Panamanian authorities’ warning shot to anyone not willing to kiss Raul Castro’s ring:
Rosa María Payá, the daughter of the late Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, was briefly detained on Sunday at Panama’s airport and threatened with deportation to Cuba if she caused any public disturbances at the Summit of the Americas, according to an account she gave on Twitter.
Payá was released after being questioned and her personal items were subjected to a careful review by authorities, in what was later described by the Foreign Ministry of Panama as “a bureaucratic error.”
But this one will be useful for Cuba, which will be allowed to join the group for the first time, and on its own terms. It’s hard to put a finger on the lowest point in Obama foreign policy, but its abject submissiveness regarding this meeting in the U.S. backyard is a serious contender.
Back in 2001,
OAS members signed the “Democratic Charter,” requiring the suspension of nondemocratic governments.
That was then. Now, not only is the murderous Communist regime attending, Panama is warning dissidents to keep quiet.
Paraguay has seen a spillover of organized criminal activities from countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Argentina which manifests itself in home invasions, kidnappings, and shootouts with drug traffickers, Maldonado said.
For now, the 54-year-old embargo remains in place, meaning Americans can’t buy property here, or even travel to the island as tourists. And Cuban law bars nonresidents from owning homes outside a few limited experimental developments. But that isn’t stopping some foreigners from trying to wriggle through loopholes to get their hands on real estate now in the hopes of striking it rich.
Loopholes, and deep pockets from which to bribe. Good luck trying to get your money out of the country if you ever sell. Even better luck with preventing the government from seizing your assets.
#3 Are there any Cuban laws that could trip up a would-be foreign investor?
Boy are there. It has only been a few years since Cuba started allowing Cuban citizens to buy and sell their own homes, and the government is still trying to keep tight control over the market. Cubans can’t have more than two homes, a primary residence and a vacation house. And in all but a few cases, buyers need to be permanent Cuban residents.
Cuba’s record on LGBT rights has improved over the years. However, it was so dismal to start with that this can hardly be surprising. Shortly after seizing power, the Castro regime sent tens of thousands of gay men to labor camps. It later forced HIV-positive people and those with AIDS into facilities in which they were separated against their will from the public-at-large.
Even after these worst abuses fell by the wayside, LGBT individuals as well as LGBT advocates in Cuba have faced ongoing harassment from government authorities in the form of detention, arrest, and physical assault. Cuba also initially opposed, then abstained from voting on, a 2010 UN proposal to treat “sexual orientation” as an especially objectionable motive for murder—a position it is hard to believe Cuomo would endorse.
. . .
A 2013 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association indicates that in Cuba, not only can people refuse to bake cakes for gay couples if they so desire, there is also no “constitutional prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation.” Only very recently did Cuba ban discrimination in employment against gays and lesbians.
Furthermore, in Cuba, same-sex couples enjoy none of the rights of marriage, let alone the ability to marry. Moreover, joint adoption is not an option for gay couples on the island. Gay couples in Cuba also lack the option of civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar arrangements.
Cuomo, once in Cuba, will likely be chaperoned by the official Communist sexologist and daughter of Raul Castro, Mariela, she who said the United States “must be dreaming” if it thinks easing sanctions would bring about a market economy.
Mary O’Grady writes about the reasons behind Peru’s recent economic success: A market model that allows for
a vibrant consumer class that is entrepreneurial and creative
openness to imports
structural reforms that included ending a punishing system of import tariffs and quotas
fiscally conservative governance.
Still, the downturn in commodity prices is eating into growth and the slowdown that began last year continues. Market forecasts for GDP growth are in the 3% range for 2015. Peru’s economy is performing far better than most in the region, but lackluster is not what Peruvians have come to expect.
The obvious answer to this lethargy is more aggressive trade opening on key products like sugar and corn, more tax cutting and deregulation. But Mr. Humala’s popularity is sagging and he is unlikely to do anything bold. Meanwhile, opponents of economic freedom will turn slower growth into opportunity by linking stagnant incomes in the market economy and corruption.
On a seemingly unrelated topic,
The Obama administration insists on easing restrictions on Cuba’s merciless Communist dictatorship while Cuba’s dependence on Venezuelan oil goes bust. Once Cuba’s economy improves cosmetically (because you can bet those in power will not give up their acquisitiveness), the Cuban propaganda machine will use this as another tool in its propaganda arsenal against market economies.
No matter how ruinous Cuban-driven Chavismo is in real life; propaganda is the only thing Cuba’s regime is good at, and it is particularly effective in Latin America.
As it enters the final stretch of a massive expansion, the Panama Canal Authority is setting its sights on an even more ambitious project worth up to $17 billion that would allow it to handle the world’s biggest ships.
