap

Venezuela-Cuba Facilitate Infiltration of Iranian Agents

Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez to remain jailed while on trial UPDATED

En español: El Rey Juan Carlos en la Unidad de Quemados

Carlos Eire’s Capt. Louis Renault moment

Democrat Chavista for Congress!

Ecuador: Selling gold

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Immigration’s lost children

Brazil: World Cup disaster ahead

Podcast:
Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico & US-Latin America stories of the week


Venezuela-Cuba Facilitate Infiltration of Iranian Agents

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Capitol Hill Cubans have the story, 

The report entitled, “Canada on Guard: Assessing the Immigration Security Threat of Iran, Venezuela and Cuba,” highlights the following key points:

- Iran is collaborating with Venezuela and Cuba to exploit the seams in the Canadian immigration system.

- From 2009 to 2011, Latin America was the largest prior embarkation region for improperly documented Iranians migrating to Canada to seek refugee status.

- Venezuelan authorities provided at least 173 passports, visas and other documentation to Islamist extremists seeking to slip unnoticed into North America.

- Soft power solidarity networks in Canada serve as a “Trojan Horse” for Iran and ALBA to establish cover for spies, saboteurs and other nefarious actors.

As regards the passports, visas and other documentation to Islamist extremists, it’s important to remember that Venezuela’s immigration system has been under Cuban control since 2004. 

Victoria L. Henderson, Joseph M. Humire, and Fernando D. Menéndez wrote the report, which you can read in full at InterAmerican Secuity Watch.


Carlos Eire’s Capt. Louis Renault moment

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Actor Claude Rains in Casablanca, playing Capt. Louis Renault,

National Book Award winner Carlos Eire, writing at Babalu,

Venezuela has been withholding funds from all airlines that service the country. How do they do it? The money paid by passengers has to go into a government account. Then that account never dispenses the funds to the airlines.

All told, they have siphoned over 4 billion dollars in this way. And the airlines are now waking up and demanding their money.

Officials in Caracastan have offered to pay a very small fraction of the money owed, and to do so in installments, over several years.

In the meantime, they are demanding that the airlines keep flying in and out of their country under the same arrangement, with the money from the passengers being funneled through a government account that never pays out.

The International Air Transport Association is shocked, shocked by this Castronoid behavior!

…. And in Caracastan, the negotiators are shocked, shocked that the IATA is crying foul!

I wonder if charter flight carrier GECA Airlines, owned by German Ferrer, son of high-ranking chavistas German Dario Ferrer and Luisa Ortega Diaz had any trouble collecting. Read more about the Ferrers in Chavistas en el Imperio.

Related:
Unfortunately, A Bleak Future For Venezuelans.

how can the Government pay its debts, when all of its operating (Not liquid, operating!) international reserves are not enough to pay the debt with the airlines?

The free market Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

LatinAmerLatin Free Markets Rule as Pacific Ocean Nations Beat Atlantic

ARGENTINA
Argentina Leaves Singer for Last in Preparing Bond Market Return

After a 20-hour meeting with officials from the Paris-based group of creditor nations, which kept President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner awake until 2 a.m., Argentina said yesterday that it agreed to pay $9.7 billion over five years to settle claims stretching back to the government’s record $95 billion default in 2001. South America’s second-biggest economy hasn’t issued bonds in international markets since it stopped payments.

Solving the remaining dispute with holdout creditors including billionaire Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. is becoming more urgent with foreign-exchange reserves stuck near an eight-year low. Argentina needs the money to fund investment, defend its currency and make payments on restructured bonds, while any proceeds from a U.S. bond sale could be seized by creditors backed by court orders saying they’re owed billions.

BRAZIL
Video (starts right away): Staying safe at the World Cup in Brazil
Health and safety fears are growing as foreign fans prepare to travel to Brazil with worries of crime, disease, policing and fake medicines

Brazil’s World Cup Is An Expensive, Exploitative Nightmare
Brazilians angry at their government and FIFA could turn this giant soccer tournament into a tipping point. Are these corrupt, elitist spectacles worth it?

Nao Vai Ter Copa has become a national rallying cry. There Will Be No World Cup.

CHILE
Will Chile’s politicians ruin the Latin tiger?
The free-market revolution in Chile is remarkable. If you look at the Economic Freedom of the World rankings, Chile was in last place in 1970. Now it’s around 10th. It would be tragic if Leftists ruined it

COLOMBIA
García Márquez’s Blind Spot

CUBA
Two Generations Lost to Communism

The Castros in Their Labyrinth

ECUADOR
No Messiah Please, We’re Ecuadorian

Beware of pickpockets: Tory MP is robbed on first day of mountaineering jaunt to Ecuador – after ignoring Foreign Office advice

MEXICO
Marine jailed in Mexico recounts harrowing attempt to escape from prison

Oil-Tinged Graft Scandal Roils Mexico
Ex-chief of oil-services firm with close ties to the PAN political party is arrested and charged with allegedly defrauding a Citigroup unit

PANAMA
Commercial shipping lanes changed in Panama to save humpback whales

PARAGUAY
World’s Happiest Country? Would You Believe Paraguay?

