Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category

Venezuela: Beyond-the-grave nepotism

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Your country seeks a seat in the UN’s Security Council. Who better than the late dictator’s daughter, who has never held a job?

Security Council-ready!

Chávez Heir Lands First Job: U.N. Envoy
Some say María Gabriela Chávez, a daughter of Venezuela’s late Socialist leader Hugo Chávez, is unprepared to be deputy ambassador to the United Nations, as Venezuela seeks a Security Council seat on the world body.

Ms. Chávez, 34 years old, has never held a formal job and is known as a socialite—the Kardashian of Sabaneta, her father’s hometown—who posts “selfies” on social media, said former diplomats and political analysts. Unlike her older sister, Rosa Virginia Chávez, who studied international relations, the younger Ms. Chávez has demonstrated little inclination for geopolitics.

Rosa Virgina is not to be confused with her other sister, Rosinés Chávez who has demonstrated some, shall we say, unsocialistic tendencies,

while María Gabriela knows all the right people,

She’ll fit right in at the UN.

[Post corrected to add omitted text]


Venezuela: What hemorrhagic fever? UPDATED

Friday, September 19th, 2014

The Venezuelan government continues to deny it,VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT DISMISSES EXISTENCE OF DEADLY ILLNESS

An apparent viral disease causing fever and skin rashes has taken the lives of ten in Venezuela, according to hospital officials. While doctors have ruled out both Ebola and Chikungunya fever, they remain stumped as to what is causing the illness.

According to El Universal, the nation’s largest newspaper, the virus has hit hardest in the northern state of Aragua, where eight people died last week. Maracay’s Central Hospital in the region declared a “state of alarm,” noting that the disease could be either viral or bacterial, but tests have not confirmed its identity. Of the initial eight victims, half were children, all who died less than 72 hours after being admitted to the hospital. One of the ten victims died not in Aragua, but in the capital, Caracas.

As Venezuela and others follow the disastrous Cuban model, the open border presents new challenges.

Monica Showalter’s editorial at IBD:
As Obama Leads Anti-Ebola Charge To Save Africa, Little Done About New Diseases Coming Up From Border

Venezuela has confirmed 398 cases of chikungunya fever, 55,970 cases of malaria and 45,745 cases of dengue fever — all diseases that were either unknown or else had had been eradicated from the country two decades ago. There’s also 9 deaths from a strange new, unnamed hemorrhagic fever in Aragua state.
Meanwhile, in Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica, a monster dengue epidemic is raging through the region right now, with 120,000 cases, and 60 deaths, and public health emergencies declared in those countries.

Indeed,

The reality is, an unguarded border, a welcome-mat approach to illegals, well developed smuggling networks, and zero medical screening are virtually a guarantee of the spread of new diseases — and demand the political will to investigate it.

But the president’s focus is on Africa right now, and on the frightening disease that has caught the media’s attention and which may get his poll numbers up.

Yet the millions of malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS cases far more rampant in those African countries are getting no attention. Nor are the illnesses that could easily come up here from the south.

It points to crass politics — a wag-the-dog bid to divert public attention from the president’s other political problems, and a pander for the Latino vote.

Add to that the rumors of terrorism, while the administration ignores the Danger at the Southern Border,

since Political imperative trumps national security.

UPDATE
Deadly Outbreak in Venezuela Deemed ‘Terrorism’
President Nicolás Maduro said he ordered the prosecution of doctors who had alerted the public to the recent deaths of nine people in a public hospital from an unidentified but possibly infectious disease.

Venezuela: Celebrities’ ire

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

While here in the U.S. we talk about Mia Farrow’s junket to Ecuador, in Venezuela two other celebrities are in the spotlight: Maria Conchita Alonso and Jose Luis Rodriguez El Puma.

Venezuela threatens citizenship of actress Alonso

The country’s foreign ministry announced in the official gazette that it would ask a judge to remove her Venezuelan nationality.

Alonso and her brother Robert are democracy activists, very much opposed to chavismo.

El Puma, now in Chile for today’s national holiday, and is calling for a military coup against the Cuban-run Venezuelan dictatorship so the country can leave behind the “dictatorial, perverse and diabolico” Cuban model (link in Spanish – my translation),

“I call on them to save a country from catastrophe. I look at Venezuela and I see Cuba 50 years ago.”
“I appeal to the men and women of the Venezuelan Armed Forces, who have prepared throughout their lives to defend and protect the country; honor your uniforms and don’t allow these people to continue to impoverish Latin America’s richest country, your children’s country.”

El Puma, who recently made public his incurable lung condition, clarified he wants a peaceful transition to democracy once the chavistas are ousted. Here’s the video (in Spanish),

In other Venezuelan news,
Acquisition of El Universal to be challenged in Panama 

When asked about his involvement in the purchase of El Universal on 10 July 2014, Carlos Odin Velazco expressed disbelief, and claimed he had nothing to do with it, nor did he have the funds to make such a purchase.

A week later, on 17 July 2014, the agent for Tecnobreaks Inc. (Jose Alejandro Quiodetis) registered a document of an “extraordinary shareholders meeting”, purportedly held on 14 February 2014, during which Carlos Odin Velazco was removed as company director. The three Spanish citizens referred to above, and related to Epalisticia in Spain, were appointed as company director, treasurer and secretary. Tecnobreaks capital was increased from $10,000 to $1,000,000.

When I ask Carlos Odin Velazco on 3 September 2014 about that “extraordinary shareholders meeting” -held in February according to registry documents- he said that he was never informed about it, and went on to say that Quiodetis had done so without his authorization. Odin Velazco went on to claim that Quiodetis had sold Tecnobreaks without his permission, and therefore none of the decisions purportedly reached during that meeting were legally valid.

Odin Velazco is now considering legal proceedings against Quiodetis in Panama, for the unlawful appropriation of Tecnobreaks. Alek Boyd has the full report here.

Venezuela: What do El Puma & Ricardo Hausmann have in common?

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

What do a retired pop idol and a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government have in common?
Answer: Any criticism is met with public pillorying.

First instance: El Puma.

[Note: all the YouTubes are in Spanish]

Jaime Bayly interviewed last week singing star José Luís Rodríguez, best known as El Puma (link audio starts immediately) in his show last week. El Puma is Venezuelan and was very clear about Venezuela’s disastrous dictatorship,

It didn’t take long for Maduro to verbally pillory El Puma, saying that everybody will forget El Puma but all will remember Hugo Chavez,

Of course, Maduro may be correct, but for the wrong reasons.

Bayly talked about it last night, contrasting the joy El Puma brings his fans with the misery raining on Venezuela from chavismo,

Second instance: Ricardo Hausmann

Meet the Academic ‘Hitman’ Who Infuriates Venezuela’s President (emphasis added)

Ricardo Hausmann sounds like a scary guy. Last night, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro called him a “financial hitman” and “outlaw” who is part of a campaign “that has been initiated around the world against Venezuela.”

Who is this supposed international assassin? A bearded, 50-something professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government who wrote a recent opinion piece saying Venezuela should default on its international debts. Traders in the bond market already consider this a possibility given the country’s financial straits, but Maduro seems to have taken it hard because Hausmann is himself Venezuelan and served as planning minister in 1992-93.

Maduro, like his late mentor and predecessor Hugo Chávez, presents himself as the champion of Venezuela’s poor. Hausmann attacked that image in his opinion piece by writing that many of the bonds on which Venezuela is paying interest “are held by well-connected wealthy Venezuelans,” while “severe shortages of life-saving drugs in Venezuela are the result of the government’s default on a $3.5 billion bill for pharmaceutical imports.” He said that the choice of Maduro’s government not to default “is a signal of its moral bankruptcy.”

That clearly did not go over well with Maduro, who instructed the attorney general and public prosecutor to take unspecified “actions” against Hausmann.

Here’s Maduro in his TV cadena, calling Hausmann a financial hit man,

Chavismo has turned Venezuela into a country where whores (not just the streetwalkers) cash in as currency traders. Hausmann’s assertions shouldn’t come as a surprise.

UPDATE:
You wouldn’t know it from looking at Maduro, but there’s a shortage of boobs in Venezuela.

The third Monday in September Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 15th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Judge Thomas Griesa Rules Against NML Capital in Argentine Debt Case
Citibank Doesn’t Have to Hand Over Documents in Hedge Fund’s Bid to Block Next Interest Payment

Argentina: Down the Tubes, Again

BOLIVIA
A Nuclear Bolivia? Why Not?

BRAZIL
Pelé unveils unique football pitch where players’ energy produces electricity
Brazillian football legend launches a revolutionary artificial pitch that converts players’ energy into electricty to power Rio de Janeiro favela

Brazilian Tycoon Faces Criminal Charges
Brazil’s federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against Brazilian businessman Eike Batista, compounding the legal woes of the once high-flying entrepreneur.

CHILE
Memory is not history
“Dirty war” memorials should not be used to rewrite the past

The historical truth silenced by “memory” is that the cold war in Latin America was fought by two equally authoritarian sides. Argentina’s coup in 1976 was triggered in part by the violence of the Montoneros, a leftist-nationalist guerrilla group of which several of Ms Fernández’s officials were members.

In Chile, too, memories of history can be incomplete. The museum in Santiago is not trying to impose an interpretation of history, just recounting facts, Ms Bachelet told Bello in July. Yet the only clue that Allende’s government, through its attempt to impose a Marxist programme, had itself contributed to the breakdown of democracy and “the destruction or weakening of many points of consensus” is contained in a quote from a Truth Commission of 1991, which is inscribed on a wall tucked away by the toilets. Allende will be commemorated on this week’s anniversary of the coup as a fallen hero of democracy, with no mention of his own mistakes—even Zhou Enlai, then China’s leader, warned him that he was moving too fast towards communism.

Chile MP charged over 1981 killings
Chilean MP Rosauro Martinez is charged with the killing of three left-wing militants during the dictatorship of Gen Augusto Pinochet.

COLOMBIA
Chikungunya infections spread to Colombia

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica seizes 1.5 tons of pot in chase at sea

CUBA
Cuba to send doctors to Ebola areas

Cuban Political Prisoner of the Day, Daniel Enrique Quesada Chaveco, Sept. 13, 2014

Gerard Depardieu, great friend of the Castro dynasty, avatar of hypocrisy

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Poll Shows Dominicans Most Worried About Crime, Economy

ECUADOR
State Oil Firms to Invest $400 Million in Ecuador Oil Block
Exploration in the 490,000-Acre Oil Concession to Start in January

Ecuador’s Petroamazonas will have a 51% stake in the project, while Sipetrol SA, a unit of Chile’s state-owned Empresa Nacional de Petroleo, or Enap, will own 42% and Belarus’s Belorusneft will have the remaining 7%.

EL SALVADOR
Even Stronger: Truce Between El Salvador Gangs Has Unintended Consequence

But free of violence does not mean free of gangs. The entrance to Ilopango is still controlled by the Mara Salvatrucha, while a northern stretch of the suburb is controlled by 18th Street. Nothing about the agreement has impeded Gonzalez or any of his gang from walking around freely and exerting full control. In fact, it’s only strengthened their power.

GUATEMALA
Firms from Russia, China, Spain, U.S. Interested in Guatemala Pipeline

Companies from Russia, China, Spain and the United States are interested in participating in the construction of a pipeline linking Mexico and Guatemala, the Central American nation’s economy minister said Thursday.

HAITI
Ex-President of Haiti Put Under House Arrest

JAMAICA
In Jamaica, Rastas Ready for Pot Decriminalization

MEXICO
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif calls for deepening of ties with Mexico

ICE OFFICIALS DEPORT MEXICAN NATIONAL WANTED FOR MURDER

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua Requests U.S. Help in Investigating Meteorite

PANAMA
Egypt issues stamps to mark new Suez Canal – but uses pictures of Panama Canal
The multi-billion pound scheme to widen the canal was announced last month, but officials have suffered a series of false starts

PARAGUAY
Paraguayan bus drivers in crucifixion protest

PERU
Assassinations in the Amazon: how will Peru respond?
Indigenous leaders killed near Brazil border following logging and land title battle

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Finds It Has New Friends in Hedge Funds

VENEZUELA
Venezuela to charge two opposition activists deported from Colombia last week
Lorent Saleh and Gabriel Valles, two Venezuelan opposition activists, will face charges after they were deported last week from Colombia.

Venezuela Arrests 64 for Anti-Maduro Protests: Rights Group

Now what? Venezuela on static noise

Venezuela’s ongoing collapse

Glen Chavez?

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Venezuela: The next default

Venezuela: Deadly new illness

Today’s illegal invasion headlines

En español: Unidad de quemados

Chile seeks foreign help in subway bombing case

September 11: In memory of Joe Angelini, Jr.

55 years a slave: The new Cuba-Brazil human traffic

Venezuela, springboard for Hezbollah

Puerto Rico: Trump golf course defaults

Chile: Terrorist attack injures 14

This week’s podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week with Fausta Wertz editor of Fausta’s Blog

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
“Obama’s Betrayal of the Constitution”

Gov. Walker and the curious case of the district attorney’s wife

Venezuela: The next default

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Mary O’Grady writes on more to come from the ALBA deadbeat zone:
Venezuela Heads to a Default Reckoning
Amid bills for imports and debt servicing, and shrinking dollar liquidity, something has to give.

Venezuelan bond prices swooned last week on renewed speculation that the government of President Nicolás Maduro might soon default on as much as $80 billion of foreign debt. The yield on the government bond due in 2022 hit a six-month high of 15.8% on Sept. 9. David Rees of London-based Capital Economics, who last year warned of the risks of falling oil prices to Venezuelan solvency, told Bloomberg News by telephone that “the bond market is finally beginning to wake up.”

That may be true. It’s clear that the foreign exchange that Venezuela earns from oil exports cannot pay its import bills along with debt service. There are dire shortages of industrial and consumer goods as well as services. Something has to give and odds are that allowing the required adjustment to the economy won’t be the government’s first choice.

Nearly 1 million [corrected] barrels per day (almost one third of the daily 2.3 million barrels of crude OPEC says Venezuela produces) don’t generate revenue: 300,000 bpd go to Cuba, some 100,000 bpd are smuggled into the Colombia by insiders, and 650,000 bpd are sent to China to pay debt. This is even more disastrous when considering how the Venezuelan economy has become more dependent on oil after foreign capital leaves the country and productivity plummets.

Venezuela: Deadly new illness

Friday, September 12th, 2014

El Nuevo Herald and La Patilla reports that Venezuelan doctors are on the alert for a mysterious new illness whose victims die within 72 hours and which the hospitals don’t know how to treat.

Eight people from the state of Aragua have died in the past ten days. The symptoms are general malaise, high fever, skin rash, and mouth sores that become infected, after which the patients develop internal and external bleeding.

Duglas León Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation, has gone on the record saying, “we don’t know what it is.”

Happening in the middle of a health crisis in the country, the Venezuelan government has denied the reports, accusing Natera of “engaging in a campaign of rumors and terrorism.”

In other medical news, Exported to Venezuela, miserable Cuban doctors clamor to get into U.S.


Venezuela, springboard for Hezbollah

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Tarek El Aissami

The Center for a Secure and Free Society has released a report,CANADA ON GUARD: Assessing the Immigration Security Threat of
Iran, Venezuela and Cuba
which

highlights attempts to violate Canada’s immigration system, examines Venezuela’s role as a “bridge” for Iranian covert access to Canada, reviews the use of cultural exchange and other soft power strategies to win support for state sponsors of terrorism, and presents preliminary policy recommendations for strengthening Canada’s immigration and national security system

The report’s key points are:

  • Iran is cooperating with Venezuela and Cuba to exploit the seams in the Canadian immigration system.
  • From 2009 t0 2011, Latin America was the largest embarkation region for improperly documented Iranians migrating to Canada who seek refugee status.
  • Venezuelan authorities provided at least 173 passports, visas and other documentation to Islamist extremists seeking to slip unnoticed into North America.
  •  Soft power solidarity networks in Canada serve as a “Trojan Horse” for Iran and ALBA to establish cover for spies, saboteurs and other nefarious actors.

Less than a year after Canada shuttered the Iranian embassy in Ottawa, the Iranian regime opened an “unofficial” consulate in Montreal and began shuttling paperwork back and forth to the Iranian embassy in Cuba for processing.

Especially interesting: the sections on how Cuba’s role in the Misión Identidad (biometric ID cards) immigration system facilitates the entry of Cuban agents into Venezuela, and Tare[c]k El Aissami’s role as Iran, Syria and Hezbollah’s man in Mérida.

