Archive for the ‘Nicaragua’ Category

The $40/barrell oil Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Oil breaks $40 barrier for first time in six years, which is very important news for our hemisphere.

ARGENTINA
Menem vows to reveal evidence that could shed light on AMIA attack

The defence of Menem today requested the Federal Oral Court No. 2 (TOF 2), that is leading the investigation into the cover-up of the 1994 deadly attack, to have the Senate withdraw Menem’s state secrets privilege warning the release of the information “could affect” the interests of the Nation and “the breaking of peaceful coexistence” with other countries.

Argentineans Launch Petition against “Donald Trump” Wall with Paraguay
Locals Dry [sic] Infrastructure as Wasteful, Bad for Relations

BOLIVIA
Bolivian Police Drag Indigenous Protesters Out of Their Homes
Guaraní Pledge to Resist Evo’s Oil Exploration on Their Lands

BRAZIL
Translation: Merkel reminds Rousseff that Germans want to get paid. Merkel calls for a free trade accord between the Europe Union and Mercosur. During the “surprise” visit,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Brazil’s government on Thursday to further open its markets to foreign companies, and said she saw an opportunity to reach a free-trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur trade bloc. Merkel is on a two-day visit to Brazil with a large delegation of government officials and representatives from German companies.

CHILE
Study: Chile likely to draw from stabilization fund due to copper price drop

COLOMBIA
Colombia slashes gold holdings by two-thirds amid July rout

The reason for and timing of the move are not known, but it came as institutional and speculative investors pulled more cash en masse from commodities, ending a decade-long boom, as the stock market crash in China reignited concerns about demand from the world’s biggest consumer of industrial raw materials.

CUBA
Obama Plays the Clinton Vietnam Card to Normalize Relations With Cuba, but Turns it On Its Head

Before restoring full diplomatic relations with Vietnam, President Clinton eased a majority of the economic sanctions. A mistake. However, by the time he did this, the Soviets were mostly gone from Vietnam; Vietnamese forces had pulled out from Cambodia and replaced with a UN peacekeeping force; and thousands of former South Vietnamese officials had been freed from political prisons and exiled to other nations including the United States.

What ultimately made it politically palatable for Clinton to remove sanctions was a 1993 Senate Select Committee report on POW matters that afforded Clinton the domestic political cover he needed to move forward to ease sanctions. Vietnam also started to return POW remains and allowed U.S. inspectors as part of the Joint Task Force for Full Accounting (JTF-FA) to visit various places throughout the country to investigate POW/MIA claims.

ECUADOR
Ecuador Protests: Correa’s Oil Crisis, Policies Could Spell End Of Latin America Success Story

Ecuador’s Cotopaxi volcano roars back to life, locals speak of lava flow fears and damage to tourism

GUATEMALA
Prosecution requests impeachment of Guatemala president Otto Perez

JAMAICA
IMF Considering Adjusting Some Measures Under Deal With Jamaica

International Monetary Fund (IMF’s) Mission Chief to Jamaica, Dr Uma Ramakrishnan says the fund is considering relaxing some of the targets under Jamaica’s economic support programme

MEXICO
Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, Mexican who led search for mass graves found shot to death
Activist’s group had unearthed 129 bodies in Guerrero, where students went missing last year.

He worked for the politically active group called the Union of Towns and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (known as UPOEG)

Previously Deported Illegals Caught Smuggling Thousands of People Across Border

3-Time Deported Top Mexican Drug Trafficker Caught Illegally Re-Entering Texas

Investigation Lifts a Cloud Over President of Mexico
A seven-month conflict-of-interest investigation into the purchase of luxury homes by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s wife and his finance minister from a government contractor found no wrongdoing, Mexico’s comptroller said Friday.

NICARAGUA
Why am I not surprised? China’s Building a Huge Canal in Nicaragua, But We Couldn’t Find It

PANAMA
Turkey’s new direct connection to Panama may facilitate terrorist financing for Hamas

Turkey and Panama have no international trade to speak of, raising questions as to why, of the 28 countries not served by the airline, is Turkish Airlines expanding to Panama.

Likewise, New nonstop flight from Dubai to Panama a terrorist financiers’ dream? (h/t JC)

Financiers for Hezbollah and a number of other sanctioned Middle East terrorist groups must be jumping up and down for joy, for their jobs will become much easier. The amount of international trade between Panama and the Middle East is nominal, but the nonstop flights will greatly facilitate both illicit (i.e. money laundering) transactions, and terrorist financing operations.

