Archive for the ‘Nicaragua’ Category

The Venezuelan demonstrations Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 24th, 2014

LatinAmerWithout a doubt, the week’s top story is the opposition’s continuing demonstrations in Venezuela, eclipsing even the capture in Mexico of Chapo Guzmán, the most-wanted criminal of the hemisphere (and who will face charges in at least three US federal courts), . You can click on #LaSalida for all my posts covering the story.

ARGENTINA
Clarin break-up plan passed under Argentine media law
Regulators in Argentina have approved a plan to break up the country’s biggest independent media group into six parts.

The tragedy of Argentina
A century of decline
One hundred years ago Argentina was the future. What went wrong?

. . . three deep-lying explanations help to illuminate the country’s diminishment. Firstly, Argentina may have been rich 100 years ago but it was not modern. That made adjustment hard when external shocks hit. The second theory stresses the role of trade policy. Third, when it needed to change, Argentina lacked the institutions to create successful policies.

“We have spent 50 years thinking about maintaining government spending, not about investing to grow,” says Fernando de la Rúa, a former president who resigned during the 2001 crisis.

This short-termism distinguishes Argentina from other Latin American countries that have suffered institutional breakdowns. Chile’s military dictatorship was a catastrophic fracture with democracy but it introduced long-lasting reforms. Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party governed steadily for most of the 20th century. “In Argentina institution-building has taken the form of very quick and clientilist redistribution,” says Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Elliott vs Argentina: 3 possible resolutions

BAHAMAS
China makes inroads in the Bahamas with Baha Mar mega-resort

BELIZE
Belize Sign On To Jaguar Corridor Initiative

BOLIVIA
Bolivia under water: Why no national disaster declared amid floods?
The Bolivian government says its massive aid operation, which includes food and tents, is well underway, but not everyone is satisfied with the response.

Turnabout in Bolivia as Economy Rises From Instability

BRAZIL
Optics? THE ROUSSEFF TWO STEP
Brazil Sidestepping to the Right
via Instapundit.

Drought Could Drain More Than Brazil’s Coffee Crop

CHILE
Pedophile Priest Defies Vatican Order

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s left; human rights hypocrites

COSTA RICA
5 things that happened this week in Costa Rica’s presidential runoff campaign

CUBA
Venezuela: Another Reason Why Cuba Remains a State-Sponsor of Terrorism

On eighth day of hunger strike, Cuban activist Antunez vomiting blood (UPDATED)

DOMINICA
A husband-and-wife pair of Olympic skiers representing Dominica are having a nightmare week in Sochi

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitians will not be stripped of Dominican Republic citizenship

Plastic Surgery in the Dominican Republic: Is the Cheap Cost of Medical Tourism Worth the Risk?

ECUADOR
Ecuador’s President Correa Faces Test in Regional Elections
Correa Seeks to Strengthen his Hold, Secure Continuity for His Government

GUATEMALA
At least 8 dead, 12 wounded in Guatemala violence

JAMAICA
Jamaican bobsled team faces uncertain future

MEXICO
Stalled Spending Chokes Mexico’s Growth
Mexico posted its worst economic performance in 2013 since the global recession of 2009, thanks in part to massive government spending delays that businesses struggled to overcome.

Obama finds that the world intrudes on his travels

Yet Another Devastating Blow to the Drug Gangs! Another Decisive Victory in the War on Drugs!

Humor:

NICARAGUA
A canal across Nicaragua: Is this for real? Here’s a hint: “The price tag alone is nearly four times Nicaragua’s economic output.”

PANAMA
Panama Canal expansion project resumes after work stoppage

PARAGUAY
Maria Doyle Kennedy speaks about filming ‘Eliza Lynch: Queen of Paraguay’

PERU
Video: Peru creates a special place for expectant mothers to wait — and wait

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Plans $2.86 Billion Offering for 16 Months of Cash, supposedly “to regain financial footing” until June 2015. And then what?

Puerto Rico Diocese Opposes Criminal Investigation Into Sex Abuse Cases

VENEZUELA
Cubanization at work: Venenozuela drives out its Jewish community

Venezuela says ‘fascists’ CNN can stay but calls on media to rectify coverage

Caracas: Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo López Faces 10 Years in Prison

Will Venezuela Follow Ukraine?

On the March in Caracas

Venezuela: chaos and thuggery take the place of the pretty revolution
Hugo Chávez’s dream world has become a nightmare of shot-down protesters, jailed oppositionists, economic meltdown and a brutal war waged against a defiant middle class

Video: Venezuelan Citizens Scream At National Guard “We Are The People, Do Not Hurt Us!”

The week’s posts, radio, and podcast:
Venezuela: #24F Barricading the country

CSpan Panel: #Venezuela and Democracy

Venezuela: En español, las grandes fortunas de los chavistas en el Imperio mismo

Mexico: El Chapo caught

Venezuela: More protests today #22F

Venezuela: Not “a slow news week”

En español: Libro Desarrollo económico y pobreza en América Latina: El rol de los Planes Sociales”

Venezuela: Shooting in the streets

Mexico: Obama arrives for summit

Venezuela: Today’s roundup

Venezuela: What’s happening today #18F #PrayForVenezuela

At Da Tech Guy: Venezuela: “We must become the media”

Radio: DaTechGuy on DaRadio Noon-2 Fausta & Da Magnificent Panel

This week’s podcast had to be cancelled due to software difficulties at Blog Talk Radio.

