Read my post, Ted Cruz writes about The Mullahs and Their Missiles
Almost emblematic of Brazil’s current political and economic situation, a bike path collapsed, leaving two dead, as Ties emerge between city officials and the company responsible for building the elevated bike path that collapsed on Thursday, killing at least two people.
Leonardo Fariña, associate of Lázaro Báez, is singing like a bird claiming Báez and Ernersto Kirchner conspired to steal public money.
Tensions between Guatemala and Belize over a border dispute have risen sharply after a shooting incident in which a Guatemalan teenager died.
Guatemala says the 13-year-old boy was attacked by Belizean soldiers. Belize says its troops shot in self-defence after coming under fire.
Belize also accuses Guatemala of “amassing” troops along the border.
Guatemala’s claim to parts of territory governed by its neighbour dates back to when Belize was a British colony.
Today’s Capt. Loius Renault moment: Bolivia’s Morales Gives Pope 3 Books on Coca and Recommends Taking It
Must-read: Brazil’s Giant Problem.Corruption is just a symptom of Brazil’s deeper issue: a vast state apparatus that has tried to be the country’s engine of economic growth. I don’t see a change in this miindset:
“The problem is, from time immemorial, Brazil’s political leaders only see one way forward, the growth of the state,” said Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a former leftist intellectual who sought to reduce the size of Brazil’s government while president from 1995 to 2002. “But you need another springboard for progress, that doesn’t exclude the state but that accepts markets. This just doesn’t sink in in Brazil.”
Humberstone and Santa Laura Works, The GHOST TOWN declared a world heritage site: Inside the spooky mining settlement which has been abandoned for more than 50 years in Chile
Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez Maldonado said the criminalized paramilitary networks known as BACRIM (from the abbreviation of “criminal bands”), alongside rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC), have profited the most from the government’s decision in May 2015 to ban the aerial spraying of glyphosate on coca crops, reported El Espectador.
The Economist recently published estimates that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia –FARC) had assets worth 33 trillion Colombian pesos in 2012, even after paying to maintain its guerrilla army. That is $11.4 billion at the current exchange rate. The value was reportedly based on an “unpublished study by government analysts.”
Ecuador death toll reaches 654
Discovery of 4,500-year-old female mummy sheds light on ancient Peru. Archaeologists say the mummified remains, found near one of the oldest cities in the Americas, probably belong to a noblewoman aged 40 to 50
Uruguay VP to hold enhanced trade, economic talks in IranUruguay’s Vice President Raul Sendic Rodriguez will pay an official visit to Iran to hold talks with Iranian officials on ways to strengthen trade and economic cooperation.. . .The two sides are expected to hold talks on a variety of issues, including oil export, construction of refineries, joint ventures, customs and banking cooperation, marine transportation and shipping, husbandry, science and technology.
VENEZUELA’S PATHETIC DECLINE CONTINUES
And now, no beer: Polarapocalypse Now
Ricardo Sáenz, the chief prosecutor at the Argentina federal judicial chamber, said in a writ that Nisman did not commit suicide – the first time that an official authority has clearly identified the death as a possible murder case.
The inquiry had been stalled for more than a year as investigators could not determine a cause of death.
According to Infobae’s Martín Angulo, the case has more chances of following the “murder” theory Sáenz espouses if it is sent to the Federal Jurisdiction, as several of his colleagues who also organized and promoted February 18th 2015 march in Nisman’s honor work there, thus having a higher influence on its outcome.
It’s worth clarifying this case has nothing to do with Nisman’s accusation against Cristina and co., which was dismissed by Federal Judge Daniel Rafecas last year. Here, Sáenz is trying to establish the reasons that led to Nisman’s death, a completely different case that, of course, goes hand in hand with the first one that kicked off one of the largest clusterfucks in Argentine history.
As Drudge says, developing.
Zika virus is in the headlines, but there’s another noteworthy item: The Italian castrati sang Rouhani’s Iranian tune, to avoid offending Nassan Rouhani, the same Rouhani that Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was murdered almost exactly a year ago, had tied to the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, the largest terrorist attack prior to the 9/11 in our hemisphere.
