Archive for the ‘Latin America’ Category

LatAm in top-10 happiest

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Gallup wanted to know if you were getting lots of enjoyment, laughing or smiling a lot, feeling well-rested, and being treated with respect, or learned or did something interesting the day before.

Despite Woes, Latin America Tops Happy List
Region Has Nine of the Top 10 Highest Among 138 Countries Surveyed for ‘Positive Emotions’

The region has nine of the top 10 highest among 138 countries surveyed on “positive emotions” in a new survey released on Wednesday by pollster Gallup.

Paraguay tops the world for the third year in a row—with 87% of respondents saying they had experienced a positive emotion the day before, such as laughing or feeling well-rested or being treated with respect. That was followed by Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Ecuador.

That’s fine by me, but here’s one odd one,

Even in Venezuela, where the economy is plagued by shortages and protests against the government have disrupted daily life, 81% of people reported feeling positive.

Maybe going to a demonstration counts as doing “something interesting the day before.”

(In case you wondered, Nagorno-Karabakh is here.)

The cinco de mayo Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Today is May 5th, in Spanish cinco de mayo, and whether you celebrate or not, ignore the insecure who don’t want you to avail yourself of business opportunities.

juan_soloStay thirsty, my friends.

(Juan Solo via Doug Mataconis‘s FaceBook feed)

ARGENTINA
ARGENTINA Y LA NARCO-CORRUPCION

Slums in Buenos Aires
The unplugged
Efforts to integrate shantytowns are hampered by a lack of trust and money

BRAZIL
Welfare and tax boost for Brazil poor
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff announces an increase in social security payments and tax cuts ahead of her re-election campaign in October.

Poll Shows Brazil President Could Face Runoff
The latest poll of Brazilian voters is showing for the first time that President Dilma Rousseff may face a runoff in October’s presidential election
due to a lackluster economy.

Inflation is running around 6%, while economic growth isn’t expected to surpass 2% this year.

CHILE
Chile’s electoral system
Ending the permanent draw

COLOMBIA
A Dutch Guerillera: The Foreign Face of FARC’s Civil War
Tanja Nijmeijer of Holland spent more than 10 years fighting with the rebel group FARC in the jungles of Colombia. More recently, she has been part of the guerillas’ peace negotiating team in Cuba. What drives her?

A Building Boom in Bogotá
With a growing economy, a declining crime rate and an influx of developers, Colombia’s capital is seeing a rise in luxury housing; Richard Meier’s vision in glass and steel

Rescuers search for Colombia miners
Rescuers are using large mechanical diggers to try to reach people trapped underground after an illegal gold mine collapsed in Colombia.

CUBA
Pastor/ex-political prisoner Omar Gude and wife testify on lack of religious liberty in Cuba

Castro’s Russian Power Play Over the European Union

Castronoid lobby launches propaganda campaign on Twitter, on the Web, and in Washington D.C

ECUADOR
Ecuadorian president demands that indigenous group give up defamers
Rafael Correa accuses Kichwa leaders of acting above the law in holding three opposition activists convicted of defaming him

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador: Ex-President Faces Charges
Former President Francisco Flores will face embezzlement and other corruption charges related to what prosecutors said Wednesday was the misappropriation of at least $5.3 million in loans from Taiwan during his tenure, from 1999 to 2004.

GUATEMALA
Attorney General in Guatemala Excluded From Re-election Bid
Claudia Paz y Paz, who has taken on a former dictator and top drug traffickers, was left off of a shortlist of candidates to be considered for re-election.

HONDURAS
Honduras Detains 9 Undocumented Cuban Migrants en Route to U.S.

Honduras children ‘killed by gangs’
Authorities in Honduras are investigating the deaths of at least seven children who may have been murdered after refusing to join criminal gangs.

JAMAICA
Jamaica scraps bank withdrawal tax, but Paco Santos may have had a business opportunity:

MEXICO
MEXICO CONSIDERS INCREASE IN MARRIAGE AGE TO 18

Mexico seizes ship carrying 68,000 tonnes of illegal iron
Mexican authorities say they have seized a ship belonging to a drugs cartel which was carrying 68,000 tonnes of illegal iron ore.

