Archive for the ‘Uruguay’ Category

Uruguay: High hopes

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Uruguay Has Big Hopes for Pot Industry
Uruguay hopes that its status as the only country to fully regulate the cannabis industry will turn it into a magnet for investment in medical and other applications of the plant

No word as to whether Uruguay hopes that its status as the only country to fully regulate the cannabis industry will turn it into a magnet for investment in the snack food industry.

Cheetos, anyone?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . .


President Mujica makes a sartorial statement.

The Chevron settlement Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 12th, 2014

LatinAmerLast week Chevron received from Patton Boggs, the former #1 lobbying law firm in the country, an apology, a $15million payment, and most remarkably,

Perhaps more unusual is the law firm’s agreement to deliver partners James Tyrrell and Eric Westenberger to Gibson Dunn’s New York offices for depositions overseen by a court-appointed special master. The firm has also agreed to turn over documents, provided its former clients don’t prevail on challenges under the attorney-client privilege.

This apology is phenomenally interesting.

ARGENTINA
Litigious investors ask US Supreme Court to deny Argentina a ‘do-over’ on $1.4B debt ruling

BOLIVIA
Bolivian mayor caught on video groping journalist, and he was persistent, too,

BRAZIL
Is Brazil Losing Global Momentum?

1,500 Attack Brazilian Construction Giant’s HQ

Brazil’s frantic eleventh hour World Cup preparations

CHILE
Chile president to visit Obama on June 30

Bachelet won but Chile police clash with activists as thousands protest for free education

COLOMBIA
Colombia: Hacker Tried to Sabotage Peace Talks

CUBA
Cuba: The Splendid Little War – A Boardgaming Way Review

AIG Fined for Cuba Sanctions Violations

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haiti, Dominican Republic Postpone Meeting

ECUADOR
In Self-Promotion Abroad, Ecuador’s Correa Omits His Repression of Critics at Home

GUATEMALA
A Coffee Crop Withers
Fungus Cripples Coffee Production Across Central America

MEXICO
Mexico to Try Former State Governor for Embezzlement

NICARAGUA
BORDER DISPUTE
Costa Rica’s foreign minister accuses Russia of helping militarize Nicaragua

Russia “announced the desire to have bases in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, with the euphemistic name of ‘bases for refueling and resupplying’ for its ships. But we know it’s not just about that,” Castillo said.

PANAMA
Panama’s Construction Union Ends Strike

PERU
A 5,000 feet free fall: Peru air force officer survives fall after parachute malfunction

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Unveils Economic Recovery Plan Details

URUGUAY
Monsanto plans to patent genetically modified marijuana in Uruguay

VENEZUELA

 

Policeman killed in Venezuela after security forces break up protester camp
Violent clashes between police and protesters after troops arrest 243 students in pre-dawn raids on tented camps in Caracas leaves one officer dead

Venezuelans Ask What Now After Protest Camp Raids

Machurucuto, 1967 – Venezuela’s Bay of Pigs: Fidel Castro’s first ploy to lay his hand on Venezuela’s oil riches

Can the United States Play a Role in Venezuela?

Is Venezuela seeking the status of pariah state?

BREAKING NEWS: Ros-Lehtinen Venezuela sanctions bill passes House Foreign Affairs Committee, clears first hurdle to holding Maduro accountable

Capital flight in Venezuela could well exceed $405.8 billion

One for the “no sh*t, Sherlock” file: The ‘Dialogue’ in Venezuela Is a Fraud
More than 500 citizens have been arrested since negotiations began.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Panama: And now, price controls

The Boring Veins of Latin America

En español: Terapia Intensiva 206

Chile: Down with entrepreneurs

Ecuador: Patton Boggs to pay Chevron $15 million

Colombia: Another campaign aide quits

Venezuela: Armed civilians fight protesters

Colombia: Santos campaign chief resigns

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
What the #hashtag?

Milton Friedman and the Sahara, Caracas and water

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week


The Boring Veins of Latin America

Friday, May 9th, 2014

It took Eduardo Galeano 44 years to figure out his own book was boring, poorly written bs; it took me 20 minutes. Years later, Hugo Chavez gifted it to Obama,

“This will go a long way towards permanently curing your insomnia, Barack.”

“The open veins of Latin America” is a boring undocumented book, admits his author
Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano said in an interview published on the Argentine newspaper Perfil.com that he considers his 1971 book “The Open Veins of Latin America”, by far his best-known work, to be so bad he will no longer read from it during public appearances.

The book and Galeano are frequently quoted in songs, films and books, and since the 1997 edition has a prologue from the Chilean author Isabel Allende. Galeano, whose real birth name is Eduardo Hughes Galeano (in Spanish first name is father’s and second mother’s), and now a comfortable board member of pharmaceutical labs in Uruguay, thus joins a list of Latin American left wing intellectuals who after having influenced with ideology whole generations don’t feel comfortable with some of their most emblematic works.

But fear not, Latin American Studies programs will continue to have it in their curricula.