The Venezuelan riots Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 17th, 2014

This week’s big story: Three dead, several dozen wounded in Venezuela’s ongoing riots as the country enters a new stage of repression:

Twitter reports image blocking in Venezuela

Tomorrow Leopoldo López will lead a march from Venezuela Square and then go to the office of Ministry of Interior and Justice, to hand a petition and hand himself in:

ARGENTINA
Argentina to Replace Bogus Inflation Index to Mend IMF Ties

The nationwide index released on Feb. 13 will replace the benchmark greater Buenos Aires index that has shown inflation at less than half the pace of private estimates since 2007, when former PresidentNestor Kirchner replaced senior staff at the statistics agency. The move comes a year after Argentina became the first nation to becensured by the International Monetary Fund for failing to report accurate economic data.

Soon after, Argentina Fines Retailers
A day after reporting the highest inflation in over a decade, Argentina’s government fined several retail chains for failing to stock certain price-capped products.

BOLIVIA
Peru and Bolivia to meet concerning port sharing proposal

BRAZIL
Brazil’s Economy Seen in a Major Downturn
Data released Friday suggest economic growth has weakened over the past two quarters, illustrating how far a country once considered the darling of emerging-market investors has fallen.

Effects of Brazil’s drought could last through the election

CHILE
Chilean Port Workers End Strike After New Agreement

COLOMBIA
Colombia at crossroads; show us promised land Mr President

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica doubles down on security
While neighboring nations turn to their armed forces for help fighting drug trafficking and violence, no-military Costa Rica taps into other approaches.

CUBA
WaPo editorial: Cuba’s changes are no more than window-dressing

New York Times unmasks selfish motives behind Castro’s ‘reforms’

Cuba’s apartheid dictatorship once again stops consular services in U.S.

Cuba: Release Alan Gross, Maybe US Can Help with “People to People” Banking Transactions

For the third time in a week, Cuban police arrest Antunez

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitian migrants caught, repatriated to Haiti

ECUADOR
Ecuador Faces Legal Quandary over Intra-Indigenous Violence

EL SALVADOR
Castaway back in El Salvador in an emotional homecoming (+video)
After 13 months adrift at sea, and a flight across the Pacific, José Salvador Alvarenga returns to his native El Salvador — and is too overcome for words

HONDURAS
Honduras suspends eight consuls in US

Honduras has suspended eight of its 10 consuls in the United States.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said there would be an investigation into whether the eight had illegally issued identity papers.

JAMAICA
Jamaican dancehall deejay arrested in lottery scam

MEXICO
Vicente Fox says: For Mexico, legalization is freedom

Mexico: A Different Kind of Gun Story

NICARAGUA
Constitutional Changes Take Effect in Nicaragua

Changes to the Nicaraguan constitution that allow President Daniel Ortega to run for re-election as many times as he wishes entered into force Tuesday with their publication in the official gazette.

PANAMA
More on the Chong Chon Gang, U.N.: Cuba weapons shipment to North Korea violated arms embargo

PARAGUAY
Downpour Saves Paraguay Market from Flames

PERU
Misery, poverty greet paroled foreign drug mules in Peru

PUERTO RICO
CNN gets its panties in a bunch over this, but they don’t have time to report on Venezuela: First on CNN: Christie vacationing in Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
The bong show:
Following legalization in US, Uruguay, marijuana gets second look
Experiments with legalizing marijuana in Colorado, Washington, and Uruguay have countries as diverse as Morocco and the Netherlands rethinking how they approach the drug.

Uruguay President Jose Mujica urges US and Europe to change drug policy
After legalising the production and sale of cannabis in his own country, Uruguayan President Jose Mucjica calls on rich, “developed countries” to re-evaluate their strategy for dealing with narcotics

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan Opposition Leader Says He Will Risk Arrest
Leopoldo Lopez Says He Plans to March With Antigovernment Protesters Tuesday

A new landmark date for repression in Venezuela: confirming the dictatorship

5 Ways To Invest In Venezuelan Freedom

Venezuelan dissenter Leopoldo López: Maduro waits for orders from Havana
On Thursday night, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro rejected violent events and, without naming opposition leader Leopoldo López or ex Venezuelan ambassador to Colombia Fernando Gerbasi, said they were “fugitives from justice”

Maduro says the solution to shortages is to eat less:

Chocolate and Chávez

“The final stage of socialism isn’t Communism. It’s an empty shelf.” Gone With the Whine

The week’s posts and podcast:
Panama: World-wide port expansions

Venezuela: Today’s headlines

Panama: Chong Chon Gang goes back to Cuba, captain goes to jail, garage sale coming up

Venezuela: Street scenes UPDATED

En español: Los Horóscopos del Maestro Piyush

Is Venezuela collapsing?

Cuba: The truth about Che

Venezuela: Now reporting

Venezuela: Huge demonstrations UPDATED

Sochi? No, Princeton!

Puerto Rico: Growth yes, more taxes no

Iran in U.S. maritime borders: A question

At Da Tech Guy Blog: The truth about Che.

This week’s podcast: A book about Fidel Castro PLUS US-Latin America issues of the week

The Winter Olympics week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 10th, 2014

While the Sochi accommodations are nowhere near as nice as those in the more modest hotels in our hemisphere, Mexico sent the most interesting skier in the world, Bermudans wore shorts, and the guys from the Caymans wore shorts and flip-flops (which may explain why there only three). Dominica, Tortola of the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica (whose bobsled is now complete), Paraguay, Brazil, Peru and the US Virgin Islands also have athletes in Sochi.

