Among the reforms implemented since 2009, Gov. Fortuno enacted the largest tax cut package in Puerto Rico’s history, which will lower taxes an average 30 percent for businesses and 50 percent for individuals. And after launching one of the most advanced Public-Private-Partnership programs in the country, the Governor announced in June that Puerto Rico will receive $1.436 billion in private infrastructure investment—the largest such investment in any U.S. jurisdiction this year and the first infrastructure P3 in the country since 2006 – to upgrade and manage two of the Island’s major toll roads.
Fortuno took a 10 percent pay cut, required agency heads to take a 5 percent cut, froze all salaries for two fiscal years, reduced political appointments by 30 percent, and got rid of government cell phones and credit cards. Because payroll expenses dominated 70 percent of the budget, government employee ranks were reduced by 23,000 through voluntary and mandatory measures, achieving a $935 million or 17 percent reduction in total payroll.
He also said it’s possible that the original abscess drainage procedure itself could have contaminated the area with cancer cells. Treatment, doctors agreed, would be aggressive radiation and chemotherapy.
“Prostate tumors normally do not cause this kind of abscess,” said Leon Lapco, president of the Venezuelan-American Doctors Association and a surgeon at Mercy Hospital. “I would say it’s his colon, the large intestine. It’s the most likely to cause diverticulitis, perforations and abscesses.”
I have been reading about – but not blogging on – the Gunwalker scandal. Via Instapundit, Robert Farago has three explanations on The Real Reason the ATF Smuggled Guns Into Mexico: 1. To catch the “big fish”, 2. Empire building, and 3. ATF Agents enabled smuggled guns to line their own pockets, concluding that,
The amount of money—cash money—flowing in the drug trade is beyond your wildest imagination. Tens of billions of dollars. The Mexican drug lords have corrupted officials on both sides of the border, at the highest possible levels. Why not the ATF? Money talks, guns walk. Makes perfect sense.
Welcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. The week’s big news: Venezuela’s Chavista-controlled lame-duck National Assembly granted Hugo Chavez the power to rule by decree for the next eighteen months, essentially voiding the results of last September’s Congressional election.
Commander-President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that his government expropriated 250. 000 hectares of land during the month of October and expects the number to double until the end of the year, and continue throughout 2011.
Welcome to this week’s Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. As the title indicates, it’s been a year since Mel Zelaya was thrown out of office. He and his teddy bear are also gone from his tin foil-lined room at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.
Today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern:
The UN Office for Drugs and Crime’s report
Lula’s adventure in Tehran smacks of the overconfidence of a politician who basks in an approval rating of over 70% and who sees the Iraq war and the financial crisis as having irreparably damaged American power and credibility. But the United States is still Brazil’s second-largest trading partner. Although some American and Brazilian officials are keen to prevent ill-will over Iran from spoiling co-operation in other areas, it nevertheless may do so. The United States Congress may be even less willing to support the elimination of a tariff on Brazil’s sugar-based ethanol, for example.
Lula wants the UN reformed to reflect today’s world, with Brazil gaining a permanent seat on the Security Council. But by choosing to apply his views on how the world should be run to an issue of pressing concern to America and Europe, and in which Brazil has no obvious national interest, Lula may only have lessened the chances that he will get his way.
PUERTO RICO Students approve strike pact. Back in the olden days when I was a student at the UPR they were striking, too, but no one slept in cute little tents on campus. Either way, the strikes are a total waste of time.
The report launched by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) expresses concern about Venezuela due to the existence of cells of armed insurgent groups, such as the Bolivarian Liberation Front and civilian militias supported by the government.
Police in Jamaica issued a plea for calm after the arrest of alleged drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke outside Kingston.
The arrest occurred just outside the capital city on Tuesday afternoon. A failed attempt to arrest Coke last month resulted in four days of gun battles between security forces and his supporters that left 76 people dead, and authorities want to avoid a repeat of the violence.
“I would like to appeal to the families, friends and sympathizers of Christopher Coke to remain calm and to allow the law to take its course. I also [would] like to assure the citizens of Jamaica that the situation remains normal, there is no need for alarm and they can get about their normal businesses in the usual way,” Police Commissioner Owen Ellington said on Tuesday.
Ellington told reporters that police acting on intelligence picked up Coke, 41, and took him to the Spanish Town Police Station in St. Catherine. From there, he was taken via helicopter to Kingston, Ellington said.
Police will be taking “every step possible to ensure his safety and well-being whilst he is in our custody,” Ellington said.
The police high command was meeting Tuesday night with the police director of public prosecution to begin the process of extradition to the United States as soon as possible, Ellington said.
“The legal proceedings will commence immediately. Once we are able to settle on the issue of legal representation and reach an agreement with the director of public prosecutions on where the hearings will be held, a court date will be set and we anticipate that we can achieve that within 48 hours,” Ellington said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office hailed the arrest after a five-week manhunt by local authorities.
“We look forward to working closely with the Jamaican authorities to bring Coke to justice to face charges pending against him in Manhattan federal court,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Coke, who is wanted in the United States on gun and drug trafficking charges, was en route to the U.S. Embassy in Kingston accompanied by the Rev. Al Miller when Jamaican police recognized him at a checkpoint and took him into custody, the minister told a reporter for Radio Jamaica.
Santos is credited with delivering some of the biggest blows against the FARC while serving as defense minister from 2006 to 2008. These include the 2008 rescue of 15 hostages including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. defense contractors. He also ordered the raid into Ecuador that killed the group’s second in command, Raul Reyes.
Relations between Bolivia and the United States are still on a roller-coaster, two years after Bolivia expelled the U.S. ambassador, with Bolivian President Evo Morales now threatening to kick out the main U.S. government aid agency.