Archive for the ‘Latin America’ Category

Would Peru go for Chavismo?

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Mary O’Grady writes about the reasons behind Peru’s recent economic success: A market model that allows for

  • a vibrant consumer class that is entrepreneurial and creative
  • openness to imports
  • structural reforms that included ending a punishing system of import tariffs and quotas
  • fiscally conservative governance.

However,

Still, the downturn in commodity prices is eating into growth and the slowdown that began last year continues. Market forecasts for GDP growth are in the 3% range for 2015. Peru’s economy is performing far better than most in the region, but lackluster is not what Peruvians have come to expect.

The obvious answer to this lethargy is more aggressive trade opening on key products like sugar and corn, more tax cutting and deregulation. But Mr. Humala’s popularity is sagging and he is unlikely to do anything bold. Meanwhile, opponents of economic freedom will turn slower growth into opportunity by linking stagnant incomes in the market economy and corruption.

As O’Grady points out, this means Peru Is Chavismo’s Next American Target
Corruption scandals give the left an opening in the 2016 presidential election.

On a seemingly unrelated topic,
The Obama administration insists on easing restrictions on Cuba’s merciless Communist dictatorship while Cuba’s dependence on Venezuelan oil goes bust. Once Cuba’s economy improves cosmetically (because you can bet those in power will not give up their acquisitiveness), the Cuban propaganda machine will use this as another tool in its propaganda arsenal against market economies.

No matter how ruinous Cuban-driven Chavismo is in real life; propaganda is the only thing Cuba’s regime is good at, and it is particularly effective in Latin America.

Face it: The fact that the article talks about Chavismo – instead of Castrocommunism – itself is a success for the Cuban propaganda machine; in reality, “The Venezuelan regime is a puppet controlled by the Cubans.”

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Related reading:
Hernando de Soto’s excellent book, The Other Path, available on Kindle for under $10, and Ian Bremmer’s The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?

The dismissed Nisman case Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 30th, 2015

LatinAmerArgentina’s Federal Criminal Appeals Court refused to open an investigation into the complaint filed in January by former AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman four days before he was found dead

Federal prosecutor Germán Moldes will try to reactivate the investigation against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner next week

Accusations fly that

Prosecutor Viviana Fein is conducting the investigation into the death of Alberto Nisman “with an evident interest” of only showing that the AMIA special prosecutor committed “suicide.”

Meanwhile, Venezuelan defectors from Hugo Chavez inner circle are talking.

ARGENTINA
Falklands defence: Why is Argentina considering an aircraft deal with the Russians?
Russia’s potential deal to lease 12 long-range bombers to Argentina is causing Britain to rethink its protection of the Falklands. Why is Cristina Kirchner cosying up to Moscow?

BOLIVIA
Bolivian Mob Tries to Bury Alive Teacher Accused of Raping Girl

BRAZIL
Brazil Economy to Shrink, Joblessness Rises
The Brazilian central bank’s view of the economy is getting worse, with the official unemployment rate rising in February, as Latin America’s largest economy continues to struggle.

After Ratings Reprieve, Brazil Faces Tough News
President Dilma Rousseff got a big break when Standard & Poor’s maintained Brazil’s investment-grade credit rating, but Friday’s coming report on economic growth is expected to bring the embattled president bad news.

CHILE
Flood torrents devastate Peru and Chile

Two dead as flash flooding hits Chile Atacama desert region

COLOMBIA
Colombian Government, FARC Agree to Begin Land-Mine Removal

New IG Report: DEA Agents in Columbia Partied With Hookers Hired By the Drug Cartels

CUBA
Obama’s Cuba Folly Unfolds

ECUADOR

EL SALVADOR
Half Million People March Against Violence in El Salvador

FALKLAND ISLANDS
Britain to boost Falklands Islands defences

JAMAICA
Jamaican Prime Minister Rebukes Gay-Rights Protestors At New York Townhall

MEXICO
39 Central American Migrants Rescued in Mexico from Human Traffickers

PANAMA
Panama Canal sets sights on new $17 billion expansion project

As it enters the final stretch of a massive expansion, the Panama Canal Authority is setting its sights on an even more ambitious project worth up to $17 billion that would allow it to handle the world’s biggest ships.

