Archive for the ‘Puerto Rico’ Category

Bond roulette: Puerto Rico, Venezuela

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Which Puerto Rico Bond Defaults Next? 46% Yields Provide a Clue Bloomberg lists the most recent trading prices of bonds that aren’t insured against default:

Puerto Rico defaulted for the first time on Aug. 3, when a little-known agency, the Public Finance Corp., paid investors just $628,000 of the $58 million they were owed.

The Finance Corp. is only one of the 17 arms of the U.S. territory that have sold tax-exempt bonds, according to the Government Development Bank. Unlike debt typically issued by countries, the securities carry varying degrees of risk because they’re backed by different sources of funds and legal safeguards.

So as the island burns through cash, there’s the obvious question: which bonds could be next?

By Insurer’s Calculation, Puerto Rico Debt Burden Is Lowest, but I’d listen to Moody’s,

Excluding the island’s utility bonds and adding the U.S. debt to each state based on their population, Puerto Rico has a lower debt-to-income ratio per capita than even Maryland or Virginia, which have top credit ratings, National [Public Finance Guarantee Corp.] said.

The analysis is in stark contrast with data from Moody’s Investors Service, which gives Puerto Rico the third-worst credit rating and says its net tax supported debt per capita is the highest among U.S. states and 11 times greater than Virginia’s. Moody’s projects recovery rates from 35 percent to 80 percent on commonwealth bonds.

VENZ/PDVSA: The Mixed Martial Arts of Bond Trading

To be clear, trading VENZ is to normal bond investing what mixed-martial-ats is to thumb-wrestling. It’s a crazy, high-risk world where a good day in the WTI oil market, or a couple of anodyne bureaucratic announcements, are enough in to set off a mad bull-rush, with venny traders tripping over one another to snap up paper.

For the rest of us, it’s all gambling. I could only find this scene dubbed in French – lay down your bets, ladies and gentlemen,

The Swedish model Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 10th, 2015

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

Post-Kirchner Argentina Promises More Populist MiseryNo Matter What Party Tops the Election, the Welfare State Wins

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.

El narcotráfico salvó la campaña

After some delays in early voting, Argentineans cast their ballots to elect presidential candidates

Law Requires Bolivian Officials to Speak an Indian Language

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
Ten, nine, ten…
Rocket science is hard. Rocket diplomacy is harder

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.

8%: Brazilian President’s Approval Rating Hits Record Low
The country’s economy is struggling and nation faces a growing corruption scandal

Gunmen shoot Spanish convict dead in front of his home in Brazil
Galician Anxo Antono Valiño had been convicted of murdering a businessman in 2007

Chile ex-spymaster, Manuel Contreras, dies at 86

Santos: Colombia Government Negotiator Met Twice with FARC’s Top Leader

Santos Pisses Away Colombian Tax Dollars on His Own BrandingState Propaganda Makes Mockery of Accountable Presidency

Havana’s hottest spot is a crowded ramp to WiFi bliss
At one the world’s most unusual Web lounges, Cubans have been trying WiFi for the first time

Locarno: Andy Garcia on Hemingway, Family, Directing and Cuba

“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.”

Leaked Documents Blow Rafael Correa’s Spying Ways Wide OpenEcuadorian Watchdog Alleges Long-Term Surveillance, Infiltration of Opposition

String of Driver Murders Invoke Militarized Transport for El SalvadorSánchez Cerén Will Not Negotiate with Narcos

Haitians vote in delayed elections
Haitians vote in legislative elections that have been repeatedly delayed since 2011, in a test of stability for the impoverished nation.


Mexico’s economy was supposed to soar. It’s starting to flop.
President Peña Nieto’s economic reforms have yet to produce growth, and the peso has been battered.

6 Tons of Cocaine Seized in Homemade Submarine

Convicted rapist arrested in Mexican journalist murder case
Still no official motive as to why Rubén Espinosa and four women were brutally killed

US Lifts Restrictions Over Seized Property in Nicaragua

Panama Canal to limit ship draft due to drought

Peru’s Shining Path Rebels still Enslaving Around 200 People

Pain of Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Is Weighing on the Little Guy, Too

St. Lucia to Launch Citizenship-by-Investment Program

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

Obama’s failed ‘charm offensive’ in Venezuela

The week’s posts and podcast:
Sunday palate cleanser: Carlos Copello & Anabela Brogioli

Saturday essay: The Swedish model again, and why it won’t work in Latin America

Venezuela: Food riots

Don’t call that a debate

Another Capt.Louis Renault moment, Mexico: People’s disbelief at official story of El Chapo’s escape

Today’s must-read: It’s Time for an Encyclical on Christian Persecution

Brazil: File this under “Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas”

Argentina: A story in 5 tweets

Hillary’s sinking, roll out Princess Chelsea

Cuba: Hillary’s ignorance

Running out of people’s money: Puerto Rico UPDATED

Venezuela: The shocking state of its health service

Saturday essay: The Swedish model again, and why it won’t work in Latin America

Saturday, August 8th, 2015

No, not this Swedish model,

the socialist economic model, instead.