ARGENTINA
Argentina bus crash near Mendoza kills at least 18

COUNTING THE COST
Argentina’s great decline
It has gone from being one of the world’s wealthiest nations to a serial defaulter, but can it get back on track?

Argentina: Repeat Economic Offender

ARGENTINA FREE FALL
Kirchner Government Doubles Down In Its War Against Math

Argentina is doubling down in its war against math. The WSJ reports that political activists loyal to President Kirchner are publicly targeting retailers by putting posters of the executives up all over Buenos Aires. The posters accuse the leaders of Walmart and other companies of fueling the country’s ruinous inflation by raising prices, even as the government continues to devalue the official currency and ignore traditional IMF economic policy.

Argentina to US senators: Show a little respect

BELIZE
A magical world at Francis Ford Coppola’s luxe resorts in Belize
Need isolation? Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge is in the middle of the untamed, natural beauty of a Belizean forest preserve. Need local culture? Turtle Inn is on the coast near the fishing village of Placencia

BOLIVIA
Bolivia floods kill 38, more heavy rains forecast

The European Union (EU) Thursday called on Bolivia to respect the ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in favor of British power generator Rurelec PLC, said an official. US$41 million.

BRAZIL
Brazil may face water shortages during World Cup, group says, but I’ll bet it won’t be like the Sochi water.

Removida delegada que apura ligação de Lula com mensalão

Responsável pelo inquérito que investiga a suposta participação do ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva no esquema do mensalão, a delegada Andrea Pinho foi removida do cargo nesta sexta-feira, 7. O inquérito que tem Lula como alvo será tocado por outro delegado, ainda não designado que pode pedir novas diligências ou o arquivamento do caso.

CHILE
Chile cool: art, music and graffiti in laid-back Valparaíso
The Chilean city of Valparaíso is alive with avant-garde culture and vibrant street art. Think mini Berlin by the seaside

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s media are wrong; election is up for grabs

Photo of Pres. Santos shaking hands with Timochenko, the FARC leader, back in the day, “If you want Timochenko as president and Iván Márquez in the Senate, you know who to vote for in the upcoming elections.”

COSTA RICA
‘Black Heart’ in Brazil heat drives coffee turnaround h/t DP

CUBA
Gorki Aguila, Cuban Rocker Faces Sham Trial

Cuba Regime Supporters Caught Off Guard with Reaction to Fanjul Story

Oh Happy Day! NBC refers to Communism as “pivotal experiment”

The Truth About Che Guevara

ECUADOR
Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon before:

Freedom of speech in Ecuador
Drawn and quartered
The government orders a newspaper to “correct” a critical cartoon

Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon after:

EL SALVADOR
JJ Rendón is suing Salvador’s president Mauricio Funes for $100 on defamation of character and slander from Funes calling him “a fugitive from justice, a rapist.” (link in Spanish) I hope Rendón wins, and gets to collect.

GUATEMALA
Claudia Paz y Paz, A Guatemalan crusader is reined in

Guatemalan court upholds top prosecutor’s ouster

HONDURAS
Democracy

MEXICO
In Apatzingán:Mexican Vigilantes Enter Key City in Michoacán State
Vigilantes Aim to Take Control of City from Organized Crime Group

THE AMERICAN VIGILANTE VERSUS THE MEXICAN CARTEL

Sochi 2014: ‘Mexican prince’ ready to hit slopes in Mariachi suit

Well, he already was successful lobbying against soft drinks: Look who’s giving advice to Mexico City? Señor Bloomberg. I suggest he brush up his Spanish,

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua: Ortega allowed to run for third successive term

PANAMA
Panama Canal work stops in $1.6bn row
The Spanish-led consortium working on a project to widen the Panama Canal confirms work has been suspended amid a row over cost overruns.

PARAGUAY
Julia Marino becomes Paraguay’s first Winter Olympian

PERU
400 Dead Dolphins Washed Up on Peru Beaches in January

PUERTO RICO
Networks Completely Ignore $70 Billion Puerto Rican Debt Crisis

Puerto Rico Downgrade Puts Bond Deal in Spotlight
Investors are looking beyond the junk-rated credit of Puerto Rico to see if it can sell debt needed for short-term finances, lay groundwork for economic recovery.

URUGUAY
Uruguay’s president nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for legalizing marijuana

VENEZUELA
D.C. mayoral candidate’s business to host Venezuelan government’s pro-Chavez event

Toyota Halts Venezuela Production as Car Sales Fall

Venezuelans fume as government signals end to ‘free’ petrol
In a country where petrol is cheaper than water, ministers say prices must increase for the first time since a rise 15 years ago sparked deadly riots

The fascists in charge of Venezuela want to kill the press, while banging students

The Paradox Of Chavista “Planning”: Even Simple Things Are Hard For Them

Antonio Pardo, A Venezuelan in Sochi (Important Update)

According to Alek Boyd and others, Mr. Pardo is not quite the feel-good story we made him out to be. Turns out he allegedly has links to Antonini Wilson and the suitcase scandal. State news media is falsely reporting he won a gold medal.

