Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

The Ricky Ricardo Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Today’s Carnival is dedicated to Desi Arnaz, who raked in the bucks by creating a TV character that interviewers can’t seem to forget.

ARGENTINA
This week could be decisive for Nisman probeBoard of coroners will issue final report to prosecutor Fein that could answer key questions

No. Is Argentina’s economy pulling a tango turnaround?

Argentinean University: Austrian Economists Need Not Apply
Slighted Professor Claims Ideology Trumps 20 Years Experience at Comahue

BELIZE
Belize offshore oil proposal has environmentalists worried about reefs, fisheries, tourism

BOLIVIA
Militar boliviano diz que Podemos seria braço do tráfico venezuelano
Relatório afirma que partido de esquerda foi financiado por Hugo Chávez e seus aliados bolivarianos para transformar a Espanha em porta de entrada de cocaína na Europa
[Bolivian serviceman claims Podemos will be an arm of Venezuelan drug traffic
He says the Leftist party was bankrolled by Hugo Chávez and his Bolivarian associates to transform Spain into a port of entrance for Europe’s cocaine]

Bolivia’s access to the sea
Beaches of the future?
A South American border dispute has implications for international law

Both countries are parties to the Pact of Bogotá, which obliges signatories to submit disputes to international tribunals. But the pact excludes conflicts that were settled before 1948.

BRAZIL
Brazil football fan club deaths lead to police arrests

British lawyer killed in Amazon fell victim to boat captains’ ‘game of dare’Husband of Gillian Metcalf says neither of the two drivers took action to prevent tragedy in high-speed collision

CHILE
Crisis socialista: Bachelet despide a todo su gabinete

COLOMBIA
Colombia ELN rebels ‘displayed solider’s leg as trophy’

Samuel Angel: “Santos y Petro han sido los peores administradores que hemos tenido”

CUBA
Ca$tro r€gim€ $€nd$ m€dica£ a$$i$tanc€ to N€pa£

EconomyGeeks Radio: Entrevista a Yusnaby Perez

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Republic stunned by two weeks of forest fires

ECUADOR
Ecuadorian State Workers Forced to March for Correa
Sign the Roll or Suffer the Consequences

Ecuador’s president demands respect from his constituentsRafael Correa attacks the press for reporting a presidential run-in with a young protestor who gave him the finger. He could start by staying off Twitter.

EL SALVADOR
Fear, uncertainty prevail on San Salvador’s increasingly violent streetsAs homicides soar after failed truce, El Salvador could surpass Honduras as most murderous peacetime country

GUATEMALA
Guatemala vice-president steps down amid customs corruption scandalPresident announces deputy has vacated her offices as ex-aide stands accused of orchestrating fraud worth million

HONDURAS
Death valley: the land war gripping Honduras
With a murder rate 65 times higher than Ireland’s, Honduras is one of the world’s most violent countries. And few parts are more dangerous than the Lower Aguán Valley, where local farmers claim that big business has illegally taken over their land

MEXICO
Mexican police capture one of the masterminds behind Iguala massacreThe suspect, a former deputy police chief, was arrested at an exclusive country club

Mexico rescues more than 100 kidnapped migrants

Police in Mexico have rescued more than 100 migrants kidnapped by a human trafficking gang near the capital.
Reports said some of the migrants had been held hostage for five weeks in a house in Mexico State.
Most of the victims were Central Americans, but they also included people from India and Sri Lanka.

Los Cuinis: The Wealthiest Narcos You Never Heard OfJalisco Battle Brings Mexico’s Top Dogs Out of the Shadows

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua Canal: A Giant Project With Huge Environmental Costs, if it happens.

PANAMA
Panama Finds Collecting Venezuelan Debt Harder than Pulling TeethNew President Still Hopes to Bring $1 Billion Owed into Port – good luck with that.