NICARAGUA
Costa Rica warns Russia is arming Nicaragua

Last month, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his country was “committed to further strengthening and modernising the army” with the help of any country willing to provide aid.

He did not give details of an agreement between Nicaragua and Russia.

But Russia’s ambassador in Managua had confirmed in March that Moscow is interested in building a military resupply base in Nicaragua.

Russian defense chief Sergei Shoigu has said that Russia is weighing increasing its military presence in countries including Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela – particularly bases to refuel Russian warplanes far from home.

PANAMA
Juan Carlos Varela Declared Victor in Panamanian Presidential Vote
Current Vice President Has 39% of the Vote With 60% of Votes Counted
, with 76% turnout:

Panama’s economy has grown by an average of more than 8% in recent years and is expected to expand by 7% this year, by far the best performance in the Americas. Since 2002, poverty has been slashed from more than 40% to a quarter of the population.

“One good thing is that that there are no big ideological differences,” Nicolás Ardito-Barletta, a former World Bank economist who served less than a year as president in the mid-1980s, said before the vote. “Nobody’s going to kill the goose.”

In Panama Vote, a Noncandidate Matters
Presidential elections in Panama on Sunday feature a crowded field of seven candidates, but are widely seen here as a referendum on one man who won’t appear on the ballot: conservative President Ricardo Martinelli.

PERU
Visit Choquequirao, Peru
Explore Peru’s famous Incan ruins in the lesser-known but still breathtaking city of Choquequirao

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico leads world in Walgreens, Walmart stores per sq. mile

Drug Trade Takes a Toll on Puerto Rico, Police Chief Says

URUGUAY
Uruguay unveils legal marijuana plan
Uruguay’s authorities reveal how marijuana will be produced and sold legally in the country at less than $1 a gramme.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan government arrests 58 foreigners ‘for inciting protests’
Interior Minister denounces alleged plot to promote unrest and overthrow Venezuela’s government as it is revealed dozens of foreign nationals are among the detained

Venezuelan Jewish Leader Says Anti-Semitism Has ‘Exploded’ in Recent Years in Latin America

Tales Of Bolivarian Inefficiency III: Chávez’ Frozen Cuban Dream

Chávez initially promised that Coppelia ice cream would be made with Venezuelan products and supplies. Milk products from Lacteos Los Andes (now practically bankrupt), sugar from CVA Azucar (now shut down, see first post) and orange, guava, mango, peach and coconut.

Well, 18 months later and now Chávez is dead, Coppelia produces ice cream, mostly creamy flavors, in irregular and limited fashion. Raw materials and supplies are all imported. Forget about all those fruit flavors, but its manager says raw materials come from Lacteos Los Andes, which is practically shut down. [See also Chavez’s Farming Utopia Withers as Pet Projects Abandoned]

The Money-Losing Machine in Caracas
Forget Chávez and his Bolivarian Revolution — it’s oil that wrecked the Venezuelan state.

Which brings us, finally, to the million-dollar question: In post-Chávez Venezuela, who has the political capital to institute the deep and painful reforms the country requires to break out of this wicked cycle? If Chávez himself — who was the closest to God you can get in Venezuelan politics — didn’t dare to touch the gasoline subsidy or move against the Armed Forces’ involvement in organized crime, who would dare? In the answer to that question, more than in the epic battles painted by the likes of María Corina Machado, lies the key to Venezuela’s long term future.

