Archive for the ‘Fausta’s blog’ Category
ECUADOR SAYS SNOWDEN SEEKING ASYLUM THERE
Itar-Tass cited its source as saying Snowden would fly from Havana to the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.
Other reports name Ecuador and Iceland,
Separately, the South China Morning Post, the city’s leading English-language newspaper, said that Mr. Snowden had boarded a 10:55 a.m. flight on Sunday headed to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. The paper said that Moscow wasn’t his final destination, citing Ecuador and Iceland as possible destinations.
For now, it’s all a “where’s Waldo?” moment.
— Jon Williams (@WilliamsJon) June 23, 2013
Interfax: Snowden overnights at Venezuelan embassy. Diplomatic car from plane to embassy. Formally never steps in #Russia, so no visa needed
— Jon Williams (@WilliamsJon) June 23, 2013
If Snowden is, in fact, on his way to Venezuela, Wikileaks has a very strange notion of a “democratic country.” Freedom House, in their 2013 report on “Freedom in the World,” lists Venezuela as “partly free,” which may be a generous designation given that the internal security apparatus is run by Cubans and that “Chavista” bully boys routinely show up at opposition rallies to threaten and intimidate opponents. Snowden, who claimed he wanted to end up in a country with democratic values, could have made a better choice.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos got his neighbors in a flutter by hinting that he would like Colombia to join NATO, which conveys a message to the rest of South America – and not about geography.
In a recent report he claims Argentina has profited from a US-led clampdown on the Mexican drug cartels. They switched distribution routes via Argentina, which is now believed to supply 70 tons of cocaine a year to Europe, a thirds of annual consumption.
It is feared that Argentina’s ties with Iran could lead them to build missiles together
Argentina can no longer be seen as a reliable counter-narcotic partner, or a partner in any sense, for the US.
Douglas Farah, senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center think-tank
Argentina also imports far more ephedrine, used in the making of many designer drugs, than its pharmaceutical industry needs, despite a US attempt at a crackdown in 2008.
This is said to be behind a flood of methamphetamine reaching the US.
Brazil’s disappointing economy
Out of step (video below the fold since it starts immediately)
Mexico Soldiers Free 165 Kidnapped Migrants
Mexican soldiers stormed a residence near the U.S. border and rescued 165 migrants who had been kidnapped by criminal gangs and held for ransom for up to three weeks, a Mexican official said Thursday. The cartels control the border.
María Lourdes Afiuni, Three and a half years, some rapes, beatings and a forced abortion later, has not yet been released.
Chavez’s Folksy Style Proves to Be a Tough Act to Follow
President Nicolás Maduro does a good political impersonation of his predecessor Hugo Chávez. However, he’s missing a key ingredient: Mr. Chávez’s folksy, often ribald, sense of humor. Not to worry, Gustavo Ríos more than makes up for it,
The week’s posts and podcast,
George Galloway’s racism
No, not them,
'THEY QUITE LITERALLY CAN WATCH YOUR IDEAS AS YOU TYPE'...
Top-secret PRISM program...
Vast Data Trove...
Billions of Phone Calls...
THE INTERNET FROM HELL
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celebrating her 6th anniversary: Six Years of Movie Fun!
The Pacific Alliance met in Colombia last week, for the seventh time since its creation in June of 2012; This is good news for the world, not just for the region.
there are two major “requirements” for a nation to join the Alliance. First, the government of the aspiring member state must adhere to the charter of the Alliance, which stresses respect for democracy.
In addition, the second requirement to joining the Alliance is that a new member must have free trade agreements with the other Alliance members before becoming full members. Hence, Costa Rica will only join the Alliance after President Chinchilla signs a free trade agreement with the Colombian government (San José [Costa Rica] already has FTAs with other Alliance members).
Member countries Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico were joined by Canada, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Japan, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama,
These countries and investors from outside of Latin America are attracted by the positive business climate among Alliance members—they occupy four of the top-five spots in the World Bank’s Doing Business in Latin America ranking—and encouraged by the fact that the bloc is serious. It is focused on trade, investment and immigration rather than politics and ideology.
The goal of the alliance is to create a free-trade corridor of all countries in the Americas with a Pacific coast. The hope is that dropping barriers on labor, finance and trade will help the Alliance become a hub for commerce with Asia.
The reason Japan, Canada, Spain and Australia attended as observers is that members of the Pacific Alliance are all part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; they are serious about growth and prosperity. Bloggings by Boz lists what they are getting done:
- The four current members dropped tariffs on 90% of the goods traded among them (something that was mostly done due to bilateral free trade agreements) and committed to completing the final 10% within the next few years.
- The countries have dropped visa requirements with each other.
- The four countries will likely create a joint visa system – Visa Alianza del Pacífico – that will allow tourists to visit all four countries on just one visa.
- Peru dropped business visa requirements for the other three members.
- The four current members agreed to open joint embassies in Africa and Asia.
- The countries will conduct a coordinated trade mission in Africa and tourism promotion globally.
- The creation of a fund to support small and medium sized businesses.
