Archive for the ‘Ecuador’ Category

The storm clouds Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Storm clouds are coming to a hemisphere near you.

Argentina’s Scioli Urged by Ally to Pursue Accord With Creditors

Argentina warns US to cooperate in heightened search for fugitive spy chief. President Cristina Fernández says US must be ‘protecting’ Antonio Stiuso, who reportedly fled to Miami soon after star prosecutor’s mysterious killing

The narrative changes: Nisman documentary tied to US conservatives. Expect a lot more of that.

Hunt for ship missing after hurricane. The US Coast Guard searches for a cargo ship with 33 crew – 28 Americans and five Poles – that vanished in Bahamian waters during Hurricane Joaquin.

Ex-Brazil President Lula to be questioned in Petrobras case. Brazilian officials investigating a corruption scandal at the state-run oil company Petrobras will be allowed to question ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the supreme court has ruled.

Funny how so many bring up the Swedish model but few understand it: 7 fatos que contradizem tudo que você acreditava sobre a Suécia

Chilean Industrial Production Falls 5.2%

Colombia Drug Kingpin “Megateo” Slain in Military Operation

Worth watching:
Narcos on Netflix, loosely based on Killing Pablo, a miniseries made more interesting when keeping in mind the upcoming FARC deal.

Apparently this is how Cubans get Netflix (h/t Spotniks) without Internet. I wouldn’t be surprised if Danny Paquete is a front:

[In Puerto Rico, un paquete can mean either package or a bundle of lies]

The one-sided relationship with Cuba

The Montaigne Dogma: Alive and Well in Ecuador. Correa Resurrects Debunked Zero-Sum Theories on Poverty

“The Profit of One Man Is the Damage of Another” is the 21st essay in this edition.

Guatemala mudslide leaves hundreds missing

We Jamaicans can’t blame our entire malaise on the evil white bogeyman. Whatever David Cameron’s motives for the repatriation scheme, our prisons are a disgrace – and the whining of the reparations lobby masks the screw-ups of our own governments

13 narcos extradited from Mexico include a former Texas high school football star, “La Barbie”.

Mexico Awards Three Areas in Oil Auction. Italy’s ENI International, Argentina’s Pan American Energy and Fieldwood Energy of the U.S. among the winners

Chinese giant Huawei opens its sixth distribution center in Panama. Good luck collecting,

According to official figures, Venezuelan buyers owe the free zone vendors a total of 1.2 billion dollars.

Behind Drugs’ Glare, Paraguay’s Illegal Cigarette Trade Flourishes

Peru Declares State of Emergency Where Protest Left 3 Dead

Puerto Rico Development Bank Goes to Court for $400 Million in Taxes

High times: Uruguay Awards Two Marijuana Permits to Investors

The World Is Watching Caracas. Why Venezuela’s approaching parliamentary elections matter — and not only for Venezuelans. Dude, the election is scheduled for December 6.

Salarios en Venezuela: cómo el régimen chavista empobreció a la población. Un profesor universitario cobra 16 dólares, un maestro 12, un médico no llega a los 10 y un policía araña los 14 (si suma bonos y horas extras)… Advertencia: cuando usted termine de leer esta nota, puede que los valores ya estén desactualizados.

U.S. Charges Venezuelan Ex-Officials with Drug Trafficking. U.S. judges have unsealed indictments charging two former top Venezuelan police officials with drug trafficking, an action likely to fuel further tensions between Washington and embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Judges in the southern district of Florida unsealed indictments against Pedro Luís Martín, a former head of financial intelligence for Venezuela’s secret police, and Jesús Alfredo Itriago, a former antinarcotics official with Venezuela’s investigative police.

Crime Wave Downs 100 Venezuelan Police Officers. Failure to Contain Lawlessness Comes at a Price

The post-papal visit Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Thank God Papa Che came and left without incident. Yet, as Rich Lowry put it,

The Catholic Church’s traditional discomfort with modernity has cachet at this moment in American politics, especially when it is wrapped in the fashionable causes of income inequality and climate change. In this sense, Pope Francis is (inadvertently) a genius marketeer by taking crackpot attitudes about economic development and getting them a respectful hearing.

Taking the Pope to School

Argentina’s Presidential Hopefuls Aim to Further Militarize Drug War. Experts Warn “Failed Policy” Will Lead to More Violence, Corruption

Can Argentina responsibly develop its massive shale oil and gas potential?