Workers are now installing giant, 22-story lock gates to accommodate larger “Post-Panamax” ships through the Canal, one of the world’s busiest maritime routes.

The project involves building a third set of locks on the Canal. It is being headed by Italy’s Salini Impregilo and Spain’s Sacyr, and should open on April 1, 2016.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay Farmers March in Asuncion to Demand President’s Resignation

PERU
Floods in Chile and landslides in Peru after heaviest rain in 80 years

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Prepares for Luxury Shopping Amid Recession

Puerto Rico Mayor Gets 5 Years for Bribery

URUGUAY
Uruguay will no longer grant asylum to Guantanamo prisoners

The new Uruguayan government says it will no longer grant asylum to prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

In December, Uruguay gave sanctuary to six Arab men who had been held at the US base in Cuba for 12 years.

Opinion polls said most Uruguayans rejected the decision taken by outgoing President Jose Mujica.

Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa also said Uruguay would stop taking refugees from the Syrian conflict.

Does that mean they’ll kick Syrians Jihad Abu Wael Dhiab, Ali Husain Shaaban, Ahmed Adnan Ajuri, and Abdelhadi Faraj, Palestinian Mohammed Abdullah Taha Mattan, and Tunisian Adel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi out of the country?

VENEZUELA
“Normalization” update: Venezuelan Castro puppet seeks to humiliate U.S. at the Summit of the Americas but Maduro Says “Venezuela Is Ready” for Dialogue with U.S. Of course. In his spare time, he indulged in vandalism,

Alicia Bárcena’s blinders

The week’s posts and podcast:
Cuba {heart} Iran: Love-terror

Words, words, words

How a German trial relates to the #Nisman case

Ecuador: Chinese loans, social media censorship

Today’s Colombian hookers update

Venezuela-Iran’s Aeroterror: Airplanes full of drugs & money

Podcast: US-Latin America: Cuba-Venezuela, elections in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina & more

Barrio 18 in El Salvador: A View from the Inside

The #Nisman Case and the Whitewashing of Iran

About that “Cuban side or the white side”

Thank you, Newsmax

Argentina: Beef for bombers

Today’s WSV* moment: Now Snowden wants to come back

Today’s immigration headlines

Ted throws his hat in the ring

The crashed plane Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

An Argentine turboprop airplane crashed and burned shortly after taking off, killing all 10 people aboard,

Witnesses at the airport said that a few minutes after takeoff they heard a significant explosion followed by a huge fireball.

The passengers were members of the Argentine company La Rural which is an associate in a project to exploit a Convention Center under construction in the Atlantic resort of Punta del Este and had flown to Uruguay for a business conference with their Uruguayan partners and the local government.

La Rural is a leading company in Argentina and Latin America in the fairs, congress and events industry.

Was it an accident?

ARGENTINA
Exactly two months after his murder, Argentine Government Accuses Nisman of Embezzlement

Dead Argentine prosecutor was zeroing in on a terror threat to the entire Western Hemisphere

Investigan un supuesto refugio de jerarcas nazis en Argentina

BRAZIL
POLL NUMBERS!!! Dilma’s drop

Why is Brazil so angry?
Big Question: Over a million people took to the streets over the weekend calling for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, five months after she won a general election

CHILE
Hundreds protest over Chile bishopProtesters shout as Rev Juan Barros enter the Osorno cathedral
Hundreds of people in Chile try to stop the ordination of Catholic Bishop Juan Barros, accusing him of covering up a sex abuse scandal.