Panama Supreme Court Judge Faces Charges of Pederasty, CorruptionCongressman Mario Miller Claims Accusations Have “No Legal Foundation”

PARAGUAY
Ten-year-old’s pregnancy sparks Paraguay abortion debate

PERU
Drug trade’s lowest rung: Peru’s expendable cocaine couriers

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico may run out of cash by Sept: Gov. bank

VENEZUELA
Mass grave found on the Venezuela-Colombia border

The week’s posts and podcast:
Identity politics: Halperin interviews Ted Cruz, expects Ricky Ricardo

Haiti: Clinton’s crony gets the contract

Today’s “WTH Moment” brought to you by Jorge Ramos

Book review: Carly Fiorina’s Rising to the Challenge

John Oliver riffs Latin America

“You will not like Cuba”

Chile: Bachelet ditches entire Cabinet

“Terrorism is most definitely not a weapon of the weak”

Just what we need: Ferries to Cuba! UPDATED

This is what free speech is all about

Mexico: Jalisco’s new generation of crime

Puerto Rico: The great debt scam

It’s that time of year,

Cuba: Fidel, druglord

Podcast:



“You will not like Cuba”

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Today’s must-read, via Carlos Eire,Luis Ball’s article,
You Will Not Like Cuba
Media Hype Sells Product That Does Not Exist

Maybe those readers who plan to visit this Caribbean paradise would like to know something that Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times have omitted: their phone conversations will be bugged, and possibly they will be secretly filmed in their hotel rooms. Remember, this is not Berlin after the fall of the Wall; this is Berlin before!

Twenty years ago, Fidel Castro began to promote his imprisoned island to foreign tourists. Canadian and Spanish tourists initially poured in. Eventually, however, word got out that Cuba was not much fun.+

Today, they still trickle in, but the boom in tourism that the Castros expected has not materialized. Those who do visit Cuba do so because it is, by far, the cheapest destination in the Caribbean. Those Europeans and Canadians who can pay more ignore Cuba as a destination.

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. My father worked for many years at what then was at one of the top hotels in the Caribbean. I sincerely do not understand why anyone would go to Cuba when you can find, not only in Puerto Rico, but all across the Caribbean, top-rated resorts (where, as a bonus, you are not subsidizing a murderous Communist regime intent on not changing).

As Capitol Hill Cubans point out, business will not bring change to Cuba,

The business community has been a key supporter of some of the worst dictatorships in modern times — all for the sake of stability.

Related:
A brief video of a street in downtown Havana, “in a good part of town,” and keep in mind Cuba received in 2014 US$300 million in trade from the US and 3 million international tourists:

Click on the photo above for more on Cuba travel.

Recommended reading:

NUESTROS AÑOS VERDE OLIVO

Persona Non Grata: A Memoir of Disenchantment with the Cuban Revolution

Just what we need: Ferries to Cuba! UPDATED

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

So we can all go see the misery by boat:
U.S. Permits Ferry Service to CubaThe U.S. has granted licenses to four American firms to operate ferry services to Cuba for the first time in more than a half century

Unclear was how receptive Cuba’s government would be, as it seeks to balance economic benefits with concerns that any sudden change could endanger the island’s one-party rule.

Oh, well, since you brought that up, Obama Appeases Cuba – Castro Demands Reparations And Return Of GITMO.

$5 says Obama will go along with that.

Back in the days when MTV actually played rock videos, David Bowie said in one of their ads, “too much is never enough.” Raul Castro couldn’t agree more.

We talked about this and other topics in today’s podcast,

UPDATE:
MARK FALCOFF: WHY LIBERALS LOVE CASTRO

Cuba: Fidel, druglord

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Inside Fidel Castro’s double life as a drug kingpin

For 17 years, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez served as a bodyguard to Fidel Castro. But when he became disillusioned with the Cuban dictator’s hypocrisy and tried to retire in 1994, Castro had him thrown in prison. Sanchez made 10 attempts to escape the island, finally making it to Mexico by boat, then across the Texas border in 2008. Now he reveals all in his new book, “The Double Life of Fidel Castro.” In this excerpt, Sanchez explains how he lost faith in the revolution — and “El Jefe.”

Read the article here.

Buy the book here.

The royal baby Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 4th, 2015

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, had a baby daughter born on Saturday, and that’s all you’ll hear about it on this blog.

