Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Cuba: #AlanGross released – is Obama ending the embargo in exchange? UPDATED THROUGH THE DAY

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Alan Gross, the American political prisoner held by the Communist Cuban regime for five years, has been released.

As I have written before,

In December 2009, Alan P. Gross was arrested while in Cuba working as a U.S. government subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for bringing satellite phones and computer equipment to members of Cuba’s small Jewish community. He was held in jail, and, in March, 2011 was convicted for “acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state”.

What does “acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state” means? It means that, in Cuba, attempting to provide access to the internet is a crime.

American Alan Gross Released From Cuba After 5 Years in Prison
Gross Is Headed to U.S. on Government Plane, Obama Administration Official Says

Administration officials have said that his captivity has precluded any modification in U.S.-Cuban relations, so his release could clear the way for discussions about a broader deal. President Barack Obama is expected to make a statement about Cuba from the White House at noon on Wednesday.

I fully expect Obama to declare an end to the embargo before year’s end. Will that be his “statement about Cuba from the White House at noon”?

UPDATE 10AM:
The remaining three of the Cuban Five were released in exchange: The Miami Herald (emphasis added),

The Cuban government had linked Gross’s release to the imprisonment of five Cubans convicted in 2001 of infiltrating South Florida military installations and spying on the exile community. The men, considered heroes in Cuba, were convicted in 2001 in Miami on charges including conspiracy and failure to register as foreign agents in the U.S.

The administration had repeatedly ruled out a swap, saying the USAID subcontractor wasn’t a spy and can’t be part of a spy-for-spy swap. But news reports Wednesday indicate that three Cubans were released in exchange for Gross. The other two of the so-called Cuban Five were previously released after completing their sentences.

Val Prieto:

This is a major setback for the opposition and dissident movements in Cuba. The Obama administration, by making this “deal”, has confirmed that they are OK with the repression, brutality, incarceration, and murder the castro regime foists upon the opposition. And I will once again say what I have been saying since day one of this farce of a presidential administration, for the record: faced with the fact that he is, by far, the worst President this nation has ever seen, and with no true positive legacy, Obama is relying on the low hanging fruit of the Cuban embargo to placate the left. Look for President Executive Action to undermine codified US Cuba policy.

Get ready. This is going to be one hell of a day.

Read also my post at Da Tech Guy Blog.

UPDATE 11AM:
“Normalizing” U.S.-Cuba relations means giving the Communist Cuban government a lifeline, at a particularly critical time, now that its sugar daddy Venezuela nears economic collapse as oil prices drop. Marco Rubio:

“This is going to do absolutely nothing to further human rights and democracy in Cuba,” Rubio said in an interview. “But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.”

UPDATE 11:19

Guardian Washington bureau chief Dan Roberts,

UPDATE 11:25AM
CBS News affiliate in Miami stated Gross will not be with Obama at the WH press conference.

UPDATE 11:30
Betrayal: Vatican Brokered Secret U.S.-Cuba Talks

Pope Francis and the Vatican played a significant role in reopening diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. The Vatican not only hosted in-person meetings between Cuban and U.S. officials, but actively played a role in the discussions, according to senior Obama administration officials. The meeting to finalize the reopening of relations was also held at the Vatican this past fall. The Vatican sent a personal letter to President Obama regarding Cuban relations. “We haven’t received communications from the Pope of this nature,” said a senior adminstration official. “That gave us greater impetus and momentum.”

Rep. Ron de Santis:

This prisoner swap sends a signal to rogue regimes and actors that taking an American hostage can be leveraged into scoring policy concessions. This makes America less safe and emboldens the dictatorship in Cuba.

UPDATE 11:53
The United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana

In a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, who hosted a final meeting at the Vatican, President Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba agreed in a telephone call to put aside decades of hostility to find a new relationship between the United States and the island nation just 90 minutes off the American coast.

Congress need not be consulted?

UPDATE 11:59AM
Is Cuba easing its embargo on American products and American travel?

12 noon:

Cuba no longer listed as state sponsor of terrorism.

UPDATE 12:16
Obama claims “Todos somos Americanos” – “we’re all Americans”. Not at all.

UPDATE 12:30PM
I was wondering, is Cuba easing Cuba’s embargo on American products and American travel? Will they not continue to shelter FARC & other known terrorists? Nothing on that in O’s speech.

Not in Raul Castro’s speech, either,

Castro said that he had spoken to Secretary Kerry about normalizing relations between the two country, adding that President Obama’s decision deserved “respect and gratitude.” He also thanked the Vatican, Pope Francis and Canada for their support in the process.

But he stressed there was still much work to be done: the US economic blockade remains in place, he said, causing “enormous damage to our people. It must end.”