No insult to hugely talented Farinelli intended.
Don’t blame her, Evo: Bolivia’s Morales Thanks Mother Earth for Decade as President
Brazil Losing the Battle to Debt. Brazil is losing the battle to tame its ballooning debt as the government struggles to revive a moribund economy amid political gridlock, a central bank report showed Friday.
The Brazilian Doctors Who Sounded Alarm on Zika and Microcephaly. The van der Linden family of physicians identified a likely link between the virus and a spike in birth defects involving incomplete brain development.
Antonio Banderas interview: Why I will never spill the secrets of the Chilean miners. The 33, a film of the Chile mine collapse, opens in the UK on Friday. The actors, miners and government figures tell Harriet Alexander why the story is so vital – and so strange
Legalizing evil: Colombia asks US to remove Farc from terror list in event of peace deal. President says of removal of largest rebel group ‘the sooner the better’ ahead of White House visit, as country looks to move beyond five-decade civil war
Zika Virus Detected in 22 People in Ecuador. Health officials in Ecuador have detected the Zika virus in nearly two dozen people, while neighboring Peru reported its first case on Friday, fueling regional concerns about the spread of the mosquito-borne virus.
This week’s podcast,
Wednesday 7pm CT: Doing business in Cuba plus US-Latin America stories of the week……… https://t.co/Nguu2PJb2m
— Silvio Canto, Jr. (@SCantojr) January 27, 2016
But Iran also spread money in Spain:
Podemos: Spain’s anti-corruption party ‘received illicit funding from Iran’. The El Confidencial news website claims the party received more than €5m through a Spanish TV station operated by an Iranian businessman and financed by the government in Tehran
According to the El Confidencial news website, the party received more than €5m (£3.8m) through a Spanish television station, Hispan TV, which is operated by an Iranian businessman, Mahmoud Alizadeh Azimi, and financed by the Iranian government.
The website alleges that the money was paid by the Iranian businessman through a series of different countries, and via inflated invoices issued by Podemos for appearances by Pablo Iglesias, the leader of the party. Mr Iglesias has served as the host of a political talk show, Fort Apache, which is broadcast on the station. Mr Iglesias said he would be delighted to speak to officials at the Udef about the matter.
[This is not the first time Podemos has been linked with shady business. Last August Brazil’s Veja reported on a Bolivian general’s allegation that Podemos was linked to Venezuela’s drug traffic through Hugo Chavez.]
Pablo Iglesias himself (link in Spanish) allegedly declared that he was receiving Iranian financing for his “Fort Apache” show, for the purpose of destabilizing Spain, as reported by Spain’s La Razón.
Which brings us to the news this week that
Certification by the International Atomic Energy Agency would allow Iran to immediately recoup some $100 billion in assets frozen overseas.
$100 billion is a lot of dough to spread around.
What could possibly go wrong?
Eamonn MacDonagh, reporting at The Tower:
In Secret Recordings, Former Argentine FM Admits Iran Behind Massive 1994 Terror Attack
Former Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman knew that Iran was responsible for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires even as he negotiated with the regime in Tehran, secretly-recorded telephone conversations released on Friday reveal.
. . .
There may be others with secrets to reveal, now that they can do so without harassment from Fernández de Kirchner’s government. The mother of Alberto Nisman, the late federal prosecutor investigating the AMIA bombing, told a journalist in recent days that she has a digital copy of “all” of her son’s formal complaint against Timerman and Fernández de Kirchner over their deal with Iran, along with “all” the evidence he collected to support it.
It’s not clear whether Nisman, who was found dead in January 2015 hours before he was to present his complaint, would have had access to the recordings. As Scaliter pointed out in his conversation with Timerman, Nisman was working for the government and not AMIA, and in any case had access to other sources of information about the negotiations with Iran.
