Archive for the ‘Nicaragua’ Category

The crashed plane Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

An Argentine turboprop airplane crashed and burned shortly after taking off, killing all 10 people aboard,

Witnesses at the airport said that a few minutes after takeoff they heard a significant explosion followed by a huge fireball.

The passengers were members of the Argentine company La Rural which is an associate in a project to exploit a Convention Center under construction in the Atlantic resort of Punta del Este and had flown to Uruguay for a business conference with their Uruguayan partners and the local government.

La Rural is a leading company in Argentina and Latin America in the fairs, congress and events industry.

Was it an accident?

ARGENTINA
Exactly two months after his murder, Argentine Government Accuses Nisman of Embezzlement

Dead Argentine prosecutor was zeroing in on a terror threat to the entire Western Hemisphere

Investigan un supuesto refugio de jerarcas nazis en Argentina

BRAZIL
POLL NUMBERS!!! Dilma’s drop

Why is Brazil so angry?
Big Question: Over a million people took to the streets over the weekend calling for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, five months after she won a general election

CHILE
Hundreds protest over Chile bishopProtesters shout as Rev Juan Barros enter the Osorno cathedral
Hundreds of people in Chile try to stop the ordination of Catholic Bishop Juan Barros, accusing him of covering up a sex abuse scandal.

COLOMBIA
Drug Gang Led by Female Trafficker from Mexico Nabbed in Colombia

Guerra y paz en Colombia

CUBA
[pdf file] An Illusory Opening to Cuba:
Why Florida Shouldn’t Walk Through the Breach

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Where “Cold War Charm” is the half-century long misery endured by the inmates of the island-prison: Cuba’s Cold War charm has D.R. wary about losing U.S. tourists to next-door neighbor

ECUADOR
#19M Protests Put Correa’s Citizen Revolution on Notice
Thousands March in Ecuador as Anti-Authoritarian Outrage Boils Over

Populist Playbook: The Slow Death of Democracy in Correa’s Ecuador

HAITI
Clinton Foundation’s chickens coming home to roost in Haiti?

WaPo Reporter: Bill Clinton ‘So Disliked’ in Haiti After Charity Work ‘He Couldn’t Even Run for Mayor’

HILLARY CLINTON’S BROTHER DEFENDS HAITI GOLD MINE DEAL: ‘I RAISE MONEY FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE’

HONDURAS
Are Special Economic Zones the answer? How ZEDEs Can Make Honduras Prosperous
Next-Generation Zones for an Anti-Poverty Success Story

Honduras sends soldiers to protect ‘lost city’ from drug cartels
Expendition team reportedly split on how to safeguard artefacts from looters after ‘lost city’ rediscovered in Honduras jungle also used by drug trafficker

JAMAICA
US Say Courts Crippling Ja Narcotics Fight

MEXICO
US Court Convicts Mexican of Kidnapping Mexican in Mexico
Federal Jury Convicts Mexican Citizen Living in San Antonio for His Role in Kidnapping Scheme

NICARAGUA
Wang Jing: The man behind the Nicaragua canal project

PARAGUAY
Paraguay and Latin America are officially the happiest nations in the world, in a Bobby McFerrin sort of way?

PERU
Peru’s Premier Removes Senior Spy Officials
Peru’s prime minister removed the head of the National Intelligence Service and other high-level officials, as allegations widened that the spy agency for years gathered information on a broad range of well-known people.

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico’s Catholic Church Calls for Referendum on Gay Marriage

SOUTH AMERICA
The Islamization of South America

URUGUAY
After years in Guantanamo, ex-detainees find little solace in Uruguay Apparently they don’t have Uruguayan passports yet.

VENEZUELA

Unbroken: Former Venezuelan Political Prisoner Speaks Out
Police Chief Lucchese Describes His Year Behind Bars at Ramo Verde Military Prison

Enabling Maduro’s Tyranny in Venezuela
US Sanctions Give Perfect Excuse for Crackdown on Dissent
. I disagree – the crackdown has been going on, well before any sanctions.

Maduro’s English in action,

Yes, Venezuela is a security threat

Drums of War or Pipes of Peace?

Machiavellian? No, Putinesco!

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Old: Machiavellian

New: Putinesco.

Russia Boosts Arms, Training for Leftist Latin Militaries
Moscow defense minister inks deals with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua for joint exercises

Shoygu met with defense and military leaders in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua and signed several agreements on warship visits and military training during the visit, which ran from Feb. 11 to 14. It is not clear whether any new arms deals were completed during the visit.