Venezuelan “skier” in #Sochi2014 has a Swiss bank, is partners with Carlos Kauffmann & Co. His brother’s a partner of L. Oberto in St Barts

The week’s posts and podcast:
“Smart diplomacy”: Ambassador to Argentina may not even speak Spanish

Mexico: The most interesting skier in the world

Brazil: Cuban doctor seeks asylum

Argentina: Burning down the house

Venezuela: Squatting at the Presidential Mansion

Puerto Rico: Junk bond status

Sochi: Airline loses Jamaicans’ bobsled

Mexico: Behind the Peña Nieto-Fidel photo-op

Left turns: El Salvador and Costa Rica

At Da Tech Guy: Ask Fausta: Is now the time to travel to Latin America? The answer is yes.

Podcast: Elections in El Salvador plus other US-Latin America issues


The year-end Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 30th, 2013

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Nine-year-old US boy climbs Aconcagua peak in Argentina
A nine-year-old boy from the United States has become the youngest person to reach the summit of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas.

BRAZIL
Brazil jail fights kill 59 in 2013
At least 59 inmates have been killed in a single northern Brazilian prison this year
; the town is Pedrinhas.

Smart Diplomacy: Boeing’s Super Hornet Banned From Brazil’s Fighter Sales Because of Fury Over NSA Scandal

Brazil Boosts Levy On Overseas Transactions
Brazil is raising taxes on more transactions its residents make abroad, as the country tries to increase government revenue and reduce the outflow of dollars.

ICYMI, Smart Diplomacy: Brazilian President complains to Obama about “a grave violation of human rights” and “especially of disrespect to national sovereignty

CHILE
Statistics in Chile
No consensus

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s year of peace

Colombian military kills 10 Farc rebels in bombing raid
The Colombian military says it has killed at least 10 members of the left-wing Farc rebel group in an operation in central Meta province.

CUBA
The Free Alan Gross website.

Magazine Celebrates Mass Murderer Che

Man who shouted “Down with communism!” during pope’s visit to Cuba is now in Chattanooga
Andrés Carrión Says security agents threatened to kill him, fired his wife, forced them out of their home and sent two snitches to get close to him.

ECUADOR
Ecuador Faces Legal Quandary over Intra-Indigenous Violence

HONDURAS
Honduran High Court Rejects Challenge to Presidential Vote

JAMAICA
Police in Jamaica probe slaying of New York teen

MEXICO
Observations and Questions as NAFTA Reaches 20 Years of Age

Mexico to Tax Luxury Item: Pet Food
Mexico’s pet owners are bracing for a new tax on pet food, which the government recently declared a “luxury item.
A 16% Sales Tax to Kick In as Government Scrounges for Revenue

A Civil Servant in Mexico Tests U.S. on Asylum

NICARAGUA
A must-read firsthand account from a former NGO worker: 32 years after the revolution Reagan is right

PERU
The Dark Side of El Dorado: Illegal Gold Mining In Peru Generating More Money Than Drug Trafficking (emphasis added)

In fact, so much gold has been produced by the “informal” (or “illegal’) mining sector in Peru – involving some 40,000 miners who have tried to scrape whatever they can in abandoned mines around the country, from the jungle province of Puerto Maldonado to the deserted landscape of Ica – that gold has become more lucrative than cocaine trafficking (of which Peru is the largest exporter, having surpassed Colombia in 2012, according to the United Nations).

PUERTO RICO
PENSION WARS
Pension Update: Puerto Rico Up, San Jose Down
It’s been an up-and-down week for public pensions. In San Jose, a judge struck down a significant piece of the city’s pension reform plan, setting the stage for a big ballot fight next year. In Puerto Rico, on the other hand, the Senate finally passed a measure to put the Teachers Pesion Fund on solid footing.

With A Downgrade On Debt Imminent, Puerto Rico Needs A Visit From Santa Claus

TURKS & CAICOS
Turks and Caicos Islands: 18 Believed to Be Migrants From Haiti Drown
Eighteen people believed to be migrants from Haiti died Wednesday when their overloaded sailboat overturned as it was being escorted to shore in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

URUGUAY
Uruguayan Navy Seizes Over 1 Ton of Cocaine

USA
‘Military-Style’ Raid on California Power Station Spooks U.S.

The Most Underreported Foreign News Stories of 2013

The Most Underreported Domestic News Stories of 2013

VENEZUELA
Caracas Says It Received China Credits
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said China has given his country $5 billion in credits under a deal reached in September.
Money Pledged in September to Be Used for Several Purposes

PDVSA awards crude tender to U.S. refiner at wide discounts-trade, via Kermit, wjo points out,

A decade or so ago Venezuelan crude was sold on longterm contracts at about $10 per barrel discount from the two widget fiction crudes, WTI & Brent. Looks like it is now $20 discount and crude production has declined quite a bit.

What Will Happen In Venezuela In 2014?

2013 in review: the year we realized that the Venezuelan electorate is wretched and vile

Muere Hugo Chávez, nace el chavismo
Con o sin el expresidente, el chavismo es una plataforma viable, y es la preferida por los venezolanos. De eso ya no queda duda

ICYMI, The Venezuelan State’s Occupy “Movement”: The Victory of Socialism!

The week’s posts:
Cuba: Institutionalized racism

Argentina: Rocket up, power out

Ecuador: Cléver Jiménez, accused of hacking, gets raided. Assange & Snowden could not be reached for comment.

