Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category

Venezuela’s man at the OAS

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

A bullet traveling through an anti-chavista’s head “goes fast and sounds hollow,” claims Venezuelan Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) Roy Chaderton.

Don’t believe me? Listen for yourselves:

What.A.Guy.

What’s in Roy’s head?

Venezuela, “national-security threat”

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 09, 2015
FACT SHEET: Venezuela Executive Order

President Obama today issued a new Executive Order (E.O.) declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela. The targeted sanctions in the E.O. implement the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, which the President signed on December 18, 2014, and also go beyond the requirements of this legislation.

At the WSJ:
U.S. Freezes Assets of Seven Venezuelan Officials
President Obama declares Venezuela a national-security threat

President Barack Obama declared Venezuela a national-security threat and froze the assets of seven senior officials over alleged rights abuses and political repression.

The move puts all seven officials on a U.S. government blacklist that freezes any assets in the U.S. and prohibits American citizens from dealing with them.

Declaring a country a national-security threat is a formality that allow the U.S. government to impose sanctions on individuals or other countries.

Seven Venezuelan officials targeted by US The seven are:
The President imposed sanctions on the following seven individuals listed in the Annex to the E.O.:

1. Antonio José Benavides Torres: Commander of the Strategic Region for the Integral Defense (REDI) of the Central Region of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) and former Director of Operations for Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).
2. Gustavo Enrique González López: Director General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and President of Venezuela’s Strategic Center of Security and Protection of the Homeland (CESPPA).
3. Justo José Noguera Pietri: President of the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana (CVG), a state-owned entity, and former General Commander of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).
4. Katherine Nayarith Haringhton Padron: national level prosecutor of the 20th District Office of Venezuela’s Public Ministry.
5. Manuel Eduardo Pérez Urdaneta: Director of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Police.
6. Manuel Gregorio Bernal Martínez : Chief of the 31st Armored Brigade of Caracas of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Army and former Director General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN).
7. Miguel Alcides Vivas Landino: Inspector General of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) and former Commander of the Strategic Region for the Integral Defense (REDI) of the Andes Region of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces.

Caracas Chronicles applauds it

In that regard, the language in the Executive Order makes perfect sense. In sidestepping sanctions for ordinary Venezuelans while targeting the actual human rights abusers, the Obama administration is zeroing in on the problem without creating unnecessary controversies regarding “embargoes” or other nonsense.

It has also chosen the perfect time for its offensive, right when the Maduro administration is at its weakest. It is most certainly creating tension and conflict within the ranks of chavismo. After all, it’s probably more difficult to target sanctions against someone like Diosdado Cabello, who has probably prepared for years for something like this, than it is to zero in on the guys in the second-tier of decision making, the ones actually implementing the orders from Miraflores. I doubt poor old Katherine Harrington-Colby has the testaferros that Diosdado has.

Maduro and his cronies are a threat to US national security. Let’s hope the pressure makes Maduro bend a little and free some of the political prisoners. After all, how much worse can things get for them?

VN&V is skeptical: Another day, another US sanction against Venezuelan apparatchicks [sic].

So is Carlos Eire:

Get ready for a wild ride. The current occupant of the White House and his acolytes are slapping Venezuela on the wrist for its human rights violations at exactly the same time that they are rewarding those in Havana who are ultimately responsible for those violations with all sorts of outlandish concessions, including the agreement to never, ever bring up the issue of human rights abuses in the “normalization” talks between the U.S. and the Castro regime.