On with the news in our hemisphere:

ARGENTINA
Now even the dogs get kidnapped: Gangs Target Purebred Dogs in Argentina

BAHAMAS
Bahamas court agrees to review new immigration rules

BRAZIL
Lula Investigated for Being Odebrecht’s “Trafficker-in-Chief”

Brazil’s Power Dynamics Shifting Amid Political Scandals

Brazilian executed in Indonesia ‘unaware what was happening until end’Priests states Brazilian man executed in Indonesia did not understand what was happening to him because of his schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

CHILE
Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupts for third time

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s High Court Seeks Wider Probe of Espionage CaseInvestigation of ex-President Álvaro Uribe, five other aides sought

Where Are Colombia’s Youth in FARC Negotiations?Josías Fiesco: The Most Impacted Have Not a Single Seat at the Table

Colombia’s judiciaryTrouble at the topEven the highest courts are not immune from scandal

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica is happy — but not too much

CUBA
From China: Clandestine Arms Shipment Arrives in Cuba

Venezuela’s Maduro Joins Raul Castro for Cuba’s May Day Parade, where no one would dare throw mangoes at them.

ECUADOR
What Happened When I Joked About the President of Ecuador

A few months before, I registered the Crudo Ecuador brand with the Ecuadorean Institute of Intellectual Property. The I.E.P.I. published the Gaceta, a booklet that shows all the brands that are being registered, including mine.

That’s when things took a dark turn. Some Twitter users began posting I.E.P.I. documents. These documents are supposed to be confidential; they showed my telephone number, my address, my ID number. Then they started posting information from the civil registry. And then, a photo of me in a mall. When I showed my wife the picture, she said, “Hey, this was taken three days ago.” So they’d been following us.

GUATEMALA
Guatemala Needs More than OutrageScale Back the State to Starve Corruption

HAITI
SCHWEIZER: CLINTON DONORS, RELATIVES GOT RICH OFF HAITI CONTRACTS, US TAXPAYERS

JAMAICA
A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia reviewRichard S Dunn’s comparative study of slavery makes surprising arguments

LATIN AMERICA
Thanks To Vaccination, Rubella Has Been Eliminated From The Western Hemisphere

MEXICO
Mexican army helicopter shot at in drug cartel attackA Mexican army helicopter has been shot at in the western state of Jalisco, killing three soldiers and injuring 12 others.

NICARAGUA
For “peaceful purposes”? Nicaragua approves Russian satellite base for ‘alternative GPS’Opposition say legislation was rushed through without proper scrutinyNicaraguan military says it plans to buy Russian jets and patrol boats

PANAMA
Crossing the Darién Gap: US-bound migrants marooned in Panama jungleLong voyage winds from half a world away in search of economic opportunity in North America (emphasis added),

As dusk fell on a recent Saturday, a long dugout canoe floated into this remote town in Darién province of Panama, carrying an increasingly frequent cargo of improbable origins.

At a border police base by the Chucunaque River, the human haul — 13 Bangladeshis, seven Nepalese and two Somalis — disembarked to noisy greetings from other migrants on the bank.

PARAGUAY
Girl, 10, raped by stepfather, denied abortion in ParaguayAmnesty International is calling on Paraguay’s government to allow child to get an abortion for the sake of her health

PERU
Hidden early Christian crypt discovered with dozens of skeletons

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico on the Brink

Puerto Rico is in trouble, after years of bad policies, mismanagement, excessive debt and bad luck.

Its economy has been shrinking or stagnant for a decade and theunemployment rate sits at nearly 12 percent. The commonwealth and its utilities have a debt of $73 billion, its public pension funds are woefully underfunded and one state agency has warned that the government could be forced to shut down soon because it might run out of money.

URUGUAY
Ex-Gitmo Detainees In Uruguay Protest At U.S. Embassy

VENEZUELA
The U.N.’s Venezuela Crush Gets Orwellian

Report: Venezuela’s Medical Shortages Rival War ZonesHuman Rights Watch: Thousands at Risk while Maduro Looks for Scapegoats

«Yo fui el intérprete de Chávez»Mohamad Mohamadi fue el traductor del líder bolivariano en más de un centenar de encuentros con sus aliados iraníes

The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina: On with slandering the Jews in the AMIA & #Nisman cases

Cuba: How’s that “easement” going?, part 2

What works

“The Americans” non-values UPDATED

Venezuela: Electricity rationing because of . . . global warming

Chile: Bachelet lifts a page from the Clintons

Don’t rebuild

Minnesota men heading to ISIS via . . . Mexico?