Acknowledging that the blockade is established in law, Castro said that president Obama could modify its application, and he called on the US government to adopt measures which will benefit both countries.

“Recognizing that we have many fundamental differences on the subjects of national soveignty, democracy, human rights and foreign policy, we reaffirm our willingness discuss all of these subjects.”

Castro called on the US government to remove the obstacles between the countries, dividing families – specifically he called for the re-establishment of direct flights, postal deliveries and telecommunications.

“The progress we have already made shows that it is possible to find solutions to our problems,” he said.

Another question:
How is Obama going to prevent Cuba’s possible role in bypassing sanctions on Venezuela, Russia and Iran?

UPDATE 2PM
Alan Gross on TV thanking all who helped in the effort to release him.

CODA:
As Val Prieto put it, “and from the here’s a swift kick in the nuts department….”

Alan Gross returns to the United States, is greeted by an image of Che Guevara

LINKED TO
by
Memeorandum.
Pirate’s Cove. Thanks!
Hot Air. Thanks!
American Patriot. Thanks!
Right Wing News. Thanks!



U.S. releases 6 al-Qaeda detainees to Uruguay

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Following up on yesterday’s post, my post, U.S. releases 6 al-Qaeda detainees to Uruguay

Four were members of the “Syrian Group;” all are connected to Abu Zubaydah; only one was deemed as “medium risk,” the other five were “high risk.”

The four Syrians are Ali Husein Shaaban, Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Abd al Hadi Faraj and Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab; from the West Bank, Mohammed Abdullah Tahamuttan; from Tunisia, Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy.

And as soon as they got to Uruguay, they were given rights to come and go as they please.

Peru: Greenpeace vandalism

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Peru Says Nazca Lines Damaged By Greenpeace Protest
A protest by Greenpeace on Monday to call attention to global warming has damaged a protected area in the ancient group of geoglyphs known as the Nazca lines, Peru’s Ministry of Culture said late Tuesday.

A protest by environmental group Greenpeace on Monday to call attention to global warming has damaged a protected area in the ancient group of geoglyphs known as the Nazca lines, Peru’s Ministry of Culture said late Tuesday.

Greenpeace didn’t bother to find out that you are not allowed to walk there, but they did issue a non-apology to “those people who may have felt troubled by the protest.”

I hope they get arrested.

Uruguay: Gitmo alumni go free

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

They can travel out of the country, too,
Guantanamo Inmates Get Rights in Uruguay
Six former prisoners in the Guantanamo detention center in Cuba were set to begin their lives as free men in Uruguay on Monday, as President José Mujica said they could travel in and out of the country.

Six former prisoners in the Guantanamo detention center in Cuba were set to begin their lives as free men in Uruguay on Monday, as President José Mujica said they could travel in and out of the country.

Under what country’s passports?, you would ask. Once they get (Uruguayan?) passports, where will they go?

Most of the men—a Palestinian, four Syrians and a Tunisian—were likely to leave the hospital on Tuesday once they cleared extensive physical and mental tests and move into temporary housing, officials said.

“They will be able to bring their families here if they want,” Uruguay’s defense minister, Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro, told a local news station. “They will be accompanied by people to help them adjust to the language and other things. They will have to find jobs.”

Ah-hum.

It’s all about the empathy,

In a televised interview on Friday, Mr. Mujica—a former guerrilla who was imprisoned for 14 years—said that while he had long criticized the U.S. for its “interventions and abuses,” he couldn’t decline a request by Mr. Obama to accept the men.

in other empathy news,

Russia aims at Latin America

Friday, December 5th, 2014

“Russian Railways, Gazprom and Rosneft,” along with long-range bombers conducting regular patrol missions from the Arctic Ocean to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and military bases in Nicaragua (not a member of UNASUR), that is.

Read all about it at Da Tech Guy Blog

En español: Terapia Intensiva 233

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Mexico: Tahmooressi released, back in US

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi freed from Mexican jail, immediately returns to US after strong diplomatic support, seven months in prison,

While his defense rested its case several weeks ago, Tahmooressi’s release came only after a strong diplomatic push from former Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ).

The three officials, along with Tahmooressi’s mother Jill, have spent the last week in Tijuana pressing officials for his release.

The prehistoric seals Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 25th, 2014

LatinAmerThere you have it: Seals helped Europeans wipe out Native Americans
Europeans have long been blamed for wiping out 95 per cent of Native Americans by bringing foreign diseases to the New World. But a new study suggests seals could be partly to blame

The research shows that tuberculosis is likely to have spread from humans in Africa to seals and sea lions, who then carried the disease to South America and transmitted it to Native populations long before Europeans landed on the continent.