Mexico showed the way in 2013

Argentina: 60 wounded by piranha attack

Cuba: Doctors to earn $40 a month

Nicaragua: Paul Berman writes to de Blasio

Reformed dictators don’t exist

At Da Tech Guy: Fausta’s Puerto Rican Christmas menu


Nicaragua: Paul Berman writes to de Blasio

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Michael Totten links to Paul Berman on Nicaragua

Paul Berman wrote an open letter in The New Republic to New York City’s mayor-elect Bill De Blasio who apparently is a long-time sympathizer with the Sandinistas, the Nicaraguan communists who briefly ruled the country after the overthrow of the previous tyrant Anastasio Somoza.

Anyway, he takes De Blasio to task specifically for praising the Sandinistas’ health care system in the town of Masaya, the same sort of error that has appeared almost daily in my comments section since I returned home from Cuba.

Indeed, the “excellent free Cuban healthcare” lie lives on as one of the most enduring in history.

Berman’s article, Why Bill de Blasio’s Nicaraguan Work Worries Me explains (emphasis added),

It is about Masaya, the town whose Sandinista health campaign you have praised in a recent speech. This happens to be the town where I conducted my own most extensive research as a reporter. You will remember that Masaya is a wonderfully creative artisan center. Some people in Masaya labor on the outlying farms, but a great many other people work at making shoes, hammocks, furniture, and all kinds of things. The people of Masaya are also, as you will recall, famously rebellious. The revolution against the Somoza dictatorship got started in the plazas of that very town as a protest against a teargas attack by Somoza’s National Guard on a Catholic protest mass. The Sandinistas were the beneficiaries of that uprising, but not its originators. And when the Sandinistas came to power, they recognized their debt to Masaya, and they lavished special attention on the place, “the cradle of the revolution.”

Mr. de Blasio, you are right to have observed “a youthful energy and idealism” among the Sandinistas of the 1980s, and some of that energetic idealism led to indisputably excellent results. The Somoza dictatorship established electric power in Masaya, but the young new Sandinistas extended the grid into the poorer neighborhoods. They paved additional roads. These were big achievements.

And yet, certain of the other Sandinista programs ran into a problem that you do not mention, brought about by one other Sandinista program, the biggest program of all. This was the goal of subjugating every last corner of Nicaraguan life to the dictates of the Sandinista Front, whose own political structure mandated obedience to the nine uniformed comandantes of the national directorate, whose political structure had been assembled, in turn, by Fidel Castro, their hero. These hierarchical commitments ended up wreaking a devastating effect on every last thing the Sandinistas ever did, including the best things.

Read the full article, part 1, and part 2.

New York has reason to worry.

Venezuela: Diplomats confirm Venezuelan links to drug trafficking

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Spain’s ABC: Diplomats confirm Venezuelan links to drug trafficking

Information published by ABC regarding negotiations between Nicolás Maduro’s staff—when he was foreign minister—in an FMLN drug trafficking operation in El Salvador, has corroborated suspicions that existed in Venezuelan political and diplomatic circles.

“This news confirms what many already knew about the significant and growing presence of drug trafficking in Venezuela and its important relations with the top echelon in the government and the Armed Forces,” former Venezuelan ambassador to Sweden and Guyana, Sadio Garavini commented. “Venezuela has become a center of command and control of international drug trafficking since the expulsion of the DEA (U.S. anti-drug agency) of the country and the indefinite suspension of the effective partnership with former United States cooperation in the fight against drugs.”

This should come as no surprise to Fausta’s Blog readers.

Additionally, the links extend to Colombia’s FARC, El Salvador’s FMNL, and Hezbollah:

leaders of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) in El Salvador are linked to the Colombian guerrillas, while stressing the massive financial backing from Venezuela to the FMLN, which has been done to take complete control of the country.

“The FMLN and Alba Petroleos of El Salvador – the entity that funnels Venezuelan aid – has taken over the country in ways the United Fruit Company would have never imagined: from airlines to mass purchases of land in the capital, coffee crops above price, pharmacies, banks, and media outlets. Montsant also points to reports and studies by the University of Salamanca, demonstrating the influence of Venezuelan oil through Alba Petróleos on Salvadorans leaders, enabling a patronage policy that seeks votes in the popular sectors.

The ABC article is titled Diplomáticos confirman la conexión de Venezuela con el narcotráfico
Destacan que la tradicional alianza del chavismo con la guerrilla colombiana de las FARC ha sido un factor esencial en ese comercio ilegal

(Diplomats confirm Venezuela’s links to drug trafficking
They assert that chavismo’s alliance with the FARC Colombian guerrilla is an essential factor of the illegal trade.)

Last week, ABC had reported that Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s mediated an FMLN deal with the FARC back when he was vice-president (link in Spanish) allowing drug flights landing in the state of Apure, Venezuela.

UPDATE:
Linked by Babalu. Thanks!


The Communist Venezuela Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 9th, 2013

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentines teach tango inside mental hospital

BRAZIL
Turning Good Economic Luck into Bad

CHILE
Chile Presidential Candidates Square off in Debate

COLOMBIA
Five points on President Obama’s meeting with Colombia’s President Santos

The stateless Colombia

COSTA RICA
POLL NUMBERS!!! Three way race in Costa Rica

CUBA
Cuba: Castro State Security releases dissident leader Berta Soler after arrest at airport

Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro: A Relationship Built On Mutual Admiration

Communist vandals attack home of former Cuban prisoner of conscience Librado Linares

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haiti and the Dominican Republic
A storm in Hispaniola
And no agreement as to how many have been cut off from citizenship

ECUADOR
A Possible Overture From Ecuador in the Chevron Pollution Mess

GUATEMALA
Was it 7 or 8? A Little Miscommunication Among Friends.