Of course, everything old again,

Dan Goure, a Russia expert with the Lexington Institute, said Russia’s current moves into Latin America “are like a page Xeroxed from the Soviet political-military playbook.”

But, hey, the Monroe doctrine is dead, so there.

The Presidents’ Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 16th, 2015

ARGENTINA
Prosecutor Pollicita charges President CFK in AMIA cover-up case

Alberto Nisman’s Death Just The Latest Example Of Large-Scale Corruption, Argentines Say

BOLIVIA
From Stratfor: U.S., Bolivia: The Pieces Are in Place for Improved Relations

BRAZIL
Whose oil in Brazil?
One of the many casualties of the Petrobras scandal is a misguided industrial policy

Carnival time in Brazil

CHILE
Son of Chilean president resigns
The son of Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet resigns as head of a government charity after being accused of influence peddling.

COLOMBIA
Colombian Oil Firm Recruits FBI to Weed Out Bribery
Four Years Pass before Friends-with-Benefits Contracts Surface

Uribe meets with US Congressmen to seek support for Colombia opposition

Colombia proposes world’s largest eco-corridor with Brazil, Venezuela

CUBA
Former Obama Official on Cuba Talks: “We didn’t want anything in return”

Dissident savagely attacked by Castro thugs

Aggressive new HIV strain detected in Cuba
Researchers said an aggressive HIV strain in Cuba progresses into AIDS so fast that treatment with antiretroviral drugs may come too late.

Turkey’s Erdogan wants to build a mosque in Cuba. It’s based on a historical fallacy.

ECUADOR
The President Of Ecuador Just Went Off On John Oliver In Hilarious Rant

IMMIGRATION
OBAMA’S AMNESTY: IT’S EVEN WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT

JAMAICA
In historic move, Jamaica extradites fraud suspect

LATIN AMERICA
What’s Putin’s Game in the Western Hemisphere?
The Russians are coming—again
.

Worldwide Threat Assessment

MEXICO
Heisenberg: Bill Clinton apologizes to Mexico for the war on drugs which he blames for fueling violence in the country
Bill Clinton spoke at a summit on Youth and Productivity in Mexico
He said: ‘I wish you had no narco-trafficking, but it’s not really your fault’
He then blamed U.S. efforts which had forced trafficking over land
Clinton’s administration followed past president’s efforts on drugs war

HSBC has form: remember Mexico and laundered drug money
For the bank to get off with hollow statements of apology is to treat us all with contempt

NICARAGUA
Skeptical Panama takes heed of planned Nicaraguan canal

PANAMA
Ohio? Panama Canal expansion shipping jobs to Ohio

Appalachian Ohio could benefit most, in part because the Ohio River could receive goods from the canal after they’ve made their way to the United States via the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River or the East Coast and the Port of Virginia.

PERU
Argentina oil company leaves Peru town after protests

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico bankruptcy bill to get House hearing: source

URUGUAY
Uruguay: Árabes, persas y espías, último capítulo de la gestión Almagro

You think? Uruguay Undecided on Accepting More Syrian Refugees

VENEZUELA
‘Coup plot foiled’ in Venezuela
An ex-air force general is arrested and more than 10 others implicated in a plot to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, officials say.

Coup = toucan’s saliva

Clashes in Venezuela as economic shortages continue to bite
A year after violent clashes between opposition protestors and government forces left 43 dead, protestors returned to the streets of Venezuela

Reporters without Borders: Venezuela flunks in Press Freedom Index
The 2015 World Press Freedom Index, prepared by NGO Reporters without Borders, highlights increasing difficulties in Latin America for journalists to do their job in 2014. Venezuela fell 21 places from 2013

Escándalo en el HSBC revela cuenta en Suiza de Hugo Chávez con 12 mil millones de dólares

The week’s posts and podcast:
Smart diplomacy: “We didn’t want anything in return” from Cuba

Today on Drudgereport

Argentina: Gitmo alumnus “ready to fight”

Latin America: Worldwide Threat Assessment

Ecuador: John Oliver goofs on Correa

Argentina: Why we’ll probably never learn the truth about the #Nisman murder

Venezuela: Persecuting the retailers

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Argentina: A case of “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown?” UPDATE

Netflix in Cuba, yeah, right

Podcast:
On Venezuela, Argentina & US-Latin America

The dropping helicopters Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 9th, 2015

The Indian helicopters that Ecuador bought keep falling off the sky, but the bigger story is Iran’s continued presence in the region.