Heading the race to the bottom, Venezuela’s Minimum Wage Is Now $20 A Month; Congratulations To Bolivarian Socialism

The terrorist networks Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Two stories on terrorist networks in Latin America deserve our attention this week:
Report: Hezbollah opens base in Cuba
Shiite terror group to use operations center to launch attack on Israeli target in South America, Italian newspaper reports

and Uruguay, la guarida: etarras, islamistas, científicos asesinos, carapintadas y narcos (Uruguay, the lair: ETA terrorists, islamists, killer scientists, ultranationalists, and drug lords)

ARGENTINA
Alberto Nisman ‘was murdered and died in agony': full account of ex-wife’s revelations

Argentine foreign minister: This isn’t Dirty War
Hector Timerman says there’s no comparison between the current mystery death scandal and the country’s dark past

BARBADOS
Barbados to Receive More Swedish Support for Renewable Energy Initiatives

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Ex-Police Commander Accused of Ties to “El Chapo” Guzman

BRAZIL
Brazil Court Approves Probe of Top Lawmakers
A corruption dragnet that has jailed dozens of executives and erased billions from Brazil’s state-controlled oil giant has now snared some of the nation’s top lawmakers, deepening a crisis that’s weighing on South America’s largest economy.

CHILE
Stunning Nighttime Pictures of Chilean Volcano Erupting
Villarrica erupted earlier this week with a bang, spewing lava bombs and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

COLOMBIA
Rights Group Faults Colombia’s Progress on Violence
Grisly murders, disappearances and threats by drug-trafficking gangs continue to plague Buenaventura, a year after the government pledged to restore order there, a human-rights group said.

CUBA
While Conan goofed, In Raul Castro — and Barack Obama’s — Cuba, police make 492 political arrests in February

Cuba releases new photos of Fidel Castro meeting with five spies

GUYANA
Venezuela Warned Not to Interfere with Guyana’s Ocean Drilling
Caracas Cites Boundary Dispute as Neighbor Hunts for Oil

MEXICO
Mexican drug cartels
Captured capos
Few of the drug lords who terrorised the country remain at large

PANAMA
Panama: So much more than the canal

PARAGUAY
Azerbaijan Lawmakers Begin South American Tour in Paraguay

PERU
“Significant Variation” Found in Skulls From Pre-Contact Peru

PUERTO RICO
Why tax reform could be (really) bad for Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
The Slow Burn of Marijuana Legalization in Uruguay
Prohibition the Only Drug Problem, Says Reformer Diego Pieri

VENEZUELA
Venezuela to impose mandatory visas on Americans
President Nicolas Maduro says move is to control US influence

The week’s posts and podcast
Cuba: Tweet of the week

Last call to complete a survey on political blogs

Ecuador: ISIS death threats to cartoonist

En español: Las colas en supermercados venezolanos

Maradona: Before and after

Colombia: What other weapons were in the Chinese ship heading to Cuba

Argentina: Pollicita appeals dismissal of #Nisman’s suit

Please complete a survey on political blogs

Bolivia: 27 tons of ground coke seized on their way to Lebanon

Live feed to Netanyahu’s speech

Colombia Intercepts Shipment of “War Materiel” Headed to Cuba

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
The attack on LIBRE: What happens when Latinos don’t toe the line

What’s going on, or the consequences of “smart diplomacy”

Podcast:
Iran in Latin America, Argentina PLUS other stories with Silvio Canto, Jr.



En español: Las colas en supermercados venezolanos

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Programa de AR logró filmar lo que nadie ha podido en Venezuela. (h/t HACER)

In English:
Chavez’s Legacy: Venezuela in Shambles
Venezuelans are quickly discovering that Chavez’s promised paradise was really a ticket to hell.

The first Monday in March Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Fein expects challenges

Vast Argentine Wildfire Burns Out of Control for Almost 2 Weeks

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Plans to Create “Sovereign Cloud” to Improve Computer Security

BRAZIL
Cops Clear Brazilian Highway Blocked by Protesting Truckers

CHILE
Borrowing a line from Obama? Chile’s President Says She Learned about Her Son’s Deals in the Press

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s Santos Confident of Peace Accord with FARC This Year

CUBA
NY Times Greets Feeble Free Market Moves in Cuba With Pitiful Obsession Over Income Inequality

Venezuela Proves Fallacy of Obama’s Cuba Policy

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Haiti Protests Dominican Republic Racism Against Immigrants After Henry Claude Jean Lynching