Expect more of that if Obama’s Iran deal goes through.

PARAGUAY
Rogelio Livieres Plano, ousted bishop in Paraguay, dies at 69

PERU
The migrant nation
Urbanisation in Peru has brought citizenship but also a host of problems

Peruvian newspaper cancels cardinal column after papal ‘plagiarism’
Peruvian newspaper says it will not publish any more articles by Roman Catholic cardinal Luis Cipriani after papal plagiarism revelations

Now Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani has been unceremoniously dumped from his occasional column at El Comercio, Peru’s oldest privately-owned newspaper, after his writings were proved to include plagiarised words of popes.

PUERTO RICO
Governor Luis Fortuño On The Lessons The US Must Learn From Puerto Rico

The former Governor of Puerto Rico explains that “bottom line, you can never tax yourself out of a hole.”

Hurricane Danny Has Begun Its Weakening; Drought Relief For Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico?

VENEZUELA
Good luck with that: Venezuelans Launch Mises Institute to Take Down ChavismoLibertarians Offer Ideological Cure to Economic Crisis

The week’s posts and podcast:
Nicaragua: Where’s the canal?

Argentina: Wheelchair tango

The Falklands: Pope Francis, what fresh hell can this be? UPDATED

Venezuela: Circling the drain

Somebody tell Al Sharpton Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens

Venezuela: Cuban doctors stuck in limbo, as the country collapses

Cuba: Air-travel, credit cards next . . . by executive action?

Menendez on Iran: Failure Theater, or not?

Cuba: “Who fears the billboard?”

“Culture is how we pass the time between hypocrisies.”

Brazil: Will Dilma get it?

Mexico: @Leon_Krauze looks at the big White House

Podcast: Cuba, marches in Brazil & other US-Latin America stories of the week

The foreign policy house of lies


Nicaragua: Where’s the canal?

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

Bloomberg News went looking but couldn’t find it:

China’s Building a Huge Canal in Nicaragua, But We Couldn’t Find It

The townspeople haven’t seen any signs of canal workers in months. And the work that was done was marginal. A handful of Chinese engineers were spotted late last year making field notations on the east side of the lake; early this year, a dirt road was expanded and light posts were upgraded at a spot on the west side where a port is to be built.

Other Chinese projects in our hemisphere have not been doing all that well:

Last year I was saying The Nicaragua canal: Don’t be the next Lord Crawley

Nicaragua: Is China actually behind the canal?

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Mary O’Grady thinks so:
China Wants to Dig the Nicaragua Canal

The economics don’t add up, but the project serves both governments’ larger interests.

The Chinese government denies it is behind the concession held by HKND. But with more than $3.5 trillion in foreign reserves, it’s the logical candidate to foot the bill. Beijing has been flexing its geopolitical muscles in the Americas for more than a decade, and it hasn’t hesitated to work closely with corrupt dictatorships like those in Ecuador and Venezuela. According to HKND, the Nicaragua canal will require a labor force of 50,000. Many can be expected to be Chinese. The company says the China Railway Construction Corporation is conducting feasibility studies of the project.The HKND concession includes the rights to develop “two ports, a free-trade zone, holiday resorts and an international airport.” Canal or no canal, each is a business opportunity not only for China but also for Mr. Ortega, who is bound to ensure that he gets a piece of the action.

There’s action already: Last year Ortega made a $300 million telecommunications deal with Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group, of which Wang Jing is chairman.

The canal, a project of Dubious Plans and Abundant Unknowns, cannot come about (as I have been saying from the start) without major support from the Chinese government. As O’Grady puts it,

China may still see the ditch as part of a military strategy,

A Nicaragua canal may fit as part of a military strategy along with the South China Sea projects.

The Swedish model Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Contrary to what the uninformed Left would believe, the Swedish model won’t be working in LatAm any time soon.

ARGENTINA
Whale appears alongside yachts in luxury Argentine area
News of the whale quickly spread on social media and was broadcast live by local stations, prompting hundreds to line up along the port area to catch a glimpse

Post-Kirchner Argentina Promises More Populist MiseryNo Matter What Party Tops the Election, the Welfare State Wins

Argentine Tango With Creditors Takes a TwirlArgentine officials are hinting at a thaw in a long-running standoff with hedge-fund creditors, boosting investors’ interest in the struggling South American nation ahead of a New York court date Wednesday.