ARGENTINA
Argentina Presents Plan to Bypass U.S. Courts, Pay Creditors; later, Argentina debt plan ruled ‘illegal’
Argentina’s plan to ask investors holding defaulted bonds to swap them for new locally issued debt is ruled “illegal” by a US court.

Companies fear radical turn in Argentina

The government’s unorthodox economic management came under further scrutiny on Thursday when beef exports were suspended to combat inflation, despite dollar shortages.

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Exports More Than 20,000 Metric Tons of LPG in 1H 2014

BRAZIL
Brazilian Police Officers Acquitted of Murder Charges
A jury has acquitted four police officers of murder charges in the 2012 shooting death of a suspected car thief, a case that attracted attention to the lethality of Brazilian police.

CHILE
Rerun time: Peru in Diplomatic Squabble With Chile
Map Shows Triangle of Land as Belonging to Peru

COLOMBIA
Rebel Attacks in 2014 on Colombia Oil Infrastructure Cause $531 Million in Losses

[The president of the Colombian Petroleum Association, Francisco Jose Lloreda] called on the government to provide security guarantees irrespective of whether a peace deal is reached with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group in talks in Havana dating back to 2012.
. . .
The FARC and ELN have carried out numerous attacks in recent months on oil infrastructure, particularly pipelines and tanker trucks in the northern provinces of Arauca and Norte de Santander, which border Venezuela, and in Putumayo, which borders Ecuador

CUBA
Moringapalooza Cretin Summit 2014: Caracastan’s Maduro visits his master Nosferatu in Havana

Must-Read: Cuban Catholic Youth Activists Write Pope Francis

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Miley Cyrus Banned from Performing in Dominican Republic on ‘Morality Grounds’

ECUADOR
Ecuador President Rafael Correa Seeks Law Allowing Perpetual Re-Election
Popular Leader Setting Stage for Expected Fourth Run in 2017

Top-Down Digital Currency Coming to Ecuador, with Ban on Competition
Imminent Prohibition Covers All Unofficial Physical, Digital Currencies

EL SALVADOR
Saving El Salvador: Why The Vatican Needs To Make Archbishop Romero A Saint; I disagree.

GUATEMALA
General Dies in Crash
A top Guatemalan general and four other officers were killed on Wednesday when the helicopter they were in crashed near the country’s northern border with Mexico, Guatemala’s government said.

“Meet the Press” covered Rand Paul’s pro bono eye surgery in Guatemala and larded it with impugnment of his motives. Paul has been doing pro bono work for decades.

HONDURAS
In Honduras, U.S. deportees seek to journey north again

LATIN AMERICA
ALBA Meets UN Security Council Over Gaza

Why the Pacific Alliance Puts Mercosur to Shame
Protectionist Panderers No Match for Liberal, Free-Market Integration

Build the Border Fence Already!

MEXICO
Mexico Unveils New Police Force
President Enrique Peña Nieto inaugurated a 5,000-strong unit of the federal police that is tasked with protecting key parts of Mexico’s economy from violent drug gangs.

Are we supposed to believe that Mexican authorities are keeping track of who’s crossing? Mexico Dismisses Perry Claim Islamic State Could Have Crossed U.S. Border
The Mexican embassy in Washington Friday dismissed Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s claim that “there’s a very real possibility” extremists from the Islamic State have already snuck into the U.S. over the southern border.

NICARAGUA
Nicaraguans, safe at home, feel little reason to flee to U.S.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/08/18/4296029/nicaraguans-safe-at-home-feel.html#storylink=cpy

PANAMA
New Challenges for Panama Canal at 100

PARAGUAY
Paraguay seizes nearly one ton of cocaine in DR Congo-bound rice

PERU
Peru’s Congress Rejects Prime Minister’s Cabinet for Second Time
Various Lawmakers Demand Changes to President Ollanta Humala’s Administration

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico to Use Old Traffic Network to Lay Fiber-Optic Cables

URUGUAY
The Rights Abuses Uruguay Doesn’t Want You to Know About
A small South American country has been making big strides in human rights. But it’s still got some work to do.

VENEZUELA
VenEconomy: Venezuelan Government Goes for More Censorship, Barbarism

Got Shortages? Chavistas Sic “Operation Queue Killer” on Cash Registers
Pricing Superintendent Rebukes Defective Checkouts, Announces Biometric Rationing

The week’s posts and podcast:
Ecuador’s new fake currency

Good luck with that!

TSA: Illegals without ID can fly with ‘Notice to Appear’

Argentina’s shell game

Colombia: Luis Carlos Cervantes murdered

Is Populism beatable?

Would “gender mainstreaming” fix the border crisis?