ECUADOR
Sharon Stone sued for missing anti-Chevron events

HONDURAS
Honduras, Guatemala Inch Closer to Free-Trade Zone
Plan-Colombia Style Initiative in Central America Doomed to Fail, Say Critics

MEXICO
Mexico’s Peña Nieto Replaces Beleaguered Attorney General

PANAMA
The Invisible Hand and the New Panama Locks

PERU
Oil spills in Peru

PUERTO RICO
FDIC Closes Puerto Rico’s Doral Bank; Banco Popular Steps In

VENEZUELA
Intel Leak Reveals Five FARC Commanders Based in Venezuela
Armed Forces Document Drug-Trafficking Guerrilla Stronghold in Southwest

After 10 months behind bars, Marcelo Crovato, Jailed for Defending Human Rights, Gets House Arrest

El bolívar se desploma tras fracaso del nuevo sistema cambiario en Venezuela

The weeks’s posts and podcast:
Mexico: Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, the equipal chair guy

Cuba: The long and the short of it

Venezuela: Criminalizing dissent, pt. 2

Argentina: #Nisman’s lawsuit dismissed

Brazil: No joy in soy

Argentina: #3 port of departure for Europe’s cocaine?

Argentina: Pope Francis worried about “Mexicanization”

Colombia: Aronson special envoy to FARC peace talks

Colombia: Hello FARC, good-bye rule of law

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Spain, moving towards Chavismo?

All about Steve: A review of Birdman

Podcast:
Venezuela, Argentina PLUS other US-Latin America stories

Venezuela: Criminalizing dissent, pt. 2

Friday, February 27th, 2015

The Economist itemizes how the Maduro regime continues to criminalize dissent:

VENEZUELA’S “Bolivarian” regime is lurching from authoritarianism to dictatorship. On February 19th it arrested the elected mayor of metropolitan Caracas, Antonio Ledezma. Then it moved to expel Julio Borges, a moderate opposition leader, from the National Assembly—a fate already suffered by his colleague, María Corina Machado, ejected last year. Leopoldo López, another opposition leader, has been in jail for a year and is now on trial. Almost half the opposition’s mayors now face legal action. The regime’s favourite charge to level at hostile politicians is plotting to overthrow the government, often in conspiracy with the United States. But it is the president, Nicolás Maduro, who is staging a coup against the last vestiges of democracy. Venezuelans call it an autogolpe, or “self-coup”.

Hugo Chávez, who created and presided over the Bolivarian state-socialist system until his death in 2013, was repeatedly elected by Venezuelans, thanks to windfall oil revenues and his rapport with the poor. He took his majority as a mandate to squeeze the life out of Venezuelan democracy, seizing control of the courts and the electoral authority, and suppressing opposition media.

The Economist calls for other LatAm countries to become involved:

For too long Latin America has tolerated Venezuela’s abuse of democratic norms. The latest outrages have provoked expressions of concern from Brazil, the Organisation of American States and others. They must do more. They should demand the release of Mr Ledezma and Mr López and call for guarantees that the election will be fair. If they fail to get them, they should suspend Venezuela from regional groupings, such as the South American Union, which require their members to be democracies. The threat of becoming a pariah might just give Mr Maduro pause.

Over in Colombia, President Santos has offered to mediate between the Communist regime and the opposition, since “only dialogue can save Venezuela from its current crisis,” adding that the presidents of Brazil and Ecuador are also willing to help.

By calling for dialogue instead of demanding a stop to the government’s abuse, Santos and his buddies are willing to turn a blind eye to Maduro’s egregious violations.

The opposition in Brazil, however, are the ones on the right track as they passed by a large majority yesterday a motion repudiating Venezuela’s “violation of democratic principles” and demanding that Rousseff’s administration to harden its stance on Venezuela. The only three parties that didn’t join in were Rousseff’s own, the Communist Party, and the far-left PSOL Socialism and Liberty Party.

Venezuela: Criminalizing dissent

Friday, February 20th, 2015


As the Communist dictatorship in Venezuela sinks the economy into further chaos, it resorts to criminalizing dissent.

The latest victim is Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, who yesterday was arrested and dragged out of office ‘like a dog’ by the police.

Read my article at Da Tech Guy blog.

UPDATE
In other Venezuela news,
Head of the Defense and Security Committee of the National Assembly (AN) deputy William Fariñas said that pro-government deputies would request the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) to remove the parliamentary immunity of opposition deputy Julio Borges.

Liliana Tintori, Leopoldo Lopez’s wife, states that there was an attempt to remove Lopez from Ramo Verde prison to place(s) unknown.

Venezuela: Get ready for $10 oil?

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Gary Shilling at Bloomberg is saying, Get ready for $10 oil It has to do with the marginal cost of production,

or the additional costs after the wells are drilled and the pipes are laid. Another way to think of it: It’s the price at which cash flow for an additional barrel falls to zero.

Last month, Wood Mackenzie, an energy research organization, found that of 2,222 oil fields surveyed worldwide, only 1.6 percent would have negative cash flow at $40 a barrel. That suggests there won’t be a lot of chickening out at $40. Keep in mind that the marginal cost for efficient U.S. shale-oil producers is about $10 to $20 a barrel in the Permian Basin in Texas and about the same for oil produced in the Persian Gulf.

Also consider the conundrum financially troubled countries such as Russia and Venezuela find themselves in: They desperately need the revenue from oil exports to service foreign debts and fund imports. Yet, the lower the price, the more oil they need to produce and export to earn the same number of dollars, the currency used to price and trade oil.

With the drop in prices,

Among the hardest hit are those nations that rely on oil for much of their government revenue and were in financial trouble before prices plunged. Venezuela along with its state-run oil company issued more debt than any developing country between 2007 and 2011. Venezuela has been downgraded to the bottom of the junk pile — CCC by Fitch — and credit-default swaps on Venezuelan debt recently indicated a 61 percent chance of default in the next year and 90 percent in the next five years. The nosedive in oil prices also is devastating African exporters Ghana, Angola and Nigeria, where oil finances 70 percent of the government’s budget.

How Bad Is Venezuela’s Economic Chaos? Bad enough that

Maduro has yet to fully account for how his government will meet its $10.3 billion debt obligations in 2015. A March 16 payment totally $1.1 billion is fast approaching and Venezuela’s economy is languishing.

I am not optimistic at all; even if Maduro goes, the country can remain under a dictatorship, just as Cuba has, for decades to follow.

And, by the way, even when the minimum monthly wage of 5,600 bolivars ($32 on a new exchange market created last week) is close to useless, the late dictator Hugo Chavez managed to sock away US$12 billion in his HSBC account.

So, all of you who preach that “Chavez immensely decreased inequality” in Venezuela can take that, spread it, and eat it on a cracker.

2 podcasts and a few short items

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Today at 1PM Eastern I’m in Silvio Canto’s podcast talking about the US-Cuba talks, Argentina and other US-Latin America issues of the week with Jorge Ponce.

I was in Rick Moran’s podcast last night talking about the GOP playing chicken with Homeland Security funding with Noah Rothman of Hot Air.

Both podcasts are archived for your listening convenience.

—————————————

Daniel Duquenal is running a series of posts analyzing Venezuela’s situation. Go here for links.

—————————————

Over in Bolivia, Evo Morales, following Cristina Fernandez’s example in Argentina, is resorting to thieving private pensions, since he’s running out of money now that oil prices are down.

It’s his third term, so he’s declared himself planetary leader at the Tiwanaku ruins, just for show:

—————————————

Today in history, Feb 18, 1964:
United States punishes nations for trading with Cuba

The United States cuts off military assistance to Britain, France, and Yugoslavia in retaliation for their continuing trade with the communist nation of Cuba.

Nowadays we send hashtags instead.

