Archive for the ‘Paraguay’ Category

Paraguay: Don’t worry, be happy?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

John Carlin travels to Paraguay, the country that recently was officially declared happiest in the world:

Paraguay conquers happiness: The South American nation is the happiest country in the world, according to a Gallup survey. But it is also one of the most unjust and corrupt. Carlin is as skeptical as I when it comes to the “happiness index”:

What lessons can be learned from the Paraguayan experience? That happiness is possible if you close your eyes to the inevitable evils of life, if you live in the present, if you are content with just having the essential items for living, and can achieve the enormous luxury of not having to worry about money. But there is one ingredient missing to make Paraguay an earthly paradise. Before those who live afflicted by the crisis or by other hardships taking place around the world can follow in the footsteps of the old utopian dreamers, it is essential to ask one thing of the wealthy minority that governs Paraguay: to install a democracy sin qua non and rule of law so that justice is equal for all. When that day comes, yeah, let’s go there. They have everything else.

Sing it, Bobby!

The post-papal visit Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Thank God Papa Che came and left without incident. Yet, as Rich Lowry put it,

The Catholic Church’s traditional discomfort with modernity has cachet at this moment in American politics, especially when it is wrapped in the fashionable causes of income inequality and climate change. In this sense, Pope Francis is (inadvertently) a genius marketeer by taking crackpot attitudes about economic development and getting them a respectful hearing.

Taking the Pope to School

Argentina’s Presidential Hopefuls Aim to Further Militarize Drug War. Experts Warn “Failed Policy” Will Lead to More Violence, Corruption

Can Argentina responsibly develop its massive shale oil and gas potential?


Bolivia row with Chile over strip of land to Pacific Ocean goes to The Hague.
Anger in Chile as International Court of Justice at the Hague declares it has jurisdiction to rule on Bolivia’s claim

Gates Foundation sues Petrobras. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sues the Brazilian state-owned oil company, Petrobras for investment losses due to corruption.

Chile refuses bilateral negotiations over Bolivia border dispute

Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC leaders signed an accord in Havana under the aaegis of Raul Castro. Alvaro Uribe refers to it as an “Agreement of Impunity” (#AcuerdoDeImpunidad):
Santos, it’s not peace that’s near, it’s the surrender to FARC and the tyranny of Venezuela.”

The accord does not address the issue of drug trafficking.

Colombia Peace Process: Theatre of the Politically Absurd.

The accord is one of the biggest stories of the year, and U.S. media has barely mentioned it, even when the pope was involved (link in Spanish).

Violence in Costa Rica Reaching ‘Pandemic’ Levels?

Governor Cuomo and Raúl Castro of Cuba Meet

Haiti border crisis grows as Dominican Republic expels ‘migrants’

Ecuador’s President Used Millions Of Dollars Of Public Funds To Censor Critical Online Videos. Exclusive: BuzzFeed News has seen leaked documents that reveal Rafael Correa used the intelligence budget to delete content critical of him and the first lady from YouTube, Facebook, and other sites.

Testing the limits on crazy immigration policies, a New plan: we’ll pay to import formerly deported illegals with mental illnesses

Jamaican Anti-Gay Rally to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage, Even Though No One Has Proposed It. Like it or not, Jamaica is leapfrogging over decriminalization and straight to relationship equality. Here are four reasons LGBTI activists should embrace the issue.

State capitalism, populism, extractive economies and corruption don’t work: Support for Latin American Leaders Has Fallen Steadily, Poll Shows: Latin America’s political leaders face a bleak future and a potent backlash from citizens regionwide who feel increasingly disillusioned as economies stumble and corruption flourishes, a new poll across 18 countries by a respected Chilean firm shows.

Latin America cracks open its doors as Syrian refugee crisis mounts. Syrian Issa Hassan is one of the first to land in Mexico today as citizen pressure to do more mounts. Many countries in the region have had their own experiences with authoritarian rule and brutality.

Mexico’s Peña Nieto meets Iguala parents and vows to “search for truth”. President holds first face-to-face with families of the 43 missing teaching students

Dozens of Clandestine Graves Found During Search for Missing Mexican Students

Nicaragua says planned canal will cut sailing time for mega-ships, if it ever gets started, that is.