The revelation of these recordings confirms Nisman’s thesis that the Memorandum was a sham, designed to protect those guilty of the AMIA Massacre. The Argentine government, despite knowing that Iran’s responsibility was beyond doubt, agreed to let the murderers “investigate” themselves through an Orwellian “Truth Commission,” and led Iran to believe that simply signing the Memorandum would lead to Interpol dropping the arrest warrants against its citizens, which seems to have been Tehran’s initial if not principal motivation in negotiating the pact. As a result, trade relations between the two countries would flourish, allowing enormous sums to be made by Argentine officials in state-body-to-state-body deals free from market pressures or scrutiny, the preferredkirchnerista business model. Elsewhere on the recordings, Timerman speaks of the negotiations being a “great opportunity for Argentina.” It’s not difficult to imagine what kind of opportunity he had in mind and which Argentines he thought might benefit.
Every word spoken by the former Argentine government and its supporters in defense of the Memorandum has now been proven to be a lie – not that there was ever much doubt about that.
Read the whole thing.
Elsewhere, Iran Nuclear Deal Restricts U.S. More Than Congress Knew
U.S. officials confirmed over the weekend that Secretary of State John Kerry sent his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, a letter promising to use executive powers to waive the new restrictions on those who have visited Iran but are citizens of countries in the Visa Waiver Program. These officials also told us that they have told Iranian diplomats that, because they are not specific to Iran, the new visa waiver provisions do not violate the detailed sequence of steps Iran and other countries committed to taking as part of the agreement. Even so, the State Department is promising to sidestep the new rule.
What could possibly go wrong?
Merry Christmas to all visitors! Here’s the Carnival,
That change is likely to make a terrible situation worse. It suggests that Mr Levy lost an argument within the government about whether austerity is the right cure for Brazil’s sickly economy, and that he lost it not because his economic remedy was wrong but because it was politically unpalatable.
Mr Li is one of seven officials with Fifa, world football’s governing body, who were arrested in Zurich in May, amid a huge corruption investigation.
Open-borders money backs Marco Rubio
Iran Taking Over Latin America
New traffic laws in the DF,
Cambridge University graduate killed in psychedelic ceremony in Peruvian Amazon. Unais Gomes, a 26-year-old high-flying London financier, was killed by a friend during ayahuasca ceremony near the jungle city of Iquitos
Some warn that Puerto Rico could be a test case for the rest of the country, paving the way for troubled states like Illinois to escape unsustainable debts.
Stephen J. Spencer, a restructuring expert representing Puerto Rico bondholders including some hedge funds, said letting the government renege on agreements with hedge funds and other investors would set a dangerous precedent, undermining the integrity of the bond market.
“It’s really a wealth transfer from the bondholders to the municipalities,” Mr. Spencer said.
The bondholders include large numbers of retirees.
Roberto Rincón trades his little Woodlands house for a jail cell. Roberto Rincón, the enchufado of Tradequip and Ovarb Industrial fame, is spending tonight in a Houston-area federal jail cell awaiting arrainment [sic] on money laundering charges.
A federal prosecutor has asked an Argentine court to reopen the complaint filed by the late special prosecutor Alberto Nisman charging that former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner covered up Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing.
The prosecutor, Raul Plee, filed a request Monday to reopen the case with the Federal Criminal Cassation Court.
On Monday, just after the new government voided the Argentine pact with Iran to jointly investigate the AMIA attack, Plee asked the justices to analyze new information collected during the case about the unconstitutionality of the Iran memorandum with an eye toward reviving Nisman’s theory that the pact was a bid to cover up Iran’s role in the bombing.
According to the state-run news agency Telam, Plee wrote in his request that during hearings about the unconstitutionality of the pact, the Foreign Ministry presented “secret and confidential” documents that could be considered useful to reactivate Nisman’s accusation against Kirchner, her Jewish former foreign minister Hector Timerman, and others.
The prosecutor asked that the secret and confidential files be sent to prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita and to the judge, Daniel Rafecas. Pollicita was the prosecutor who took over Nisman’s accusation after his death and presented it to the court in February. Rafecas dismissed the accusation, saying it could not be sustained by the evidence.
More in Spanish, here.
The prior prosecutor, Viviana Fein, has treated the case as a possible suicide, not a possible murder.
Getting rid of Fein has taken far too long. Evidence and crime scene destroyed. 11 months wasted https://t.co/Ku6Nu6eQWD
— Éamann Mac Donnchada (@EamonnMacDonagh) December 17, 2015