Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

LatAm currencies slide

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

The WSJ reports,
Latin American Currencies Hurt by Commodities’ Drop, U.S. Fed ExpectationsMexico’s peso at new low against dollar, though nation may benefit from weakness

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.

El Chapo’s new song: Gimme shelter

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

BREAKING: Joaquin “#ElChapo” Guzman Offers $10 Million To Any U.S. Citizen Who Provides Shelter For Him

“It’s time for us to ban together to protect El Chapo. It’s important for our people to remain strong through the American media disrespecting our people and culture. El Chapo’s escape from prison was on the first step to our rise as Mexican people.

The Sinaloa Cartel, with permission from El Chapo, is offering $15 Million Dollars to any Mexican-American willing to provide a safe haven for El Chapo. We will give $10 Million Dollars to any other American person willing to assist El Chapo, and $7 Million Dollars to anyone who can successfully get El Chapo across the Mexican-American border without detection. Send this message to everyone affiliated.”

Interesting nationalistic wording (“El Chapo’s escape from prison was on the first step to our rise as Mexican people“) aside, the announcement leads to conjecture on what factors may be behind it:

  • El Chapo’s already in the U.S. and the announcement is a red herring
  • El Chapo’s US$10 million offer counters the Mexican government’s 60 million pesos  reward (almost US$4 million) to show who’s boss
  • The person(s) running top day-to-day operations are not too willing to relinquish their positions of power
  • Competing cartels (Zetas, Nueva Generación, etc.) may not want him back in action and be heating things up enough to make him/his organization want to get him out of the country
  • El Chapo may have decided to move closer to where the consumer is
  • Mexican authorities may have abetted his escape on the condition that he leave the country

None of these are mutually exclusive.

Plus, of course,

there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

Sing it, Mick!

Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

Mexico’s El Chapo: “Guilty as sin, free as a bird.”

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Mexico’s El Chapo: “Guilty as sin, free as a bird.” Odds are he will remain out.

Related:
I was in Willie Lawson’s podcast, and in Silvio Canto‘s podcast, and El Chapo was one of the subjects we talked about.

Mexico: Oh look, they did tape El Chapo’s exit

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

As you may recall, two days ago Mexican authorities said there were no cameras in El Chapo’s shower. The implication was that there was no video of his exiting the cell.

Oh look, they did tape El Chapo’s exit:

This ain’t exactly Shawshank Redemption

When prisoners manage to tunnel out of their confinement, their tunnels are rudimentary, dangerous, and short. This tunnel resembles those that cross the US-Mexico border, or those in Gaza leading into southern Israel. It’s clear that a number of people tunneled in to get Guzman out, and those people spent a lot of money to do so. Guzman wasn’t going to be able to install electricity and ventilation, after all.

Indeed, the LA Times calls the tunnel “a minor engineering masterpiece“.

Another corrido names him King of the Tunnel,

El gobierno mexicano
muy fácil es de comprarlo
[It’s very easy to buy off the Mexican government]

Speaking of which, Drug Kingpin’s Escape Sets Back Mexican Leader
Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s jail break caps a run of bad news for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto

The Mexican government set a $3.8million reward on El Chapo’s capture. What was the old saying, closing the stable door after the horse has bolted?



Mexico: El Chapo’s tunnel UPDATED

Monday, July 13th, 2015

This took a lot of know-how, effort, labor and co-ordination (emphasis added):

The tunnel that Guzman used to flee was sophisticated. It was nearly a mile long and deep enough for him to stand, authorities said. Its opening was a rectangular hole in the former prisoner’s shower, measuring 20 inches by 20 inches. It then descended 30 feet, ran its length under largely unpopulated land and ended in a somewhat isolated house under construction in the nondescript Santa Juanita neighborhood, surrounded by empty fields.

Authorities, attempting to explain how it was possible for such an elaborate construction to have taken place unnoticed, said Guzman’s shower was the only place in his cell where there were no security cameras.

So, to review, El Chapo

  • had his own private shower,
  • which had no security camera
  • and the tunnel maker(s) knew exactly where to find it.

M’kay.

