By now, I’m all for excluding any blood relative of a former president from holding the office of POTUS for at least three decades and one generation, whichever is the longest. Read my article here.
Ignorance, or willful blindness? She was Secretary of State, after all.
Hillary was at Florida International University last Friday doing a full flop, and called for an end to the so-called embargo because Cubans “want to read our books, surf our Web, and learn from our people. They want to bring their country into the 21st century.”
. . . when Mrs. Clinton said on Friday that “we must decide between engagement and embargo, between embracing fresh thinking and returning to Cold War deadlock,” she was applying the same reasoning the Obama administration uses to argue that the U.S. needs to either accept the nuclear deal with Iran or go to war. This is a false dichotomy that doesn’t hold for Cuba policy any more than it holds for dealing with Tehran.
. . .
The embargo does not block the export of books to Cuba because informational material is exempt. Cubans cannot read “our” books because Cuba controls the reading material that enters the country and imprisons for “dangerousness” anyone caught with nonapproved texts.
There is no such thing as “our Web,” and the U.S. embargo does not restrict Cubans’ access to the Internet. Most Cubans cannot get computers. Most of those who do have them are denied access to the World Wide Web. It’s only the party faithful who get approval.
As to learning from “our people,” Cuba tightly controls interaction with foreigners, and those who step out of line can go to jail. Try getting a visa from Cuba if you have been labeled a “counterrevolutionary,” as I have. These policies are expressly designed to block Cubans from communicating with each other and with outsiders to keep them from organizing politically or socially.
The unconditional end of the embargo will do nothing to change this. On the contrary, it may strengthen the dictator’s hand if it results in fresh capital flowing to the island.
Which it will.
While Hillary gave her by-invitation-only speech, Police prohibit students from protesting outside Hillary Clinton’s pro-Castro Cuba speech at Miami’s FIU, borrowing a page from the Castros.
The week’s big news: Pres. Obama removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terror, as part of a deal brokered by the Vatican, in exchange for which Cuba had to do nothing.
The top headlines in the hemisphere: FIFA corruption; as expected, its re-elected president blames the U.S. and England.
Cristina’s not running: ‘CFK will not be candidate in the upcoming elections’ . . . maybe.
China mulls air route to Bahamas
“Refugio de corruptos”
Former Petrobras Executive Sentenced to Five Years
Nestor Cerveró, Petrobras’ former director of international operations, was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to five years in prison.
Brazil Dangles Leniency to Spur Energy Industry
Brazil’s government is preparing to offer U.S.-like leniency deals to several private companies linked to the Petrobras corruption scandal to lessen its drag on the nation’s economy
How the Cayman Islands Became a FIFA Power
One reason for the talks’ resilience is that both sides are used to negotiating during bouts of violence, which did not end even during the quietest periods. Military action by the FARC fell by 85% during its ceasefire and civilian deaths fell by 73%, according to the Conflict Analysis Resource Centre (CERAC), a think-tank in Bogotá. Even so, CERAC recorded 21 attacks by the FARC (and suspects it was responsible for another 75). Mr Santos has staked his reputation on concluding a peace agreement (by the end of this year, he hopes). For the FARC, the alternative to peace is further pounding by the armed forces; it no longer hopes for victory.
Farc peace negotiator killed in Colombia bombingPedro Nel Daza Martínez, the Farc leader better known as “Jairo Martínez”, had returned from peace talks in Havana when he was killed by a government bombing raid
Carlos Eire writes on how “they hate it so much when we refuse to be the caricatures they want us to be:” Okay, that’s it. Se acabó la pachanga. The party’s over. Time to say “Hell is my homeland.”
Bye-bye, dollarization: Ecuador Moves Toward Electronic Currency
Ecuador’s Monetary Council has published a resolution making it mandatory for private and public banks to deal with transactions in electronic currency.
Depending on their size, banks will have between 120 and 360 days to register as Macro Agents of the electronic currency system in the central bank.
The resolution reiterated that the central bank is the only entity authorized to issue electronic currency, and that the electronic currency must be backed up by liquid assets of the central bank.
