Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Venezuela: Slingshots vs tanks

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

A demonstrator uses a slingshot against the National Guard during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in San Cristobal, about 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas, February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuela’s Failing State, by Leopoldo López, jailed since Feb. 18,

For 15 years, the definition of “intolerable” in this country has declined by degrees until, to our dismay, we found ourselves with one of the highest murder rates in the Western Hemisphere, a 57 percent inflation rate and a scarcity of basic goods unprecedented outside of wartime.

Our crippled economy is matched by an equally oppressive political climate. Since student protests began on Feb. 4, more than 1,500 protesters have been detained and more than 50 have reported that they were tortured while in police custody. Over 30 people, including security forces and civilians, have died in the demonstrations. What started as a peaceful march against crime on a university campus has exposed the depth of this government’s criminalization of dissent.

Indeed. As the country goes up in smoke, the same government who claims to have been “democratically elected” is in full assault against elected representatives:

And it’s also jailing the military:

President Nicolás Maduro said Tuesday that three air force generals allegedly plotting to overthrow the government had been arrested amid antigovernment protests that have roiled the country for nearly two months.

While publishing Leopoldo López’s letter, the NYT did a “two newspapers in one” by sending two reporters to gather opinions about Cuba’s interference in Venezuela. Babalu explains,

But alas, this is the New York Times and the outcome of their so-called investigation had already been decided before the reporters were even assigned to the story. Of course the newspaper of record – the same one that has brought us so many honest and respectable journalists such as Herbert Matthews — found absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Cuba’s Castro dictatorship has infiltrated Venezuela. Instead, what they discover are “hardliners” who are “fixated” with going after Cuba. They even trot out Castro regime supporter Arturo Lopez-Levy, a former Castro-intelligence-agent-turned-American-academic who also happens to be a member of the Castro crime family to prove their point.

It’s not just Cuba; it’s also Russia. Back when he was alive, Hugo Chavez offered Putin the use of military installations as Russian bases. A Venezuelan general has even tweeted about it:
SECRET ACCORD with Russia signed in 2009 when Chavez unconditionally offered Russia the use of the Orchilla Island military base.”

Related: Putin’s quiet Latin America play, and it’s not only Russia,

With the American presence waning, officials say rivals such as Russia, China and Iran are quickly filling the void.

Iran has opened up 11 additional embassies and 33 cultural centers in Latin America while supporting the “operational presence” of militant group Lebanese Hezbollah in the region.

“On the military side, I believe they’re establishing, if you will, lily pads for future use if they needed to use them,” Kelly said.

China is making a play for Latin America a well, and is now the fastest growing investor in the region, according to experts. Although their activity is mostly economic, they are also increasing military activity through educational exchanges.

The Chinese Navy conducted a goodwill visit in Brazil, Chile and Argentina last year and conducted its first-ever naval exercise with the Argentine Navy.

It’s slingshots vs tanks.


The Goodbye, Columbus Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 10th, 2014

LatinAmerWhile more important stories were in the headlines, Cristina Fernandez took the cake by attempting to remove all traces of Christopher Columbus from the royal palace executive mansion, no matter that Columbus never set foot in the Country, and the Italian-born navigator shared a native land with millions of Argentinians.

ARGENTINA
Ted Turner Hospitalized In Argentina For Undisclosed Ailment
A security guard at the Instituto Argentino de Diagnostico y Tratamiento confirmed to The Associated Press that Turner was hospitalized there.

Pope Francis: the priest of the slums
Peter Stanford, author and former editor of the Catholic Herald, retraces the trip Pope Francis used to take to the outskirts of Buenos Aires to try to understand the man who was known as ‘the priest of the slums’

BOLIVIA
Footbridge collapses at Bolivian parade killing at least four people
Three musicians among the dead as an overloaded metal footbridge collapses during the opening parade of carnival in highlands city of Oruro

BRAZIL
Dilma Rou$$eff

Fresh deal to end Rio rubbish strike
Rio de Janeiro officials and street cleaners say they have reached a deal to end a strike which has left litter piling up in the Brazilian city.