PERU
Spanish company to upgrade Peru refinery in $3.5 bn deal

PUERTO RICO
In Puerto Rico, Cocaine Gains Access to U.S

VENEZUELA
Tick-tock, on Relojes del Chavismo

The week’s posts and podcast:
Ecuador’s looking for a few good extras

Colombia: Zuluaga change of heart?

Mexico: PRD lobbying Washington

Venezuela: US to sanction chavistas

Cuba: Why is the US Chamber of Commerce chief visiting?

Brazil: World Cup blues UPDATED

En español: Terapia intensiva #209

Venezuela: 9.8% in extreme poverty

Venezuela: Wives of jailed mayors win

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Venezuela: Bi-partisan US Congress approves sanctions bill

Colombia: What the FARC really want

Podcast:
Elections in Colombia PLUS other US-Latin America stories of the week

Cuba: Why is the US Chamber of Commerce chief visiting?

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Because they bought hook, line and sinker the propaganda bs:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief visits Cuba (emphasis added)

The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a group of American business executives visited a cooperative here Wednesday to become acquainted with the new forms of non-state management being pushed in Communist Cuba.

And,

Almost a year ago the service cooperatives began operating in Cuba, a novel iniative in a country that during five decades of ongoing revolution had only allowed that management formula to be applied in the agricultural sector.

So, five decades of Communist coops later, the agricultural sector continues to be in ruins. And Thomas Donohue hasn’t figured that yet?

Along with Donohue, Marcel Smits, the chief financial officer of Minnesota-based agribusiness giant Cargill, is there ” to assess the island’s business climate.”

Tweet of the Day: What Private Enterprise?

By Cuban democracy leader, Ailer Gonzalez Mena:The President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce praises the expansion of private enterprise in Cuba. What private enterprise? Castro’s no?

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) called it “shameful that a group like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would choose to visit the island gulag of Cuba where the tyrants owe billions of dollars to the private sector all over the world.”

Alberto de la Cruz points out,

There are two simple yet very important requirements for doing business with Cuba’s apartheid Castro dictatorship: 1) All business agreements have to be made with the Castro regime and all monies from that business must go through them, and 2) You are required to actively and consistently parrot, regurgitate, and disseminate Castro-communist propaganda. Furthermore, neither of these two requirements are negotiable and any prospective investor looking to do business in Cuba has only two options; they either comply fully with the demands or they must forgo doing any business in Cuba.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donahue is fully aware of these requirements and seems to have no issue complying with them.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) describes the hostile environment in Cuba, in a letter to Donohue, naming businessmen the regime has incarcerated:

While the Cuban government may be undertaking cosmetic changes in an attempt to attract badly-needed foreign investment and revive an economy that has suffered from a half-century of chronic mismanagement, I believe it is imperative to detail the frequently hostile operating environment that international business leaders have encountered in Cuba. The case of British businessman Stephen Purvis of Coral Capital is an irrefutable reminder of the ongoing risk faced by foreign businesses working in the country. Although Coral Capital was one of the largest private investors in Cuba – working closely with the Cuban government to renovate the Saratoga Hotel and develop the Bellomonte Country Club – the government eventually turned on Mr. Purvis, accused him of espionage and breaches of financial law, seized all of his assets, and imprisoned him for 16 months prior to his release in July 2013.

It is important to emphasize that Mr. Purvis’ misfortune is hardly uncommon. Canadian citizen, Cy Tokmakjian, President and CEO of the Tomakjian Group, has languished in a Cuban prison for nearly three years and still awaits trial. After providing the Cuban government with transportation, mining and construction equipment for several years, Mr. Tokmakjian was jailed in September 2011. The Cuban government seized his personal assets and those of his business, but never formally charged him with any wrongdoing. These examples are a clear indication of the complete lack of protection for foreign investment in Cuba, and should serve as a sharp warning for any company, including any U.S. business group, studying conditions in the country.

And let’s not forget working conditions in the island-prison

Furthermore, I am deeply concerned about the U.S Chamber of Commerce’s willingness to seek out a relationship with a regime that is in constant violation of international labor rights. More specifically, the Cuban government’s labor and employment practices are in direct violation of International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions on freedom of association, collective bargaining, discrimination, the protection of wages, and the abolition of forced labor. Regrettably, Cuba’s recent foreign investment law makes no efforts to bring the country’s poor labor conditions into accordance with international standards and, therefore, bears a paradoxical implication – it proposes beneficial changes for the state but ultimately ignores the benefits of the people.

Donohue says

his agenda was unhindered by the Cuban authorities and he was confident he was getting a “fair look” at Cuba

Yeah, right.

I wonder if Donohue is fluent in Spanish (looking at the above photo he seems to be traveling with an interpreter), and, if not, is he allowed to bring his own interpreter. Or is he allowed only a Cuban government-approved interpreter – for which he is billed? How much is he billed for the interpreter? How much is the interpreter actually paid?

