and archived for your convenience,
— Fausta (@Fausta) March 9, 2016
Last weekend Donald Trump asked attendees at his rally in Florida to raise their right hand and pledge allegiance to him and vote for him “no matter what.” (video at the link)
It is the most repulsive gesture of the campaign so far.
One of the reasons Latin American countries are a mess is that they abide by the “great man’ theory,
The great man theory of leadership became popular during the 19th-century. The mythology behind some of the world’s most famous leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Julius Caesar, Mahatma Gandhi and Alexander the Great helped contribute to the notion that great leaders are born and not made. In many examples, it seems as if the right man for the job seems to emerge almost magically to take control of a situation and lead a group of people into safety or success.
This is inimical to a representative republic founded on the principle of rule of law, of equality under the law, on the commitment that no one is above the law. History and experience shows that, time after time, any one person who “seems to emerge almost magically to take control of a situation” will invariably do so by the not-so-magical means of placing themselves above the law.
Mary O’Grady expounds on this subject,
Donald Trump’s Latin Role Models. Far from respecting the Constitution, the candidate promises to out-Obama Obama.
Trump supporters are backing this promise of an unconstitutional use of executive power because they aim to raze the “establishment.” But this is a dangerous game.
It’s too often easy to find an excuse, a moral outrage, to grant permission for the unconstitutional acts of a strongman. Venezuela—which until Hugo Chávez came to power in 1999 was among the longest-running democracies in Latin America—comes to mind. In 1998 oil prices were low, the economy was adrift, corruption was rampant, and the outsider Chávez promised to topple everything. He did. And once the law was destroyed, there was no way to control him.
I got into an argument with a Trump supporter during the weekend, which did not end well.
Let’s hope Republicans come to their senses and do not elect Trump on this primary season.
You could make a case that it’s crazy season somewhere in the world at any given time, but it’s the Republican primary’s turn.
Elsewhere in our hemisphere,
Nisman case: Spy chief returns to Argentina to make bombshell allegations. Jaime Stiuso, who for almost 40 years was central to Argentina’s secret services, has returned from self-imposed exile to testify before a judge in the Nisman case, and shock a television chat show
Re: the Nisman investigation, read Eamonn’s string, Stiuso’s credibility: He’s a bad, bad man, but that doesn’t mean he’s lying,
— Éamann Mac Donnchada (@EamonnMacDonagh) March 2, 2016
A good, English language article summarizing Evo Morales’s missing child story and how it relates to corruption, Beyond the Zapata scandal: Outsourcing Bolivia’s National Development to China
The basic details behind the scandal have been confirmed by President Morales himself. In 2007 or shortly before, the President had a relationship with Gabriela Zapata, resulting in a child who died shortly after birth. Zapata went on obtain a university education and a law degree, and in 2013 was contracted by the Chinese company CAMC Engineering which won an estimated $580 millionin work from the Bolivian state, of which, $366 million was awarded after Ms. Zapata was hired to represent the company.
As it turns out, Evo’s child is eight years old (link in Spanish).
Without a doubt, the top story of the month (yes, it’s early in the month, but still) is the raid on former president Lula’s home, his detention, questioning and release by the authorities investigating the Petrobras corruption scandal
Prosecutors now say they have evidence that Lula, members of his family and the Lula Institute, an NGO that he heads, received “undue benefits” worth 30m reais ($8m) in 2011-14 from builders embroiled in the Petrobras scandal. Lula was “one of the principal beneficiaries of the crimes” committed at the oil company, prosecutors claim. He vehemently denies any wrongdoing, and reportedly greeted the federal police officers at his door with calm, if not his usual folksy charm.
Many may have thought Lula was above the law at this point, but
Lula’s dawn surprise tops off a rough 24 hours for his embattled successor and protégée, Dilma Rousseff. The day before IstoÉ, a news magazine, published what it claimed was leaked testimony by Delcídio do Amaral, a senator from her (and Lula’s) Workers’ Party (PT), who was arrested last November in connection with the Petrobras affair. Mr do Amaral apparently alleged that Ms Rousseff appointed a judge simply because he was inclined to release important suspects, such as construction bosses, from pre-trial detention. Mr do Amaral also reportedly testified that Lula tried to buy witnesses’ silence. Ms Rousseff and Lula dismissed the report as unfounded speculation by IstoÉ; Mr do Amaral’s office issued a terse note declining to confirm the leaks’ contents (without expressly denying them).