CHILE
Chicago Latino Film Festival to honor Chilean actress Paulina Garcia
The Chicago Latino Film Festival will confer its career-achievement award on Chilean theater, film and television actress Paulina Garcia, organizers said.

Incoming Chilean Finance Minister Promises to Boost Investments
Alberto Areas Says New Bachelet Administration Will Take Over Slowing Economy
: expect more government spending, more debt.

COSTA RICA
Governing Party Candidate Pulls Out of Costa Rica’s Presidential Campaign
Sinking in the polls a month before Costa Rica’s presidential election, Johnny Araya, the candidate for the country’s governing party, pulled out of the campaign on Wednesday

CUBA
At least 8 new political prisoners in Cuba in February

French Banks Investigated for Sanctions Violations

ECUADOR
TWO Capt. Louis Renault moments:
1. Presidente plantea enmienda constitucional sin que se llame a referéndum

2. Ecuadoran President Correa Blasts NY Fed Judge’s Ruling for Chevron

EL SALVADOR
Leftist party ahead in El Salvador polls
Elections in El Salvador will decide whether the incumbent leftist government will gain a mandate for another five years. The winning party must tackle gang violence and address the country’s economic problems.

LATIN AMERICA
The Economist: iPhonenomics
One phone, many countries
Costly Brazil, dysfunctional Argentina, bureaucratic Mexico. Our correspondents go shopping for the same Apple product

MEXICO
Court Setback for Mexican Drug Kingpin
A Mexican judge has denied the drug kingpin Joaquín (El Chapo) Guzmán Loera an injunction against any extradition to the United States.

Andres Oppenheimer: Mexico’s new friend: Castro’s Cuba

If Peña Nieto wanted to keep Cuba and Venezuela from firing up Mexico’s left, he could have done the same with polite diplomacy, without the need to praise as a “moral leader” a dictator who is responsible for thousands of deaths and has not allowed a free election in five decades. In an effort to distance himself from his predecessors, Peña Nieto has gone overboard.

ANALYSIS: FORMER MEXICAN CARTEL LEADER KILLED AGAIN

NICARAGUA
Busted in Nicaragua: ex-Rep. David Rivera’s pal, Ana Alliegro, in FBI custody over campaign scheme

PANAMA
Panama demands Venezuela pay $1bn debt
President Martinelli asks Caracas not to use decision to cut diplomatic ties with Panama as “excuse” to not pay debt.

PARAGUAY
’7 Boxes’ review: fast-paced thriller from Paraguay

PERU
Peru to ‘eliminate’ key environmental rule for oil and gas firms, says minister
Announcement that seismic tests won’t need Environmental Impact Assessments sparks controversy and concern

PUERTO RICO
Felix Salmon on Why Puerto Rico’s bonds are moving to New York: it all comes down to default protection for the bondholders.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan president to visit Iran next month

La libertad en las calles
PIEDRA DE TOQUE. Venezuela ya no es un país democrático y la gran movilización popular es para que haya todavía elecciones de verdad en ese país y no rituales operaciones circenses como son las de Cuba

Scenes from Venezuela, 3/8/14 #8M #SOSVenezuela

Venezuela’s Opposition Is United Against Maduro, But Internally Divided

A Growing Crisis in Post-Chavez Venezuela

Los Guayabitos: The Venezuelan town where La Revolución reigns supreme

Venezuelan Crisis Plays Out On The Floor Of The United Nations

Large Protests Continue As Venezuelan Government Celebrates OAS Victory

Late Friday in Washington, the Organization of American States approved a declaration that rejected violence and called for justice for the 21 people the government says have died in weeks of street protests. The resolution also offered “full support” for the Venezuelan government’s peace initiative, in which the opposition has so far refused to participate.