Bolivia row with Chile over strip of land to Pacific Ocean goes to The Hague.
Anger in Chile as International Court of Justice at the Hague declares it has jurisdiction to rule on Bolivia’s claim

Gates Foundation sues Petrobras. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sues the Brazilian state-owned oil company, Petrobras for investment losses due to corruption.

Chile refuses bilateral negotiations over Bolivia border dispute

Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC leaders signed an accord in Havana under the aaegis of Raul Castro. Alvaro Uribe refers to it as an “Agreement of Impunity” (#AcuerdoDeImpunidad):
Santos, it’s not peace that’s near, it’s the surrender to FARC and the tyranny of Venezuela.”

The accord does not address the issue of drug trafficking.

Colombia Peace Process: Theatre of the Politically Absurd.

The accord is one of the biggest stories of the year, and U.S. media has barely mentioned it, even when the pope was involved (link in Spanish).

Violence in Costa Rica Reaching ‘Pandemic’ Levels?

Governor Cuomo and Raúl Castro of Cuba Meet

Haiti border crisis grows as Dominican Republic expels ‘migrants’

Ecuador’s President Used Millions Of Dollars Of Public Funds To Censor Critical Online Videos. Exclusive: BuzzFeed News has seen leaked documents that reveal Rafael Correa used the intelligence budget to delete content critical of him and the first lady from YouTube, Facebook, and other sites.

Testing the limits on crazy immigration policies, a New plan: we’ll pay to import formerly deported illegals with mental illnesses

Jamaican Anti-Gay Rally to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage, Even Though No One Has Proposed It. Like it or not, Jamaica is leapfrogging over decriminalization and straight to relationship equality. Here are four reasons LGBTI activists should embrace the issue.

State capitalism, populism, extractive economies and corruption don’t work: Support for Latin American Leaders Has Fallen Steadily, Poll Shows: Latin America’s political leaders face a bleak future and a potent backlash from citizens regionwide who feel increasingly disillusioned as economies stumble and corruption flourishes, a new poll across 18 countries by a respected Chilean firm shows.

Latin America cracks open its doors as Syrian refugee crisis mounts. Syrian Issa Hassan is one of the first to land in Mexico today as citizen pressure to do more mounts. Many countries in the region have had their own experiences with authoritarian rule and brutality.

Mexico’s Peña Nieto meets Iguala parents and vows to “search for truth”. President holds first face-to-face with families of the 43 missing teaching students

Dozens of Clandestine Graves Found During Search for Missing Mexican Students

Nicaragua says planned canal will cut sailing time for mega-ships, if it ever gets started, that is.

Companies building controversial dam in Panama hit with $1.2 mn in fines

Paraguay Homicides Drop, But Border Remains Violent 

The figures show high concentrations of violence in the states of Amambay and Alto Parana, with those provinces registering 50 and 31 homicides respectively. Both of these states are major border crossings between Paraguay and Brazil. Amambay in particular isone of the most dangerous border regions in Latin America, registering a murder rate of 66.7 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014.  

British tourists held overnight by Peruvian protesters. Tour party hijacked by indigenous campaigners angered by halt in road construction

Puerto Rico Funds May Face Federal Oversight. Legislation that would subject Puerto Rico mutual funds to the same regulations as mainland funds is expected to be introduced in Congress on Friday, a sign Puerto Rico’s financial crisis is drawing greater scrutiny.

Dozens Injured, Arrested in Student Protest in Uruguay

Antonio Ledezma: Seven Months under House Arrest, Still No Hearing for Caracas Mayor. Venezuelan Opposition Fears a Repeat of Leopoldo López Case Leaked Government Study Reveals Extent of Shortage Crisis in Venezuela. Report Exposes “Economic War” as Fraud, Says Center for Documentation Director

Venezuelan defector reveals secret meetings between Maduro and Hezbollah

The papal visit Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 21st, 2015

The question right now is, after getting the finger, how will Francis react to the deliberate insult to Pope Francis and to Catholics in the US?

Cristina in Havana:

U.S. Targets Tax Evaders Using Belize Accounts. Judge approves ‘John Doe’ summonses on U.S. banks

Top Bolivian officials allegedly involved in drug trafficking, according to DEA claim. Secret United States indictments obtained by the media have implicated top Bolivian officials in drug trafficking, reigniting the highly charged debate over whether Bolivia is a victim of US political persecution or whether it is becoming a corrupt narco-state.

Brazil’s sagging economy:Recession’s sharp bite. The shrinking of a once-vibrant economy is shocking ordinary folk as well as number-crunchers

Chile Sees Extensive Damage After Earthquake and Tsunami. My contacts are in areas not deeply affected.