Puerto Rico: Calling Dr. Cardona Harper

Cuba: How’s that “easement” going?

Latin America: Why there’s no light at the end of the tunnel

Podcast:
Mexico and other US Latin America stories of the week



Cuba: How’s that “easement” going?, part 2

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Forget about improving the conditions in the island-prison, says the ambassador to Germany

Cuba‘s ambassador to Germany Rene Juan Mujica Cantelar Thursday lowered expectations for political change on the Caribbean island after the ongoing historic reconciliation between Washington and Havana.

“This is not an issue that is on the agenda of the Cuban people, of the Cuban society,” he said at an event in Berlin.

He was answering a question about whether new political parties and independent media would be allowed in the future on the socialist island.

Way to go, comrade Rene, way to go! Keep up the good work. Keep defending the blissful merits of communism on behalf of the Cuban people!

Prior post:
Cuba: How’s that “easement” going?

Cuba: How’s that “easement” going?

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Pres. Obama announced on December 17, 2014 an easing of U.S. relations with Cuba

that will engage and empower the Cuban people.

Four months and a few days later, how’s that working out so far?

Castro police arrest more than 100 Ladies In White, other activists as they leave Havana church

The Ladies in White have been attacked continuously every Sunday since Dec. 17.

How about the conditions of political prisoners?

Cuban secret policeman to hunger striker’s mother: ‘If he dies, it’s not our problem’

The Dec. 17 WH website statement was titled A Failed Approach.

Prescience.

Latin America: Why there’s no light at the end of the tunnel

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Vast natural resources, great human capital, and yet, LatAm wallows in corruption and crime. This is not likely to change for the foreseeable future.

Why?

Belen Marty writes about one reason why:
LatAm’s Socialist Countries Rival World’s Worst in Institutional Quality
Zimbabwe, Libya Outrank Venezuela in Dismal Scoresheet for Bolivarian Republics

Latin-American countries with governments that claim to be pursuing a “socialist” agenda come out the worst in the latest Institutional Quality Index published by Argentina’s Freedom and Progress Foundation, with several regional nations ranking alongside countries such as South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, and Gabon.

Argentina, governed between 2003 and 2007 by the late former President Néstor Kirchner, and by his spouse President Cristina Kirchner since 2007, has fallen the most in the rankings over the last 10 years, dropping 50 places to occupy position 137 out of 193 surveyed nations. In 2014 alone, Argentina fell several places to be rated worse than China, Uganda, and Lebanon.

Hugo Chavez’s legacy lives on,

Taking the same long-term view, the index shows how other regional countries have slid dramatically in the quality of their public institutions. Bolivia is down 99 places, Argentina by 33, Ecuador by 81, Venezuela by 75, and Paraguay fell by 61 positions, all since 1996.

Communism doesn’t work: Cuba takes the cake at 192, one notch above bottom-ranked North Korea, even after US$300million and 3 million tourists last year alone. Let’s pause for a Capt. Louis Renault moment.

The report, authored by academic Martín Krause, takes an average of eight indicators used by recognized international organizations. Among them are the Index of Economic Freedom (Compiled by the Fraser Institute and the Heritage Foundation), Doing Business, the Rule of Law (the World Bank), and Corruption Perceptions (Transparency International).

The report, which you can read here in Spanish, concludes,

En definitiva, aquellos países que tienen una buena calidad institucional o aquellos que la han mejorado, en particular en relación a las instituciones de mercado, y dentro de ellas aquellas que protegen la inversión y la actividad emprendedora, muestran un mejor desempeño económico y, con ello, ofrecen más oportunidades de progreso a sus habitantes.

[My translation:]
Definitely, the countries with good institutional quality or those which have improved it, especially in regards to market institutions, and within those, the ones that protect investment and enterprise, show better economic performance, and, along with it, offer their citizens more opportunities for progress.

The Hezbollah camps Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 27th, 2015

While the U.S. media distracted itself with news about Bruce Jenner and tried to ignore Hillary Clinton’s corruption, the big news story of the week came via Emili Blasco: Nicolas Maduro negotiated with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah for Hezbollah training camps in Venezuela. See also Venezuela, el principal nexo de Hezbollah en América
A lo largo de los años, Tarek El Aissami ha desarrollado una red financiera sofisticada y de múltiples niveles
(more posts on El Aissami here).