Hours after IstoÉ dropped this bombshell, the Supreme Court charged the speaker of Congress’s lower house, Eduardo Cunha, with corruption and money-laundering. The chief prosecutor accuses Mr Cunha, who denies any wrongdoing, of managing the Petrobras “bribe pipeline”.
Other leftie leaders are uneasy.
Meanwhile, read about How the Left Came to Reject Cheap Energy for the Poor
CentAm Still Dominant Cocaine Route Into US: State Dept
Historia de un oso (Bear Story)Chile Wins an Oscar for Tackling Its Past
Editorial: Colombia Reports will ignore government’s press freedom limitations
Colombia Reports will ignore the Colombian government’s unlawful ban on reporting on FARC leaders’ trips to rank and file guerrillas. If we comply, this website could be censored any time deemed convenient by either the government or guerrillas.
Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo told press on Thursday that journalists are prohibited from reporting on FARC leaders’ attempts to explain a pending peace deal to their guerrillas, a significant step in a peace process that — like any process affecting citizens — requires public scrutiny.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) March 3, 2016
More on the police prostitution ring,
Broadcast of politician and police leader’s secret sex tape prompts homophobia debate in Colombia. La FM for broadcasting an eight-minute excerpt of a video recording in which former Senator Carlos Ferro and a police captain discuss sex in crude details
Obama’s Cuba Visit Aims To Knock America Down A Peg. President Obama thinks the main problem with the world is the United States. That’s why he needs to cut us down to size in Cuba—and everywhere else.
Why Latin American leftists would love a President Trump
Just how much of this is true? El Chapo entered US twice while on the run after prison break, daughter claims. In an exclusive interview, Rosa Isela Guzmán Ortiz says Mexican officials helped him evade US patrols and that he bankrolled the election of senior politicians
Stratfor report: Dark Pasts and Bright Futures in Paraguay
considering Paraguay’s difficult history, there is much to be impressed with, in terms of the country’s political evolution and economic growth over the past 20 years.
Inside La Isla: The Primary in Puerto Rico. Statehood, the Zika virus, and bankruptcy are big issues on the Island of Enchantment, but when you can’t vote for president, how do you make your voice heard?
At least 6,500 of the island’s 11,500 prisoners are registered to vote, and government officials said this year’s turnout was strong. Even prisoners not registered are allowed to participate in the open primaries, which are held two days ahead of the vote for the general population. The island’s Republican primary is Sunday while Democrats vote in June.
Argentina will seek a friendly settlement with Chile regarding the long-standing bilateral conflict over the extradition of Galvarino Apablaza before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Apablaza is accused of involvement in the murder of a conservative Senator and kidnapping of a newspaper executive.
Who is responsible for the current environmental and social conditions in Ecuador's Amazon?https://t.co/Va0FS4yXG7
— The Amazon Post (@AmazonPost) February 24, 2016
Guatemala military sentenced for rape
Bad idea: Woman arrested at JFK for smuggling half pound of cocaine in vagina from Jamaica (h/t Ed Driscoll)
Point: Central America’s Gangs are More Dangerous Than Ever
Counterpoint: International Terror and the Gangs of Douglas Farah
The 44-page federal police report dated Feb. 5 now moves the sprawling corruption probe beyond Brazil’s borders, saying investigators suspect Humala received $3 million in bribes from the large Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for contracts in Peru.
— CapitolHillCubans (@CapitolCubans) February 26, 2016
Pope Francis concluded his visit with an in-flight press conference that got him and Donald Trump more mileage than the flight itself.
Brazilian Supreme Court Judge Orders Release of Jailed Senator. A Brazilian senator who was arrested in November on charges of obstructing a federal investigation was ordered released from jail on Friday after a judge on the country’s Supreme Court accepted a petition from the senator’s lawyers.
