Archive for the ‘elections’ Category

Colombia: Winning an election the old-fashioned way?

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Pres. Juan Manuel Santos won re-election yesterday, and many are displeased, but the most vocal is former president and now senator Álvaro Uribe, who accuses Santos of electoral fraud, buying votes, and allowing the FARC to intimidate voters.

In his statement yesterday, Uribe charged Santos of “the biggest corruption in history, in the name of peace”, by

  • handing out money to legislators to buy votes,
  • offering government money to mayors and governors to make them illegally participate in the Santos campaign,
  • buying votes
  • violating the law
  • using State funds to publicize the Santos campaign
  • failing to counter threats of massacre against Zuluaga voters from terrorist groups such as FARC and criminal gangs
  • failing to counter violent pressure from terrorist groups so voters would vote for Santos

Here’s his speech (in Spanish)

“Santos prevaricated by not rejecting armed terrorists’ support who forced [people] to vote for him and threatened to massacre Zuluaga’s supporters”

Many Colombians are concerned that under a peace deal many thousands of rebels will form drug-trafficking gangs.

Colombia: The #WorldCup team won; will Santos? UPDATED

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

UPDATE:

Earlier today,

Today’s Colombia’s run-off election.

2014 World Cup: Colombia beats Greece 3-0 in Group C opener.

Pres. Santos thinks it’ll get him another term:
Colombian Leader Sets Goal: Win Soccer Match, Then Win Presidency
President Juan Manuel Santos, Whose Job Is at Stake in a Sunday Election, Hopes for a Political Assist from His World Cup Team.
I don’t quite get the logic, but apparently it has to do with the thought that larger turnout would favor Santos,

Political strategists say a Colombian victor [sic] against Greece on Saturday in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, could generate a broad feel-good moment for Colombia, drive higher voter turnout the next day and tip the scales in Mr. Santos’s favor over his rival, Óscar Iván Zuluaga.

That’s assuming that

  1. The fans are not hungover, and they’ll want to go out and vote, and 
  2. The fans are not staying home or at the sports bar or sports club watching whatever other game may be on:
  3. Ricardo Rodríguez, a soccer-loving doorman from Bogotá, is one fan who plans to forgo voting Sunday. “It’s a thousand times better to see soccer than to go out to vote,” he said.

I don’t know enough of Colombian political thinking to guess whether the average Joe conflates the soccer team with “team Santos”, if at all.

We’ll find out later this evening.


Colombia: Zuluaga change of heart?

Friday, May 30th, 2014

In an apparent change of heart, Colombian presidential runner-up Oscar Iván Zuluaga declared that he would not suspend the peace negotiations with the FARC taking place in Havana.

He did, however, assert that “we shall continue our fundamental demand, the cease of all criminal action against Colombians.”

Zuluaga

did not say how long he would give the FARC to declare a ceasefire, a condition it has rejected until now, but said he softened his stance at the request of Conservative Party leader Marta Lucia Ramirez in exchange for her support in the run-off vote campaign.

Call me a cynic, but this looks to me like a statement purely for local consumption, designed to diffuse Santos’s false choice of it’s-Santos-or-war, redacted after internal polls may have shown that it would favor his election on the June 15th runoff.

Colombia: What the FARC really want

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

faustaI’m posting at Da Tech Guy Blog on the Colombian election and the FARC negotiations:
Colombia: What the FARC really want

Silvio Canto and I talked on this and other subjects in last night’s podcast.

Venezuela: Wives of jailed mayors win

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Patricia Gutierrez in San Cristobal

Rosa Brandonisio in San Diego

Wives of Jailed Venezuela Opposition Mayors Dominate Vote. The wives of Daniel Ceballos and Vicencio (Enzo) Scarano won by landslides in San Cristobal and San Diego, yet

The result is little more than a symbolic victory for Mr. Maduro’s detractors as both sides remain in a tenuous standoff after more than three months of off-and-on demonstrations that have cost at least 42 lives. Protests began by addressing rampant crime before taking on corruption as well as economic woes like high inflation and frequent shortages of basic goods.

Sunday’s vote is unlikely to change the political landscape. Mr. Maduro, the successor of late leftist firebrand Hugo Chávez, has emerged mostly unshaken with the help of soldiers to put down the unrest, while the opposition is split over its next step as the protest movement shows signs of fatigue.

Bloggers differ on this conclusion: Alberto de la Cruz sees it as Cuba’s puppet dictatorship in Venezuela takes major hit in mayoral elections.