El narcotráfico salvó la campaña

After some delays in early voting, Argentineans cast their ballots to elect presidential candidates

BOLIVIA
Law Requires Bolivian Officials to Speak an Indian Language

BRAZIL
Delivering a message, with a hit, Brazilian anti-corruption radio DJ shot dead live on air
Gleydson Carvalho gunned down in studio as he broadcast
; Two Arrested in Killing of Brazil Radio Host

Brazil’s space programme
Ten, nine, ten…
Rocket science is hard. Rocket diplomacy is harder

Brazil’s space programme suffered a blow in July when President Dilma Rousseff scrapped an 11-year-old agreement with Ukraine to launch satellites aboard Ukrainian Cyclone-4 rockets from Brazil’s Alcântara spaceport in the northeastern state of Maranhão. The official explanation implied that the much-delayed project, which had been budgeted at 1 billion reais ($290m), had become too expensive. Brazil may also fear that Ukraine will not fulfil its part of the deal, not least because its space industry is located near Donetsk, which is controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

8%: Brazilian President’s Approval Rating Hits Record Low
The country’s economy is struggling and nation faces a growing corruption scandal

Gunmen shoot Spanish convict dead in front of his home in Brazil
Galician Anxo Antono Valiño had been convicted of murdering a businessman in 2007

CHILE
Chile ex-spymaster, Manuel Contreras, dies at 86

COLOMBIA
Santos: Colombia Government Negotiator Met Twice with FARC’s Top Leader

Santos Pisses Away Colombian Tax Dollars on His Own BrandingState Propaganda Makes Mockery of Accountable Presidency

CUBA
Havana’s hottest spot is a crowded ramp to WiFi bliss
At one the world’s most unusual Web lounges, Cubans have been trying WiFi for the first time
.

Locarno: Andy Garcia on Hemingway, Family, Directing and Cuba

“The political situation is Cuba has not turned,” Andy Garcia said politely, but very adamantly. “There is one government, a dictatorship. The Castros are still in power. There’s never been a popular election in Cuba. Nothing will change in Cuba until the Castro regime leaves and the people are free.”

ECUADOR
Leaked Documents Blow Rafael Correa’s Spying Ways Wide OpenEcuadorian Watchdog Alleges Long-Term Surveillance, Infiltration of Opposition

EL SALVADOR
String of Driver Murders Invoke Militarized Transport for El SalvadorSánchez Cerén Will Not Negotiate with Narcos

HAITI
Haitians vote in delayed elections
Haitians vote in legislative elections that have been repeatedly delayed since 2011, in a test of stability for the impoverished nation.

IMMIGRATION
ILLEGAL ALIEN CRIME ACCOUNTS FOR OVER 30% OF MURDERS IN MANY STATES

MEXICO
Mexico’s economy was supposed to soar. It’s starting to flop.
President Peña Nieto’s economic reforms have yet to produce growth, and the peso has been battered.

6 Tons of Cocaine Seized in Homemade Submarine

Convicted rapist arrested in Mexican journalist murder case
Still no official motive as to why Rubén Espinosa and four women were brutally killed

NICARAGUA
US Lifts Restrictions Over Seized Property in Nicaragua

PANAMA
Panama Canal to limit ship draft due to drought

PERU
Peru’s Shining Path Rebels still Enslaving Around 200 People

PUERTO RICO
Pain of Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Is Weighing on the Little Guy, Too

ST. LUCIA
St. Lucia to Launch Citizenship-by-Investment Program

VENEZUELA
Venezuela shortages: ‘Take away beer and things get risky’
Venezuelans facing prospect of heatwave without their favourite beer, latest in a series of shortages from disposable nappies to light bulbs

Obama’s failed ‘charm offensive’ in Venezuela

The week’s posts and podcast:
Sunday palate cleanser: Carlos Copello & Anabela Brogioli

Saturday essay: The Swedish model again, and why it won’t work in Latin America

Venezuela: Food riots

Don’t call that a debate

Another Capt.Louis Renault moment, Mexico: People’s disbelief at official story of El Chapo’s escape

Today’s must-read: It’s Time for an Encyclical on Christian Persecution

Brazil: File this under “Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas”

Argentina: A story in 5 tweets

Hillary’s sinking, roll out Princess Chelsea

Cuba: Hillary’s ignorance

Running out of people’s money: Puerto Rico UPDATED

Venezuela: The shocking state of its health service



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



The unsubsidized Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The week’s headlines in a sentence: While the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare subsidies and gay marriage, the deadline for the Iran negotiations looms and terrorists are blowing up people and pipelines all over the place.