May 1 follies

Cedice: Fighting Socialism In Venezuela: The Work Of A Heroic Think Tank

The official corruption
The General Comptroller’s Office just published its latest report, and between lines, front firms which got away with dollars came to the spotlight again. The following list presents the irregularities admitted by the Venezuelan Government

The week’s posts and podcast:
Nestor fever #PoneleNestorATodo: Tympanoctomys Kirchnerorum UPDATED

Chile: Bienvenido, Putin

Mexico: Impunity for attacks on the press

@MarkSteynOnLine on the Benghazi lies

Highjacker returns from Cuba, objects to terms of conviction

Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez’s jail birthday

6 good writers from Latin America + 1

Iran in Latin America: Must-read report

Argentina: Trade surplus plummets

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
‘Dude, this was like two years ago’, and don’t miss the chart.

Brazil: Welcome to Usama’s!

Podcast:
“Foreign investment reforms” in Cuba PLUS US-Latin America this week


Tonight’s podcast with Silvio Canto

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

live at 8PM Eastern, “Foreign investment reforms” in Cuba PLUS US-Latin America this week, and also archived for your listening convenience.

Iran in Latin America: Must-read report

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center did a report in 2009 on how Iran increases its political and economic presence in
Latin America, defying the United States and
attempting to undermine American hegemony. It also
foments radical Shi’ite Islamization and exports Iran’s
revolutionary ideology, using Hezbollah to establish
intelligence, terrorism and crime networks, liable to be
exploited against the United States and Israel.

63. The Wayuus and Hezbollah Venezuela have websites and blogs which identify with the ideology of the Islamic revolution in Iran and with Hezbollah’s messages of violence, preaching hatred of the United States, Israel and the Jewish people. Postings have appearedin recent years in blogs that are still active but are not updated, possibly due to the desire to keep a low profile and be less exposed.

64. The website of an organization calling itself “Hezbollah America Latina” went online several months before Hezbollah Venezuela’s attempt to carry out a terrorist attack against the American embassy in Caracas (October 23, 2006). The website introduced itself as the
“mouthpiece of Hezbollah in Latin America.” It is written in Spanish and in a mixed Mayan-Old Spanish language. Even though it claims to operate in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, and Mexico, it mostly serves the network which runs the website, referring to itself as the Islamic Autonomy of Wayuu (Autonomia Islamica Wayuu), led by Teodoro Rafael Darnott.49

65. The Hezbollah Venezuela website preaches the complete elimination of the sex industry, and attacks the so-called “corrupt upper classes” and the so-called “corruption of the government.” The website also contains anti-Semitic and anti-American texts and articles by Holocaust deniers and Neo-Nazis.50 In recent years, blogs have appeared, written by Wayuu Muslim converts who sympathize with the ideology of the Iranian Islamic revolution and Hezbollah’s messages of violence.

While the report is five years old, the information is still relevant. Read the whole thing.

H/t Carlos Hös, who also linked. Thank you!

The giant telescope Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 28th, 2014

LatinAmerIn this week’s news, Telescope in Puerto Rico Detects Strange, Rapid Bursts of Radio Waves

[Director of the Astronomy Section at Arecibo Observatory, a part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Fernando] Camilo said the phenomenon has been detected at least seven times through the radio telescope in Australia, but the importance of this one is that for the first time it has been documented at another observatory, which confirms that this is an astronomical reality and cannot be attributed to some peculiarity of a particular instrument.

“The question now is the nature of this phenomenon,” said the scientist, who for years studied astronomy in the United States.

“This could be a powerful burst of radio waves faraway in the universe, a kind of signal never detected before,” which appears to come from outside our galaxy.

The Arecibo telescope was one of the James Bond locations in GoldenEye (1995, and yes, the clip is dubbed),

ANTIGUA
Antigua’s Parliament to Dissolve in preparation for the general elections that must be held by July 25.

ARGENTINA
ARGENTINA Y EL NARCOESTADO (PARTE III)

Surge in Vigilante Justice Ignites Lynching Wave in Argentine Province

Yowza! Argentina Trade Surplus Plunged 95% on Year in March
Broad Decline in Commodities, Manufactured Goods Exports Led to Drop

BOLIVIA
Bolivia dismisses protesting troops
Bolivia’s military chiefs have ordered the dismissal of more than 700 troops who have been protesting to demand better working conditions.