UPDATE
Oh look, he tweets

The Communist crucifix Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 13th, 2015

During his visit in Bolivia, pope Francis stepped out of the popemobile to pray at the site where the late Jesuit Luis Espinal’s body had been dumped, after which Evo Morales (who wore a jacket embroidered with Che Guevara’s face to the Pope’s speech) presented Francis with the Communist crucifix designed by Espinal, and a matching medal, which Francis accepted:

Following the ensuing outrage, Francis left the medals and crucifix in Bolivia while the Vatican launched into spin mode.

Evo certainly milked the photo ops. It’ll be interesting to see what Raul Castro does when Francis goes to Cuba.

ARGENTINA
From her official website: Cristina Kirchner interview with The New Yorker – Up Close and Uncut (march 11, 2015) President Cristina Kirchner interviewed by Dexter Filkins from the US magazine The New Yorker, on March 11, 2015

Argentina’s New Intelligence Agency Targets Captains of IndustryPresident Kirchner Fears “Economic Warfare”

The Peronist pope
Francis’s balancing act in Latin America

From March 2013: Sobre el mensaje del arzobispo de Buenos Aires

Cristina travels to Paraguay to meet Francis

BAHAMAS
Bahamas Independence Day 2015: 10 Key, Quick Facts To Know About The Caribbean Paradise

BOLIVIA

Pope gives his backing to Morales’ social programs in BoliviaPontiff reported to have sipped coca-based tea before reaching high-altitude destinationPresident hopes Francis will offer to mediate in border conflict with Chile

Contrast Francis’s visit with Pope John II’s 1983 visit to Nicaragua and his attitude towards liberation theology.

BRAZIL
Brazil: Man’s Lynching Compared to Slave Flogging

Brazil oil giant faces $98bn shareholder lawsuit in US over corruption schemeNew York court to hear case brought by investors including pension funds of British academics and US state workers over ‘Carwash’ scam at Petrobras

The lawsuit claims that Petrobras executives accepted bribes for inflating the value of construction contracts and “used the money to bribe politicians through intermediaries to guarantee they would vote in line with the ruling party while enriching themselves”.

CHILE
Duff idea? Fox hopes Chile’s beer lovers give Simpsons brew a warm receptionCompany to sell beer – which an executive calls fruity with a caramel aromatic – after decades of pirated versions ruling the market

COLOMBIA
Colombian president replaces military chiefs days after scathing report into extra-judicial killingsPresident Juan Manuel Santos overhauls his high command despite rejecting Human Rights Watch claims about role of military commanders in murders of civilians who were then framed as left-wing rebels

Colombian President Welcomes FARC Cease-Fire

The Mixed-Up Brothers of BogotáAfter a hospital error, two pairs of Colombian identical twins were raised as two pairs of fraternal twins. This is the story of how they found one another — and of what happened next.

CUBA
Marco Rubio: Obama’s Faustian Bargain With Cuba

Here’s “What Change Looks Like” Through a Business-First Policy

Twice as Many Cuban Rafters Flee While They Can
2015 Arrivals Exhibit Fear of End to Wet-Foot, Dry-Foot Policy

ECUADOR
Ana’s Story: The Face of Colombia’s Refugee Crisis in Ecuador

EL SALVADOR
This is how bad El Salvador’s murder rate is

El Salvador is on pace to pass its neighbor, Honduras, as the deadliest country on the planet.

MEXICO
Mexican Police Deliver Wrong Corpses to Get Murder Case Closed
Victim Families Allege Cover-Up, Demand Prosecutor’s Resignation

Mexican Ex-Governor Arrested on Tax-Fraud Charges

Some Ford lines may be heading to Mexico

Mexican helicopter trades fire with gunmen on ground near border, kills 6

GUATEMALA
Guatemala: Ex-ruler Rios Montt found unfit for trial
A former Guatemalan general, Efrain Rios Montt, who ruled the country briefly in the 1980s, has been found mentally incapable of standing trial.

MEXICO
A matter of when, not if? Mexican Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Escapes From PrisonMexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has escaped from a maximum-security prison in central Mexico, almost a year and a half after being captured, prompting a major search operation.

NICARAGUA
Panama and Nicaragua – Two Canals, One Shared Dream, but with the Chinese financial market in flux, what will happen to the Nicaraguan project?

PANAMA
Venezuelans heading to Panama

PARAGUAY
Pope Praises Paraguayan Women
Pope Francis celebrated Paraguayan women as the “most glorious women of America” in a sermon at the shrine of the country’s patron Madonna Saturday, the second-to-last day of his weeklong visit to South America.