ARGENTINA
Contraband Economy Booming on the Argentina-Bolivia Border
High Inflation, Tariffs Fuel Thriving Black Market

The location of the judge is rather interesting: Argentine judge orders seizure of Falklands drillers’ assets

Lilian Herraez, a federal judge in Tierra del Fuego, ordered the seizure of $156 million in bank accounts, boats and other property, the government said on Saturday.

BOLIVIA
Pope sends video-message to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. The guy can’t stay away from socialist throwaway terminology:

“I want to be a witness of this joy of the Gospel and bring to you the tenderness and caress of God, our Father, especially to your children most in need, to the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, to those who are victims of this throwaway culture,” he said.

BRAZIL
Brazil to Narrow Inflation Target Range
Brazil will narrow the inflation target range for its central bank starting in 2017, but the center point of the range will remain unchanged at 4.5%. The tolerance band will be cut to a range of 3% to 6%

Working Within the System to Disrupt Brazilian PoliticsRoberto Mangabeira Unger, a Harvard philosopher born in Brazil and raised in Manhattan, has settled into a career as an appointed public figure charged with fostering long-term thinking about Brazil.

CHILE
Chile’s Bachelet Hits New Low Approval Rating

COLOMBIA
Colombian army killed civilians to fake battlefield success, rights group saysA new report on “false-positive” killings looks into one of the darkest episodes of the country’s civil war.

FARC rebels kill four and rupture Colombian pipeline

CUBA
Cardinal SinsA Castro cleric brings disgrace.

Cuban artist pushes boundary between art and politics, and pays a price
What Tania Bruguera’s ordeal in Cuba says about the state of artistic expression “within the Revolution.”

Top Intelligence-Defense Lawmakers Introduce Cuban Military Transparency Act

Double surprise! Cruz and Rubio are “non-whites”!

State Dept: No Change in Iran, Cuba Human Rights, Despite Obama Overtures

ECUADOR
Galápagos Residents Decry Fiscal Milking of World Heritage SiteIsland Representative Resigns, Parts Ways with Correa over “Unconstitutional” Law

GUYANA
Guyana Assures Exxon Amid Venezuela Row
Guyana’s president has sought to reassure Exxon Mobil that a territory dispute with Venezuela won’t interfere with the company’s recent oil discovery off the coast of Guyana, one that Caracas claims as its own.

HAITI
A Haitian border town struggles with new rules in the Dominican RepublicThe Dominican’s new rules have Haitians nervously heading back to a homeland with fewer jobs.

HONDURAS
Thousands march in Honduras to demand resignation of president

Thousands of angry, torch-bearing Hondurans marched on Friday to call for the resignation of President Juan Hernandez and demand an independent probe into one of the worst corruption scandals in the country’s history.

JAMAICA
PM: Jamaica’s Economic, Industrial Climate In ‘Delicate Situation’

LATIN AMERICA
Interesting premise, but premature, Move over, China: Latin America may welcome India. The operative word is may.

MEXICO
Mexican President Undergoes Gallbladder Surgery
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto underwent surgery to have his gallbladder removed and was recovering satisfactorily at a military hospital, officials said.

HARDBALL: DONALD TRUMP BLASTS JORGE RAMOS’S CELL PHONE NUMBER TO 200,000 INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua’s Bizarre Plan to Bury the Panama CanalThe country’s Sandinista government has cut a deal with a reclusive Chinese businessman willing to spend $50 billion on a larger-than-life transport waterway. There are a few unanswered questions, starting with whether Nicaraguans really want it and how much priceless habitat would be wrecked. Traveling the proposed route by motorcycle, boat, and boots, the author hunts for answers.