BRAZIL
Violence Roils Brazil’s Biggest Cities
A professional dancer’s death sparked a violent protest in a Rio de Janeiro slum, and armed men torched nearly three dozen buses outside São Paulo.

Life as a Brazilian Woman

CHILE
Chile’s national police to expand by 6,000 officers

COLOMBIA
Santos is losing the plot while Enrique Peñalosa is on the rise.

Will the real Mr Santos please speak up
A tepid election fraught with risks for Colombia

Drug ritual kills gap-year Briton in Colombia
Henry Miller, a 19-year-old from Bristol who was due to start university in September, died after taking hallucinogenic drugs as part of a tribal ritual in South America

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
To the tune of $325,000: Dominican Republic lawmakers waddle in ‘sweet beans’ scandal

The Chamber of Deputies on Friday confirmed allocating more than RD$14.0 million (US$325,000) for its 185 members to hand out the ingredients to cook the traditional Easter dish ‘habichuelas con dulce’ (sweet beans), first aid kits, inflatable swimming pools, domino games and other items, in what it called: “expenditures for the Easter operation 2014 and to assist relief agencies in each province.”

CUBA
@NETmundial: Russia and Cuba Push for Internet Censorship

ECUADOR
Ecuador may try to print 10-yr as low as mid 6%. It would take a lot more yield to convince me to buy it.

HAITI
Haiti in the Shadow of Cholera

JAMAICA
Saving Goat Islands, Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Netflix to launch first Spanish-language show

MEXICO
Mexican Drug Cartel Clashes are Exploding Anew in Tamaulipas

Competition bill passes Mexico’s Senate, easing legislative logjam

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua: Revolutionary reminders around every corner
Its political and military dramas once dominated the news, but these days, says Chris Moss, Nicaragua makes a fascinatingly enigmatic destination
. . . only if you don’t mind communist propaganda.

PANAMA
Venezuelans flock to Panama to escape Maduro economy

PERU
Peru buys surveillance satellite from France

PUERTO RICO
John Paulson Calls Puerto Rico Singapore of Caribbean

VENEZUELA
Venezuela’s Security Forces: A Killer Elite Beyond the Law
As violent protests return, the death toll is down, but families are struggling hopelessly to find justice for their loved ones killed in demonstrations earlier this year.

Peaceful protests bother you? Just ban them. And force punitive delation.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Vargas Llosa: Venezuela a “pathetic failure”

Garcia Marquez’s black eye: Vargas Llosa ain’t telling

Ecuador: Adiós, Security Cooperation Office

En español: La vida de los “Enchufados” en Miami

Venezuela: American arrested for murder

Venezuela: #1 in misery index

Colombia: Gustavo Petro back in city hall

Argentina: SCOTUS hearing Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital

En español: Terapia intensiva #204

Well, there’s at least one person out there who dislikes Gabriel García Márquez more than I,

Colombia: Santos throws the towel

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Venezuela: Misery and missiles

“Positive discrimination”

Podcast:
Cuba, Venezuela & US-Latin America stories of the week.


In Silvio Canto’s podcast

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

talking about Cuba, Venezuela & US-Latin America stories of the week. Live at 8PM Eastern, and also archived for your listening convenience.

The Easter Week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 21st, 2014

LatinAmerYesterday was Easter Sunday, and we celebrate it, and, possibly, Spring.

ARGENTINA
How Argentina’s Default Could Be New York’s Loss
The commercial capital depends on U.S. courts to hold governments to their promises.

Battle over Argentina’s debts heads to Supreme Court

HACER’s Amicus Brief Filed with U.S. Supreme Court

BOLIVIA
Cónsul de Bolivia en Nueva York: Personajes emblemáticos del narcotráfico y la corrupción representan a Bolivia

BRAZIL
The road to Rio… by scooter
Shunning traditional air travel, one England fan has decided to take the scenic route to Brazil for the World Cup – making the journey on a Vespa scooter

Police in Brazil’s Bahia State End Strike
Police in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia on Thursday called off a strike after accepting terms offered by the state government.

