Archive for the ‘Ecuador’ Category

Ecuador whines at the UN Human Rights Council

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Ecuador Times reports that

Today in the Twenty-sixth Session of the Human Rights Council, the Chevron case and its impact on the Ecuadorian Amazon will be submitted. The meeting will be held in Geneva and will finish on June 27.

I doubt that Ecuador will start its presentation with Judge Kaplan’s 500-page decision against Donziger (via Business Roundtable), where Kaplan found not only Donziger but the entire Lago Agrio plaintiff team guilty of fraud,

[Donziger] and the Ecuadorian lawyers he led corrupted the Lago Agrio case. They submitted fraudulent evidence. They coerced one judge, first to use a court-appointed, supposedly impartial, “global expert” to make an overall damages assessment and, then, to appoint to that important role a man whom Donziger hand-picked and paid to “totally play ball” with the [Lago Agrio plaintiffs]. They then paid a Colorado consulting firm secretly to write all or most of the global expert’s report, falsely presented the report as the work of the court-appointed and supposedly impartial expert, and told half-truths or worse to U.S. courts in attempts to prevent exposure of that and other wrongdoing. Ultimately, the [Lago Agrio plaintiff] team wrote the Lago Agrio court’s Judgment themselves and promised $500,000 to the Ecuadorian judge to rule in their favor and sign their judgment. If ever there were a case warranting equitable relief with respect to a judgment procured by fraud, this is it.

However, I fully expect that “ethically diverse demonstrators” may find employment during the HRC junket, as long as there’s any media willing to watch them.


The really, really big field trip Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

LatinAmerAll of Latin America is absorbed in the World Cup; all, that is, except for the tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children arriving in the United States. This invasion, which until recently the White House ignored – as if it was a really, really big field trip – but now blames on the drug cartels, will not end because the federal government has no intention of stopping this influx, other that throw $250million at it – while doing nothing to secure the border.

ARGENTINA
Argentina’s bonds
A good week for some investors
Vulture funds win a legal victory over Argentina’s government
; The Economist ought to do a little less editorializing on its headlines.

Uh-oh: China backs Argentina’s position on Falkland Islands
Chinese support calls at two-day G77 summit for the governments of Argentina and the UK to resume negotiations on ‘the Malvinas Islands question’

BOLIVIA
Industrialization is Bolivia’s Biggest Challenge, Economy Chief Says

BRAZIL
World Cup 2014: Protests and anger, in pictures

Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff endorsed to run for re-election
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been officially endorsed by the governing Workers Party to run for re-election in October.

CENTRAL AMERICA
Joe Biden Discusses Immigration Reform With Central American Leaders

CHILE
Ending a six-year winning streak, Spain upset after World Cup ouster

COLOMBIA
Support From the Left Helps Keep a Right-Wing President in Power in Colombia

Andres Oppenheimer: Colombian leader starts new term with a great idea

COSTA RICA
5 Things to know about Costa Rica

CUBA
Now under house arrest, Antunez says he wasn’t beaten in jail but Cuban guards did torture his wife

Internet Foils Disinformation Operation Regarding Funeral For Mother of Alan Gross

Cuba Crackdown
Human rights advocates see increased threats against press in Cuba

Castro limos reborn as Havana taxis
Some of Fidel Castro’s old Soviet-built limousines have been decommissioned and are being used as Havana taxis for foreign tourists.

Cuba ends censorship — NOT
For a brief and shinning moment, it seemed that Cuba had unblocked access to several websites censored for years because of their criticisms of the government, including the U.S. government’s Radio/TV Marti.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
New US-Caribbean energy initiative

ECUADOR
ECUADOR SEEKS TO CONTROL OPPOSITION MEDIA BY DESIGNATING PRESS A ‘PUBLIC SERVICE’

Ecuador to Take Legal Action Against Using Indian Blood for Research

GUATEMALA
In Guatemala, US VP Biden Promises Hundreds of Millions of Dollars to Stem Child Immigrants Flooding US Border

GUATEMALAN PRES TO US: PASS AMNESTY BILL WITH MORE GUEST-WORKER VISAS

HAITI
U.N. Chief Served Papers in Suit by Haitian Victims, Lawyers Say

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman denied that the official had been served.