PANAMA
Odebrecht Wins Contract to Renovate Panamanian City of Colon

Manuel Noriega apologises over military rule of PanamaJailed former dictator gives first interview since 1996 and asks for forgiveness over brutal reign – ‘I want to to close the cycle of the military era’

PERU
Peru’s support for Bolivian sea access claim creates tensions with Chile
Chilean President Bachelet cancels next week’s meeting with Peruvian leader Humala

PUERTO RICO
The perfect Summer portrait, A Sleeper Awakened With Color
Frederic Leighton’s “Flaming June” is on loan to the Frick Collection in New York for the next three months.

URUGUAY
‘Gourmet cannabis’: Take a peek inside a Uruguay marijuana club , if you must. To paraphrase Dean Wormer, “fat, stoned and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

VENEZUELA
MUD, the Sausage Fest

Gay marriage, at long last (but not here)

The week’s posts and podcast:
Colombia: FARC blows up oil pipeline

Bloody Friday: France, Tunisia, Kuwait terror attacks UPDATED
Morgenthau on the Iran-terror connection

Ecuador: Demonstrations against Correa

SCOTUS upholds Obamacare subsidies

Venezuela’s deadly colectivos

The other flag controversy: US Embassy in London flies the rainbow flag

Today’s WTH moment: Venezuelan vet arrested for smuggling heroin in puppies UPDATED

Mexico: EL GRAN HERMANO del cartel TE VIGILA

Venezuela: Next stop on the Obama administration’s “normalizing” with dictators?

Podcast: The flag controversy plus US-Latin America stories of the week



The globally warmed encyclical Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Oblivious to current scientific data, pope Francis I, under the advice of German climate activist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, threw the Catholic Church into the global warming morass and a tailspin of pessimism, thereby making headlines across the world. Francis also banned skeptic Philipe de Larminat.
(I hope to throw in enough metaphors to make it to Taranto one of these days.)

ARGENTINA
Argentine Presidential Race Comes into FocusArgentine Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo bowed out of the race for the ruling party’s 2015 presidential nomination, leaving Buenos Aires provincial Gov. Daniel Scioli as the only candidate

BOLIVIA
Facebook Signs Agreement with Bolivian Telecom to Promote Free Internet

CHILE
Chilean grandma carried mummified foetus for 50 years92-year-old Chilean grandmother has been bearing large mummified foetus for at least 50 years in what is a rare condition known as lithopedion, doctors have discovered

COLOMBIA
[Video show the FARC using schools to train minors and store explosives in Putumayo]

Colombia’s Farc blows up oil pipeline in Catatumbo

CUBA
Obama Admits Cuba Sponsors Terrorism, But…

By Carlos Eire: A Father’s Day Tribute

Stella McCartney’s Anti-Cruelty Fashion Line Celebrates Marxist Killers Fidel Castro & Che Guevara

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The DR makes deportation plans but Dominican Deadline Passes Without Mass Expulsion of Haitian Migrants

ECUADOR
No skin off Correa’s back: Julian Assange’s three-year stay in Ecuadorean embassy has cost taxpayer £11.1mThree years ago the WikiLeaks founder fled bail and sought asylum in Ecuador – resulting in millions being spent on policing the embassy

GUATEMALA
Lone protester ends Guatemala marchA lone protester in Guatemala receives a hero’s welcome after covering more than 200 km (125 miles) in a protest against corruption.

MEXICO
Mexico beer centre attack leaves 10 dead

NICARAGUA
Why is a Chinese Tycoon Building a $50 Billion Canal in Nicaragua That No One Wants?

Remaking world trade?

PANAMA
Panama Ready to Help Normalize Relations Between OAS, Cuba

PERU
Peru Inflation Churns as Consumer Confidence Falls

PUERTO RICO
5 Indicted for Bid-Rigging in Puerto Rico School Bus Auction

[US court orders seizure of Puerto Rico’s Department of Health accounts]

VENEZUELA

Brazilian senators forced out of Venezuela after failed solidarity missionVenezuelan opposition prisoners Leopoldo Lopez, Daniel Ceballos and Antonio Ledezma were due to be visited by a delegation from Brazil – until their path was blocked, and their bus was attacked

Swiss embassy warns Venezuela’s golf players its balls could killMembers of the exclusive Caracas Country Club have reacted with anger to a sign posted by the Swiss embassy warning that stray balls could be in breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations



Nicaragua: The canal, a pretext for expropriation?

Friday, June 5th, 2015

The Nicaragua Canal, that project of Dubious Plans and Abundant Unknowns, is back in the news.