Venezuelan Soldiers Reported Crossing Border into Colombia

Black in Bogota. Reaction to police search starts huge debate online


Castro praises Pope’s anti-capitalism stance

Follow Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba here

Cubans Increasingly Detour through Central America to Reach US Soil. Panama Sees Nearly 300 Percent Increase in Illegal Cuban Migrants in 5 Years

Correa Come Lately Not Fooling Anyone.Ecuadorians Need More than a New Coat of Paint

Danny Glover to visit Jamaica for reparation forum

Andres Oppenheimer: Latin America’s new era of disenchantment; nothing new.

Ranking America’s Love for Five Central American Countries

Hillary is ready to fight the war on drugs… in Mexico

Leaked Permit Refutes Egypt’s Account of Mexican Tourist Massacre. Tour Company Offers Proof Convoy Did Not Travel “Out of Bounds”

10 dead in land conflicts among Nicaragua settlers, Indians

New Panama Video App Shares Location-based Videos Anonymously

Syrians Play Political Prop for Pepe Mujica. Refugee Grandstanding Show’s Ex-President’s True Colors

Paraguayan Journalist among Prizewinners for Defending Press Freedom

Vigilante Lynchings Go Viral in Peru. Social Media Catalyzes Pent-Up Hunger for Justice

Peruvian serial killer’s brother arrested for murder in Japan. Brother of a serial killer known as the “apostle of death” has been arrested in connection to six murders in Japan

Peruvian Ombud’s Office Calls for Negotiated Solution to Oil Protests

Puerto Rico Utility Fails to Extend Contract With Insurers

The Electric Power Authority’s failure to extend the forbearance agreement with the insurers marks a setback for the utility, which earlier this month struck a tentative deal with some of its bondholders to reduce its debt load. Insurers that guarantee $2.5 billion of the utility’s debt balked at extending the talks. The forbearance keeps negotiations outside of court.

The Venezuelan Judge Who Caved to Chavista Pressure: Susana Barreiros’s Ruling Follows Chumming with Diosdado Cabello

The pre-papal visit Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Starting on September 19th, Pope Francis will be traveling to Cuba and the U.S.. The Communist regime’s propaganda machine announced it will be releasing 3,522 prison inmates, none of which is a dissident;

The latest 3,522 prisoners to be freed will include minors, people over the age of 60, prisoners in poor health and foreigners who will be repatriated, according to the Granma newspaper. It said there will be no releases of those convicted of “crimes against state security”.

Over in Philly, pop-up-popes are springing up all over town:

Argentine Court Blocks Proclamation of Winner in Provincial Vote

An Argentine court on Tuesday ordered the electoral board of the northern province of Tucuman not to declare any winner in the Aug. 23 gubernatorial election until a move to have the ballot overturned is resolved.

Jorge Lanata’s investigation showed votes bought with drugs (video in Spanish):

Alberto Nisman could not have killed himself, ballistics tests show. The prosecutor investigating Argentina’s worst-ever terrorist attack was shot dead by someone else

Conferencia: “Escenario económico y político de la Argentina preelectoral”

Llegamos a Estados Unidos!

Significant Amendments Made To Bermuda’s Partnership Legislation


Brazilian Police Seek to Question Former President in Petrobras Probe. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his ruling Workers’ Party ‘could have benefited,’ authorities say. An understatement if there ever was one.

Brazil to Auction Hydroelectric Plants. Brazil plans to auction off 29 power plants to private operators Oct. 30, a government official said, a move that is expected to bring the cash-strapped government about $4.4 billion.

Down to BB+: S&P Cuts Brazil’s Debt Rating to Junk. Brazil lost its coveted investment-grade credit rating in the eyes of one major firm on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the government’s credibility with investors and threatening to aggravate its economic downturn.

Chilean Police Arrest 2 in Robbery of Bachelet’s Security Team

Bulletproof Vest Saves Colombian Mayoral Candidate

Cloud of Secrecy Obscures Colombia’s Human-Trafficking Blight. Reported Cases the Tip of the Iceberg, Say Anti-Trafficking Specialists

Normalization update: Tens of thousands of Cubans streaming into U.S. through southwestern border

Free Education in Cuba? Sort of / Ivan Garcia

Castro’s Empty Barabbas Politics For The Pope

Ecuador Moves to Shut Down Press Freedom Group

Rafael Correa’s Fairyland of Misinformation. Lies, Distortions Are All Ecuador’s Delusional President Has Left

El Salvador baby-swap couple reunited with child

Guatemala Outsources a Corruption Crackdown.A U.N.-sponsored agency has put Guatemala’s president and much of its political elite behind bars, in one of the most sweeping anticorruption campaigns ever

The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or Cicig, has broad powers to launch its own criminal investigations. It then works alongside Guatemala’s own attorney general’s office to prosecute cases in local courts. Its staff hails from 20 countries, from Italians who have tussled with the Mafia to Colombian anti-money-laundering experts.

