Archive for the ‘Fausta’s blog’ Category

Cuba: Is China rebuilding Cuba’s ports?

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Interesting article at Global Post, with the disclaimer,

This article was produced by the Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the People’s Republic of China. Xinhua describes itself as the “information organ of the central government.” Given China’s size and importance, GlobalPost publishes Xinhua’s press feed as a resource for its readers and makes no claims as to journalistic accuracy.

Cuban port terminal in transformation with Chinese assistance

Santiago de Cuba’s Guillermon Maoncada port is undergoing a dramatic transformation into a modern multipurpose terminal with involvement of a Chinese company.
China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) is in charge of the port’s rehabilitation and modernization project which is slated to be completed in three years.
. . .
Valued at 120 million U.S. dollars, the future multipurpose terminal will facilitate the arrival of ships weighing up to 40,000 tons and will have high-tech port equipment which will possess better control ability.The transformation will enable the port to handle around 565,000 tons of goods per year, local authority said. Currently the port attracts ships with a general load of 20,000 tons.

Meanwhile, Russia’s planning to expand its permanent military presence outside its borders by placing a military base in Cuba.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Memorial Day 2015 Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 25th, 2015

LatinAmerToday we commemorate those who died for our great nation.

ARGENTINA
Argentinian Falklands veterans take ‘torture’ case to international arenaVeterans of the 1982 conflict recount their ordeal and the anti-Semitic abuse they faced in a press conference, including instances of beatings and sexual violence

Do orang-utans have human rights?Argentinian court hears arguments on whether keeping Sandra the orang-utan in a zoo is a human rights violation, but the Nisman case got dismissed.

BOLIVIA
NARCORREVOLUCIÓNEl negocio cocalero de Evo Morales y Nicolás Maduro

Almost 500 Students, Teachers Poisoned in Northern Bolivia

No marraqueta for you! Bakers Stop Baking Traditional Bolivian Bread in La Paz

The bakers of La Paz will not bake ‘marraqueta’, a traditional Bolivian bread symbolic of the city, as a part of a strike in opposition to the Bolivian government’s removal of a flour subsidy, a trade-union source told Efe.

BRAZIL
Unlike my former neighbors in Princeton, I don’t share their fascination with Albert Einstein, but here it is anyway: A 65-year-old letter written by Albert Einstein found in Brazil schoolThe letter was reportedly discovered in a safe at a school in Porto Alegre in the south of the country

CHILE
Clashes as Chile’s Bachelet seeks to regain popularityPresident looks to get reform agenda back on track in annual address to Congress as protesters and police clash outside.

COLOMBIA
Colombia Rebels Suspend Unilateral Cease-Fire after Army Operation

Farc rebels killed in new air strikeColombia’s security forces kill at least five rebels from the Farc a day after the left-wing rebel group suspended its unilateral ceasefire.

CUBA
Cuban torturers sent to Vietnam to ‘extract’ information from American prisoners

Syrian Regime Officials Visit Cuba, Learn From Castro’s Outmaneuvering of Obama

Trafficking With the Enemy, American Taxpayers Deserve BetterDo Your Due Diligence Before Engaging in Authorized Transactions in Cuba, Especially When it Comes to the Confiscated Lands Issue

The Pope, Liberation Theology, Palestine and Castro…One by one, the great Western institutions have fallen to the infection of the left. Have they now captured the Church of Rome? Yes.

ECUADOR
Chevron Update

EL SALVADOR
Msgr. Romero Beatified in El Salvador Before Crowd of 300,000

Crowds greet Romero beatification
Huge crowd attends Romero's beatification ceremony

Huge crowds in El Salvador attend the beatification of Oscar Romero – the Roman Catholic archbishop murdered during the 1980-92 civil war.

Division remain over ‘martyr’

El Salvador Needs Economic Development, Rule of Law

GUATEMALA
MOB BURNS GIRL ALIVE IN CENTRAL AMERICA **GRAPHIC VIDEO**

Guatemalan Central Bank Chief Arrested on Corruption Charges

GUYANA
Guyana’s electionA time to healThe new government could narrow the racial divide

IMMIGRATION
Telemundo Ignores Conservative Immigration Initiative. The Spanish-language networks are so awful at news, 80% of so-called Hispanics in the U.S. get their news elsewhere.

JAMAICA
Jamaica rejects buggery law repeal, same-sex marriage

MEXICO
Mexico investigates new Guerrero disappearances

AT LEAST 42 GUNMEN AND ONE COP KILLED IN MEXICAN CARTEL FIREFIGHT

Gulf Cartel Had Camera Surveillance System Across Mexican Border City

PANAMA
‘No peace dividend’ for Panama border force

“Peace is not a bad thing, but it’s unlikely to solve our problems,” says Director of Panama’s Border Police, Frank Abrego.
He is referring to the prospect of a peace deal between the Colombian government and left-wing rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).

Follow Panama: Dollarize

PARAGUAY
Counterfeit goods are big business in Paraguay

PERU
Peru declares state of emergency over mining violence

PUERTO RICO
Final Section of Modern, Regional Undersea Cable Comes Ashore in Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
Matías Campiani Private Equity Executive to Be Released From Uruguay Prison

VENEZUELA
Will the Venezuelan State Fail?

NYC’s most legendary prosecutor sees a darker threat in Venezuela’s alleged global cocaine hub

 Morgethau believed, and still does, that Chavez’s regime was allowing Iran to use the country’s banking system, and that former Venezeulan Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami specifically helped Iran’s agents obtain Venezuelan passports so they could travel freely around the world.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Memorial Day Commemoration Ceremonies

37 MS-13 indicted in Charlotte

VDH’s Pathei Mathos

Argentina: Veterans take torture case to inter-American court of human rights

Cuba and terrorism

Brazil: Up next, China’s 3,000mile railroad?

