Archive for the ‘Latin America’ Category
The more you give them, the more they want: FARC Slams Santos-Backed Plans for Implementing Possible Colombia Peace Deal
Britain orders £46m air defence radar to protect Falklands from ArgentinaThe new vehicle-mounted radar will be able to spot threats up to 75 miles away and the first systems will be delivered before the end of the year
Guatemalans Rally Against PresidentTens of thousands of Guatemalans took to the streets Thursday to demand that President Otto Perez resign, amid the country’s biggest political crisis since the end of the civil war nearly two decades ago.
The government has paved the way by allowing the institutions of law enforcement to decay. The police force is underfunded and mistrusted. Venezuela has many fewer prosecutors and judges than it should. Chile, a country with much lower levels of violent crime, has a third more prosecutors than Venezuela in relation to the size of its population. Courts are reluctant to sentence criminals to serve time in crowded and violent jails: 90% of murders go unpunished. Gun control is weak.
The week’s posts:
Brazil and other fallen BRICs
"The cone of uncertainty": metereological term, metaphor for existence
— Fausta (@Fausta) August 29, 2015
Yes. It’s summer in the northern hemisphere. Deal with it.
‘Judicial officials sought to delay AMIA cover-up trial’Luciano Hazan is the Justice Ministry’s under-secretary for Criminal Policy and will be representing the Executive in the AMIA cover-up trial. In conversation with the Herald, Hazan pointed fingers at the judges for their reluctance to investigate their colleague’s alleged implication in crimes.
Bolivia Ready to Renew Ties with Chile to Resolve Maritime Claim, at least until the next time.
Good luck with that: Rio’s favelas to accommodate visitors to 2016 Olympics
Colombia’s biggest ever exhumation begins at Medellin rubbish dumpOfficials believe the remains of 300 people could be unearted from La Escombrera (The Dump) as the city begins the long-awaited exhumation
Senators probe political motivations for trafficking report
Corker, Cardin question whether the State Department was motivated by politics to upgrade Cuba and Malaysia in annual report on human trafficking.
Cabarete: Dominican Resort Is a Refuge Twice AbandonedHaitians, who had brought new life to an abandoned seaside hotel, face ejection under new laws and conflict with their island neighbors.
Watch: Panama Canal July Update (h/t JC),
Ciudad Guayana: Venezuela supermarket looting leaves one dead, dozens detained
The week’s posts and podcast:
Chile: Eat your rock before it gets cold
Today’s Carnival is dedicated to cartoonist Luciano Cunha, creator of The Indoctrinator.
Pathetic: Now Argentina accuses Falkland Islands fishermen of stealing their FISHA SENIOR Falkland Islands diplomat has hit back at claims by an Argentine minister that the wealth of the remote archipelago derives from “stolen” fish.
It is the person, not the party, that is abandoning the coalition, the PMDB was quick to declare. Still, Mr [Eduardo] Cunha’s exit is a worry for the president. Last week came news that police are investigating her predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, for possible influence-peddling on behalf of construction firms. He denies the allegation. That is a further blow to the battered PT. Ms Rousseff needs the PMDB more than ever if she is to survive until the end of her term in 2018. Increasingly, it is running the show.
New plant species ‘discovered on Facebook’
Experts identified a plant pictured on Facebook as a new species, since named as “drosera magnifica“, or magnificent sundew, according journal research paper. Someone tell Pope Francis.
Costa Rica: Examples of How to be Like Greece (h/t JC)
Evidence Mounts That Oswaldo Payá Was Assassinated by the Castros
Human Rights Foundation Documents Cuban Agents at Work on Tragic Day; Victims of Communism organization follows up on Ted Cruz’s address change proposal
There’s a sucker born every minute: Cuba Hoping To Kickstart Offshore Oil & Gas Industry
Pennies on the dollar: Jamaica to retire $3B in oil debt to Venezuela
Jamaica has forged a deal to retire $3 billion in oil debts to Venezuela thanks to bond sales.
In a Friday statement, Jamaica said it has issued roughly $2 billion in bonds on the international capital market that will pay down the debt it accumulated through Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan program that provides fuel to countries at market prices but under generous credit terms.
Officials say a negotiated settlement with Caracas will dismiss about $3 billion in long-term debt in exchange for $1.5 billion. It was not immediately clear Friday if Jamaica’s deal will retire all of its Petrocaribe debt.