The week’s posts:
Don Mario se quita los guantes y le cae encima al fascista Maduro: En español: Vargas Llosa a puño limpio

Argentina: Goodbye, Columbus

Colombia: Congressional elections tomorrow

Marco Rubio at #CPAC2014: “America must be involved in leading the world”

Argentina: Still in the hole for $185 million

Venezuela: Waiting to buy food

Cuba: Mario Díaz-Balart explains to the dense why Cuban oppression is bad

Venezuela: Door-to-door raids, AWOL colonels, Panama out

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez is still dead

Ecuador: Donziger guilty of fraud against Chevron

En español: Terapia intensiva

BREAKING NEWS Ecuador: Chevron wins

Venezuela: Big shoes and misreports

At Da Tech Guy:
Marco Rubio at #CPAC2014: “America must be involved in leading the world”

Ecuador: Donziger guilty of fraud against Chevron

Iran in U.S. maritime borders: A question

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Looking at this bit of news,
Iranian warships sent to U.S. maritime borders for first time (emphasis added)

The commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet, Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, is quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying Saturday that the vessels have already begun the journey to the Atlantic Ocean via waters near South Africa.

Iranian officials said last month that the fleet consisted of a destroyer and a logistic helicopter carrierwhich will be on a three-month mission.

I have a question or two:
1. “A destroyer and a logistic helicopter carrier” making the long haul from Iran around South Africa and up the Atlantic. need refueling. They don’t come in nuclear-powered batteries, do they?

2. Where are they refueling? Argentina? Brazil? Venezuela? Cuba?

3. Is the US going to exert any pressure on any country aiding Iran?

Latin America: What was missing from the SOTU

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

My latest article at Da Tech Guy On Da Radio Blog Latin America: What was missing from the SOTU

Please go read it and hit Da Tip Jar.

Ecuador, Iran, Syria: The new axis?

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Lachlan Markay writes in the Washington Free Beacon on The Correa-Khamenei Axis
Ecuador pumping up its relationship with Iran and Syria, experts say

Correa, who began his third term as president on Friday, reaffirmed Ecuador’s alliance with Iran.

“We would ratify it a thousand times over,” Correa said of the alliance during his inaugural address, according to a translation of the speech.

Iran’s vice president for international affairs, who attended the inauguration in an official capacity, said the two countries “have elite people and revolutionary governments and we are happy that the ‘Citizens’ Revolution’ — the slogan of Ecuador’s president — can live on,” according to a report from Iranian state-owned media.

Correa also expressed support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which also sent an envoy — its former ambassador to Venezuela — to Correa’s inauguration, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency.

Iran’s relationship with Ecuador appears to be mirroring its arrangement with Venezuela, according to Joseph Humire, executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society, who has called Ecuador “one of Iran’s largest money-laundering hubs in Latin America.”

As you may recall, The Ecuadorian Finance Co., Inc. (COFIEC), a bank that was seized a decade ago by the former Deposit Guarantee Agency (AGD) would be the legal vehicle used by the Ecuadorian state to conduct financial transactions with Iran. The purpose is to help Iran evade sanctions.

Additionally, two years ago, Deutsche Welle was reporting that Ecuador had become the new hub for international crime.


Venezuela: Did anyone miss Maduro at the UN?

Saturday, September 28th, 2013


Maybe a birdie told him to stay away.

As you may have noticed, all the talk at last week’s UN meeting was focused on Obama and Iran, and not on NicoláMaduro, who may enviously look back at the days when Hugo Chávez could make the headlines around the world just by doing stand-up.

Instead, Maduro had to skip the UN altogether and rush back to Venezuela – after signing off oil exploration and gold mining rights to the Chinese (and still coming short on cash) – because

  • while refueling in Vancouver, Canada, he became aware that the DEA could arrest three members of his entourage on charges of drug trafficking, based on information provided by former Aragua state Chavista governor Rafael Isea, now a protected witness for the DEA
  • Cuban spies traveling with Maduro, and identified by Spanish newspaper ABC, would not have been allowed to land in the USA
  • and the fear that, if he prolonged his absence from the country, he may have a coup from the military and/or members of his own party.

Instead Maduro flew back to Caracas and claimed he had to because of not one but two plots against his life, which President Obama’s weakness could not prevent.

Carlos Eire translated the ABC article, which you must read.