Workers are now installing giant, 22-story lock gates to accommodate larger “Post-Panamax” ships through the Canal, one of the world’s busiest maritime routes.
The project involves building a third set of locks on the Canal. It is being headed by Italy’s Salini Impregilo and Spain’s Sacyr, and should open on April 1, 2016.
The new Uruguayan government says it will no longer grant asylum to prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.
In December, Uruguay gave sanctuary to six Arab men who had been held at the US base in Cuba for 12 years.
Opinion polls said most Uruguayans rejected the decision taken by outgoing President Jose Mujica.
Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa also said Uruguay would stop taking refugees from the Syrian conflict.
Does that mean they’ll kick Syrians Jihad Abu Wael Dhiab, Ali Husain Shaaban, Ahmed Adnan Ajuri, and Abdelhadi Faraj, Palestinian Mohammed Abdullah Taha Mattan, and Tunisian Adel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi out of the country?
Communist Cuba’s alliance with the Iran of the Ayatollahs dates to 1979, when Fidel Castro became one of the first heads of state to recognize the Islamic Republic’s radical clerics. Addressing then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, Castro insisted that there was “no contradiction between revolution and religion,” an ecumenical principle that has guided Cuba’s relations with Iran and other Islamic regimes. Over the next two decades, Castro fostered a unique relationship between secular communist Cuba and theocratic Iran, united by a common hatred of the United States and the liberal, democratic West — and by substantial material interests. (In the photo, Iran’s Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Cuba’s Vice Foreign Minister Marcos Rodriguez attend a wreath-laying ceremony on Revolution Square in Havana on Sept. 7, 2011.)
Suchlicki recommends that Washington address Havana’s troublesome alliances with rogue regimes; I’m cynical enough to say it already has.
Witnesses at the airport said that a few minutes after takeoff they heard a significant explosion followed by a huge fireball.
The passengers were members of the Argentine company La Rural which is an associate in a project to exploit a Convention Center under construction in the Atlantic resort of Punta del Este and had flown to Uruguay for a business conference with their Uruguayan partners and the local government.
La Rural is a leading company in Argentina and Latin America in the fairs, congress and events industry.
President Obama today issued a new Executive Order (E.O.) declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela. The targeted sanctions in the E.O. implement the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, which the President signed on December 18, 2014, and also go beyond the requirements of this legislation.
President Barack Obama declared Venezuela a national-security threat and froze the assets of seven senior officials over alleged rights abuses and political repression.
The move puts all seven officials on a U.S. government blacklist that freezes any assets in the U.S. and prohibits American citizens from dealing with them.
Declaring a country a national-security threat is a formality that allow the U.S. government to impose sanctions on individuals or other countries.
1. Antonio José Benavides Torres: Commander of the Strategic Region for the Integral Defense (REDI) of the Central Region of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) and former Director of Operations for Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).
2. Gustavo Enrique González López: Director General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and President of Venezuela’s Strategic Center of Security and Protection of the Homeland (CESPPA).
3. Justo José Noguera Pietri: President of the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana (CVG), a state-owned entity, and former General Commander of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).
4. Katherine Nayarith Haringhton Padron: national level prosecutor of the 20th District Office of Venezuela’s Public Ministry.
5. Manuel Eduardo Pérez Urdaneta: Director of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Police.
6. Manuel Gregorio Bernal Martínez : Chief of the 31st Armored Brigade of Caracas of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Army and former Director General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN).
7. Miguel Alcides Vivas Landino: Inspector General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) and former Commander of the Strategic Region for the Integral Defense (REDI) of the Andes Region of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces.
In that regard, the language in the Executive Order makes perfect sense. In sidestepping sanctions for ordinary Venezuelans while targeting the actual human rights abusers, the Obama administration is zeroing in on the problem without creating unnecessary controversies regarding “embargoes” or other nonsense.
It has also chosen the perfect time for its offensive, right when the Maduro administration is at its weakest. It is most certainly creating tension and conflict within the ranks of chavismo. After all, it’s probably more difficult to target sanctions against someone like Diosdado Cabello, who has probably prepared for years for something like this, than it is to zero in on the guys in the second-tier of decision making, the ones actually implementing the orders from Miraflores. I doubt poor old Katherine Harrington-Colby has the testaferros that Diosdado has.
Maduro and his cronies are a threat to US national security. Let’s hope the pressure makes Maduro bend a little and free some of the political prisoners. After all, how much worse can things get for them?
Get ready for a wild ride. The current occupant of the White House and his acolytes are slapping Venezuela on the wrist for its human rights violations at exactly the same time that they are rewarding those in Havana who are ultimately responsible for those violations with all sorts of outlandish concessions, including the agreement to never, ever bring up the issue of human rights abuses in the “normalization” talks between the U.S. and the Castro regime.