Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category

Venezuela: Maduro negotiated for Hezbollah training camps in Venezuela

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

A new book by Emili Blasco, Bumerán Chávez: Los fraudes que llevaron al colapso de Venezuela claims that Nicolas Maduro negotiated with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah for Hezbollah training camps in Venezuela.

The article, Nicolás Maduro negoció con Hizbolá la presencia de sus milicianos en Venezuela
Se entrevistó con su líder Nasralá para hablar de narcotráfico, blanqueo de dinero, suministro de armas y entrega de pasaportes
(Nicolás Maduro negotiated with Hezbollah its militia’s presence in Venezuela
He discussed with its leader Nasrallah drug trafficking, money laundering, supplying weapons and passports), by Blasco, the book’s author and Washington, D.C. correspondent for Spanish daily ABC, explains that the meeting, orchestrated by Hugo Chavez, took place in Damascus in 2007 when Maduro was Foreign Minister.

La cita en Damasco fue probablemente resultado de las conversaciones mantenidas en enero de 2007 por Chávez y el presidente iraní, Mahmud Ahmadineyad, que significaron un salto en la cooperación de Venezuela con los intereses del radicalismo islámico. En marzo de ese año entró en servicio un vuelo semanal entre Caracas y Teherán, con escala en una base militar de Damasco, lo que puso el Caribe más rápidamente al alcance de Hizbolá.

[my translation] The appointment in Damascus likely came about from January, 2007, conversations between Chavez and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which bounced up cooperation between Venezuela and Islamic state interests. On March that year, direct flights started between Caracas and Teheran, with a stop at a military base in Damascus, which placed the Caribbean at Hezbollah’s closer reach.

(h/t HACER)

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In other Venezuelan news, the government is using posters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles for target practice at the Universidad Nacional Experimental de la Seguridad military college.

UPDATE
Linked to by Frontpage. Thank you!

[Post corrected for misspelling]

Venezuela: Censorship all around

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Dictatorship control on all,

The Economist:
Maduro’s muzzle
Not content with harassing the press, the regime censors itself

Under Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded Chávez as president in 2013, the government is supplementing its relentless propaganda with self-censorship. The apparent goal is to hide from Venezuelans bad news that might weaken their already shaky faith in the regime. The health ministry, for instance, has not published a weekly epidemiological bulletin since early November, despite concurrent outbreaks of three mosquito-borne diseases. Last May Venezuela saw its first cases of chikungunya, a disease originating in Africa, which causes very high fevers and severe joint pains. It took the authorities five months to declare chikungunya a notifiable disease. The most recent bulletin still fails to include it.

Self-censorship is not confined to the health authorities. The National Statistical Institute (INE) has not published poverty data for 2014. No one has provided production figures for PDVSA, the state oil corporation, for the past three months. When officials explain their silence, which is not often, they talk of a need to avoid “political manipulation” of statistics.

Not that this should come as a surprise to long-term readers of this blog: For years I have mentioned that

The International Monetary Fund keeps a List of IMF Member Countries with Delays in Completion of Article IV Consultations or Mandatory Financial Stability Assessments Over 18 Months. As of the writing of this post, Venezuela hasn’t held an Article IV consultation with the IMF in 99 months.

Let me translate that into plain English: The Venezuelan government has not allowed its own numbers to be verified for almost a decade.

It also stopped reporting a number of standard indicators several years ago

About the only thing that’s new is Nicolas Maduro’s latest conspiracy theory.

By the way, why is Venezuela still considered a hybrid regime?

States that fit the hybrid regime profile can be identified based on the following characteristics:
– elections which are not too flawed and which have the potential to make a difference;
– significant levels of corruption, particularly in the judicial and electoral arenas;
– a lack of vital components of democratic quality, such as checks and balances and government accountability;
– a problematic press freedom situation, typically including incumbents’ desire to control the media, particularly television;
– a poor civil liberties situation, including limits on freedom of expression and the freedom to form organisations and trade unions; and
– a problematic rule of law situation, including a lack of judicial independence.

The elections were rigged.

Carlos Rangel posts on Muzzling a country

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Following last week’s VII Summit of the Americas, the hemisphere media showed an endless parade of Cuba propagandists touting “Cuba’s moral victory” over the U.S.

