Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category

The Mexican Nazi cheerleaders Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 15th, 2015

LatinAmerOf all the odd news I’ve read in the past decade or so, the Mexican Nazi cheerleaders take the cake for crassness and ignorance (and I’m being kind), but they’re an example of the abysmal lack of history education in our hemisphere.

ARGENTINA
More contradictions: Nisman’s laptop not accessed after his death

Argentina president attacks ‘ill-mannered’ Cameron over FalklandsCristina Kirchner condemns David Cameron after PM tells Argentine foreign minister to stop ‘threatening’ residents on South Atlantic islands

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Urges OAS to Approve Declaration of Indigenous Rights after 18 Years

BRAZIL
Brazil $800m money laundering network broken up

CENTRAL AMERICA
CentAm aid cut back

CHILE
Chilean Teachers Vote to Continue Unlimited Strike

COLOMBIA
Colombia Farc rebel attack leave 500,000 without powerColombia’s Farc rebels have shot dead three police officers and cut off power to almost half a million people, the military has said.

CUBA
U.S. Senators Introduce Bill to End Cuba EmbargoThe Cuba Trade Act of 2015 would give private firms, including financial institutions, the right to conduct business with the Communist-ruled island.

Next Phase of the US-Cuba Faustian Bargain Goes Unchecked by Congress

Cuba’s Web Entrepreneurs Search for U.S. Clients, and Reliable Wi-FiAs the United States opens up to Cuba, a little-advertised circle of software developers, web designers and translators are selling their skills long-distance.

CUBA REPORT FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

ECUADOR
Ecuador Gets OPEC’s Support in Dispute with Chevron

GUATAMALA
Guatemalan Supreme Court Rules Pérez Molina Must Face the MusicJudiciary Greenlights Congressional Probe, Removal of Immunity

Guatemalans Demand Resignation of President Accused of Corruption

GUYANA
Economic war (a real one)

HAITI
Time to dissolve the UN: UN peacekeepers ‘barter goods for sex’UN peacekeepers regularly barter goods for sex with people in the countries the world body is meant to be helping, a draft UN report says.

HONDURAS
Wave of Protests Spreads to Scandal-Weary Honduras and Guatemala

JAMAICA
Despite doctor’s advice … J’CAN WOMEN RUSHING ‘VIRGIN SOAP’

MEXICO
Mexico’s mid-term electionsPunishing bad behaviourThe mainstream political parties suffered setbacks. That is no reason for the government to retreat from reform

PANAMA
Panama Canal Expansion Surges Forward into New LocksDouble-Capacity “New Panamax” Ships to Pass from April 2016

PARAGUAY
Fifa crisis: Paraguay ends immunity for ConmebolParaguay is ending the diplomatic immunity of the headquarters for South America’s Conmebol football association, the latest fallout from the corruption scandal engulfing Fifa.

PERU
Visa-Free: Peruvians, Colombians Can Pack Their Bags for the EUOld World Opens Up to 90-Day Visits

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico’s economy matters in the 2016 presidential race

SURINAME
Presidential pardonVoters overlooked Desi Bouterse’s dodgy past, hoping for a better future

VENEZUELA
Venezuela: Running on Fumes?

De genocidas y huelgas de hambre

Spain Brings Pain to Venezuela’s Leftists

The week’s posts:
Mexico: Springtime for Hitler

Cuba: Marielito blood on Fidel’s hands

Mexico: House Votes to Remove Country-of-Origin Labels on Meat Sold in U.S.

Ecuador: Hotlanta PR doesn’t come cheap

Cars: Private enterprise vs. government-owned

Venezuela: And now for the Iranian cars

2 en español: Lucio Gutierrez, Emili Blasco en el show de Bayly

Cuba: “For both sides”?

There was an election in Mexico

Rubio Vice

Argentina: Cristina visits Francis, for the fifth time

Puerto Rico: Flaming June at the Frick

Today at Drudge

The week’s books:

Cars: Private enterprise vs. government-owned

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Private enterprise vs. government-owned: A consumer economy beats a command economy, all the way down the road.

Read my article here

Venezuela: And now for the Iranian cars

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Venezuela, where gasoline is almost free but the cars are lousy.

Jesus Silvia’s report on Press TV:

Iran’s car industry has shown signs of enhancing its share in Venezuelan market. The sale of US cars in Venezuela’s market has decreased dramatically since President Nicolas Maduro banned American automakers from using dollars for transactions. Iranian vehicles made by Venirauto group seem to be an alternative to Venezuelans in times of a troubled market.

VENezuela + IRan + AUTO = Venirauto, which is also a handy pun for “coming by car” (venir en auto)

Video:

At the 0:40 mark, Francisco Espinoza, president of Venirauto group, “Our achievement is based on inspiration given by our late commander, Hugo Chavez. He wanted Venezuela to ally with Iran, and we’re doing so.”