COLOMBIA
Drug Gang Led by Female Trafficker from Mexico Nabbed in Colombia

Guerra y paz en Colombia

CUBA
[pdf file] An Illusory Opening to Cuba:
Why Florida Shouldn’t Walk Through the Breach

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Where “Cold War Charm” is the half-century long misery endured by the inmates of the island-prison: Cuba’s Cold War charm has D.R. wary about losing U.S. tourists to next-door neighbor

ECUADOR
#19M Protests Put Correa’s Citizen Revolution on Notice
Thousands March in Ecuador as Anti-Authoritarian Outrage Boils Over

Populist Playbook: The Slow Death of Democracy in Correa’s Ecuador

HAITI
Clinton Foundation’s chickens coming home to roost in Haiti?

WaPo Reporter: Bill Clinton ‘So Disliked’ in Haiti After Charity Work ‘He Couldn’t Even Run for Mayor’

HILLARY CLINTON’S BROTHER DEFENDS HAITI GOLD MINE DEAL: ‘I RAISE MONEY FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE’

HONDURAS
Are Special Economic Zones the answer? How ZEDEs Can Make Honduras Prosperous
Next-Generation Zones for an Anti-Poverty Success Story

Honduras sends soldiers to protect ‘lost city’ from drug cartels
Expendition team reportedly split on how to safeguard artefacts from looters after ‘lost city’ rediscovered in Honduras jungle also used by drug trafficker

JAMAICA
US Say Courts Crippling Ja Narcotics Fight

MEXICO
US Court Convicts Mexican of Kidnapping Mexican in Mexico
Federal Jury Convicts Mexican Citizen Living in San Antonio for His Role in Kidnapping Scheme

NICARAGUA
Wang Jing: The man behind the Nicaragua canal project

PARAGUAY
Paraguay and Latin America are officially the happiest nations in the world, in a Bobby McFerrin sort of way?

PERU
Peru’s Premier Removes Senior Spy Officials
Peru’s prime minister removed the head of the National Intelligence Service and other high-level officials, as allegations widened that the spy agency for years gathered information on a broad range of well-known people.

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico’s Catholic Church Calls for Referendum on Gay Marriage

SOUTH AMERICA
The Islamization of South America

URUGUAY
After years in Guantanamo, ex-detainees find little solace in Uruguay Apparently they don’t have Uruguayan passports yet.

VENEZUELA

Unbroken: Former Venezuelan Political Prisoner Speaks Out
Police Chief Lucchese Describes His Year Behind Bars at Ramo Verde Military Prison

Enabling Maduro’s Tyranny in Venezuela
US Sanctions Give Perfect Excuse for Crackdown on Dissent
. I disagree – the crackdown has been going on, well before any sanctions.

Maduro’s English in action,

Yes, Venezuela is a security threat

Drums of War or Pipes of Peace?

Today’s must-read: What Nisman Said About Iran UPDATED

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Read Richard Horowitz’s article at World Policy Institute, What Nisman Said About Iran in full.

It starts with Nismam‘s own words,

“It can be said with certainty that the highest-echelon Iranian government officials were directly responsible for the AMIA attack . . .We will show that said officials made the decision to carry out the attack, defined the manner in which it was to be implemented, and instructed the terrorist organization Hezbollah to carry out the operation in its capacity as a mere instrument, in this case, of the will of the Teheran government . . We will also show that for Iran’s leaders, there was nothing unusual or exceptional about the realization of an attack of this nature. To the contrary: an analysis of the information that has been gathered in this case shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the realization of acts of terrorism abroad was not the outgrowth of an unusual foreign policy instrument, but was instead based on the principles of the Iranian revolution of February 1979, the ultimate goal of these principles being to propagate Iran’s fundamentalist view of Islam throughout the world.”

The Nisman Report (2006)

Related:
‘If Argentina wants our support we will give it’
Israeli Agriculture minister tells the [Buenos Aires] Herald Iran is the main sponsor of international terrorist attacks

And, may I remind you? Iran no longer on Terror Threat List.