The only certain thing coming out of this trip is that the oppression of the Cuban people will continue.


The Memorial Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 26th, 2014

LatinAmerWith deep gratitude to all who have served our beautiful country in the armed forces, this week’s Carnival.

ARGENTINA
Spanish oil company Repsol ends operations in Argentina
Spanish oil company Repsol has ended its operations in Argentina, two years after the government seized its assets.

Last month the Argentine congress gave final approval to pay $5bn (£3bn) in compensation for Repsol’s stake in Argentine oil firm YPF.

The Spanish company has now announced that it has sold the last batch of bonds it received to cover its losses.

Argentina’s Jewish community talks fondly of friend Francis in the Vatican
Rabbi Abraham Skorka only one of large number of Argentinian Jews with whom pope has developed strong, personal ties

A Desperate Mother’s Search Leads to a Fight Against Sex Trafficking
Desperate for answers about her daughter’s disappearance in 2002, Susana Trimarco started the Fundación María de los Ángeles, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates sex slaves in Argentina.

BAHAMAS
Ah, Bahamas: Sun, Sand and the NSA Recording Your Cell Phone Calls

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Hires Spain’s Isotron to Build Solar Power Plant

BRAZIL
Brazil Deploys Vast World Cup Security Plan
Brazil is spending $855 million on security and safety during the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup, which the country will host from June 12 to July 13, the government said on Friday.

Freak hail storm strikes World Cup 2014 host city Sao Paulo
A hail storm covers streets in ice in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo which will host the opening match of the football World Cup in less than a month

CHILE
Revolutionary ‘tears-up’ £300m student debt to protest fees
A Chilean artist has destroyed £300m of student debt ‘IOUs’ to protest tuition charges

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s President Santos to face Zuluaga in run-off vote
Official results from Colombia’s presidential election say the incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos will face his main rival, Oscar Zuluaga, in a run-off next month.

Oscar Iván Zuluaga, a conservative candidate closely allied with former President Álvaro Uribe, won the most votes in the first round of Sunday’s presidential election.

CUBA
Yoani Sanchez’s Independent Online Publication Unblocked in Cuba

From Inside Cuba’s Burning Fire

Miami, Safe Haven for Cuban Torturers? Federal Case of Ethiopian Abuser Reminder, You Cannot Hide from US Justice

Andres Oppenheimer: In Cuba, technology may beat censorship

A Cagy KGB Rabbi

ECUADOR
Ecuador to Begin Oil Drilling in Amazonia

Presidente for life: Ecuador’s Correa Seeks to Allow Indefinite Re-Election of All Officials
Ecuador’s President Asks for Constitutional Amendment

EL SALVADOR
6 Gunned Down on Bus in El Salvador

GUATEMALA
U.S. Sentences Guatemala Ex-President to 5 Years for Money Laundering

HONDURAS
In Violent Honduras, Soccer Is Offering Young Children An Escape From Gangs, Drugs

JAMAICA
Lobbyists call for Jamaica to decriminalize pot

MEXICO
Marine hero stuck in Mexican prison on gun charges

Mexican Zapatista head Marcos steps down
The leader of the Zapatista rebels in southern Mexico, Subcomandante Marcos, announces he is leaving the 20-year-old guerrilla group.

Mexican federal forces rescue 68 CentAm migrants being held captive

How Mexico’s New President Is Turning His Country Into a Servile US Client
Enrique Peña Nieto is using violence and repression to dismantle his country’s progressive legacy.
So, is servility why Mexico’s holding Andrew Tahmooressi?

PERU
U.S. Opens Talks with Peru on Waiving Visas

Attorney: Joran van der Sloot to marry in Peruvian prison, become father

PUERTO RICO
Borinqueneers to get Congressional Gold Medal

URUGUAY
Marijuana to Be Sold for Less Than $1 a Gram in Uruguay
Authorities said the price was deliberately set below what marijuana sells for illegally, and the quality control of the drug available at pharmacies would be “very high”

VENEZUELA
CNN team denied right to cover Venezuela local elections

Surprise! Latrine America backs Maduro in Venenozuela

Mythbusting the reduction of poverty

Unfortunately, A Bleak Future For Venezuelans.

Crackdown presents challenge to Citizens Energy, Joe Kennedy II

The week’s posts and podcast:
Puerto Rico: rising volume of drugs coming from Venezuela

Colombia: Who will be the next president?

En español: Unidad de quemados

Mexico: Kevin’s selfie

Bob Menendez on the Venezuelan nightmare

LatAm in top-10 happiest

UN: Cuba to chair World Health Assembly

Venezuela: Chavistas rolling in dough

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Cuba and moral blindness

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week


Cuba and moral blindness

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

What do The Council of the Americas and Gabriel García Márquez have in common?

My latest, Cuba and moral blindness, is up at Da Tech Guy’s. Read it, and hit the tip jar, please.