JAMAICA
Reggae Wine From Indiana To Be Launched In Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Latin American, Caribbean dilemma: Many entrepreneurs, but little innovation

MEXICO
Nuclear Terrorist Threat Looms On Our Southern Border

Truck with dangerous radioactive material ‘stolen in Mexico’

O’Grady: Mexico Nears an Energy Breakthrough
A proposed change to the nation’s law could free private capital to develop the country’s vast oil and gas reserves.

At the burned-out unit (in Spanish): former governor of Tamaulipas Tomás Yarrington, who not only is being accused of money laundering and fraud by both the Mexican and US governments, he allegedly played the Gulf Cartel, the Zetas and the Beltrán Leyva cartel against each other.

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua shootout raises specter of guerrillas

PANAMA
101 Years After Its Birth, The Panama Canal Is On The Verge Of Creating A Huge New Opportunity For US Exporters

PUERTO RICO
Is Puerto Rico Too Big To Fail?

Puerto Ricans fleeing debt battle
Tax increases, pension cuts and a fall in jobs are part of the strategy to save Puerto Rico from another rating downgrade

URUGUAY
Uruguay opposition demands marijuana referendum
Last minute opposition to Uruguay’s plans to legalise sale and consumption of marijuana

VENEZUELA
Electoral coverage by VN&V

Venezuela headed for chaos

VENEZUELA GOES INTO THE CAR BUSINESS

The week’s posts:
Venezuela municipal elections results

Mexico: Congress to vote on bill ending PEMEX monopoly

Extortion from the state and from the cartels: Mexico: The border-crossing “tax”

Mexico: 6 detained on cobalt-60 case

Brazil: Corinthians Arena to be ready by April

Today’s Louis Renault moment

Mexico: The cobalt-60 case

Argentina: #Córdoba police strike linked to prostitution; 140 brothels’ worth.

Venezuela: Al-Jazeera op-ed in denial

Mexico: AMLO has a heart attack, and other news

The most corrupt countries in the world

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Cuba’s foreign prisoners

This week’s podcast: Medical tourism in Latin America plus other issues this week


The Thanksgiving week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, November 25th, 2013

LatinAmerUpdate on Honduras’s election: What next?

ARGENTINA
ARGENTINEAN PROSECUTOR ALBERTO NISMAN CHALLENGES CONSTITUIONALITY OF THE ARGENTINA-IRAN MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

Argentina to slap steep taxes on luxury imports; Cristina buys hers in Paris anyway.

BRAZIL
Brazil awards $9 billion of airport deals, prepping Rio for Olympics

Crude cost of Brazil’s new pipeline is a dark shadow

CHILE
The Aftermath of Chile’s Election

This may be about to change: Why does Chile prosper while neighbouring Argentina flounders?
Chile has usually followed economically sensible policies, inflation is low and the budget is almost balanced – by contrast Argentina engages in repeated self-inflicted economic upheaval

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s Wayward Search for Peace (emphasis added):

One should therefore be skeptical of rosy reports from Havana about agreements being made on this point or that. All agreements to date are worthless until the guerrillas turn in their weapons and human rights violators surrender to the authorities.

Secondly, the Obama administration must clearly and loudly annunciate U.S. interests in the matter. After all, U.S. taxpayers have a $10 billion investment in Colombia, used to train and equip Colombian security forces and have as much a stake as anyone in any final agreement with the FARC. That the U.S. has relegated itself to the closet while the likes of Cuba and Venezuela flaunt their participation in negotiations is absurd — and no doubt has contributed to the Colombian people’s doubts about the outcome.

CUBA
Feinberg’s Pitch for Dictatorship in Cuba

Cuba Seeks Mexican Businessman in Corruption Probe

Deciphering diplo-speak on Cuba

Fidel Castro: ‘Oswald Could Not Have Been the One Who Killed Kennedy’
What the Cuban leader thinks really happened on that fateful November day in Dallas

Dispatch From the Balcony of Time Travel

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Deportation fears on rise in Dominican Republic

ECUADOR
Donziger on Stand in Chevron Trial
Attorney Defends Himself Against Claims He Bribed a Judge in Lawsuit Over Pollution in Ecuador

NICARAGUA
The New Sandinista Autocracy 

In his 1986 State of the Union Address, President Reagan declared: “Surely no issue is more important for peace in our own hemisphere, for the security of our frontiers, for the protection of our vital interests, than to achieve democracy in Nicaragua and to protect Nicaragua’s democratic neighbors.” The region and the world obviously look much different today than they did in 1986: The Soviet Union and the Cold War are long gone, and Nicaragua no longer poses the same geopolitical threat to U.S. interests. Yet the Sandinistas are once again attempting to create a dictatorship, and Nicaragua’s neighbors are once again struggling with rampant violence. Large portions of Guatemalan territory are effectively controlled by the Zetas Cartel, and Honduras is now the global murder capital. (Honduran human-rights commissioner Ramón Custodio Lopez has expressed fears that his nation is becoming a failed state.) And while a March 2012 gang truce between MS-13 and Barrio 18 has significantly reduced homicides in El Salvador, the gangs have continued to extort and terrorize the Salvadoran people, and their truce appears to be unraveling.