UPDATE:
An excellent resource on Nisman and his investigation: AlbertoNisman.org



Venezuela: Was Iran behind the colectivos?

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

From the [pdf file] WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF
JOSEPH M. HUMIRE
CO-AUTHOR
IRAN’S STRATEGIC PENETRATION OF LATIN AMERICA
BEFORE THE
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE (WHEM)
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA (MENA)
HEARING ON
“IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH IN THE WESTERN
HEMISPHERE”


To most, the Venezuelan government’s ability to brutally stifle student protests, is a capacity developed by the Cuban regime whose intelligence and military direct many aspects of Venezuela’s national security apparatus. While mostly true, this excludes another vital player that has enhanced Venezuela’s foreign internal defense, the Iranian paramilitary force known as the Basij.

In April 2009, the current Iranian commander of the Basij paramilitary force, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, accompanied then-Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar on a high-level visit to Caracas at the invitation of then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his foreign minister (now President) Nicolas Maduro. Gen. Naqdi’s role in these high-level meetings was to serve as an advisor to Venezuela’s Ministries of Defense and Interior to aid in training their civilian militias, known as the infamous colectivos’. Years later, the results of this advisory support are evident on the streets of Venezuela as the colectivos’ tactics are a step-up in its previous capabilities, to include new clandestine communication and infiltration/espionage techniques.

Gen. Naqdi, who previously served as the Iranian Police Force’s counterintelligence chief, has a long list of human rights violations dating back to the 1999 student protests in Iran.

The terrorist networks Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Two stories on terrorist networks in Latin America deserve our attention this week:
Report: Hezbollah opens base in Cuba
Shiite terror group to use operations center to launch attack on Israeli target in South America, Italian newspaper reports

and Uruguay, la guarida: etarras, islamistas, científicos asesinos, carapintadas y narcos (Uruguay, the lair: ETA terrorists, islamists, killer scientists, ultranationalists, and drug lords)

ARGENTINA
Alberto Nisman ‘was murdered and died in agony': full account of ex-wife’s revelations

Argentine foreign minister: This isn’t Dirty War
Hector Timerman says there’s no comparison between the current mystery death scandal and the country’s dark past

BARBADOS
Barbados to Receive More Swedish Support for Renewable Energy Initiatives

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Ex-Police Commander Accused of Ties to “El Chapo” Guzman

BRAZIL
Brazil Court Approves Probe of Top Lawmakers
A corruption dragnet that has jailed dozens of executives and erased billions from Brazil’s state-controlled oil giant has now snared some of the nation’s top lawmakers, deepening a crisis that’s weighing on South America’s largest economy.

CHILE
Stunning Nighttime Pictures of Chilean Volcano Erupting
Villarrica erupted earlier this week with a bang, spewing lava bombs and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

COLOMBIA
Rights Group Faults Colombia’s Progress on Violence
Grisly murders, disappearances and threats by drug-trafficking gangs continue to plague Buenaventura, a year after the government pledged to restore order there, a human-rights group said.

CUBA
While Conan goofed, In Raul Castro — and Barack Obama’s — Cuba, police make 492 political arrests in February

Cuba releases new photos of Fidel Castro meeting with five spies

GUYANA
Venezuela Warned Not to Interfere with Guyana’s Ocean Drilling
Caracas Cites Boundary Dispute as Neighbor Hunts for Oil

MEXICO
Mexican drug cartels
Captured capos
Few of the drug lords who terrorised the country remain at large

PANAMA
Panama: So much more than the canal

PARAGUAY
Azerbaijan Lawmakers Begin South American Tour in Paraguay

PERU
“Significant Variation” Found in Skulls From Pre-Contact Peru

PUERTO RICO
Why tax reform could be (really) bad for Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
The Slow Burn of Marijuana Legalization in Uruguay
Prohibition the Only Drug Problem, Says Reformer Diego Pieri