The Presidents’ Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 16th, 2015

ARGENTINA
Prosecutor Pollicita charges President CFK in AMIA cover-up case

Alberto Nisman’s Death Just The Latest Example Of Large-Scale Corruption, Argentines Say

BOLIVIA
From Stratfor: U.S., Bolivia: The Pieces Are in Place for Improved Relations

BRAZIL
Whose oil in Brazil?
One of the many casualties of the Petrobras scandal is a misguided industrial policy

Carnival time in Brazil

CHILE
Son of Chilean president resigns
The son of Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet resigns as head of a government charity after being accused of influence peddling.

COLOMBIA
Colombian Oil Firm Recruits FBI to Weed Out Bribery
Four Years Pass before Friends-with-Benefits Contracts Surface

Uribe meets with US Congressmen to seek support for Colombia opposition

Colombia proposes world’s largest eco-corridor with Brazil, Venezuela

CUBA
Former Obama Official on Cuba Talks: “We didn’t want anything in return”

Dissident savagely attacked by Castro thugs

Aggressive new HIV strain detected in Cuba
Researchers said an aggressive HIV strain in Cuba progresses into AIDS so fast that treatment with antiretroviral drugs may come too late.

Turkey’s Erdogan wants to build a mosque in Cuba. It’s based on a historical fallacy.

ECUADOR
The President Of Ecuador Just Went Off On John Oliver In Hilarious Rant

IMMIGRATION
OBAMA’S AMNESTY: IT’S EVEN WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT

JAMAICA
In historic move, Jamaica extradites fraud suspect

LATIN AMERICA
What’s Putin’s Game in the Western Hemisphere?
The Russians are coming—again
.

Worldwide Threat Assessment

MEXICO
Heisenberg: Bill Clinton apologizes to Mexico for the war on drugs which he blames for fueling violence in the country
Bill Clinton spoke at a summit on Youth and Productivity in Mexico
He said: ‘I wish you had no narco-trafficking, but it’s not really your fault’
He then blamed U.S. efforts which had forced trafficking over land
Clinton’s administration followed past president’s efforts on drugs war

HSBC has form: remember Mexico and laundered drug money
For the bank to get off with hollow statements of apology is to treat us all with contempt

NICARAGUA
Skeptical Panama takes heed of planned Nicaraguan canal

PANAMA
Ohio? Panama Canal expansion shipping jobs to Ohio

Appalachian Ohio could benefit most, in part because the Ohio River could receive goods from the canal after they’ve made their way to the United States via the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River or the East Coast and the Port of Virginia.

PERU
Argentina oil company leaves Peru town after protests

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico bankruptcy bill to get House hearing: source

URUGUAY
Uruguay: Árabes, persas y espías, último capítulo de la gestión Almagro

You think? Uruguay Undecided on Accepting More Syrian Refugees

VENEZUELA
‘Coup plot foiled’ in Venezuela
An ex-air force general is arrested and more than 10 others implicated in a plot to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, officials say.

Coup = toucan’s saliva

Clashes in Venezuela as economic shortages continue to bite
A year after violent clashes between opposition protestors and government forces left 43 dead, protestors returned to the streets of Venezuela

Reporters without Borders: Venezuela flunks in Press Freedom Index
The 2015 World Press Freedom Index, prepared by NGO Reporters without Borders, highlights increasing difficulties in Latin America for journalists to do their job in 2014. Venezuela fell 21 places from 2013

Escándalo en el HSBC revela cuenta en Suiza de Hugo Chávez con 12 mil millones de dólares

The week’s posts and podcast:
Smart diplomacy: “We didn’t want anything in return” from Cuba

Today on Drudgereport

Argentina: Gitmo alumnus “ready to fight”

Latin America: Worldwide Threat Assessment

Ecuador: John Oliver goofs on Correa

Argentina: Why we’ll probably never learn the truth about the #Nisman murder

Venezuela: Persecuting the retailers

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Argentina: A case of “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown?” UPDATE

Netflix in Cuba, yeah, right

Podcast:
On Venezuela, Argentina & US-Latin America