Delcídio do Amaral had been arrested in November on charges of obstructing a federal investigation
You must read this: A Mexican Impasse for the Pope
The shape of things to come: As Socialist Economy Implodes, Venezuela Creates Army-Run Oil Firm. President Maduro Hands Over New State Company to the Military amid Criticism from Own Supporters
Venezuela’s parliament approves amnesty law in first salvo against the government.
An amnesty law designed to free Venezuelan opposition leader including Leopoldo Lopez has been approved, but faces a long battle to be enacted
— JARED LETO (@JaredLeto) February 19, 2016
In spite of the federal government denials that Islamic militants may have tried to cross the Mexican border to conduct operations in the U.S., a Judicial Watch investigation reveals that al-Qaeda terrorist Adnan G. El Shukrijumah (also spelled Shukijumah in Spanish-language reports), whose mom still lives in Miramar, FL, hid in a Mexican border city across Douglas, Arizona in 2004.
El Shukrijumah was connected to Mohammed Atta, and both were with another man at the Miami immigration office on May 2, 2001,
Adnan G. el Shukrijumah, an al-Qaida terrorist leader once based in South Florida, hid in northern Mexico with two other Arab militants in a border city across from Douglas, Arizona, in 2004, newly released State Department cables say.
One of the cables noted that the information about Shukrijumah, killed in Pakistan in 2014, came from a trusted confidential source who had a relative involved in migrant smuggling.
This matters because
In the case of the Shukrijumah cables, they suggest that the federal government was wrong to deny that Islamic militants may have tried to cross the porous Mexican border to conduct operations in the United States.
The Shukrijumah case has attracted wide attention since the 9/11 Commission in 2004 published a report quoting an immigration officer as saying that she was “75 percent sure” she saw the Miramar resident with hijack leader Mohamed Atta and another man at the immigration office in Miami on May 2, 2001 — four months before the plane attacks. Atta piloted the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center twin towers in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. The second man with Atta, the commission report said, was possibly Ziad Jarrah, the pilot who crashed his plane into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers rebelled and tried to storm the cockpit to recover control of the aircraft.
The possible presence of Shukrijumah with the 9/11 pilots stirred speculation that the terror leaders received assistance from U.S.-based militants while they plotted the attacks.
Read the whole thing.
The Miami Herald article reports that Shrukrijumah’s mother has said her son left for Trinidad in January 2001. Here is a report on Jihad in Trinidad.
Jazz Shaw posts,
There’s an article this week over at The Last Refuge which might be worth a look if you’ve got an open mind on the subject. One of the less commented on aspects of international relations with Mexico is the volume of cash which Mexicans living in America (including illegal aliens) send home every year to their families. There’s nothing shocking about the idea at first glance. People send money home all the time. But just how much is it? This report straight out of Mexico may come as a bit of a shock.
Remittances sent home by Mexicans working outside the country surpassed petroleum revenues in 2015 for the first time. There was a 4.75% increase in money sent from abroad, most of which comes from the U.S., to total US $24.8 billion last year, up from $23.6 billion in 2014, said the Bank of México.
The bank said it was the first time remittances had totaled more than petroleum revenues since it began tracking them in 1995. Oil revenues last year totaled $23.4 billion.
This is apparently the reality of the Mexican economy. They have more cash flowing into the country via letters and wire service from people working in the United States than they get from exporting oil.
Mexico is now cracking down on migrants from other countries trying to cross the country in order to reach the U.S.A., while more money is involved (emphasis added),
Fleeing a surge in gang violence and a void of opportunity, record numbers of Central Americans began streaming toward the United States in the spring of 2014. That year, 68,631 children, nearly twice as many as the previous year, were stopped at the United States border, having chosen the risks of the 1,000-mile journey over the dangers they faced back home.
To stem the flow, the White House promised aid to help build better lives for the migrants in their own countries. In December, $750 million was approved for Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
What we are seeing is how human trafficking supports the failed political, social and criminal systems of failing states. As I said yesterday, strong democracies do not compel their citizens to risk their lives by immigrating illegally to other lands.
The U.S. is used as a relief valve,
a type of valve used to control or limit the pressure in a system or vessel which can build up for a process upset, instrument or equipment failure, or fire.