CUBA

Easter No. 3 for a Prisoner of Castro
Bearing witness to Cuba’s political persecution costs Sonia Garro her freedom.

MLB’s Next Headache: Cartels, Gangsters, and Their Cuban Superstars
The baseball world has been stunned by reports the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig was smuggled from his homeland by a drug cartel, and a Miami gangster allegedly now owns 20% of his astronomical contract.

Did USAID Wander Into CIA Territory by Running Cuba Op?
A rudimentary Twitter-style app crafted to stoke protests in Cuba is making some on the Hill screech.

HAITI
Housing Effort Said to Lag
A post-earthquake housing program in Haiti financed by the United States Agency for International Development has delivered only a quarter of the planned number of houses.

HONDURAS
US Air Base in Honduras Delivers Supplies to Mountain Village

JAMAICA
Govt’s plan to raise $6.7 billion

LATIN AMERICA
World leaders pay tribute to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Colombian author praised as a literary giant who changed Latin Americans’ thinking, after his death at the age of 87

MEXICO
Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

NICARAGUA
Earthquakes diminish in Nicaragua, but country remains on red alert

PANAMA
The election is scheduled for May 4: Panama’s Seven Presidential Candidates Debate Before Vote.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay Busts International Drug Trafficking Ring

PERU
Thousands evacuated in Peru after volcano warning
Increased activity of Ubinas volcano in southern Peru leads to state of emergency with 4,000 people and their 30,000 animals told to evacuate

PUERTO RICO
Vice: Legalize Prostitution or Marijuana? Puerto Rico Is Looking for Ideas to Solve Debt Crisis

This is What Happens When You Register Your Guns

Salsa legend Cheo Feliciano dies
Puerto Rican salsa singer and composer Cheo Feliciano dies in a car crash in his native island aged 78.

URUGUAY
In pictures: Gauchos at Criolla Week rodeo in Uruguay

VENEZUELA
Maduro [sic] First 365 Days As President Of Venezuela

Venezuela’s Unending Ordeal

Someone in Maduro’s government must be held responsible for the deaths

¿Cómo conquistó Cuba a Venezuela?
La respuesta es Hugo Chávez. Dejar entrar a los cubanos fue la expresión de su poder absoluto

Desde su inicio en 1959, una prioridad de la política exterior del régimen cubano ha sido la creación de vastas redes de apoyo a su causa. Sus servicios de espionaje, su diplomacia, propaganda, ayuda humanitaria, intercambios juveniles, académicos y culturales, y el apoyo en otros países a ONG, intelectuales, periodistas, medios de comunicación y grupos políticos afines han sido pilares básicos de su estrategia internacional. Esto lo hacen todos los países, pero pocos han tenido la necesidad de darle tanta prioridad y durante tanto tiempo como Cuba. La supervivencia económica y política del régimen ha dependido de su éxito en tener aliados en otros países que, a su vez, puedan influir sobre sus gobiernos en apoyo a la isla.

Incitatii Bolivariani

Students add Easter twist to dwindling Venezuela protests

The week’s posts and podcast:
Mexico: 7.5 earthquake on Good Friday had warning

Cuba/Venezuela: $10,000 “melange of Communism” trips

Cuba: The great unwashed, by governmental decree

Venezuela: Inspired by Marx!

Venezuela: No amnesty for jailed opposition

Panama: Martinelli strikes back

Chile: 15 dead in #Valparaiso

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, RIP, with additional comment here.

Mad Men’s somber final season opener

The week’s podcast:
The latest from Colombia plus other US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio and Cecilia Torres.


In Silvio Canto’s podcast

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

talking about The latest from Colombia plus other US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio and Cecilia Torres.

Live at 8PM Eastern, and archived for your convenience.

The Holy Week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 14th, 2014

LatinAmerIt’s Holy Week, and taxes are due tomorrow – not exactly the most cheerful way to start a week.