Argentina Sees Exodus as Pope Visits Paraguay
Roughly one million people will cross the border into Paraguay from Argentina to see Pope Francis in the capital, Asunción, immigration officials estimate.

PERU
Better keep Greenpeace away: New Nazca geoglyphs in Peru could be older than famous Unesco siteJapanese team believes new images are older than the famous monkey, spider and hummingbird at the Unesco World Heritage site

Ubinas Erupts in Peru Dispersing Ash Up to Radius of 9.3 Miles

PUERTO RICO
America’s Greece: Fixing Puerto Rico Could Provide Answers for Europe

VENEZUELA
Now it’s serious! Venezuela is almost out of beer

The week’s posts and podcast:
The new perfect Latin American idiot

“Economy class cabin hexagon”? No. Just no.

What current Mexican immigration law is like

Cuba: Policy paper shows correlation between US engagement and rising repression in Cuba

Two books that don’t exist for the NYT

Argentina: Cristina drops the mask on anti-semitism

Bolivia: Evo gives Francis hammer and sickle crucifix UPDATED

Business at the BBC: Firing Clarkson will cost them BIG

NYSE down

Ecuador: Pope calls for “new economic and ecological world order”

Meanwhile, over in Cuba,

Argentina: Cristina cheers for Greece

Today’s immigration headlines

Monday night “It takes 1 to tango”

Ecuador: Pope’s visiting, crowd clamors “Out, Correa, out”



Today’s Capt. Louis Renault moment brought to you by El Chapo

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

El Chapo escaped through a tunnel

Drug lord Chapo Guzman tunnels out of maximum-security Mexico prison

Guzman slipped out of the prison through a rectangular passage in the shower area of his cell that led to a nearly mile-long tunnel running underneath the prison

What does that remind me of?

What current Mexican immigration law is like

Friday, July 10th, 2015

As you may recall, the president of Mexico (Felipe Calderón) lectured the U.S. Congress in 2010 on immigration law, condemning the Arizona law.

That was then, this is what Mexico’s current immigration policy looks like now, under president Enrique Peña Nieto:

  • Mexico welcomes only foreigners who will be useful to Mexican society, contributing to national progress.  Doctors and engineers, yes.  Rapists and murderers, no.
  • Mexican authorities must keep track of every single person in the country.
  • Foreigners with fake papers, or who enter the country under false pretenses, may be imprisoned.
  • Foreigners who fail to obey the rules will be fined, deported, and/or imprisoned as felons.
  • Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony.
  • The Mexican constitution expressly forbids non-citizens to participate in the country’s political life.

Read the whole thing here, where you can contrast Mexican law with U.S. law.

—————————————

What do I think of Trump?
A trojan horse a la 1992: A loud-mouthed millionaire formed a third party, and Clinton won.

UPDATE
Linked to by Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!

The visiting pope Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Pope Francis is touring Ecuador, Bolivia – where the witches are protesting – and Paraguay, extolling the Bolivarian revolution’s idea of a “great motherland.”

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.

ARGENTINA
Live sex show at Buenos Aires university sparks scandal
School authorities investigating why ‘post-porn’ exhibition was held in an open public lobby

La oposición argentina se examina en Buenos Aires y Córdoba
La derecha y el peronismo opositor aspiran a vencer en la capital argentina y en la segunda provincia más poblada del país

Report: Argentinean Government Robs over 90% of Farmer Profits
Soybeans Garner Attention as Workaround for High Tariffs, Export Restrictions

BOLIVIA
Tensions Rise In Bolivia As Indigenous Witches Prepare For The Pope’s Visit

BRAZIL
Dilma in the back seat of a driverless car. Lovely metaphor for today’s Brazil.

Calling Capt. Louis Renault, US ‘routinely spied’ on Brazil
Wikileaks says it has evidence that the United States has routinely spied on senior Brazilian government officials since 2011 or earlier.

Brazil Says Diplomatic Spat with U.S. is Over

Brazilian Evangelicals set up a ‘sin free’ version of Facebook
A group of Evangelical Christians in Brazil created Facegloria as their own, sin-free, version of Facebook

CHILE
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

Chile secured the first major trophy in their history on home soil courtesy of a penalty shootout win over Argentina in the Copa America final

COLOMBIA
Time to call the FARC’s bluff
Colombia’s peace process risks drifting to collapse

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:”

Why Colombia’s first euthanasia was stopped with 15 minutes to go
Doubting doctors have now approved procedure for cancer patient they canceled last week

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica becomes 33rd country to launch pro-Israel caucus
The 20 Parliamentarians signed a foundation document reaffirming Israel as a Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital.