Argentina: “Qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent”

Briefly interrupted

The Panama Canal Centennial roundup

At Da Tech Guy Blog
Biometrics and the police state

Podcast
Panama Canal, Argentina, Mexico & US-Latin America stories of the week


The wine squeeze Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Producers of cheap Malbec are getting squeezed by inflation, according to the WSJ,

Wine has been hit harder than agricultural products like soy because picking the grapes is so labor intensive. Analysts say producers’ costs have risen at least 100% in the past four years.

That means fewer bottles of cheap Argentine wine are making it to the shelves of restaurants and liquor stores in the U.S. and Europe.

As if things weren’t tough enough already.

ARGENTINA
Judge Threatens Argentina With Contempt Over Its Statements

Argentina seeks legal case against U.S. in The Hague

Argentine grandmother leading search for stolen children reunited with own grandson after 36 years
Country celebrates as Estela Carlotto, head of the renowned Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, finds the grandchild taken from her daughter by the military regime almost four decades ago

BOLIVIA
‘King Midas’ Bat From Bolivia Identified As A News Species

BRAZIL
Brazil anger over gynaecological tests for teachers
Brazilian women’s rights advocates denounce Sao Paulo state’s requirement for prospective female teachers to undergo gynaecological test

Women’s rights advocates in Brazil have denounced requirements by the country’s most populous state for prospective female teachers to submit to gynaecological exams or prove their virginity in order to work.

The education department of Sao Paulo state requires female prospective teachers to undergo a Pap smear in order to prove they are free of a variety of cancers, or to present a doctor’s statement verifying they have not been sexually active.

Until recently, it also required women to have a colposcopy, a type of visual examination used to detect disease.

CHILE
Chile youth leader freed in Venezuela, going to Santiago

COLOMBIA
Colombian rebels attack oil field
Colombian rebels attack an oil field in the north-west of the country although no-one is hurt, the state-owned company Ecopetrol says.

CUBA
Cy Tokmakjian – Imprisoned in Cuba No Charges. No Justice

Cuba and the outside world
Rekindling old friendships
Cuba is once again resorting to geopolitics to support a failing economy

Museum enshrines the history of Cuba according to “The Godfather II”

ECUADOR
Ecuador to open embassy in ‘Palestine’, president cancels visit to Israel

What Can Tens of Millions of Dollars Buy Ecuador in the ‘Empire’?

GUATEMALA
Guatemala Receives Deported Children from U.S.

IMMIGRATION
BORDER PATROL AGENT: CARTELS USING CHILDREN AS ‘SHIELDS’

JAMAICA
Jamaica: The good, the bad and the ugly

LATIN AMERICA
Why is Latin America Coddling Hamas?

The Spin of Things to Come

Russia Slaps Embargo on Western Food Imports and Looks to Latin America

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO CYNTHIA MCKINNEY? She’s at TeleSur, which is

funded by the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Venezuela.

MEXICO
Mexico Gains Winning Edge By Opening Energy Market

Mexico Mulls Over Raising It’s Shockingly Low Minimum Wage

NICARAGUA
Costa Rica seeks investigation of immigrant bribes to Nicaraguan military

PANAMA
Has Panama weaned itself off drugs and cleaned up?

PARAGUAY
Pope Benedict XVI OK’d abusive priest in Paraguay, local bishop says

PERU
PERU HAS REOPENED ITS OFFICE OF UFO INVESTIGATIONS

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Ricans Are Fleeing the Economic Disaster That Is Their Home Island

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan weather vanes

Evil in the Bayou

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: Derwick in the news

Today’s illegal invasion headlines

Nicaragua: A reminder on the sandinistas

Venezuela: What a show trial looks like

“once every 5 years”

Ecuador: Like bitcoin, but not as solid

Need a coyote? Check Facebook!

Mexico: Knights Templar chief La Tuta’s on YouTube

Illegal immigration: Just who is getting in?

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Pope Francis reinstates Marxist to the priesthood (update DTG)

And now, for a “train deal” with Mexico

The week’s podcast, with Silvio Canto.


Argentina defaults

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

As predicted,
Argentina Declared in Default by S&P as Talks Fail

Standard & Poor’s declared Argentina in default after the government missed a deadline for paying interest on $13 billion of restructured bonds.

A US judge had set a deadline of 04:00 GMT on Thursday for a deal.

This is the eighth time the country has defaulted:

ARGENTINA’S first bond, issued in 1824, was supposed to have a lifespan of 46 years. Less than four years later, the government defaulted. Resolving the ensuing stand-off with creditors took 29 years. Since then seven more defaults have followed, the most recent this week, when Argentina failed to make a payment on bonds issued as partial compensation to victims of the previous default, in 2001.

En la fuacata!