Guyana to press UN strongly for judicial end to Venezuela controversy – Granger

Two Out of Three Hispanics Oppose Immigration Increase

Only 34 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics, and 33 percent of foreign-born Hispanics, want to increase legal immigration, said the Gallup report.

Sixty-four percent of each group of Hispanics want migration to be reduced or leveled, said Gallup, which released the report under a misleading headline, “U.S. Support for Increased Immigration Up to 25%.”

Jamaica contributes US$100,000 to flood-hit Dominica

‘El Chapo’ Guzman escape: Mexican prison officials charged. Four Mexican officials have been charged with aiding the escape of the notorious drugs lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from a maximum security prison.

Uh oh! New Panama Canal lock leaking

Paraguay Guerrilla Splinter Group Brought Back Into Fold?

New evidence has emerged suggesting ACA guerrilla rebels in Paraguay have reunited with their cousins in the EPP, likely marking the end of a tiny guerrilla organization that has suffered several casualties and arrests of top leaders since breaking away last year.

Over 5,000 Chinese citizens applied for Peru visas

S&P Lowers Puerto Rico’s Credit Rating to Its Second-to-Last Rung

Puerto Rico Debt Crisis: A Bond Guide as Potential Defaults Loom, or, a brief guide to Russian roulette, money-wise?

Puerto Rico’s debt. No way out

Uruguay will help Syrian refugees reach another country

[President Tabare] Vazquez said Uruguay has reached out to Lebanon because that’s where the refugees would like to go. Since Lebanon is not willing to welcome them, his government is asking the five Syrian families to choose another country.

Last February’s report on domestic abuse within one of the families (note that the 5 families are comprised of 80 people):

Venezuela Takes Out Full-Page NYT Ad to Defend Violent Deportation Spree

Court Rules TV Network Shut Down by Chávez Must Be Reinstated. RCTV President Celebrates Venezuelans’ “Right to Be Informed”. Good luck with that:

On Monday, September 7, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) issued a ruling ordering the Venezuela government to restore the network’s broadcasting license and return all seized assets.

Miserable Decision Against Leopoldo Lopez No Surprise

VenEconomy: Justice of Horror Enforced All the Way in Venezuela

The week’s posts and podcast:
9/11/2001: It is altogether fitting and proper

Venezuela: Lopez sentenced to 13+ years UPDATED

September 11: In memory of Joe Angelini, Jr.

Argentina: #Nisman could not have shot himself

Colombia: Is the U.S. pressuring Uribe to accept FARC terms?

Mexico: A fifth bus on the Iguala students case

Panama: New leaks


Guatemala: Comedian wins first round

Uruguay: Syrians don’t like it

The Labor Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 7th, 2015

First the Chong Chong Gang, then the Mu Du Bong, now the Haddad 1: Weapons smuggling to and from rogue states.

Menem said no: Argentina Former Prez Refuses to Testify in AMIA Bombing Cover Up

Menem refused to testify on grounds that he was under obligation to maintain ‘state secrets’ which only the Senate could lift.

Argentine Jewish leader: What happened to Alberto Nisman?

Lengthy but must-read: Inside the Spyware Campaign Against Argentine Troublemakers, including Lanata and Nisman.

Argentina orders HSBC to replace local bossArgentina’s central bank has ordered HSBC to replace its chief executive in the country within 24 hours and accused the bank of failing to prevent tax evasion and money laundering.

Raid in Sao Paulo discovers ISIS money-laundering network: Polícia Federal descobre rede de apoiadores do Estado Islâmico em São Paulo. O achado assusta. Ainda mais porque terrorismo, no Brasil, não é crime

Desperate times, desperate movesBeset by dismal economic data, Dilma Rousseff tosses Congress a challenge

On August 31st Dilma Rousseff, their president, sent Congress a budget for 2016 with a gaping primary deficit (before interest payments) of 30.5 billion reais ($8 billion), or 0.5% of GDP, challenging its members to close the gap. It was a break with the sound-money practices that have underpinned Brazil’s economy. It was, some critics say, illegal. Certainly nothing similar has happened since at least 2000, when Fernando Henrique Cardoso, then the president, transformed public finances.