. . .
Jamaica’s Petrocaribe settlement is similar to one the Dominican Republic negotiated with Venezuela earlier this year. That Caribbean country dismissed $4 billion in Petrocaribe debt in exchange for $2 billion.
First pictures of last-uncontacted Amazon tribe
Mashco Piro tribe have lived in the jungle in Peru for at least 600 years, but have never before been approached
Puerto Rico debt crisis: austerity for residents, but tax breaks for hedge funds
The Caribbean territory has courted some of Wall Street’s richest citizens, selling its debt and offering inducements while local people face high taxes and cuts
The last available health ministry figures for infant mortality under 1 show an increase of 2.35 percent from January to October last year compared with the same period of 2013.
The week’s posts and podcast:
Madrid’s City Hall and the man on the Moon: Tales from a socialist mindset
In Sivio Canto's podcast at 8PM Eastern, http://t.co/SgpPdARfdW
— Fausta (@Fausta) July 22, 2015
While the economic factors vary from country to country, most are suffering from lower global growth, loss of export revenue from falling commodities prices, and a rising dollar that is making emerging-market yields less attractive to portfolio investors anticipating that the U.S. Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates soon.
Latin American countries never seem to get out of the extractive economic model set under the Spanish and Portuguese empires; add to that the end of quantitative easing and of zero interest rates in the U.S., and the prospect is glum.
Mexico’s recent public auction of shallow-water exploration blocks in the Gulf of Mexico failed to attract international bidders:
The private sector often has a better understanding of subsea prospects than the public sector, but Mexico’s wariness about fully ceding control may have prevented the government from understanding the true value of the blocks. “They are still having trouble letting go of the old mindset of full control, rather than letting the market decide,” says one industry executive. One of the two blocks awarded to the winning consortium (comprising Mexico Sierra Oil and Gas, Dallas-based Talos Energy and London-based Premier Oil) was more hotly contested than the government expected; four groups offered well above the government-mandated minimum.
Because of historical sensitivities, Mexico awarded rare profit-sharing contracts between the state and private firms, rather than fully confer ownership of oil reserves to the private sector. It also required a level of corporate guarantee to cover spillages that went beyond international norms. Its potential ability to rescind contracts has alarmed some oil companies, too, lest their wells be expropriated without compensation in the future.
Once you factor in those risks vs current oil prices, the real story here is simpler: the financial arithmetic facing a potential investor has been totally upended by the collapse of oil prices.
And let’s not forget the batshit-crazy approach to debt.
The “Idiot” species, we suggested, bore responsibility for Latin America’s underdevelopment. Its beliefs — revolution, economic nationalism, hatred of the United States, faith in the government as an agent of social justice, a passion for strongman rule over the rule of law — derived, in our opinion, from an inferiority complex.
Things evolve, and by 2009, the idiots were
back in force in the form of populist heads of state who are reenacting the failed policies of the past, opinion leaders from around the world who are lending new credence to them, and supporters who are giving new life to ideas that seemed extinct.
Now we have a clerical version, in the form of that air conditioning-hater, the The Peronist Pope who is fond of straw men, as we read that In Fiery Speeches, Francis Excoriates Global Capitalism
His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the “dung of the devil.” He does not simply argue that systemic “greed for money” is a bad thing. He calls it a “subtle dictatorship” that “condemns and enslaves men and women.”
Having returned to his native Latin America, Francis has renewed his left-leaning critiques on the inequalities of capitalism, describing it as an underlying cause of global injustice, and a prime cause of climate change. Francis escalated that line last week when he made a historic apology for the crimes of the Roman Catholic Church during the period of Spanish colonialism — even as he called for a global movement against a “new colonialism” rooted in an inequitable economic order.
The fact remains that capitalism works,
Cato economist Michael Tanner estimates that in the last 20 years, capitalism has lifted more than a billion people out of poverty and halved the number of those living in developing countries on less than $1.25 a day.
With such results, failing to see capitalism in its unfettered form as a viable solution to poverty borders on the immoral.
— TakingHayekSeriously (@FriedrichHayek) July 10, 2015
Why I’m Disregarding Laudato Si and You Should Too (lengthy but worth the read).