ARGENTINA
China to supply Argentina five “Malvinas Class” offshore patrol vessels
Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is expected to sign agreements with China to increase military co-operation, including construction of new warships for the Argentine Navy, during her current state visit to Beijing, according to media reports and Jane’s Defense Weekly.

Argentinian president to write letter to Mia Farrow over tweets
Fernández will write letters to the actress and Martina Navratilova in response to tweets about the mysterious death of a federal prosecutor

Death of prosecutor leaves Argentina’s Jewish community angry and distrustful
The mysterious death of Alberto Nisman, who was investigating a 1994 terrorist attack, has alarmed many Jews but others warn against over-simplifying the case

BOLIVIA
Stranger in a Strange Land: An Internship Gone Bad

BRAZIL
Rio carnival downsizing and another cancelled as Brazil feels the pinch
Brazil is tightening its purse strings ahead of the 2016 Olympics and carnivals across the country are downsizing or have been cancelled

CHILE
Chile’s Bachelet Renews Bid to Legalize Abortion
Religious Groups Prepare to Fight Proposed Exemptions

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s FARC rebels invite Miss Universe to attend peace talks
Newly crowned beauty queen Paulina Vega Rebels surprised after being invited to assist guerillas’ peace negotiations with the government.

CUBA
A Tally of What Cuba Owes the World

FPI Bulletin: More Questions than Answers at Cuba Hearings

ECUADOR
Jorge Zabala presenta denuncia ante Consejo de la Judicatura
Posibilidad de fraude procesal, alerta defensor de los hermanos Isaías

Ecuador Grapples With Grounded Freighter
Ecuador has declared a 180-day state of emergency in the protected Galápagos Islands, while it continues to unload and work toward refloating a freighter that ran aground last week.

GUATEMALA
Guatemala volcano eruption forces evacuations
Fuego volcano belches black ash, forcing 100 residents to be moved out and closing the capital’s international airport

IMMIGRATION
Obama administration issues 5.5M work permits to non-citizens; critics call it ‘shadow’ immigration system

POPE FRANCIS: APPLY RULE OF LAW WHEN DEALING WITH IMMIGRANTS

MEXICO
Experts question Mexican investigation of 43 students’ disappearance
Argentinian forensic team hired on behalf of students’ parents says government presented biased analyses of the scientific evidence

Two US Army Vets Missing In Mexican Border City With Raging Cartel War

Conflict of interest in Mexico
A false start
Mixed messages in a new anti-corruption campaign

MISERY INDEX
The five most miserable countries in the world at the end of 2014 are, in order: Venezuela, Argentina, Syria, Ukraine, and Iran.

NICARAGUA
Can a Chinese billionaire build a canal across Nicaragua? Depends on who else is backing him up.

PANAMA
Panama Becomes First Latin American Nation to Join Coalition Against ISIS

PERU
Peru’s no-convictions politician
A failed labour reform exposes the limits of pragmatism

PUERTO RICO
It’s called “rule of law”: Puerto Rico Restructuring Law Thrown Out in Bondholder Win

Investment funds of Franklin Resources Inc. and OppenheimerFunds Inc., which hold more than $1.5 billion in bonds issued by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, convinced a federal judge in San Juan that bankruptcy law and the U.S. Constitution trump the commonwealth’s legislation.

The law, passed under threat of a fiscal emergency, would have allowed public utilities such as the power authority, or Prepa, to negotiate with bondholders to reduce their debt loads, potentially forcing investors to accept unfavorable terms, according to the funds’ complaint.

URUGUAY
Uruguay questioned Iranian diplomat over fake bomb near Israeli embassy
Convincing-looking dummy bomb detonated outside Montevideo offices
Iranian ambassador summoned to Uruguayan foreign office in December
Diplomat denied any connection but has now left country

Jose Mujica Was Every Liberal’s Dream President. He Was Too Good to Be True.
He spoke truth to power, and legalized marijuana and abortion. So why are Uruguay’s progressives so disappointed?

VENEZUELA
Venezuela accuses UK of smuggling ‘spy glasses’ into trial of opposition leader
Leopoldo Lopez’s father says it was he, not a British diplomat, who brought in the video glasses, but prosecutor claims there was collusion with the family

Nelson Mandela’s Lawyer on a Mission for Leopoldo’s Release
Irwin Cotler Joins Imprisoned Opponent’s Defense Team amid Human-Rights Row

Running Out of Time: Dimming Prospects for Reform in Venezuela

Venezuela Maduro: State seizes supermarket chain

The week’s posts and podcast:
Separated at birth?

Sunday evening tango: Mario Bournissen & Laura Rusconi

Uruguay: Iranian diplomat expelled after bomb explosion near Israeli embassy

Argentina: And now the spy is missing

Moral equivalence strikes again

Cuba: Next, O will give away Gitmo

Colombia: Is that a Russian RPG in your pocket?

China: Cristina’s twit UPDATED

Argentina: #Nisman is front-page news at the NYT

Argentina: Nisman wanted Cristina’s arrest UPDATE

50 Shades of meh

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
A few thoughts about Bruce Jenner

Univision plays the world’s smallest violin

Podcast:
On Silvio Canto‘s

[Post corrected for html errors]



The Groundhog Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

To many observers of Latin America, watching developing news in our hemisphere almost makes every day Groundhog Day.

So let’s start with a little humor, since otherwise there are plenty of bad news,

ARGENTINA
Free press flees Argentina

Cry for Argentina as terrorists and gangsters get away with murder

The view from Buenos Aires
Justice in the dock
The mysterious death of a prosecutor who accused the president of misconduct has Argentines up in arms

Nisman did not trust his bodyguards, says friend who loaned him gun

BRAZIL
Brazil’s Economy Is On The Verge Of Total Collapse

Brazil Ends 2014 with First Budget Deficit in 13 Years

New Surge in Street Violence Plagues Rio de Janeiro
Amid a police ‘pacification’ effort, residents of the city’s poorer neighborhoods are getting caught in the crossfire as criminal gangs fight back.

CENTRAL AMERICA
Obama administration requests $1 billion in aid for Central America

CHILE
Periodista Tomás Mosciatti remece las redes sociales con análisis sobre el gobierno de Bachelet

Chile Trims Copper Prices Expectations for 2015

Chile’s President Bachelet proposes end to total abortion ban

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s Fugitive Ex-Spy Chief to Surrender, Lawyer Says

The Jesus race: Colombia builds ‘tallest Jesus statue’ in Americas

CUBA
Must-read: Cuba Relations: Another Obama Fiasco in the Making?

Castro Is Now Issuing Demands On U.S. — Well Done, Mr. Obama

The Cuba Deal: Coexisting And Profiting With Tyrants

How Tourism Foments Repression 101

ECUADOR
Twitter Suspends User Account over Jokes at Correa’s Expense
Ecuadorian President Vows to Expose His Online Critics

HONDURAS
Honduran official angered by citizen perceptions of crime
Honduras’ foreign minister wrote a stern letter after a think tank published a report saying more than 30 percent of Hondurans indicated they were victims of crime last year. Official crime statistics are lower, but many lack confidence in police and don’t report all crimes.

IMMIGRATION
1,000 CRIMINAL IMMIGRANTS RELEASED IN 2013 COMMITTED NEW CRIMES

MEXICO
Watch Out, America: Mexico May Be the Next Failed State

Mexico to Cut Planned Spending
Government Seeks to Offset Effects of Lower Oil Prices and Adverse Global Economic Conditions

NICARAGUA
Tackling Cold War Demons in Nicaragua

PANAMA
Panama Supreme Court to Open Graft Probe against Martinelli

PARAGUAY
German Couple Working As Farmers Killed In Paraguay; Government Blames Leftist Guerrillas

PERU
Peru Repeals Controversial Labor Law

PUERTO RICO
You’re still on time for the Festival Casals (Feb 26 – Mar 14, 2015). Yo-Yo Ma is playing Elgar on the 15th.

VENEZUELA
“We love Venezuela because it welcomes foreigners as one of their own:”

Because nothing says “heartwarming” like spending 48 hours in detention: Odd Photo Choice for Venezuela Promotional Effort

VENEZUELAN SECURITY HEAD DEFECTS, BLOWS WHISTLE ON REGIME

Volver a ser pobre en Venezuela
La inflación galopante lleva a miles de ciudadanos a recaer en la pobreza. Los programas oficiales de ayuda no dan para más

THE WEEK’S POSTS AND PODCAST
El Salvador: Two American detainees, zero evidence

Puerto Rico, la isla estrella

Cuba: US clueless on number of fugitives

Today’s Capt. Louis Renault moment: Hugo Chavez died before he was of officially “dead”

Venezuela: Fire at will

Colombia: Santos wants former FARC as cops

Argentina: Tango and fireworks

Argentina: #Nisman’s funeral

Cuba: Gimme, gimme, gimme Gitmo!

Argentina: Cristina wants to dissolve Secretariat of Intelligence

Venezuela: The talking bodyguard

Argentina: Today’s cartoon

Venezuela: Turned away at the prison gates

Argentina: Yesterday, and today

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Coaching Loretta

Mexico: What happened to the 43 students?

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



The trip to China Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 12th, 2015

LatinAmerLast week Nicolas Maduro and a few others visited China in search of funds. How did that work out?

ARGENTINA
Ha! You Thought Argentina Would Negotiate

BAHAMAS
What the New Value Added Tax Means for Visitors to the Bahamas

BOLIVIA
Robert Downey Jr. helped out, too: A Devoted Sean Penn Helps US Man Recover From Bolivia Ordeal

Ostreicher, who is an Orthodox Jew, had the attention of the Aleph Institute, a foundation that helps incarcerated Jews. The Florida-based group asked Wahlberg to reach out to Penn, who is widely known for his Haiti relief efforts and closeness to leftist Latin American leaders.

Penn became convinced Ostreicher had been unjustly imprisoned since mid-2011 so corrupt authorities could drain the assets of the $25 million rice-farming operation in which he was a minor investor. Though he was accused of money-laundering, no evidence was ever presented.

Penn was self-effacing when asked about his odd-couple friendship with Ostreicher and why he decided to help. “What can I say? He was likable,”

When Penn asked Bolivian President Evo Morales to intercede, Penn got a tepid response.

So he exposed the extortion ring, sparking a scandal that eventually would see 14 Bolivian officials jailed ? the ring’s No. 2 figure entered a guilty plea last week ? while others fled the country.

Penn then got Ostreicher moved to a medical clinic. The New Yorker had withered to 107 pounds from a liquids-only hunger strike to protest his imprisonment. Penn leveraged his Venezuelan connections ? he was close to the late President Hugo Chavez ? to get armed Venezuelan security guards assigned to protect him, fearing he’d be targeted for exposing the extortion ring.

Even though he had endured more than 30 court hearings, Ostreicher continued to insist he wanted to clear his name in Bolivia.

Penn told him to let it go.

Ostreicher should have listened to Penn.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s Inflation Rises Even Amid Low Growth
Inflationary Pressures, Sluggish Growth Create Challenger for New Economic Team

CHILE
Robbers set off explosion in Chile subway station heist
The Franklin metro station in Santiago was filled with smoke after thieves blew up two ATMs Wednesday night,
the Santiago Fire Department said. Authorities have not yet said if there were any injuries.
This sort of thing keeps happening.

COLOMBIA
Colombia Passes Law for Referendum on Peace Agreement Along with Elections

CUBA
Cuba dissidents says 36 activists freed as part of deal with US
Opposition activists are freed following Cuban and US governments agreeing to renew diplomatic relations in December

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Republic Won’t Recognize Gay Union at British Embassy

ECUADOR
Ecuador Debt: Vulnerable To Oil, But Safe W/China Loan Vs. Argentina, Venezuela. Maybe.

HAITI

Hillary’s Half-Baked Haiti Project
Caracol Industrial Park is failing to deliver on the promises made to foreign investors and Haitians.

Successful industrial parks are built by people who know the business and who demand accountability. This park was put in the hands of State, the IDB and Bill Clinton. The results have been predictable

HONDURAS
Kidnapped Honduras Aids activist Keren Dunaway freed

JAMAICA
‘Blame the Government of Jamaica’

HUMOR
Terapia intensiva:

Edgar Borja en la UdQ:

MEXICO
Carso Energy Slim-Owned Company Gets Share of Contract for Texas Gas Pipeline

Human-Rights Failings Overshadow Peña Nieto’s US Visit
Pressure Mounts to Resolve Iguala Disappearances, End Impunity

Mexican President Offers Obama Help With Executive Amnesty

Obama Outsources Leader-Of-The-Free-World Job To Mexico

NICARAGUA
Springfield firefighters in Nicaragua to help build homes

PANAMA
The Expansion Of The Panama Canal Will Have A Huge Effect On Global Trade

PARAGUAY
Paraguayan rebel leader Albino Jara ‘killed’

PERU
Peru’s Fujimori Gets Eight Years for Tabloid Bribe
Cash for Coverage Conviction Joins Upheld Corruption Charges

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico begins school semester with complaints of teacher shortage

URUGUAY
Fake bomb prompted evacuation of Israeli embassy in Montevideo

VENEZUELA
No fries for you! Out of French Fries in Venezuela, McDonald’s Turns to Yuca

Ángel Vivas: Venezuela Must Resist the Cuban Invasion
Former General Will Defend His Homeland Through Any Means

Venezuela food shortages: ‘No one can explain why a rich country has no food’
Toilet paper, rice and coffee have long been missing from stores, as Venezuelan president blames CIA plot for chronic shortages
. Idiot.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Cuba: Spoof?

And now, a post on eyeglass frames

France: Hostage situation

Charlie Hebdo’s next: 1,000,000 copies

Venezuela: Maduro does/doesn’t get $20billion UPDATED

France: Massacre on #CharlieHebdo

Venezuela: Maduro wants a Puerto Rican out jail

Argentina, Venezuela, chickens coming home to roost

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Cuba: Is Fidel dead yet?

The Charlie Hebdo massacre

Podcast:
Cuba & US-Latin America topics



The first 2015 Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 5th, 2015

ARGENTINA
Argentina Now Freer to Bargain with Holdout Creditors. Argentina will rather go down paying millions to their lawyers than to their creditors.

The Argentinian Harry Reid? Argentine leader Fernandez cancels travel after ankle injury

BOLIVIA
Sky transport of Bolivia: no congestion, quicker trips to work
A $234m cable car route linking La Paz and El Alto is offering clean, affordable transport to people in both cities – and great views

Bolivia Has Highest Foreign Reserves in Latin America

BRAZIL
5 Brazilian habits Americans will never understand

[Sound starts right away] Watch: Plane bursts tyre at Rio de Janeiro airport and continues to gate
American Airlines plane carrying approximately 200 people bursts a tyre upon landing at Rio de Janeiro airport but drives forward to gate

CHILE
Children stolen by Chile regime come to light

COLOMBIA
In Colombia, a palm oil boom with roots in conflict

CUBA
Cuba’s Vested Interest in Discrediting CIA Spy Rolando Sarraf Trujillo

In Cuba, harassment of U.S. diplomats even extends to their pets. Will that now change? Nope.

Nylons for nothing in Cuba

Odds & Ends from Miami: Cuba, Post Script

ECUADOR
Ecuador’s Correa to Visit China

Gas Ovens Take the Heat for Ecuador’s Flagging Economy
Induction Cookers the Touted Cure in Tax Overhaul to Close 2014

IMMIGRATION
MOST ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS CAUGHT AT BORDER NON-MEXICAN AND ADULT

JAMAICA
Former Warrenton mayor behind Jamaican bobsled team dies

MEXICO
Juan Garcia Abrego, the man who ran the Gulf Cartel from the 1980’s until 1996: LEGENDARY MEXICAN CARTEL BOSS FIGHTING FOR U.S. CITIZENSHIP

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Northern-Va-Yoga-Teacher-Hari-Simran-Missing-in-Mexico-287306811.html

NICARAGUA

Ortega’s government has granted Wang, among many other sweeping powers, the ability to expropriate land along the canal route, which may affect as many as thirty thousand Nicaraguan property owners. It appears likely that Wang will also be able to seize the autonomous territories of the black Creoles and indigenous Sumo and Rama Indians, which were granted to them by the Nicaraguan Constitution of 1987.

Doubts over ambitious Nicaragua canal project grow as work gets underway. About the only ones to gain would be the Chinese, IF the Chinese government is involved – and even that is not clear at this point.

Would Augusto Sandino Support the Canal for Nicaragua?
Opponents Invoke the National Hero but Ignore His Nuance

PANAMA
Panama Canal Consortium Wins $233 Million for Cost Overruns

PARAGUAY
Paraguayan Leftist Guerrillas Free Brazilian Hostage

PERU
Peru Finishes 2014 with 3.22% Inflation Rate

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico’s appeal in tax dispute is “baseless”-Doral

URUGUAY
Uruguay’s anti-tobacco law spurs black market in cigarettes

VENEZUELA
Jackson Diehl: Obama is overlooking deep trouble in Venezuela

New Year’s Wishes for Venezuela

There are reasonable options but no one cares

Maduro demands respect from the US
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he demanded respect from the US during an encounter with American Vice-President Joe Biden in Brazil.

Venezuela recession confirmed as Maduro attacks US ‘oil war’

And Their Ice Cream, Too

The week’s posts:
Cuba: What are the names of the 53 prisoners?

Saturday night tango

Venezuela: Biden asks for release of political prisoners

Brazil: Dilma’s shaky inaugural

Why the coyotes were right

Happy 2015!

Mexico: Wal-Mart bodegas

Venezuela: Kidnappings and extorsion prior to jailings

Arguing with idiots about #Cuba

About that Nicaragua Canal . . . UPDATED

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Were taxes an issue in the 2014 midterm election?

The top Latin American story of 2014



About that Nicaragua Canal . . . UPDATED

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Instapundit links to a post on the proposed Nicaragua canal, and, since his website rejects my comment on the grounds that “Your comment currently includes words that are not allowed,” I’m posting it here (links added):

I’m very skeptical on the proposed project.

So far the only investor is Wang Jing’s HKND Group, which may (or may not) be a cover for the Chinese government, a company that made a $300 million telecommunications contract with Nicaragua.

For the Canal deal, “HKND would raise the $40 billion needed to build the canal and would have the right to operate and manage it for up to 100 years before turning it over to Nicaragua. In the meantime, Nicaragua would have a controlling interest in the canal and receive income from it.”

A final route for the canal has not yet been announced.
The following have not been made public:
No details on where the funds come from.
No feasability studies.
No environmental impact studies.
Indeed, no studies for the project have been made public.

Additionally, “it appears that the project would also include an oil pipeline, two deepwater ports, an airport, a railway, and two free trade zones. With a projected total price tag of $40 billion, the overall project would cost four times Nicaragua’s 2011 gross domestic product ”

The expansion of the existing Panama Canal cost $5.7 billion. The Nicaraguan canal would be 3 1/2 times longer over an existing shallow lake, & is estimated to cost only $40 billion? On the Country of Lakes and Volcanos?

While i agree that “a healthier Latin America, both economically and politically, is very much in our interest”, Nicaragua, hostile to the US, is following the Venezuelan model, not the healthiest economically and politically.

Until all these items are clarified, my advice is “don’t be the next Lord Crawley.”

UPDATE
Comment
from Doug Wenzel,

Jorge Luis Quijano, Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority says in an interview granted to La Estrella de Panamá that ACP experts estimate this as being a $65-70 billion project, and that five years is way too optimistic. There are also many questions about Environmental mitigation.

http://laestrella.com.pa/panama/nacional/quijano-invertiria-solo-real-canal/23831295

My personal focus is not on that, but on OpEx for this canal. First, the much longer time in canal waters at slow speed mitigates some of the distance advantage for certain port pairs, and has the largest effect on time-sensitive cargoes, which may be willing to pay the highest tolls per ton.

More importantly, the route will require triple the maintenance dredging, as well as triple the piloting and tugboat hours. Those will all affect what the canal can charge for a transit, and therefore the gross margin per transit.

Furthermore, of all the ships that could only use this canal, and not the one in Panama, most transport low value, time-insensitive cargo. (bulk carriers and VLCC’s). The Maersk EEE and larger container ships can call on only a few dozen ports worldwide, not just because many ports can’t physically handle their size or draft, but because most ports can’t produce enough demand to justify a weekly or even biweekly port call.

This canal is obviously a threat to the tolls that Panana could charge. However, in a race to the bottom, the low cost provider usually wins, and Panama will have lower costs because the Panama Canal is so much shorter.

—————————-

Panama’s neighbor to the north, Nicaragua, is hoping a transoceanic canal and similar prosperity are in its near future; now that Venezuela’s oil money dries up, does this mean China is willing to prop up the Nicaraguan economy?

From back in 2008, China’s Control of the Panama Canal Revisited.

The last 2014 Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 29th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentineans Hoard Disappearing Tampons
Fixed Exchange Rate Constrains Import Dollars, Pharmacies Lack Essentials

Argentine president hospitalized for sprained ankle. Not sprained, fractured.

Not sure if this was before, or after she broke her ankle, but it’s the weird photo-op of the week: Argentina president adopts young Jewish boy as godson to prevent him from turning into werewolf
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchhner adopted Yair Tawil as her godson, due to an Argentine folktale that says the seventh born son in a family will turn into a werewolf, and eat unbaptized babies.

BOLIVIA
Venezuela and Bolivia Challenge OAS on Supporting U.S. and Cuba
The OAS permanent council convened to support the rapprochement between the two countries began five hours late due to disagreements over the draft declaration, distorting the image of unity that the majority of the member states wanted to promote

Spanish Tourists Spend the Most in Bolivia

BRAZIL
Providence, Rhode Island is suing the Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras over investor losses due to a corruption scandal.

Unlike other class actions, some of the company’s senior executives have also been named as defendants.

Dilma Rousseff’s Christmas may not be so merry
Humiliation at the World Cup, a flailing economy and an oil scandal made 2014 a tough year for Brazil.

CHILE
Red Alert Due to Forest Fires Still in Effect for Chile’s Valparaiso Region

COLOMBIA
Colombia to Grow Faster Than Peers Even as Oil Tumbles

CUBA
The Geopolitics of U.S.-Cuba Relations

US to pay freed Cuba prisoner $3.2m
American Alan Gross, freed last week after five years in a Cuban jail, is to receive $3.2m (£2m) from the US government.

Americans back normalizing relations with Cuba, but has anyone examined the costs?

Obama, Cuba, and Iran

Cuban dissident voices & Pope Francis’ deaf ears
The wives of imprisoned critics of the Castro regime deserved better

Exiles, U.S. betrayed

The Cuban Archipelago

U.S. ending Cuban sanctions more proof of weakness, say Iranian media

TOP 10 LIES IN OBAMA’S CUBA SPEECH

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Charged in Scheme to Sell Massachusetts’ Driver Licenses to Illegal Aliens

ECUADOR
Boston Investment Company Sues Ecuador Over Bond Default

EL SALVADOR
Salvadorian Who Went Missing in War Reunites with Family 32 Years Later

GUATEMALA
The One Latin America Winner From U.S. Economic Boom: Currencies

LATIN AMERICA
Latin America in 2014: elections, football and environmental conflict
US-Cuba relations dominated the news in December, but elsewhere voters seemed resigned to the status quo

MEXICO
Abducted Mexican priest found deadThe coffin with Father Gregorio Lopez’s body is loaded into a hearse
[Father Gregorio Lopez] A Mexican priest who was kidnapped earlier this week is found shot dead in the south-western state of Guerrero.

Merry Christmas but Lest We Forget, MEXICO STILL MOURNS

NICARAGUA
I’m not the only skeptic: Doubts deepen over Chinese-backed Nicaragua canal as work starts

So far the company, the HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co Ltd, or HKND Group, of telecoms entrepreneur Wang Jing, has identified only $200 million in funding.
. . .
Supporters point to Monday’s start as evidence that the plan is on schedule. But key feasibility studies on the canal have been pushed back to next April, and excavation work is not due to begin until the second half of next year.

PANAMA
Panama Buys More Time for “Temporary” Price Controls
Sunset Provision Extended, Expanded Product List in the Offing

PERU
Peru evacuates Amazon village after raid by indigenous tribe
At least 39 people taken to Puerto Maldonado as officials search for motive behind latest bow-and-arrow attack by members of Mashco-Piro tribe

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rican Economic Activity Index Drops 2.1%

VENEZUELA
Diosdado’s Crocodile Tears
New York Times Op-Ed Scapegoats United States for Venezuela’s Ruin

Why checks and balances? Check out Venezuela today.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: Leopoldo’s letter

Argentina: Top Gear hot water

Merry Christmas!

Confirmed: US Sperm For Spies program

Nicaragua: Where’s the Canal money coming from?

Did Obama give in on Cuba so Uruguay would take 6 Gitmo alumni?

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
The Interview. Yes, The Interview

Last-minute shopping: The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

Podcast:
The Opening to Cuba: What do Cuban Americans Think?

Nicaragua: Where’s the Canal money coming from?

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

That’s not clear:

Many economic analysts believe the canal is unfeasible and will never be built, or worse, could end up half built as funding runs out.

“It’s a gigantic white elephant,” said Jean-Paul Rodrigue, a transportation expert at Hofstra University. Neither the Nicaraguan government nor Mr. Jing’s Hong-Kong based HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., known as the HKND Group, has said where it expects to get the financing.

Canal spokesman Telémaco Talavera said the financial information will be known in due time. “The information will be made public,” said Mr. Talavera, declining to give any other details. “We have met with potential investors from all over the world.”

Don’t buy the Brooklyn Bridge, don’t be the next Lord Crawley.

Related: list of volcanos in Nicaragua.