Daniel Duquenal explains,

All the efforts of the regime to brow beat these cities, to divide opposition, to promote abstention have failed and it looks like the gains were made more at the expense of chavismo than possible abstention. there is no way around, this is a major set back for the regime, a major confirmation that the opposition is now an electoral majority. Days of reflection for all ahead. Chavismo strategy is a dead end of violence and repression. The MUD cannot possibly win if it does not find a more durable way to tie protest and elections and clear message as it was, miraculously, the case today. Yes, I wrote miraculously.

Juan Cristobal Nagel has more on Polls vs. chavismo vs. guarimbas vs. naysayers and sees it as

a heavy defeat for chavismo. It shows that the government continues losing support, unable to muster its forces even when faced with political neophytes and an opposition that is both financially and physically exhausted. If they were counting on political infighting within the opposition to keep their voters home, they were mistaken.

I hope the opposition is able in future elections to again circumvent the chavista intervention in election results.

Highly-connected chavistas continue to loot the oil money. Alek Boyd is on the trail of Derwick Associates:

The Derwick boys aren’t in the wealth-creation league of Onassis-type of entrepreneurs: they’re simply laundering proceeds from ill gotten contracts their school chums got for them thanks to chavismo’s rampant corruption and nepotism.

Alek also has an update on Raúl Gorrín

The City of Miami recently declared Raul Gorrin -Boligarch owner of TV channel Globovision- persona non grata, after reports have surfaced about his property purchases in Cocoplum. U.S. authorities would do well in checking backgrounds of property owners at Jade Ocean..

Indeed.

Colombia: Who will be the next president?

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Today’s the first round of the Colombian presidential election.

I say the first round because it’s unlikely that current-president Santos will get a large enough majority to avoid a second round.

Uribista Óscar Iván Zuluaga was making headway until the video scandal popped up:
Colombian Presidential Candidate Stumbles Over Campaign Allegations
Conservative Óscar Iván Zuluaga’s Surge in Pre-Vote Polls Hurt by Flap Over Videotapes

A 55-year-old former finance minister who has centered his campaign on sharply criticizing Mr. Santos’ peace talks with Marxist rebels, Mr. Zuluaga became entangled in the scandal after one of his campaign workers was arrested on May 6 for allegedly spying on Mr. Santos’s emails and those of guerrilla commanders participating in negotiations taking place in Havana, Cuba, with the Colombian government.

Eighteen days, two viral videos and numerous denials later, Mr. Zuluaga just can’t shake off accusations he was directly involved in what prosecutors here call a complex case of computer hacking.

Zuluaga denies involvement with the spying that the Santos campaign accused him of orchestrating.

Santos, however, had a scandal, too,

another scandal took off on May 8, when Mr. Zuluaga’s most powerful supporter, former President Álvaro Uribe, alleged $2 million that may have been tainted by drug trafficking was funneled into Mr. Santos’ 2010 presidential campaign. The Santos administration denied accepting funds from drug traffickers, and prosecutors said Mr. Uribe didn’t presented evidence.

Al-Jazeera has Five reasons to care about Colombia’s polls
Arms dealers, coffee drinkers and potential holidaymakers, take note.

5) Colombia is now the closest Western ally in South America, bucking the left’s pink tide

There’s enough dissatisfaction that Colombia Politics blog advises, If no one deserves your vote, vote “en blanco”. The Miami Herald speculates, Analysts say it’s far from clear how badly Zuluaga will be hurt by the scandal, but some have suggested it may sap enough votes to put another candidate into the second round against Santos.The Brazilian psychic predicts Zuluaga will be the next president:

As Drudge says, developing . . .


Colombia: Another campaign aide quits

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

First Rendon, now Andres Fernando Sepulveda; Rendon has not been charged, but Sepulveda is under arrest (emphasis added):
Aide to Colombia Presidential Candidate Arrested on Spy Charge
Advisor to Oscar Ivan Zuluaga Charged With Intercepting Emails of President, Chief Rebel Negotiator

An adviser to a leading candidate in Colombia’s presidential election was arrested Tuesday and charged with heading a spy ring that allegedly intercepted the emails of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Marxist rebels’ chief negotiator in peace talks with the government.

Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre read the charges at a news conference after authorities raided a Bogotá office and arrested Andres Fernando Sepulveda, who is an adviser to Oscar Ivan Zuluaga. Mr. Zuluaga, a conservative supported by former President Álvaro Uribe in his quest to win the presidency on May 25, is in second place in the latest polls behind Mr. Santos, who is seeking re-election.
. . .
The attorney general said that the spy ring’s objective appeared to have been to sabotage the peace talks, which began in November 2012 and are being held in Havana, Cuba. Mr. Montealegre said investigators had not determined who was benefiting from the information.

Panama: Martinelli strikes back

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Well, after Mary O’Grady wrote about Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelli choosing his wife to run for vice-president, Martinelli tweeted,

This WSJ journalist once interviewed me because she was a close friend of Jimmy Papadimitriu, who now advises Varela,”

The WSJ didn’t take the tweet sitting down:

He is referring to Juan Carlos Varela, who is Mr. Martinelli’s vice president and former foreign minister. Mr. Varela broke with Mr. Martinelli and is now running to succeed him as the presidential nominee of a competing party. We don’t know if Mr. Papadimitriu advises Mr. Varela, but we can say that Ms. O’Grady is not and has never been a friend of Mr. Papadimitriu. She did interview Mr. Martinelli—in 2010 when Mr. Papadimitriu was his chief of staff.

No doubt Mr. Martinelli was upset that Ms. O’Grady called out his electoral power play. Panamanians remember, and not fondly, military dictator Manuel Noriega, who was removed by U.S. troops in 1989. If Mr. Martinelli has designs on becoming one more caudillo, he ought to man-up and tell the voters rather than hide behind his wife’s illegal candidacy.

Why does this matter to the US?

Because Panama, especially following its canal expansion, remains a key trade partner to the Americas, and especially to the US. A true democracy, engaged in free trade, is best for the hemisphere.


Panama: The Mrs. next?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Of the women presidents in Latin America, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Isabel Peron of Argentina, and Mireya Moscoso of Panama became presidents because of their husbands. Now Panama may get a wife as VP, coupled with lack of transparency:
Panama’s King Moves the Queen
President Martinelli can’t run for re-election, so he’s picked his wife to be the candidate for VP.

Center-right Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli is an outspoken critic of Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro. Back home in Panama, though, Mr. Martinelli is laying the groundwork for a power grab of his own. If he prevails the region will take another step backward on the freedom trail, yet the Obama State Department remains silent.

Mr. Martinelli’s term ends on July 1 and the constitution bars him from re-election. But the wealthy supermarket magnate is not letting go so easily. He has made his wife, Marta, the vice-presidential candidate on his Democratic Change Party (CD) ticket for the May 4 presidential election. The presidential candidate is José Domingo Arias, his former housing minister.

The Panamanian Constitution anticipates the caudillo who tries “moving the queen,” as this tactic is known elsewhere in the region, to get around a prohibition on re-election. Its Article 193 states that relatives within “the second degree of marital relations of the President of the Republic” may neither be president nor vice president immediately following his term.

A constitutional challenge to Mrs. Martinelli’s candidacy has been brought to the Supreme Court. But the president seems to be betting that the five—of nine—judges who regularly vote in his favor will do so again.

The Panamanian democracy is on the ropes once more. This time Mr. Martinelli has asphyxiated it by waving money under the noses of the political class.

Sometimes it feels like I could replace the dates in old news articles, doesn’t it?

The Goodbye, Columbus Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 10th, 2014

LatinAmerWhile more important stories were in the headlines, Cristina Fernandez took the cake by attempting to remove all traces of Christopher Columbus from the royal palace executive mansion, no matter that Columbus never set foot in the Country, and the Italian-born navigator shared a native land with millions of Argentinians.

ARGENTINA
Ted Turner Hospitalized In Argentina For Undisclosed Ailment
A security guard at the Instituto Argentino de Diagnostico y Tratamiento confirmed to The Associated Press that Turner was hospitalized there.

Pope Francis: the priest of the slums
Peter Stanford, author and former editor of the Catholic Herald, retraces the trip Pope Francis used to take to the outskirts of Buenos Aires to try to understand the man who was known as ‘the priest of the slums’

BOLIVIA
Footbridge collapses at Bolivian parade killing at least four people
Three musicians among the dead as an overloaded metal footbridge collapses during the opening parade of carnival in highlands city of Oruro

BRAZIL
Dilma Rou$$eff

Fresh deal to end Rio rubbish strike
Rio de Janeiro officials and street cleaners say they have reached a deal to end a strike which has left litter piling up in the Brazilian city.

CHILE
Chicago Latino Film Festival to honor Chilean actress Paulina Garcia
The Chicago Latino Film Festival will confer its career-achievement award on Chilean theater, film and television actress Paulina Garcia, organizers said.