CUBA
No, Mr. President, Castroite Cuba Is Not What Change Looks Like

How Global Threats Have Crowded Obama’s Diplomacy AgendaPresident has sought to focus on Iran, Cuba, climate and trade, but Islamic State, China and Russia have muscled in

Optimist: US-Cuba Relations, A Race to the Bottom. But, in the End, Truth and Freedom Always Triumph

5 Questions Obama Must Answer About the Potential US Embassy in Cuba

Despite Obama, Business as Usual for Cuban Tyrants

ECUADOR
Mensaje de la Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa a Su Santidad

Ecuador’s Libertarian Movement Rolls Out a Rescue Plan
Protesters Want Dialogue with Correa to Solve the Crisis

Ecuador under threat of “soft coup” by opposition, says Correa
Officials fear that spike in anti-government marches may mar pope’s visit on Sunday

GUYANA
Maduro Denounces Guyana “Aggression” against Venezuela

IMMIGRATION
80% Of Central American Women, Girls Are Raped Crossing Into The U.S.

MEXICO
Mexican Police Recover Nearly 10,000 Stolen U.S. Visas

Mexico wants to tame disruptive teachers union

EXCLUSIVE: Illegal Who Confessed to Murdering Wife with Hammer Deported Four Times

NICARAGUA
Five Sentenced In $25M Medicare Fraud Involving Nicaragua, D.R.

PANAMA
Go.Away.Trump. Trump Fallout Continues: Panama Pulls Out of Miss Universe Pageant

PARAGUAY
Paraguay hero’s uncle dies while watching victory against Brazil
Derlis Gonzalez’s uncle suffered a heart attack

PERU
Peru drug mule’s transfer to Scottish prison ‘approved’
Melissa Reid could be back in the UK within weeks after reports Peru has agreed to move her to Scotland

PUERTO RICO
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

Puerto Rico’s Financial Crisis Is U.S.’ Crisis, Too

The Beeb starts to catch on, Puerto Rico: The Greece of the Caribbean?

URUGUAY
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
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

Cuba and FARC, and their Sinister Presence in Venezuela

Tanta Pasión Por El Socialismo Y Para Ellos Solo Vales 15$ Al Mes

One year on, El Universal is fully “hegemonized”

The week’s posts and podcast
Happy Independence Day

On Independence Day, let’s thank Caesar

Ecuador: Sing along with Rafael

Venezuela: Corker in Caracas

Today’s “WTH moment” courtesy of the NYT

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

What amnesty means to legal immigrants

Up next: The King’s Spanish

Puerto Rico: Countdown to the Greecespot

Brazil: Dilma wants U.S. investment

Argentina: Buenos Aires closes Sunderland

Venezuela’s moola from the mullah: Iran’s new $500million credit line

Puerto Rico: the Greece of the Caribbean UPDATED

Podcast: “Che” & Walmart, US-Cuba embassies, Puerto Rico & US-Latin America issues



Up next: The King’s Spanish

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

All this, and grammar, too.

King Felipe of Spain is visiting Mexico, with a new proposal:
The only Spanish language proficiency certificate for the whole planetSpain’s King Felipe presents new test for determining students’ levels, wherever they are

Of course I couldn’t resist the snark opportunity, and my first reaction was, Who died and made you king of the world?, which is not only snarky but also obnoxious, considering Felipe is king since Juan Carlos had to abdicate following allegations of corruption and a dead elephant.

The fact remains, however, that

There are 550 million Spanish speakers in the world, yet no international examination to certify proficiency in the language exists.

So I’m with Felipe and his Mrs., who

presided the presentation of Siele – the International Service for Evaluation of the Spanish Language.
. . .
The new certificate will be available on five continents, but the greatest effort will be focused, until 2018 at least, on three countries: Brazil, with 120 test centers, the United States with 100, and China with 60. More than 15 million people are currently studying Spanish in those three countries alone.

The Instituto Cervantes has more on SICELE (not Siele) here.

Siele? SICELE? We’ll find out soon enough.