ARGENTINA
Cristina Kirchner and Vladimir Putin cuddle up over oil – and bitter feelings for Britain
Argentina and Russia signed a a “strategic partnership” that included oil and gas deals, after Ms Kirchner visited Moscow and the Kremlin

BRAZIL
The ghost in the Planalto
Dilma Rousseff is in office but no longer in power

Thankfully, it is hard to imagine suicide or a coup. It is also hard to see Ms Rousseff, a tough former urban guerrilla who survived torture, resigning. And Brazilian law holds that a president can be impeached only for political or common crimes committed during her current term of office—though whether that rule would necessarily exempt any malfeasance during her first term is not clear. So far nothing ties Ms Rousseff to corruption; some would like fiscal irresponsibility to be impeachable, but probably it is not. It is for Mr Cunha to decide whether to start impeachment, and he is one of 52 politicians being investigated over alleged illegal donations from Petrobras.

Brazil’s Petrobras Reports Nearly $17 Billion in Asset and Corruption Charges
State-run oil company writes off $2.1 billion of alleged bribe payments

Images of transgender prisoner whose face was ‘pulverized’ by police after they stripped her and shaved her head spark outrage in Brazil

CHILE
Chile volcano ash cloud reaches Brazil; some flights canceled

COLOMBIA
Colombian Physicians Get the Final Go-Ahead for Euthanasia
18 Years of Legal Limbo Over with New Regulatory Protocol

Cobweb explosives, #FARC’s latest method discovered by Fudra [armed forces]

COSTA RICA
Scientist in Costa Rica discovers new species of glass frog
Brian Kubicki discovers the Hyalinobatrachium dianae glass frog species in Costa Rica’s Talamanca mountains

CUBA
Giving Obama Cover on Cuban Weapons Shipment

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo visits Cuba

ECUADOR
Ecuadorian Activists Want Nothing Less than Universal Marijuana
Cannabis Ecuador: “With or Without Prohibition, There Will Always Be Drug Use”

MEXICO
MEXICAN AUTHORITIES RECOVER STOLEN RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL

NICARAGUA
In Paradisiacal Nicaragua, Contemplating a Canal. Paradisiacal?

PANAMA
Panama, reputed to be region’s top money laundering hub, toughens up legislation

PARAGUAY
Paraguay preps bond tap in buoyant market

PERU
Protester killed in Peru during rally against Southern Copper project

Peru library to preserve Vargas Llosa’s vast literary treasure

PUERTO RICO
S&P downgrades Puerto Rico debt to ‘CCC+’ from ‘B’

URUGUAY
Ex-Gitmo detainees protest at US embassy in Uruguay, demand financial support

VENEZUELA
Should Venezuela be on the List of Terrorist States?

WATCH: ROGUE MANGO ATTACKS VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT NICOLÁS MADURO

Woman who hit Venezuela leader with mango rewarded with new home
Woman who threw mango at Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro promised new home

The week’s posts and podcast:
Colombia: How are the FARC negotiations going?

Sunday tango at the gazebo

En español: Unidad de quemados #217

Oh look, the guy behind the Clinton uranium deal was also the guy behind the Clinton FTA deal

Argentina: Hitting new lows on the #Nisman murder

Venezuela: Maduro negotiated for Hezbollah training camps in Venezuela

Chile: Here’s the kaboom!

Alinsky wears high heels

Venezuela: Censorship all around

Cuba: Strawberries can get you jailed

Argentina: Prosecutor drops #Nisman’s case

Bolivia: Dumb. And dumber.

Podcast:
Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela & other US-Latin America stories



Cuba: Strawberries can get you jailed

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Over three million foreign tourists went to Cuba in 2013 and 2014, and Cuba last year received $300million + in trade with the U.S., but after easing U.S. sanctions, the average Cuban is sent to the clink and loses everything over strawberries (h/t Babalu):
Any farmer caught selling to the general population the strawberries that he cultivates will be fined 1000 CUP* (national currency) and have his land confiscated.