Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category

The post-papal visit Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Thank God Papa Che came and left without incident. Yet, as Rich Lowry put it,

The Catholic Church’s traditional discomfort with modernity has cachet at this moment in American politics, especially when it is wrapped in the fashionable causes of income inequality and climate change. In this sense, Pope Francis is (inadvertently) a genius marketeer by taking crackpot attitudes about economic development and getting them a respectful hearing.

Taking the Pope to School

Argentina’s Presidential Hopefuls Aim to Further Militarize Drug War. Experts Warn “Failed Policy” Will Lead to More Violence, Corruption

Can Argentina responsibly develop its massive shale oil and gas potential?


Bolivia row with Chile over strip of land to Pacific Ocean goes to The Hague.
Anger in Chile as International Court of Justice at the Hague declares it has jurisdiction to rule on Bolivia’s claim

Gates Foundation sues Petrobras. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sues the Brazilian state-owned oil company, Petrobras for investment losses due to corruption.

Chile refuses bilateral negotiations over Bolivia border dispute

Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC leaders signed an accord in Havana under the aaegis of Raul Castro. Alvaro Uribe refers to it as an “Agreement of Impunity” (#AcuerdoDeImpunidad):
Santos, it’s not peace that’s near, it’s the surrender to FARC and the tyranny of Venezuela.”

The accord does not address the issue of drug trafficking.

Colombia Peace Process: Theatre of the Politically Absurd.

The accord is one of the biggest stories of the year, and U.S. media has barely mentioned it, even when the pope was involved (link in Spanish).

Violence in Costa Rica Reaching ‘Pandemic’ Levels?

Governor Cuomo and Raúl Castro of Cuba Meet

Haiti border crisis grows as Dominican Republic expels ‘migrants’

Ecuador’s President Used Millions Of Dollars Of Public Funds To Censor Critical Online Videos. Exclusive: BuzzFeed News has seen leaked documents that reveal Rafael Correa used the intelligence budget to delete content critical of him and the first lady from YouTube, Facebook, and other sites.

Testing the limits on crazy immigration policies, a New plan: we’ll pay to import formerly deported illegals with mental illnesses

Jamaican Anti-Gay Rally to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage, Even Though No One Has Proposed It. Like it or not, Jamaica is leapfrogging over decriminalization and straight to relationship equality. Here are four reasons LGBTI activists should embrace the issue.

State capitalism, populism, extractive economies and corruption don’t work: Support for Latin American Leaders Has Fallen Steadily, Poll Shows: Latin America’s political leaders face a bleak future and a potent backlash from citizens regionwide who feel increasingly disillusioned as economies stumble and corruption flourishes, a new poll across 18 countries by a respected Chilean firm shows.

Latin America cracks open its doors as Syrian refugee crisis mounts. Syrian Issa Hassan is one of the first to land in Mexico today as citizen pressure to do more mounts. Many countries in the region have had their own experiences with authoritarian rule and brutality.

Mexico’s Peña Nieto meets Iguala parents and vows to “search for truth”. President holds first face-to-face with families of the 43 missing teaching students

Dozens of Clandestine Graves Found During Search for Missing Mexican Students

Nicaragua says planned canal will cut sailing time for mega-ships, if it ever gets started, that is.

Companies building controversial dam in Panama hit with $1.2 mn in fines

Paraguay Homicides Drop, But Border Remains Violent 

The figures show high concentrations of violence in the states of Amambay and Alto Parana, with those provinces registering 50 and 31 homicides respectively. Both of these states are major border crossings between Paraguay and Brazil. Amambay in particular isone of the most dangerous border regions in Latin America, registering a murder rate of 66.7 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014.  

British tourists held overnight by Peruvian protesters. Tour party hijacked by indigenous campaigners angered by halt in road construction

Puerto Rico Funds May Face Federal Oversight. Legislation that would subject Puerto Rico mutual funds to the same regulations as mainland funds is expected to be introduced in Congress on Friday, a sign Puerto Rico’s financial crisis is drawing greater scrutiny.