Argentina: Cristina trusts Iran

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

The largest terrorism attack in our hemisphere prior to 9/11/2001 was the explosion at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) center in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds. It was masterminded by Mohsen Rabbani, who presently is actively recruiting converts in Latin America, and Ahmad Vahidi, now Iran’s Defense Minister.

Where do things stand now?

Cristina Fernandez trusts Teheran and hopes for cooperation in the AMIA case
President Cristina Fernandez during her speech to the UN General Assembly said she hoped that the new Government in Iran would cooperate with Argentina in relation to the clarification of the attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires in 1994.

(emphasis added)

The Argentina/Iran project, which commits both countries to commit to an investigation into the perpetrators of the deadly bombing, is subject to uncertainty in Iran where it remains in legal limbo.

Funny wording, that, “commits both countries to commit to an investigation”.

Having received the equivalent of a pre-engagement ring, Cristina went on and asked for “a date to send an Argentine magistrate to Teheran”.

Don’t hold your breath, Cristina.

While at the, she took time to condemn the UK government for deploying nuclear-armed submarines around the Falklands.

Priorities, priorities.


The Syrian news Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 9th, 2013

LatinAmerEveryone’s talking about Syria, but what does it have to do with Latin America? This:
Iran, Cuba warn of fallout of Syria attack
Iran and Cuba have expressed concerns about the consequences of any foreign military action against Syria, stressing a political approach to resolve the crisis in the Arab country.
(h/t Capitol Hill Cubans)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his counterpart Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla expressed their deep reservations about the threats of military action against Syria in a telephone conversation on Wednesday.

Iran and Cuba: Chummy enough to do joint conference calls on behalf of Assad, no less.

Here’s looking at you, kid,

Meanwhile, Syrian Refugees Flock To Latin America As World Ponders Taking Action Against Assad

ARGENTINA
‘Dirty War’ judge Romano extradited to Argentina
A former Argentine judge has been extradited to face charges of human rights abuses during the 1976-1983 military rule.

BOLIVIA
Andres Oppenheimer: Authoritarian leaders breed corruption
What’s most amazing about the arrest in Miami of Bolivia’s top anti-corruption police official, caught on tape extorting a bribe from a well-known businessman, was that hardly anybody was surprised by the news.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s Independence Day Marked By Widespread Protests

Political corruption in Brazil
Lawmaker behind bars

CHILE
Chile court admits omissions during dictatorship

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s peace talks
To the edge and back again
A hiccup serves to confirm that the government and the FARC are making progress

The week Santos lost Colombia

CUBA
Grounded TV Marti plane a monument to the limits of American austerity

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Vatican Abruptly Removes Dominican Republic Envoy

ECUADOR
Ecuador writes off ill-fated satellite

MEXICO
Mexico Set to Unveil Tax-Code Overhaul
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is expected to introduce Sunday a wide-reaching proposal that seeks to boost federal tax revenue, a move that could prove politically complicated in a slowing economy.

Capture of a Mexican drug lord
Got Ugly Betty. Now get Shorty

PUERTO RICO
Fortuño: Puerto Ricans In U.S. Shouldn’t Have A Say On Statehood, But Congress Needs To Act

57 Undocumented Migrants Detained in Puerto Rico

TRINIDAD
Venezuela Reaches Gas Deal with Trinidad

VENEZUELA
SIBCI’s Syria

La corrupción apaga a Venezuela
La abundancia de la naturaleza es superada por la infinita corrupción en los gobiernos que han administrado el país

Accountability Is A Dirty Word For Chavismo

The week’s posts and podcast:
Capital flight: from Venezuela to the Dominican Republic

Colombia: Santos OK with FARC not disarming

Brasil: Médico cubano relata exploração do trabalho na Ilha dos irmãos Castro

Spy vs Spy

Mexico: Senate approves education reform

Colombia: Santos’s approval plummets

NSA spying: Mexico & Brazil not amused UPDATED

Mexico: Will the teachers imperil reforms?