Companies building controversial dam in Panama hit with $1.2 mn in fines

Paraguay Homicides Drop, But Border Remains Violent 

The figures show high concentrations of violence in the states of Amambay and Alto Parana, with those provinces registering 50 and 31 homicides respectively. Both of these states are major border crossings between Paraguay and Brazil. Amambay in particular isone of the most dangerous border regions in Latin America, registering a murder rate of 66.7 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014.  

British tourists held overnight by Peruvian protesters. Tour party hijacked by indigenous campaigners angered by halt in road construction

Puerto Rico Funds May Face Federal Oversight. Legislation that would subject Puerto Rico mutual funds to the same regulations as mainland funds is expected to be introduced in Congress on Friday, a sign Puerto Rico’s financial crisis is drawing greater scrutiny.

Dozens Injured, Arrested in Student Protest in Uruguay

Antonio Ledezma: Seven Months under House Arrest, Still No Hearing for Caracas Mayor. Venezuelan Opposition Fears a Repeat of Leopoldo López Case Leaked Government Study Reveals Extent of Shortage Crisis in Venezuela. Report Exposes “Economic War” as Fraud, Says Center for Documentation Director

Venezuelan defector reveals secret meetings between Maduro and Hezbollah

The papal visit Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 21st, 2015

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:

U.S. Targets Tax Evaders Using Belize Accounts. Judge approves ‘John Doe’ summonses on U.S. banks

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.

Brazil’s sagging economy:Recession’s sharp bite. The shrinking of a once-vibrant economy is shocking ordinary folk as well as number-crunchers

Chile Sees Extensive Damage After Earthquake and Tsunami. My contacts are in areas not deeply affected.

Venezuelan Soldiers Reported Crossing Border into Colombia

Black in Bogota. Reaction to police search starts huge debate online


Castro praises Pope’s anti-capitalism stance

Follow Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba here

Cubans Increasingly Detour through Central America to Reach US Soil. Panama Sees Nearly 300 Percent Increase in Illegal Cuban Migrants in 5 Years

Correa Come Lately Not Fooling Anyone.Ecuadorians Need More than a New Coat of Paint

Danny Glover to visit Jamaica for reparation forum

Andres Oppenheimer: Latin America’s new era of disenchantment; nothing new.

Ranking America’s Love for Five Central American Countries

Hillary is ready to fight the war on drugs… in Mexico

Leaked Permit Refutes Egypt’s Account of Mexican Tourist Massacre. Tour Company Offers Proof Convoy Did Not Travel “Out of Bounds”

10 dead in land conflicts among Nicaragua settlers, Indians

New Panama Video App Shares Location-based Videos Anonymously

Syrians Play Political Prop for Pepe Mujica. Refugee Grandstanding Show’s Ex-President’s True Colors

Paraguayan Journalist among Prizewinners for Defending Press Freedom

Vigilante Lynchings Go Viral in Peru. Social Media Catalyzes Pent-Up Hunger for Justice

Peruvian serial killer’s brother arrested for murder in Japan. Brother of a serial killer known as the “apostle of death” has been arrested in connection to six murders in Japan

Peruvian Ombud’s Office Calls for Negotiated Solution to Oil Protests

Puerto Rico Utility Fails to Extend Contract With Insurers

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.

The Venezuelan Judge Who Caved to Chavista Pressure: Susana Barreiros’s Ruling Follows Chumming with Diosdado Cabello

The pre-papal visit Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 14th, 2015

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”.

Over in Philly, pop-up-popes are springing up all over town:

Argentine Court Blocks Proclamation of Winner in Provincial Vote

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):

Alberto Nisman could not have killed himself, ballistics tests show. The prosecutor investigating Argentina’s worst-ever terrorist attack was shot dead by someone else

Conferencia: “Escenario económico y político de la Argentina preelectoral”

Llegamos a Estados Unidos!

Significant Amendments Made To Bermuda’s Partnership Legislation


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.

Chilean Police Arrest 2 in Robbery of Bachelet’s Security Team

Bulletproof Vest Saves Colombian Mayoral Candidate

Cloud of Secrecy Obscures Colombia’s Human-Trafficking Blight. Reported Cases the Tip of the Iceberg, Say Anti-Trafficking Specialists

Normalization update: Tens of thousands of Cubans streaming into U.S. through southwestern border

Free Education in Cuba? Sort of / Ivan Garcia

Castro’s Empty Barabbas Politics For The Pope

Ecuador Moves to Shut Down Press Freedom Group

Rafael Correa’s Fairyland of Misinformation. Lies, Distortions Are All Ecuador’s Delusional President Has Left

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.