ARGENTINA
Argentina launches lawsuit against Falkland oil drillers

Tact gone, Britons living in the Falklands are like Chinese in Chinatown, says Argentine ambassador
Alicia Castro has likened British sovereignty over the archipelago to Chinese claims to the Soho district of Chinatown, as Argentina’s minister for Falklands affairs spells out the legal action his government is taking against British firms

BOLIVIA
Pope Francis will visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay

BRAZIL
Olympics: thousands of dead fish at Rio de Janeiro rowing venue
Thousands of dead fish wash up at Rio de Janeiro lagoon that will host rowing and canoeing events

COLOMBIA
Intel Leak: FARC Outgun Venezuelan Military to Poach Coltan Mines
Colombian Guerrilla De Facto Rulers in Amazonas Region

Colombia’s Santos Wants to Set Deadline for Peace Process

CUBA
OBAMA REMOVES CUBA FROM TERROR SPONSOR LIST, CUBAN SUPPORTED TERROR GROUP KILLS 10

Americans Murdered By Terrorists, Do Not Matter

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Hillary Clinton Decided to Run at Oscar de la Renta’s Dominican Republic Beachfront Mansion

ECUADOR
Janet Hinostroza: “Justice Has a Very High Price in Ecuador”
Ecuadorian Journalist’s New Documentary Uncovers Deadly US Judicial Failure

JAMAICA
Report: Jamaica’s Parliament In Bottom Half Of World’s Effective Law-Making Bodies

MEXICO
Mexico confirms capture of Gulf Cartel leader

NICARAGUA
BACK FROM LIBERIA
U.S. downplays Nicaragua’s concerns about embassy staffer infected with Ebola

PANAMA
In Panama, Restoring Streets And Reforming Gangs At The Same Time

PARAGUAY
Paraguay activists ensure government’s oil ambitions will be no walk in the park
The threat of oil drilling in Defensores del Chaco national park, where potentially extensive reserves have been uncovered, is causing growing unease in Paraguay

PERU
Pre-Inca mummy dumped at Peru rubbish site discovered by cleaners

PUERTO RICO
Treasury Officials Increase Efforts With Finances of Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
Pope Francis’ iPad Fetches $30,500 at Auction in Uruguay

VENEZUELA
VenEconomy: The Sovereignty of Hunger in Venezuela!

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Today’s must-read

Venezuela: May the farce be with you

Cuba: “We’ll pay Spain”

Is ISIS at the US-Mexico border?

Today’s vision of hell, airline travel edition:

Venezuela: News from Poyais

Mexico: Radioactive material stolen

Cuba off Sponsors of Terrorism list; how’s that working so far?

Mexico: ISIS at the border?

Harvard hosts racketeer . . . twice

Breaking: Cuba off Sponsors of Terrorism list

Cuba: Victory lap at the VII Summit

Brazil: The demonstrators are not going away

More at the circus: Correa & Obama, BFFs

Podcasts:
Rick Moran’s RINO Hour of Power, Hillary announces: Should we even bother to count the votes? with Rich Baehr.

Silvio Canto’s The Panama summit and other US Latin America stories of the week with Roger Mailhot.



Venezuela: May the farce be with you

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

The VII Summit of the Americas ended last week but the clowns are still parading. Endless propaganda articles from Leftist media extolling “the new defeat for US” continue to pop on my news alerts, but every so often you get one worth reading: For instance, Daniel Lambert-Rodríguez’s account of Nicolás Maduro’s body double (you read it right, body double) hi-jinx,
In Venezuela, One President Too Many

The international media lying in wait outside the Panama City Sheraton Hotel last Saturday were momentarily misled when a stocky individual, sporting Maduro’s trademark mustache, strode out presidentially. Hand-in-hand with a petite woman somewhat reminiscent of Venezuelan first lady Cilia Flores, the pair seemed headed in the direction of the Atlapa Convention Center, accompanied by a red-bereted honor guard and other sundry officials.

Embarrassingly, the performance proved short-lived. Fuller of figure than his presidential counterpart, with a wider nose and a distinctly rounder hairline, Budget Maduro didn’t fool the paparazzi for long. They wised up in time to film the real Maduro scurrying into a nearby vehicle which promptly took off, tires screeching.