The money will be used for “undetermined” projects in Haiti.
U.S. Soccer Probe Brings Adulation From AbroadUnexpectedly, the FBI’s case is garnering plaudits even in regions like Latin America that are traditionally suspicious of Washington’s motives
Mexico Shelves Key Part of Education OverhaulThe Mexican government suspended its planned teacher evaluations that were a cornerstone of the country’s education overhaul, in a decision ahead of midterm elections that dissident teacher groups threatened to boycott.
LIFE AND DEATH ON THE AVOCADO TRAIL
A fearless Mexican-American cook routinely travels 2,000 miles, driving through a drug war and slipping out of kidnappers’ fingers, all in the name of a decent mole poblano for her New York customers. Inexplicably, they let her go.
Fat lot of good that’s going to do: Puerto Rico Governor Signs Law Raising Sales Tax to 11.5 Pct. To cover its $1.2 billion in debt service due this year from sales tax alone, it would have to raise over $10 trillion in sales – absurd.
June brides: Ex-Guantanamo Prisoners to Marry Uruguayan Women
Abd al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj [a.k.a. Abd al Hadi Faraj], 40, from Syria and Tunisian Abdul Bin Mohammed Ourgy [a.k.a. Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy], 50, will marry Muslim women at a mosque in Montevideo.
— CDN Network (@CaribbeanDN) May 30, 2015
Diosdado is now reading members of NGOs Provea and Public Forum emails on TV.
The week’s posts and podcast:
Cuba: Willfull blindness
US-Latin America stories of the week
Never been a fund like the Foundation Eva Peron! . . .
And the money kept rolling out in all directions,
To the poor, to the weak, to the destitute of all complexions
Now cynics claim a little of the cash has gone astray
But that’s not the point, my friends.
When the money keeps rolling out, you don’t keep books
You can tell you’ve done well by the happy, grateful looks
Accountants only slow things down, figures get in the way.
Never been a lady loved as much as Eva Peron!
Sing it, Ricky!
Within two weeks of Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake, the word had already gone out from the State Department that Bill Clinton would be in charge of U.S. reconstruction efforts. “That means,” one individual told me and I reported in a Jan. 25, 2010 column, “if you don’t have Clinton connections, you won’t be in the game.”
The “game,” as my source called it, meant securing hundreds of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts from the State Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development and grants from multilateral institutions like the InterAmerican Development Bank, which gets the bulk of its funding from the U.S.
The Clintons deny that Bill’s power over State’s purse was used to secure donations to the Clinton Foundation. But at least two contributors who gave more than $1 million as I described in a March 9 column, including the InterAmerican Development Bank, benefited from U.S. earthquake aid.
No bid contracts, carte blanche from the Obama administration, Bill handling hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars . . . as Capt. Louis Renault said,
Please read my latest, Oh look, the guy behind the Clinton uranium deal was also the guy behind the Clinton FTA deal.
Also useful for everyday.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Frank Guistra, a mining magnate — that means oil — who gave the Clinton Foundation up to fifty fucking million fucking dollars.
Make that $130 million, Ace,
Oh. I guess I lowballed it.
The details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation — supplemented by millions more from Giustra himself — Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact. Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it “strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.” The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra.
Just how much money are we talking about?
In a Wall Street Journal story from 2008, Giustra is described as a “friend and traveling companion” of former President Clinton who donated more than $130 million to Clinton’s philanthropies.
This is not the first time the Clintons were dealing from both sides of the deck. As you may recall,
Mark Penn, her campaign strategist was also working for the Colombian government towards pushing the agreement.
Frank Giustra now occupies a seat on the board of the Clinton Foundation,
Just the other day Bill was saying his foundation
is, by a good long stretch, the most transparent of all the presidential foundations and more transparent than a lot of other major foundations in the country.”
It all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is:
Since it’s Throwback Thursday, coinciding with the Summit of the Americas, a quick glance back to 2012, when Hillary tied one on and led the conga line at the Summit,