Communism: When the only way out is death

Mexico: Human rights division head resigns over Iguala case

Venezuela: Diosdado and drugs – whose powerplay?

Ecuador: Brazilian prosecutor sides with Chevron



Memorial Day Commemoration Ceremonies

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

 

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Memorial Day honors those who died so we can live in freedom. Here is a listing of all state national cemeteries that are having ceremonies (h/t AoS).



Argentina: “Silence is health”

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Reader Gringo, commenting on Side-by-side #Nisman, recommended The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina. I bought the Kindle edition and can’t put it down.

In it, author Uki Goñi describes the following,

During these long walks, I came across a disturbing sign of the times that I should perhaps have heeded better. On the broad Nueve de Julio Avenue that divides Buenos Aires in half – ‘the widest avenue on the world’, according to some Argentines – stands a giant white obelisk that is the city’s most conspicuous landmark. In 1974, the landmark lost its virginity in the strangest of ways. A revolving billboard was suspended around the Obelisco, snugly encircling the huge white phallus. Round and round the ring turned, inscribed with an Orwellian message in bold blue letters on a plain white background: ‘Silence Is Health.’

I found a YouTube via the Plaza de Mayo blog,

Forty-one years ago. Has anything changed?

Brazil: World Cup stadium now a parking lot

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

The Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, the most expensive of the stadiums, is being used as a bus parking lot.

Business Insider: Brazil’s $3 billion World Cup stadiums are becoming white elephants a year later. Why? Several were built in cities that don’t even have top-rated teams. Add to that the distance to major urban areas, and the expense of holding events at those venues.

Some stadiums are still are paying for the construction, and then there are contracts:

The club team Atlético Mineiro plays its games at the old Independencia stadium in Belo Horizonte — it can’t make money playing at the new Estádio Mineirão because of its contract with the stadium’s owners, the AP reports.

Many – including myself – saw it coming, prior to the WC. In all, another one for Capt. Louis Renault.

We talked about this in Silvio Canto’s podcast last night:

In other news, Brazil is ranked 60th on education in a list of 76 countries (link in Portuguese) by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Argentina (62d), Colombia (67th) and Peru (71th) did even worse.

“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

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



Alinsky wears high heels

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Read my post, Alinsky wears high heels.

Video: LANGUAGE ALERT

Venezuela: Censorship all around

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Dictatorship control on all,

The Economist:
Maduro’s muzzle
Not content with harassing the press, the regime censors itself

Under Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded Chávez as president in 2013, the government is supplementing its relentless propaganda with self-censorship. The apparent goal is to hide from Venezuelans bad news that might weaken their already shaky faith in the regime. The health ministry, for instance, has not published a weekly epidemiological bulletin since early November, despite concurrent outbreaks of three mosquito-borne diseases. Last May Venezuela saw its first cases of chikungunya, a disease originating in Africa, which causes very high fevers and severe joint pains. It took the authorities five months to declare chikungunya a notifiable disease. The most recent bulletin still fails to include it.

Self-censorship is not confined to the health authorities. The National Statistical Institute (INE) has not published poverty data for 2014. No one has provided production figures for PDVSA, the state oil corporation, for the past three months. When officials explain their silence, which is not often, they talk of a need to avoid “political manipulation” of statistics.

Not that this should come as a surprise to long-term readers of this blog: For years I have mentioned that

The International Monetary Fund keeps a List of IMF Member Countries with Delays in Completion of Article IV Consultations or Mandatory Financial Stability Assessments Over 18 Months. As of the writing of this post, Venezuela hasn’t held an Article IV consultation with the IMF in 99 months.

Let me translate that into plain English: The Venezuelan government has not allowed its own numbers to be verified for almost a decade.

It also stopped reporting a number of standard indicators several years ago

About the only thing that’s new is Nicolas Maduro’s latest conspiracy theory.

By the way, why is Venezuela still considered a hybrid regime?

States that fit the hybrid regime profile can be identified based on the following characteristics:
– elections which are not too flawed and which have the potential to make a difference;
– significant levels of corruption, particularly in the judicial and electoral arenas;
– a lack of vital components of democratic quality, such as checks and balances and government accountability;
– a problematic press freedom situation, typically including incumbents’ desire to control the media, particularly television;
– a poor civil liberties situation, including limits on freedom of expression and the freedom to form organisations and trade unions; and
– a problematic rule of law situation, including a lack of judicial independence.

The elections were rigged.

Carlos Rangel posts on Muzzling a country

Today’s vision of hell, airline travel edition:

Friday, April 17th, 2015

From Airbus, the folks who floated the standing up flights trial balloon, this:

Could cattle class get any worse? Introducing BUDGET economy where airlines are squeezing an extra seat in every row
Airbus are increasing their seats from 10 to 11 seats in every row
The addition will see Airbus creating a fourth cheaper class called Choice
The change is to be launched in 2017 on the Airbus 380 model
Airbus state the move is to reflect 90 per cent of fliers using economy
Thankfully seat widths will remain at the standard 18 inches

“Thankfully” nothing – When the seats are so narrow that the little head pillows are shown narrow side up, you know it’s hell.

Those seats are not wide enough for the average adult, but the 3rd graders may do OK.

Pity the fool who gets the aisle seat, too. Those are narrow aisles.

As for BUDGET economy, a friend just told me that the EU countries are charging a US$500 travel tax on flights from the US. How’s that for “BUDGET economy”?