It appears that HKND Group by now has feasibility studies, property surveys, an environmental impact review and exploratory drilling, according to the Wall Street Journal, but

Still unclear is whether the canal will be built.

However, the proposed canal may be a useful pretext in Daniel Ortega’s road to dictatorship:
Nicaraguan Canal Plan Riles Landholders
Sandinista push to build Chinese-led shipping route across country sparks concerns over property rights
. 642 square miles, to be precise (emphasis added):

But to make room for the waterway, ports, roads and free-trade zones, the company says it needs 642 square miles. Nicaraguan government officials justify the pending expropriations, which would uproot 27,000 people, saying the canal will transform this impoverished Central American nation by creating 50,000 jobs and doubling the economy.

Though the government has yet to seize a single acre, HKND Group says it will pay market prices for confiscated acreage. However, a 2013 law authorizing the government to expropriate any land needed for the canal says payments will be based on each property’s assessed tax value, figures that are usually much lower.

Then there’s this,

“Nothing is going on with the canal because there is not yet any money deposited for it,” said Bayardo Arce, the top economic adviser to President Daniel Ortega.

Say again? A project this big,

and “there is not yet any money deposited for it“?

And, if that’s not bad enough,

More than one-third of the canal’s route skips dry ground altogether by cutting across Lake Nicaragua, the largest reservoir of drinking water in Central America.

Back in the 1980s, Ortega expropriated more than 1.5 million acres, including properties belonging to opposition leaders. The canal project, even (especially?) if no canal actually is built, may serve Ortega’s purposes after all.

The off-the-sponsors-of-terror-list Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 1st, 2015

LatinAmerThe week’s big news: Pres. Obama removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terror, as part of a deal brokered by the Vatican, in exchange for which Cuba had to do nothing.

The top headlines in the hemisphere: FIFA corruption; as expected, its re-elected president blames the U.S. and England.

ARGENTINA
Cristina’s not running: ‘CFK will not be candidate in the upcoming elections’ . . . maybe.

Re: Nisman, Calls on prosecutor Fein to hurry probe into Nisman’s deathJudge: investigate Lagomarsino

‘Meteorite thieves’ held by policePolice in Argentina arrest four men who appear to have been trying to steal more than a tonne of meteorites in the northern province of Chaco.

BAHAMAS
China mulls air route to Bahamas

BOLIVIA
“Refugio de corruptos”

BRAZIL
Former Petrobras Executive Sentenced to Five Years
Nestor Cerveró, Petrobras’ former director of international operations, was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to five years in prison.

Brazil Dangles Leniency to Spur Energy Industry
Brazil’s government is preparing to offer U.S.-like leniency deals to several private companies linked to the Petrobras corruption scandal to lessen its drag on the nation’s economy

CAYMAN ISLANDS
How the Cayman Islands Became a FIFA Power

CHILE
When a government spies on its citizens: lessons from Chile

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s peace process
Bullet proof
Despite an escalation of violence, the talks continue

One reason for the talks’ resilience is that both sides are used to negotiating during bouts of violence, which did not end even during the quietest periods. Military action by the FARC fell by 85% during its ceasefire and civilian deaths fell by 73%, according to the Conflict Analysis Resource Centre (CERAC), a think-tank in Bogotá. Even so, CERAC recorded 21 attacks by the FARC (and suspects it was responsible for another 75). Mr Santos has staked his reputation on concluding a peace agreement (by the end of this year, he hopes). For the FARC, the alternative to peace is further pounding by the armed forces; it no longer hopes for victory.

Farc peace negotiator killed in Colombia bombingPedro Nel Daza Martínez, the Farc leader better known as “Jairo Martínez”, had returned from peace talks in Havana when he was killed by a government bombing raid

Public opinion and pessimism in Colombia’s peace talks

CUBA
Raul Castro Meets with Leaders of Mexican Left

Voluntary Corporate Code of Conduct for Cuba Needed

Interamerican Human Rights Commission asked to intervene on behalf of besieged Cuban pastor

On Cuba’s Removal From the State-Sponsors of Terrorism List

Carlos Eire writes on how “they hate it so much when we refuse to be the caricatures they want us to be:” Okay, that’s it. Se acabó la pachanga. The party’s over. Time to say “Hell is my homeland.”