To dig himself deeper, Maduro then called CNN “a network of lies”. You can’t make up this stuff if you try,

Not just his own, but also his wife’s,

From a historical standpoint, the list of world leaders who’ve resorted to hiring decoys for themselves reads a bit like a who’s who of mustachioed madmen — Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Saddam and Uday Hussein – individuals with a reasonable expectation of mortal danger at every turn. Not everyone is cut out for such theatrics. The act of picking out one’s own body double must be greatly discomfiting: Every unconscious mannerism, each nagging bodily insecurity must be spotlighted, and considered objectively, if the ruse is to be a success. And while wrestling with one’s own inner demons is one thing, picking out a body double for your wife seems a particularly dangerous game — particularly for a man so clearly concerned with his own mortality.

Caracas Chronicles posted on that farce. Venezuela News and Views looked at the other farce, that of the 10 million signatures: Fake signatures in lieu of votes, popular clamor in lieu of democracy.

Venezuela: News from Poyais

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Miguel Octavio tells us the story of Gregor MacGregor, creator of the country of Poyais, in From Poyais To Andorra: A Tradition Of Venezuelan Fraud

Good thing Lord Crawley wasn’t born yet.

In other Venezuelan news,
Venezuela to announce “political and economic” measures against Spain
Diplomatic spat grows over Spanish lawmakers’ call to release Caracas opposition leaders

The tit-for-tat dispute ignited after the Spanish Congress passed a non-binding resolution calling for the immediate release of jailed Venezuelan opposition leaders, including Leopoldo López and Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, who are being held in a military prison outside the capital.

“The [Spanish parliament] should go and voice their opinions about their own mothers, but they should not be giving opinions about Venezuela,” Maduro said in response on Tuesday night. He also accused Rajoy of maneuvering with others to oust his government.

Stay classy, Maduro.

The Summit of the Americas circus Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, April 13th, 2015


This time the circus was in Panama, where OBAMA-CASTRO MEETING OVERSHADOWS ANTI-US LINE AT SUMMIT

ARGENTINA
CFK: ‘It’s ridiculous to consider Venezuela, Argentina a threat’

Argentine court orders arrest of Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber will be arrested if he ever sets foot in Argentina, following an alleged fracas outside a Buenos Aires nightclub in 2013

BRAZIL
Brazil Ignites Union Fury with Outsourcing Bill
State Employees Warn Hiring-Policy Changes Threaten Labor Rights

Protesters Return to Brazilian Streets
Antigovernment protesters returned to the streets of several Brazilian cities Sunday to express dissatisfaction with President Dilma Rousseff and her ruling Workers’ Party.

The end of the BRICs

CHILE
Chile Fights Off Creeping Crisis as Graft Accusations Escalate.

Bachelet: I Will Not Resign, Government Is Not Covering Up Scandals. Bachelet didn’t attend the VII Summit.

Chile prisoners ‘extorted Spaniards’
Spanish police break up an extortion ring run by Chilean jail inmates who allegedly cold-called Spanish civilians demanding kidnap ransoms.

COLOMBIA
THANKS, BUT NO THANKS
Could Colombia play peacemaker between U.S. and Venezuela?

Colombia Navy Finds 21 Cuban Migrants on Border with Panama

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica finishes work to close artificial canal built by Nicaragua in disputed territory

CUBA
Menendez Unloads on ‘Alarming’ Reports of Pressure from White House to Rush Removal of Cuba from Terror List

The President meets the General: Dictatorship legitimized and misbehaviour whitewashed

Obama Mau-Maued By Tinpots At Latin Summit After Conceding So Much To Cuba

HAITI
Haiti’s Hillary Headache: Clinton to announce Presidency Bid Sunday

IMMIGRATION
TWO GOOD REASONS TO CURB IMMIGRATION

JAMAICA
Watch Barack Obama and Usain Bolt do sprinter’s trademark lightning pose on presidential visit to Jamaica

LATIN AMERICA
Latin America Will Tackle Corruption Later

MEXICO
N Korea urges Mexico to free detained ship

Meet Mexico’s fastest growing drug cartel. It even builds its own rifles

PANAMA
Pro-Castro Panamanian groups threaten Cuban activists

Dos Amigos: President Obama and Raúl Castro Shake Hands in Panama
I guess we should be glad he didn’t bow.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay peasants resist soybean agribusiness activities

PERU
6.5 Million Ounces of Gold LOST in Peru!

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico exports its drug addicts to Chicago
Island police and mayors direct heroin addicts to Chicago and other cities with promises of housing and treatment
.

URUGUAY
UN to help Guantanamo refugees with houses in Uruguay

VENEZUELA
Panama OAS summit for dummies

Sign or Else: Venezuelans Coerced into Anti-Obama Petition

PBS NewsHour Laments Smell of ‘Imperialist Meddling’ and ‘Bullying’ Venezuela — by Obama?

Meeting under trees in the dark of night, and other stories from Venezuela’s struggling guerilla resistance

The week’s posts and podcast:
Today’s hashtag

Ecuador: Correa tweets!

Breaking: Dissidents attacked again in Panama by Cuban gov operatives

Cuba, the “Not Ready For Prime Time Civil Society” country

Biden: Like taking a binky from a baby

Colombia: Hillary changed her mind on FTA over $50 million, oops, $130 million

Panama: Cuban agents assault dissidents

Coming up next: The Summit of the Americas circus

Venezuela: Opposition leaders’ wives to attend the Summit of the Americas

Jamaica: Vendors angry about Obama visit

Nicaragua’s steps to dictatorship

Panama: Rosa María Payá detained

Podcast: On the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Panama



Coming up next: The Summit of the Americas circus

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Coming up next: The Summit of the Americas circus

Read all about it here.

Venezuela: Opposition leaders’ wives to attend the Summit of the Americas

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

The wives of jailed opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma will be attending the upcoming Summit later this week.

Lilian Tintori and Mitzy Capriles will meet with NGOs, and Ms Tintori will be a panelist at the “Civil society and civilian actors” forum.

Let’s hope they don’t get stopped at the airport.

The pizza Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Pizza has been in the news recently, so enjoy this week’s Carnival with a slice.

ARGENTINA
Nearly three months after his murder, Experts to inspect Nisman’s apartment

Buenos Aires streets empty as transport strike hits
The streets of the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, remained largely empty on Tuesday morning as a number of transport workers’ unions went on a 24-hour strike.

Good: Argentina: Britain Spied to Ensure Falklands Security, Report Says
Britain spied on Argentine military and political leaders to ensure the security of the Falkland Islands from 2006 to 2011, an Argentine television channel reported on Friday, citing intelligence documents provided by Edward J. Snowden.

The Rise of Bitcoin in Argentina
Cryptocurrency Entrepreneurs Sidestep Onerous Restrictions, Financial Chaos

BOLIVIA
Don’t lose your shirt? Bolivia defence minister sacked over controversial top
Bolivian President Evo Morales sacked Defence Minister Jorge Ledezma on Tuesday over a controversial top he wore on a trip to neighbouring Chile.

BRAZIL
#Odebrechting – an Easter egg in the Brazilian media

Rio favela still wracked with fear and violence as Olympics 2016 approaches
Rio’s Complexo da Maré favela is being taken over by police from the soldiers that have been trying – and failing – to pacify it since before last summer’s World Cup

Brazil priest suspended for nude selfie
Brazilian priest known for conservative views on moral issues suspended for sending a nude photograph of himself to an apparent mistress
. Padre Alberto is much better-looking, though.

CHILE
Freak rainfall in Chile’s Atacama, the driest desert on earth, triggers catastrophic mud slides
Several dead, many missing as area gets lashed with seven years of rain in just 12 hours

CUBA
Whitewashing and Policy Laundering Cuban Terrorism, Part II

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Obama’s Justice Department Charges Menendez … But Not Reid

ECUADOR
Even the International Criminal Court has rejected the Chevron Shakedown

Ecuador Bulldozes Guayaquil Slum, Leaves 40 Families in the Street
Over 100 Houses Marked for Destruction amid Public Outcry

GUATEMALA
Johns Hopkins sued for $1B over Guatemala venereal disease study

IMMIGRATION
Punjabi Sikh-Mexican American community fading into history

JAMAICA
Jamaica Activates Army Reserves Ahead of Obama Visit

Obama and the CARICOM heads of government are expected to proceed from the high-level encounter in Jamaica to Panama City for the 6th Summit of the Americas, set for April 10-11.

MEXICO
U.S. Trade Commission Upholds Sugar Pact With Mexico
The U.S. International Trade Commission voted unanimously Thursday to uphold an agreement that suspended duties on sugar imports from Mexico, a decision that Mexico’s Economy Ministry welcomed as positive for Mexican producers.