HONDURAS
Honduras’ First Lady Says She Will Collect Her Country’s Child Immigrants

JAMAICA
With murder common, Jamaica morgue plans stall

MEXICO
Lawmakers visit Marine held in Mexico, say sergeant ‘needs to come’

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., visited Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi at the El Hongo II prison in Tecate, Mexico.

As far as I could find, VP Joe Biden didn’t mention Sgt. Tahmooressi when visiting with Peña Nieto.

Mexico’s Breakout Moment?

THOUSANDS OF IMMIGRANTS STUCK IN MEXICO STASH HOUSES JUST OUTSIDE US

PANAMA
Panama police say remains may be missing Dutch women

PUERTO RICO
Exclusive: UBS faces criminal probe for Puerto Rico bond fund sales – lawyers

Puerto Rico: Is this any way to run an island?

SOUTH AMERICA
Unesco grants Inca Qhapaq Nan road system World Heritage status
A road system built by the Inca Empire has been granted World Heritage status by the United Nations cultural agency, Unesco.

The Qhapaq Nan roads go through six South American countries

It covers some 30,000 km (18,600 miles), from modern-day Colombia in the north to Argentina and Chile in the south, via Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.

URUGUAY
From The White House: On Mujica and Castro

VENEZUELA
It’s already out of toilet paper and flour, but now Venezuela Is Running Out of Cookies and Coffins
Thanks to an economic crisis, the list of things you actually can buy in Venezuela seems to be getting shorter every day

As World Oil Prices Rocket on Iraq Strife, Venezuela Oil Price Jumps above $100

The week’s posts and podcast:
WH blames cartels for immigration surge

Argentina: Cristina can’t pay up . . .

Cubazuela: Free healthcare for all

Central American media actively promoting illegal immigration into US

Mexican meth kingpin busted at World Cup

Today’s Google doodle: Boca

The plan

Colombia: The view from Venezuela

Argentina: SCOTUS rules for the creditors

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
The new twist in illegal immigration: Children as human shields for the cartels

5 lessons Hillary could learn from Isabel


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

Ecuador: The bond and pony show

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

The Economist looks at this week’s roadshow to peddle new Ecuadorian sovereign bonds in London, Boston, Los Angeles and New York, and opens with the old saying, Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Ecuador and the capital markets
Fool me once

Caveats remain. The state of the public finances warrants scrutiny. The non-financial public-sector deficit is widening. In April Mr Correa said Ecuador needed to obtain $9.5 billion, or close to 10% of GDP, in credit this year, compared with the $7.6 billion approved by Congress only a few months earlier. A recent $400m loan from Goldman Sachs that was secured by more than half of Ecuador’s gold reserves raised eyebrows. Such issues will doubtless crop up during the roadshow.

The Economist thinks invesors will “swallow their objections”; maybe, maybe not (emphasis added),

Not all investors are rushing to take part in an Ecuador deal.”Ecuador’s past record of defaults makes us very wary, and I don’t think taking part in the deal would be high on our radar,” said Colm McDonagh, head of emerging-market fixed-income at money manager Insight Investment in London, which manages £295 billion ($496 billion) of assets.

“There is a price for different types of risk, and there will always be demand for a deal such as this. But as far as we are concerned, Ecuador’s track record of honoring its debt obligations makes it hard for us to determine the appropriate yield level where we would be comfortable holding those bonds,” he said.

In plain english, that means, you can’t pay me enough to buy the stuff.

Here’s why:

  • The country defaulted on its debt in 1999
  • Ecuador defaulted again in 2008
  • In 2009, it bought back about 93% of the $3.2 billion in defaulted debt at 35 cents on the dollar

    That left an estimated $95.37 million of defaulted bonds that would have matured in 2012, with $194.4 million falling due in 2030.