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Legal Limbo over for Haitian Descendants in Dominican RepublicCritics Fear Many Still Fall through the Cracks

ECUADOR
Bye-bye, dollarization: Ecuador Moves Toward Electronic Currency

Ecuador’s Monetary Council has published a resolution making it mandatory for private and public banks to deal with transactions in electronic currency.

Depending on their size, banks will have between 120 and 360 days to register as Macro Agents of the electronic currency system in the central bank.

The resolution reiterated that the central bank is the only entity authorized to issue electronic currency, and that the electronic currency must be backed up by liquid assets of the central bank.

Tax Me, I’m Ecuadorian
Taking More from Inheritances Will Depress Salaries, Impoverish Middle Class

EL SALVADOR
How gang violence is spreading fear in El Salvador

HAITI
Accused Clinton Donation Solicitation Used For Haiti Projects

The money will be used for “undetermined” projects in Haiti.

Yeah, right.

LATIN AMERICA
U.S. Soccer Probe Brings Adulation From AbroadUnexpectedly, the FBI’s case is garnering plaudits even in regions like Latin America that are traditionally suspicious of Washington’s motives

MEXICO
Mexico Shelves Key Part of Education OverhaulThe Mexican government suspended its planned teacher evaluations that were a cornerstone of the country’s education overhaul, in a decision ahead of midterm elections that dissident teacher groups threatened to boycott.

Major US Banks Closing Border Branches to Fight Money Laundering

LIFE AND DEATH ON THE AVOCADO TRAIL
A fearless Mexican-American cook routinely travels 2,000 miles, driving through a drug war and slipping out of kidnappers’ fingers, all in the name of a decent mole poblano for her New York customers.
Inexplicably, they let her go.

NICARAGUA
DRUG TRAFFICKING
Beachcombing along the Caribbean drug trail in Nicaragua

PANAMA
Global Migrants Brave Panama’s Vipers, Bats, Bandits to Reach U.S.
Africans, Asians, Cubans cross the treacherous jungle of the Darien Gap

PERU
Peru planning to dam Amazon’s main source and displace 1000s
Over 20 hydroelectric projects proposed for the main trunk of the River Maranon would have devastating impacts

PUERTO RICO
Fat lot of good that’s going to do: Puerto Rico Governor Signs Law Raising Sales Tax to 11.5 Pct. To cover its $1.2 billion in debt service due this year from sales tax alone, it would have to raise over $10 trillion in sales – absurd.

URUGUAY
June brides: Ex-Guantanamo Prisoners to Marry Uruguayan Women

Abd al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj [a.k.a. Abd al Hadi Faraj], 40, from Syria and Tunisian Abdul Bin Mohammed Ourgy [a.k.a. Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy], 50, will marry Muslim women at a mosque in Montevideo.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelans March in Caracas to Demand Release of Jailed Opposition Leaders


Diosdado is now reading members of NGOs Provea and Public Forum emails on TV.

#SOSVenezuela: Venezuelans, Cubans, others protest for freedom, democracy in Venezuela #30M

Leopoldo Lopez shows us what a selfie should be all about

The week’s posts and podcast:
Cuba: Willfull blindness

Masplaining and the shrinking violets

This just in: Cuba off sponsors of terror list

Latin America: Breitbart news report on Iranian expansion in our hemisphere

Brazil: The WaPo’s evangelical Frank Underwood

Is Venezuela dollarizing

Argentina: #FIFAarrests in 22 tweets

Cuba: Is China rebuilding Cuba’s ports?

The era of moral imbecility

Brazil: Beam him up, Scotti

Mexico: The independent El Bronco

Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez’s jail video

Note to all Latin Americans: Being a populist socialist won’t save you from ISIS

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week



The Ricky Ricardo Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Today’s Carnival is dedicated to Desi Arnaz, who raked in the bucks by creating a TV character that interviewers can’t seem to forget.

ARGENTINA
This week could be decisive for Nisman probeBoard of coroners will issue final report to prosecutor Fein that could answer key questions

No. Is Argentina’s economy pulling a tango turnaround?