Read more about Iranian infiltration in Canada and the Americas here.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

The postponed amnesty Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 8th, 2014

LatinAmerHow convenient: Abandoning his pledge to act by the end of summer, President Barack Obama has decided to delay any executive action on immigration until after the November congressional elections, White House officials said.

ARGENTINA
Argentine High Court to Rule on Right-to-Die

Behemoth Argentine dinosaur Dreadnoughtus made T. rex look puny
Researchers are studying the remains of a colossal, long-necked dinosaur, named Dreadnoughtus meaning “fearing nothing”, that shook the Earth about 77 million years ago

Gustavo Cerati: Argentine rock legend dies after long coma

BOLIVIA
Blind jazz prodigy, aged nine, wowing Bolivian audiences

BRAZIL
Auto Production Falls Sharply in Brazil

Brazil’s Politicians Often Play the Clown in Ads

CHILE
Central Bank Cuts Forecast for Chile’s Growth in 2014

COLOMBIA
Colombia Expels Venezuelan Opposition Student Activist Lorent Gomez Saleh

ECUADOR
Correa-Tied Anti-Piracy Firm Targets Reporters Investigating Ambassador
Days after Ecuadorian news outlet exposed potential corruption, Ares Rights filed a copyright complaint

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador ex-head hands himself in
El Salvador ex-President Francisco Flores hands himself in to a judge after months on the run from allegations of corruption.

GUATEMALA
Prisoner Faces New Charges

HONDURAS
Gun Deaths in Honduras Double in 9 Years

JAMAICA
Unresponsive plane crashes into seaIn this July 11, 2009, image obtained from the US Navy, Two F-15 Strike Eagles assigned to the Louisiana Air National Guard 159th Fighter Wing fly over southern Louisiana’s wetlands during a photo exercise
A private plane tailed by US fighter jets when it failed to respond to air traffic control, crashes off Jamaica, with an American couple on board.

MEXICO
Amnesty says torture rife in Mexico
Torture is still rife in Mexico and routinely used to extract confessions, human rights organisation Amnesty International says.

Billboard Drives Home Extent of Corruption as Schools Suffer

NICARAGUA
5 gold miners still trapped in Nicaragua

PANAMA
Panama Canal expansion dredges up treasure

PARAGUAY
Peru’s Congress Denounces Former President Toledo for Money Laundering

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Luring Buyers With Tax Breaks

URUGUAY
Pepe Mujica a Libertarian? If Only…
Talk Is Cheap for Uruguay’s “Humble President”

VENEZUELA
Dude, Your Strategic Fund Has Less than a Week’s Worth of Imports In It

There IS Too Much Money To Be Made In The Bolivarian Revolution Part II: The Cadivi Rackets

Ciudad Guayana: In Venezuela’s model city, a dream sputters
Amid labor conflicts, a once-proud industrial city is a monument to the nation’s economic woes.

PDVSA Said to Hire London PR Firm as Venezuela Struggles

The week’s posts:
Brazil: Marina Silva is now frontrunner

US Signs Agreement with Mexico to Protect Mexican Workers–Including Illegals

Iran’s tango with Latin America

En español: Jennifer Lawrence en la Unidad de Quemados

Chile: $30m of cocaine and marijuana seized

Corruption: Brazil not on the map

US can’t locate 60,000 on student visas

Venezuela: Chavista Lord’s Prayer UPDATED

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
The week in the administration

Just what are “immigration rights”?


Venezuela: Censorship vs online media

Monday, September 8th, 2014

The WSJ reports,
Venezuela’s Press Crackdown Stokes Growth of Online Media
Digital Alternatives Expand as Newspapers and Broadcasters Struggle

Using legislation, steep fines, pressure on advertisers and control of printing paper, the government during the past decade has corralled the mainstream press, says Carlos Lauria, who oversees the Americas for the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York. He and other free-speech advocates say the intimidation has deepened since Mr. Maduro was narrowly elected in April 2013 after the death of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, with dozens of reporters detained, beaten and censored, Mr. Lauria says.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders recently ranked Venezuela among the worst offenders on its press-freedom index.

The article mentions Twitter, La Patilla, Vivoplay and Prodavinci.

I also recommend these 4 Venezuelan blogs (in alphabetical order): Caracas Chronicles, Devil’s Excrement, Infodio, and Venezuela News And Views.