VENEZUELA
Venezuela to impose mandatory visas on Americans
President Nicolas Maduro says move is to control US influence

The week’s posts and podcast
Cuba: Tweet of the week

Last call to complete a survey on political blogs

Ecuador: ISIS death threats to cartoonist

En español: Las colas en supermercados venezolanos

Maradona: Before and after

Colombia: What other weapons were in the Chinese ship heading to Cuba

Argentina: Pollicita appeals dismissal of #Nisman’s suit

Please complete a survey on political blogs

Bolivia: 27 tons of ground coke seized on their way to Lebanon

Live feed to Netanyahu’s speech

Colombia Intercepts Shipment of “War Materiel” Headed to Cuba

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
The attack on LIBRE: What happens when Latinos don’t toe the line

What’s going on, or the consequences of “smart diplomacy”

Podcast:
Iran in Latin America, Argentina PLUS other stories with Silvio Canto, Jr.



Today’s podcast

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Live at 10AM Eastern, and archived for your listening convenience, in Silvio Canto’s podcast, talking about the LatAm stories of the week.

2 podcasts and a few short items

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Today at 1PM Eastern I’m in Silvio Canto’s podcast talking about the US-Cuba talks, Argentina and other US-Latin America issues of the week with Jorge Ponce.

I was in Rick Moran’s podcast last night talking about the GOP playing chicken with Homeland Security funding with Noah Rothman of Hot Air.

Both podcasts are archived for your listening convenience.

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Daniel Duquenal is running a series of posts analyzing Venezuela’s situation. Go here for links.

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Over in Bolivia, Evo Morales, following Cristina Fernandez’s example in Argentina, is resorting to thieving private pensions, since he’s running out of money now that oil prices are down.

It’s his third term, so he’s declared himself planetary leader at the Tiwanaku ruins, just for show:

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Today in history, Feb 18, 1964:
United States punishes nations for trading with Cuba

The United States cuts off military assistance to Britain, France, and Yugoslavia in retaliation for their continuing trade with the communist nation of Cuba.

Nowadays we send hashtags instead.

Latin America: Worldwide Threat Assessment

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

From the Defense Intelligence Agency:

In Latin America, transnational threats such as drug- and arms- trafficking and special interest alien transit, coupled with porous borders, have increased insecurity and challenged stability and prosperity. Moreover, outside actors are increasingly seeking to challenge the U.S. as the defense partner of choice in the region.Read the full report.

The dropping helicopters Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 9th, 2015

The Indian helicopters that Ecuador bought keep falling off the sky, but the bigger story is Iran’s continued presence in the region.

ARGENTINA
China to supply Argentina five “Malvinas Class” offshore patrol vessels
Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is expected to sign agreements with China to increase military co-operation, including construction of new warships for the Argentine Navy, during her current state visit to Beijing, according to media reports and Jane’s Defense Weekly.

Argentinian president to write letter to Mia Farrow over tweets
Fernández will write letters to the actress and Martina Navratilova in response to tweets about the mysterious death of a federal prosecutor

Death of prosecutor leaves Argentina’s Jewish community angry and distrustful
The mysterious death of Alberto Nisman, who was investigating a 1994 terrorist attack, has alarmed many Jews but others warn against over-simplifying the case

BOLIVIA
Stranger in a Strange Land: An Internship Gone Bad

BRAZIL
Rio carnival downsizing and another cancelled as Brazil feels the pinch
Brazil is tightening its purse strings ahead of the 2016 Olympics and carnivals across the country are downsizing or have been cancelled

CHILE
Chile’s Bachelet Renews Bid to Legalize Abortion
Religious Groups Prepare to Fight Proposed Exemptions

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s FARC rebels invite Miss Universe to attend peace talks
Newly crowned beauty queen Paulina Vega Rebels surprised after being invited to assist guerillas’ peace negotiations with the government.