PANAMA
Historic encounter: Obama, Raúl Castro to have ‘interaction’ at summit

PARAGUAY
PARAGUAY SPECIAL FORCES SEEK HELP OF TEXAS BORDER SWAT IN DEALING WITH CARTEL SPILLOVER

Paraguay has seen a spillover of organized criminal activities from countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Argentina which manifests itself in home invasions, kidnappings, and shootouts with drug traffickers, Maldonado said.

PERU
Peru names new prime minister amid spying scandal
Peru’s president has named Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano as new prime minister in a bid to calm a political crisis. Former Prime Minister Ana Jara was sacked this week amid allegations of spying and corruption.

PUERTO RICO
The Many Faces of Puerto Rico

VENEZUELA

Venezuelan hotels are asking tourists to bring their own toilet paper but
Venezuela plans to buy more Russian and Chinese arms

Venezuela, harboring ETA terrorists, El régimen narco-terrorista de Maduro ignora petición urgente de España para confirmar ubicación del ETARRA De Juana Chaos

US Federal Court Declares Venezuela in Default over $740 Million Claim
Facing $125 Billion Debt, Caracas Tries to Duck Gold Reserve Inc. Ruling

The week’s posts and podcast
Coming up next: State Dept. To Fly Central American Children Into US

Cuba: The next Hotel California? UPDATED

A happy thing for Easter weekend

Bach Johannes Passion

Venezuela, national security threat; Argentina wants a Sandwich

Cuba Forever, Indiana Never

Podcast: US-Latin America stories of the week

Yes, it’s April Fools’ Day

Mexico: Uber driver attacked

Argentina: Yet another Iran connection

Would Peru go for Chavismo?



Venezuela, national security threat; Argentina wants a Sandwich

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Venezuela, national security threat:
Joseph Humire, co-editor of Iran’s Strategic Penetration of Latin America, writes Venezuela Has Earned Her Stripes as a National Security Threat
Obama Recognizes Transnational Organized Crime, a Budding Terror Pipeline

There is a larger concern, that Venezuela has become the epicenter for several national security threats in the region. In terms of threat analysis, the defense and intelligence communities often focus on three areas running parallel throughout the world: (1) transnational organized crime, (2) terrorism, and (3) WMD proliferation.+

The first two we know are being propagated in Venezuela. Each month more evidence surfaces on how PDVSA is sponsoring, the Bolivarian Armed Forces are brokering, and several high-ranking Venezuelan officials are implicated in transnational organized crime. Moreover, research at the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS) uncovered a crime-terror pipeline being managed by Venezuela that sends drugs and funds to the Middle East and brings back foreign fighters or Islamic terrorists to the Western Hemisphere.+

But of even greater concern is the increasing evidence regarding Venezuela’s role in aiding and abetting WMD proliferation for rogue regimes, namely the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Read the whole article.

Argentina wants a Sandwich [island]:
In other news, Nicolás Maduro’s son, 24 yr old Nicolás Maduro Guerra, was in Argentina last year to inaugurate the first meeting of the Red de Apoyo a la Revolución (RAR) [Revolution Support Network] (h/t HACER),

“a social tool focused on strengthening the revolution’s progress in the battle of ideas and promoting the well-being of the Bolivarian people, under the leadership of [Venezuelan president] Nicolás Maduro Moros and the political, ideological and liberation thought of Bolívar and Chávez”.”

Their #1 item lists Hugo Chávez, Néstor Kirchner, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Nicolás Maduro, as creators of a big homeland, i.e., a unification of South America under their leadership, of course.

Never mind that two of them already passed.

The #5 item asserts Argentina’s claim not only to the Falkland Islands, but also to the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.

If all of this doesn’t sound insane enough for you, here’s the RAR banner, featuring a silhouette of the very dead Hugo:

The bottom line in Arabic, I have been told means, “strong forces join the Bolivarian Revolution.”

Makes you wonder who bankrolled the banner, and the shindig.

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Throwback Thursday:
2006
n Gaza and Ramallah in the Palestinian Territories I am told that next to Arafat’s and Che Guevara’s posters, a new poster of Chavez is being added.

[A note on Spanish surnames: unlike English, the parental last name comes first and is followed by the maternal last name, hence Nicolás Maduro, Jr. is Nicolás Maduro Guerra]