Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

Happy Flag Day!

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

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Flag Day 2015 USA: 10 Facts To Know About The Star-Spangled Banner



Pope Francis, meet Iñigo Montoya UPDATED

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Pope Francis:
Pope Francis praises Junipero Serra as U.S. ‘founding father’

Iñigo Montoya:

Junípero was not a member of the American Constitutional Convention of 1787, did not fight in the War of Independence, sign the Declaration of Independence, or as far as I cold tell, even set foot on the thirteen colonies.

However, since Junípero was a Franciscan priest, maybe Pope Francis means that Junípero was a founding padre.

UPDATE:
I rarely agree with Latino Rebels, but I agree on this: The Pope’s Saint of Death

Today’s must-read

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Cuba still sponsors terrorists, says man whose dad’s killer is harbored there

Guillermo “William” Morales, a U.S. fugitive, in Havana, where he has been living. Morales escaped from police custody in the 1970’s, after being sentenced to 89 years. He was the architect of bombings in New York City that claimed lives, including that of Frank Conner, showed in the inset photo with his son Joseph.

H/t Babalu

Did Obama give in on Cuba so Uruguay would take 6 Gitmo alumni?

Monday, December 22nd, 2014


Lame duck Uruguayan president and former Tupamaro terrorist José Mujica brags, according to an AFP and EFE report at La Tercera (link in Spanish), that he asked the Obama administration to release three Cuban spies in exchange for Uruguay accepting six Gitmo detainees.

Mujica indicó also indicated that negotiations with the U.S. government “are far from closed. They depend, among other things, on various decisions outside our reach.”

Paul Mirengoff asks, THE CUBA APPEASEMENT AND THE LATEST DETAINEE RELEASE — IS THERE A CONNECTION?

Although no one seems to dispute that Mujica, a former leftist guerrilla, urged that the Cuban spies be released, the U.S. denies that their release was ever part of the negotiations, which have been going on for many months. It would appear, then, that either Mujica or the Obama administration is lying.

However, the truth may be that Mujica asked for the release of the Cuban spies and the administration signaled that this would be taken care of as part of a larger deal with Cuba. In this scenario, the Obama administration could deny that the release of spies ever became part of the give-and-take of negotiations. Again, it seems likely that releasing the Cuban spies is something Obama wanted to do anyway, for purposes of accommodating the Castro regime.

If Obama’s recent transactions with Uruguay and Cuba are viewed collectively, here is the “bill” to the U.S.: (1) the release of six terrorists with no assurance (not even a paper one) that they won’t immediately return to the fight against the U.S., as so many have; (2) the release of three Cuban spies; and (3) the granting to Cuba’s Communist tyrants of as much legitimacy and economic help as Obama has the power to confer.

There will be more coming from these – up to now – seemingly unrelated stories.

The plan

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

The plan:
1. Create a crisis
2. Overwhelm the system
3. Act by executive order

The purpose: Consolidation of power.

In practice:
1. Create a crisis
by showing that the immigration laws of the United States are not being enforced, while allowing the transport, through the borders of multiple countries, of tens of thousands of illegal aliens.
Questions: Are we supposed to believe that tens of thousands of Central America’s indigents suddenly, all at once, as a group, could come up with the money to pay the coyotes? Or that the coyotes, working for the cartels that control all the smuggling into the country, are not getting paid? Or that the transport of thousands of people on a daily basis is a completely spontaneous, uncoordinated, serendipitous, action?

2. Overwhelm the system (with the added bonus of a national security threat):
National Border Patrol Council NBPC Statement on Influx of Juveniles in Rio Grande Valley Sector (h/t Tree Hugging Sister; emphasis added)

Nearly half of all Border Patrol agents assigned to the Rio Grande Valley are working at duties that would not be considered to be law enforcement. These duties include feeding, clothing, and watching after children. These duties are slowly being taken over by FEMA and other governmental groups, but still leave a small group of agents protecting our borders. The cartels know this and have been actively exploiting the situation. Cartels are forcing juveniles and illegal aliens to cross the border in between the ports of entries because it further ties up Border Patrol agents in the field. In effect, cartels are using these immigrants as a human shield to divert resources that would otherwise be spent interrupting their trafficking operations. Once the agents are taken out of the equation, the cartels are smuggling drugs, weapons, and special interest aliens across the border unfettered. At a time when agents are most needed to deal with the cartel threat, they are unavailable because they are either dealing with a tidal wave of humanity by either arresting juveniles and families in the field or by processing them in the stations.
. . .
This situation, which started due to violence and dire economic conditions in Central America, has now exploded due to the message being relayed that the immigration laws of the United States are not being enforced. Interviews with detainees reflect this and this situation will continue if there are not consequences for breaking the immigration laws of the United States. We cannot continue to release detainees, even with the goal of deporting them in the future, if we hope to stop the flow of illegal aliens through the Rio Grande Valley. Mandatory detention and deportation is the only consequence that will resolve the problem.

At Drudge:

Lawyers for new illegals say most will be eligible for amnesty…

PAPER: Surge into Texas ‘seemingly endless’… 

STATES FIGHT BACK…

Virginia county renews push for deportation data…

Thousands of Sex Slaves Trafficked Over Mexican Border…

Feds lowball number of children crossing…

Illegals using ‘rehearsed’ answers to gain entry…

New use-of-force restrictions imposed on border patrol…

Churches Aiding Invasion…

DREAMers invited to White House for honors…

YORK: Administration Story on Surge Falls Apart…

NY eyes citizenship after 3 years of taxes…

3. Act by executive order: If the crisis is severe enough – which at the current rate it certainly will be – Obama will allow ipso facto legal status to all of them. The question is not whether he would do that; he will. The question is, would he grant them citizenship after the midterm elections and before the new Congress takes office in January 2015?

One crisis after another.

Arguably the most effective president in recent history: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

UPDATE:
Linked to by Gates of Vienna. Thank you!


Venezuela: US to sanction chavistas

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

U.S. House Passes Bill To Penalize Venezuela
Move Ratchets Up Pressure on President Nicolás Maduro’s Beleaguered Government.

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill Wednesday to penalize Venezuelan government officials found to violate human rights in that country’s crackdown on a protest movement, ratcheting up pressure on President Nicolás Maduro’s beleaguered government.

The bill calls for President Barack Obama to draw up a list of Venezuelan officials who are alleged to have violated human rights, freeze any assets they might have in the U.S., and bar them from entering the country by either withdrawing or denying visas.

A similar bill has been approved by a Senate committee, and is headed for a vote on the Senate floor in coming days.

Passage of the bill also raises pressure on the Obama administration, which has been wary of passing any kind of sanctions for fear it could create a backlash by allowing Mr. Maduro to mobilize supporters against the U.S. and distract from Venezuela’s growing homemade troubles. The administration also fears that the sanctions could jeopardize attempts at reaching a negotiated solution between the government and the opposition.

What negotiated solution? The o-called “negotiations” fell apart already.

14 Dems opposed the sanctions:The

Democrats led by Michigan Rep. John Conyers wrote a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday backing his administration. They also urged an exchange of ambassadors with Venezuela after a four-year hiatus.

Does this sound like a government willing to exchange ambassadors?

Venezuela alleged on Wednesday that the U.S. ambassador to Colombia has plotted to destabilize President Nicolas Maduro’s rule, adding to tensions between the two countries as the U.S. House approved a measure calling for sanctions on officials in the South American nation over human rights abuses.

A couple of days earlier, Mind your own business, Venezuela foreign minister tells Kerry.

In Caracas, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro welcomed the Democratic lawmakers’ initiative, saying he hopes “there is a bit of wisdom” in Washington. This wisdom from the guy who talks to a bird he thinks is Hugo CHavez.

Never mind, the Russian Foreign Minister says all problems should be solved on the constitutional basis, without threats of sanctions. In theory, they should; in reality . . .

Yleem D.S. Poblete posits that, in addition to the human rights violations,

For the sake of U.S. national security interests, the United States needs to act swiftly and resolutely to hold the Chavez-Maduro apparatus accountable.

