Archive for the ‘UN’ Category

Venezuela: The oil teat runs dry

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Earlier this week I mentioned that Venezuela needs to sell its oil between $150-$200/barrel in order to break even. While the country’s economy is increasingly dependent on oil revenues since oil accounts for 95% of all exports, Venezuela ships cut-rate oil to Cuba and 13 other countries. For the last year, Venezuela’s had to cut back:

For a decade, the 13 beneficiaries of Venezuela’s largess have depended deeply on the oil to finance social spending and infrastructure, and rewarded Caracas with diplomatic support on the international stage, regional diplomats said in interviews.

Even as Venezuela pledges to continue the program, the country’s oil exports to the countries fell about 20% through October compared with the same period last year, says ClipperData LLC, a New York data tracker. And last year, Venezuela’s cut-rate oil exports declined 15% from 2012, the International Monetary Fund says.

Petrocaribe may become a thing of the past, which curtails Venezuela’s influence at the OAS and the UN,

The program has cost Venezuela $22.1 billion, with Petrocaribe countries accumulating more than $11 billion in debt through 2013, said Mr. Piñon, basing his calculations on PdVSA data.

In return, Venezuela got loyal allies that voted with Venezuela at the United Nations, the Organization of American States and at other regional bodies, diplomats and officials from four countries said.

Let’s hope the US State Department recognizes this as an opportunity, especially as Russia and Iran widen their scope in our hemisphere.

But I doubt they will.



Venezuela wins U.N. Council seat

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

I told you on October 13:

it’s very likely Chavez’s daughter Maria Gabriela Chavez will soon be sitting next to an American diplomat at the United Nations Security Council.

Sure enough, today:

Venezuela, Malaysia, Angola and New Zealand won seats on the United Nations Security Council on Thursday for two years from Jan. 1, 2015, while a run-off vote between Spain and Turkey was taking place to decide who gets the fifth available spot.

The 193-member U.N. General Assembly elected Venezuela with 181 votes in favor

Somewhere in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin is laughing.

Why Venezuela should not have a seat at the UN Security Council

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Mary O’Grady explains,
THE AMERICAS
A Test for Obama on Venezuela at the U.N.
Cuba’s pawn wants a seat on the Security Council. We should work against it, as we did in 2008.

De facto control of Venezuela by Cuba ought to trouble all peaceable nations. Cuba violated a U.N. embargo on arms shipments to North Korea in 2013 when it put a load of weaponry on a North Korean vessel headed for Asia. The Venezuelan National Guard is a partner of Colombia’s drug-trafficking terrorists. Numerous terrorism experts warn that Venezuela is working closely with both Iran and Hezbollah to make trouble in the West and that the country has become a transit point for Iranian agents seeking to gain a foothold in the Americas.

Permanent members Russia and China would gain a reliable ally on the Security Council by adding Venezuela. It is true that the U.S. has veto power to block dangerous moves by a member. But Venezuela could influence the discussion agenda and would undoubtedly employ Cuba’s legendary propaganda tactics to do so.

Symbolically the elevation of Venezuela to the council would be a win for U.S. foes, and Venezuela knows it.

I don’t see the Obama administration doing anything about it. Instead, I say it’s very likely Chavez’s daughter Maria Gabriela Chavez will soon be sitting next to an American diplomat at the United Nations Security Council.

Argentina: What do Pope Francis and George Soros have in common?

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Answer: Cristina is praying to both of them in her fight to avoid paying at all costs.

Since Argentina’s demotion to “unclassified market” status due to stringent capital controls kicked it off the FTSE’s frontier equity index, Cristina’s playing footsie elsewhere.

Enter Pope Francis, George Soros, and Ban Ki-moon.

Pope Francis meets Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, at the Vatican, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Gentile)©AP

Pope Francis and Argentine president Cristina Fernandez met at the Vatican during the weekend

Argentina appeals to a higher authority in fight with creditors

In New York,

Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich gave no details on what Fernandez and Soros would discuss. Local media reported Fernandez would be looking to shore up support for her unflinching stance against a small group of investors whose decade-long debt row with Argentina triggered July’s default.

Fernandez is in the United States ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, as relations between Buenos Aires and Washington sour over the role a U.S. court played in Argentina’s debt saga.

“Today’s international agenda begins with a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and also George Soros,” Capitanich told reporters.
. . .
Soros’ Quantum Partners hedge fund is one of four creditors that sued BNY Mellon in London last month, accusing the trustee agent of protecting its own interest by obeying the court.

I’m not sure what the hey does the Pope have to do with any of this, but you can do great shopping in Rome on a weekend trip.

While Cristina travels in style, the Argentinian government does not have a strategy to solve its domestic economic problems.

Venezuela: Beyond-the-grave nepotism

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Your country seeks a seat in the UN’s Security Council. Who better than the late dictator’s daughter, who has never held a job?

Security Council-ready!

Chávez Heir Lands First Job: U.N. Envoy
Some say María Gabriela Chávez, a daughter of Venezuela’s late Socialist leader Hugo Chávez, is unprepared to be deputy ambassador to the United Nations, as Venezuela seeks a Security Council seat on the world body.

Ms. Chávez, 34 years old, has never held a formal job and is known as a socialite—the Kardashian of Sabaneta, her father’s hometown—who posts “selfies” on social media, said former diplomats and political analysts. Unlike her older sister, Rosa Virginia Chávez, who studied international relations, the younger Ms. Chávez has demonstrated little inclination for geopolitics.

Rosa Virgina is not to be confused with her other sister, Rosinés Chávez who has demonstrated some, shall we say, unsocialistic tendencies,

while María Gabriela knows all the right people,

She’ll fit right in at the UN.

[Post corrected to add omitted text]


Ecuador whines at the UN Human Rights Council

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Ecuador Times reports that

Today in the Twenty-sixth Session of the Human Rights Council, the Chevron case and its impact on the Ecuadorian Amazon will be submitted. The meeting will be held in Geneva and will finish on June 27.

I doubt that Ecuador will start its presentation with Judge Kaplan’s 500-page decision against Donziger (via Business Roundtable), where Kaplan found not only Donziger but the entire Lago Agrio plaintiff team guilty of fraud,

[Donziger] and the Ecuadorian lawyers he led corrupted the Lago Agrio case. They submitted fraudulent evidence. They coerced one judge, first to use a court-appointed, supposedly impartial, “global expert” to make an overall damages assessment and, then, to appoint to that important role a man whom Donziger hand-picked and paid to “totally play ball” with the [Lago Agrio plaintiffs]. They then paid a Colorado consulting firm secretly to write all or most of the global expert’s report, falsely presented the report as the work of the court-appointed and supposedly impartial expert, and told half-truths or worse to U.S. courts in attempts to prevent exposure of that and other wrongdoing. Ultimately, the [Lago Agrio plaintiff] team wrote the Lago Agrio court’s Judgment themselves and promised $500,000 to the Ecuadorian judge to rule in their favor and sign their judgment. If ever there were a case warranting equitable relief with respect to a judgment procured by fraud, this is it.

However, I fully expect that “ethically diverse demonstrators” may find employment during the HRC junket, as long as there’s any media willing to watch them.


UN: Cuba to chair World Health Assembly

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

The UN believes statistics put out by totalitarian regimes, so, obscene as this may be, it comes as no surprise:
UN Elects Cuba to Chair World Health Assembly Even as Cubans Lack Aspirin, Basic Health

The consensus election today by 194 WHO member states chose the sole candidate, Cuban Health Minister Roberto Tomas Morales Ojeda.

“The sole candidate” makes me suspect that no one reputable would risk their credibility chairing this farce, n’est-ce pas?

UN Watch condemns “UN handing propaganda victory to a dictatorship” and lists several instances of the abhorrent medical conditions Cubans must endure in the island-prison:

While the Cuban articles claimed the Castro regime has achieved numerous health milestones, experts and international observers say the health system is in disarray.

Although Cuba has sent thousands of doctors to Venezuela in exchange for oil, their doctors are considered poorly trained:

Back in 2008 Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez described how, if you’re admitted to a hospital, you must bring everything:

The room has a thin light and the air smells of pain. I begin to unpack what I’ve brought. I take out the little sack of detergent and the aromatic with which I’ll clean the bath; its aroma floods everything. With the bucket we can bathe the lady, using the cup to pour, because the water faucet doesn’t work. For the great scrubbing I brought a pair of yellow gloves, afraid of the germs that spread in a hospital. Mónica tells me to continue unpacking and I extract the package of food and a puree especially for the sick. The pillow has been a wonder and the set of clean sheets manages to cover the mattress, stained with successive effluvia.

The most welcome is the fan, which I connect to two peeled wires hanging from the wall. I continue to unpack and come to the little bag of medical supplies. I have obtained some needles appropriate for the IV, because the one in her arm is very thick and causes pain. I also bought some gauze and cotton on the black market. The most difficult thing—which cost me days and incredible swaps—is the suture thread for the surgery they are going to do tomorrow. I also brought a box of disposable syringes since she yells to high heaven when she sees the nurse with a glass one.

If you want photos, The Real Cuba posts them in all their gut-churning detail.

Could someone please explain why the U.S. continues to host and fund the UN?


The UN Human Rights Council beclowns itself

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Along with Cuba, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam win seats on UN Human Rights Council

New York-based Human Rights Watch said five candidate nations — China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Algeria — have refused to let U.N. investigators visit to check alleged abuses.

If Cuba is not included among those five, it must be because the U.N. investigators have not asked.

They would have their work cut out for them.

Panama: Cuban weapons aboard N. Korean ship part of ‘major deal’

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Boz and Capitol Hill Cubans are posting on this violation on UN sanctions:
Cuban weapons aboard N. Korean ship part of ‘major deal,’ Panama says

Two Cuban MiG-21 jet fighters found aboard a seized North Korean cargo ship three months ago were in good repair, had been recently flown and were accompanied by “brand-new” jet engines, Panamanian officials say.

The assertions deepen the mystery around the Cuban military materiel that was found aboard the 508-foot North Korean freighter Chong Chon Gang, which Panamanian authorities intercepted July 10 off the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal.

“They had jet fuel still inside their tanks,” Foreign Minister Fernando Nunez Fabrega told McClatchy in an interview earlier this month. “They were not obsolete and in need of repair.”

A senior aide to the foreign minister, Tomas A. Cabal, said the deal had been arranged at a meeting June 29 in Havana among Cuban leader Raul Castro, Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frias and Kim Kyok Sik, who was then the chief of the Korean People’s Army general staff. Kim was dismissed from his post in August, a month after the ship was seized.

Expect a strongly-worded letter from the UN to follow.

On their part,

Panama is treading lightly in the case, wary of angering Cuba, which Nunez Fabrega said was “one of the biggest customers of the free zone” in Colon, where it buys abundant goods as a consequence of the five-decade-old U.S. embargo on the island. A ship travels weekly from Colon to Havana to supply Cuba’s tourist hotels.

Is Cuba paying cash for these shipments? If they’re buying on credit, you can bet Panama will never collect.

But then, according to the article,

Panama was eager for the crew and ship to be on their way once North Korea settles a fine of up to $1 million imposed by the Panama Canal Authority for endangering the waterway by transporting undeclared weaponry.

Optimism clearly runs rampant among the Panamanian authorities.

Either that, or that cargo container full of currency is really worth it.

Venezuela: Did anyone miss Maduro at the UN?

Saturday, September 28th, 2013


Maybe a birdie told him to stay away.

As you may have noticed, all the talk at last week’s UN meeting was focused on Obama and Iran, and not on NicoláMaduro, who may enviously look back at the days when Hugo Chávez could make the headlines around the world just by doing stand-up.

Instead, Maduro had to skip the UN altogether and rush back to Venezuela – after signing off oil exploration and gold mining rights to the Chinese (and still coming short on cash) – because

  • while refueling in Vancouver, Canada, he became aware that the DEA could arrest three members of his entourage on charges of drug trafficking, based on information provided by former Aragua state Chavista governor Rafael Isea, now a protected witness for the DEA
  • Cuban spies traveling with Maduro, and identified by Spanish newspaper ABC, would not have been allowed to land in the USA
  • and the fear that, if he prolonged his absence from the country, he may have a coup from the military and/or members of his own party.

Instead Maduro flew back to Caracas and claimed he had to because of not one but two plots against his life, which President Obama’s weakness could not prevent.

Carlos Eire translated the ABC article, which you must read.