On a charitable view, Ms Rousseff was shocking legislators into making hard decisions rather than simply blocking her fiscal proposals. A harsher reading is that she does not know how to lead Brazil out of recession.

Rio attempts to tackle widespread homelessness ahead of OlympicsAn estimated 5,600 people live on the streets of Rio, of which more than 340 are children

Chile on Path to “Modest” Recovery, Central Bank Says


Russian Spy Ship Targets U.S. Nuclear Submarines, Then Heads to Cuba

Hope in change: August was worst month for political repression in Cuba since June 2014

Ecuadorian Watchdog Warns Journos, Activists of Spyware Attacks. Emails Circulate the Same Infected Files That Targeted Nisman in Argentina

Canada’s Top Court Rules in Favor of Ecuador Villagers in Chevron Case. The case will go back to an Ontario court, where the two sides will argue over a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron


What’s Happening in Guatemala?With its government about to fall, Guatemala is finally questioning the neoliberal orthodoxy of the post–Cold War world. Not that they actually tried it.


Leaks Sink Deadline for Panama Canal Expansion
All Hands on Deck after Structural Flaws Circulate on Social Media

In Paraguay’s remote north guerrillas are still at large, armed and dangerous. The Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) have killed more than 50 people in the last two years but some wonder if the government is really trying to defeat them

Newly buzzing Lima vies with Peru’s ancient sites for visitor attention. Tourists who once made a beeline for Machu Picchu are now finding the contemporary art and food scene of Peru’s capital, Lima, as much of a draw

Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton lock horns over Puerto Rico’s financesPresidential candidates offer opposing solutions to commonwealth’s $72bn debt, with Democrat backing bankruptcy status. Rubio:

“I don’t believe Chapter 9 would solve Puerto Rico’s problems,” he said. “I believe what would solve Puerto Rico’s problems is the same thing that would solve Washington’s problems, and that is to restructure the way government spends its money.

“No organisation, whether it’s a government, a company or a family, can survive long-term spending more money than it takes in.”

Aides: Clinton raised up to $500,000 during Puerto Rico trip

You can’t cure stupid: Puerto Rico Senate Declares Spanish over English as First Official Language

Maduro castiga a Colombia para proteger al Cartel de los Soles [Maduro punishes Colombia to protect the Cartel of the Suns.]

Cartel de los Soles busca jefatura del Ministerio de Defensa en Venezuela. Cáncer de Vladimir Padrino López genera dudas sobre si continuará como Ministro de Defensa. Diosdado Cabello y Tarek El Aissami compiten por colocar sus fichas en el cargo. Los dos potenciales candidatos están siendo investigados en EEUU por narcotráfico

Read more here:

Why is China Bankrolling Venezuela?

Whatever Beijing’s motivations, the practical effect of said loans, according to Ellis [Evan Ellis of the U.S. Army War College], has “enabled countries such as Venezuela to continue as de facto sanctuaries for criminal and insurgent groups, and also, as points of entry into the region for Russia, Iran and other actors with potentially hostile intentions toward the United States.”

Woman, 80, trampled to death in Venezuelan supermarket stampede. Rush for subsidized goods sees 75 people injured as thousands besiege supermarket

The week’s posts and podcast:
The mysterious Bolivian ship and its tons of weapons UPDATED

Guatemala: President resigns, is charged and jailed

Labor Day weekend film review: Wild about Wild Tales

Brazil: U.S. fast food chains expanding

Venezuela: Well on the road from “malgoverned space” to failed state

Haiti: Hillary’s “campaign against the negative stories concerning our involvement in Haiti”

Breaking: Obama Clinches Vote to Secure Iran Nuclear Deal

Pedro Pan exhibit and panel coming up

Wikileaks is a Front for Russian Intelligence

Guatemala: Central America’s Next Flashpoint

Chile: Bachelet’s proposal for failure

En español: Mensaje a Jorge Ramos (with English excerpts)

Wikileaks is a Front for Russian Intelligence

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

says this report at The XX Committee:

It’s long been known that Wikileaks, by their own admission, counseled Ed Snowden in June 2013 to leave Hong Kong and head to Moscow. Contrary to the countless lies propagated by Snowden Operation activists, Snowden’s arrival in Russia was his choice; it had nothing to do with  canceled passports in Washington, DC.