[In case you wonder, here’s the original speech in Spanish,
TEXTO: Discurso del Papa el encuentro con los movimientos populares en Bolivia]
Christian charity and free market entrepreneurship are not only compatible, but necessary to truly aid the poor.
Christian charity strives for the moral betterment of man, and the advancement of our neighbor out of love. For believers, these are works of religion, which many men and women of good will willingly and freely undertake. Forcing people “to do good” is the death of the virtue of charity, as charity must always be freely exercised.
But a second factor is equally needed to alleviate poverty: entrepreneurs and the free-market system. These offer the possibility of a greater and more lasting solution to the problem of poverty. Creating jobs and industry is a great good, and to diminish the possibilities for entrepreneurs and the private sector and claim the façade of virtue in doing so, is pure folly. Entrepreneurs and the business class do more in the United States for the Church and for vital issues to society, than anywhere else in the world.
I don’t expect Fr. Marcel to be invited to the Vatican any time soon.
As if things weren’t bad enough, Pope Francis invited California Governor Jerry Brown to lend his expertise on global warming and climate change to a summit at the Vatican later in the month. But he banned Philippe de Larminat, an actual scientist, from the April 28 summit.
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!
LIVE now – US-Latin America stories with Jerry Brewer, by Silvio Canto Jr http://t.co/KyOFowVwbq
— Fausta (@Fausta) July 8, 2015
Live at 8PM Eastern, and archived for your convenience, in Silvio Canto’s talking about US-Latin America stories with Jerry Brewer
Also, don’t miss my post on Business at the BBC: Firing Clarkson will cost them BIG
What a guy.
Bolivia’s Adepcoca (Asociación Departamental de Productores de la Hoja de Coca i.e., Coca Leaf Growers’ Departamental Association) have prepared 20,000 bags of coca leaves to gift the people lining up from the airport to La Paz, giving new meaning to the term goodie bag.
You really can’t make up this stuff.
“Dilma in the back seat of a driverless car. Lovely metaphor for today’s Brazil.”
Dilma no banco traseiro de um carro sem motorista. Bela metáfora do Brasil atual. pic.twitter.com/PR7FRUOXRS
— Ricardo Amorim (@Ricamconsult) July 3, 2015
British musician faces five years in Chilean jail after admitting dealing drugs
Alexander Harrild, who was educated at exclusive Dulwich College, is being held in one of Santiago’s most notorious prisons with rapists and murderers
The president, whose hobbies include poker, now faces a choice. Call the FARC’s bluff by laying on the table a take-it-or-leave-it offer on justice—or risk the talks collapsing anyway in the cycle of retaliation. Burdened by disappointments in other areas, Mr Santos has staked his presidency on a peace agreement. But objectively it is the FARC’s negotiators who need it more. Return to war in Colombia, and sooner or later they will be killed.
“FARC & ELN commit crime together or coordinating, regardless of how the Govt may want to treat them:”
FARC y ELN delinquen juntos o coordinados, independiente del tratamiento que el Gbno quiera darles
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) July 4, 2015
It's unacceptable and a slap in the face of a close ally that the United States will have an embassy in Havana before one in Jerusalem.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 1, 2015
Go.Away.Trump. Trump Fallout Continues: Panama Pulls Out of Miss Universe Pageant
It is not in Gov. García Padilla’s interest to improve the economy – you can bank on that. Treasurer Admits Puerto Rico Can Pay Debts, Doesn’t Want To
“Shameful” Myth Diverts Attention from Need for Frugality
The Beeb starts to catch on, Puerto Rico: The Greece of the Caribbean?
How a pie factory in South America is taking on the world
Fray Bentos – the town in Uruguay famous for its pies – could be named a World Heritage Site alongside the Forth Bridge, Sicilian churches and Genghis Khan’s birthplace at the end of this year’s Unesco meeting
Venezuela faces national beer drought
Striking workers linked to the Maduro government have forced the closure of breweries at Polar, the country’s largest producer and a beloved household name
The week’s posts and podcast
Happy Independence Day
Repeat, it is not in Gov. García Padilla’s interest to improve the economy – you can bank on that. Puerto Rico: A few thoughts on the economic crisis
The week’s headlines in a sentence: While the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare subsidies and gay marriage, the deadline for the Iran negotiations looms and terrorists are blowing up people and pipelines all over the place.
The location of the judge is rather interesting: Argentine judge orders seizure of Falklands drillers’ assets
Lilian Herraez, a federal judge in Tierra del Fuego, ordered the seizure of $156 million in bank accounts, boats and other property, the government said on Saturday.
Pope sends video-message to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. The guy can’t stay away from socialist throwaway terminology:
“I want to be a witness of this joy of the Gospel and bring to you the tenderness and caress of God, our Father, especially to your children most in need, to the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, to those who are victims of this throwaway culture,” he said.
Brazil to Narrow Inflation Target Range
Brazil will narrow the inflation target range for its central bank starting in 2017, but the center point of the range will remain unchanged at 4.5%. The tolerance band will be cut to a range of 3% to 6%
Working Within the System to Disrupt Brazilian PoliticsRoberto Mangabeira Unger, a Harvard philosopher born in Brazil and raised in Manhattan, has settled into a career as an appointed public figure charged with fostering long-term thinking about Brazil.
Guyana Assures Exxon Amid Venezuela Row
Guyana’s president has sought to reassure Exxon Mobil that a territory dispute with Venezuela won’t interfere with the company’s recent oil discovery off the coast of Guyana, one that Caracas claims as its own.
Thousands of angry, torch-bearing Hondurans marched on Friday to call for the resignation of President Juan Hernandez and demand an independent probe into one of the worst corruption scandals in the country’s history.
Interesting premise, but premature, Move over, China: Latin America may welcome India. The operative word is may.
Mexican President Undergoes Gallbladder Surgery
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto underwent surgery to have his gallbladder removed and was recovering satisfactorily at a military hospital, officials said.
Nicaragua’s Bizarre Plan to Bury the Panama CanalThe country’s Sandinista government has cut a deal with a reclusive Chinese businessman willing to spend $50 billion on a larger-than-life transport waterway. There are a few unanswered questions, starting with whether Nicaraguans really want it and how much priceless habitat would be wrecked. Traveling the proposed route by motorcycle, boat, and boots, the author hunts for answers.
Manuel Noriega apologises over military rule of PanamaJailed former dictator gives first interview since 1996 and asks for forgiveness over brutal reign – ‘I want to to close the cycle of the military era’
The perfect Summer portrait, A Sleeper Awakened With Color
Frederic Leighton’s “Flaming June” is on loan to the Frick Collection in New York for the next three months.
‘Gourmet cannabis’: Take a peek inside a Uruguay marijuana club , if you must. To paraphrase Dean Wormer, “fat, stoned and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”
MUD, the Sausage Fest
The week’s posts and podcast:
Colombia: FARC blows up oil pipeline
Oblivious to current scientific data, pope Francis I, under the advice of German climate activist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, threw the Catholic Church into the global warming morass and a tailspin of pessimism, thereby making headlines across the world. Francis also banned skeptic Philipe de Larminat.
(I hope to throw in enough metaphors to make it to Taranto one of these days.)
Argentine Presidential Race Comes into FocusArgentine Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo bowed out of the race for the ruling party’s 2015 presidential nomination, leaving Buenos Aires provincial Gov. Daniel Scioli as the only candidate
Chilean grandma carried mummified foetus for 50 years92-year-old Chilean grandmother has been bearing large mummified foetus for at least 50 years in what is a rare condition known as lithopedion, doctors have discovered
[Video show the FARC using schools to train minors and store explosives in Putumayo]
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) June 19, 2015
By Carlos Eire: A Father’s Day Tribute
No skin off Correa’s back: Julian Assange’s three-year stay in Ecuadorean embassy has cost taxpayer £11.1mThree years ago the WikiLeaks founder fled bail and sought asylum in Ecuador – resulting in millions being spent on policing the embassy
[US court orders seizure of Puerto Rico’s Department of Health accounts]
— Diario Las Américas (@DLasAmericas) June 19, 2015
— Aécio Neves (@AecioNeves) June 18, 2015
Brazilian senators forced out of Venezuela after failed solidarity missionVenezuelan opposition prisoners Leopoldo Lopez, Daniel Ceballos and Antonio Ledezma were due to be visited by a delegation from Brazil – until their path was blocked, and their bus was attacked
Swiss embassy warns Venezuela’s golf players its balls could killMembers of the exclusive Caracas Country Club have reacted with anger to a sign posted by the Swiss embassy warning that stray balls could be in breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations