Archive for the ‘Uruguay’ Category

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

En español: Entrevista a Susana Mangana sobre refugiados sirios

Monday, September 21st, 2015

H/t Vlad.

Syrians in Uruguay: A developing story of domestic violence?

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Syrian refugees are in the news as they now invade Europe, but they made the news in Latin America earlier this year due to allegations of wife and child abuse.

The video below, which I posted in this morning’s Carnival after translating (below the fold since it starts right away), describes that, after Jose Mujica brought to the country forty-five* members of five families who arrived in October 2014, one of the priests at the Marist location housing them claimed to have witnessed one of the Syrian men repeatedly beat up his wife and children.

[*The number is not clear: While most reports refer to five families, the actual number of people varies from 42 to 45.]

The ensuing investigation was later tabled by the authorities, who decided that the matter was a misunderstanding that cleared up after the families left the Marist shelter for permanent housing (“pero que se solucionaron una vez abandonaron la casa de retiros de los Hermanos Maristas para ir a sus hogares definitivos”), while the local police did not contact directly any of the Syrians.

Ponder that for a moment.

The Syrians were promised before their arrival that no one would interfere with their customs. When the priest interrupted the beating and warned the man that domestic violence is against the law, the man demanded that he and his family be relocated to Europe.

In another instance, a Syrian boy was treated at the Pereira Rossell Hospital for an arm fracture caused by his father’s beating.

At the time Frances Martel reported

Uruguayan President Tabaré Vásquez halted the program, started by predecessor José Mujica, until the government could reassess the costs and benefits to the nation. In February, Uruguay announced that it would no longer take in male Syrian refugees due to a surge in domestic violence in the community, before halting the influx of refugees altogether in March.

Discussing the challenges facing Uruguayan society in assimilating Syrians, Human Rights Secretary Javier Miranda told the Uruguayan legislature how he had encountered child abuse among Syrians.

After the case was dismissed, Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa announced that Uruguay will welcome an additional seven Syrian families with 72 members (Mujica implies it would be an additional 80 people in the video below).

The refugees are receiving housing, health care, education and financial support from the government, but that aid is scheduled to end next year.

Now the five families are camping in protest and demand to be relocated to other countries who may take them, naming lack of economic opportunities in Uruguay,

“I am not afraid to go back to Lebanon,” said 36-year-old Aldees Maher, whose family had initially sought safety in a refugee camp across the border from Syria. “I want a place that guarantees me, my family a life.”

Interestingly (emphasis added),

Maher Aldees’s family, the one that got stranded in Istanbul, had been living in the coastal city of Piriápolis, where local officials accused the parents of not sending their daughters to school. Authorities later said the issue was resolved.

Aldees and his family tried to leave for Serbia, but after 23 days at the Istanbul airport, Turkish authorities sent them back to Uruguay. Another Syrian family, the Ashlebis, joined in the protest.

Mujica, no longer president, claims that the fiasco is due to the protesting Syrians not being used to used to heavy labor since they are of middle-class, white-collar background, and that Mujica had envisioned the program for farm laborers. However, the Ashlebis come from a rural background.

Video below the fold:


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

Uruguay: Syrians don’t like it,

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

they want to go back:
Syrian Refugees Protest in Uruguay, Say Host Nation Lacks Opportunity. Families fleeing civil war say Uruguay is too costly, demand help to move to other countries (emphasis added)

Maher Aldees’s family, the one that got stranded in Istanbul, had been living in the coastal city of Piriápolis, where local officials accused the parents of not sending their daughters to school. Authorities later said the issue was resolved.

Mr. Aldees said they now want to travel to Syria or Lebanon and intend to protest outside the presidential offices until authorities take them to the airport.

Take them to the airport, send them off on a one-way ticket to Damascus.

AFP did a report (in Spanish; h/t Vlad),

Elsewhere, Story Begins To Unravel About Drowned Syrian Boy

Hungarian bishop says pope is wrong about refugees

For WSJ non-subscribers, Reuters (emphasis added)

In Uruguay, a secular country with a tiny Muslim population of about 300, the refugees receive housing, health care, education and financial support from the government. Even so, they have struggled to settle in and relations with locals have been strained.

Update 2:
Venezuela ready to receive 20,000 Syrian refugees, Maduro says

The socialist president reiterated his support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has had close ties to Venezuela in recent years.

“Close ties” in the form of direct flights from Iran.

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 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

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

The unsubsidized Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The week’s headlines in a sentence: While the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare subsidies and gay marriage, the deadline for the Iran negotiations looms and terrorists are blowing up people and pipelines all over the place.

Contraband Economy Booming on the Argentina-Bolivia Border
High Inflation, Tariffs Fuel Thriving Black Market

The location of the judge is rather interesting: Argentine judge orders seizure of Falklands drillers’ assets

Lilian Herraez, a federal judge in Tierra del Fuego, ordered the seizure of $156 million in bank accounts, boats and other property, the government said on Saturday.

Pope sends video-message to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. The guy can’t stay away from socialist throwaway terminology:

“I want to be a witness of this joy of the Gospel and bring to you the tenderness and caress of God, our Father, especially to your children most in need, to the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, to those who are victims of this throwaway culture,” he said.

Brazil to Narrow Inflation Target Range
Brazil will narrow the inflation target range for its central bank starting in 2017, but the center point of the range will remain unchanged at 4.5%. The tolerance band will be cut to a range of 3% to 6%

Working Within the System to Disrupt Brazilian PoliticsRoberto Mangabeira Unger, a Harvard philosopher born in Brazil and raised in Manhattan, has settled into a career as an appointed public figure charged with fostering long-term thinking about Brazil.

Chile’s Bachelet Hits New Low Approval Rating

Colombian army killed civilians to fake battlefield success, rights group saysA new report on “false-positive” killings looks into one of the darkest episodes of the country’s civil war.

FARC rebels kill four and rupture Colombian pipeline

Cardinal SinsA Castro cleric brings disgrace.

Cuban artist pushes boundary between art and politics, and pays a price
What Tania Bruguera’s ordeal in Cuba says about the state of artistic expression “within the Revolution.”

Top Intelligence-Defense Lawmakers Introduce Cuban Military Transparency Act

Double surprise! Cruz and Rubio are “non-whites”!

State Dept: No Change in Iran, Cuba Human Rights, Despite Obama Overtures

Galápagos Residents Decry Fiscal Milking of World Heritage SiteIsland Representative Resigns, Parts Ways with Correa over “Unconstitutional” Law

Guyana Assures Exxon Amid Venezuela Row
Guyana’s president has sought to reassure Exxon Mobil that a territory dispute with Venezuela won’t interfere with the company’s recent oil discovery off the coast of Guyana, one that Caracas claims as its own.

A Haitian border town struggles with new rules in the Dominican RepublicThe Dominican’s new rules have Haitians nervously heading back to a homeland with fewer jobs.

Thousands march in Honduras to demand resignation of president

Thousands of angry, torch-bearing Hondurans marched on Friday to call for the resignation of President Juan Hernandez and demand an independent probe into one of the worst corruption scandals in the country’s history.

PM: Jamaica’s Economic, Industrial Climate In ‘Delicate Situation’

Interesting premise, but premature, Move over, China: Latin America may welcome India. The operative word is may.

Mexican President Undergoes Gallbladder Surgery
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto underwent surgery to have his gallbladder removed and was recovering satisfactorily at a military hospital, officials said.


Nicaragua’s Bizarre Plan to Bury the Panama CanalThe country’s Sandinista government has cut a deal with a reclusive Chinese businessman willing to spend $50 billion on a larger-than-life transport waterway. There are a few unanswered questions, starting with whether Nicaraguans really want it and how much priceless habitat would be wrecked. Traveling the proposed route by motorcycle, boat, and boots, the author hunts for answers.

Odebrecht Wins Contract to Renovate Panamanian City of Colon

Manuel Noriega apologises over military rule of PanamaJailed former dictator gives first interview since 1996 and asks for forgiveness over brutal reign – ‘I want to to close the cycle of the military era’

Peru’s support for Bolivian sea access claim creates tensions with Chile
Chilean President Bachelet cancels next week’s meeting with Peruvian leader Humala

The perfect Summer portrait, A Sleeper Awakened With Color
Frederic Leighton’s “Flaming June” is on loan to the Frick Collection in New York for the next three months.

‘Gourmet cannabis’: Take a peek inside a Uruguay marijuana club , if you must. To paraphrase Dean Wormer, “fat, stoned and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

MUD, the Sausage Fest

Gay marriage, at long last (but not here)

The week’s posts and podcast:
Colombia: FARC blows up oil pipeline

Bloody Friday: France, Tunisia, Kuwait terror attacks UPDATED
Morgenthau on the Iran-terror connection

Ecuador: Demonstrations against Correa

SCOTUS upholds Obamacare subsidies

Venezuela’s deadly colectivos

The other flag controversy: US Embassy in London flies the rainbow flag

Today’s WTH moment: Venezuelan vet arrested for smuggling heroin in puppies UPDATED

Mexico: EL GRAN HERMANO del cartel TE VIGILA

Venezuela: Next stop on the Obama administration’s “normalizing” with dictators?

Podcast: The flag controversy plus US-Latin America stories of the week