- A fiscal transparency agreement to prevent businesses from avoiding taxes.
- Agreement on educational exchanges, including 400 annual scholarships.
- Agreement to consolidate a scientific network on adapting to climate change challenges.
- Mexico signed an agreement with Chile to export meat.
- Mexico moved forward on integration into the Integrated Latin American stock Market (MILA).
- Costa Rica signed a free trade agreement with Colombia.
- Guatemala and Peru will have a free trade agreement within the next few months.
- Guatemala dropped its tourist visa requirements for Colombia.
This initiative is a significant step forward to synchronize members’ trade commitments and is aimed at enhancing trade with the bloc’s most dynamic partners in East Asia.
The Pacific Alliance numbers speak for themselves. These four economies are the most dynamic in the region, representing more than 40 percent of Latin America’s economy with a market of more than 210 million people—more than one-third of the region’s population. Since 2010, these four economies have grown at a higher rate than their neighbors and have also invested at a greater rate—25 percent of their combined gross domestic product (compared to just 20 percent elsewhere).
The Pacific Alliance is already having an effect on regional politics. Daniel Duquenal posts,
Brazil in recent years had a campaign to gain a permanent seat in the security council of the United Nations. All the efforts have been lost, I dare say with the recent fiascoes. How can a country aspire to such a rank when it is unable to protect democracy in its area of influence, and furthermore generates deep divisions as it may happen soon between Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance? Clearly Itamaraty hopes of world leadership are seriously compromised as its actors are revealed to be mere grocery shop managers, more worried about Venezuela paying its bills to them than the long term perspective. Or mere amoral operatives if you prefer. Let’s say it: Brazil is not ready for the major leagues, Colombia is.
Democracy, free trade, investment and immigration: keys to the well being of the region, and the world.
Alberto de la Cruz posts on Property Rights in Cuba where there are no rights and there is no property
As Cuba prepares to build a luxury golf resort on the island with clubs and residences for the exclusive enjoyment of foreigners and their hard cash, Cuban American attorney, Jose Manuel Palli, who is not a “hardline intransigent” Cuban exile by any stretch of the imagination, explains how according to the laws of the Castro dictatorship, there are no real rights to real property in Cuba. In other words, all the hoopla surrounding the recent “reform” to allow the sale and purchase of homes in Cuba is actually just that: hoopla.
According to the Castro constitution, all real estate in Cuba is owned by the state and the only “right” individuals have in regards to real estate is the right to occupy it. And as we all know, that is a right that is easily and often arbitrarily rescinded by the Cuban regime on a whim.
To put it simply, if you can’t get title insurance and you can’t mortgage it, you don’t really own it, but read José Manuel Pallí’s Analysis: Cuba’s derechos de superficie: Are they ‘real’ property rights?
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Venezuela’s economy is in the crapper as it completely runs out of toilet paper. That’s what Chavez’s Socialism for the 21st Century brings you.
What the hey? Mayan Pyramid Bulldozed for Gravel
The government in Belize said it is pursuing an investigation into a road-building company after the near destruction of one of the largest Mayan pyramids.
What happened here?
Mexico Grows at Slowest Pace in Three Years
Mexico cut its growth forecast on Friday after the national statistics agency reported the economy had expanded at its slowest pace in three years, clouding optimism surrounding the president’s introduction of an aggressive reform agenda.
Puerto Rico Sets Plans for Bond Sales
Puerto Rico aims to sell more than $3.4 billion in municipal bonds this year, it told investors, highlighting the fiscally troubled island’s reliance on credit markets.
Scarcity was much cooler under Chávez
The Crappiest Economy?
Sucks to be Venezuelan: the country has run out of toilet paper, thanks to price controls straight out of a Woody Allen movie. Daniel Gross on Bolívar’s backward business legacy.
The week’s posts and podcast:
Guatemala: The Gen. Rios Montt decision
Podcast: (audio starts immediately) Repression in Cuba plus US-Latin America issues
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wants tax evaders hiding about $160 billion in dollars to help finance Argentina’s oil-producing ambitions. Her offer: Buy a 4 percent bond or face the prospect of jail time.
The tax authority announced the plan May 7, highlighting its information-sharing agreements with 40 nations and warning Argentines who don’t use the three-month amnesty window that they risk fines or arrest. Evaders have two options for their cash and the only one paying interest will be a dollar bond due in 2016 to finance YPF SA (YPF), the state oil company. The 4 percent rate is a third the average 13.85 yield on Argentine debt and less than the 4.6 percent in emerging markets.
I’m sure investors will rush to purchase bonds with below-market yields from a government who’s fined economists who dared publish data on Argentina’s real inflation rate of 25%, while
The government’s statistics agency reported Wednesday that annual inflation last month amounted to 10.5%.
That’s been roughly the rate around which the government has been paying on its inflation-linked bonds.
If investors in those securities have accepted the reduced payments based on the official data, workers unions in recent years have not, successfully garnering annual wage increases of 25% or more.
But, hey, the government’s increasing the monitoring of income and spending.
What could possibly go wrong?
Linked by Dustbury. Thank you!