An important gap has been filled this week by Julian Assange, who admittedthat Snowden going to Moscow was his idea. Ed wanted to head to Latin America, Julian asserted, especially Ecuador, whose London embassy Assange has been hiding out in for years on the lam from rape changes in Sweden. As Assange explained, “He preferred Latin America, but my advice was that he should take asylum in Russia despite the negative PR consequences, because my assessment is that he had a significant risk he could be kidnapped from Latin America on CIA orders. Kidnapped or possibly killed.”

Only in Russia would Ed be safe, Julian counseled, because there he would be protected by Vladimir Putin and his secret services, notably the FSB. One might think that seeking the shelter of the FSB — one of the world’s nastiest secret police forces that spies on millions without warrant and murders opponents freely — might be an odd choice for a “privacy organization.” But Wikileaks is no ordinary NGO.

Why Assange knew Russia would take in Snowden — it could be a big political hassle for Moscow — is a key question that any counterintelligence officer would want answered. Was Julian speaking on behalf of the FSB or did he just “know” Ed could obtain the sanctuary plus protection he sought?

Just as telling is the recent report on Assange’s activities in Ecuador’s London embassy, where it turns out Ecuadorian intelligence has been keeping tabs on him.

Assange wanted Russian agents as bodyguards.

Read the whole thing.

While you’re at it, you may be interested in Edward Lucas’s The Snowden Operation: Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster (Kindle Single), ($0.99)

“The Snowden Operation” highlights the inconsistencies and puzzles in the account of events given by the “Snowdenistas”. It explains how Russia could have sponsored Snowden’s data heist — the greatest disaster ever to hit Western intelligence, and one whose effects have neatly suited Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Lucas published The Snowden Operation in January 2014.

wsv-783361Play me the world’s smallest violin: WikiLeaks’ Assange stays indoors, fears CIA drone attack

The cone of uncertainty Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Ariel Velázquez: Young Activist’s Murder Becomes Political Football in ArgentinaAs Elections Near, Rival Parties Rush to Claim Slain 20-Year-Old as Their Own

Insight – Manufacturers in Argentina starved of dollars ahead of election, hurting output

Oil Exploration Campaign Kicks Off in Bolivia’s Amazon Region

Río de Janeiro bars poor black youths from its most famous beachesPolice arrest slum youngsters en route to Ipanema and Copacabana in bid to fight theft

Brazil’s Recession Marks The Beginning Of A Long, Painful Contraction: Argentina, Venezuela, Rest Of Latin America Could Be Affected

Head of Brazilian State Bank Rebuts Accusations against Lula

Clashes erupt as truck drivers protest arson attacks

The more you give them, the more they want: FARC Slams Santos-Backed Plans for Implementing Possible Colombia Peace Deal

Colombia will face 10 years of economic slowdown, analysts predict

Human rights activists fear arrest ahead of Pope’s visit to Cuba

When Was This Cuba Story Written?, Pt. 2

Tropical storm Erika heads for Florida after killing 20 on island of Dominica

Sweden and Ecuador to begin Julian Assange talks next weekEcuador seeking formal agreement on judicial cooperation before Swedish prosecutors can interrogate WikiLeaks founder

Britain orders £46m air defence radar to protect Falklands from ArgentinaThe new vehicle-mounted radar will be able to spot threats up to 75 miles away and the first systems will be delivered before the end of the year

Guatemalans Rally Against PresidentTens of thousands of Guatemalans took to the streets Thursday to demand that President Otto Perez resign, amid the country’s biggest political crisis since the end of the civil war nearly two decades ago.

Mexican Film Defrocks the Political Pimping of a Massacre
Young Idealists Serve as Cannon Fodder in Petty Power Struggles


Panama Canal suspends planned draft restriction due to recent rains

11-year-old Paraguay rape victim has baby, stokes abortion debate

The Fascinating Afterlife of Peru’s MummiesFrom atop bejeweled thrones and sacred mountaintops, the Inca dead continued to wield incredible power over the living

Puerto Rico bond deadlines loom: What you need to know

Ten things you never knew about… UruguayToday is Independence Day in Uruguay, celebrating the country’s independence from the Brazilian Empire on August 25, 1825.

Woman, 80, trampled to death in Venezuelan supermarket stampedeRush for subsidized goods sees 75 people injured as thousands besiege supermarket

Scapegoating: Crime in VenezuelaJustice decayedThe government wrongly blames Colombia for its high murder rate

The government has paved the way by allowing the institutions of law enforcement to decay. The police force is underfunded and mistrusted. Venezuela has many fewer prosecutors and judges than it should. Chile, a country with much lower levels of violent crime, has a third more prosecutors than Venezuela in relation to the size of its population. Courts are reluctant to sentence criminals to serve time in crowded and violent jails: 90% of murders go unpunished. Gun control is weak.

