Archive for the ‘John Kerry’ Category

Venezuela: The lifeline, the triple currency

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

First, the triple currency:
Carlos Eire posts on how Maduro Institutionalizes Cuban-Style Economic Chaos in Caracastan

The Venezuelan currency — the Bolivar — has now been assigned three different values by Maduro’s economic ministers.

The official name for this institutionalized chaos is “Sistema Complementario de Divisas (Sicad)”.

This new “Sicad” system in Caracastan is much more than an open display of the Castronoid obsessios with acronyms for destructive and repressive government programs: it’s an acknowledgment of the existence of a black market. Under “Sicad” the Bolivar will have three distinct exchange rates. Right now, depending on what kind of financial transaction one is making, the Bolivar will be worth 10 cents on a US Dollar, or 6.3 cents on a US Dollar, or 3 cents on a US Dollar. The lowest of these three values is the real value of the Bolivar, for that is the value pegged to the black market, which is euphemistically referred to as the “parallel” market.

The purpose is to obscure the devalued currency’s worth so no one knows its worth.

Spain’s ABC has much more (in Spanish) on the 3-card Monty; the also point out that Argentina’s got the official and the black market rates. Clarín (in Spanish) has more on Argentina’s double currency.

And the lifeline,
Venezuela gets a lifeline from the United States

One government, however, has chosen to toss Mr. Maduro a lifeline: the United States. Last week Secretary of State John F. Kerry took time to meet Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua on the sidelines of an Organization of American States meeting, then announced that the Obama administration would like to “find a new way forward” with the Maduro administration and “quickly move to the appointment of ambassadors.” Mr. Kerry even thanked Mr. Maduro for “taking steps toward this encounter” — words that the state-run media trumpeted.

What did Mr. Maduro do to earn this assistance from Mr. Kerry? Since Mr. Chávez’s death in March, the Venezuelan leader has repeatedly used the United States as a foil. He expelled two U.S. military attaches posted at the embassy in Caracas, claiming that they were trying to destabilize the country; he claimed the CIA was provoking violence in order to justify an invasion; and he called President Obama “the big boss of the devils.” A U.S. filmmaker, Timothy Tracy, was arrested and charged with plotting against the government — a ludicrous allegation that was backed with no evidence. Though Mr. Tracy was put on a plane to Miami on the day of the Kerry-Jaua encounter, Mr. Kerry agreed to the meeting before that gesture.

As I mentioned last week, the Tracy kidnapping worked.

Venezuela: The kidnapping worked

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Imagine, if you may, this sequence of events:

  • Dictator dies
  • Dictatorship expels superpower military attaches in March the same day dictator dies
  • Dictatorship perpetuates (or at least attempts to perpetuate) itself through electoral fraud
  • Superpower ignores election results
  • Big OAS pow-wow date looms on the horizon
  • Dictatorship kidnaps citizen of superpower
  • Behind-the-scenes deal takes place
  • To add urgency, the dictatorship places the citizen of the superpower in one of the most dangerous jails in our hemisphere
  • Citizen is released and returned
  • Superpower’s Secretary of State and dictatorship’s foreign minister get together for photo-op
  • Everybody’s happy

You don’t think that’s what happened in the Timothy Tracy case?

Think again:

John Kerry Meets With Venezuela’s Foreign Minister; Talk Of Improving Relations

On his first trip to Latin America since taking office, Kerry said he was hopeful that a rapprochement could be achieved. The meeting, which came at Venezuela’s request, took place just hours after Venezuela released from prison an American filmmaker who had been jailed on espionage charges, removing an immediate irritant in the relationship.

Meanwhile, in a speech to the 35-member OAS annual general assembly, Kerry did not mention the developments with Venezuela, but reiterated U.S. concerns that some countries in the hemisphere are backsliding on their commitments to democracy and seeking to weaken OAS institutions that monitor and report on human rights.

Any questions?

Linked by Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!

Bill Whittle: “What difference does it make?”

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

Well said.

(And I’m glad Bill’s wearing a dark suit and contrasting tie. The gray-on-gray washed him out.)

h/t Jimbo.

The Christmas’ Eve Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Looting Tests Leader in Argentina
President Kirchner’s Social Policies Are Criticized After Raids Spread to Several Cities; Government Blames Union Leaders
; thing is, once you run out of other people’s money, you don’t have money to pay the unions.