ARGENTINA
Federal police launch huge raid on Argentina’s ‘drug capital’
More than 3,000 federal agents involved in raids on around 80 ‘bunkers’ in the Argentine city of Rosario, plagued by violence between drug gangs

YPF, Chevron to Invest $1.6 Billion in 2014 in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta
Both companies will share equally in the investment outlay, which will go toward drilling 170 wells and building production facilities in Loma Campana, Neuquen
. Good luck with that.

Argentina hit by general strike over high inflation and taxes

Metro, train and bus services around the country have been paralysed, as Ignacio de los Reyes reports
Public transport in Argentina has been severely disrupted by a huge nationwide strike against the economic policies of the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

So, of course, Cristina’s trying to create a diversion: UK Falklands military exercises ‘provoke’ Argentina

BOLIVIA
Is There A Connection Between Hillary Clinton’s ‘Shoe-icide’ Attacker And Che Guevara?

But while everyone is talking about the shoe, little is talked about what the woman also threw along with it: a copy of a Department of Defense document labeled confidential and dated August 1967; it referred to an operation “Cynthia” in Bolivia. Operation “Cynthia” was a Bolivian army maneuver to capture Argentinean doctor and Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s economic problems cloud 2014 elections
Brazil’s macroeconomic picture poses problems for the country’s 2014 elections, reports Bloomberg’s David Ingles

Fighting breaks out in Rio de Janeiro as police move to clear 5,000 squatters from buildings

Brazil 2014: less than half of country favour hosting World Cup
Just 48 per cent of Brazilians are in support of the country hosting this year’s tournament, which begins in June

CHILE
Fire destroys 500 homes in Valparaiso
Ambulance crews have treated residents for smoke inhalation but so far there have been no deaths

COLOMBIA
Keep FARC leader Timochenko alive for peace?

Colombia has a loose-tongued president.

Yesterday, Juan Manuel Santos told us he knew where FARC commander alias Timochenko is hiding, but claimed he’d “think twice” before ordering a shoot-to-kill.

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica Installs Coastal Radar to Monitor Drug Smuggling

CUBA
Families of Shootdown Victims: No Spies for Gross Exchange

UPDATED | Cuban political prisoner Lamberto Hernández Plana released after 23 years in Castro gulag

French Foreign Minister Visits Cuba
A French foreign minister visited Cuba for the first time in more than 30 years Saturday, traveling to the communist-run nation at a time when it is seeking to attract more foreign investment and improve ties with the European Union.

ECUADOR
It’s what you call a totalitarian democracy: Does Ecuador’s leader aspire to a perpetual presidency?
Ecuador’s constitution bars Rafael Correa from running for the fourth term. But this won’t stop him from seeking reelection if ‘the people’ want it, he hints.

JAMAICA
Entrepreneurs demand ‘respect’ in Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Chinese lending to Latin America
Flexible friends
China lends disproportionately to countries that lack other options
and, while on the subject of China, A Pax Sinica in the Middle East? Some Conjectures

Andres Oppenheimer: Latin America’s forecasts may be too rosy

MEXICO
Mexico prepares first illegal drug financing blacklist
Mexico’s cartels launder billions of dollars a year made by shipping illegal drugs to U.S.
with a proviso,

[Mexican Finance Minister Luis] Videgaray said individuals identified by OFAC [the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control], or in a similar list put out by the United Nations, could end up being sanctioned in Mexico but that his administration would not necessarily implement all U.S.-identified targets.

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua Sees Series of Arrow Killings of Dogs using crossbows and custom carbon arrows.

PANAMA
Panama Canal expansion draws bigger customers, and criticism
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal, one of the busiest waterways in the world. A massive building project is underway there to widen it for larger ships, but the expansion has not been undisputed.

PERU
Peru Arrests 24 for Alleged Ties to Shining Path Rebels

Bello
Peru’s Italian job
Economic success cannot indefinitely co-exist with political weakness
The “Italian model” holds that the important thing is that the economy was run by responsible technocrats. How’s that working out?