Dozens Injured, Arrested in Student Protest in Uruguay

Antonio Ledezma: Seven Months under House Arrest, Still No Hearing for Caracas Mayor. Venezuelan Opposition Fears a Repeat of Leopoldo López Case Leaked Government Study Reveals Extent of Shortage Crisis in Venezuela. Report Exposes “Economic War” as Fraud, Says Center for Documentation Director

Venezuelan defector reveals secret meetings between Maduro and Hezbollah

Venezuela: Border trouble with Guyana, too

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

The dust hasn’t settled on the Colombia kerfuffle, but Maduro needs a distraction:
Guyana says Venezuela deployed troops on border area (emphasis added),

Guyana’s President David Granger says Venezuela has deployed troops along their border area.
Mr Granger described the move as a “dangerous escalation” in the long-running dispute between the two South American neighbours.

Venezuela says its troops are conducting exercises in the region.

It lays claim to the vast mineral-rich area of jungle west of the Essequibo river, which accounts for about 40% of Guyana’s territory.

That Bolivarian Revolution sure doesn’t come cheap.

Don’t expect the scapegoating to end, though (h/t VN&V).

The papal visit Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 21st, 2015

The question right now is, after getting the finger, how will Francis react to the deliberate insult to Pope Francis and to Catholics in the US?

Cristina in Havana:

U.S. Targets Tax Evaders Using Belize Accounts. Judge approves ‘John Doe’ summonses on U.S. banks

Top Bolivian officials allegedly involved in drug trafficking, according to DEA claim. Secret United States indictments obtained by the media have implicated top Bolivian officials in drug trafficking, reigniting the highly charged debate over whether Bolivia is a victim of US political persecution or whether it is becoming a corrupt narco-state.

Brazil’s sagging economy:Recession’s sharp bite. The shrinking of a once-vibrant economy is shocking ordinary folk as well as number-crunchers

Chile Sees Extensive Damage After Earthquake and Tsunami. My contacts are in areas not deeply affected.

Venezuelan Soldiers Reported Crossing Border into Colombia

Black in Bogota. Reaction to police search starts huge debate online


Castro praises Pope’s anti-capitalism stance

Follow Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba here

Cubans Increasingly Detour through Central America to Reach US Soil. Panama Sees Nearly 300 Percent Increase in Illegal Cuban Migrants in 5 Years

Correa Come Lately Not Fooling Anyone.Ecuadorians Need More than a New Coat of Paint

Danny Glover to visit Jamaica for reparation forum

Andres Oppenheimer: Latin America’s new era of disenchantment; nothing new.

Ranking America’s Love for Five Central American Countries

Hillary is ready to fight the war on drugs… in Mexico

Leaked Permit Refutes Egypt’s Account of Mexican Tourist Massacre. Tour Company Offers Proof Convoy Did Not Travel “Out of Bounds”

10 dead in land conflicts among Nicaragua settlers, Indians

New Panama Video App Shares Location-based Videos Anonymously

Syrians Play Political Prop for Pepe Mujica. Refugee Grandstanding Show’s Ex-President’s True Colors

Paraguayan Journalist among Prizewinners for Defending Press Freedom

Vigilante Lynchings Go Viral in Peru. Social Media Catalyzes Pent-Up Hunger for Justice

Peruvian serial killer’s brother arrested for murder in Japan. Brother of a serial killer known as the “apostle of death” has been arrested in connection to six murders in Japan

Peruvian Ombud’s Office Calls for Negotiated Solution to Oil Protests

Puerto Rico Utility Fails to Extend Contract With Insurers

The Electric Power Authority’s failure to extend the forbearance agreement with the insurers marks a setback for the utility, which earlier this month struck a tentative deal with some of its bondholders to reduce its debt load. Insurers that guarantee $2.5 billion of the utility’s debt balked at extending the talks. The forbearance keeps negotiations outside of court.

The Venezuelan Judge Who Caved to Chavista Pressure: Susana Barreiros’s Ruling Follows Chumming with Diosdado Cabello

Venezuela: Foreign Policy mag and its seven corrections on Leopoldo Lopez

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

You may recall that last July I posted that

By all appearances, Foreign Policy mag has published a sponsored, long-on-words-short-on-evidence piece which struggles to obscure the facts.