Incoming Chilean Finance Minister Promises to Boost Investments
Alberto Areas Says New Bachelet Administration Will Take Over Slowing Economy
: expect more government spending, more debt.

COSTA RICA
Governing Party Candidate Pulls Out of Costa Rica’s Presidential Campaign
Sinking in the polls a month before Costa Rica’s presidential election, Johnny Araya, the candidate for the country’s governing party, pulled out of the campaign on Wednesday

CUBA
At least 8 new political prisoners in Cuba in February

French Banks Investigated for Sanctions Violations

ECUADOR
TWO Capt. Louis Renault moments:
1. Presidente plantea enmienda constitucional sin que se llame a referéndum

2. Ecuadoran President Correa Blasts NY Fed Judge’s Ruling for Chevron

EL SALVADOR
Leftist party ahead in El Salvador polls
Elections in El Salvador will decide whether the incumbent leftist government will gain a mandate for another five years. The winning party must tackle gang violence and address the country’s economic problems.

LATIN AMERICA
The Economist: iPhonenomics
One phone, many countries
Costly Brazil, dysfunctional Argentina, bureaucratic Mexico. Our correspondents go shopping for the same Apple product

MEXICO
Court Setback for Mexican Drug Kingpin
A Mexican judge has denied the drug kingpin Joaquín (El Chapo) Guzmán Loera an injunction against any extradition to the United States.

Andres Oppenheimer: Mexico’s new friend: Castro’s Cuba

If Peña Nieto wanted to keep Cuba and Venezuela from firing up Mexico’s left, he could have done the same with polite diplomacy, without the need to praise as a “moral leader” a dictator who is responsible for thousands of deaths and has not allowed a free election in five decades. In an effort to distance himself from his predecessors, Peña Nieto has gone overboard.

ANALYSIS: FORMER MEXICAN CARTEL LEADER KILLED AGAIN

NICARAGUA
Busted in Nicaragua: ex-Rep. David Rivera’s pal, Ana Alliegro, in FBI custody over campaign scheme

PANAMA
Panama demands Venezuela pay $1bn debt
President Martinelli asks Caracas not to use decision to cut diplomatic ties with Panama as “excuse” to not pay debt.

PARAGUAY
’7 Boxes’ review: fast-paced thriller from Paraguay

PERU
Peru to ‘eliminate’ key environmental rule for oil and gas firms, says minister
Announcement that seismic tests won’t need Environmental Impact Assessments sparks controversy and concern

PUERTO RICO
Felix Salmon on Why Puerto Rico’s bonds are moving to New York: it all comes down to default protection for the bondholders.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan president to visit Iran next month

La libertad en las calles
PIEDRA DE TOQUE. Venezuela ya no es un país democrático y la gran movilización popular es para que haya todavía elecciones de verdad en ese país y no rituales operaciones circenses como son las de Cuba

Scenes from Venezuela, 3/8/14 #8M #SOSVenezuela

Venezuela’s Opposition Is United Against Maduro, But Internally Divided

A Growing Crisis in Post-Chavez Venezuela

Los Guayabitos: The Venezuelan town where La Revolución reigns supreme

Venezuelan Crisis Plays Out On The Floor Of The United Nations

Large Protests Continue As Venezuelan Government Celebrates OAS Victory

Late Friday in Washington, the Organization of American States approved a declaration that rejected violence and called for justice for the 21 people the government says have died in weeks of street protests. The resolution also offered “full support” for the Venezuelan government’s peace initiative, in which the opposition has so far refused to participate.

The week’s posts:
Don Mario se quita los guantes y le cae encima al fascista Maduro: En español: Vargas Llosa a puño limpio

Argentina: Goodbye, Columbus

Colombia: Congressional elections tomorrow

Marco Rubio at #CPAC2014: “America must be involved in leading the world”

Argentina: Still in the hole for $185 million

Venezuela: Waiting to buy food

Cuba: Mario Díaz-Balart explains to the dense why Cuban oppression is bad

Venezuela: Door-to-door raids, AWOL colonels, Panama out

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez is still dead

Ecuador: Donziger guilty of fraud against Chevron

En español: Terapia intensiva

BREAKING NEWS Ecuador: Chevron wins

Venezuela: Big shoes and misreports

At Da Tech Guy:
Marco Rubio at #CPAC2014: “America must be involved in leading the world”

Ecuador: Donziger guilty of fraud against Chevron