The bill is now headed for a vote on the Senate floor.

Silvio Canto and I talked about this and other LatAm topics in last night’s podcast:
Elections in Colombia PLUS other US-Latin America stories of the week

Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua: Russia to add military bases overseas UPDATED

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Last November Secretary of State John Kerry declared the Monroe Doctrine dead; Putin was listening:

Russia Seeks Several Military Bases Abroad – Defense Minister (emphasis added)

Russia is planning to expand its permanent military presence outside its borders by placing military bases in a number of foreign countries, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.

Shoigu said the list includes Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Seychelles, Singapore and several other countries.

“The talks are under way, and we are close to signing the relevant documents,” Shoigu told reporters in Moscow.

The minister added that the negotiations cover not only military bases but also visits to ports in such countries on favorable conditions as well as the opening of refueling sites for Russian strategic bombers on patrol.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced plans to shrink army to pre-World War II levels. His timing could not have been more perfect.

UPDATE, Thursday Feb. 27, 2014, via Kermit:
Russian spy ship docked in Havana

There you have it:

The Optimistic Conservative:

The timing of SSV-175’s patrol is presumably no coincidence. We don’t know exactly when she left her Northern Fleet home port on the Barents Sea, but since she was in Curacao on the 30th, we do know it was at least before 10 January (and probably before that. At an overall speed of 12 knots, the ship would have needed to leave the Barents around 2 or 3 January). It’s unlikely that the AGI is in Central America just for the excitement of popular unrest in Venezuela, however. The more interesting event could well be the deployment of the Iranian navy task force.

John Kerry was on TV just now saying “This is not Rocky IV.” No, it’s not: this is real.

The first 2014 Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 6th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Ex-Israeli envoy to Argentina: Israel killed most perpetrators of AMIA, embassy bombings
Former ambassador Itzhak Aviran accuses Argentine gov’t of not doing enough to probe 1990s Buenos Aires terrorist attacks.

Dejó un mensaje telefónico porque las monjas no pudieron atender la llamada
El Papa llama a un convento de Lucena para felicitar el año nuevo
La conversación con el Pontífice duró 15 minutos y la pudieron escuchar cinco monjas
El Santo Padre envió su bendición a toda la buena gente de la localidad cordobesa

Argentina Criticizes Utilities After Outages
Argentina’s government has ruled out raising electricity rates and instead repeated threats to revoke the concessions of the two largest utilities that serve the capital if they don’t invest more to prevent a repeat of recent blackouts.

BOLIVIA
Headbanging in Bolivia to the Flutes of Yore
Heavy metal, Bolivian style, is a fusion of thrashing guitars and shrieking lyrics with the rhythms and instruments of pre-Incan Andean folk tunes.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s fighter jet decision

CHILE
Photos: Violent protests in Chile

Chilean miracle miners back in spotlight, with Antonio Banderas.

COLOMBIA
Bogota needs a “Bloomberg”; maybe, but it’ll do much better with a Giuliani.

CUBA
Reuters shocked…. shocked! … by Cuban car pricing

Mujeres: la carne barata de la revolución

The media
The most absurdly oblivious headline you’ll read all year

Cuba’s unhappy birthday

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haitians without a nation
A ruling in the Dominican Republic divides immigrants in Boston

ECUADOR
Ecuador Authorities Raid Journalist’s Home
The raid is the latest crackdown on the press following a recent law restricting negative reporting.

USAID to Pull Out of Ecuador
Organization cites efforts of Correa admin to stifle aid programs

Sitting in the Ecuadorian embassy, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange derides Catholic confessional system but can’t come up with an original thought.

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador orders evacuation from volcano’s slopes
Authorities in El Salvador have resumed evacuating residents living on the slopes of the Chaparrastique volcano

HONDURAS
Election fraud in Honduras

JAMAICA
Cool Runnings Again? Jamaican Bobsleigh Team Return for Sochi Winter Olympic Glory Bid

LATIN AMERICA
Nafta at 20: A Model for Trade Policy
Opponents of the 1993 agreement have been proven definitively wrong.

MEXICO
Mexico: 6 Police Officers Charged in Death of U.S. Citizen in Custody
The man, Yeudi Estrada, was dead when he arrived at Police Headquarters in the resort of Playa del Carmen after his arrest, local prosecutors said.

Mexico 2013: End of the Year Reflections and the Year to Come

Suspected leader of Mexican drug cartel nabbed at Amsterdam airport, via Gates of Vienna.

PANAMA
Trouble at the Panama Canal
Your money or your locks

THE $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal is one of the world’s great infrastructure projects, aimed at enabling giant mega-tankers to pass through the 100-year-old waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific. So a threat by an international consortium, led by Spain’s Sacyr, to halt construction work on January 20th if the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) doesn’t pay it $1.6 billion for cost overruns, is serious. The amount it is claiming is fully half the $3.2 billion it bid in 2009 for its part of the project.

Jorge Quijano, administrator of the PCA, told The Economist that the authority would not pay the money because cost increases were accounted for in the contract.

Panama Canal expansion: Spain steps in to negotiations

Meanwhile, In 2013 Chiriquí Had 673 Earthquakes

PARAGUAY
Paraguay drug seizures up by 39% in 2013

PERU
Peru Plans to Increase Eradication of Coca Leaf
The nation’s drug czar says Peru plans to eradicate an estimated 30,000 hectares of illegally grown coca leaf in 2014.

PUERTO RICO
Could a Puerto Rico Default Hammer the $3.7 Trillion US Muni-Bond Market in 2014?

Puerto Rico Marijuana Reform Gets A Second Life

Puerto Rico’s Population Continues Rapid Decline

USA
No, an illegal immigrant should not be admitted to the bar

URUGUAY
Uruguay consumer prices up 8.5 pct in 2013, top government target

VENEZUELA
Venezuela’s surveillance state strikes again

Transforming a mistake into a revamped tool of repression: the Delcy Rodriguez scandal

Venezuelan Central Bank Joins The Dark Side

The inflationary monster (in Spanish)

The week’s posts:
Argentina: More price controls

Latin America: Free trade vs. Mercosur

Cuba: Lies, lies, and more lies

Mexico: Another Fast & Furious gun found

Italy: Latin American thieves pick the wrong town to hide

Cuba: The new car

Is 2014 Latin America’s “big year”?

Mexico: What has changed

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Ringin’ in the New Year in yellow undies: A brief story by Fausta


The year-end Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 30th, 2013

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Nine-year-old US boy climbs Aconcagua peak in Argentina
A nine-year-old boy from the United States has become the youngest person to reach the summit of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas.

BRAZIL
Brazil jail fights kill 59 in 2013
At least 59 inmates have been killed in a single northern Brazilian prison this year
; the town is Pedrinhas.

Smart Diplomacy: Boeing’s Super Hornet Banned From Brazil’s Fighter Sales Because of Fury Over NSA Scandal

Brazil Boosts Levy On Overseas Transactions
Brazil is raising taxes on more transactions its residents make abroad, as the country tries to increase government revenue and reduce the outflow of dollars.

ICYMI, Smart Diplomacy: Brazilian President complains to Obama about “a grave violation of human rights” and “especially of disrespect to national sovereignty

CHILE
Statistics in Chile
No consensus

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s year of peace

Colombian military kills 10 Farc rebels in bombing raid
The Colombian military says it has killed at least 10 members of the left-wing Farc rebel group in an operation in central Meta province.

CUBA
The Free Alan Gross website.

Magazine Celebrates Mass Murderer Che

Man who shouted “Down with communism!” during pope’s visit to Cuba is now in Chattanooga
Andrés Carrión Says security agents threatened to kill him, fired his wife, forced them out of their home and sent two snitches to get close to him.

ECUADOR
Ecuador Faces Legal Quandary over Intra-Indigenous Violence

HONDURAS
Honduran High Court Rejects Challenge to Presidential Vote

JAMAICA
Police in Jamaica probe slaying of New York teen

MEXICO
Observations and Questions as NAFTA Reaches 20 Years of Age

Mexico to Tax Luxury Item: Pet Food
Mexico’s pet owners are bracing for a new tax on pet food, which the government recently declared a “luxury item.
A 16% Sales Tax to Kick In as Government Scrounges for Revenue

A Civil Servant in Mexico Tests U.S. on Asylum

NICARAGUA
A must-read firsthand account from a former NGO worker: 32 years after the revolution Reagan is right

PERU
The Dark Side of El Dorado: Illegal Gold Mining In Peru Generating More Money Than Drug Trafficking (emphasis added)

In fact, so much gold has been produced by the “informal” (or “illegal’) mining sector in Peru – involving some 40,000 miners who have tried to scrape whatever they can in abandoned mines around the country, from the jungle province of Puerto Maldonado to the deserted landscape of Ica – that gold has become more lucrative than cocaine trafficking (of which Peru is the largest exporter, having surpassed Colombia in 2012, according to the United Nations).

PUERTO RICO
PENSION WARS
Pension Update: Puerto Rico Up, San Jose Down
It’s been an up-and-down week for public pensions. In San Jose, a judge struck down a significant piece of the city’s pension reform plan, setting the stage for a big ballot fight next year. In Puerto Rico, on the other hand, the Senate finally passed a measure to put the Teachers Pesion Fund on solid footing.

With A Downgrade On Debt Imminent, Puerto Rico Needs A Visit From Santa Claus

TURKS & CAICOS
Turks and Caicos Islands: 18 Believed to Be Migrants From Haiti Drown
Eighteen people believed to be migrants from Haiti died Wednesday when their overloaded sailboat overturned as it was being escorted to shore in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

URUGUAY
Uruguayan Navy Seizes Over 1 Ton of Cocaine

USA
‘Military-Style’ Raid on California Power Station Spooks U.S.

The Most Underreported Foreign News Stories of 2013

The Most Underreported Domestic News Stories of 2013

VENEZUELA
Caracas Says It Received China Credits
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said China has given his country $5 billion in credits under a deal reached in September.
Money Pledged in September to Be Used for Several Purposes

PDVSA awards crude tender to U.S. refiner at wide discounts-trade, via Kermit, wjo points out,

A decade or so ago Venezuelan crude was sold on longterm contracts at about $10 per barrel discount from the two widget fiction crudes, WTI & Brent. Looks like it is now $20 discount and crude production has declined quite a bit.

What Will Happen In Venezuela In 2014?

2013 in review: the year we realized that the Venezuelan electorate is wretched and vile

Muere Hugo Chávez, nace el chavismo
Con o sin el expresidente, el chavismo es una plataforma viable, y es la preferida por los venezolanos. De eso ya no queda duda

ICYMI, The Venezuelan State’s Occupy “Movement”: The Victory of Socialism!

The week’s posts:
Cuba: Institutionalized racism

Argentina: Rocket up, power out

Ecuador: Cléver Jiménez, accused of hacking, gets raided. Assange & Snowden could not be reached for comment.

Mexico showed the way in 2013

Argentina: 60 wounded by piranha attack

Cuba: Doctors to earn $40 a month

Nicaragua: Paul Berman writes to de Blasio

Reformed dictators don’t exist

At Da Tech Guy: Fausta’s Puerto Rican Christmas menu


Venezuela detains ship with US crew

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Venezuela has been muscling into Guyana for a while, and here’s the latest installment:
Venezuela Detains Ship Contracted to U.S. Oil Company
The Vessel With Five Americans on Board Was Conducting a Seismic Survey for Anadarko Petroleum

Guyana’s Foreign Ministry insisted that the ship was well within its own national territory when the incident took place.

The survey ship was directed by the Venezuelan naval unit to shut down its seismic equipment and head west to the island of Margarita in Venezuela, where the crew was placed under arrest, the Guyanese government said.

Unfortunately for the five Americans now imprisoned, it’s unlikely that the current US administration will do anything in their behalf.

.