The real lesson from Italy is that if the political system is unable to act in the long-term interest of the majority, it ends up contaminating the economy with its failures. Peru is a democracy without meaningful parties. A regional election in October is likely to repeat the last one, in which 23 of the 25 regional presidents were independents. Thanks to mining and gas royalties, they command a big chunk of public money. One important region, Áncash, has become a mafia mini-state. Ten political opponents of the regional president, César Álvarez, have been murdered after denouncing corruption. His critics accuse Mr Álvarez, who denies all wrongdoing, of having bought off prosecutors. This month Mr Humala froze Áncash’s bank accounts.

It always amazes me that countless “models” – the Danish model, the Swedish model, etc. – are held as examples worth emulating in Latin America, instead of free market capitalism.

PUERTO RICO
Vatican Clears Puerto Rico Bishop Daniel Fernandez in Abuse Case

URUGUAY
Uruguay to make medical marijuana available to prisoners
Any inmates who have been prescribed marijuana to improve their physical or mental health will have access to it according to the country’s drug tsar

VENEZUELA
Venezuela: sector de la oposición rechaza diálogo

Venezuela Update: Violence, protests and … talks?

Massive repression against protestors in Venezuela by security forces of Cuba-backed dictatorship

Venezuela’s Protest Movement Fights The Ghost Of Chavez
The legacy of Hugo Chavez hangs over Venezuela — and the country’s protest leaders are having a hard time bringing his followers into their fold.
Especially with the armed motorcycle gangs threatening them.

Venezuela’s old men have a dialogue

Venezuela gives Cuba three aircraft to transport Raúl Castro
The aircrafts –two Dassault Falcon 50 and one Falcon 900– are worth some USD 100-110 million

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: No food in the shops, but 3 jets for Raul

El libro que hay que leer: En español: Infobae entrevista a Casto Ocando, autor de Chavistas en el Imperio

And now for a Venezuela roundup

Ecuador: Rafael Correa at Yale UPDATED

Brazil: Airports not ready yet

Mexico: en español, Terapia Intensiva 203

Mike Hammer goes to Chile

New book: Chavistas en el Imperio

Cuba: Alan Gross on hunger strike – later Gross ends hunger strike in Cuba

At Da Tech Guy:
Bye-bye, Elementary

Cuba’s American hostage

Podcast:
Dr Gross in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador & US-Latin America stories of the week


Panama: The Mrs. next?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Of the women presidents in Latin America, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Isabel Peron of Argentina, and Mireya Moscoso of Panama became presidents because of their husbands. Now Panama may get a wife as VP, coupled with lack of transparency:
Panama’s King Moves the Queen
President Martinelli can’t run for re-election, so he’s picked his wife to be the candidate for VP.

Center-right Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli is an outspoken critic of Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro. Back home in Panama, though, Mr. Martinelli is laying the groundwork for a power grab of his own. If he prevails the region will take another step backward on the freedom trail, yet the Obama State Department remains silent.

Mr. Martinelli’s term ends on July 1 and the constitution bars him from re-election. But the wealthy supermarket magnate is not letting go so easily. He has made his wife, Marta, the vice-presidential candidate on his Democratic Change Party (CD) ticket for the May 4 presidential election. The presidential candidate is José Domingo Arias, his former housing minister.

The Panamanian Constitution anticipates the caudillo who tries “moving the queen,” as this tactic is known elsewhere in the region, to get around a prohibition on re-election. Its Article 193 states that relatives within “the second degree of marital relations of the President of the Republic” may neither be president nor vice president immediately following his term.

A constitutional challenge to Mrs. Martinelli’s candidacy has been brought to the Supreme Court. But the president seems to be betting that the five—of nine—judges who regularly vote in his favor will do so again.

The Panamanian democracy is on the ropes once more. This time Mr. Martinelli has asphyxiated it by waving money under the noses of the political class.

Sometimes it feels like I could replace the dates in old news articles, doesn’t it?