Argentina looting spreads to Buenos Aires province
Two people have been killed in Argentina’s third city, Rosario, as a wave of looting spreads.

A tale of two churches

Senadora que demanda Justicia es amedrentada por el Fiscal y exige garantías

Kerry Has Investments in Companies Accused of Violating Iran Sanctions

Copahue volcano eruption puts Argentina and Chile on alert

Costa Rica: Security Chief Suggests Firearms Ban

Teacher’s Day

Ecuador top banker’s fake degree
The governor of the Ecuadorean Central Bank, Pedro Delgado, resigns after admitting that he lied about finishing a degree in economics.

Mayan temple damaged in tourist ‘apocalypse’ frenzy

John Kerry’s Record in Latin America
It isn’t that he opposes U.S. intervention. It’s that somehow he often ends up backing the bad guys
: Sandinistas, Cubans, FARC, Zelaya.

Jon Hammar back on U.S. soil

Mexico Takes On Teachers Over School Control

US and Puerto Rico Sign Police Reform Agreement

Chavez death watch intensifies

Chávez Is Conscious and Recovering, His Vice President Says

Dr. Marquina says no,

Chávez Faces Infection
President Hugo Chávez is in stable condition after facing a respiratory infection following cancer surgery in Cuba, Venezuela’s information minister said.

Pobre hijita de Papi…

Is There Any Silver Lining For The Venezuelan Opposition From Sunday’s Elections?

Say what?

Photos: Miss Universe 2012’s Most Bizarre National Costumes
On Dec. 19, women from around the world competed at the 61st annual Miss Universe pageant. Here’s a look at the contestants’ wacky—and occasionally tacky—national ensembles

The week’s posts:
John Kerry for Secretary of State

Mayans, schmayans

Venezuela: Chavistas take all the states except 3

John Kerry for Secretary of State

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Obama taps Kerry as secretary of state

US president Barack Obama on Friday has announced the nomination of US Senator John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, calling him the “perfect choice” to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.

“In a sense, John’s entire life has prepared him for this role. Having served with valour in Vietnam, he understands that we have a responsibility to use American power wisely,” he said.

Back in Sandinista Days . . .

Kerry has a record on Latin America — a substantial one. You will recall the 1980s, and that decade’s fierce debates over Central America policy. At the heart of these debates was Nicaragua: the Sandinistas, Castro, and the Soviet Union versus the Contras and the United States (or rather, not all of the United States: the Reagan administration, in particular). Kerry was an important player in all this. He was part of a group derided by Republicans as “‘Dear Comandante’ Democrats,” for they would address letters to Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista No. 1, “Dear Comandante.” (“But that’s his title,” they would plead, not unreasonably.) This group included such House members as Mike Barnes and Pete Kostmayer, and such senators as Chris Dodd and Tom Harkin — and John Kerry.

Go read the whole thing.

We’re in the best of hands…

What not to wear, Senator style

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Bingley asks,

WHO was the STIFF that did THIS?

A button-down shirt and tie to play softball in? Really?

Everyone else wore baseball tee shirts and shorts.

I’ll give you ONE clue: it was a contest between US Senate office teams from the same state and the bosses were on hand. No CHEATING!

HillBuzz has the answer: John Kerry,

Massachusetts Sens. Scott Brown (R) and John Kerry (D) are developing a healthy rivalry, but it’s not over partisan politics. It’s all about sports.

The athletic lawmakers faced off on the National Mall on Tuesday for a friendly softball game between their office teams, which Brown’s team, the Great Scotts, won handily, 11-6. Brown, wearing a team jersey and shorts, played a very capable first base for eight innings and went 2 for 3 at the plate, scoring two runs.

Kerry, who arrived in a shirt and tie, had one at-bat and grounded out to third.
But before he batted, the senator took off his tie — to whooping cheers from his staffers.

When it was Brown’s turn to bat, however, Brown asked to wear Kerry’s tie at the plate. Kerry was happy to oblige and Brown batted in “business attire.”

Glad to see that Scott Brown, while behaving like a Dem, has not taken up yet the sartorial statements. Next, Brown and Lurch will be going out for bike rides. Let’s hope Kerry wears a helmet.

In nepotism news, the Kennedys are still working on a Capitol Hill dynasty: the article also mentions that

In a twist of fate, Brown was tagged out once, at first base by Kerry intern Jack Schlossberg, son of Caroline Kennedy and the great-nephew of Brown’s predecessor, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

I humbly pray, “Dear Lord, no more Bushes, Clintons, or Kennedys in politics, ever. Amen.”


