Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Colombia: Who will be the next president?

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Today’s the first round of the Colombian presidential election.

I say the first round because it’s unlikely that current-president Santos will get a large enough majority to avoid a second round.

Uribista Óscar Iván Zuluaga was making headway until the video scandal popped up:
Colombian Presidential Candidate Stumbles Over Campaign Allegations
Conservative Óscar Iván Zuluaga’s Surge in Pre-Vote Polls Hurt by Flap Over Videotapes

A 55-year-old former finance minister who has centered his campaign on sharply criticizing Mr. Santos’ peace talks with Marxist rebels, Mr. Zuluaga became entangled in the scandal after one of his campaign workers was arrested on May 6 for allegedly spying on Mr. Santos’s emails and those of guerrilla commanders participating in negotiations taking place in Havana, Cuba, with the Colombian government.

Eighteen days, two viral videos and numerous denials later, Mr. Zuluaga just can’t shake off accusations he was directly involved in what prosecutors here call a complex case of computer hacking.

Zuluaga denies involvement with the spying that the Santos campaign accused him of orchestrating.

Santos, however, had a scandal, too,

another scandal took off on May 8, when Mr. Zuluaga’s most powerful supporter, former President Álvaro Uribe, alleged $2 million that may have been tainted by drug trafficking was funneled into Mr. Santos’ 2010 presidential campaign. The Santos administration denied accepting funds from drug traffickers, and prosecutors said Mr. Uribe didn’t presented evidence.

Al-Jazeera has Five reasons to care about Colombia’s polls
Arms dealers, coffee drinkers and potential holidaymakers, take note.

5) Colombia is now the closest Western ally in South America, bucking the left’s pink tide

There’s enough dissatisfaction that Colombia Politics blog advises, If no one deserves your vote, vote “en blanco”. The Miami Herald speculates, Analysts say it’s far from clear how badly Zuluaga will be hurt by the scandal, but some have suggested it may sap enough votes to put another candidate into the second round against Santos.The Brazilian psychic predicts Zuluaga will be the next president:

As Drudge says, developing . . .


Ecuador: Pass the Ketchum

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

In anticipation of the bonds-for-the-incurably-gullible issue, Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa has hired Ketchum:

Ketchum has inked a $35K-a-month contract with Ecuador’s Washington embassy, covering economic development, trade and tourism of the South American state of 14.5M people.

The contract became effective March 1 and runs through the year. It covers services such as ongoing strategic counsel, day-to-day campaign management, social media outreach, crisis PR, influencer outreach to think tanks/foundations, spokesperson trading and collaboration two white papers.

Ketchum created the “All you need is Ecuador” campaign, complete with a middle-age-sounding male voice reciting Beatles’ lyrics:

“All You Need”: A Tourism Campaign to Disguise Correa’s Strongman Rule
Will “Love” Be Enough to Overcome Negative International Press?

The government’s ad campaign sings a tune based on love, but Correa lays out a discourse founded on antagonism, while insulting his opponents and classifying all dissent as treason. What good is it to promote tourism to the outside world without first advancing the rule of law, our democracy, and the guarantee of individual liberty for Ecuadorians themselves?

In this context, the ad campaign appears to not only be geared towards boosting tourism, but also to countering the bad publicity the country has received during Correa’s tenure. There was little talk of Ecuador until the country began receivinginternational press recently, and not in a good way. Problems such as anauthoritatarian president, the persecution of media outlets, and support fortotalitarian regimes have demonstrated to the world an image of government that — far from “loving” — maintains control through fear.

While on the “loving” groove, Harvard to Host Correa, but No Free Press in Ecuador Can Cover It.


What Eich means

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Bullying works. Read my post at Da Tech Guy Blog.

The Isaías, on @Instapundit’s post

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Today on the esteemed Instapundit,

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: U.S. Investigates Brothers From Ecuador Who Donated $90,000 to Obama.

The link goes to a NY Times story on Ecuadorian brothers William and Roberto Isaías, who are here legally, having fled Ecuador ten years ago after the government allegedly confiscated media outlets they owned which were critical of the government.

The case recently resurfaced when an NBC station in New York reported that Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, was under federal investigation for helping the Isaias brothers with their immigration problems after their relatives contributed to his campaigns. Several other members of Congress also helped the family by writing letters urging the State Department to resolve bureaucratic delays that kept several of the family members from obtaining residency in the United States.

I posted about the Isaías last January. I pointed out then that

Ricardo Patino, Ecuador’s chancellor, has said he thinks campaign donations to American politicians have helped the brothers stay in the country.

Let’s ponder that for a moment: The Correa regime thinks something, so NBC NY runs a story on it?

As it is, the Justice Department says Ecuador’s government has not provided enough evidence to warrant extradition.

So, no, I wouldn’t rush to include the Isaías on a “culture of corruption” post.


In Silvio Canto’s podcast

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

talking about the Venezuela & US-Latin America stories of the week live at 8PM EDT, and archived for your listening convenience.

Ted in tats

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Although the location of the poster says the Hilton, Senator Cruz is expected to be the keynote speaker at the Claremont Institute’s annual Winton Churchill dinner on Saturday night at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

That Churchill tattoo on his right arm is the perfect touch.

Take that, nagging mom.

UPDATE:
According to our sources, Ted Cruz is actually a twin brother of Chuck Norris

Venezuela: Big shoes and misreports

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

I’ve been looking at headlines like “Chavez’ legacy fades in Venezuela as crowds fill the streets”. Whoever came up with that one misses the point altogether: It is Hugo Chávez’s legacy that has brought people out on the streets. As I have explained before,

For over two weeks, the people have been protesting against the government. What started as a students’ protest has spread throughout the country – even the beauty queens are protesting. Why?

The protests accompany inflation officially at 56% (but likely much, much higher); the third-highest murder rate of any country in the world; and, according to an official index, scarce supplies of one out of four staple items needed in every home, such as cooking oil, corn flour, and toilet paper.

Nationalization and expropriation of private businesses, price controls, huge corruption, government printing money to finance itself (including having to pay bond yields higher than all 55 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg) are all part and parcel of a ruined economy. The scarce benefits that may have accrued under Chavez are being eaten away fast by the crisis.

One of the causes for the rampant criminality is due to the multiple times when, urging his “Bolivarian Revolution,” Hugo Chavez  encouraged the poor to steal while he created a favored class, instead of directing his regime towards the rule of law. Chavez armed gangs that repressed opposition demonstrations (and, make no mistake, they’re on the attack now). He named to his cabinet men who were designated as “Tier II Kingpins”  by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. To worsen things, as part of his “war of all the peoples”, Chavez forged close ties with Iran and Hezbollah.

Add to how socialism has destroyed Venezuela, the regime’s suppression of the media

Daniel Duquenal put it more succinctly:

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

Chávez publicly declared himself a Marxist almost a decade ago, urging even the Catholic bishops to read “Marx, Lenin and the Bible“, but the WaPo says, “In Chávez’s big shoes, Maduro stumbles“.

Well, what the hell else do you expect, when the “big shoes” beat the country’s path to ruin?

Then there’s the outright dishonesty of some reports: Does this look like 5,000 people to you?

It did to AP’s Venezuela Bureau Chief Joshua Goodman. Alek Boyd takes Goodman to the woodshed over Misreporting Venezuela. Not that Goodman is alone. Why do they do it? (emphasis added)

In the opinion of Goodman et al, what we have here is a government supported by brown-skinned, poor, disenfranchised people trying to survive a wave of violence, unleashed by radical, conservative, educated middle classes, bent on wresting control through undemocratic means, to then surrender sovereignty to U.S. interests. Never mind the brutality, torture, and assassinations of innocent, and unarmed, students and civilians. Never mind the excessive use of military force to placate peaceful demonstrations. Never mind the presence of a de facto Cuban occupation army. Never mind the fact that chavismo has never won overall control of student and authorities bodies of Venezuelan universities, where voting is still done manually.

Chavismo needs / must advance this notion of it being democratic. Since parts of its discourse marries well with widespread anti Americanism, the BBC, Goodman et al do a fantastic job at misinforming the uninformed and the ignorant. Not only do they misrepresent the crisis, they also misrepresent the parties. No word would be read from this lot on how the “moderate” wing is supported by utterly corrupt chavista bankers and political operatives that are, in no small part, responsible for the current situation.

The “moderate” wing, by the way, that some refer to as the “official opposition”.

Boyd’s essay points to the importance of social media when the MSM abdicates its duty to present facts:

However, no amount of manipulated subjectivity passing as objective journalism can win the day against social media. While the reach of BBC and AP is, most certainly, global, it pales next to that of Twitter and Facebook, where the Venezuelan crisis is being reported in real time, unedited, by hundreds of thousands of citizen reporters armed with smartphones.

Go read the whole thing.

And while you’re at it, get rid of those “big shoes” of Chávez “reporters” are trying to throw at you.

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Related:
A YEAR INTO MADURO REIGN, MORE PROTESTS AND AN OSCARS CRACKDOWN IN VENEZUELA

This is not Ukraine: Venezuela will erode, not explode

Most deeply buried news item of the day: Iranian envoys in Cubazuela

Rubio’s speech on Cuba and Venezuela

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Let me tell you what the Cubans are really good at, because they don’t know how to run their economy, they don’t know how to build, they don’t know how to govern a people. What they are really good at is repression. What they are really good at is shutting off information to the Internet and to radio and television and social media. That’s what they’re really good at. And they’re not just good at it domestically, they’re good exporters of these things. And you want to see exhibit A, B, C and D? I’m going to show them to you right now. They have exported repression in real-time, in our hemisphere, right now.”
Marco Rubio

I posted the YouTube here, but this is worth reading in full while listening:

Full text below the fold:
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Thank you Chris Muir!

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

for the Day by Day!

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(click to enlarge)

En español: Los Horóscopos del Maestro Piyush

Friday, February 14th, 2014

por Paco Almaraz,