Roberto Lovato’s lengthy article in Foreign Policy, The Making of Leopoldo López
A closer look at the democratic bona fides of the rock star of Venezuela’s opposition
 had a number of allegations, which I questioned:

  • I don’t understand Lovato’s point. Is he saying that Leopoldo Lopez is in jail because of the [alleged] actions of members of his party which took place 13 years ago?
  • What do the “fresh government allegations” regarding the emails have to do with the case?
  • What did LL say in Burelli’s tapes? Is he in the conversation at all, since he was in jail? If not, what exactly was said about him that may affect the case? Why, indeed, are Burelli’s tapes pertinent to LL’s prosecution and defense at all ?
  • Of what exactly is LL currently charged? Since the prosecution changed the charges since LL’s detention, will the current charges be changed again?

Two months, seven corrections later. Erik Wemple posts,
Foreign Policy magazine runs seven correction/clarification/update things on piece about Venezuelan politico

Rather than explain how Lovato links López and Burelli, let’s just recite the ways in which Lovato failed to link López and Burelli. They are listed at the bottom of the story:

* Clarification, Aug. 12, 2015: Pedro Burelli was not involved in hiring Leopoldo López at PDVSA.

** Clarification, Sept. 3, 2015: Leopoldo López’s mother was originally hired by a subsidiary of PDVSA in 1980, and transferred to the head office in 1994.

*** Clarification, Aug. 12, 2015: Burelli did not specifically advise López on the 2014 clashes with the Venezuelan government.

And those are only the first three. Burelli didn’t turn the other cheek, either:

In an Aug. 19 e-mail to Stephen Kiehl of the law firm Covington & Burling LLP, Burelli listed 51 bullet points as to why he didn’t belong in the story. A little taste:

11. I have not been accused or mentioned in the 100% political case against Mr. Lopez and his mother related to the above mentioned grant.
12. I have never been a paid advisor to Mr. Lopez.
13. I have never been a formal advisor to Mr. Lopez.
14. I have not been a regular advisor to Mr. Lopez.
15. I have never been a representative of Mr. Lopez.
16. I have never attended an event on Mr. Lopez’s behalf.
17. I have never spoken in Mr. Lopez’s place.
18. I have never pretended to be a representative or a formal advisor of Mr. Lopez.
19. I have never been a member of Primero Justicia or Voluntad Popular.
20. I have never attended an event of Primero Justicia or Voluntad Popular.

And to top it off,

The objections posed by Burelli look narrow alongside the 23-page docket against “The Making of Leopoldo López” written up by Jared Genser, international counsel for the opposition leader. It breaks down Lovato’s story paragraph by paragraph, alleging factual mistakes, omissions and biases of all kinds.

One thing Wemple points out of which I was unaware until now: Lovato’s ties to Telesur, Venezuela’s state-run media outlet.

Objectivity when dealing with rogue regime is a doomed farce.

Lovato is sticking to his guns; Foreign Policy has egg on its face; lawyers are involved; Juan Carlos Gutierrez and Jared Genser published an article in FP, The Other Side of Leopoldo López: Roberto Lovato’s article claiming to be about the bona fides of our client’s democratic credentials wasn’t that at all; Lovato was given space at the bottom of that article to defend himself.

Lopez is in jail.

Venezuelan planes violate Colombia’s airspace twice in two days

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Borrowing a page from Putin, perhaps?

Colombia accuses Venezuela of new airspace violation

Colombia accused Venezuela Monday of violating its airspace for the second time in two days amid a smoldering border crisis, saying a warplane had again flown well into its territory.
. . .
The accusation came after Colombia said two Venezuelan warplanes crossed its northern border on Saturday — a claim Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez dismissed as “an invention.”

The plane flew six miles into Colombian airspace, did a sharp turn and returned to Venezuela – all without requesting permission.

The first incursion happened twice on Saturday, the day that both countries announced that they would renew ties amid the border crisis. The second took place yesterday, as Colombian president Santos announced that he was planning to visit

the northeastern province of La Guajira to assess the situation after Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro extended border closures to the region last week.

According to the reports, all incursions lacked warning to or authorization from Colombia.

Venezuela denies the incidents.

Video (in Spanish) from EFE,

Adding insult to injury, After deporting 1,400 Colombians, Venezuela pledges to take 20,000 Syrian refugees.

In other Colombian news,
Murder of Colombian journalist sullies local election campaign. Reporters’ association calls for more security measures in wake of Flor Alba Núñez’s death. She was shot as she arrived at La preferida estéreo radio station in Pitalito, southwest Colombia, where she worked. The link shows surveillance camera footage of the murder.

While the warplanes were flying, over 400 (civilian) passengers were stranded in Madrid for four days following cancellations by Conviasa, Venezuela’s national airline. Due to currency exchange laws, any Venezuelan passengers could not get more cash, either. (links in Spanish)

The pre-papal visit Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Starting on September 19th, Pope Francis will be traveling to Cuba and the U.S.. The Communist regime’s propaganda machine announced it will be releasing 3,522 prison inmates, none of which is a dissident;

The latest 3,522 prisoners to be freed will include minors, people over the age of 60, prisoners in poor health and foreigners who will be repatriated, according to the Granma newspaper. It said there will be no releases of those convicted of “crimes against state security”.

Over in Philly, pop-up-popes are springing up all over town:

Argentine Court Blocks Proclamation of Winner in Provincial Vote

An Argentine court on Tuesday ordered the electoral board of the northern province of Tucuman not to declare any winner in the Aug. 23 gubernatorial election until a move to have the ballot overturned is resolved.

Jorge Lanata’s investigation showed votes bought with drugs (video in Spanish):

Alberto Nisman could not have killed himself, ballistics tests show. The prosecutor investigating Argentina’s worst-ever terrorist attack was shot dead by someone else

Conferencia: “Escenario económico y político de la Argentina preelectoral”

Llegamos a Estados Unidos!

Significant Amendments Made To Bermuda’s Partnership Legislation


Brazilian Police Seek to Question Former President in Petrobras Probe. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his ruling Workers’ Party ‘could have benefited,’ authorities say. An understatement if there ever was one.

Brazil to Auction Hydroelectric Plants. Brazil plans to auction off 29 power plants to private operators Oct. 30, a government official said, a move that is expected to bring the cash-strapped government about $4.4 billion.

Down to BB+: S&P Cuts Brazil’s Debt Rating to Junk. Brazil lost its coveted investment-grade credit rating in the eyes of one major firm on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the government’s credibility with investors and threatening to aggravate its economic downturn.

Chilean Police Arrest 2 in Robbery of Bachelet’s Security Team

Bulletproof Vest Saves Colombian Mayoral Candidate

Cloud of Secrecy Obscures Colombia’s Human-Trafficking Blight. Reported Cases the Tip of the Iceberg, Say Anti-Trafficking Specialists

Normalization update: Tens of thousands of Cubans streaming into U.S. through southwestern border

Free Education in Cuba? Sort of / Ivan Garcia

Castro’s Empty Barabbas Politics For The Pope

Ecuador Moves to Shut Down Press Freedom Group

Rafael Correa’s Fairyland of Misinformation. Lies, Distortions Are All Ecuador’s Delusional President Has Left

El Salvador baby-swap couple reunited with child

Guatemala Outsources a Corruption Crackdown.A U.N.-sponsored agency has put Guatemala’s president and much of its political elite behind bars, in one of the most sweeping anticorruption campaigns ever

The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or Cicig, has broad powers to launch its own criminal investigations. It then works alongside Guatemala’s own attorney general’s office to prosecute cases in local courts. Its staff hails from 20 countries, from Italians who have tussled with the Mafia to Colombian anti-money-laundering experts.

Guyana to press UN strongly for judicial end to Venezuela controversy – Granger

Two Out of Three Hispanics Oppose Immigration Increase

Only 34 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics, and 33 percent of foreign-born Hispanics, want to increase legal immigration, said the Gallup report.