Why won’t the Obama administration support the upcoming Honduran elections?

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Jim DeMint, who, as you may recall traveled to Honduras last week in spite of John Kerry’s political blackmail, writes in today’s Wall Street Journal about his trip to Honduras:

What I Heard in Honduras
Our ambassador is the only person I met there who thinks there was a ‘coup.’ Let’s release the State Department legal analysis.

While in Honduras, I spoke to dozens of Hondurans, from nonpartisan members of civil society to former Zelaya political allies, from Supreme Court judges to presidential candidates and even personal friends of Mr. Zelaya. Each relayed stories of a man changed and corrupted by power. The evidence of Mr. Zelaya’s abuses of presidential power—and his illegal attempts to rewrite the Honduran Constitution, a la Hugo Chávez—is not only overwhelming but uncontroverted.

As all strong democracies do after cleansing themselves of usurpers, Honduras has moved on.

The presidential election is on schedule for Nov. 29. Under Honduras’s one-term-limit, Mr. Zelaya could not have sought re-election anyway. Current President Roberto Micheletti—who was installed after Mr. Zelaya’s removal, per the Honduran Constitution—is not on the ballot either. The presidential candidates were nominated in primary elections almost a year ago, and all of them—including Mr. Zelaya’s former vice president—expect the elections to be free, fair and transparent, as has every Honduran election for a generation.

Indeed, the desire to move beyond the Zelaya era was almost universal in our meetings. Almost.

In a day packed with meetings, we met only one person in Honduras who opposed Mr. Zelaya’s ouster, who wishes his return, and who mystifyingly rejects the legitimacy of the November elections: U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens.

Llorens bases his opinion on an undisclosed report by Harold Koh,

When I asked Ambassador Llorens why the U.S. government insists on labeling what appears to the entire country to be the constitutional removal of Mr. Zelaya a “coup,” he urged me to read the legal opinion drafted by the State Department’s top lawyer, Harold Koh. As it happens, I have asked to see Mr. Koh’s report before and since my trip, but all requests to publicly disclose it have been denied.

Andy McCarthy writes about Koh,

As Ed Whelan and I pointed out when Koh was up for confirmation, the former Yale Law School dean is the nation’s leading transnationalist. He has zero respect for national constitutions (including ours), preferring a post-sovereign order in which international law profs, transnational organizations, and free-lancing judges will be our overlords. What is happening with Honduras is exactly what anyone who familiarized himself with Koh’s record would have predicted. Yet, he was confirmed by a 62-35 margin, with support from the usual GOP suspects: Lugar, Voinovich, Snowe, Collins, and Martinez.

Why isn’t Koh’s report made available to DeMint, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee?

DeMint continues

On the other hand, the only thorough examination of the facts to date—conducted by a senior analyst at the Law Library of Congress—confirms the legality and constitutionality of Mr. Zelaya’s ouster. (It’s on the Internet here.)

Unlike the Obama administration’s snap decision after June 28, the Law Library report is grounded in the facts of the case and the intricacies of Honduran constitutional law. So persuasive is the report that after its release, the New Republic’s James Kirchick concluded in an Oct. 3 article that President Obama’s hastily decided Honduras policy is now “a mistake in search of a rationale.”

The Obama administration has not explained why it will reject the upcoming election,

So far, the Obama administration has ignored these requests and instead has repeatedly doubled down. It’s revoked the U.S. travel visas of President Micheletti, his government and private citizens, and refuses to talk to the government in Tegucigalpa. It’s frozen desperately needed financial assistance to one of the poorest and friendliest U.S. allies in the region. It won’t release the legal basis for its insistence on Mr. Zelaya’s restoration to power. Nor has it explained why it’s setting aside America’s longstanding policy of supporting free elections to settle these kinds of disputes.

But these elections are the only way out—a fact even the Obama administration must see. The Honduran constitution prohibits Zelaya’s return to power. The election date is set by law for Nov. 29. The elections will be monitored by international observers and overseen by an apolitical body, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, whose impartiality and independence has been roundly praised, even by Ambassador Llorens.

Even Bill Clinton’s former White House Counsel has spoken in favor of the elections.

Inexplicably, the Obama administration continues to insist on Zelaya’s reinstatement.


Hat tip: Dan Collins.

DeMint’s trip to Honduras is on; UPDATE: photo from the visit

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

… at least for now: Update: A source at the US Senate has confirmed to me that the trip is on. See also update below.

Following up on last night’s post on John Kerry’s political blackmail, it looks like Mitch McConnell

used his leadership position to authorize DeMint’s trip through the Department of Defense, and not the State Department, which is customary for Senate overseas travel.

The Washington Post also confirms that

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) denounced Kerry’s move on the Senate floor and sought the intervention of the minority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The Republican leader appealed to the Defense Department to provide an aircraft for DeMint’s trip and the Pentagon agreed to do so, according to the South Carolina senator’s office.

You would think that, having read the Law Library of Congress’ report on Honduras: Constitutional Law Issues, John Kerry and the Democrat senators would at least have an inkling as to why a member of the Senate may want to go on a fact-finding trip to the country.

But then, that’s because you’d think they might have bothered to read the report in the first place.

(Thanks to commenter Pete for the link)


Senators put holds on nominees and bills all the time. It’s not an attractive aspect of the Senate that an individual senator can block action by using such holds, but it’s what they do up there in the Senate. In fact, Senator Kerry wasn’t above using a hold or a threat of a hold when he didn’t like something that the Bush administration was doing as he did back in 2006. When he was senator, Obama did it too. What is different is trying to use his position as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee to exact revenge on a senator who is putting a hold that the chairman doesn’t like.

Fortunately, Kerry’s power play didn’t work. DeMint is getting his trip to Honduras because Mitch McConnell stepped in. John Kerry would benefit himself from some on-the-ground research on what has been going on in Honduras. But he’d rather stake out a position without researching for himself what happened with the ouster of Zelaya. Do other senators really agree that a chairman can try to block other senators’ overseas trips if they’re angry about that senator using one of their prized senatorial privileges? The Democrats should remember that what goes around comes around. One day they will be in the minority. Do they want to endorse John Kerry’s precedent of how to use his power as chairman?

In other Honduras news
Brazil named a new ambassador to Honduras (h/t Dick), since the prior ambassador was on vacation since before Zelaya was ousted. It’ll be interesting to see how the embassy acommodates his arrival while Zelaya’s there, exhorting his supporters to revolt on his behalf.

In Honduras, pres. Micheletti appeared at the Supreme Court to explain why he suspended civil liberties. His decision is being debated by the Concil of Ministers today.

La Gringa reported yesterday that Honduran Bishop Juan Jose Pineda is proposing the creation of a Tegucigalpa accord, instead of the foreign-led San Jose Accord,

Bishop Pineda has acted as the mediator between President Roberto Micheletti and ex-president Manuel Zelaya this past week, so he is in the best position to know whether it will be accepted by both. He was confidant that Hondurans are able to sit around the negotiating table and come to a Honduran solution themselves. OAS Special Adviser John Biehl also has said that he found a strong willingness for dialogue.

The plan is that President Micheletti and ex-president Zelaya will each select 2-3 honorable and responsible representatives. The Unión Civicá Democrática (the association of civic groups) and the “Resistencia” will each also select 2-3 representatives. An international mediator will be selected.

I’ll be talking about these stories in this morning’s podcast at 11AM Eastern.

Two IL Congressmen leave for Honduras fact-finding trip (h/t Dick)

Despite attempts by Senator John Kerry to shut down DeMint’s fact-finding trip, IL Congressmen Peter Roskam and Aaron Schock are headed to Central America today to gather info for Congress about Honduras upcoming election preparations. From Roskam’s office:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, announced that he will lead a delegation of U.S. Congressmen to Honduras today. The group will include U.S. Representatives Peter Roskam (R-Illinois), Aaron Schock (R-Illinois), and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado). They plan to meet with Honduran President Roberto Micheletti, members of the Honduran Supreme Court, election officials, and Honduran business and civic leaders.

Welcome, Gateway Pundit readers. Please visit often!

Senadores republicanos llegan a Honduras para reunirse con presidente Micheletti
Los senadores Jim DeMinty y Aaron Schock se encuentran en la comitiva.

Noticias 24 has photo:


Kerry’s political blackmail

Thursday, October 1st, 2009


Kerry blocks DeMint trip to Honduras

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has blocked Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) trip to Honduras slated to begin Friday, according to DeMint’s office.

But the chairman’s office claimed that the DeMint trip was stopped because the South Carolina Republican is blocking two of President Barack Obama’s nominations: Auturo [sic] Valenzuela, Obama’s nominee to be assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Tom Shannon, the current assistant secretary and nominee to be ambassador to Brazil.

Political blackmail, barefaced tit-for-tat, “do what I say or else”, call it what you may, but Kerry’s totally open about it:

Kerry spokesman Frederick Jones responded Thursday evening that “Senator DeMint’s statement wins an A for ‘audacity.’”

“The Foreign Relations Committee always prefers to operate in a bi-partisan and collegial fashion, and it did so when it approved these two nominees by votes of 14 to 4 for Mr. Shannon and 15 to 4 for Mr. Valenzuela,” Jones told The Hill in a statement. “But now Sen. DeMint refuses to let the nominations of two distinguished public servants even be considered on the floor of the Senate.”

“When Senator DeMint lifts these holds and allows these individuals to receive an up or down vote on the Senate floor, the Committee will approve his travel to Honduras, a country that is in the middle of delicate, political crisis.”

If the crisis is that delicate, why doesn’t Kerry himself go? Can his support of Zelaya bear no scrutiny?

Follow-up post, Friday 2 October
DeMint’s trip to Honduras is on


Friday, April 10th, 2009

Having read article after article about Somali pirates, one wonders why, for instance, ship crews are not trained and armed, or if there’s going to be armed response.

Well, the latter question got an answer: The military are ready for action but the White House is stalling.
U.S. military already prepared with battle plans for Somalia pirates, say intelligence sources

Retired U.S. Ambassador Robert Oakley, who was special envoy to Somalia in the 1990s, said U.S. special operations forces have drawn up detailed plans to attack piracy groups where they live on land, but are awaiting orders from the Obama national security team.

“Our special operations people have been itching to clean them up. So far, no one has let them,” Oakley told the Daily News

Andy McCarthy reminds us that To be civilized, we must be strong:

There is nothing less civilized than rewarding evil and thus guaranteeing more of it. High-minded as it is commonly made to sound, it is not civilized to appease evil, to treat it with “dignity and respect,” to rationalize its root causes, to equivocate about whether evil really is evil, and, when all else fails, to ignore it — to purge the very mention of its name — in the vain hope that it will just go away. Evil doesn’t do nuance. It finds you, it tests you, and you either fight it or you’re part of the problem.

The men who founded our country and crafted our Constitution understood this. They understood that the “rule of law” was not a faux-civilized counterweight to the exhibition of might. Might, instead, is the firm underpinning of law and of our civilization. The Constitution explicitly recognized that the United States would have enemies; it provided Congress with the power to raise military forces that would fight them; it made the chief executive the commander-in-chief, concentrating in the presidency all the power the nation could muster to preserve itself by repelling evil. It did not regard evil as having a point of view, much less a right to counsel.

We don’t see it that way anymore. Evil is now just another negotiation. Pirates and terrorists are better known for their human rights than for their inhuman wrongs. On Thursday, America’s commander-in-chief didn’t want to talk about the pirates — “Guys, we’re talking about housing right now,” he chided a reporter who dared to raise the topic as the Somalis held the American ship’s captain hostage. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, was dispatched to assure the public that the world would come together to deal with this “criminal activity” — a relief if you were wondering whether the naval destroyer on the scene was equipped with Miranda-warning cards.

To make the picture even more glum, John Kerry is calling for Senate hearings. I kid you not. What is Kerry planning to do? Summon a few pirates to testify? Request documentation?

(end update)

Should piracy merit more consideration from Congress than the entire bailout, stimulus, and budget combined?

What next, a strongly-worded letter from the UN?

opirateOr maybe reaching out to ‘moderate’ pirate community

For too long, America has been too dismissive of the proud culture and invaluable contributions of the Pirate Community. Whether it is their pioneering work with prosthetics, husbandry of tropical birds or fanciful fashion sense, America owes a deep debt to Pirates.

The past eight years have shown a failure to appreciate the historic role of these noble seafarers. Instead of celebrating their entreprenuerial spirit and seeking to partner with them to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.

Some of us wonder if our current Overseas Contingency Operation would even be needed had the last administration not been so quick to label Pirates as “thieves,” “terrorists” and worse. Such swashbucklaphobia can lead to tragic results, as we have seen this week.

Or perhaps the administration will issue calls for cargo-ship reductions?

No farce comes close to regarding national security threats as annoying distractions.