The relief valve supplies multiple ways to reduce pressure:
It provides a flow of revenue from not only foreign aid, but through remittances, goods, and special programs such as Plan Frontera Sur.
A lot of foreign funds support the status quo of the (corrupt) receiving countries.
While foreign aid and NGO moneys may end up in the pockets of ruling elites, corrupt officials and the likes, remittances (after a deduction for fees) actually end up in the hands of the people who benefit, thus preventing destabilization.
Additionally, American judicial and police institutions are much more efficient and less corrupt than those in most of the Latin American countries. For instance, In Mexico, Only 30% of Drug Arrests Lead to Conviction. In Colombia, just 9% of murders lead to a conviction. Hence, those countries resort to extraditing their criminals to the U.S.; in turn,
Yet extraditers pay a price. Extradition can create dependency by reducing pressure to clean up local justice systems. Although Colombia has broken up gangs, increased drug seizures and cut its murder rate, its courts and jails remain inefficient and corruptible by global standards. Because it now extradites even mob foot-soldiers, no one knows if it could jail a proper capo safely.
. . .
Outsourcing justice abroad can also undermine it at home. Since American prosecutors focus exclusively on crimes against the United States, extradited prisoners are not tried there for wrongdoing against their own countrymen. This prevents victims from seeing justice done, and the public from learning about dark chapters of local history. In 2008 Mr Uribe sent 14 members of right-wing paramilitary groups to the United States on drug charges just as Colombian investigators were examining their alleged human-rights violations and potential ties to the government. Many of their records were sealed, causing the president’s opponents to accuse him of using extradition as part of a cover-up.
I hesitate to use pop psychology terminology, but it is classic codependency writ large,
Codependent relationships are where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.
So the illegal immigration issue is not simply a matter of the U.S. going along with a sentiment of
That commitment can not come from outside. It must come from within each nation.
In practical terms, the question is, why should they?
Argentina in $6.5bn offer to debt holdouts after its 2001 default on $100bn.
Great to be back in Buenos Aires. Had a lovely walk in the park today. See you all at the show on Sunday! pic.twitter.com/V4Ws2bueRf
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) February 6, 2016
Brazil Health Researchers Say Zika Virus Is Active in Saliva, Urine. Pregnant women advised to take precautions to avoid coming in contact with others’ saliva; other researchers suggest such fears are overblown
Privatization success: Chilean Pension Funds Grow 4.1% Year-on-Year in January
This week, the DEA announced the arrests of Hezbollah operatives with connections to ‘La Oficina de Envigado,’ a major Colombian Drug Trafficking organization responsible for a large share of the cocaine shipped to US and European markets. The presence in Latin America of Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based and Iran-backed Shi’a Islamic terror group is hardly news.
The group has been active in money laundering and other illicit activities in the region for decades, predominantly in the lawless tri-border region between Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. Most notably, Hezbollah bombed a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994, killing 85 and wounding hundreds. However, the recent increase in cooperation with drug traffickers, as evidenced by these high-profile arrests, represents an alarming trend and a dangerous prospect for the future of hemispheric security.
Falling oil prices are affecting Iran’s economy, and Hezbollah must diversify and pursue other revenue streams. The lucrative Latin American drug trade is a natural choice.
President Barack Obama promised to throw the White House’s full support behind the Colombian government’s efforts to sign a historic peace agreement with leftist rebels, including a pledge of $450 million in aid annually to help demobilize rebels who’ve been fighting an insurgency for 51 years.
Comunicado- Plan Colombia https://t.co/tNdMkaYWMS
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) February 5, 2016
Pope Che’s going back to Cuba: In Historic Move, Pope to Meet With Leader of Russian Orthodox Church
Ecuador has protested to Turkey over an incident in which demonstrators were violently ejected during a speech by visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the capital, Quito.
Protesters in Haiti have beaten a man to death in a clash with ex-soldiers, as political uncertainty continues.
Witnesses say the crowd in the capital Port-au-Prince attacked the man, thinking that he was from the country’s disbanded military.
Congratulations to Eneas Biglione: HACER entre los 75 centros de estudios más influyentes de EEUU
“La reina del sur” in hot water: Mexican Judge Grants Del Castillo Protection against Arrest
The runaway cops visit the burnt-out unit,