PANAMA
Lawyer: Panama Sets $1M Fine for North Korea Ship

PERU
Peru thwarts antiquities smugglers

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico’s economy
Buying on credit is so nice
The debt crisis has not stopped Puerto Ricans from shopping

VENEZUELA
Venezuela: Bozo as Al Capone, or is it Vice-Versa?

Venezuelan tyrant* confirms: new wave of confiscations, redistributions.

Another update: Visiting royals? Those regrettable moments

The week’s posts:
Ecuador: Promises, promises

Bachelet wants to increase taxes, put private colleges out of business, and rewrite the Constitution. What could possibly go wrong? Chile: A step to the left

As expected in Colombia: Santos to run for 2d term

Arturo Sandoval receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom

John Kerry puts a “Kick me” sign on America

Argentina: Cristina gets dog, reorganizes cabinet

En español: La terapia intensiva de esta semana

Cuba: What Castro knew about Oswald

Venezuela: Involving Interpol against @JJRendon

At Da Tech Guy’s: How things can get worse in Venezuela


The lions’ Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, November 18th, 2013

LatinAmerAn American crew rescued twenty five African Lions from Bolivia and now there’s a documentary about it, Lion Ark; this Carnival is dedicated to them.

ARGENTINA
Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez Kirchner to return to work next week
President has been on leave for six weeks after surgery following a head injury

Bieber’s concert gear impounded in Argentina

Judge Maria Giraudi ordered that the singer’s belongings be held after photographer Diego Pesoa filed suit for damages, alleging that Bieber’s bodyguards hit him and damaged his equipment as the singer was leaving a nightclub.

Pesoa’s lawyer, Matias Morla, said Bieber “gave the order to beat him and then got back in his van.”

Paco Almaraz takes care of the little burned-out twerp (in Spanish):

BRAZIL
Dirceu is now in the clink: Brazil Mensalao jailings begin
Brazil starts jailing high-profile politicians convicted last year in the country’s biggest corruption trial, the “Mensalao” (big monthly allowance).

CHILE
The calm in Chile

COLOMBIA
Colombia and the FARC
Not out of the woods yet
Just as an agreement is reached, news of an assassination plot highlights the risks to the peace negotiations

CUBA
Chasing the Ghost of Castro’s Oil

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Senate Unanimously Confirms Gay Ambassador to Dominican Republic
In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Senate has confirmed James “Wally” Brewster as the ambassador to the Dominican Republic, despite recent protests from antigay groups in the Caribbean nation.

ECUADOR
Oil in Ecuador
The last word, with more to follow

HONDURAS
Criminal Violence and Displacement: Notes from Honduras

Will Honduras Become a Failed State?

Corte Suprema hondureña acusa a Lula da Silva de intromisión

JAMAICA
Jamaica failed drug tests ‘tip of iceberg’
Jamaica’s most senior drug tester says the country’s recent rash of failed tests might be the “tip of an iceberg”.

LATIN AMERICA
Shampoo, rinse, repeat: Time Warp Monday

MEXICO
Forcibly Displaced Persons now a Formidable Concern in Mexico

Farmers against Templars:

Mexican Farmers Confront Drug Cartels
Farmers in the rich agricultural heartland of Mexico’s Michoacán state, fed up with a reign of terror and extortion by a drug cartel, have organized community police forces and driven out the cartel.

NICARAGUA
Power grab in Nicaragua
The comandante’s commandments
The Sandinistas propose re-election without end for Daniel Ortega

PANAMA
Update on the Chong Chon Gang: Panama extends North Koreans visas to get ship, crew

Mexican Trafficker With Ties To Sinaloa Cartel Extradited To U.S. From Panama

Biden to visit Panama for trade talks, disposal of chemical weapons

PERU
AP PHOTOS: A tough life on Lima’s rough edges

PUERTO RICO
How Wall Street Has Profited From Puerto Rico’s Misery

VENEZUELA
Who is Tareck el Aissami?

The criminalization of dissidence and opposition: CHÁVEZ’S SUCCESSOR SEES A TRILOGY OF EVIL

Venezuela jails 100 ‘bourgeois’ businessmen in crackdown

Venezuela’s President Maduro moves nearer to decree powers

The week’s posts and podcast
Venezuela: The start of the really bad news

Colombia: FARC plot to murder Uribe

Venezuela: Jim Wyss recounts his 48 hours in Venezuelan custody

Brazil: “Mensalão”s must serve their sentences

Ecuador: Court halves Chevron judgement

En español: Terapia intensiva y el avión quemado

The UN Human Rights Council beclowns itself, again.

Venezuela: Price controls, profit caps UPDATED

At Da Tech Guy: Attention Christmas shoppers! Che on aisle nine!

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week


The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, November 11th, 2013

LatinAmerThe week’s must-read? This: Documents show depth of U.S. concern over Mexico violence. As I’ve been saying for nearly a decade, border security is national security.

ARGENTINA
Argentina’s Fading Diva

Junk bond news: Specialist in Long Shots Bets on Argentina
David Martinez, head of a hedge fund that specializes in distressed debt, has made an unusual call: Invest in Argentina.