Sixty-four percent of each group of Hispanics want migration to be reduced or leveled, said Gallup, which released the report under a misleading headline, “U.S. Support for Increased Immigration Up to 25%.”

Jamaica contributes US$100,000 to flood-hit Dominica

‘El Chapo’ Guzman escape: Mexican prison officials charged. Four Mexican officials have been charged with aiding the escape of the notorious drugs lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from a maximum security prison.

Uh oh! New Panama Canal lock leaking

Paraguay Guerrilla Splinter Group Brought Back Into Fold?

New evidence has emerged suggesting ACA guerrilla rebels in Paraguay have reunited with their cousins in the EPP, likely marking the end of a tiny guerrilla organization that has suffered several casualties and arrests of top leaders since breaking away last year.

Over 5,000 Chinese citizens applied for Peru visas

S&P Lowers Puerto Rico’s Credit Rating to Its Second-to-Last Rung

Puerto Rico Debt Crisis: A Bond Guide as Potential Defaults Loom, or, a brief guide to Russian roulette, money-wise?

Puerto Rico’s debt. No way out

Uruguay will help Syrian refugees reach another country

[President Tabare] Vazquez said Uruguay has reached out to Lebanon because that’s where the refugees would like to go. Since Lebanon is not willing to welcome them, his government is asking the five Syrian families to choose another country.

Last February’s report on domestic abuse within one of the families (note that the 5 families are comprised of 80 people):

Venezuela Takes Out Full-Page NYT Ad to Defend Violent Deportation Spree

Court Rules TV Network Shut Down by Chávez Must Be Reinstated. RCTV President Celebrates Venezuelans’ “Right to Be Informed”. Good luck with that:

On Monday, September 7, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) issued a ruling ordering the Venezuela government to restore the network’s broadcasting license and return all seized assets.

Miserable Decision Against Leopoldo Lopez No Surprise

VenEconomy: Justice of Horror Enforced All the Way in Venezuela

The week’s posts and podcast:
9/11/2001: It is altogether fitting and proper

Venezuela: Lopez sentenced to 13+ years UPDATED

September 11: In memory of Joe Angelini, Jr.

Argentina: #Nisman could not have shot himself

Colombia: Is the U.S. pressuring Uribe to accept FARC terms?

Mexico: A fifth bus on the Iguala students case

Panama: New leaks


Guatemala: Comedian wins first round

Uruguay: Syrians don’t like it

Venezuela: Lopez sentenced to 13+ years UPDATED

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Not that it comes as a surprise,

Venezuela Court Sentences Leopoldo Lopez to More Than 13 Years in Prison. Court finds Lopez guilty of inciting violence in street protests that roiled the country. (emphasis added)

Throughout his 14-month trial, which was closed to the public and the media, Mr. Lopez’s lawyers repeatedly complained of a partisan judiciary that barred the defense from presenting evidence. The court refused to admit all but one of 65 witnesses for the defense, while allowing the testimony of 108 witnesses for the government.

Let’s go to the dictionary:

kangaroo court
1. a self-appointed or mob-operated tribunal that disregards or parodies existing principles of law or human rights, especially one in a frontier area or among criminals in prison.
2. any crudely or irregularly operated court, especially one so controlled as to render a fair trial impossible.

Yup, that fits.

Statement from Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06), member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs:

“The corrupt and dictatorial government of Nicolás Maduro has crippled the Venezuelan economy and brutally cracked down on dissenting voices. Leopoldo López has been convicted after an embarrassing show trial; Maduro is using the machinery of the state to silence voices of freedom. Maduro may try to silence the cries of his people, but the United States must stand with the people of Venezuela who are fighting against a corrupt government.”

The Labor Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 7th, 2015

First the Chong Chong Gang, then the Mu Du Bong, now the Haddad 1: Weapons smuggling to and from rogue states.

Menem said no: Argentina Former Prez Refuses to Testify in AMIA Bombing Cover Up

Menem refused to testify on grounds that he was under obligation to maintain ‘state secrets’ which only the Senate could lift.

Argentine Jewish leader: What happened to Alberto Nisman?

Lengthy but must-read: Inside the Spyware Campaign Against Argentine Troublemakers, including Lanata and Nisman.

Argentina orders HSBC to replace local bossArgentina’s central bank has ordered HSBC to replace its chief executive in the country within 24 hours and accused the bank of failing to prevent tax evasion and money laundering.

Raid in Sao Paulo discovers ISIS money-laundering network: Polícia Federal descobre rede de apoiadores do Estado Islâmico em São Paulo. O achado assusta. Ainda mais porque terrorismo, no Brasil, não é crime

Desperate times, desperate movesBeset by dismal economic data, Dilma Rousseff tosses Congress a challenge

On August 31st Dilma Rousseff, their president, sent Congress a budget for 2016 with a gaping primary deficit (before interest payments) of 30.5 billion reais ($8 billion), or 0.5% of GDP, challenging its members to close the gap. It was a break with the sound-money practices that have underpinned Brazil’s economy. It was, some critics say, illegal. Certainly nothing similar has happened since at least 2000, when Fernando Henrique Cardoso, then the president, transformed public finances.

On a charitable view, Ms Rousseff was shocking legislators into making hard decisions rather than simply blocking her fiscal proposals. A harsher reading is that she does not know how to lead Brazil out of recession.

Rio attempts to tackle widespread homelessness ahead of OlympicsAn estimated 5,600 people live on the streets of Rio, of which more than 340 are children

Chile on Path to “Modest” Recovery, Central Bank Says


Russian Spy Ship Targets U.S. Nuclear Submarines, Then Heads to Cuba

Hope in change: August was worst month for political repression in Cuba since June 2014

Ecuadorian Watchdog Warns Journos, Activists of Spyware Attacks. Emails Circulate the Same Infected Files That Targeted Nisman in Argentina

Canada’s Top Court Rules in Favor of Ecuador Villagers in Chevron Case. The case will go back to an Ontario court, where the two sides will argue over a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron


What’s Happening in Guatemala?With its government about to fall, Guatemala is finally questioning the neoliberal orthodoxy of the post–Cold War world. Not that they actually tried it.


Leaks Sink Deadline for Panama Canal Expansion
All Hands on Deck after Structural Flaws Circulate on Social Media

In Paraguay’s remote north guerrillas are still at large, armed and dangerous. The Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) have killed more than 50 people in the last two years but some wonder if the government is really trying to defeat them

Newly buzzing Lima vies with Peru’s ancient sites for visitor attention. Tourists who once made a beeline for Machu Picchu are now finding the contemporary art and food scene of Peru’s capital, Lima, as much of a draw

Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton lock horns over Puerto Rico’s financesPresidential candidates offer opposing solutions to commonwealth’s $72bn debt, with Democrat backing bankruptcy status. Rubio:

“I don’t believe Chapter 9 would solve Puerto Rico’s problems,” he said. “I believe what would solve Puerto Rico’s problems is the same thing that would solve Washington’s problems, and that is to restructure the way government spends its money.

“No organisation, whether it’s a government, a company or a family, can survive long-term spending more money than it takes in.”

Aides: Clinton raised up to $500,000 during Puerto Rico trip

You can’t cure stupid: Puerto Rico Senate Declares Spanish over English as First Official Language

Maduro castiga a Colombia para proteger al Cartel de los Soles [Maduro punishes Colombia to protect the Cartel of the Suns.]

Cartel de los Soles busca jefatura del Ministerio de Defensa en Venezuela. Cáncer de Vladimir Padrino López genera dudas sobre si continuará como Ministro de Defensa. Diosdado Cabello y Tarek El Aissami compiten por colocar sus fichas en el cargo. Los dos potenciales candidatos están siendo investigados en EEUU por narcotráfico

Read more here:

Why is China Bankrolling Venezuela?