Argentinean University: Austrian Economists Need Not Apply
Slighted Professor Claims Ideology Trumps 20 Years Experience at Comahue

BELIZE
Belize offshore oil proposal has environmentalists worried about reefs, fisheries, tourism

BOLIVIA
Militar boliviano diz que Podemos seria braço do tráfico venezuelano
Relatório afirma que partido de esquerda foi financiado por Hugo Chávez e seus aliados bolivarianos para transformar a Espanha em porta de entrada de cocaína na Europa
[Bolivian serviceman claims Podemos will be an arm of Venezuelan drug traffic
He says the Leftist party was bankrolled by Hugo Chávez and his Bolivarian associates to transform Spain into a port of entrance for Europe’s cocaine]

Bolivia’s access to the sea
Beaches of the future?
A South American border dispute has implications for international law

Both countries are parties to the Pact of Bogotá, which obliges signatories to submit disputes to international tribunals. But the pact excludes conflicts that were settled before 1948.

BRAZIL
Brazil football fan club deaths lead to police arrests

British lawyer killed in Amazon fell victim to boat captains’ ‘game of dare’Husband of Gillian Metcalf says neither of the two drivers took action to prevent tragedy in high-speed collision

CHILE
Crisis socialista: Bachelet despide a todo su gabinete

COLOMBIA
Colombia ELN rebels ‘displayed solider’s leg as trophy’

Samuel Angel: “Santos y Petro han sido los peores administradores que hemos tenido”

CUBA
Ca$tro r€gim€ $€nd$ m€dica£ a$$i$tanc€ to N€pa£

EconomyGeeks Radio: Entrevista a Yusnaby Perez

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Republic stunned by two weeks of forest fires

ECUADOR
Ecuadorian State Workers Forced to March for Correa
Sign the Roll or Suffer the Consequences

Ecuador’s president demands respect from his constituentsRafael Correa attacks the press for reporting a presidential run-in with a young protestor who gave him the finger. He could start by staying off Twitter.

EL SALVADOR
Fear, uncertainty prevail on San Salvador’s increasingly violent streetsAs homicides soar after failed truce, El Salvador could surpass Honduras as most murderous peacetime country

GUATEMALA
Guatemala vice-president steps down amid customs corruption scandalPresident announces deputy has vacated her offices as ex-aide stands accused of orchestrating fraud worth million

HONDURAS
Death valley: the land war gripping Honduras
With a murder rate 65 times higher than Ireland’s, Honduras is one of the world’s most violent countries. And few parts are more dangerous than the Lower Aguán Valley, where local farmers claim that big business has illegally taken over their land

MEXICO
Mexican police capture one of the masterminds behind Iguala massacreThe suspect, a former deputy police chief, was arrested at an exclusive country club

Mexico rescues more than 100 kidnapped migrants

Police in Mexico have rescued more than 100 migrants kidnapped by a human trafficking gang near the capital.
Reports said some of the migrants had been held hostage for five weeks in a house in Mexico State.
Most of the victims were Central Americans, but they also included people from India and Sri Lanka.

Los Cuinis: The Wealthiest Narcos You Never Heard OfJalisco Battle Brings Mexico’s Top Dogs Out of the Shadows

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua Canal: A Giant Project With Huge Environmental Costs, if it happens.

PANAMA
Panama Finds Collecting Venezuelan Debt Harder than Pulling TeethNew President Still Hopes to Bring $1 Billion Owed into Port – good luck with that.

Panama Supreme Court Judge Faces Charges of Pederasty, CorruptionCongressman Mario Miller Claims Accusations Have “No Legal Foundation”

PARAGUAY
Ten-year-old’s pregnancy sparks Paraguay abortion debate

PERU
Drug trade’s lowest rung: Peru’s expendable cocaine couriers

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico may run out of cash by Sept: Gov. bank

VENEZUELA
Mass grave found on the Venezuela-Colombia border

The week’s posts and podcast:
Identity politics: Halperin interviews Ted Cruz, expects Ricky Ricardo

Haiti: Clinton’s crony gets the contract

Today’s “WTH Moment” brought to you by Jorge Ramos

Book review: Carly Fiorina’s Rising to the Challenge

John Oliver riffs Latin America

“You will not like Cuba”

Chile: Bachelet ditches entire Cabinet

“Terrorism is most definitely not a weapon of the weak”

Just what we need: Ferries to Cuba! UPDATED

This is what free speech is all about

Mexico: Jalisco’s new generation of crime

Puerto Rico: The great debt scam

It’s that time of year,

Cuba: Fidel, druglord

Podcast: