Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category

El Pollo and Venezuela’s game of chicken: Venezuela exerted military pressure on Aruba

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

In today’s WSJ, Aruba: Venezuela Pressured It Militarily
The Netherlands’ release of a former top Venezuelan official wanted by the U.S. for alleged drug trafficking came after Venezuela raised economic and military pressure on two Dutch islands in the Caribbean, officials said.

Aruba’s chief prosecutor Peter Blanken said that Venezuelan navy ships neared Aruba and Curaçao over the weekend as Dutch officials were debating what to do with Hugo Carvajal —Venezuela’s former chief of military intelligence who was jailed in Aruba last week on a U.S. warrant.

“The threat was there,” Mr. Blanken said. “We don’t know what their intentions were, but I think a lot of people in Aruba were scared that something would happen.”

Holland is a member of NATO and as such Aruba would be protected, as WSJ commenter Donald Hutchinson points out, but, in the Obama administration’s era of “smart diplomacy”, the Dutch couldn’t count on that:

Assuming that US intelligence was not asleep, all,it would take would be a fly over by US Navy jets and a notification that any offensive action would be met by the immediate destruction of their ships. Holland is a member of NATO and such actioned would clearly be sanctioned,
It would also be a devastating set back to the former bus driver running Venezuela for bringing shame to their military.
But what one might expect from a timid White House and a preoccupied State Department?

Then there’s the oil,

Mr. Blanken said Venezuela’s government also had threatened to sever Venezuela’s vital commercial air links to Aruba and Curaçao. Venezuela’s state oil company also threatened to withdraw from a contract to manage Curaçao’s refinery, Mr. Blanken said, which would have put at risk some 8,000 jobs.

To put that number of jobs in perspective, Aruba’s total population is 103,009.

In the “no sh*t, Sherlock” file, the U.S. State Department spokeswoman’s reaction was, “This is not the way law enforcement matters should be handled.” At least they didn’t #hashtag it.

Hugo Carvajal a.k.a. “”el Pollo” is one of the guys who took part in Hugo Chávez’s unsuccessful 1992 military coup, later rising to the rank of general, but with a sideline,

Mr. Carvajal’s role as one of the Chávez government’s key liaisons to guerrillas from Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, emerged after computers belonging to a slain guerrilla leader were captured by Colombian security forces in 2008.

Here’s the indictment in the U.S. District Court accusing Carvajal of coordinating the transport of 5,600 kilos (6.17 tons) of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico.

In addition to good’ol military thuggery, Miguel Octavio asserts that the Netherlands caved in (emphasis added):

Clearly, everyone applied pressure, but the weak link did not turn out to be Aruba as I suggested on my first post, but rather The Netherlands, as reportedly even Russia played a role, exchanging concessions on the Ucraine plane for helping release Carvajal. No matter what anyone says or how this is interpreted, it was a severe blow to the US, who would have loved to get Carvajal onshore.

One of my sources also mentions that team Obama had about 30 days to hand over its Extradition Request to Aruba but failed to; the Treasury Dept, the DEA and a U.S. District Court (mentioned above) had indicted him last year. It reminds me of drug kingpin Walid Makled, who was released to Venezuela by Santos of Colombia after the U.S. dragged its feet.

We’re in the best of hands.

PS,
While the Dutch allow Carvajal diplomatic immunity, the Egyptians search Secretary of State John Kerry, which was no biggie, but he fumes over Israel’s criticism.

The ongoing illegal alien border surge Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 28th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina debt: Judge orders non-stop negotiations
A US judge has ordered Argentina and its creditors to meet “continuously” to avoid the nation defaulting on its debts.

“Malvinas banner” display costs Argentina 30.000 Swiss francs fine
FIFA has fined the Argentine Football Association 30,000 Swiss francs (£19,540) as punishment for the displaying of a provocative banner relating to the Falkland Islands.

Pope sends message demanding justice on 20th anniversary of AMIA bombing
On the 20th anniversary of the AMIA Jewish community center bombing, the Argentine pontiff sent a message for “justice” to Argentina’s Israeli community and relatives of the 85 victims that resulted dead in the attack.

BOLIVIA
Russia Offers to Assist Bolivia with Nuclear Energy Program

BRAZIL
Temple in Brazil Appeals to a Surge in Evangelicals

Brazil frees up $13bn for economy
In a bid to stimulate the sluggish economy, the Brazilian central bank announces plans to reduce the amount commercial banks have to keep in reserve.

CHILE
Senator urges Chile to take ‘active’ role in Israel-Palestine conflict
Campaigners from the large Palestinian community calls for greater action in conflict while DC deputy warns against ‘bringing the conflict to Chile.’

COLOMBIA
Court tosses out cases against Chiquita over Colombia killings
Lawsuits accused Chiquita of assisting in killing of plaintiffs’ relatives by paying $1.7 million to paramilitary group

CUBA
Another Unsuccessful Negotiation for Alan Gross’ Release

“Migrants” from Castrogonia returned to their generous and benevolent slaveowners

ECUADOR
No Tweets for You: Correa’s Opponents Censored
Twitter Suspends Accounts of Known Ecuadorian Critics

HONDURAS
Why Not Set Up Refugee Kiosks in Honduras? Can We Consider Any Idea from Obama, McCain?

IMMIGRATION
Obama’s Border Summit Theater

JAMAICA
Chris Blackwell says ganja can turn Jamaica around
Entrepreneur urges protection of small farmer

LATIN AMERICA
Crime in Latin America
A broken system
Citizens’ security is the region’s biggest problem. Time to improve criminal justice

MEXICO
In disappearing Mexican jungle, it’s tribes vs. biologists

Rate of Girls Crossing U.S.-Mexico Border Alone Outpaces Boys, Study Finds
The number of unaccompanied girls caught crossing into the U.S. at the border with Mexico has grown far more quickly this year than the number of boys, according to a Pew Research Center report.

PANAMA
Panama’s biggest tourist draw turns 100

PERU
State-Run Petroperu Gets Its Hands Dirty, Hires Kids to Clean Oil Spill
Company Faced with Undeniable Evidence, Announces Immediate “Restructuring”

Previously uncontacted Peruvian Indians ‘could carry flu back to tribe’
Activists fear that virus contracted by Amazonian tribe members fleeing violent attacks could spread through vulnerable and isolated communities

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Grants Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Migrants

Looming Puerto Rico debt deadlines have investors nervous

URUGUAY
Mercosur is ‘not working’ because of protectionism and lack of arbitration
Mercosur is “not working” and is “stalled” admitted Uruguayan president Jose Mujica and blamed the situation on different visions of the block’s functioning, according to an interview with Folha de Sao Paulo.

VENEZUELA
The Hijacking of a Venezuelan Newspaper

Hugo Carvajal, a perspective

The week’s posts & podcast:
Aruba: Venezuelan consul detained on drug charges

The latest from the O administration: Let’s make it easier for the Hondurans!

Ecuador and the ‘straitjacket’

Venezuela: Lopez on trial, Tower of David evacuation

En español: Dilma llega a la Unidad de Quemados

Immigration: The coyotes’ job, in dollars

Cuba-North Korea: Another weapons cargo?

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Case study in “smart diplomacy”: Bolivia

Communism at work: Give up your car

The week’s podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week


Aruba: Venezuelan consul detained on drug charges

Friday, July 25th, 2014

The other pollos.

Three chavistas indicted for conspiring with Colombian FARC drug traffickers to export cocaine to the U.S.:

  • Hugo Carvajal, a.k.a. “”el Pollo,” a former chief of Venezuelan military intelligence, detained in Aruba while awaiting confirmation as Nicolás Maduro’s consul-general to Aruba,
  • former Venezuelan judge, Benny Palmeri-Bacchi, arrested last week in Miami,
  • and the former head of Interpol in Venezuela, Rodolfo McTurk, whereabouts were unknown.

Daniel Duquenal speculates,

If indeed Carvajal is sent to the US, beyond diplomatic implications that this will entail, the local consequences will be high. There are possibly dozens and dozens of chavista high officials with dossiers under investigation and the reality for them has suddenly changed. Never mind that if Carvajal is indeed sent to the US, he may add a lot to these dossiers.

In addition to providing weapons to the FARC, Carvajal had been allegedly working with Iranian intelligence, and is under investigation for his role on the attacks to the Colombian consulate, and the Jewish center in Caracas.

WSJ:

In the Miami indictment unsealed Thursday, Mr. Carvajal is accused of taking bribes from late Colombian kingpin Wilber Varela, who was killed in 2008, and in return allowing Mr. Varela to export cocaine to the U.S. from Venezuela and avoid arrest by Venezuelan authorities.

Carvajal directly dealt with one-time of the world’s top three drug kingpins, Walid Makled, according to Makled himself,

“For example, I used to give a weekly fee of 200 million bolívares (about $50,000 at the time), and 100 million was for General Hugo Carvajal,” Mr. Makled said.

Makled went on trial in Venezuela since the Obama administration dragged its feet; I do not know the outcome of the trial.

Carvajal is now seeking diplomatic immunity in Aruba.

Venezuela: Lopez on trial, Tower of David evacuation

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Leopoldo López‘s show trial has begun; while the defense has asked for an adjournment, we all know what the verdict will be: guilty.

Daniel Duquenal expands on this,

The first thing, oddly, is the timing.  Since Lopez arrest 5 months ago and the alleged clear evidence one wonders why did it take so long for the regime to start the trial. Waiting for the end of guarimbas? A trial can restart them at any time. Waiting for folks to go on vacation? There are no flights out!  Expecting for scarcity problems to soften? They are not and will not for the foreseeable future. The answer is elsewhere,with the PSUV congress about to open. Some red meat thrown to the radical wing. Period, IMHO.

Another thing to wonder comes by asking the reverse question: why bother trying Lopez anyway? International pressure plays a role here, but not necessarily the way you may think. Sure enough there has been plenty of publications, the Washington Post for one pushing up the subject of Lopez dismal jail conditions. But the real deal brokers may be the people trying to organize Venezuela’s financial rescue.

Without a doubt, this is a show trial: Daniel concludes his post,

In case you still do not get it, the trial starts with 138 “witnesses” for the prosecution and only 1, ONE, for the defense

In other Venezuelan news, the infamous Tower of David, Caracas’s high-rise to nowhere, is being evacuated. Caracas Chronicles says the Chinese are involved:

Thanks to Kepler, we can somehow confirm that our Chinese overlords are indeed taking the building. In this article from the website Archidead, looks like the Bank of China will turn “La Torre de David” as its South American HQ.

It’s going to be interesting to see what exactly the Chinese get from this, considering the ruinous state of Venezuela’s oil industry.

Maybe Homeland will do a follow-up episode on the “new”, Chinese, tower.


Communism at work: Give up your car

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Translation: Workshop:
Maximum Socialist Efficiency
The State enterprise building
the New Economic Order

My latest article, Communism at work: Give up your car, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

In other related news, Maduro says he needs $15billion to rebuild the exhange system, which is the amount Hugo Chavez spent on weapons purchases three years ago.

The upcoming Russian spy base in Cuba Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 21st, 2014

LatinAmerJust as the headlines feature a Video Posted by Ukrainian Government Shows Russian Surface-to-Air Missile Carrier Hightailing It Back to Russia… Missing One Missile, Russia will reopen spy base in Cuba

A report that Russia will reopen a Havana base that eavesdropped on U.S. communications from Key West to Washington has triggered fresh warnings of Moscow’s expansionism and predictions of a continued freeze in U.S.-Cuba relations.
Until its closure in 2002, the Lourdes base was Moscow’s largest intelligence facility abroad, with up to 1,500 KGB and GRU military intelligence officers manning an array of antennas and computers in the super-secret 28-square-mile base.

The article says, “If true, reports that Russia will reopen a spy base in Cuba will complicate, if not halt, any Obama administration effort to warm up relations with Havana,” which is risible, considering current U.S. foreign policy.

ARGENTINA
Britain should open talks with Argentina over the Falklands, says Vladimir Putin
The Russian president backs Buenos Aires’ territorial claim to the islands

20th Anniversary of AMIA Bombing is Sober Reminder to Remain Vigilant Against the Global Iranian Threat, Says Ros-Lehtinen

Pope Francis demands justice for Jewish centre attack victims

BOLIVIA
Bolivia becomes first nation to legalise child labour from age 10
Bolivia says law reflects reality in country where 1 million children regularly work, but activists complain it will increase poverty and contravenes United Nations conventions

BRAZIL
Brazil President Loses Ground
Dilma Rousseff is losing ground with potential voters and raising the odds that she will face a runoff in October’s presidential election, a recent poll showed.

Building the myth of under-development, BRIC by BRIC

CHILE
Hard-Line Socialism Overrules Chilean Consensus
“With Us or Against Us” Mindset Obstructs Public Debate

COLOMBIA
Colombian drug boss ‘The Mouse’ arrested by Spanish police
Hernan Alonso Villa is considered to be leader of the Oficina de Envigado cartel which is accused of 400 killings and is connected to the now-dismantled Medellin cartel

CUBA
ISIS follows Castro playbook

Cuban Political Prisoner of the Day, Alexander Fernandez Rico, July 18, 2014

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Many Haitian migrants in Dominican Republic find they lack documents to get legal status

ECUADOR
ALBA’s Favorite Lobbyist

HONDURAS
US child migrants: Honduras calls for anti-drugs plan

HUMOR

JAMAICA
Jamaicans Recruit Special Economic Zones for Accelerated Development
Elusive Foreign Investment, Diversified Economy the Targets

MEXICO
Opening of Mexican Energy Sector Takes Step Forward
Mexico’s Senate voted to give Mexican companies a greater role in energy projects under the landmark opening of the country’s oil and gas sectors, tightening the national content rules that President Enrique Peña Nieto had proposed and partly satisfying demands of local industry groups.

In Mexico, impunity prevails for attacks on the journalists, says Article 19

On Southern Border, Mexico Faces Crisis of Its Own
Mexico has announced plans for tightened deportation and border control policies as its migrant numbers surge in response to worsening gang violence in Central America.

PANAMA
Manuel Noriega sues Activision over Call of Duty
Manuel Noriega, the former dictator of Panama, is suing Call of Duty’s video games publisher.

PERU
Update: Family of ODU student who died in Peru hopes he could be back home by next week

PUERTO RICO
Real-Estate Investors See No Problem With Puerto Rico
About $1 Billion of Upscale-Property Deals in Recent Years

VENEZUELA
Venezuela’s oil diaspora
Brain haemorrhage
Venezuela’s loss of thousands of oil workers has been other countries’ gain

The week’s posts:
Andrew McCarthy on the border invasion

FIFA regrets

China in Latin America

Border flood, alien invasion

Ecuador: BloombergBusinessweek lays it on the line

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
This week in smart diplomacy

Venezuela: Looking for a bailout

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Venezuelan gov’t approaches world banks
Next October-November a very high concentration of the debt of the Nation and Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) will involve payment on account of amortization and interest for approximately USD 7 billion

Maybe they ought to consider auctioning the Matisse.

Venezuela Inches Toward a Single Exchange Rate

Rafael Osío Cabrices describes I escaped Venezuela for North America. Here’s how.

Empty hospitals, empty airports

Lying As A Revolutionary Way Of Life In Venezuela

The semifinals Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 7th, 2014

LatinAmerArgentina and Brazil go to the World Cup semifinals, and that has been the top story all over the hemisphere.

ARGENTINA
Argentina running out of options in lose-lose debt battle with ‘vultures’

Murder verdict over Argentina bishop
Two former senior military officers in Argentina have been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Bishop Enrique Angelelli in 1976 during military rule.

World Cup police cooperation leads to arrest of fugitive from Argentina’s ‘dirty war’
Salvador Siciliano, a leading member of the notorious Triple A anti-communist death squad in the 1970s, captured in Brazil thanks to heightened communications between international forces around the tournament

BOLIVIA
Bolivia sanctions child labour as young as 10
Bolivian congress passes laws that allow 12-year-old children to be employed in full-time work for others, with 10-year-olds permitted to work if self-employed

Bolivian Cops Occupy Command Centers to Demand Pay Hike

BRAZIL
Brazilian police link Fifa official to World Cup ticket gang

Brazil Tragedy Raises Doubts on Building Rush
Grief Descended on Belo Horizonte, a World Cup Host City, Following the Collapse of a Highway Overpass
Video here.

CHILE
Chile’s Bachelet Introduces $27 Billion Infrastructure Program

COLOMBIA
Colombia Taps World Cup Fever to Urge Guerrilla Defections

CUBA
Putin to visit Cuba and other LatAm nations

Media bias reaches new depths in reports on Castrogonian vehicle sales
Four motorcycles sold in Cuba, in addition to those fifty cars.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Authorities Arrest 137 Haitian Migrants

ECUADOR
NYT editorializes with this headline, Government of Ecuador Can Sue Fugitive Bankers in U.S.

GUATEMALA
Four Guatemalan Cops Accused of Extorting Olympic Athlete

HONDURAS
Honduras: Search for Miners Continues

HUMOR

JAMAICA
Jamaica selling out its paradise

MEXICO
New Telecom Rules in Mexico Clear Senate Hurdle
Mexico is near to completing its biggest overhaul of the telecommunications sector in more than two decades.

The telecom bill is a tough blow for Mr. [Carlos] Slim. It forces mobile unit Telcel to complete calls from competing networks without charge, and establishes that domestic long-distance charges made by Telmex will be phased out starting next year. The bill also gives powers to the new enhanced regulator to set some phone rates of dominant players.

Mexico’s reforms
The power and the glory
Foreigners enthuse over Enrique Peña Nieto’s reforms. Mexicans are warier

PANAMA
Venezuela restores ties with Panama
Relations were broke off after President Maduro accused Panama of joining the US in an “open conspiracy” against him.

PARAGUAY
Animals Take to Rooftops to Survive Floods in Paraguay

PERU
Hero of Peru’s Battle with Shining Path Arrested

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico: The New Detroit
Puerto Rico is moving to restructure a large slice of its debt. More trouble could be on the way. And, Mercado Libre is the eBay of Latin America. But it has a new competitor: eBay itself.

VENEZUELA
Spain’s €3,500 Epalisticia buys El Universal for €90 million

Che’s Battle Comrade Becomes Maduro’s New Economic Adviser
Cuba’s Dominance over Venezuela Out in the Open for All to See

The week’s posts and podcast:
Guatemala: When The Mountains Tremble to be corrected

Venezuela: Bye-bye, El Universal UPDATED

ISIS’s Chilean spokesman

Argentina: Pay up, Cristina

Invasion update: No visitors allowed on federal facilities, CDC opens Emergency Operations Center

Today’s update on the immigrant invasion

Venezuelan army protection racket at Guyana border

Obama to heal illegals with $2billion

Tinker, hacker, Snowden spy

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Bean-counting Catholic justices

Podcast:
Are Liberals Patriotic?


Venezuela: Bye-bye, El Universal UPDATED

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

As Venezuelans struggle with the world’s fastest inflation and the worst growth prospects outside Equatorial Guinea, Major Venezuelan newspaper to be sold

One of Venezuela’s oldest and most prestigious newspapers has been sold amid increasing government pressure on independent news media.

The editor in chief of Caracas-based El Universal, Elides Rojas, confirmed that a group of Spanish investors had bought the broadsheet from the family that has run the paper since it was founded 104 years ago.

While neutral reporting in Venezuela is hard to come by after 15 years of polarization over socialist rule, El Universal has stuck closer than most to the ideal of fact-based, investigative reporting amid a crackdown on media outlets that, like it, have been fiercely critical of the government.

As you may recall, last year Globovisión was sold to highly-placed chavistas (who own very pricey digs in Miami), after Guillermo Zuloaga, Globovisión’s majority owner, had to flee Venezuela in 2010, following Hugo Chavez’s constant threats against him and the station.

Caracas Chronicles describes the latest transaction as “HegemonCorp. [the private business sector of the communicational hegemony] gets El Universal

The new head of El Universal would be Jesús “Chucho” Abreu Anselmi, brother of José Antonio Abreu, head of the National Orchestra System (better known as El Sistema).

The Spanish investors’ company, Epalisticia, is described as a “semi-clandestine enterprise” in this report.

UPDATE
Alek Boyd has more, much more on Epalisticia:
Spain’s €3,500 Epalisticia buys El Universal for €90 million


Venezuelan army protection racket at Guyana border

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

The usual diversion of tyrants? Or an offer someone refused?

(h/t Monica’s FB feed & commenter Tom),

Military officers said to have trespassed on the Essequibo
Guyanese president not to issue any statement until probe’s results
.

Looks like the bribe went missing,

According to Stabroek News the civilians attacked, which are part of an illicit gold mining and smuggling network, failed to pay the soldiers a periodical fee in exchange for them turning a blind eye to illegal mining on Venezuelan territory.

Meanwhile someone had A rude awakening in Bonn .