“You can see light at the end of the tunnel,” Mr. Mariscal said, “but you don’t know if it’s the train coming towards you.”

BOLIVIA
Skulls said to have miraculous qualities at the center of annual festival in Bolivia

BRAZIL
Before Global Games, Rio Is Fighting to Dim Red Light. Good luck with that.

Brazil’s oil industry
Bustista
Eike Batista’s oil firm files for bankruptcy protection

CHILE
Chile’s presidential election
Cruising back to La Moneda
A more left-wing Michelle Bachelet is set to win on a tide of social discontent

COLOMBIA
In pictures: Beyond El Dorado at the British Museum

Filling the FARC-Shaped Void

No pause in FARC peace talks for elections

CUBA
Michael Totten is Home From Cuba,

That is one truly strange place. It’s right there alongside Libya under Moammar Qaddafi in the bizarro department. I’m glad I went, but I’m even more glad to be out of there.

US hijacker William Potts returns from Cuba
An American man who hijacked a plane in 1984 and forced it to fly to Cuba has returned to the US.

ECUADOR
Indigenous peoples
Death in the Amazon

Attempt to Rehabilitate Chevron Judge Gets Very Weird

Chevron’s lead lawyer, Randy Mastro, had some success this week showing that [Ecuadorian judge Nicolas] Zambrano doesn’t seem to know very much about the record-breaking decision he supposedly rendered. When asked, the former Ecuadorian judge couldn’t name key elements of the ruling, such as the most powerful carcinogenic substance it cited or a crucial scientific study purporting to link oil contamination to human illnesses. He also struggled to explain how he was able to deploy French, American, and Australian case law in the ruling, since, as he conceded, he does not speak or read French or English.

The Chevron RICO trial grinds on

Phila. lawyer tells how Ecuador case against Chevron unraveled

GRENADA
An Army Ranger Gives an on Ground Account of the War in Grenada

GUYANA
The US Treasury as the Birthright of All Mankind

JAMAICA
BBC criticised over Jamaica Inn filming in Kirkby Lonsdale

LATIN AMERICA
From Brookings: The Upcoming Electoral Cycle in Latin America in the Midst of Social Unrest: What Lies Ahead?

MEXICO
Tunnel for Smuggling Found Under U.S.-Mexico Border; Tons of Drugs Seized
The sophisticated underground passageway featured electricity, ventilation and an electronic rail system and took about a year to build, officials said.

Documents show depth of U.S. concern over Mexico violence

NICARAGUA
Sandinista Constitutional reforms will institutionalize first lady’s precepts of ‘Christian, socialist and solidarity’ via Boz

  • Increases government control over radio, television, telephone and internet services, including requirements for local control and data storage.
  • Institutionalizes various FSLN organizations into the government and constitution, further merging the government and party (which would have serious repercussions if the FSLN did lose an election some day in the future, in that the party would still retain control over aspects of government).

PANAMA
Panama Canal’s LNG Surprise to Redefine Trade in Fuel: Freight

LNG carriers will cross the 48-mile waterway 350 times a year, and voyages to Asia from the U.S. will cost 24 percent less than longer routes, according to calculations from the canal authority. The expected 12 million tons, assuming half the transits are hauling cargoes, would be equal to about 5 percent of the world’s trade in 2012, Fearnley Consultants AS estimates.

The U.S., now the world’s largest producer of natural gas because of the extraction of fuel from shale rocks, will account for much of that traffic as it becomes the third-largest exporter of LNG by 2020, Morgan Stanley estimates. With American energy independence now at a 27-year high of 86 percent, the route will boost exports to Japan, offsetting nuclear-power generation lost after the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay says can be launch pad for Israeli technology in Latin America
With a favorable tax system, stable business environment, Paraguay could be key to providing Israeli innovators with access to broader Latin markets, says Paraguayan minister.

PERU
Peru’s central bank sees gloomier economic growth

PUERTO RICO
De Blasio, in Puerto Rico, Finds Relaxation and Fellow Red Sox Fans

On Vacation, With Politics
Mayor-elect de Blasio Attends Somos El Futuro Conference in Puerto Rico

Is Puerto Rico the next Greece? Nest eggs could suffer

La Mallorquina, open since 1848, closed:

My grandparents used to take the family (of 12!) to eat there in the 1920s and ’30s.

SURINAME
Suriname leader’s son on terror charges
The son of Suriname’s president is charged by the United States with attempting to provide material support to the Shia militant group Hezbollah.

VENEZUELA
Desperation News and Views

Miami Herald reporter held for second night in Venezuela while covering economic crisis; he was released on Saturday and is back in the USA.

Real life: Venezuela’s Maduro orders military occupation… of electronics stores

John Hinderaker watches the pageants and posts lots of pictures: MISS UNIVERSE: A FINAL PREVIEW [UPDATED WITH RESULTS]

The week’s posts and podcast:
Chile: Left turn coming up

Venezuela burns down Mexican plane

Obama makes campaign stop, meets Coco & Berta

Venezuela: Entire medical system collapsing

Chile: Neruda wasn’t poisoned

Venezuela: ADS in the slums

Latin America: Mexico and the Expanding Hemispheric Crime and Terror Crises

Colombia: Things are about to get worse

Mexico: Templars, Inc.

Cuba: The FARC rides the yacht

Podcast:
With Jerry Brewer on Silvio Canto’s podcast