Socialists sooner or later bring up the exemplary Nordic economies when one talks about the failures of Communism; in my case, when I post on Latin America.

For instance, just this week,

That person assumes I have ignored Scandinavia. I don’t know about “the right” in general, but after hearing for decades how the Scandinavian models would work, today I’ll look at three factors:

  • Taxes and spending
  • Work ethic
  • Rule of law

Each of those factors explain why a Scandinavian economic model can’t work in Latin America.

Taxes and spending:

Running out of people’s money: Puerto Rico UPDATED

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Puerto Rico just defaulted for the first time

The commonwealth paid a mere $628,000 toward a $58 million debt bill due Monday to creditors of its Public Finance Corporation. This will hurt the island’s residents, not Wall Street. The debt is mostly owned by ordinary Puerto Ricans through credit unions.

And (emphasis added)

On Monday, Puerto Rico had to make a monthly debt payment of $483 million. Puerto Rico paid all its debt due except the $58 million due to creditors of its Public Finance Corporation. The government is strategically choosing not to pay the PFC debt because the entities that own the debt, credit unions and ordinary Puerto Ricans, have little legal power to fight back in court.

The Economist:

The PFC’s 99% missed instalment [sic] is unlikely to set off an immediate cascade of lawsuits or further defaults. Its paper is technically nothing more than a “moral obligation”, backed only by a flimsy letter of credit from the Government Development Bank (GDB), and is mostly held by pliant local investors like credit unions. Just three days before the PFC stiffed its lenders, the GDB duly made a $170m payment on its own debt. Nonetheless, the PFC’s default sharply accelerates Puerto Rico’s debt crisis: it extinguishes any hope that the island’s creditors might all emerge unscathed, and cuts off whatever access to short-term financing the government might have had left.

It may well have been Mr García Padilla’s intention to provoke a sense of urgency.. . .After the island passed its own version of Chapter Nine last year, federal courts struck it down, on the grounds that municipal bankruptcy falls exclusively under federal jurisdiction. That left the governor with no choice but to beseech America’s Congress to bring his territory under Chapter Nine, a plea that has so far fallen on deaf ears. By letting the weakest link in its payment chain snap, Puerto Rico has made the spectre of a chaotic, piecemeal default—which once seemed remote—immediate. In theory, that could spur Congress into taking swift action.

Even if the ploy of taking-oneself-hostage were to succeed, however, the extension of Chapter Nine to America’s overseas territories would not be a cure-all. That law would not cover the restructuring of Puerto Rico’s $13 billion of “general-obligation” (GO) debt, which is protected by a constitutional pledge that it must be paid before all other obligations,

What it comes down to is, Puerto Rico has triggered the biggest municipal default in US history (emphasis added)

It implies a sweeping default on much of its $72 billion debt burden, equal to 100% of Puerto Rico’s gross national product (GNP) and more than five times the debt ratio of California or Texas.

That’s what massive overspending looks like.

Former Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño discusses how Puerto Rico can avoid defaulting on debt.

Instapundit calls it “RUNNING OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY.” Yes, but they government defaulted by screwing the people who elected them first, as I linked to above,

“The government is strategically choosing not to pay the PFC debt because the entities that own the debt, credit unions and ordinary Puerto Ricans, have little legal power to fight back in court.”

They ran out of their own people’s money, but you can be assured they will continue to spend like crazy because 20% of the workforce is on government jobs, which gives the ruling party a built-in constituency. As I have pointed out before, it’s in the governor’s best interest to keep those happy, even if it means to default on all debt in order to meet payroll.

The dog days of summer Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Yes. It’s summer in the northern hemisphere. Deal with it.

Audio slideshow: The Welsh in Patagonia, 150 years on

‘Judicial officials sought to delay AMIA cover-up trial’Luciano Hazan is the Justice Ministry’s under-secretary for Criminal Policy and will be representing the Executive in the AMIA cover-up trial. In conversation with the Herald, Hazan pointed fingers at the judges for their reluctance to investigate their colleague’s alleged implication in crimes.

Los presos ahora ganan 46% más que un jubilado

Bolivia Ready to Renew Ties with Chile to Resolve Maritime Claim, at least until the next time.

Good luck with that: Rio’s favelas to accommodate visitors to 2016 Olympics

Chile’s Pinochet covered up report on death of U.S. student, documents say

Colombia’s Ecopetrol to Export 1st-Ever Cargo of Crude to Japan in August

El Monótono Dialogo De Paz En Colombia, ¿Qué Intenciones Tiene?

Colombia’s biggest ever exhumation begins at Medellin rubbish dumpOfficials believe the remains of 300 people could be unearted from La Escombrera (The Dump) as the city begins the long-awaited exhumation

Senators probe political motivations for trafficking report
Corker, Cardin question whether the State Department was motivated by politics to upgrade Cuba and Malaysia in annual report on human trafficking.

Cuba Emerges as Paradise for Gay Tourism

The U.S. now has an embassy in Cuba. But relations are hardly normal.With U.S. Embassy open in Havana, American diplomats face a changing mission.

Secretive White House meeting reveals Obama’s plan to visit Cuba in 2016

Cabarete: Dominican Resort Is a Refuge Twice AbandonedHaitians, who had brought new life to an abandoned seaside hotel, face ejection under new laws and conflict with their island neighbors.

Scraping the barrel
Will Ecuador turn into Latin America’s Greece?

Ecuador’s “Liberation Front” Attacks Newspapers with Homemade BombsSelf-Proclaimed Revolutionaries Debut with Guerrilla Marketing in Guayaquil

Salvadoran Government Deploys Armored Cars to Support Police against Gangs

We need to talk about GuatemalaGuatemala has been described as the worst place in the world to be a child.

Was the PetroCaribe buyback a good deal for Jamaica?

Latinoamérica, ¿Para Qué Utilizan Los Gobiernos Socialistas La Ley?

‘Progress’ but no deal at TPP talks
Negotiators from 12 Pacific nations have finished a week of talks without agreement on a regional trade deal.

Annals of ExcavationUnderworldHow the Sinaloa drug cartel digs its tunnels.


A Transformation in Mexican Migration to the United States, Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire – 27 July 2015 (H/T Mexidata)

Supreme Court ruling allows work to resume on Panama’s 29-MW Barro Blanco hydropower project

Watch: Panama Canal July Update (h/t JC),

Puerto Rico to miss debt payment, signalling default

Here’s why a historic meat packing plant in Uruguay was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ciudad Guayana: Venezuela supermarket looting leaves one dead, dozens detained

Caracazo en Gotas: San Felix Edition

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

Meanwhile, back in Caracastan: Maduro steals foreign-owned property

Venezuela Runs Out of Birth Control

Maduro takes over brewers complex as Venezuela runs out of beer because of lack of barley

The week’s posts and podcast:
Chile: Eat your rock before it gets cold

Brazil: How to make coxinhas

Argentina: Cristina tweets Iran

Answers: Where can women go, instead of Planned Parenthood?

Peru: Shining Path’s shameful prisoner camps

En español: @OLPL visita Bayly

New Jersey: It’s the taxes, stupid.

Why dress up?

Blogging shall resume shortly

Argentina: Tokyo Rose does the Falklands?

Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez still in jail, FP fails

As expected: WH finishing up latest plan for closing Guantánamo

A word about Che merchandise plus US-Latin America this week

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

Puerto Rico: The bets are on

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Wall Street, Seeing Opportunity, Invests in Struggling Hotels in Puerto Rico

On Thursday, the island received a lift from one of its biggest cheerleaders, John A. Paulson, the billionaire hedge fund manager, who is investing $20 million for the San Juan Beach Hotel. This week, Fundamental Advisors, another Wall Street investment firm, bought the iconic El San Juan Resort and Casino for $71 million from Blackstone.

Romantic fools, or do they know something we don’t?

Puerto Rico: Default looms

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Headlines today:
How Socialism Destroyed Puerto Rico, And Why More Defaults Are Looming

Puerto Rico’s PFC did not transfer funds for bond payment -filing. The PFC missed a payment of $93.7 million to a trustee. If it doesn’t make an additional payment on August 1, it could constitute a default.

Mother Jones thinks
Puerto Rico Is Doomed, and It’s Our Fault | Mother Jones. Don’t listen to Mother. The blame for Puerto Rico’s upcoming default rests squarely on the Puerto Ricans’ shoulders.
Stop the infantilizing.

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