Podcast:
US-LatAm stories of the week


The #CowNado Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Yes, my friends, after the #SharkNado, it’s #CowNado time!

The Brazilian man was asleep in bed when the cow fell on him and killed him. Both the cow & his widow are unharmed.

LatinAmerIn other news from the region:

ARGENTINA
Greenwald Tells Argentinean Media Snowden Has Info That Could Be US’ ‘Worst Nightmare’

BOLIVIA
Morales says US hacked Bolivian leaders’ emails

BRAZIL
Corruption and Graft: Brazil Rushes Headlong into Popular Revolt

Brazil’s protests
The fallout spreads
Politicians have been hurt by the marches, none more so than the president

CHILE
FACTS AND TRUTH: THE GOVERNMENT THAT SAVED CHILE

COLOMBIA
Uribistas name candidates for Colombia´s 2014 senate race

CUBA
Remembering victims of ’13th of March’ tugboat massacre, July 13, 1994

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominicans Freak Out Over Obama’s Gay Ambassador Pick

ECUADOR
The Correa-Khamenei Axis
Ecuador pumping up its relationship with Iran and Syria, experts say

QUITO JOURNAL
In Ecuador, a Magazine’s Death Comes Amid Questions

GUATEMALA
Guatemala ‘to extradite drug lord’
A Guatemalan appeals court rules that Waldemar Lorenzana, who is wanted by the US for his alleged ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, can be extradited

HONDURAS
With Honduras, Obama Was Quick to Recognize a ‘Coup’

A Tale of Two Coups: Egypt and Honduras

LATIN AMERICA
Iran Fans Out 40,000 Agents in South America

MEXICO
‘The Terrorist-Criminal Nexus: An Alliance of International Drug Cartels, Organized Crime, and Terror Groups’

What Happened to Congress’ ‘Fast and Furious’ Fury?
Scandal resurfaces as a Mexican police chief and his bodyguard fall victim to a gun from the ATF operation.

Local elections in Mexico
Something for everyone—except voters

Disappeared, Smeared and Abandoned by their Government: the Fate of Mexico’s Disappeared

PUERTO RICO
Reports bring PR into Snowden case

VENEZUELA
What Edward Snowden Should Know About Venezuela (registration required)

In Spanish: Maduro y Evo hablan del espía,

The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina: I say tomato, you say tomahtoh

Mexico: Bugs – it’s what’s for dinner

Argentina: House Lawmakers Ask John Kerry to Reconsider Argentinian Aid

Cuba: 50 years of food rationing

Venezuela and Iran’s joint intelligence program

Argentina and Mexico: #1 on corruption

Argentina: 33% in poverty

Venezuela: Runaway inflation, runaway asylum

Argentina blocks AMIA prosecutor from testifying on Iranian presence in South America

UN: Mexico border a “global pathway” to the USA

Podcast:
Socialism in Latin America with Dr Carlos Eire


Argentina: House Lawmakers Ask John Kerry to Reconsider Argentinian Aid

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

From the Washington Free Beacon:
House Lawmakers Ask John Kerry to Reconsider Argentinian Aid
Bipartisan coalition criticizes Argentina for growing closer to Iran

U.S. officials and regional experts warned earlier this week that under the leadership of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina has helped Iran bring its terrorist activities to the Western hemisphere.

The lawmakers—including House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R., Texas), Reps. Jeff Duncan (R., S.C.), Grace Meng (D., N.Y.), Michael Grimm (R., N.Y.), and Bill Posey (R., Fla.)—urged Kerry to immediately cut back U.S. support for Argentina.

The matter has assumed “a new level of urgency” given Argentina’s increasing efforts to accommodate Iran, according to the letter.

U.S. officials and independent experts have cited Kirchner’s government for boosting trade with Iran by more than a billion dollars, as well as for allowing Iranian agents to move freely through the region, where they are suspected of smuggling weapons, money, and other goods.

I’ll be extremely surprised if Kerry agrees. At best, the current administration simply doesn’t care. Worse, the State Department comes up with two-page reports soft-pedaling Iran’s threat on Latin America.