Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

Argentina: House Lawmakers Ask John Kerry to Reconsider Argentinian Aid

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

From the Washington Free Beacon:
House Lawmakers Ask John Kerry to Reconsider Argentinian Aid
Bipartisan coalition criticizes Argentina for growing closer to Iran

U.S. officials and regional experts warned earlier this week that under the leadership of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina has helped Iran bring its terrorist activities to the Western hemisphere.

The lawmakers—including House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R., Texas), Reps. Jeff Duncan (R., S.C.), Grace Meng (D., N.Y.), Michael Grimm (R., N.Y.), and Bill Posey (R., Fla.)—urged Kerry to immediately cut back U.S. support for Argentina.

The matter has assumed “a new level of urgency” given Argentina’s increasing efforts to accommodate Iran, according to the letter.

U.S. officials and independent experts have cited Kirchner’s government for boosting trade with Iran by more than a billion dollars, as well as for allowing Iranian agents to move freely through the region, where they are suspected of smuggling weapons, money, and other goods.

I’ll be extremely surprised if Kerry agrees. At best, the current administration simply doesn’t care. Worse, the State Department comes up with two-page reports soft-pedaling Iran’s threat on Latin America.


UN: Mexico border a “global pathway” to the USA

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

The United Nations has issued a report,
Transnational Organized Crime inCentral America and the Caribbean:
A Threat Assessment

Page 45:

Central America as a global pathway to the United States
Central Americans are not the only ones being smuggled through Mexico to the United States. Irregular migrants from the Horn of Africa (Eritrea, Somalia, and Ethiopia), as well as South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, and India), China and other African and Asian States are also being smuggled through Central America. Migrants from the Horn of Africa are transported using land routes to South Africa, and then air transport to Brazil and Colombia. Those who can afford onward air travel fly to Mexico, while others proceed by land and sea to Costa Rica or Panama. From that point, their journey looks very much like that of the Central Americans. Until recently, Indian nationals did not require a visa to enter Guatemala, and from there joined the rest moving northward.

Chinese nationals may reach their North American destinations via Central America and Mexico with forged passports from Japan or Hong Kong, China, which allow entry without a visa.

According to the authorities of Panama, smuggling of Cuban migrants has increased threefold in the first months of 2012.

Among other the findings,

As with drug trafficking, migrant smuggling involves
transportista-type groups, territorial groups, predatory groups, and street gangs.

The Zetas, the Maras, and other territorial groups ap-pear to be involved in migrant smuggling, human trafficking, and the firearms trade. This involvement may increase if cocaine revenues decline.

Breitbart first carried the story,

The report identifies the Islamic terrorist haven of Somalia as being one of the nations from which the illegal U.S. bound border-crossers are originating.

The UN Threat Assessment–which refers to illegal aliens as “irregular migrants”–states:

Central Americans are not the only ones being smuggled through Mexico to the United States. Irregular migrants from the Horn of Africa (Eritrea, Somalia, and Ethiopia), as well as South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, India), China, and other African and Asian states are being smuggled through Central America.

The National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC), which serves as the primary organization in the United States Government for integrating and analyzing all intelligence pertaining to counterterrorism, states that much of Somalia was taken over by Al-Shabaab, the militant wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts, before it entered a phase of on-and-off control of various key regions of the failed nation.

Similarly, the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations in-depth analysis of Somalia states:

Its porous borders mean that individuals can enter without visas, and once inside the country, enjoy an almost complete lack of law enforcement. Somalia has long served as a passageway from Africa to the Middle East based on its coastal location on the Horn of Africa, just a boat ride away from Yemen. These aspects make Somalia a desirable haven for transnational terrorists, something Al-Qaeda has tried to capitalize on before, and is trying again now.

As I have said many times over the past eight years, border security is national security.

Related: Immigration from south of the Mexican border

UPDATE
Linked by Public Secrets and Sister Toldjah. Thank you!

Read the UN report below the fold:
(more…)

Venezuela: The kidnapping worked

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Imagine, if you may, this sequence of events:

  • Dictator dies
  • Dictatorship expels superpower military attaches in March the same day dictator dies
  • Dictatorship perpetuates (or at least attempts to perpetuate) itself through electoral fraud
  • Superpower ignores election results
  • Big OAS pow-wow date looms on the horizon
  • Dictatorship kidnaps citizen of superpower
  • Behind-the-scenes deal takes place
  • To add urgency, the dictatorship places the citizen of the superpower in one of the most dangerous jails in our hemisphere
  • Citizen is released and returned
  • Superpower’s Secretary of State and dictatorship’s foreign minister get together for photo-op
  • Everybody’s happy

You don’t think that’s what happened in the Timothy Tracy case?

Think again:

John Kerry Meets With Venezuela’s Foreign Minister; Talk Of Improving Relations

On his first trip to Latin America since taking office, Kerry said he was hopeful that a rapprochement could be achieved. The meeting, which came at Venezuela’s request, took place just hours after Venezuela released from prison an American filmmaker who had been jailed on espionage charges, removing an immediate irritant in the relationship.

Meanwhile, in a speech to the 35-member OAS annual general assembly, Kerry did not mention the developments with Venezuela, but reiterated U.S. concerns that some countries in the hemisphere are backsliding on their commitments to democracy and seeking to weaken OAS institutions that monitor and report on human rights.

Any questions?

UPDATE:
Linked by Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!


In Silvio Canto’s podcast

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

live now, talking about US-Latin America: Free trade agreements with Jim Roberts.

You can also listen to the archived podcast at your convenience.

The Memorial Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 27th, 2013

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Are We Becoming Argentina?
The Republican Party is taking America down a dangerous path.

Alan Faena’s Argentine Residence
The restoration of the businessman’s Argentine estancia is a touchstone for an ambitious new real estate development that he hopes will change Miami.

Jorge Rafael Videla
Death of a “Dirty War” criminal

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Enacts Law Allowing Morales to Seek 3rd Term

BRAZIL
Brazilians
Portuguese for the perplexed

Brazil ‘cancels’ most African debt
Brazil says it will cancel or restructure almost $900m (£600m) worth of debt owed by African countries, to boost economic ties with the continent

Brasilia, immigrants from Bangladesh forced to work in slave-like conditions (h/t GoV)

CHILE
Barrick Gold fined for Chile project
Chilean authorities fine the world’s largest gold mining company, Barrick Gold Corp, more than $16m for environmental offences at an Andean mine.

COLOMBIA
Colombian welfare: Family Subsidy by the Box

CUBA
Cuban activist Alexander Tamayo arrested

ECUADOR
Ecuador president starts third term
Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, is sworn into office for an unprecedented third term in the capital, Quito

GUATEMALA
Guatemala extradites ex-leader Alfonso Portillo to US
Guatemala’s former President Alfonso Portillo has been flown to the United States to face corruption charges.

HONDURAS
Rhinoceros beetle

LATIN AMERICA
Hunger Strikes End in Several LatAm Countries

MEXICO
Mexican Billionaire Wants Probe of Activists
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim says protests by an activist group in the U.S. have the trappings of an orchestrated campaign against him and his mobile phone companies and is asking California to investigate the group.

Soldiers re-occupy Mexico’s Hot Land

PANAMA
Great Time – No Photos

PERU
Corruption in Peru
A widening web

PUERTO RICO
‘Las Caras Lindas': To Be Black And Puerto Rican In 2013

Six Cuban Rafters Rescued from Puerto Rican Islet

URUGUAY
Uruguayan Official Defends Drug Policy During Mexico Visit

VENEZUELA
The Cuban elephant in the room

Mario Silva and our daily abjection

Mario Silva’s Gossip Tape Aimed at Discrediting Chavismo/Madurismo

Good luck with that: Venezuela’s PdVSA Gets $1 Billion Credit Line From Schlumberger
State energy monopoly Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PdVSA, will receive a $1 billion revolving credit line from oil-service provider Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB), the South American country’s oil minister said Friday.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina’s K Decade: 10 years of Kirchnerismo

Cuba: Dissidents meet exiles in Miami

Venezuela launches missile

Guatemala: Ríos Montt conviction thrown out

Venezuela: The Silva tape

Podcast (Audio starts immediately): US-Latin America issues of the week


We need more of these: Foreign citizens making big investments in U.S. in exchange for green cards

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

At the WaPo, Foreign citizens making big investments in U.S. in exchange for green cards

The EB-5 program is booming in popularity, driven largely by a struggling U.S. economy in which developers are searching for new sources of capital. It is also fueled by rising demand from foreigners looking for access to U.S. schools, safe investment in U.S. projects and — in the case of China, where most of the investors are from — greater freedom.

The program has broad bipartisan support in Congress, and key senators who are negotiating an overhaul of the immigration system have said they are leaning toward expanding visa programs that provide an immediate boost to the economy.

Since the EB-5 program began in 1992, more than 29,000 people have received visas, foreigners have invested more than $6.8 billion and 50,000 American jobs have been created, U.S. officials said.

IF (big “if”) the government can carry out this program in such a way that real investors are bringing thriving businesses, there’s only thing to say:

More cowbell!

In other immigration news,
Texas taxpayers spent at least $250 million last year in state prison and health care costs for illegal immigrants.

TB at the border, and drug violence

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Risk of Deadly TB Exposure Grows Along U.S.-Mexico Border

Officials say that when drug-resistant cases show up in the U.S., there is often a Mexico connection. Of San Diego’s 14 multidrug-resistant TB cases between 2007 and 2011, half were either from Mexico or had a Mexico link based on the particular strain of the disease, said Kathleen Moser of the county’s Health & Human Services Agency, which sees many patients who live and work on both sides of the border.

Part of the problem, of course, is that Mexico’s rate of TB infection is much higher—in some cases 10 times higher. The resistant strains begin to breed, experts say, when doctors there give patients similar drug regimens over and over. Other times, patients who aren’t supervised closely abandon treatment before they are cured.

It’s worse because of the Mexican drug violence:

Funding isn’t the only issue. As a key part of prevention efforts, U.S. experts have regularly crossed the border in California and Texas to keep tabs on and help patients directly. But drug-related violence along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border has shot up, forcing workers to consult only from the U.S. side. Among them is Barbara Seaworth, the medical director of a TB center in San Antonio, who stopped a few years ago after making the trips for nearly 20 years.

Compounding the problem: Mexico lacks enough health workers to offer directly observed therapy to every patient.

Cheer up with Bill Whittle

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Feeling down? Listen to Bill Whittle, who has a surprisingly optimistic message,

I realize Bill’s rocking the one-tone suit-&-necktie vibe, but I so wish Bill would take my advice and wear neckties in bright colors. The gray-on-gray washes him out.

America’s crazy uncle welcomes the 113th Congress

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

From the Vice-President and Court Jester in One, the inappropriate comment fest,

“You are so pretty. God love you, holy mackerel.”
This aside was to a brunette in a red dress, apparently there with bachelor Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

“Spread your legs — you’re gonna be frisked!”


The New Year’s Eve Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 31st, 2012

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina Court Declines Intervention in Media Case

Argentina Congress hosts “Islam for peace” seminar

Muslims sense of belonging in Argentina, ratifying their right and proud to be Argentine citizens, challenges the sense of injustice that the Muslim community faces, unjustly, in the 21st century-world.

via Gates of Vienna

BOLIVIA
Spain’s Iberdrola Has 4 Units Taken Over by Bolivian State

Coca Licensing Is a Weapon in Bolivia’s Drug War

BRAZIL
High Stakes in Brazil After Outage
A day after power outages left travelers at Rio de Janeiro’s international airport in the dark, President Dilma Rousseff tried to calm fears that Brazil was facing the kind of energy shortages that upended national politics a decade ago.

Corruption in Brazil
A healthier menu
As the historic trial of those guilty of a legislative votes-for-cash scheme draws to a close, Brazilians digest the verdict

Obituary: Oscar Niemeyer
Oscar Ribiero de Almeida de Niemeyer Soares Filho, architect, died on December 5th, aged 104

COLOMBIA
Sister of Colombian Drug Cartel’s Founder Killed

CUBA
We came, we saw, we were appalled

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Hillary shall remain concussed while in Punta Cana

ECUADOR
Banana Republic v. Chevron

LATIN AMERICA
Latin America, the Mideast, and the Pope

MEXICO
Cartels Clash in Mexican Town
Armed men stormed a town in the mountains of the western state of Sinaloa on Christmas Eve and shot nine men, then dumped their bodies as part of a war between Mexico’s two most powerful cartels.

Old PRI, new PRI? In Mexico, a New Approach to Stanching Drug Violence

Mr. Peña Nieto’s six-point program includes better government planning; increased intergovernmental coordination; protection of human rights; more social investments and crime-prevention programs; additional evaluation of government programs; and institution building.

It also proposes a 10,000-member force to secure municipalities and states where law enforcement is powerless against organized crime. The administration has said it will focus on street gangs and criminals employed by the cartels, a shift from former President Felipe Calderón’s emphasis on eliminating top drug trafficking bosses.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay’s awful history
The never-ending war
How a terrible but little-known conflict continues to shape and blight a nation

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Introduces New Guidelines for Hate Crimes

USA
Latino Muslims are shaping a new US identity, via Gates of Vienna

VENEZUELA
Seven more Years!

The week’s posts:
Mexico: 120-yard tunnel near the Nogales entry into Arizona

Where will Assad go?

Argentina: Squeeze and “creativity”