CUBA
A Tally of What Cuba Owes the World

FPI Bulletin: More Questions than Answers at Cuba Hearings

ECUADOR
Jorge Zabala presenta denuncia ante Consejo de la Judicatura
Posibilidad de fraude procesal, alerta defensor de los hermanos Isaías

Ecuador Grapples With Grounded Freighter
Ecuador has declared a 180-day state of emergency in the protected Galápagos Islands, while it continues to unload and work toward refloating a freighter that ran aground last week.

GUATEMALA
Guatemala volcano eruption forces evacuations
Fuego volcano belches black ash, forcing 100 residents to be moved out and closing the capital’s international airport

IMMIGRATION
Obama administration issues 5.5M work permits to non-citizens; critics call it ‘shadow’ immigration system

POPE FRANCIS: APPLY RULE OF LAW WHEN DEALING WITH IMMIGRANTS

MEXICO
Experts question Mexican investigation of 43 students’ disappearance
Argentinian forensic team hired on behalf of students’ parents says government presented biased analyses of the scientific evidence

Two US Army Vets Missing In Mexican Border City With Raging Cartel War

Conflict of interest in Mexico
A false start
Mixed messages in a new anti-corruption campaign

MISERY INDEX
The five most miserable countries in the world at the end of 2014 are, in order: Venezuela, Argentina, Syria, Ukraine, and Iran.

NICARAGUA
Can a Chinese billionaire build a canal across Nicaragua? Depends on who else is backing him up.

PANAMA
Panama Becomes First Latin American Nation to Join Coalition Against ISIS

PERU
Peru’s no-convictions politician
A failed labour reform exposes the limits of pragmatism

PUERTO RICO
It’s called “rule of law”: Puerto Rico Restructuring Law Thrown Out in Bondholder Win

Investment funds of Franklin Resources Inc. and OppenheimerFunds Inc., which hold more than $1.5 billion in bonds issued by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, convinced a federal judge in San Juan that bankruptcy law and the U.S. Constitution trump the commonwealth’s legislation.

The law, passed under threat of a fiscal emergency, would have allowed public utilities such as the power authority, or Prepa, to negotiate with bondholders to reduce their debt loads, potentially forcing investors to accept unfavorable terms, according to the funds’ complaint.

URUGUAY
Uruguay questioned Iranian diplomat over fake bomb near Israeli embassy
Convincing-looking dummy bomb detonated outside Montevideo offices
Iranian ambassador summoned to Uruguayan foreign office in December
Diplomat denied any connection but has now left country

Jose Mujica Was Every Liberal’s Dream President. He Was Too Good to Be True.
He spoke truth to power, and legalized marijuana and abortion. So why are Uruguay’s progressives so disappointed?

VENEZUELA
Venezuela accuses UK of smuggling ‘spy glasses’ into trial of opposition leader
Leopoldo Lopez’s father says it was he, not a British diplomat, who brought in the video glasses, but prosecutor claims there was collusion with the family

Nelson Mandela’s Lawyer on a Mission for Leopoldo’s Release
Irwin Cotler Joins Imprisoned Opponent’s Defense Team amid Human-Rights Row

Running Out of Time: Dimming Prospects for Reform in Venezuela

Venezuela Maduro: State seizes supermarket chain

The week’s posts and podcast:
Separated at birth?

Sunday evening tango: Mario Bournissen & Laura Rusconi

Uruguay: Iranian diplomat expelled after bomb explosion near Israeli embassy

Argentina: And now the spy is missing

Moral equivalence strikes again

Cuba: Next, O will give away Gitmo

Colombia: Is that a Russian RPG in your pocket?

China: Cristina’s twit UPDATED

Argentina: #Nisman is front-page news at the NYT

Argentina: Nisman wanted Cristina’s arrest UPDATE

50 Shades of meh

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
A few thoughts about Bruce Jenner

Univision plays the world’s smallest violin

Podcast:
On Silvio Canto‘s

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