  • And then there’s another$650 million of bonds due in 2015. Is the new debt issue going towards servicing those?

The other day I had 2 words of advice: Stay Away. I stand by those words.

In other news, Ecuador’ buying three more Airbus C295 military transport planes.

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


Ecuador: Something’s rotten in the gold swap

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Following up on the Ecuadorian gold story, it turns out it’s not quite a sale, it’s a swap:

On Tuesday, Ecuador announced that it had swapped 1,165 bars of gold with Goldman. The gold is worth nearly $600 million, based on current prices. Goldman GS 1.76% , in return, is giving the Ecuadorians “instruments of high security and liquidity,” which is likely cash or something close to it.

And Ecuador gets to keep its gold. As part of the deal, three years from now, the two will reverse the swap. Ecuador gets its gold back. And Goldman gets the going price for 1,165 yellow bars in 2017.

Stephen Gandel looks at the deal

. . . there are a few ways Ecuador could end up making $20 million on the deal. Ecuador could be betting that the price of gold will fall 20% over the next three years. Another way would be for Ecuador to take the cash it gets from the swap and invest it elsewhere in something that will make 20% over the next three years, not an easy task given that the average bond is yielding just 1.8%.

Or Ecuador could have done another swap, this time with the dollars it received from Goldman for Ecuadorian bonds. It would, of course, have to pay Goldman another fee for that. But that swap would pay the spread between U.S. three-year interest rates at about 0.85%, and Ecuadorian interest rates, which are around 7% or 8%, or a little over 20% during the three years.

So, then, why isn’t everyone doing Ecuadorian swaps? I mean, it’s guaranteed money. For one, the fee that Goldman or anyone else charges to do these deals must be pretty high. Also, if Ecuador defaults, you lose all your money, and you still have to repay the swap.

And Ecuador has recently defaulted, sort of. Five years ago, Ecuador tricked its lenders into thinking it was going to default on its debt. It told banks and investors that it didn’t think it would be able to repay about $3 billion in bonds. Those bonds, as you would expect, plunged in value to about $0.30 for every dollar Ecuador had borrowed.

Once the bonds plunged in value, Ecuador started buying them, eventually snapping up 90% of the much cheaper bonds. The move wiped out the debt and saved the country nearly $2 billion, which was also how much the banks and investors lost on those bonds.

Two words of advice: STAY AWAY.

Ecuador: Selling gold

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Having defaulted “by choice” in the past, Correa continues to pave the way for issuing debt in the future:
Ecuador Sends Gold Bricks to Goldman Sachs in Liquidity Hunt

Ecuador agreed to transfer more than half its gold reserves to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for three years to give the government easier access to cash.

Money quote (emphasis added):

The deal comes as the South American country’s government, which defaulted on about $3.2 billion of bonds five years ago, seeks to cover a budget deficit forecast by the Finance Ministry to swell to a record $4.94 billion this year. President Rafael Correa said in April he also planned to sell about $700 million of foreign debt this year in the country’s first international bond sale since the 2008 and 2009 default.

Correa must be counting on enough suckers being born every minute.

Sing it!

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

Ecuador’s looking for a few good extras

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Faux Activism: Recruiting Anti-Chevron Protesters for $85 a Head (emphasis added)

 Several dozen demonstrators gathered outside the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum in Midland to condemn Chevron, which held its annual meeting on Wednesday at the historic site in the west Texas oil patch. Humberto Piaguaje, one of the indigenous Ecuadorian leaders involved in a massive lawsuit against the oil company, helped lead the sign-waving, slogan-chanting cohort. To fill out the ranks of the demonstration, a Los Angeles-based production company offered local residents $85 apiece to serve as what the firm described in a recruiting e-mail as “extras/background people.”

Julieta Gilbert, executive producer of DFLA Films, said in the e-mail that the company “need to get a group of people to help us document this event. … We will pay each one of them $85. They will be there for a couple of hours (8am to 12 pm). We need ethically [sic] diverse people.”

Heck, at those rates, I know several “ethically diverse” bloggers that may be willing to help out.

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