And it all came to that

The week’s posts:
Brazil and other fallen BRICs

Why the knives are out on Menendez

Cuba: Getting Gitmo closed

What about the Trump/Ramos thing?

Argentina: The #tucumanazo, stories of a fraud foretold?

Heading to the World Meeting of Families in a VW bus . . . all the way from Buenos Aires

Crisis at the Venezuela-Colombia border

Bolivia: What’s with the proposed nuclear plant?

Brazil: Cunha charged with corruption and money laundering

En español: Los spots de campaña de Sergio Massa

Bolivia: The catch in the numbers

Puerto Rico: Don’t expect payment anytime soon

The $40/barrell oil Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Oil breaks $40 barrier for first time in six years, which is very important news for our hemisphere.

Menem vows to reveal evidence that could shed light on AMIA attack

The defence of Menem today requested the Federal Oral Court No. 2 (TOF 2), that is leading the investigation into the cover-up of the 1994 deadly attack, to have the Senate withdraw Menem’s state secrets privilege warning the release of the information “could affect” the interests of the Nation and “the breaking of peaceful coexistence” with other countries.

Argentineans Launch Petition against “Donald Trump” Wall with Paraguay
Locals Dry [sic] Infrastructure as Wasteful, Bad for Relations

Bolivian Police Drag Indigenous Protesters Out of Their Homes
Guaraní Pledge to Resist Evo’s Oil Exploration on Their Lands

Translation: Merkel reminds Rousseff that Germans want to get paid. Merkel calls for a free trade accord between the Europe Union and Mercosur. During the “surprise” visit,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Brazil’s government on Thursday to further open its markets to foreign companies, and said she saw an opportunity to reach a free-trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur trade bloc. Merkel is on a two-day visit to Brazil with a large delegation of government officials and representatives from German companies.

Study: Chile likely to draw from stabilization fund due to copper price drop

Colombia slashes gold holdings by two-thirds amid July rout

The reason for and timing of the move are not known, but it came as institutional and speculative investors pulled more cash en masse from commodities, ending a decade-long boom, as the stock market crash in China reignited concerns about demand from the world’s biggest consumer of industrial raw materials.

Obama Plays the Clinton Vietnam Card to Normalize Relations With Cuba, but Turns it On Its Head

Before restoring full diplomatic relations with Vietnam, President Clinton eased a majority of the economic sanctions. A mistake. However, by the time he did this, the Soviets were mostly gone from Vietnam; Vietnamese forces had pulled out from Cambodia and replaced with a UN peacekeeping force; and thousands of former South Vietnamese officials had been freed from political prisons and exiled to other nations including the United States.

What ultimately made it politically palatable for Clinton to remove sanctions was a 1993 Senate Select Committee report on POW matters that afforded Clinton the domestic political cover he needed to move forward to ease sanctions. Vietnam also started to return POW remains and allowed U.S. inspectors as part of the Joint Task Force for Full Accounting (JTF-FA) to visit various places throughout the country to investigate POW/MIA claims.

Ecuador Protests: Correa’s Oil Crisis, Policies Could Spell End Of Latin America Success Story

Ecuador’s Cotopaxi volcano roars back to life, locals speak of lava flow fears and damage to tourism

Prosecution requests impeachment of Guatemala president Otto Perez

IMF Considering Adjusting Some Measures Under Deal With Jamaica

International Monetary Fund (IMF’s) Mission Chief to Jamaica, Dr Uma Ramakrishnan says the fund is considering relaxing some of the targets under Jamaica’s economic support programme

Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, Mexican who led search for mass graves found shot to death
Activist’s group had unearthed 129 bodies in Guerrero, where students went missing last year.

He worked for the politically active group called the Union of Towns and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (known as UPOEG)

Previously Deported Illegals Caught Smuggling Thousands of People Across Border

3-Time Deported Top Mexican Drug Trafficker Caught Illegally Re-Entering Texas

Investigation Lifts a Cloud Over President of Mexico
A seven-month conflict-of-interest investigation into the purchase of luxury homes by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s wife and his finance minister from a government contractor found no wrongdoing, Mexico’s comptroller said Friday.

Why am I not surprised? China’s Building a Huge Canal in Nicaragua, But We Couldn’t Find It

Turkey’s new direct connection to Panama may facilitate terrorist financing for Hamas

Turkey and Panama have no international trade to speak of, raising questions as to why, of the 28 countries not served by the airline, is Turkish Airlines expanding to Panama.