Guyana to press UN strongly for judicial end to Venezuela controversy – Granger

Two Out of Three Hispanics Oppose Immigration Increase

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%.”

Jamaica contributes US$100,000 to flood-hit Dominica

‘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.

Uh oh! New Panama Canal lock leaking

Paraguay Guerrilla Splinter Group Brought Back Into Fold?

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.

Over 5,000 Chinese citizens applied for Peru visas

S&P Lowers Puerto Rico’s Credit Rating to Its Second-to-Last Rung

Puerto Rico Debt Crisis: A Bond Guide as Potential Defaults Loom, or, a brief guide to Russian roulette, money-wise?

Puerto Rico’s debt. No way out

Uruguay will help Syrian refugees reach another country

[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):

Venezuela Takes Out Full-Page NYT Ad to Defend Violent Deportation Spree

Court Rules TV Network Shut Down by Chávez Must Be Reinstated. RCTV President Celebrates Venezuelans’ “Right to Be Informed”. Good luck with that:

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.

Miserable Decision Against Leopoldo Lopez No Surprise

VenEconomy: Justice of Horror Enforced All the Way in Venezuela

The week’s posts and podcast:
9/11/2001: It is altogether fitting and proper

Venezuela: Lopez sentenced to 13+ years UPDATED

September 11: In memory of Joe Angelini, Jr.

Argentina: #Nisman could not have shot himself

Colombia: Is the U.S. pressuring Uribe to accept FARC terms?

Mexico: A fifth bus on the Iguala students case

Panama: New leaks


Guatemala: Comedian wins first round

Uruguay: Syrians don’t like it

The Labor Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 7th, 2015

First the Chong Chong Gang, then the Mu Du Bong, now the Haddad 1: Weapons smuggling to and from rogue states.

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.

Argentine Jewish leader: What happened to Alberto Nisman?

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

Desperate times, desperate movesBeset by dismal economic data, Dilma Rousseff tosses Congress a challenge

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.

Rio attempts to tackle widespread homelessness ahead of OlympicsAn estimated 5,600 people live on the streets of Rio, of which more than 340 are children

Chile on Path to “Modest” Recovery, Central Bank Says


Russian Spy Ship Targets U.S. Nuclear Submarines, Then Heads to Cuba

Hope in change: August was worst month for political repression in Cuba since June 2014

Ecuadorian Watchdog Warns Journos, Activists of Spyware Attacks. Emails Circulate the Same Infected Files That Targeted Nisman in Argentina

Canada’s Top Court Rules in Favor of Ecuador Villagers in Chevron Case. The case will go back to an Ontario court, where the two sides will argue over a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron


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.


Leaks Sink Deadline for Panama Canal Expansion
All Hands on Deck after Structural Flaws Circulate on Social Media

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.”

Aides: Clinton raised up to $500,000 during Puerto Rico trip

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:

Why is China Bankrolling Venezuela?

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.”

Woman, 80, trampled to death in Venezuelan supermarket stampede. Rush for subsidized goods sees 75 people injured as thousands besiege supermarket

The week’s posts and podcast:
The mysterious Bolivian ship and its tons of weapons UPDATED

Guatemala: President resigns, is charged and jailed

Labor Day weekend film review: Wild about Wild Tales

Brazil: U.S. fast food chains expanding

Venezuela: Well on the road from “malgoverned space” to failed state

Haiti: Hillary’s “campaign against the negative stories concerning our involvement in Haiti”

Breaking: Obama Clinches Vote to Secure Iran Nuclear Deal

Pedro Pan exhibit and panel coming up

Wikileaks is a Front for Russian Intelligence

Guatemala: Central America’s Next Flashpoint

Chile: Bachelet’s proposal for failure

En español: Mensaje a Jorge Ramos (with English excerpts)

The cone of uncertainty Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Ariel Velázquez: Young Activist’s Murder Becomes Political Football in ArgentinaAs Elections Near, Rival Parties Rush to Claim Slain 20-Year-Old as Their Own

Insight – Manufacturers in Argentina starved of dollars ahead of election, hurting output

Oil Exploration Campaign Kicks Off in Bolivia’s Amazon Region

Río de Janeiro bars poor black youths from its most famous beachesPolice arrest slum youngsters en route to Ipanema and Copacabana in bid to fight theft

Brazil’s Recession Marks The Beginning Of A Long, Painful Contraction: Argentina, Venezuela, Rest Of Latin America Could Be Affected

