John Clement sent a sampling of Panamanian dances,
The question right now is, after getting the finger, how will Francis react to the deliberate insult to Pope Francis and to Catholics in the US?
Cristina in Havana:
— Jon Williams (@WilliamsJon) September 20, 2015
Top Bolivian officials allegedly involved in drug trafficking, according to DEA claim. Secret United States indictments obtained by the media have implicated top Bolivian officials in drug trafficking, reigniting the highly charged debate over whether Bolivia is a victim of US political persecution or whether it is becoming a corrupt narco-state.
Chile Sees Extensive Damage After Earthquake and Tsunami. My contacts are in areas not deeply affected.
— Steve Milloy (@JunkScience) September 19, 2015
Andres Oppenheimer: Latin America’s new era of disenchantment; nothing new.
The Electric Power Authority’s failure to extend the forbearance agreement with the insurers marks a setback for the utility, which earlier this month struck a tentative deal with some of its bondholders to reduce its debt load. Insurers that guarantee $2.5 billion of the utility’s debt balked at extending the talks. The forbearance keeps negotiations outside of court.
Starting on September 19th, Pope Francis will be traveling to Cuba and the U.S.. The Communist regime’s propaganda machine announced it will be releasing 3,522 prison inmates, none of which is a dissident;
The latest 3,522 prisoners to be freed will include minors, people over the age of 60, prisoners in poor health and foreigners who will be repatriated, according to the Granma newspaper. It said there will be no releases of those convicted of “crimes against state security”.
— ISEPTAPHILLY (@SEPTAPHILLY) September 2, 2015
An Argentine court on Tuesday ordered the electoral board of the northern province of Tucuman not to declare any winner in the Aug. 23 gubernatorial election until a move to have the ballot overturned is resolved.
Jorge Lanata’s investigation showed votes bought with drugs (video in Spanish):
Brazilian Police Seek to Question Former President in Petrobras Probe. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his ruling Workers’ Party ‘could have benefited,’ authorities say. An understatement if there ever was one.
Brazil to Auction Hydroelectric Plants. Brazil plans to auction off 29 power plants to private operators Oct. 30, a government official said, a move that is expected to bring the cash-strapped government about $4.4 billion.
Down to BB+: S&P Cuts Brazil’s Debt Rating to Junk. Brazil lost its coveted investment-grade credit rating in the eyes of one major firm on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the government’s credibility with investors and threatening to aggravate its economic downturn.
El Salvador baby-swap couple reunited with child
Guatemala Outsources a Corruption Crackdown.A U.N.-sponsored agency has put Guatemala’s president and much of its political elite behind bars, in one of the most sweeping anticorruption campaigns ever
The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or Cicig, has broad powers to launch its own criminal investigations. It then works alongside Guatemala’s own attorney general’s office to prosecute cases in local courts. Its staff hails from 20 countries, from Italians who have tussled with the Mafia to Colombian anti-money-laundering experts.
Only 34 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics, and 33 percent of foreign-born Hispanics, want to increase legal immigration, said the Gallup report.
Sixty-four percent of each group of Hispanics want migration to be reduced or leveled, said Gallup, which released the report under a misleading headline, “U.S. Support for Increased Immigration Up to 25%.”
‘El Chapo’ Guzman escape: Mexican prison officials charged. Four Mexican officials have been charged with aiding the escape of the notorious drugs lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from a maximum security prison.
New evidence has emerged suggesting ACA guerrilla rebels in Paraguay have reunited with their cousins in the EPP, likely marking the end of a tiny guerrilla organization that has suffered several casualties and arrests of top leaders since breaking away last year.
Puerto Rico Debt Crisis: A Bond Guide as Potential Defaults Loom, or, a brief guide to Russian roulette, money-wise?
[President Tabare] Vazquez said Uruguay has reached out to Lebanon because that’s where the refugees would like to go. Since Lebanon is not willing to welcome them, his government is asking the five Syrian families to choose another country.
Last February’s report on domestic abuse within one of the families (note that the 5 families are comprised of 80 people):
On Monday, September 7, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) issued a ruling ordering the Venezuela government to restore the network’s broadcasting license and return all seized assets.
The week’s posts and podcast:
9/11/2001: It is altogether fitting and proper
— Fausta (@Fausta) September 10, 2015
Calling this a leak is an understatement:
Panama Awaiting Detailed Report on Canal Crack, Fixes http://t.co/wbI1CB57HY
— gCaptain (@gCaptain) September 8, 2015
United Groups for the Canal (GUPC), the construction consortium building the Panama Canal expansion project, is in deep water over cracks in the locks. After severe leakage problems became visible, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) issued a warning that it would not accept the current works until all flaws are fixed.
And (emphasis added),
The ACP posted the message on August 21, after pictures were posted on social media showing water leaks in one of the new lockheads on the Pacific shore.
Menem said no: Argentina Former Prez Refuses to Testify in AMIA Bombing Cover Up
Menem refused to testify on grounds that he was under obligation to maintain ‘state secrets’ which only the Senate could lift.
Lengthy but must-read: Inside the Spyware Campaign Against Argentine Troublemakers, including Lanata and Nisman.
Argentina orders HSBC to replace local bossArgentina’s central bank has ordered HSBC to replace its chief executive in the country within 24 hours and accused the bank of failing to prevent tax evasion and money laundering.
Raid in Sao Paulo discovers ISIS money-laundering network: Polícia Federal descobre rede de apoiadores do Estado Islâmico em São Paulo. O achado assusta. Ainda mais porque terrorismo, no Brasil, não é crime
On August 31st Dilma Rousseff, their president, sent Congress a budget for 2016 with a gaping primary deficit (before interest payments) of 30.5 billion reais ($8 billion), or 0.5% of GDP, challenging its members to close the gap. It was a break with the sound-money practices that have underpinned Brazil’s economy. It was, some critics say, illegal. Certainly nothing similar has happened since at least 2000, when Fernando Henrique Cardoso, then the president, transformed public finances.
On a charitable view, Ms Rousseff was shocking legislators into making hard decisions rather than simply blocking her fiscal proposals. A harsher reading is that she does not know how to lead Brazil out of recession.
What’s Happening in Guatemala?With its government about to fall, Guatemala is finally questioning the neoliberal orthodoxy of the post–Cold War world. Not that they actually tried it.
In Paraguay’s remote north guerrillas are still at large, armed and dangerous. The Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) have killed more than 50 people in the last two years but some wonder if the government is really trying to defeat them
Newly buzzing Lima vies with Peru’s ancient sites for visitor attention. Tourists who once made a beeline for Machu Picchu are now finding the contemporary art and food scene of Peru’s capital, Lima, as much of a draw
Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton lock horns over Puerto Rico’s financesPresidential candidates offer opposing solutions to commonwealth’s $72bn debt, with Democrat backing bankruptcy status. Rubio:
“I don’t believe Chapter 9 would solve Puerto Rico’s problems,” he said. “I believe what would solve Puerto Rico’s problems is the same thing that would solve Washington’s problems, and that is to restructure the way government spends its money.
“No organisation, whether it’s a government, a company or a family, can survive long-term spending more money than it takes in.”
You can’t cure stupid: Puerto Rico Senate Declares Spanish over English as First Official Language
Maduro castiga a Colombia para proteger al Cartel de los Soles [Maduro punishes Colombia to protect the Cartel of the Suns.]
Cartel de los Soles busca jefatura del Ministerio de Defensa en Venezuela. Cáncer de Vladimir Padrino López genera dudas sobre si continuará como Ministro de Defensa. Diosdado Cabello y Tarek El Aissami compiten por colocar sus fichas en el cargo. Los dos potenciales candidatos están siendo investigados en EEUU por narcotráfico
Read more here:
Whatever Beijing’s motivations, the practical effect of said loans, according to Ellis [Evan Ellis of the U.S. Army War College], has “enabled countries such as Venezuela to continue as de facto sanctuaries for criminal and insurgent groups, and also, as points of entry into the region for Russia, Iran and other actors with potentially hostile intentions toward the United States.”
The week’s posts and podcast:
The mysterious Bolivian ship and its tons of weapons UPDATED
8PM Eastern Podcasting live on Latin America, Trump, http://t.co/HNZscHnzzt
— Fausta (@Fausta) September 2, 2015
The more you give them, the more they want: FARC Slams Santos-Backed Plans for Implementing Possible Colombia Peace Deal
Britain orders £46m air defence radar to protect Falklands from ArgentinaThe new vehicle-mounted radar will be able to spot threats up to 75 miles away and the first systems will be delivered before the end of the year
Guatemalans Rally Against PresidentTens of thousands of Guatemalans took to the streets Thursday to demand that President Otto Perez resign, amid the country’s biggest political crisis since the end of the civil war nearly two decades ago.
The government has paved the way by allowing the institutions of law enforcement to decay. The police force is underfunded and mistrusted. Venezuela has many fewer prosecutors and judges than it should. Chile, a country with much lower levels of violent crime, has a third more prosecutors than Venezuela in relation to the size of its population. Courts are reluctant to sentence criminals to serve time in crowded and violent jails: 90% of murders go unpunished. Gun control is weak.
The week’s posts:
Brazil and other fallen BRICs
"The cone of uncertainty": metereological term, metaphor for existence
— Fausta (@Fausta) August 29, 2015
Oil breaks $40 barrier for first time in six years, which is very important news for our hemisphere.
The defence of Menem today requested the Federal Oral Court No. 2 (TOF 2), that is leading the investigation into the cover-up of the 1994 deadly attack, to have the Senate withdraw Menem’s state secrets privilege warning the release of the information “could affect” the interests of the Nation and “the breaking of peaceful coexistence” with other countries.
Translation: Merkel reminds Rousseff that Germans want to get paid. Merkel calls for a free trade accord between the Europe Union and Mercosur. During the “surprise” visit,
German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Brazil’s government on Thursday to further open its markets to foreign companies, and said she saw an opportunity to reach a free-trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur trade bloc. Merkel is on a two-day visit to Brazil with a large delegation of government officials and representatives from German companies.
The reason for and timing of the move are not known, but it came as institutional and speculative investors pulled more cash en masse from commodities, ending a decade-long boom, as the stock market crash in China reignited concerns about demand from the world’s biggest consumer of industrial raw materials.
Before restoring full diplomatic relations with Vietnam, President Clinton eased a majority of the economic sanctions. A mistake. However, by the time he did this, the Soviets were mostly gone from Vietnam; Vietnamese forces had pulled out from Cambodia and replaced with a UN peacekeeping force; and thousands of former South Vietnamese officials had been freed from political prisons and exiled to other nations including the United States.
What ultimately made it politically palatable for Clinton to remove sanctions was a 1993 Senate Select Committee report on POW matters that afforded Clinton the domestic political cover he needed to move forward to ease sanctions. Vietnam also started to return POW remains and allowed U.S. inspectors as part of the Joint Task Force for Full Accounting (JTF-FA) to visit various places throughout the country to investigate POW/MIA claims.
International Monetary Fund (IMF’s) Mission Chief to Jamaica, Dr Uma Ramakrishnan says the fund is considering relaxing some of the targets under Jamaica’s economic support programme
He worked for the politically active group called the Union of Towns and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (known as UPOEG)
Investigation Lifts a Cloud Over President of Mexico
A seven-month conflict-of-interest investigation into the purchase of luxury homes by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s wife and his finance minister from a government contractor found no wrongdoing, Mexico’s comptroller said Friday.
Why am I not surprised? China’s Building a Huge Canal in Nicaragua, But We Couldn’t Find It
Turkey and Panama have no international trade to speak of, raising questions as to why, of the 28 countries not served by the airline, is Turkish Airlines expanding to Panama.
Likewise, New nonstop flight from Dubai to Panama a terrorist financiers’ dream? (h/t JC)
Financiers for Hezbollah and a number of other sanctioned Middle East terrorist groups must be jumping up and down for joy, for their jobs will become much easier. The amount of international trade between Panama and the Middle East is nominal, but the nonstop flights will greatly facilitate both illicit (i.e. money laundering) transactions, and terrorist financing operations.
Expect more of that if Obama’s Iran deal goes through.
Peruvian newspaper cancels cardinal column after papal ‘plagiarism’
Peruvian newspaper says it will not publish any more articles by Roman Catholic cardinal Luis Cipriani after papal plagiarism revelations
Now Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani has been unceremoniously dumped from his occasional column at El Comercio, Peru’s oldest privately-owned newspaper, after his writings were proved to include plagiarised words of popes.
The former Governor of Puerto Rico explains that “bottom line, you can never tax yourself out of a hole.”
Good luck with that: Venezuelans Launch Mises Institute to Take Down ChavismoLibertarians Offer Ideological Cure to Economic Crisis
The week’s posts and podcast:
Nicaragua: Where’s the canal?
Contrary to what the uninformed Left would believe, the Swedish model won’t be working in LatAm any time soon.
Whale appears alongside yachts in luxury Argentine area
News of the whale quickly spread on social media and was broadcast live by local stations, prompting hundreds to line up along the port area to catch a glimpse
Argentine Tango With Creditors Takes a TwirlArgentine officials are hinting at a thaw in a long-running standoff with hedge-fund creditors, boosting investors’ interest in the struggling South American nation ahead of a New York court date Wednesday.
Delivering a message, with a hit, Brazilian anti-corruption radio DJ shot dead live on air
Gleydson Carvalho gunned down in studio as he broadcast; Two Arrested in Killing of Brazil Radio Host
Brazil’s space programme suffered a blow in July when President Dilma Rousseff scrapped an 11-year-old agreement with Ukraine to launch satellites aboard Ukrainian Cyclone-4 rockets from Brazil’s Alcântara spaceport in the northeastern state of Maranhão. The official explanation implied that the much-delayed project, which had been budgeted at 1 billion reais ($290m), had become too expensive. Brazil may also fear that Ukraine will not fulfil its part of the deal, not least because its space industry is located near Donetsk, which is controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
“The political situation is Cuba has not turned,” Andy Garcia said politely, but very adamantly. “There is one government, a dictatorship. The Castros are still in power. There’s never been a popular election in Cuba. Nothing will change in Cuba until the Castro regime leaves and the people are free.”
Venezuela shortages: ‘Take away beer and things get risky’
Venezuelans facing prospect of heatwave without their favourite beer, latest in a series of shortages from disposable nappies to light bulbs
The week’s posts and podcast:
Sunday palate cleanser: Carlos Copello & Anabela Brogioli
Another Capt.Louis Renault moment, Mexico: People’s disbelief at official story of El Chapo’s escape
Podcasting live at 8PM Eastern on Puerto Rico and other US-Latin America stories by Silvio Canto Jr http://t.co/dzWpkOBmyC
— Fausta (@Fausta) August 5, 2015