Likewise, New nonstop flight from Dubai to Panama a terrorist financiers’ dream? (h/t JC)

Financiers for Hezbollah and a number of other sanctioned Middle East terrorist groups must be jumping up and down for joy, for their jobs will become much easier. The amount of international trade between Panama and the Middle East is nominal, but the nonstop flights will greatly facilitate both illicit (i.e. money laundering) transactions, and terrorist financing operations.

Expect more of that if Obama’s Iran deal goes through.

Rogelio Livieres Plano, ousted bishop in Paraguay, dies at 69

The migrant nation
Urbanisation in Peru has brought citizenship but also a host of problems

Peruvian newspaper cancels cardinal column after papal ‘plagiarism’
Peruvian newspaper says it will not publish any more articles by Roman Catholic cardinal Luis Cipriani after papal plagiarism revelations

Now Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani has been unceremoniously dumped from his occasional column at El Comercio, Peru’s oldest privately-owned newspaper, after his writings were proved to include plagiarised words of popes.

Governor Luis Fortuño On The Lessons The US Must Learn From Puerto Rico

The former Governor of Puerto Rico explains that “bottom line, you can never tax yourself out of a hole.”

Hurricane Danny Has Begun Its Weakening; Drought Relief For Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico?

Good luck with that: Venezuelans Launch Mises Institute to Take Down ChavismoLibertarians Offer Ideological Cure to Economic Crisis

The week’s posts and podcast:
Nicaragua: Where’s the canal?

Argentina: Wheelchair tango

The Falklands: Pope Francis, what fresh hell can this be? UPDATED

Venezuela: Circling the drain

Somebody tell Al Sharpton Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens

Venezuela: Cuban doctors stuck in limbo, as the country collapses

Cuba: Air-travel, credit cards next . . . by executive action?

Menendez on Iran: Failure Theater, or not?

Cuba: “Who fears the billboard?”

“Culture is how we pass the time between hypocrisies.”

Brazil: Will Dilma get it?

Mexico: @Leon_Krauze looks at the big White House

Podcast: Cuba, marches in Brazil & other US-Latin America stories of the week

The foreign policy house of lies

Ecuador: More protests

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Including against his insistence in running indefinitely,

Ecuador Native Groups, Opponents Strike Against President CorreaThousands march to Quito, block roadways throughout the nationOpponents of President Rafael Correa’s policies, many of them from indigenous groups, protested against government policies on Thursday, including one that would permit the populist leader to run for office indefinitely.
. . .
Thousands of members of the powerful native group, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, or Conaie, have marched to Quito to back a grab bag of demands, including a rollback in the government’s proposed changes to the constitution, a halt to mining concessions, and an end to negotiations for a free trade with the European Union. The native groups joined other opponents to protest government policies in Thursday’s national strike.

Indigenous groups have organized protests in the past, including this one in 2011,

S&P lowered its sovereign credit ratings on Ecuador to B from B+ on Wednesday.

No matter what, Correa, like his Venezuelan counterpart Maduro, is not going to cede power willingly.

Ecuador: Assange to leave London embassy

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Allegations of violent sexual assault against Julian Assange are about to expire under Sweden’s statute of limitations, so he’s already packed his bags,
Julian Assange confirms he is to leave Ecuadorian embassy ‘soon’Speaking after two years’ confinement, the WikiLeaks founder was typically enigmatic, but ‘his bags are packed’

And would he address the reports that he was planning to surrender imminently to police? Assange pointed to Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks’ spokesperson, who was standing at the rear. “I understand [Hrafnsson] has said that he can confirm that I am leaving the embassy soon” – a broad smile – “but perhaps not for the reasons that the Murdoch press and Sky news are saying at the moment.”

Security cost $12million for his 3 year stay.


Mr Assange, who denies the sex claims, fears that he will be extradited on to the US to face charges relating to the huge leaks of sensitive data.

However, according to The Telegraph,

Sweden’s extradition agreement with the United States was signed in October 1961 and updated in March 1983. It prohibits extradition on the basis of “a political offence” or “an offence connected with a political offence”.

But his supporters fear that he could be “snatched” by the CIA and spirited away to the US, regardless of the extradition treaty.

There are no charges against him in the US, although he fears he could be put on trial for espionage.

Yet The Washington Post reported in 2013 that the Justice Department hadconcluded there was no way it could prosecute him.

So, play me the world’s smallest violin.

$5 says he won’t be heading to Ecuador.