Whatever Beijing’s motivations, the practical effect of said loans, according to Ellis [Evan Ellis of the U.S. Army War College], has “enabled countries such as Venezuela to continue as de facto sanctuaries for criminal and insurgent groups, and also, as points of entry into the region for Russia, Iran and other actors with potentially hostile intentions toward the United States.”

Woman, 80, trampled to death in Venezuelan supermarket stampede. Rush for subsidized goods sees 75 people injured as thousands besiege supermarket

The week’s posts and podcast:
The mysterious Bolivian ship and its tons of weapons UPDATED

Guatemala: President resigns, is charged and jailed

Labor Day weekend film review: Wild about Wild Tales

Brazil: U.S. fast food chains expanding

Venezuela: Well on the road from “malgoverned space” to failed state

Haiti: Hillary’s “campaign against the negative stories concerning our involvement in Haiti”

Breaking: Obama Clinches Vote to Secure Iran Nuclear Deal

Pedro Pan exhibit and panel coming up

Wikileaks is a Front for Russian Intelligence

Guatemala: Central America’s Next Flashpoint

Chile: Bachelet’s proposal for failure

En español: Mensaje a Jorge Ramos (with English excerpts)

Venezuela: Well on the road from “malgoverned space” to failed state

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

What makes a “malgoverned space”? According to R. Evan Ellis,

The defining characteristic of a malgoverned space is that the ability of the formal authority
to enforce its laws and regulations, and the possibility of residents to rely on those authorities
and the formal legal system to protect their property and physical well-being there is severely

The Dictionary defines failed state as (emphasis added)

a nation in which the government has lost political authority and control and is unable to fulfill the basic responsibilities of a sovereign state.

Venezuela is now veering on the edge.

For instance (via Instapundit), Livid over crime, some Venezuelans resort to mob justice

The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence (OVV), a non-governmental organization, estimates there were 40 cases in 2014 of lynchings, usually defined as extrajudicial killings by mobs.

The Observatory does not yet have figures for 2015, but a Reuters tally of media reports shows that in the last month alone there have been over a dozen mob-led beatings or lynchings.

Not surprising in a country where Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub. U.S. probe targets No. 2 official Diosdado Cabello, several others, on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering.

The government has created a border crisis with Colombia and accusing enemies in Colombia of trying to assassinate him, while

The word is taking its time in condemning the regime abuses on the Colombians it unjustly expels because they are mesmerized by the fact the regime is seriously wanting them to believe that these scared house wives wading dirty water are the cause of all of Venezuela trouble.

The pretext for the border crisis is bachaqueo (arbitrage) which the Venezuelan regime blames on poor Colombians living at the Venezuelan border town,

Bachaqueo is an activity that, until recently, was nothing more than the geographical arbitrage of gasoline. Over the years, Colombia has always had higher gasoline prices, not only because its price has always been at international levels, but also because it imposed higher taxes than Venezuela on it. Meanwhile, on this side of the border, gasoline has always been cheaper at the wholesale level, because Venezuelan politicians have always set the price below international prices. There has always been a feeling that this was some form of “birth right”.

This crisis is manufactured by the Venezuelan regime, in economic and political ways. The WaPo editorial board believes that

Venezuela’s populist government appears headed toward a major defeat in legislative elections scheduled for December, if the vote is free and fair.

I have no reason to believe that the December vote will have any chance at all to be “free and fair” in any meaning of the words, but when it comes to this border crisis,

Sadly, the Organization of American States has proved unable to address this outrage: Venezuela’s allies, including Caribbean countries it has supplied with discounted oil, on Monday blocked a motion to convene a foreign ministers’ meeting on the expulsions. The Obama administration, which has recently pursued a diplomatic dialogue with the Maduro government, has limited itself to a tepid expression of “concern” about the “worsening humanitarian situation.”

Not surprisingly, Venezuela rejects US’ ‘interventionist’ offer to help solve Colombia border crisis.


Mr. Maduro’s go-to boogeyman has been the United States, which he’s accused of working underhandedly to oust him from power. But as relations between Washington and Caracas have marginally improved, Mr. Maduro has chosen to deflect attention from the country’s problems by picking unnecessary fights with his neighbors. Earlier this year, he reignited a long-dormant territorial dispute with Guyana after learning that Exxon Mobil had discovered offshore oil reserves in Guyana’s waters, asserting a right to as much of two thirds of Guyana, a tiny country of roughly 800,000 people.

Maduro is following a long tradition of stoking nationalist fervor, but, as the NYT points out,

Further alienating his neighbors will only deepen Venezuela’s many problems.

And those problems point the country in the direction to failed state.

The cone of uncertainty Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Ariel Velázquez: Young Activist’s Murder Becomes Political Football in ArgentinaAs Elections Near, Rival Parties Rush to Claim Slain 20-Year-Old as Their Own

Insight – Manufacturers in Argentina starved of dollars ahead of election, hurting output

Oil Exploration Campaign Kicks Off in Bolivia’s Amazon Region

Río de Janeiro bars poor black youths from its most famous beachesPolice arrest slum youngsters en route to Ipanema and Copacabana in bid to fight theft

Brazil’s Recession Marks The Beginning Of A Long, Painful Contraction: Argentina, Venezuela, Rest Of Latin America Could Be Affected

Head of Brazilian State Bank Rebuts Accusations against Lula

Clashes erupt as truck drivers protest arson attacks

The more you give them, the more they want: FARC Slams Santos-Backed Plans for Implementing Possible Colombia Peace Deal

Colombia will face 10 years of economic slowdown, analysts predict

Human rights activists fear arrest ahead of Pope’s visit to Cuba

When Was This Cuba Story Written?, Pt. 2

Tropical storm Erika heads for Florida after killing 20 on island of Dominica

Sweden and Ecuador to begin Julian Assange talks next weekEcuador seeking formal agreement on judicial cooperation before Swedish prosecutors can interrogate WikiLeaks founder

Britain orders £46m air defence radar to protect Falklands from ArgentinaThe new vehicle-mounted radar will be able to spot threats up to 75 miles away and the first systems will be delivered before the end of the year

Guatemalans Rally Against PresidentTens of thousands of Guatemalans took to the streets Thursday to demand that President Otto Perez resign, amid the country’s biggest political crisis since the end of the civil war nearly two decades ago.

Mexican Film Defrocks the Political Pimping of a Massacre
Young Idealists Serve as Cannon Fodder in Petty Power Struggles


Panama Canal suspends planned draft restriction due to recent rains

11-year-old Paraguay rape victim has baby, stokes abortion debate

The Fascinating Afterlife of Peru’s MummiesFrom atop bejeweled thrones and sacred mountaintops, the Inca dead continued to wield incredible power over the living

Puerto Rico bond deadlines loom: What you need to know

Ten things you never knew about… UruguayToday is Independence Day in Uruguay, celebrating the country’s independence from the Brazilian Empire on August 25, 1825.

Woman, 80, trampled to death in Venezuelan supermarket stampedeRush for subsidized goods sees 75 people injured as thousands besiege supermarket

Scapegoating: Crime in VenezuelaJustice decayedThe government wrongly blames Colombia for its high murder rate

The government has paved the way by allowing the institutions of law enforcement to decay. The police force is underfunded and mistrusted. Venezuela has many fewer prosecutors and judges than it should. Chile, a country with much lower levels of violent crime, has a third more prosecutors than Venezuela in relation to the size of its population. Courts are reluctant to sentence criminals to serve time in crowded and violent jails: 90% of murders go unpunished. Gun control is weak.

And it all came to that

The week’s posts:
Brazil and other fallen BRICs

Why the knives are out on Menendez

Cuba: Getting Gitmo closed

What about the Trump/Ramos thing?

Argentina: The #tucumanazo, stories of a fraud foretold?

Heading to the World Meeting of Families in a VW bus . . . all the way from Buenos Aires

Crisis at the Venezuela-Colombia border

Bolivia: What’s with the proposed nuclear plant?

Brazil: Cunha charged with corruption and money laundering

En español: Los spots de campaña de Sergio Massa

Bolivia: The catch in the numbers

Puerto Rico: Don’t expect payment anytime soon