Head of Brazilian State Bank Rebuts Accusations against Lula

Clashes erupt as truck drivers protest arson attacks

The more you give them, the more they want: FARC Slams Santos-Backed Plans for Implementing Possible Colombia Peace Deal

Colombia will face 10 years of economic slowdown, analysts predict

Human rights activists fear arrest ahead of Pope’s visit to Cuba

When Was This Cuba Story Written?, Pt. 2

Tropical storm Erika heads for Florida after killing 20 on island of Dominica

Sweden and Ecuador to begin Julian Assange talks next weekEcuador seeking formal agreement on judicial cooperation before Swedish prosecutors can interrogate WikiLeaks founder

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.

Mexican Film Defrocks the Political Pimping of a Massacre
Young Idealists Serve as Cannon Fodder in Petty Power Struggles


Panama Canal suspends planned draft restriction due to recent rains

11-year-old Paraguay rape victim has baby, stokes abortion debate

The Fascinating Afterlife of Peru’s MummiesFrom atop bejeweled thrones and sacred mountaintops, the Inca dead continued to wield incredible power over the living

Puerto Rico bond deadlines loom: What you need to know

Ten things you never knew about… UruguayToday is Independence Day in Uruguay, celebrating the country’s independence from the Brazilian Empire on August 25, 1825.

Woman, 80, trampled to death in Venezuelan supermarket stampedeRush for subsidized goods sees 75 people injured as thousands besiege supermarket

Scapegoating: Crime in VenezuelaJustice decayedThe government wrongly blames Colombia for its high murder rate

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.

And it all came to that

The week’s posts:
Brazil and other fallen BRICs

Why the knives are out on Menendez

Cuba: Getting Gitmo closed

What about the Trump/Ramos thing?

Argentina: The #tucumanazo, stories of a fraud foretold?

Heading to the World Meeting of Families in a VW bus . . . all the way from Buenos Aires

Crisis at the Venezuela-Colombia border

Bolivia: What’s with the proposed nuclear plant?

Brazil: Cunha charged with corruption and money laundering

En español: Los spots de campaña de Sergio Massa

Bolivia: The catch in the numbers

Puerto Rico: Don’t expect payment anytime soon

The $40/barrell oil Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Oil breaks $40 barrier for first time in six years, which is very important news for our hemisphere.

Menem vows to reveal evidence that could shed light on AMIA attack

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.

Argentineans Launch Petition against “Donald Trump” Wall with Paraguay
Locals Dry [sic] Infrastructure as Wasteful, Bad for Relations

Bolivian Police Drag Indigenous Protesters Out of Their Homes
Guaraní Pledge to Resist Evo’s Oil Exploration on Their Lands

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.

Study: Chile likely to draw from stabilization fund due to copper price drop

Colombia slashes gold holdings by two-thirds amid July rout

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.

Obama Plays the Clinton Vietnam Card to Normalize Relations With Cuba, but Turns it On Its Head

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.

Ecuador Protests: Correa’s Oil Crisis, Policies Could Spell End Of Latin America Success Story

Ecuador’s Cotopaxi volcano roars back to life, locals speak of lava flow fears and damage to tourism

Prosecution requests impeachment of Guatemala president Otto Perez

IMF Considering Adjusting Some Measures Under Deal With Jamaica

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

Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, Mexican who led search for mass graves found shot to death
Activist’s group had unearthed 129 bodies in Guerrero, where students went missing last year.

He worked for the politically active group called the Union of Towns and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (known as UPOEG)

Previously Deported Illegals Caught Smuggling Thousands of People Across Border

3-Time Deported Top Mexican Drug Trafficker Caught Illegally Re-Entering Texas

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’s new direct connection to Panama may facilitate terrorist financing for Hamas

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.

Rogelio Livieres Plano, ousted bishop in Paraguay, dies at 69

The migrant nation
Urbanisation in Peru has brought citizenship but also a host of problems

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.

Governor Luis Fortuño On The Lessons The US Must Learn From Puerto Rico

The former Governor of Puerto Rico explains that “bottom line, you can never tax yourself out of a hole.”

Hurricane Danny Has Begun Its Weakening; Drought Relief For Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico?

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?

Argentina: Wheelchair tango

The Falklands: Pope Francis, what fresh hell can this be? UPDATED

Venezuela: Circling the drain

Somebody tell Al Sharpton Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens

Venezuela: Cuban doctors stuck in limbo, as the country collapses

Cuba: Air-travel, credit cards next . . . by executive action?

Menendez on Iran: Failure Theater, or not?

Cuba: “Who fears the billboard?”

“Culture is how we pass the time between hypocrisies.”

Brazil: Will Dilma get it?

Mexico: @Leon_Krauze looks at the big White House

Podcast: Cuba, marches in Brazil & other US-Latin America stories of the week

The foreign policy house of lies

The Indoctrinator Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Today’s Carnival is dedicated to cartoonist Luciano Cunha, creator of The Indoctrinator.

Pathetic: Now Argentina accuses Falkland Islands fishermen of stealing their FISHA SENIOR Falkland Islands diplomat has hit back at claims by an Argentine minister that the wealth of the remote archipelago derives from “stolen” fish.

PRO’s Macri says government seeking to ‘demonize’ him

Bolivia Frees 47 of 51 Arrested after Violent Protests

Brazilian politics
The power behind the throne
A junior partner in government is running the country

It is the person, not the party, that is abandoning the coalition, the PMDB was quick to declare. Still, Mr [Eduardo] Cunha’s exit is a worry for the president. Last week came news that police are investigating her predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, for possible influence-peddling on behalf of construction firms. He denies the allegation. That is a further blow to the battered PT. Ms Rousseff needs the PMDB more than ever if she is to survive until the end of her term in 2018. Increasingly, it is running the show.

An oil scandal is shaking Brazil’s democracy to its core

New plant species ‘discovered on Facebook’
Experts identified a plant pictured on Facebook as a new species, since named as “drosera magnifica“, or magnificent sundew, according journal research paper
. Someone tell Pope Francis.

Chile charges over burning students
A Chilean judge charges seven former soldiers over the burning of two students during a 1986 protest against Gen Augusto Pinochet’s government.

Colombians Outraged by Gang Rape of Bus Driver

Costa Rica: Examples of How to be Like Greece (h/t JC)

Evidence Mounts That Oswaldo Payá Was Assassinated by the Castros
Human Rights Foundation Documents Cuban Agents at Work on Tragic Day
; Victims of Communism organization follows up on Ted Cruz’s address change proposal

Inside the offices of Granma, Cuba’s government newspaper

There’s a sucker born every minute: Cuba Hoping To Kickstart Offshore Oil & Gas Industry

Springtime for America’s EnemiesDangerous and short-sighted U.S. diplomacy has empowered no one except state sponsors of terrorism and fascistic regimes.

Rafael Correa recibe la asesoría de la chavista Eva Golinger
La «novia de Venezuela», como la llamó Chávez, se ha ocupado en «desacreditar» a quienes critican al presidente de Ecuador

Fired for Daring to Prosecute Extortion in Rural Guatemala
Georgetown University’s False Heroine: Part III

A Glimpse Of An Everyday Struggle Among Haiti’s Health Care Workers

Pennies on the dollar: Jamaica to retire $3B in oil debt to Venezuela

Jamaica has forged a deal to retire $3 billion in oil debts to Venezuela thanks to bond sales.

In a Friday statement, Jamaica said it has issued roughly $2 billion in bonds on the international capital market that will pay down the debt it accumulated through Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan program that provides fuel to countries at market prices but under generous credit terms.

Officials say a negotiated settlement with Caracas will dismiss about $3 billion in long-term debt in exchange for $1.5 billion. It was not immediately clear Friday if Jamaica’s deal will retire all of its Petrocaribe debt.
. . .
Jamaica’s Petrocaribe settlement is similar to one the Dominican Republic negotiated with Venezuela earlier this year. That Caribbean country dismissed $4 billion in Petrocaribe debt in exchange for $2 billion.

Mexican judge jails three Joaquin Guzman prison guards

Filmmaker Ridley Scott to bring life of “El Chapo” to the big screen
British director purchases rights to Don Winslow’s bestseller ‘The Cartel’

Is there a rift between Mexico’s president and first lady?
Rumors fly after videos capture allegedly awkward moments between Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife, Angélica Rivera

Panama, Costa Rica join forces, demand corruption investigation of CONCACAF Gold Cup

US asks Paraguay to extradite Fifa official Nicolas Leoz

Police burn down illegal gold mine town in Peru
Action against La Pampa is latest blow in war against illegal mining that is destroying rainforest and spreading mercury poisoning

First pictures of last-uncontacted Amazon tribe
Mashco Piro tribe have lived in the jungle in Peru for at least 600 years, but have never before been approached

Puerto Rico debt crisis: austerity for residents, but tax breaks for hedge funds
The Caribbean territory has courted some of Wall Street’s richest citizens, selling its debt and offering inducements while local people face high taxes and cuts

Uruguay says more Syrian refugees welcome

Mega-Gangs the New Plague in Venezuela
Organized Crime Takes Root in Neglected Slums

Venezuela Bars Foreign Lawmakers’ Visit to Jailed Opposition Leader

Memo To Venezuela: The Soviets Nationalized Food Distribution And Guess What? It Didn’t Work

Mother of all battles in scarcity-hit Venezuela: having a baby

The last available health ministry figures for infant mortality under 1 show an increase of 2.35 percent from January to October last year compared with the same period of 2013.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Madrid’s City Hall and the man on the Moon: Tales from a socialist mindset

Puerto Rico: The bets are on

Argentina: #Nisman’s killer washed his hands in the sink

Venezuela: A lesson we can’t forget

Brazil: Meet The Indoctrinator

Mexico: El Chapo’s buddies tunneled out, too UPDATED

Planned Parenthood and the evil of our times

Argentina: Judge in Cristina’s hotel case, “If I turn up suicided, look for the killer”

LatAm currencies slide

Colombia: Today’s infographic

Cuba: “Mojito diplomacy”

Cuban embassy now open in DC

The Communist crucifix Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 13th, 2015

During his visit in Bolivia, pope Francis stepped out of the popemobile to pray at the site where the late Jesuit Luis Espinal’s body had been dumped, after which Evo Morales (who wore a jacket embroidered with Che Guevara’s face to the Pope’s speech) presented Francis with the Communist crucifix designed by Espinal, and a matching medal, which Francis accepted:

Following the ensuing outrage, Francis left the medals and crucifix in Bolivia while the Vatican launched into spin mode.

Evo certainly milked the photo ops. It’ll be interesting to see what Raul Castro does when Francis goes to Cuba.

From her official website: Cristina Kirchner interview with The New Yorker – Up Close and Uncut (march 11, 2015) President Cristina Kirchner interviewed by Dexter Filkins from the US magazine The New Yorker, on March 11, 2015

Argentina’s New Intelligence Agency Targets Captains of IndustryPresident Kirchner Fears “Economic Warfare”

The Peronist pope
Francis’s balancing act in Latin America

From March 2013: Sobre el mensaje del arzobispo de Buenos Aires

Cristina travels to Paraguay to meet Francis

Bahamas Independence Day 2015: 10 Key, Quick Facts To Know About The Caribbean Paradise


Pope gives his backing to Morales’ social programs in BoliviaPontiff reported to have sipped coca-based tea before reaching high-altitude destinationPresident hopes Francis will offer to mediate in border conflict with Chile

Contrast Francis’s visit with Pope John II’s 1983 visit to Nicaragua and his attitude towards liberation theology.

Brazil: Man’s Lynching Compared to Slave Flogging

Brazil oil giant faces $98bn shareholder lawsuit in US over corruption schemeNew York court to hear case brought by investors including pension funds of British academics and US state workers over ‘Carwash’ scam at Petrobras

The lawsuit claims that Petrobras executives accepted bribes for inflating the value of construction contracts and “used the money to bribe politicians through intermediaries to guarantee they would vote in line with the ruling party while enriching themselves”.

Duff idea? Fox hopes Chile’s beer lovers give Simpsons brew a warm receptionCompany to sell beer – which an executive calls fruity with a caramel aromatic – after decades of pirated versions ruling the market

Colombian president replaces military chiefs days after scathing report into extra-judicial killingsPresident Juan Manuel Santos overhauls his high command despite rejecting Human Rights Watch claims about role of military commanders in murders of civilians who were then framed as left-wing rebels

Colombian President Welcomes FARC Cease-Fire

The Mixed-Up Brothers of BogotáAfter a hospital error, two pairs of Colombian identical twins were raised as two pairs of fraternal twins. This is the story of how they found one another — and of what happened next.

Marco Rubio: Obama’s Faustian Bargain With Cuba

Here’s “What Change Looks Like” Through a Business-First Policy

Twice as Many Cuban Rafters Flee While They Can
2015 Arrivals Exhibit Fear of End to Wet-Foot, Dry-Foot Policy

Ana’s Story: The Face of Colombia’s Refugee Crisis in Ecuador

This is how bad El Salvador’s murder rate is

El Salvador is on pace to pass its neighbor, Honduras, as the deadliest country on the planet.

Mexican Police Deliver Wrong Corpses to Get Murder Case Closed
Victim Families Allege Cover-Up, Demand Prosecutor’s Resignation

Mexican Ex-Governor Arrested on Tax-Fraud Charges

Some Ford lines may be heading to Mexico

Mexican helicopter trades fire with gunmen on ground near border, kills 6

Guatemala: Ex-ruler Rios Montt found unfit for trial
A former Guatemalan general, Efrain Rios Montt, who ruled the country briefly in the 1980s, has been found mentally incapable of standing trial.

A matter of when, not if? Mexican Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Escapes From PrisonMexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has escaped from a maximum-security prison in central Mexico, almost a year and a half after being captured, prompting a major search operation.

Panama and Nicaragua – Two Canals, One Shared Dream, but with the Chinese financial market in flux, what will happen to the Nicaraguan project?

Venezuelans heading to Panama

Pope Praises Paraguayan Women
Pope Francis celebrated Paraguayan women as the “most glorious women of America” in a sermon at the shrine of the country’s patron Madonna Saturday, the second-to-last day of his weeklong visit to South America.

Argentina Sees Exodus as Pope Visits Paraguay
Roughly one million people will cross the border into Paraguay from Argentina to see Pope Francis in the capital, Asunción, immigration officials estimate.

Better keep Greenpeace away: New Nazca geoglyphs in Peru could be older than famous Unesco siteJapanese team believes new images are older than the famous monkey, spider and hummingbird at the Unesco World Heritage site

Ubinas Erupts in Peru Dispersing Ash Up to Radius of 9.3 Miles

America’s Greece: Fixing Puerto Rico Could Provide Answers for Europe

Now it’s serious! Venezuela is almost out of beer

The week’s posts and podcast:
The new perfect Latin American idiot

“Economy class cabin hexagon”? No. Just no.

What current Mexican immigration law is like

Cuba: Policy paper shows correlation between US engagement and rising repression in Cuba

Two books that don’t exist for the NYT

Argentina: Cristina drops the mask on anti-semitism

Bolivia: Evo gives Francis hammer and sickle crucifix UPDATED

Business at the BBC: Firing Clarkson will cost them BIG

NYSE down

Ecuador: Pope calls for “new economic and ecological world order”

Meanwhile, over in Cuba,

Argentina: Cristina cheers for Greece

Today’s immigration headlines

Monday night “It takes 1 to tango”

Ecuador: Pope’s visiting, crowd clamors “Out, Correa, out”

The visiting pope Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Pope Francis is touring Ecuador, Bolivia – where the witches are protesting – and Paraguay, extolling the Bolivarian revolution’s idea of a “great motherland.”

What a guy.

Bolivia’s Adepcoca (Asociación Departamental de Productores de la Hoja de Coca i.e., Coca Leaf Growers’ Departamental Association) have prepared 20,000 bags of coca leaves to gift the people lining up from the airport to La Paz, giving new meaning to the term goodie bag.

You really can’t make up this stuff.

Live sex show at Buenos Aires university sparks scandal
School authorities investigating why ‘post-porn’ exhibition was held in an open public lobby

La oposición argentina se examina en Buenos Aires y Córdoba
La derecha y el peronismo opositor aspiran a vencer en la capital argentina y en la segunda provincia más poblada del país

Report: Argentinean Government Robs over 90% of Farmer Profits
Soybeans Garner Attention as Workaround for High Tariffs, Export Restrictions

Tensions Rise In Bolivia As Indigenous Witches Prepare For The Pope’s Visit

Dilma in the back seat of a driverless car. Lovely metaphor for today’s Brazil.

Calling Capt. Louis Renault, US ‘routinely spied’ on Brazil
Wikileaks says it has evidence that the United States has routinely spied on senior Brazilian government officials since 2011 or earlier.

Brazil Says Diplomatic Spat with U.S. is Over

Brazilian Evangelicals set up a ‘sin free’ version of Facebook
A group of Evangelical Christians in Brazil created Facegloria as their own, sin-free, version of Facebook

British musician faces five years in Chilean jail after admitting dealing drugs
Alexander Harrild, who was educated at exclusive Dulwich College, is being held in one of Santiago’s most notorious prisons with rapists and murderers

Chile secured the first major trophy in their history on home soil courtesy of a penalty shootout win over Argentina in the Copa America final

Time to call the FARC’s bluff
Colombia’s peace process risks drifting to collapse

The president, whose hobbies include poker, now faces a choice. Call the FARC’s bluff by laying on the table a take-it-or-leave-it offer on justice—or risk the talks collapsing anyway in the cycle of retaliation. Burdened by disappointments in other areas, Mr Santos has staked his presidency on a peace agreement. But objectively it is the FARC’s negotiators who need it more. Return to war in Colombia, and sooner or later they will be killed.

FARC & ELN commit crime together or coordinating, regardless of how the Govt may want to treat them:”

Why Colombia’s first euthanasia was stopped with 15 minutes to go
Doubting doctors have now approved procedure for cancer patient they canceled last week

Costa Rica becomes 33rd country to launch pro-Israel caucus
The 20 Parliamentarians signed a foundation document reaffirming Israel as a Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital.

No, Mr. President, Castroite Cuba Is Not What Change Looks Like

How Global Threats Have Crowded Obama’s Diplomacy AgendaPresident has sought to focus on Iran, Cuba, climate and trade, but Islamic State, China and Russia have muscled in

Optimist: US-Cuba Relations, A Race to the Bottom. But, in the End, Truth and Freedom Always Triumph

5 Questions Obama Must Answer About the Potential US Embassy in Cuba

Despite Obama, Business as Usual for Cuban Tyrants

Mensaje de la Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa a Su Santidad

Ecuador’s Libertarian Movement Rolls Out a Rescue Plan
Protesters Want Dialogue with Correa to Solve the Crisis

Ecuador under threat of “soft coup” by opposition, says Correa
Officials fear that spike in anti-government marches may mar pope’s visit on Sunday

Maduro Denounces Guyana “Aggression” against Venezuela

80% Of Central American Women, Girls Are Raped Crossing Into The U.S.

Mexican Police Recover Nearly 10,000 Stolen U.S. Visas

Mexico wants to tame disruptive teachers union

EXCLUSIVE: Illegal Who Confessed to Murdering Wife with Hammer Deported Four Times

Five Sentenced In $25M Medicare Fraud Involving Nicaragua, D.R.

Go.Away.Trump. Trump Fallout Continues: Panama Pulls Out of Miss Universe Pageant

Paraguay hero’s uncle dies while watching victory against Brazil
Derlis Gonzalez’s uncle suffered a heart attack

Peru drug mule’s transfer to Scottish prison ‘approved’
Melissa Reid could be back in the UK within weeks after reports Peru has agreed to move her to Scotland

It is not in Gov. García Padilla’s interest to improve the economy – you can bank on that. Treasurer Admits Puerto Rico Can Pay Debts, Doesn’t Want To
“Shameful” Myth Diverts Attention from Need for Frugality

Puerto Rico’s Financial Crisis Is U.S.’ Crisis, Too

The Beeb starts to catch on, Puerto Rico: The Greece of the Caribbean?

How a pie factory in South America is taking on the world
Fray Bentos – the town in Uruguay famous for its pies – could be named a World Heritage Site alongside the Forth Bridge, Sicilian churches and Genghis Khan’s birthplace at the end of this year’s Unesco meeting

Venezuela faces national beer drought
Striking workers linked to the Maduro government have forced the closure of breweries at Polar, the country’s largest producer and a beloved household name

Cuba and FARC, and their Sinister Presence in Venezuela

Tanta Pasión Por El Socialismo Y Para Ellos Solo Vales 15$ Al Mes

One year on, El Universal is fully “hegemonized”

The week’s posts and podcast
Happy Independence Day

On Independence Day, let’s thank Caesar

Ecuador: Sing along with Rafael

Venezuela: Corker in Caracas

Today’s “WTH moment” courtesy of the NYT

Repeat, it is not in Gov. García Padilla’s interest to improve the economy – you can bank on that. Puerto Rico: A few thoughts on the economic crisis

What amnesty means to legal immigrants

Up next: The King’s Spanish

Puerto Rico: Countdown to the Greecespot

Brazil: Dilma wants U.S. investment

Argentina: Buenos Aires closes Sunderland

Venezuela’s moola from the mullah: Iran’s new $500million credit line

Puerto Rico: the Greece of the Caribbean UPDATED

Podcast: “Che” & Walmart, US-Cuba embassies, Puerto Rico & US-Latin America issues