Archive for the ‘Nicaragua’ Category

O’s foreign policy, Northern Triangle edition

Friday, June 27th, 2014

My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog is up, O’s foreign policy, Northern Triangle edition. Don’t miss it!

The World Cup week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 16th, 2014

LatinAmerYes, the World Cup is front-page news on every newspaper in the hemisphere.

More important news: Santos was re-elected in Colombia.

ARGENTINA
Argentine VP Defends Self Before Judge in Corruption Case

BERMUDA
Guantanamo Uighurs Stranded in Bermuda

BOLIVIA
Don’t tell Maureen Dowd, ‘Coca’ cake for UN chief: Bolivia gives Ban a birthday treat

BRAZIL
How Brazil’s Hubris Jeopardized Its World Cup

5 pieces of World Cup hosting advice for Brazil

Comparing Brazilian states with countries
Brazil’s closest matches

CHILE
Bachelet’s Education Reforms Fall Short, Chilean Students Say

Chile: Patagonia Dams Rejected

COLOMBIA
For war-weary rebels, Colombia invites defections with comforts and kindness

Colombia poised for knife-edge presidential election

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica seizes 4 tons of cocaine at sea

CUBA
Cy Tokmakjian Canadian fears foregone verdict in Cuban court

Four people found murdered in Cuba

Note From the Pro-Cuba, Anti-Castro Lobby

ALICIA ALONSO IS SHOCKED!

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Stateless people in Dominican Republic hope to regain citizenship

ECUADOR
Ecuador Breaks Its Amazon Deal

EL SALVADOR
Central America Newspapers Tout Open US Door for Illegal Minors

IMMIGRATION
JAN BREWER: MS-13 GANG MEMBERS COULD BE CROSSING BORDER WITH CHILDREN; I’d actually be surprised if they weren’t.

FOREIGN POLICY
Fundamentally changing America by emboldening dictators: Obama’s Budget Fails Democracy Promotion Abroad
The administration is proposing to remove language from next year’s budget that would safeguard American foreign aid from repressive foreign leaders.

The proposed removal from the administration’s budget and appropriations request for next fiscal year of a provision instructing the Secretary of State not to seek the prior approval of host governments when funding nonprofits and civil society groups overseas is infuriating American democracy-promotion and human-rights activists, who argue the omission marks a retreat in U.S. leadership.

They warn the Obama administration is in effect signaling to repressive regimes that they can dictate where U.S. democracy-promotion and human rights money goes in their countries—a problem the provision introduced a decade ago was meant to combat.

MEXICO
BIKERS RIDE TO MEXICO TO FREE JAILED MARINE

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua shakedown like highway robbery

PANAMA
Panama Canal chief says new locks operational by January, 2016

PERU
After Eight Decades, Sweden Returns Textile Artifacts to Peru

PUERTO RICO
The results of the welfare state: Some 68% of Babies in Puerto Rico Born to One-Parent Households

VENEZUELA
What leaving Venezuela means to Jews

Venezuelan Government Tightens Noose Around Its Citizens

Can we get a grand unified theory of political physics for Venezuela?

Venezuela: The Protesters’ Power Is Rising

TalCual: Repression vs. Inflation
On Tuesday, a group comprised by 9 human rights NGOs released their own figures. These showed that Nicolás Maduro has repressed 485% more than his predecessor, while inflation may exceed 70% by the end of this yea
r

The week’s posts and podcast:
Immigration: And I still ask, who’s organizing this?

En español: El Foro de Sao Paulo, creación de Castro y da Silva

Mexico: Drug gangs with tanks attack shale wells

Brazil: #WorldCup inaugural today

Venezuela: Tricks for bucks, Trix from Doral

Brazil: Who made out from the #WorldCup money?

Ecuador: The bond and pony show

At Da Tech Guy:
The case for harmless escapism

Immigration and the new vulnerabilities of fundamental transformation

Podcast:
Kids on the US-Mexico border & other US-Latin America stories of the week

The Chevron settlement Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 12th, 2014

LatinAmerLast week Chevron received from Patton Boggs, the former #1 lobbying law firm in the country, an apology, a $15million payment, and most remarkably,

Perhaps more unusual is the law firm’s agreement to deliver partners James Tyrrell and Eric Westenberger to Gibson Dunn’s New York offices for depositions overseen by a court-appointed special master. The firm has also agreed to turn over documents, provided its former clients don’t prevail on challenges under the attorney-client privilege.

This apology is phenomenally interesting.

ARGENTINA
Litigious investors ask US Supreme Court to deny Argentina a ‘do-over’ on $1.4B debt ruling

BOLIVIA
Bolivian mayor caught on video groping journalist, and he was persistent, too,

BRAZIL
Is Brazil Losing Global Momentum?

1,500 Attack Brazilian Construction Giant’s HQ

Brazil’s frantic eleventh hour World Cup preparations

CHILE
Chile president to visit Obama on June 30

Bachelet won but Chile police clash with activists as thousands protest for free education

COLOMBIA
Colombia: Hacker Tried to Sabotage Peace Talks

CUBA
Cuba: The Splendid Little War – A Boardgaming Way Review

AIG Fined for Cuba Sanctions Violations

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haiti, Dominican Republic Postpone Meeting

ECUADOR
In Self-Promotion Abroad, Ecuador’s Correa Omits His Repression of Critics at Home

GUATEMALA
A Coffee Crop Withers
Fungus Cripples Coffee Production Across Central America

MEXICO
Mexico to Try Former State Governor for Embezzlement

NICARAGUA
BORDER DISPUTE
Costa Rica’s foreign minister accuses Russia of helping militarize Nicaragua

Russia “announced the desire to have bases in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, with the euphemistic name of ‘bases for refueling and resupplying’ for its ships. But we know it’s not just about that,” Castillo said.

PANAMA
Panama’s Construction Union Ends Strike

PERU
A 5,000 feet free fall: Peru air force officer survives fall after parachute malfunction

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Unveils Economic Recovery Plan Details

URUGUAY
Monsanto plans to patent genetically modified marijuana in Uruguay

VENEZUELA

 

Policeman killed in Venezuela after security forces break up protester camp
Violent clashes between police and protesters after troops arrest 243 students in pre-dawn raids on tented camps in Caracas leaves one officer dead

Venezuelans Ask What Now After Protest Camp Raids

Machurucuto, 1967 – Venezuela’s Bay of Pigs: Fidel Castro’s first ploy to lay his hand on Venezuela’s oil riches

Can the United States Play a Role in Venezuela?

Is Venezuela seeking the status of pariah state?

BREAKING NEWS: Ros-Lehtinen Venezuela sanctions bill passes House Foreign Affairs Committee, clears first hurdle to holding Maduro accountable

Capital flight in Venezuela could well exceed $405.8 billion

One for the “no sh*t, Sherlock” file: The ‘Dialogue’ in Venezuela Is a Fraud
More than 500 citizens have been arrested since negotiations began.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Panama: And now, price controls

The Boring Veins of Latin America

En español: Terapia Intensiva 206

Chile: Down with entrepreneurs

Ecuador: Patton Boggs to pay Chevron $15 million

Colombia: Another campaign aide quits

Venezuela: Armed civilians fight protesters

Colombia: Santos campaign chief resigns

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
What the #hashtag?

Milton Friedman and the Sahara, Caracas and water

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week


The cinco de mayo Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Today is May 5th, in Spanish cinco de mayo, and whether you celebrate or not, ignore the insecure who don’t want you to avail yourself of business opportunities.

juan_soloStay thirsty, my friends.

(Juan Solo via Doug Mataconis‘s FaceBook feed)

ARGENTINA
ARGENTINA Y LA NARCO-CORRUPCION

Slums in Buenos Aires
The unplugged
Efforts to integrate shantytowns are hampered by a lack of trust and money

BRAZIL
Welfare and tax boost for Brazil poor
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff announces an increase in social security payments and tax cuts ahead of her re-election campaign in October.

Poll Shows Brazil President Could Face Runoff
The latest poll of Brazilian voters is showing for the first time that President Dilma Rousseff may face a runoff in October’s presidential election
due to a lackluster economy.

Inflation is running around 6%, while economic growth isn’t expected to surpass 2% this year.

CHILE
Chile’s electoral system
Ending the permanent draw

COLOMBIA
A Dutch Guerillera: The Foreign Face of FARC’s Civil War
Tanja Nijmeijer of Holland spent more than 10 years fighting with the rebel group FARC in the jungles of Colombia. More recently, she has been part of the guerillas’ peace negotiating team in Cuba. What drives her?

A Building Boom in Bogotá
With a growing economy, a declining crime rate and an influx of developers, Colombia’s capital is seeing a rise in luxury housing; Richard Meier’s vision in glass and steel

Rescuers search for Colombia miners
Rescuers are using large mechanical diggers to try to reach people trapped underground after an illegal gold mine collapsed in Colombia.

CUBA
Pastor/ex-political prisoner Omar Gude and wife testify on lack of religious liberty in Cuba

Castro’s Russian Power Play Over the European Union

Castronoid lobby launches propaganda campaign on Twitter, on the Web, and in Washington D.C

ECUADOR
Ecuadorian president demands that indigenous group give up defamers
Rafael Correa accuses Kichwa leaders of acting above the law in holding three opposition activists convicted of defaming him

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador: Ex-President Faces Charges
Former President Francisco Flores will face embezzlement and other corruption charges related to what prosecutors said Wednesday was the misappropriation of at least $5.3 million in loans from Taiwan during his tenure, from 1999 to 2004.

GUATEMALA
Attorney General in Guatemala Excluded From Re-election Bid
Claudia Paz y Paz, who has taken on a former dictator and top drug traffickers, was left off of a shortlist of candidates to be considered for re-election.

HONDURAS
Honduras Detains 9 Undocumented Cuban Migrants en Route to U.S.

Honduras children ‘killed by gangs’
Authorities in Honduras are investigating the deaths of at least seven children who may have been murdered after refusing to join criminal gangs.

JAMAICA
Jamaica scraps bank withdrawal tax, but Paco Santos may have had a business opportunity:

MEXICO
MEXICO CONSIDERS INCREASE IN MARRIAGE AGE TO 18

Mexico seizes ship carrying 68,000 tonnes of illegal iron
Mexican authorities say they have seized a ship belonging to a drugs cartel which was carrying 68,000 tonnes of illegal iron ore.

NICARAGUA
Costa Rica warns Russia is arming Nicaragua

Last month, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his country was “committed to further strengthening and modernising the army” with the help of any country willing to provide aid.

He did not give details of an agreement between Nicaragua and Russia.

But Russia’s ambassador in Managua had confirmed in March that Moscow is interested in building a military resupply base in Nicaragua.

Russian defense chief Sergei Shoigu has said that Russia is weighing increasing its military presence in countries including Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela – particularly bases to refuel Russian warplanes far from home.

PANAMA
Juan Carlos Varela Declared Victor in Panamanian Presidential Vote
Current Vice President Has 39% of the Vote With 60% of Votes Counted
, with 76% turnout:

Panama’s economy has grown by an average of more than 8% in recent years and is expected to expand by 7% this year, by far the best performance in the Americas. Since 2002, poverty has been slashed from more than 40% to a quarter of the population.

“One good thing is that that there are no big ideological differences,” Nicolás Ardito-Barletta, a former World Bank economist who served less than a year as president in the mid-1980s, said before the vote. “Nobody’s going to kill the goose.”

In Panama Vote, a Noncandidate Matters
Presidential elections in Panama on Sunday feature a crowded field of seven candidates, but are widely seen here as a referendum on one man who won’t appear on the ballot: conservative President Ricardo Martinelli.

PERU
Visit Choquequirao, Peru
Explore Peru’s famous Incan ruins in the lesser-known but still breathtaking city of Choquequirao

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico leads world in Walgreens, Walmart stores per sq. mile

Drug Trade Takes a Toll on Puerto Rico, Police Chief Says

URUGUAY
Uruguay unveils legal marijuana plan
Uruguay’s authorities reveal how marijuana will be produced and sold legally in the country at less than $1 a gramme.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan government arrests 58 foreigners ‘for inciting protests’
Interior Minister denounces alleged plot to promote unrest and overthrow Venezuela’s government as it is revealed dozens of foreign nationals are among the detained

Venezuelan Jewish Leader Says Anti-Semitism Has ‘Exploded’ in Recent Years in Latin America

Tales Of Bolivarian Inefficiency III: Chávez’ Frozen Cuban Dream

Chávez initially promised that Coppelia ice cream would be made with Venezuelan products and supplies. Milk products from Lacteos Los Andes (now practically bankrupt), sugar from CVA Azucar (now shut down, see first post) and orange, guava, mango, peach and coconut.

Well, 18 months later and now Chávez is dead, Coppelia produces ice cream, mostly creamy flavors, in irregular and limited fashion. Raw materials and supplies are all imported. Forget about all those fruit flavors, but its manager says raw materials come from Lacteos Los Andes, which is practically shut down. [See also Chavez’s Farming Utopia Withers as Pet Projects Abandoned]

The Money-Losing Machine in Caracas
Forget Chávez and his Bolivarian Revolution — it’s oil that wrecked the Venezuelan state.

Which brings us, finally, to the million-dollar question: In post-Chávez Venezuela, who has the political capital to institute the deep and painful reforms the country requires to break out of this wicked cycle? If Chávez himself — who was the closest to God you can get in Venezuelan politics — didn’t dare to touch the gasoline subsidy or move against the Armed Forces’ involvement in organized crime, who would dare? In the answer to that question, more than in the epic battles painted by the likes of María Corina Machado, lies the key to Venezuela’s long term future.

May 1 follies

Cedice: Fighting Socialism In Venezuela: The Work Of A Heroic Think Tank

The official corruption
The General Comptroller’s Office just published its latest report, and between lines, front firms which got away with dollars came to the spotlight again. The following list presents the irregularities admitted by the Venezuelan Government

The week’s posts and podcast:
Nestor fever #PoneleNestorATodo: Tympanoctomys Kirchnerorum UPDATED

Chile: Bienvenido, Putin

Mexico: Impunity for attacks on the press

@MarkSteynOnLine on the Benghazi lies

Highjacker returns from Cuba, objects to terms of conviction

Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez’s jail birthday

6 good writers from Latin America + 1

Iran in Latin America: Must-read report

Argentina: Trade surplus plummets

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
‘Dude, this was like two years ago’, and don’t miss the chart.

Brazil: Welcome to Usama’s!

Podcast:
“Foreign investment reforms” in Cuba PLUS US-Latin America this week


The giant telescope Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 28th, 2014

LatinAmerIn this week’s news, Telescope in Puerto Rico Detects Strange, Rapid Bursts of Radio Waves

[Director of the Astronomy Section at Arecibo Observatory, a part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Fernando] Camilo said the phenomenon has been detected at least seven times through the radio telescope in Australia, but the importance of this one is that for the first time it has been documented at another observatory, which confirms that this is an astronomical reality and cannot be attributed to some peculiarity of a particular instrument.

“The question now is the nature of this phenomenon,” said the scientist, who for years studied astronomy in the United States.

“This could be a powerful burst of radio waves faraway in the universe, a kind of signal never detected before,” which appears to come from outside our galaxy.

The Arecibo telescope was one of the James Bond locations in GoldenEye (1995, and yes, the clip is dubbed),

ANTIGUA
Antigua’s Parliament to Dissolve in preparation for the general elections that must be held by July 25.

ARGENTINA
ARGENTINA Y EL NARCOESTADO (PARTE III)

Surge in Vigilante Justice Ignites Lynching Wave in Argentine Province

Yowza! Argentina Trade Surplus Plunged 95% on Year in March
Broad Decline in Commodities, Manufactured Goods Exports Led to Drop

BOLIVIA
Bolivia dismisses protesting troops
Bolivia’s military chiefs have ordered the dismissal of more than 700 troops who have been protesting to demand better working conditions.

BRAZIL
Violence Roils Brazil’s Biggest Cities
A professional dancer’s death sparked a violent protest in a Rio de Janeiro slum, and armed men torched nearly three dozen buses outside São Paulo.

Life as a Brazilian Woman

CHILE
Chile’s national police to expand by 6,000 officers

COLOMBIA
Santos is losing the plot while Enrique Peñalosa is on the rise.

Will the real Mr Santos please speak up
A tepid election fraught with risks for Colombia

Drug ritual kills gap-year Briton in Colombia
Henry Miller, a 19-year-old from Bristol who was due to start university in September, died after taking hallucinogenic drugs as part of a tribal ritual in South America

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
To the tune of $325,000: Dominican Republic lawmakers waddle in ‘sweet beans’ scandal

The Chamber of Deputies on Friday confirmed allocating more than RD$14.0 million (US$325,000) for its 185 members to hand out the ingredients to cook the traditional Easter dish ‘habichuelas con dulce’ (sweet beans), first aid kits, inflatable swimming pools, domino games and other items, in what it called: “expenditures for the Easter operation 2014 and to assist relief agencies in each province.”

CUBA
@NETmundial: Russia and Cuba Push for Internet Censorship

ECUADOR
Ecuador may try to print 10-yr as low as mid 6%. It would take a lot more yield to convince me to buy it.

HAITI
Haiti in the Shadow of Cholera

JAMAICA
Saving Goat Islands, Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Netflix to launch first Spanish-language show

MEXICO
Mexican Drug Cartel Clashes are Exploding Anew in Tamaulipas

Competition bill passes Mexico’s Senate, easing legislative logjam

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua: Revolutionary reminders around every corner
Its political and military dramas once dominated the news, but these days, says Chris Moss, Nicaragua makes a fascinatingly enigmatic destination
. . . only if you don’t mind communist propaganda.

PANAMA
Venezuelans flock to Panama to escape Maduro economy

PERU
Peru buys surveillance satellite from France

PUERTO RICO
John Paulson Calls Puerto Rico Singapore of Caribbean

VENEZUELA
Venezuela’s Security Forces: A Killer Elite Beyond the Law
As violent protests return, the death toll is down, but families are struggling hopelessly to find justice for their loved ones killed in demonstrations earlier this year.

Peaceful protests bother you? Just ban them. And force punitive delation.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Vargas Llosa: Venezuela a “pathetic failure”

Garcia Marquez’s black eye: Vargas Llosa ain’t telling

Ecuador: Adiós, Security Cooperation Office

En español: La vida de los “Enchufados” en Miami

Venezuela: American arrested for murder

Venezuela: #1 in misery index

Colombia: Gustavo Petro back in city hall

Argentina: SCOTUS hearing Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital

En español: Terapia intensiva #204

Well, there’s at least one person out there who dislikes Gabriel García Márquez more than I,

Colombia: Santos throws the towel

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Venezuela: Misery and missiles

“Positive discrimination”

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


The Easter Week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 21st, 2014

LatinAmerYesterday was Easter Sunday, and we celebrate it, and, possibly, Spring.

ARGENTINA
How Argentina’s Default Could Be New York’s Loss
The commercial capital depends on U.S. courts to hold governments to their promises.

Battle over Argentina’s debts heads to Supreme Court

HACER’s Amicus Brief Filed with U.S. Supreme Court

BOLIVIA
Cónsul de Bolivia en Nueva York: Personajes emblemáticos del narcotráfico y la corrupción representan a Bolivia

BRAZIL
The road to Rio… by scooter
Shunning traditional air travel, one England fan has decided to take the scenic route to Brazil for the World Cup – making the journey on a Vespa scooter

Police in Brazil’s Bahia State End Strike
Police in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia on Thursday called off a strike after accepting terms offered by the state government.

CUBA

Easter No. 3 for a Prisoner of Castro
Bearing witness to Cuba’s political persecution costs Sonia Garro her freedom.

MLB’s Next Headache: Cartels, Gangsters, and Their Cuban Superstars
The baseball world has been stunned by reports the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig was smuggled from his homeland by a drug cartel, and a Miami gangster allegedly now owns 20% of his astronomical contract.

Did USAID Wander Into CIA Territory by Running Cuba Op?
A rudimentary Twitter-style app crafted to stoke protests in Cuba is making some on the Hill screech.

HAITI
Housing Effort Said to Lag
A post-earthquake housing program in Haiti financed by the United States Agency for International Development has delivered only a quarter of the planned number of houses.

HONDURAS
US Air Base in Honduras Delivers Supplies to Mountain Village

JAMAICA
Govt’s plan to raise $6.7 billion

LATIN AMERICA
World leaders pay tribute to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Colombian author praised as a literary giant who changed Latin Americans’ thinking, after his death at the age of 87

MEXICO
Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

NICARAGUA
Earthquakes diminish in Nicaragua, but country remains on red alert

PANAMA
The election is scheduled for May 4: Panama’s Seven Presidential Candidates Debate Before Vote.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay Busts International Drug Trafficking Ring

PERU
Thousands evacuated in Peru after volcano warning
Increased activity of Ubinas volcano in southern Peru leads to state of emergency with 4,000 people and their 30,000 animals told to evacuate

PUERTO RICO
Vice: Legalize Prostitution or Marijuana? Puerto Rico Is Looking for Ideas to Solve Debt Crisis

This is What Happens When You Register Your Guns

Salsa legend Cheo Feliciano dies
Puerto Rican salsa singer and composer Cheo Feliciano dies in a car crash in his native island aged 78.

URUGUAY
In pictures: Gauchos at Criolla Week rodeo in Uruguay

VENEZUELA
Maduro [sic] First 365 Days As President Of Venezuela

Venezuela’s Unending Ordeal

Someone in Maduro’s government must be held responsible for the deaths

¿Cómo conquistó Cuba a Venezuela?
La respuesta es Hugo Chávez. Dejar entrar a los cubanos fue la expresión de su poder absoluto

Desde su inicio en 1959, una prioridad de la política exterior del régimen cubano ha sido la creación de vastas redes de apoyo a su causa. Sus servicios de espionaje, su diplomacia, propaganda, ayuda humanitaria, intercambios juveniles, académicos y culturales, y el apoyo en otros países a ONG, intelectuales, periodistas, medios de comunicación y grupos políticos afines han sido pilares básicos de su estrategia internacional. Esto lo hacen todos los países, pero pocos han tenido la necesidad de darle tanta prioridad y durante tanto tiempo como Cuba. La supervivencia económica y política del régimen ha dependido de su éxito en tener aliados en otros países que, a su vez, puedan influir sobre sus gobiernos en apoyo a la isla.

Incitatii Bolivariani

Students add Easter twist to dwindling Venezuela protests

The week’s posts and podcast:
Mexico: 7.5 earthquake on Good Friday had warning

Cuba/Venezuela: $10,000 “melange of Communism” trips

Cuba: The great unwashed, by governmental decree

Venezuela: Inspired by Marx!

Venezuela: No amnesty for jailed opposition

Panama: Martinelli strikes back

Chile: 15 dead in #Valparaiso

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, RIP, with additional comment here.

Mad Men’s somber final season opener

The week’s podcast:
The latest from Colombia plus other US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio and Cecilia Torres.


The Holy Week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 14th, 2014

LatinAmerIt’s Holy Week, and taxes are due tomorrow – not exactly the most cheerful way to start a week.

ARGENTINA
Federal police launch huge raid on Argentina’s ‘drug capital’
More than 3,000 federal agents involved in raids on around 80 ‘bunkers’ in the Argentine city of Rosario, plagued by violence between drug gangs

YPF, Chevron to Invest $1.6 Billion in 2014 in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta
Both companies will share equally in the investment outlay, which will go toward drilling 170 wells and building production facilities in Loma Campana, Neuquen
. Good luck with that.

Argentina hit by general strike over high inflation and taxes

Metro, train and bus services around the country have been paralysed, as Ignacio de los Reyes reports
Public transport in Argentina has been severely disrupted by a huge nationwide strike against the economic policies of the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

So, of course, Cristina’s trying to create a diversion: UK Falklands military exercises ‘provoke’ Argentina

BOLIVIA
Is There A Connection Between Hillary Clinton’s ‘Shoe-icide’ Attacker And Che Guevara?

But while everyone is talking about the shoe, little is talked about what the woman also threw along with it: a copy of a Department of Defense document labeled confidential and dated August 1967; it referred to an operation “Cynthia” in Bolivia. Operation “Cynthia” was a Bolivian army maneuver to capture Argentinean doctor and Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s economic problems cloud 2014 elections
Brazil’s macroeconomic picture poses problems for the country’s 2014 elections, reports Bloomberg’s David Ingles

Fighting breaks out in Rio de Janeiro as police move to clear 5,000 squatters from buildings

Brazil 2014: less than half of country favour hosting World Cup
Just 48 per cent of Brazilians are in support of the country hosting this year’s tournament, which begins in June

CHILE
Fire destroys 500 homes in Valparaiso
Ambulance crews have treated residents for smoke inhalation but so far there have been no deaths

COLOMBIA
Keep FARC leader Timochenko alive for peace?

Colombia has a loose-tongued president.

Yesterday, Juan Manuel Santos told us he knew where FARC commander alias Timochenko is hiding, but claimed he’d “think twice” before ordering a shoot-to-kill.

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica Installs Coastal Radar to Monitor Drug Smuggling

CUBA
Families of Shootdown Victims: No Spies for Gross Exchange

UPDATED | Cuban political prisoner Lamberto Hernández Plana released after 23 years in Castro gulag

French Foreign Minister Visits Cuba
A French foreign minister visited Cuba for the first time in more than 30 years Saturday, traveling to the communist-run nation at a time when it is seeking to attract more foreign investment and improve ties with the European Union.

ECUADOR
It’s what you call a totalitarian democracy: Does Ecuador’s leader aspire to a perpetual presidency?
Ecuador’s constitution bars Rafael Correa from running for the fourth term. But this won’t stop him from seeking reelection if ‘the people’ want it, he hints.

JAMAICA
Entrepreneurs demand ‘respect’ in Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Chinese lending to Latin America
Flexible friends
China lends disproportionately to countries that lack other options
and, while on the subject of China, A Pax Sinica in the Middle East? Some Conjectures

Andres Oppenheimer: Latin America’s forecasts may be too rosy

MEXICO
Mexico prepares first illegal drug financing blacklist
Mexico’s cartels launder billions of dollars a year made by shipping illegal drugs to U.S.
with a proviso,

[Mexican Finance Minister Luis] Videgaray said individuals identified by OFAC [the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control], or in a similar list put out by the United Nations, could end up being sanctioned in Mexico but that his administration would not necessarily implement all U.S.-identified targets.

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua Sees Series of Arrow Killings of Dogs using crossbows and custom carbon arrows.

PANAMA
Panama Canal expansion draws bigger customers, and criticism
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal, one of the busiest waterways in the world. A massive building project is underway there to widen it for larger ships, but the expansion has not been undisputed.

PERU
Peru Arrests 24 for Alleged Ties to Shining Path Rebels

Bello
Peru’s Italian job
Economic success cannot indefinitely co-exist with political weakness
The “Italian model” holds that the important thing is that the economy was run by responsible technocrats. How’s that working out?

The real lesson from Italy is that if the political system is unable to act in the long-term interest of the majority, it ends up contaminating the economy with its failures. Peru is a democracy without meaningful parties. A regional election in October is likely to repeat the last one, in which 23 of the 25 regional presidents were independents. Thanks to mining and gas royalties, they command a big chunk of public money. One important region, Áncash, has become a mafia mini-state. Ten political opponents of the regional president, César Álvarez, have been murdered after denouncing corruption. His critics accuse Mr Álvarez, who denies all wrongdoing, of having bought off prosecutors. This month Mr Humala froze Áncash’s bank accounts.

It always amazes me that countless “models” – the Danish model, the Swedish model, etc. – are held as examples worth emulating in Latin America, instead of free market capitalism.

PUERTO RICO
Vatican Clears Puerto Rico Bishop Daniel Fernandez in Abuse Case

URUGUAY
Uruguay to make medical marijuana available to prisoners
Any inmates who have been prescribed marijuana to improve their physical or mental health will have access to it according to the country’s drug tsar

VENEZUELA
Venezuela: sector de la oposición rechaza diálogo

Venezuela Update: Violence, protests and … talks?

Massive repression against protestors in Venezuela by security forces of Cuba-backed dictatorship

Venezuela’s Protest Movement Fights The Ghost Of Chavez
The legacy of Hugo Chavez hangs over Venezuela — and the country’s protest leaders are having a hard time bringing his followers into their fold.
Especially with the armed motorcycle gangs threatening them.

Venezuela’s old men have a dialogue

Venezuela gives Cuba three aircraft to transport Raúl Castro
The aircrafts –two Dassault Falcon 50 and one Falcon 900– are worth some USD 100-110 million

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: No food in the shops, but 3 jets for Raul

El libro que hay que leer: En español: Infobae entrevista a Casto Ocando, autor de Chavistas en el Imperio

And now for a Venezuela roundup

Ecuador: Rafael Correa at Yale UPDATED

Brazil: Airports not ready yet

Mexico: en español, Terapia Intensiva 203

Mike Hammer goes to Chile

New book: Chavistas en el Imperio

Cuba: Alan Gross on hunger strike – later Gross ends hunger strike in Cuba

At Da Tech Guy:
Bye-bye, Elementary

Cuba’s American hostage

Podcast:
Dr Gross in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador & US-Latin America stories of the week


The Goodbye, Columbus Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 10th, 2014

LatinAmerWhile more important stories were in the headlines, Cristina Fernandez took the cake by attempting to remove all traces of Christopher Columbus from the royal palace executive mansion, no matter that Columbus never set foot in the Country, and the Italian-born navigator shared a native land with millions of Argentinians.

ARGENTINA
Ted Turner Hospitalized In Argentina For Undisclosed Ailment
A security guard at the Instituto Argentino de Diagnostico y Tratamiento confirmed to The Associated Press that Turner was hospitalized there.

Pope Francis: the priest of the slums
Peter Stanford, author and former editor of the Catholic Herald, retraces the trip Pope Francis used to take to the outskirts of Buenos Aires to try to understand the man who was known as ‘the priest of the slums’

BOLIVIA
Footbridge collapses at Bolivian parade killing at least four people
Three musicians among the dead as an overloaded metal footbridge collapses during the opening parade of carnival in highlands city of Oruro

BRAZIL
Dilma Rou$$eff

Fresh deal to end Rio rubbish strike
Rio de Janeiro officials and street cleaners say they have reached a deal to end a strike which has left litter piling up in the Brazilian city.

CHILE
Chicago Latino Film Festival to honor Chilean actress Paulina Garcia
The Chicago Latino Film Festival will confer its career-achievement award on Chilean theater, film and television actress Paulina Garcia, organizers said.

Incoming Chilean Finance Minister Promises to Boost Investments
Alberto Areas Says New Bachelet Administration Will Take Over Slowing Economy
: expect more government spending, more debt.

COSTA RICA
Governing Party Candidate Pulls Out of Costa Rica’s Presidential Campaign
Sinking in the polls a month before Costa Rica’s presidential election, Johnny Araya, the candidate for the country’s governing party, pulled out of the campaign on Wednesday

CUBA
At least 8 new political prisoners in Cuba in February

French Banks Investigated for Sanctions Violations

ECUADOR
TWO Capt. Louis Renault moments:
1. Presidente plantea enmienda constitucional sin que se llame a referéndum

2. Ecuadoran President Correa Blasts NY Fed Judge’s Ruling for Chevron

EL SALVADOR
Leftist party ahead in El Salvador polls
Elections in El Salvador will decide whether the incumbent leftist government will gain a mandate for another five years. The winning party must tackle gang violence and address the country’s economic problems.

LATIN AMERICA
The Economist: iPhonenomics
One phone, many countries
Costly Brazil, dysfunctional Argentina, bureaucratic Mexico. Our correspondents go shopping for the same Apple product

MEXICO
Court Setback for Mexican Drug Kingpin
A Mexican judge has denied the drug kingpin Joaquín (El Chapo) Guzmán Loera an injunction against any extradition to the United States.

Andres Oppenheimer: Mexico’s new friend: Castro’s Cuba

If Peña Nieto wanted to keep Cuba and Venezuela from firing up Mexico’s left, he could have done the same with polite diplomacy, without the need to praise as a “moral leader” a dictator who is responsible for thousands of deaths and has not allowed a free election in five decades. In an effort to distance himself from his predecessors, Peña Nieto has gone overboard.

ANALYSIS: FORMER MEXICAN CARTEL LEADER KILLED AGAIN

NICARAGUA
Busted in Nicaragua: ex-Rep. David Rivera’s pal, Ana Alliegro, in FBI custody over campaign scheme

PANAMA
Panama demands Venezuela pay $1bn debt
President Martinelli asks Caracas not to use decision to cut diplomatic ties with Panama as “excuse” to not pay debt.

PARAGUAY
’7 Boxes’ review: fast-paced thriller from Paraguay

PERU
Peru to ‘eliminate’ key environmental rule for oil and gas firms, says minister
Announcement that seismic tests won’t need Environmental Impact Assessments sparks controversy and concern

PUERTO RICO
Felix Salmon on Why Puerto Rico’s bonds are moving to New York: it all comes down to default protection for the bondholders.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan president to visit Iran next month

La libertad en las calles
PIEDRA DE TOQUE. Venezuela ya no es un país democrático y la gran movilización popular es para que haya todavía elecciones de verdad en ese país y no rituales operaciones circenses como son las de Cuba

Scenes from Venezuela, 3/8/14 #8M #SOSVenezuela

Venezuela’s Opposition Is United Against Maduro, But Internally Divided

A Growing Crisis in Post-Chavez Venezuela

Los Guayabitos: The Venezuelan town where La Revolución reigns supreme

Venezuelan Crisis Plays Out On The Floor Of The United Nations

Large Protests Continue As Venezuelan Government Celebrates OAS Victory

Late Friday in Washington, the Organization of American States approved a declaration that rejected violence and called for justice for the 21 people the government says have died in weeks of street protests. The resolution also offered “full support” for the Venezuelan government’s peace initiative, in which the opposition has so far refused to participate.

The week’s posts:
Don Mario se quita los guantes y le cae encima al fascista Maduro: En español: Vargas Llosa a puño limpio

Argentina: Goodbye, Columbus

Colombia: Congressional elections tomorrow

Marco Rubio at #CPAC2014: “America must be involved in leading the world”

Argentina: Still in the hole for $185 million

Venezuela: Waiting to buy food

Cuba: Mario Díaz-Balart explains to the dense why Cuban oppression is bad

Venezuela: Door-to-door raids, AWOL colonels, Panama out

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez is still dead

Ecuador: Donziger guilty of fraud against Chevron

En español: Terapia intensiva

BREAKING NEWS Ecuador: Chevron wins

Venezuela: Big shoes and misreports

At Da Tech Guy:
Marco Rubio at #CPAC2014: “America must be involved in leading the world”

Ecuador: Donziger guilty of fraud against Chevron

The first Monday in March Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

LatinAmerVenezuela’s demonstrations continue to be the week’s top story, in spite of the media blackout. Take some time to look at photos and read about The Venezuela Paradox,

After three weeks of repression, fifteen dead, at least 60 reported tortured and more than eight hundred detained, including opposition leaders and reporters, the Venezuelan students have at least shown the world what little respect the Maduro administration has for the human and civil rights of the people.

Keep in mind that

The protests come from people who realize that their future has been robbed by a narco-kleptocracy. Almost anyone in Venezuela that has aspirations to a better future through education, hard work, you name it, questions more or less actively the regime.

More below:

ARGENTINA
Heisenberg: Chapo Guzmán, la conexión argentina

What could possibly go wrong? Argentina Plans Price-Control Measures
President Cristina Kirchner has pledged tougher measures against businesses that raise prices, as her administration tries to stabilize an economy suffering from double-digit inflation and hard currency shortages.

Devaluation Hurts Argentina’s Regional Standing
Colombia Has Likely Overtaken Argentina as Latin America’s Third-Largest Economy

Two Years After Expropriation, Argentina and Repsol Sign Accord on YPF
The agreement establishes compensation for the Spanish oil firm of $5 billion in dollar-denominated government bonds, a debt that will be settled by 2033, at the latest, if the bonds are held to maturity

Upcoming meme alert: Expect MSNBC to start referring to the Venezuelan demonstrations (if they ever notice them) as “attempts at a soft coup”, Presidenta argentina habla de ‘golpe suave’ en Venezuela

BOLIVIA
Bolivia’s 2013 revenue from gas sales to neighbors totals $6 bn

BRAZIL
Pity Brazil’s Military Police

The military police are not part of the armed forces, and yet they operate according to military principles of rank and discipline. They cannot strike or unionize, and are subject to a military-style penal code (meaning transgressions at work can be treated as mutiny or treason, and officers are tried in a special court). They are prohibited from “revealing facts or documents that can discredit the police or disrupt hierarchy or discipline.”

They also can’t openly disapprove of the acts of civilian authorities from the executive, legislative or judicial branches of government, and are forbidden to express their personal political opinions.

Brazil Sings a New Tune
As millions leave poverty behind, Brazilian funk is moving from the slums to the mainstream

CHILE
South American Anarchists Teach Anti-Capitalist Tactics to American Students

Scientists solve mystery of Chile’s ‘whale graveyard’

“This is a site on par with Dinosaur National Monument here in the United States, a whole hillside littered with dinosaur skeletons. We seem to have the same thing except with whales here in Chile.”

COLOMBIA
US Dismisses Colombia FARC Request to Join Peace Negotiations

More women in Colombian politics, please

CUBA
From The Economist story (also posted under Panama, below): Caribbean ports and the Panama canal
Ripple effects

Brazil and Cuba agreed in 2009 to develop the port of Mariel, west of Havana, through a partnership between Brazil’s Grupo Odebrecht and a state-owned Cuban company, with PSA International of Singapore as operator. The port has been dredged to a comfortable 18 metres and was inaugurated in January. But a major transshipment role is blocked by the American trade embargo: ships which have been to Cuba are barred for six months from American ports. More time to complete the Panama expansion means more time for the embargo to lift.

Lining a Dictator’s Pockets
No good would come of lifting the embargo on Cuba.

CURACAO
Curacao’s StartUp Stock Exchange Combines Crowdfunding with Stock Exchange

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
U.S. Medical Tourism To Dominican Republic Could Increase With High-Tech Clinic

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador Could Be the Next Venezuela
Experts say country could morph into Venezuela if ruling party retains control

GUATEMALA
The Fine Tapestry of the Kaqchikel Women of Guatemala

HAITI
UN official urges Haiti compensation
A UN official breaks ranks with the world body, and calls for compensation for Haitian victims of a cholera outbreak many blame on peacekeepers.

HONDURAS
Democracy

MEXICO
Mexican Drug Lord Owns Nearly 300 Companies

NICARAGUA
Why the Plan to Dig a Canal Across Nicaragua Could Be a Very Bad Idea

PANAMA
Caribbean ports and the Panama canal
Ripple effects

The new locks will accommodate ships which can take almost three times that load and need a draft of over 15 metres.

These monsters will slash shipping costs for Pacific cargo en route for Atlantic ports, and boost the 6% share of world trade that the Panama canal now claims.

PARAGUAY
Giant Prehistoric Sloth Fossil Found In Paraguay

PERU
Voting in Peru? Referendum on ballot just got more confusing

PUERTO RICO
Moody’s Issues Junk Rating for Coming Puerto Rico Bond Sale

20 arrested for bank fraud, money laundering in Puerto Rico

VENEZUELA
Whither Venezuela?

The WSJ lists Venezuela’s Opposition Leaders
University students have been the backbone of the antigovernment movement, but demonstrators recently have looked to Leopoldo López, a former mayor of the Chacao district of Caracas and leader of the Popular Will party. Read more about the opposition to President Nicolás Maduro.

Death toll from Venezuela street protests rises to 18
caracas clashes
Anti-government protests continue to Caracas and across Venezuela with ongoing battles between protesters and police claiming the life of a national guardsman

Chavismo Thrives on Mistrust

The U.S. Was Ready to Impose Sanctions on Ukraine. Why Not Venezuela, Too?

How Chavez planted the seeds of violence

‘A Perfect Storm’: The Failure of Venezuela’s New President
He was hand-picked by Hugo Chávez, but Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has lost control of the country’s economy. Vast protests have been the result, but the government in Caracas has shown no signs of bending.

Jailed Venezuela protest leader mocks President’s talks

ARE CUBAN SPECIAL FORCES SHOOTING AT VENEZUELAN PROTESTERS?

Senate Resolution Targets Venezuelan Rights Violators

The week’s posts and podcast:
Latin America at the #Oscars2014

Just what the Venezuelans need: Jimmy Carter!

#SOSVenezuela: Hugo loses his head in Táchira

Rubio’s speech on Cuba and Venezuela

Argentina: The more things change . . .

Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua: Russia to add military bases overseas UPDATED

Venezuela, en español: Entrevista con Gen. Ángel Vivas

En español: Terapia intensiva

Venezuela: Tweeting the barricades #SOSVenezuela

Mexico: How Chapo was nabbed

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
What would it take for Latin America’s left-wing populist economies to turn around?

Venezuela: “Don’t you get weary!”

Podcast:
Victor Triay, author PLUS US-Latin America this week

Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua: Russia to add military bases overseas UPDATED

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Last November Secretary of State John Kerry declared the Monroe Doctrine dead; Putin was listening:

Russia Seeks Several Military Bases Abroad – Defense Minister (emphasis added)

Russia is planning to expand its permanent military presence outside its borders by placing military bases in a number of foreign countries, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.

Shoigu said the list includes Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Seychelles, Singapore and several other countries.

“The talks are under way, and we are close to signing the relevant documents,” Shoigu told reporters in Moscow.

The minister added that the negotiations cover not only military bases but also visits to ports in such countries on favorable conditions as well as the opening of refueling sites for Russian strategic bombers on patrol.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced plans to shrink army to pre-World War II levels. His timing could not have been more perfect.

UPDATE, Thursday Feb. 27, 2014, via Kermit:
Russian spy ship docked in Havana

There you have it:

The Optimistic Conservative:

The timing of SSV-175’s patrol is presumably no coincidence. We don’t know exactly when she left her Northern Fleet home port on the Barents Sea, but since she was in Curacao on the 30th, we do know it was at least before 10 January (and probably before that. At an overall speed of 12 knots, the ship would have needed to leave the Barents around 2 or 3 January). It’s unlikely that the AGI is in Central America just for the excitement of popular unrest in Venezuela, however. The more interesting event could well be the deployment of the Iranian navy task force.

John Kerry was on TV just now saying “This is not Rocky IV.” No, it’s not: this is real.