And, while I appreciate your buying through my blog’s Amazon links, don’t bother buying The Open Veins of Latin America. Read this instead.

The cinco de mayo Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Today is May 5th, in Spanish cinco de mayo, and whether you celebrate or not, ignore the insecure who don’t want you to avail yourself of business opportunities.

juan_soloStay thirsty, my friends.

(Juan Solo via Doug Mataconis‘s FaceBook feed)

ARGENTINA
ARGENTINA Y LA NARCO-CORRUPCION

Slums in Buenos Aires
The unplugged
Efforts to integrate shantytowns are hampered by a lack of trust and money

BRAZIL
Welfare and tax boost for Brazil poor
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff announces an increase in social security payments and tax cuts ahead of her re-election campaign in October.

Poll Shows Brazil President Could Face Runoff
The latest poll of Brazilian voters is showing for the first time that President Dilma Rousseff may face a runoff in October’s presidential election
due to a lackluster economy.

Inflation is running around 6%, while economic growth isn’t expected to surpass 2% this year.

CHILE
Chile’s electoral system
Ending the permanent draw

COLOMBIA
A Dutch Guerillera: The Foreign Face of FARC’s Civil War
Tanja Nijmeijer of Holland spent more than 10 years fighting with the rebel group FARC in the jungles of Colombia. More recently, she has been part of the guerillas’ peace negotiating team in Cuba. What drives her?

A Building Boom in Bogotá
With a growing economy, a declining crime rate and an influx of developers, Colombia’s capital is seeing a rise in luxury housing; Richard Meier’s vision in glass and steel

Rescuers search for Colombia miners
Rescuers are using large mechanical diggers to try to reach people trapped underground after an illegal gold mine collapsed in Colombia.

CUBA
Pastor/ex-political prisoner Omar Gude and wife testify on lack of religious liberty in Cuba

Castro’s Russian Power Play Over the European Union

Castronoid lobby launches propaganda campaign on Twitter, on the Web, and in Washington D.C

ECUADOR
Ecuadorian president demands that indigenous group give up defamers
Rafael Correa accuses Kichwa leaders of acting above the law in holding three opposition activists convicted of defaming him

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador: Ex-President Faces Charges
Former President Francisco Flores will face embezzlement and other corruption charges related to what prosecutors said Wednesday was the misappropriation of at least $5.3 million in loans from Taiwan during his tenure, from 1999 to 2004.

GUATEMALA
Attorney General in Guatemala Excluded From Re-election Bid
Claudia Paz y Paz, who has taken on a former dictator and top drug traffickers, was left off of a shortlist of candidates to be considered for re-election.

HONDURAS
Honduras Detains 9 Undocumented Cuban Migrants en Route to U.S.

Honduras children ‘killed by gangs’
Authorities in Honduras are investigating the deaths of at least seven children who may have been murdered after refusing to join criminal gangs.

JAMAICA
Jamaica scraps bank withdrawal tax, but Paco Santos may have had a business opportunity:

MEXICO
MEXICO CONSIDERS INCREASE IN MARRIAGE AGE TO 18

Mexico seizes ship carrying 68,000 tonnes of illegal iron
Mexican authorities say they have seized a ship belonging to a drugs cartel which was carrying 68,000 tonnes of illegal iron ore.

NICARAGUA
Costa Rica warns Russia is arming Nicaragua

Last month, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his country was “committed to further strengthening and modernising the army” with the help of any country willing to provide aid.

He did not give details of an agreement between Nicaragua and Russia.

But Russia’s ambassador in Managua had confirmed in March that Moscow is interested in building a military resupply base in Nicaragua.

Russian defense chief Sergei Shoigu has said that Russia is weighing increasing its military presence in countries including Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela – particularly bases to refuel Russian warplanes far from home.

PANAMA
Juan Carlos Varela Declared Victor in Panamanian Presidential Vote
Current Vice President Has 39% of the Vote With 60% of Votes Counted
, with 76% turnout:

Panama’s economy has grown by an average of more than 8% in recent years and is expected to expand by 7% this year, by far the best performance in the Americas. Since 2002, poverty has been slashed from more than 40% to a quarter of the population.

“One good thing is that that there are no big ideological differences,” Nicolás Ardito-Barletta, a former World Bank economist who served less than a year as president in the mid-1980s, said before the vote. “Nobody’s going to kill the goose.”

In Panama Vote, a Noncandidate Matters
Presidential elections in Panama on Sunday feature a crowded field of seven candidates, but are widely seen here as a referendum on one man who won’t appear on the ballot: conservative President Ricardo Martinelli.

PERU
Visit Choquequirao, Peru
Explore Peru’s famous Incan ruins in the lesser-known but still breathtaking city of Choquequirao

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico leads world in Walgreens, Walmart stores per sq. mile

Drug Trade Takes a Toll on Puerto Rico, Police Chief Says

URUGUAY
Uruguay unveils legal marijuana plan
Uruguay’s authorities reveal how marijuana will be produced and sold legally in the country at less than $1 a gramme.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan government arrests 58 foreigners ‘for inciting protests’
Interior Minister denounces alleged plot to promote unrest and overthrow Venezuela’s government as it is revealed dozens of foreign nationals are among the detained

Venezuelan Jewish Leader Says Anti-Semitism Has ‘Exploded’ in Recent Years in Latin America

Tales Of Bolivarian Inefficiency III: Chávez’ Frozen Cuban Dream

Chávez initially promised that Coppelia ice cream would be made with Venezuelan products and supplies. Milk products from Lacteos Los Andes (now practically bankrupt), sugar from CVA Azucar (now shut down, see first post) and orange, guava, mango, peach and coconut.

Well, 18 months later and now Chávez is dead, Coppelia produces ice cream, mostly creamy flavors, in irregular and limited fashion. Raw materials and supplies are all imported. Forget about all those fruit flavors, but its manager says raw materials come from Lacteos Los Andes, which is practically shut down. [See also Chavez’s Farming Utopia Withers as Pet Projects Abandoned]

The Money-Losing Machine in Caracas
Forget Chávez and his Bolivarian Revolution — it’s oil that wrecked the Venezuelan state.

Which brings us, finally, to the million-dollar question: In post-Chávez Venezuela, who has the political capital to institute the deep and painful reforms the country requires to break out of this wicked cycle? If Chávez himself — who was the closest to God you can get in Venezuelan politics — didn’t dare to touch the gasoline subsidy or move against the Armed Forces’ involvement in organized crime, who would dare? In the answer to that question, more than in the epic battles painted by the likes of María Corina Machado, lies the key to Venezuela’s long term future.

May 1 follies

Cedice: Fighting Socialism In Venezuela: The Work Of A Heroic Think Tank

The official corruption
The General Comptroller’s Office just published its latest report, and between lines, front firms which got away with dollars came to the spotlight again. The following list presents the irregularities admitted by the Venezuelan Government

The week’s posts and podcast:
Nestor fever #PoneleNestorATodo: Tympanoctomys Kirchnerorum UPDATED

Chile: Bienvenido, Putin

Mexico: Impunity for attacks on the press

@MarkSteynOnLine on the Benghazi lies

Highjacker returns from Cuba, objects to terms of conviction

Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez’s jail birthday

6 good writers from Latin America + 1

Iran in Latin America: Must-read report

Argentina: Trade surplus plummets

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
‘Dude, this was like two years ago’, and don’t miss the chart.

Brazil: Welcome to Usama’s!

Podcast:
“Foreign investment reforms” in Cuba PLUS US-Latin America this week


The Easter Week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 21st, 2014

LatinAmerYesterday was Easter Sunday, and we celebrate it, and, possibly, Spring.

ARGENTINA
How Argentina’s Default Could Be New York’s Loss
The commercial capital depends on U.S. courts to hold governments to their promises.

Battle over Argentina’s debts heads to Supreme Court

HACER’s Amicus Brief Filed with U.S. Supreme Court

BOLIVIA
Cónsul de Bolivia en Nueva York: Personajes emblemáticos del narcotráfico y la corrupción representan a Bolivia

BRAZIL
The road to Rio… by scooter
Shunning traditional air travel, one England fan has decided to take the scenic route to Brazil for the World Cup – making the journey on a Vespa scooter

Police in Brazil’s Bahia State End Strike
Police in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia on Thursday called off a strike after accepting terms offered by the state government.

CUBA

Easter No. 3 for a Prisoner of Castro
Bearing witness to Cuba’s political persecution costs Sonia Garro her freedom.

MLB’s Next Headache: Cartels, Gangsters, and Their Cuban Superstars
The baseball world has been stunned by reports the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig was smuggled from his homeland by a drug cartel, and a Miami gangster allegedly now owns 20% of his astronomical contract.

Did USAID Wander Into CIA Territory by Running Cuba Op?
A rudimentary Twitter-style app crafted to stoke protests in Cuba is making some on the Hill screech.

HAITI
Housing Effort Said to Lag
A post-earthquake housing program in Haiti financed by the United States Agency for International Development has delivered only a quarter of the planned number of houses.

HONDURAS
US Air Base in Honduras Delivers Supplies to Mountain Village

JAMAICA
Govt’s plan to raise $6.7 billion

LATIN AMERICA
World leaders pay tribute to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Colombian author praised as a literary giant who changed Latin Americans’ thinking, after his death at the age of 87

MEXICO
Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

NICARAGUA
Earthquakes diminish in Nicaragua, but country remains on red alert

PANAMA
The election is scheduled for May 4: Panama’s Seven Presidential Candidates Debate Before Vote.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay Busts International Drug Trafficking Ring

PERU
Thousands evacuated in Peru after volcano warning
Increased activity of Ubinas volcano in southern Peru leads to state of emergency with 4,000 people and their 30,000 animals told to evacuate

PUERTO RICO
Vice: Legalize Prostitution or Marijuana? Puerto Rico Is Looking for Ideas to Solve Debt Crisis

This is What Happens When You Register Your Guns

Salsa legend Cheo Feliciano dies
Puerto Rican salsa singer and composer Cheo Feliciano dies in a car crash in his native island aged 78.

URUGUAY
In pictures: Gauchos at Criolla Week rodeo in Uruguay

VENEZUELA
Maduro [sic] First 365 Days As President Of Venezuela

Venezuela’s Unending Ordeal

Someone in Maduro’s government must be held responsible for the deaths

¿Cómo conquistó Cuba a Venezuela?
La respuesta es Hugo Chávez. Dejar entrar a los cubanos fue la expresión de su poder absoluto

Desde su inicio en 1959, una prioridad de la política exterior del régimen cubano ha sido la creación de vastas redes de apoyo a su causa. Sus servicios de espionaje, su diplomacia, propaganda, ayuda humanitaria, intercambios juveniles, académicos y culturales, y el apoyo en otros países a ONG, intelectuales, periodistas, medios de comunicación y grupos políticos afines han sido pilares básicos de su estrategia internacional. Esto lo hacen todos los países, pero pocos han tenido la necesidad de darle tanta prioridad y durante tanto tiempo como Cuba. La supervivencia económica y política del régimen ha dependido de su éxito en tener aliados en otros países que, a su vez, puedan influir sobre sus gobiernos en apoyo a la isla.

Incitatii Bolivariani

Students add Easter twist to dwindling Venezuela protests

The week’s posts and podcast:
Mexico: 7.5 earthquake on Good Friday had warning

Cuba/Venezuela: $10,000 “melange of Communism” trips

Cuba: The great unwashed, by governmental decree

Venezuela: Inspired by Marx!

Venezuela: No amnesty for jailed opposition

Panama: Martinelli strikes back

Chile: 15 dead in #Valparaiso

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, RIP, with additional comment here.

Mad Men’s somber final season opener

The week’s podcast:
The latest from Colombia plus other US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio and Cecilia Torres.


The Holy Week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 14th, 2014

LatinAmerIt’s Holy Week, and taxes are due tomorrow – not exactly the most cheerful way to start a week.

ARGENTINA
Federal police launch huge raid on Argentina’s ‘drug capital’
More than 3,000 federal agents involved in raids on around 80 ‘bunkers’ in the Argentine city of Rosario, plagued by violence between drug gangs

YPF, Chevron to Invest $1.6 Billion in 2014 in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta
Both companies will share equally in the investment outlay, which will go toward drilling 170 wells and building production facilities in Loma Campana, Neuquen
. Good luck with that.

Argentina hit by general strike over high inflation and taxes

Metro, train and bus services around the country have been paralysed, as Ignacio de los Reyes reports
Public transport in Argentina has been severely disrupted by a huge nationwide strike against the economic policies of the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

So, of course, Cristina’s trying to create a diversion: UK Falklands military exercises ‘provoke’ Argentina

BOLIVIA
Is There A Connection Between Hillary Clinton’s ‘Shoe-icide’ Attacker And Che Guevara?

But while everyone is talking about the shoe, little is talked about what the woman also threw along with it: a copy of a Department of Defense document labeled confidential and dated August 1967; it referred to an operation “Cynthia” in Bolivia. Operation “Cynthia” was a Bolivian army maneuver to capture Argentinean doctor and Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s economic problems cloud 2014 elections
Brazil’s macroeconomic picture poses problems for the country’s 2014 elections, reports Bloomberg’s David Ingles

Fighting breaks out in Rio de Janeiro as police move to clear 5,000 squatters from buildings

Brazil 2014: less than half of country favour hosting World Cup
Just 48 per cent of Brazilians are in support of the country hosting this year’s tournament, which begins in June

CHILE
Fire destroys 500 homes in Valparaiso
Ambulance crews have treated residents for smoke inhalation but so far there have been no deaths

COLOMBIA
Keep FARC leader Timochenko alive for peace?

Colombia has a loose-tongued president.

Yesterday, Juan Manuel Santos told us he knew where FARC commander alias Timochenko is hiding, but claimed he’d “think twice” before ordering a shoot-to-kill.

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica Installs Coastal Radar to Monitor Drug Smuggling

CUBA
Families of Shootdown Victims: No Spies for Gross Exchange

UPDATED | Cuban political prisoner Lamberto Hernández Plana released after 23 years in Castro gulag

French Foreign Minister Visits Cuba
A French foreign minister visited Cuba for the first time in more than 30 years Saturday, traveling to the communist-run nation at a time when it is seeking to attract more foreign investment and improve ties with the European Union.

ECUADOR
It’s what you call a totalitarian democracy: Does Ecuador’s leader aspire to a perpetual presidency?
Ecuador’s constitution bars Rafael Correa from running for the fourth term. But this won’t stop him from seeking reelection if ‘the people’ want it, he hints.

JAMAICA
Entrepreneurs demand ‘respect’ in Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Chinese lending to Latin America
Flexible friends
China lends disproportionately to countries that lack other options
and, while on the subject of China, A Pax Sinica in the Middle East? Some Conjectures

Andres Oppenheimer: Latin America’s forecasts may be too rosy

MEXICO
Mexico prepares first illegal drug financing blacklist
Mexico’s cartels launder billions of dollars a year made by shipping illegal drugs to U.S.
with a proviso,

[Mexican Finance Minister Luis] Videgaray said individuals identified by OFAC [the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control], or in a similar list put out by the United Nations, could end up being sanctioned in Mexico but that his administration would not necessarily implement all U.S.-identified targets.

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua Sees Series of Arrow Killings of Dogs using crossbows and custom carbon arrows.

PANAMA
Panama Canal expansion draws bigger customers, and criticism
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal, one of the busiest waterways in the world. A massive building project is underway there to widen it for larger ships, but the expansion has not been undisputed.

PERU
Peru Arrests 24 for Alleged Ties to Shining Path Rebels

Bello
Peru’s Italian job
Economic success cannot indefinitely co-exist with political weakness
The “Italian model” holds that the important thing is that the economy was run by responsible technocrats. How’s that working out?

The real lesson from Italy is that if the political system is unable to act in the long-term interest of the majority, it ends up contaminating the economy with its failures. Peru is a democracy without meaningful parties. A regional election in October is likely to repeat the last one, in which 23 of the 25 regional presidents were independents. Thanks to mining and gas royalties, they command a big chunk of public money. One important region, Áncash, has become a mafia mini-state. Ten political opponents of the regional president, César Álvarez, have been murdered after denouncing corruption. His critics accuse Mr Álvarez, who denies all wrongdoing, of having bought off prosecutors. This month Mr Humala froze Áncash’s bank accounts.

It always amazes me that countless “models” – the Danish model, the Swedish model, etc. – are held as examples worth emulating in Latin America, instead of free market capitalism.

PUERTO RICO
Vatican Clears Puerto Rico Bishop Daniel Fernandez in Abuse Case

URUGUAY
Uruguay to make medical marijuana available to prisoners
Any inmates who have been prescribed marijuana to improve their physical or mental health will have access to it according to the country’s drug tsar

VENEZUELA
Venezuela: sector de la oposición rechaza diálogo

Venezuela Update: Violence, protests and … talks?

Massive repression against protestors in Venezuela by security forces of Cuba-backed dictatorship

Venezuela’s Protest Movement Fights The Ghost Of Chavez
The legacy of Hugo Chavez hangs over Venezuela — and the country’s protest leaders are having a hard time bringing his followers into their fold.
Especially with the armed motorcycle gangs threatening them.

Venezuela’s old men have a dialogue

Venezuela gives Cuba three aircraft to transport Raúl Castro
The aircrafts –two Dassault Falcon 50 and one Falcon 900– are worth some USD 100-110 million

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: No food in the shops, but 3 jets for Raul

El libro que hay que leer: En español: Infobae entrevista a Casto Ocando, autor de Chavistas en el Imperio

And now for a Venezuela roundup

Ecuador: Rafael Correa at Yale UPDATED

Brazil: Airports not ready yet

Mexico: en español, Terapia Intensiva 203

Mike Hammer goes to Chile

New book: Chavistas en el Imperio

Cuba: Alan Gross on hunger strike – later Gross ends hunger strike in Cuba

At Da Tech Guy:
Bye-bye, Elementary

Cuba’s American hostage

Podcast:
Dr Gross in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador & US-Latin America stories of the week


The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 31st, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina Is Joined In The Supreme Court By The Coalition Of Weasels

Why Argentina Is Struggling to Find Lifelines

Argentina Moves to Trim Subsidies
Argentina will cut expensive natural-gas and water subsidies this year as it struggles with growing deficits that have been financed through inflation-fueling money printing.

BARBADOS
US Congress honours T&T and Barbados born judges

BOLIVIA
Bolivia clashes over anti-drugs base
Dozens of people in Bolivia clash with police in a protest against the construction of a military anti-drugs base in a coca-growing area

CHILE
Chile’s Codelco 2013 profit halves

COLOMBIA
Colombia current account deficit ends 2013 at 3.4 percent, “as lower prices for some key exports contributed to the near halving of the Andean nation’s trade surplus.”

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica’s two top political parties agree to runoff presidential debate, with or without candidates

In lieu of a candidate to support, PLN lawmaker Luis Villanueva said the campaign was about “ideas, programs and the emphasis” of each party.

CUBA
Azuuuucar !!! Chong Chon Gang returns for another load

Ukraine Angle to Cuba’s “Purchase” of Russian Antonov Planes

Tread carefully in Cuba’s ‘open’ economy: Experts

ECUADOR
Ecuador President Rafael Correa to Speak at Harvard
Has been criticized for anti-American rhetoric, crackdown on press freedoms

Correa has long pursued a multi-billion dollar judgment against oil company Chevron for alleged pollution that occurred in Ecuador’s Lago Agrio region. A U.S. federal judge ruled earlier this month that the judgment could not be enforced in America because the plaintiffs’ attorneys bribed a judge in Ecuador, ghostwrote purportedly neutral scientific studies, and conspired to break the law.

Correa in December dissolved a nongovernment organization protesting state oil drilling in the Amazon. He previously called the Free Beacon“corrupt” for reporting on the Chevron case.

Correa has also emulated Chavez by frequently decrying the alleged “imperial” influence of the United States in Latin America. He has expelled an American ambassador, shut down a joint U.S. anti-drug base, and grantedasylum to WikiLeaks founder and privacy advocate Julian Assange despiteallegations that Correa’s government has spied on reporters.

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador opposition admits defeat
El Salvador’s Arena party finally accepts the defeat of its candidate to former rebel leader Salvador Sanchez Ceren in a tight vote earlier this month.

JAMAICA
The Petrocaribe Trap

LATIN AMERICA
Life after the commodity boom
Instead of the crises of the past, mediocre growth is the big risk—unless productivity rises

As Obama Dismisses Russia As “Regional,” It Expands Its Reach

Latin Leftists with Blood on Their Hands

MEXICO
Stranded: In One Week Authorities Found 370 Abandoned Immigrant Children Wandering Around In Mexico

Mexico Intercepts 63 Guatemalans Headed for U.S.

OIL
Here Comes $75 Oil
Lower energy costs will have a salutary effect on the U.S. economy. Not so Russia, where oil provides 50% of government income.

PANAMA
Crimea: The Panama precedent

PARAGUAY
Cocaine Distribution Hub Dismantled in Paraguay

PERU
Peru Received $2.7 Billion in Remittances During 2013

PUERTO RICO
Census Reveals Population Drop Across Puerto Rico by 3%

URUGUAY
Uruguay To Track Pot By Genetic Markers

VENEZUELA
The Obama Administration seems indifferent to the crisis in Venezuela. Why?

US Senator Menendez Calls for International Condemnation of Venezuela

Lawsuit filed in Miami accuses Venezuela top official, Diosdado Cabello, of bribery
A lawsuit filed in Miami accuses the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly of receiving at least $50 million in bribes from a company doing business in that country.

Venezuelan government takes on crossword writers in protest crackdown
After expelling an opposition parliamentarian and arresting three air-force generals, the Venezuelan government has now taken aim at a new enemy: crosswords

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: How Hugo Chávez turned the country over to Cuba

Brazil: We shall soon be hearing about the “excellent healthcare”

Venezuela: more censorship, in “one of the most democratic nations on Earth”

#ThanksLarry: In praise of Larry Kudlow

The Isaías, on @Instapundit’s post

#SOSVenezuela: Marco Rubio’s speech

Mexico: Navigators helping people sign up for Obamacare regardless of citizenship

Mexico’s Radio Tecnico: How The Zetas Cartel Took Over Mexico With Walkie-Talkies

Venezuela: Slingshots vs tanks

En español: Terapia intensiva #201

Venezuela: Leopoldo López, Hun School alumnus

Uruguay: Gitmo releases will be free to leave

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
No, Joe, illegals are not citizens

Book review – Eyes On Target: Inside Stories from the Brotherhood of the U.S. Navy SEALs

Uruguay: Gitmo releases will be free to leave

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

He probably doesn’t want to upset the folks in the tri-border area:

Mujica: Guantánamo detainees could leave Uruguay 

President José Mujica said in an interview Monday that any Guantánamo detainees his country takes will be treated as refugees and will be free to travel wherever they wish, even if they have promised the United States that they’ll stay in the South American country for at least two years.

Mujica told El Espectador radio that Uruguay has tentatively agreed to take four Syrians and a Palestinian who have been held at the military detention center in the U.S.-held corner of Cuba.

Mujica denied that the five are dangerous and said that “in no way” would Uruguay prevent them from traveling.

While he was at it, Mujica also said he’ll skip meeting Pres. Obama in Washington, thank you.

The St. Patrick’s Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s day! If you would like to read a novel about an Irishman in Latin America, I recommend El sueño del celta / The Dream of the Celt: A Novel, by Mario Vargas Llosa. (Warning: It can be gruesome at times)

ARGENTINA
Paris Club invites Argentina to hold debt negotiation

Pope Francis a year on: A friend reveals a very special gift
As Pope Francis marks his first anniversary in the Vatican, an Argentine silversmith explains how he has enlisted millions to help him craft the perfect present for his friend

Soaring Prices Fuel Frustrations Among Weary Argentines
Since the peso was devalued, Argentines have grappled with one of the world’s highest inflation rates, tilling the ground for social unrest, including a strike by schoolteachers and police sit-ins.

BOLIVIA
Petrobras Makes Its Entry into Eastern Bolivia Official

BRAZIL
Brazil World Cup: Fifa scraps speeches to avoid protest

His name is Eduardo Campos: Brazilian Politician Heats Up Election
In Brazil’s poor northeast, an upstart presidential hopeful is shaking up this year’s election race by spotlighting a sensitive issue ahead of the Brazilian-hosted soccer World Cup contest: soaring murder rates.

In Crisis, Rio Tries to Pacify Its Slums
Four community police officers have died in line of duty since February.

CHILE
Chile Earthquake: Magnitude 6.7 Temblor Hits Off Northern Coast Of Chile, Prompting More Than 100,000 To Evacuate

Mysterious underground caves discovered in Chile
A group of researchers in Chile discover 20 underground caves which could help unlock mysteries about how continents are formed

COLOMBIA
Colombian Left Forms United Front for Presidential Contest

Colombia’s elections; a nation divided

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica describes as “outrageous” exclusion from Ethical Traveler list

CUBA
Cuban dictatorship seeks more prison time for 2 imprisoned labor activists

Cuba Participates in “Friends of Assad” Meeting in Iran

ECUADOR
Chevron and Ecuador
Out of Hollywood

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador: Officials Confirm Ex-Guerrilla’s Victory
El Salvador’s electoral tribunal on Thursday confirmed that a former guerrilla commander during the country’s civil war emerged from Sunday’s presidential election with the most votes.

HONDURAS
Judge, Attorney Gunned Down in Honduras

JAMAICA
Jamaica dancehall star Vybz Kartel guilty of murder

LATIN AMERICA
CHAIRMAN SALMON TO SECRETARY KERRY: “WE NEED A BETTER STRATEGY IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE”

MEXICO
Don’t Celebrate Mexico’s Reforms Just Yet
Deficit spending is heading higher and the rule of law remains weak.

Enrique Peña Nieto Says He Wants To “Hit Crime Hard” During Michoacan Speech

PANAMA
Deal over Panama Canal expansion
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) approves a deal to end a dispute over $1.6bn (£1bn) cost overruns that delayed the work to widen the waterway.

PERU
Peru Naked Tourists: Government Wants Visitors To Stop Stripping In Machu Picchu

PUERTO RICO
The Next Financial Catastrophe You Haven’t Heard About Yet: Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
Uruguay not seen setting drug liberalisation trend: U.N. official

VENEZUELA
A Growing Crisis in Post-Chavez Venezuela

The crisis in Venezuela
Another day, more bodies

In Venezuela, Conciliatory Talk but Combative Tactics

One Bottle, Then This: My Afternoon at UCV

Some people never learn: Jennifer McCoy of the Carter Center promotes herself

To Those That Think Maduro Is Not A Dictator: ¿Qué Pasa en Venezuela? by Foro Penal Venezolano

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: #SOSVenezuela and the war against the Chuckys

#SOSVenezuela: Maria Corina calls for protests today, Maduro warns protesters “We are coming for you”

Ted in tats

Sean Penn: Photoshop, or nitwit?

Colombia: FARC & ELN recruited 1,387 children in the past two years.

#SOSVenezuela in tweets

Puerto Rico: Hedge funds <3 the new bonds

Cuban endurance sports: Meet world-class windsurfer Henry Vergara Negrin

En español: Unidad de quemados

Venezuela: Protesting doctors, 1st foreign casualty

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Biden goes to Chile

#Chile: Bachelet’s inauguration LIVEFEED

Podcast:
Elections in El Salvador plus other US-Latin America issues.


The Winter Olympics week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 10th, 2014

While the Sochi accommodations are nowhere near as nice as those in the more modest hotels in our hemisphere, Mexico sent the most interesting skier in the world, Bermudans wore shorts, and the guys from the Caymans wore shorts and flip-flops (which may explain why there only three). Dominica, Tortola of the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica (whose bobsled is now complete), Paraguay, Brazil, Peru and the US Virgin Islands also have athletes in Sochi.

ARGENTINA
Argentina bus crash near Mendoza kills at least 18

COUNTING THE COST
Argentina’s great decline
It has gone from being one of the world’s wealthiest nations to a serial defaulter, but can it get back on track?

Argentina: Repeat Economic Offender

ARGENTINA FREE FALL
Kirchner Government Doubles Down In Its War Against Math

Argentina is doubling down in its war against math. The WSJ reports that political activists loyal to President Kirchner are publicly targeting retailers by putting posters of the executives up all over Buenos Aires. The posters accuse the leaders of Walmart and other companies of fueling the country’s ruinous inflation by raising prices, even as the government continues to devalue the official currency and ignore traditional IMF economic policy.

Argentina to US senators: Show a little respect

BELIZE
A magical world at Francis Ford Coppola’s luxe resorts in Belize
Need isolation? Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge is in the middle of the untamed, natural beauty of a Belizean forest preserve. Need local culture? Turtle Inn is on the coast near the fishing village of Placencia

BOLIVIA
Bolivia floods kill 38, more heavy rains forecast

The European Union (EU) Thursday called on Bolivia to respect the ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in favor of British power generator Rurelec PLC, said an official. US$41 million.

BRAZIL
Brazil may face water shortages during World Cup, group says, but I’ll bet it won’t be like the Sochi water.

Removida delegada que apura ligação de Lula com mensalão

Responsável pelo inquérito que investiga a suposta participação do ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva no esquema do mensalão, a delegada Andrea Pinho foi removida do cargo nesta sexta-feira, 7. O inquérito que tem Lula como alvo será tocado por outro delegado, ainda não designado que pode pedir novas diligências ou o arquivamento do caso.

CHILE
Chile cool: art, music and graffiti in laid-back Valparaíso
The Chilean city of Valparaíso is alive with avant-garde culture and vibrant street art. Think mini Berlin by the seaside

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s media are wrong; election is up for grabs

Photo of Pres. Santos shaking hands with Timochenko, the FARC leader, back in the day, “If you want Timochenko as president and Iván Márquez in the Senate, you know who to vote for in the upcoming elections.”

COSTA RICA
‘Black Heart’ in Brazil heat drives coffee turnaround h/t DP

CUBA
Gorki Aguila, Cuban Rocker Faces Sham Trial

Cuba Regime Supporters Caught Off Guard with Reaction to Fanjul Story

Oh Happy Day! NBC refers to Communism as “pivotal experiment”

The Truth About Che Guevara

ECUADOR
Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon before:

Freedom of speech in Ecuador
Drawn and quartered
The government orders a newspaper to “correct” a critical cartoon

Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon after:

EL SALVADOR
JJ Rendón is suing Salvador’s president Mauricio Funes for $100 on defamation of character and slander from Funes calling him “a fugitive from justice, a rapist.” (link in Spanish) I hope Rendón wins, and gets to collect.

GUATEMALA
Claudia Paz y Paz, A Guatemalan crusader is reined in

Guatemalan court upholds top prosecutor’s ouster

HONDURAS
Democracy

MEXICO
In Apatzingán:Mexican Vigilantes Enter Key City in Michoacán State
Vigilantes Aim to Take Control of City from Organized Crime Group

THE AMERICAN VIGILANTE VERSUS THE MEXICAN CARTEL

Sochi 2014: ‘Mexican prince’ ready to hit slopes in Mariachi suit

Well, he already was successful lobbying against soft drinks: Look who’s giving advice to Mexico City? Señor Bloomberg. I suggest he brush up his Spanish,

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua: Ortega allowed to run for third successive term

PANAMA
Panama Canal work stops in $1.6bn row
The Spanish-led consortium working on a project to widen the Panama Canal confirms work has been suspended amid a row over cost overruns.

PARAGUAY
Julia Marino becomes Paraguay’s first Winter Olympian

PERU
400 Dead Dolphins Washed Up on Peru Beaches in January

PUERTO RICO
Networks Completely Ignore $70 Billion Puerto Rican Debt Crisis

Puerto Rico Downgrade Puts Bond Deal in Spotlight
Investors are looking beyond the junk-rated credit of Puerto Rico to see if it can sell debt needed for short-term finances, lay groundwork for economic recovery.

URUGUAY
Uruguay’s president nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for legalizing marijuana

VENEZUELA
D.C. mayoral candidate’s business to host Venezuelan government’s pro-Chavez event

Toyota Halts Venezuela Production as Car Sales Fall

Venezuelans fume as government signals end to ‘free’ petrol
In a country where petrol is cheaper than water, ministers say prices must increase for the first time since a rise 15 years ago sparked deadly riots

The fascists in charge of Venezuela want to kill the press, while banging students

The Paradox Of Chavista “Planning”: Even Simple Things Are Hard For Them

Antonio Pardo, A Venezuelan in Sochi (Important Update)

According to Alek Boyd and others, Mr. Pardo is not quite the feel-good story we made him out to be. Turns out he allegedly has links to Antonini Wilson and the suitcase scandal. State news media is falsely reporting he won a gold medal.

Venezuelan “skier” in #Sochi2014 has a Swiss bank, is partners with Carlos Kauffmann & Co. His brother’s a partner of L. Oberto in St Barts

The week’s posts and podcast:
“Smart diplomacy”: Ambassador to Argentina may not even speak Spanish

Mexico: The most interesting skier in the world

Brazil: Cuban doctor seeks asylum

Argentina: Burning down the house

Venezuela: Squatting at the Presidential Mansion

Puerto Rico: Junk bond status

Sochi: Airline loses Jamaicans’ bobsled

Mexico: Behind the Peña Nieto-Fidel photo-op

Left turns: El Salvador and Costa Rica

At Da Tech Guy: Ask Fausta: Is now the time to travel to Latin America? The answer is yes.

Podcast: Elections in El Salvador plus other US-Latin America issues