The consequences for democracy in our hemisphere will resonate for decades to come.
Read about the Three elections this week you probably missed
The consequences for democracy in our hemisphere will resonate for decades to come.
Read about the Three elections this week you probably missed
A political outsider who ran on 1 issue: Fighting corruption, wins by a 2:1 margin,
Jimmy Morales Wins Guatemalan Presidential Election in Landslide. Former TV comedian is political outsider who now must meet his promise to tackle country’s rampant corruption
With 92% of ballots counted, Mr. Morales had 70% of the vote, compared with 30% for his rival, former first lady Sandra Torres. If the trend holds, it would be the largest margin of victory in a presidential vote here since democracy was restored in 1985 after a military dictatorship.
“I have been given a mandate, a mandate to clean up corruption that has eaten at this country,” Mr. Morales said in a TV message.
The president, vice-president, the head of the central bank, leaders of several political parties, and the head of the social-security institute, all are investigated brought down by myriad corruption charges:
Polls show corruption is the main concern in Guatemala, above insecurity and unemployment. Guatemala ranks 115 out of 175 countries in the corruption perceptions index of International Transparency—one of the worst positions in the region.
Some businessmen calculate around 30% of the country’s meager annual government spending, $9.1 billion this year, is squandered through corruption.
Here is his acceptance speech (in Spanish),
He will serve one 4-year term. The challenges he’ll face are enormous.
Argentinians voted yesterday. There will be a runoff, Scioli vs Macri (more on that later today).
New Scrutiny on Vote Buying as Argentine Elections Near. The practice, which is not illegal, was called a scourge last month in local voting, but raises questions about the frailty of the nation’s democracy.
Is it the end of Kirchnerismo and the start of saner economic policies? There are No Easy Economic Options for Argentina’s Next President.Winner of Sunday’s election will be forced to make unpopular moves to keep inflation-ridden economy ticking
In time for the election, Nisman is being accused of being a spy:
Alberto Nisman: Was prosecutor killed while investigating 1994 bombing of Jewish centre in Buenos Aires moonlighting for the FBI?Exclusive: A new book claims US security services abandoned Mr Nisman as he was about to reveal President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s alleged attempts to cover up Iran’s involvement in the atrocity
America ‘refused to hand over emails sent by Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman’ before his death. A new book claims the prosecutor, who was found dead earlier this year, was secretly a contact for the FBI. Money quote:
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the president, has laughed at suggestions that she orchestrated his death and instead argues that he was murdered by rogue spies who used him to discredit her, and then killed him.
As they said forty-one years ago, Silence is health.
El exembajador chavista que se convirtió en alto ejecutivo ferroviario en Bolivia. No era una imagen que sorprendía a nadie. Sentado junto a Evo Morales en un sinfín de actos públicos aparecía Julio Montes, el delegado de Hugo Chávez en Bolivia. Chavista former ambassador became high-placed railroad executive in Bolivia.
Operation Agata 10 is targeting environmental crimes, illegal trafficking of timber, drug smuggling and illegal fishing along the 10,000 kilometers (6,215 miles) of Brazil’s border with Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname and Guyana, the ministry said in a statement.
“Peace without justice benefits only the terrorist leaders, otherwise it’s unstable and engenders more violence. Let’s support the Centro Democrático.”
Paz sin justicia solo beneficia a cabecillas terroristas, de resto es inestable y genera más violencia. Apoyemos al Centro Democrático
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) October 24, 2015
This also violates international labor and human trafficking covenants.
And yet, some still advocate for “dictator-down-economics.”
It's not in vain that Ricardo Cabrisas came to Moscow today. Russia's coming back to Cuba with its industry (cont) https://t.co/QjrwYTyulK
— Dmitry Rogozin (@DRogozin) October 22, 2015
Promises, promises: Argentina’s presidential hopeful promises better relations with Britain over the Falklands. Exclusive: Mauricio Macri will not appoint a ‘Falklands Minister’ if elected and will work to defrost Argentina’s relations with Britain, his foreign policy chief tells The Telegraph
Puerto Rico: The Progressive Utopia is Here Now | Scott Ott Thought
Franklin Nieves, the prosecutor in Leopoldo Lopez’s trial, has fled the country, and, a day late and a dollar short (emphasis added),
In a video sent Friday to the Venezuelan news website La Patilla, Nieves said he fled Venezuela with his family to escape pressure from the executive branch and his superiors to stand by while “false evidence” is used to keep an innocent Lopez in jail during the appeals process. He said he would soon present evidence to demonstrate that Lopez’s trial was a premediated “farce.”
Speaking of dollars, Venezuela Central Bank sues US-based DolarToday website
It accuses the website of cyberterrorism and says its managers are sowing economic chaos in Venezuela.
The central bank requested both an injunction and damages, accusing the site’s managers of fanning inflation in the country.
Why Does Argentina Keep Shielding Iran?
Following the mysterious death of a prosecutor who had indicted Mrs. Fernandez on conspiracy charges, Francis in January stepped in forcefully to keep the president from being deposed in a “soft coup,” The Washington Times learned from a close personal friend of the pope.
Local magnates had plotted to seize the moment and oust the president after Alberto Nisman was found with a gunshot wound to his head hours before he was due to testify on a supposed top-level cover-up of Iran’s suspected involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
But through calls and intermediaries, Francis persuaded “the right people at the right moment” to let Mrs. Fernandez serve our her second term, set to expire Dec. 10, Gustavo Vera, a Buenos Aires legislator and social activist who maintains a close friendship with the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, said.
Cristina stops by the Vatican frequently, and has had six private audiences with Francis.
Rosatom will assist in the establishment of a nuclear research institute, including training for staff, Energy Minister Luis Sanchez said from Moscow in comments reported by official news agency ABI.
The pact also anticipates that Rosatom will advise the Bolivian government on how to educate the population about the nuclear power initiative, seen as necessary in light of the rejection by residents of La Paz of plans to build a nuclear research center in their neighborhood.
Besides power generation, Bolivia will use peaceful nuclear technology for medical applications and devices employed in geological research and prospecting for oil and gas, the minister said.
Pope Francis angers victims of sex abuse after calling protesters ‘dumb’. Pope made remarks at Vatican to a group of Chileans who have been protesting against a bishop alleged to be complicit in a sex abuse scandal
“War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength;” Uribe loyalists are Colombia’s ‘new terrorists’: Senate peace commission chairman
The indictment charged Jaime Rolando Rosenthal Oliva; his son Yani Benjamin Rosenthal Hidalgo; and his nephew Yankel Antonio Rosenthal Coello.
Good luck with that: Mexico’s President to Propose Bill to Improve Efforts to Locate 25,000 Missing. Legislation aims to improve coordination between authorities in search for people missing since war on drugs began
Just like their counterparts at the central bank, Peruvian government officials are finding that some of the usual ways to propel a developing economy don’t work in this case. In particular, Peru cannot take the common step of expanding its industrial sector to export value-added products rather than raw materials because of globalized value chains and an oversupply of industrial facilities in China, said Piero Ghezzi, Peru’s minister of production.
Puerto Rico May Not Be Able to Avoid Defaults, Adviser Says. I am shocked, shocked!
Storm clouds are coming to a hemisphere near you.
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.
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
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 Profit of One Man Is the Damage of Another” is the 21st essay in this edition.
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”.
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.
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.
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”.
— ISEPTAPHILLY (@SEPTAPHILLY) September 2, 2015
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):
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.
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.
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%.”
‘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.
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.
Puerto Rico Debt Crisis: A Bond Guide as Potential Defaults Loom, or, a brief guide to Russian roulette, money-wise?
[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):
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.
The week’s posts and podcast:
9/11/2001: It is altogether fitting and proper
— Fausta (@Fausta) September 10, 2015
In less than a week, the Guatemalans forced their president’s resignation, charged him, jailed him, and held an election:
The regularly scheduled election came just days after President Otto Pérez Molina resigned and was jailed in connection with a customs fraud scandal, plunging the country into political crisis. Vice President Alejandro Maldonado will serve as president until the winner of the runoff takes office in January.
. . .
The stunning rise of Mr. Morales, a 46-year-old who barely registered in the polls earlier this year, reflects Guatemalans’ disaffection with politics as usual. He campaigned as a political outsider, with the slogan: “Neither corrupt nor a thief.”
Morales’s party spent around $480,000 during the campaign through July, compared with $5.3 million from Manuel Baldizón’s party who tied for second place with leftist former first lady Sandra Torres.
Elena Toledo interviews Fedro Trujillo and says that Guatemalans Show Latin America How to Do a Revolution. Let’s hope rule of law and end of corruption prevail.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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:
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.”
The week’s posts and podcast:
The mysterious Bolivian ship and its tons of weapons UPDATED
8PM Eastern Podcasting live on Latin America, Trump, http://t.co/HNZscHnzzt
— Fausta (@Fausta) September 2, 2015