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Archive for the ‘Nicaragua’ Category
Yes, the World Cup is front-page news on every newspaper in the hemisphere.
More important news: Santos was re-elected in Colombia.
Don’t tell Maureen Dowd, ‘Coca’ cake for UN chief: Bolivia gives Ban a birthday treat
Costa Rica seizes 4 tons of cocaine at sea
Cy Tokmakjian Canadian fears foregone verdict in Cuban court
Stateless people in Dominican Republic hope to regain citizenship
Ecuador Breaks Its Amazon Deal
JAN BREWER: MS-13 GANG MEMBERS COULD BE CROSSING BORDER WITH CHILDREN; I’d actually be surprised if they weren’t.
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.
Nicaragua shakedown like highway robbery
The results of the welfare state: Some 68% of Babies in Puerto Rico Born to One-Parent Households
What leaving Venezuela means to Jews
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 year
The week’s posts and podcast:
Immigration: And I still ask, who’s organizing this?
At Da Tech Guy:
The case for harmless escapism
Last 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.
Bolivian mayor caught on video groping journalist, and he was persistent, too,
Haiti, Dominican Republic Postpone Meeting
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.
A 5,000 feet free fall: Peru air force officer survives fall after parachute malfunction
— Tio Sam (@mns120) May 9, 2014
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
Machurucuto, 1967 – Venezuela’s Bay of Pigs: Fidel Castro’s first ploy to lay his hand on Venezuela’s oil riches
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
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
What the #hashtag?
US-Latin America stories of the week
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 Solo via Doug Mataconis‘s FaceBook feed)
ARGENTINA Y LA NARCO-CORRUPCION
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.
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?
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: 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.
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.
Jamaica scraps bank withdrawal tax, but Paco Santos may have had a business opportunity:
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’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.
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
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]
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.
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
In 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’s Parliament to Dissolve in preparation for the general elections that must be held by July 25.
ARGENTINA Y EL NARCOESTADO (PARTE III)
Santos is losing the plot while Enrique Peñalosa is on the rise.
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
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.”
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.
Saving Goat Islands, Jamaica
Netflix to launch first Spanish-language show
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.
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.
The week’s posts and podcast:
Vargas Llosa: Venezuela a “pathetic failure”
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Venezuela: Misery and missiles
Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and we celebrate it, and, possibly, Spring.
Cónsul de Bolivia en Nueva York: Personajes emblemáticos del narcotráfico y la corrupción representan a Bolivia
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.
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.
The election is scheduled for May 4: Panama’s Seven Presidential Candidates Debate Before Vote.
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.
The week’s posts and podcast:
Mexico: 7.5 earthquake on Good Friday had warning
The week’s podcast:
The latest from Colombia plus other US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio and Cecilia Torres.
It’s Holy Week, and taxes are due tomorrow – not exactly the most cheerful way to start a week.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chinese lending to Latin America
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
[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 Sees Series of Arrow Killings of Dogs using crossbows and custom carbon arrows.
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’s Italian job
Economic success cannot indefinitely co-exist with political weaknessThe “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.
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’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.
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
At Da Tech Guy:
While 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.
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’
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
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.
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
TWO Capt. Louis Renault moments:
1. Presidente plantea enmienda constitucional sin que se llame a referéndum
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.
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.
Felix Salmon on Why Puerto Rico’s bonds are moving to New York: it all comes down to default protection for the bondholders.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
“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.”
From The Economist story (also posted under Panama, below): Caribbean ports and the Panama canal
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.
— Eric Farnsworth (@ericfarns) February 26, 2014
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.
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
Anti-government protests continue to Caracas and across Venezuela with ongoing battles between protesters and police claiming the life of a national guardsman
‘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.
The week’s posts and podcast:
Latin America at the #Oscars2014
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
What would it take for Latin America’s left-wing populist economies to turn around?
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.
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.