Compare and contrast the very low-tech plant shown in the video with a Hyundai assembly plant at Kancheepuram district in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu October 4, 2012,

or the Volvo trucks assembly plant in South Carolina

One of the reasons Iran is willing to build cars in Venezuela when foreign automakers are leaving is that, as early as 2007, Iran agreed to build platforms in a US$4 billion development of Orinoco delta oil deposits in exchange for Venezuelan investments.

As you would expect from a government-forced monopoly, the cars don’t look jazzy (emphasis added),

The company Venirauto, which is 51% Iranian and 49% Venezuelan, is producing two different models. The first model, the Turpial at a price of Bs. 17 million (US$7,906), is a 4-door sedan based on the old Kia Pride model. The second is the Centauro, at a price of Bs. 23 million (US$11,069), and is based on the Peugeot 405 given that the French firm is the main supplier of engines and technology to the Iranian company. Both models are exempt from Venezuela’s sales tax IVA (Value-added tax), due to a government program to subsidize cars that include Venezuelan production.

The goal is to eventually produce 100% of the cars in Venezuela.

The Peugeot 405 was introduced on 1987 and, according to Wikipedia, is still produced under license in Iran and Egypt but ceased production in France in 1997. The old Kia Pride (not to be confused with the Kia New Pride) was in production from 1987 to 2000.

Don’t expect to find those in Kelley’s Blue Book Top 10 anytime soon.

Parting question,
Can the Venirautos be bullet-proofed?

2 en español: Lucio Gutierrez, Emili Blasco en el show de Bayly

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Lucio Gutiérrez, ex-Presidente de Ecuador,

Emili J. Blasco, corresponsal de ABC y autor del libro Bumerán Chávez: Los fraudes que llevaron al colapso de Venezuela (Amazon.com #1 Best Sellerin Caribbean & Latin American Politics)

Venezuela: Maduro gets the [chicken?] flu

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today, madam
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today
She is sorry to be delayed

Cole Porter

Unlike Miss Otis, Nicolas Maduro didn’t stray down Lover’s Lane. Instead, the Venezuelan dictator cancelled a previously-scheduled and well-publicized audience with Pope Francis due to flu and otitis, which is what brought Miss Otis to mind.

Of course, Maduro had to say it in a cadena (which is broadcast on all licensed TV and radio stations in the country).

The news report states that the cancellation

comes as the Catholic Church in Venezuela has been stepping up criticism of human rights abuses in the country.

The Venezuelan Catholics are stepping up the pressure; however, Pope Francis has yet to speak in behalf of Leopoldo Lopez, who is still rotting in jail and killing himself with a hunger strike,

Good evening. It’s Lillian [Lopez’s wife]. Leopoldo sent me an important message. Today is his 12th day in hunger strike. Please RT.

Considering how Pope Francis’s own-brokered Cuba/U.S. deal left Cuban dissidents flapping in the wind, and how chummy Raul and Francis got along, perhaps Maduro could have claimed a miraculous cure and gone on his Vatican junket with no adverse side effects.

Related:
Dictatorship and the Nature of the Vatican

The dollarized Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 8th, 2015

The latest trend: Peoples of Latin America are increasingly favoring the U.S. dollar in monetary transactions.

In other news, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) helicopter was shot down or forced to initiate an emergency landing in Laredo, Texas due to receiving gunfire from the Mexican side of the border.

ARGENTINA
Alberto Nisman’s computer ‘accessed more than 60 times after his death’Mystery surrounding death of Argentine prosecutor deepens as judicial sources say his computer was accessed after his death and detectives accused of contaminating crime scene

One More Unsolved Mystery in Argentina

U.S. Judge Orders Argentina to Pay $5.4 Billion to Other Bondholders

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Hands Over Fugitive Businessman to Peru Authorities

Bolivia’s government on Friday handed over fugitive businessman Martin Belaunde Lossio, who was captured the day before in Bolivia’s Amazon region after escaping house arrest last weekend.

Belaunde, a former adviser to Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, is wanted in his homeland on corruption charges.

BRAZIL
Debts of Brazil Companies Probed in Petrobras Scandal up 1,424%

Brazil court convicts two firefighters in nightclub fireA court convicts two of eight firefighters in connection with 2013 nightclub fire that killed more than 200 people in southern Brazil

Lt Col Moises da Silva Fuchs and Cpt Alex da Rocha Camillo were found guilty at a military court of making a false declaration in the licence for Kiss nightclub in the university town of Santa Maria in Rio Grande do Sul.

Fuchs was also convicted of misconduct for not sanctioning an officer, who also managed a company responsible for renovations at the club.

Six other firefighters were cleared over inspection failures before the fire after a two-day hearing.

CHILE
Bachelet’s Popularity in the Toilet after Corruption CrisisPresident’s Support Halves in Just One Year to 26 Percent

COLOMBIA
11-year-old daughter of high-ranking official in Colombia abducted and held for ransom

Colombia Re-Arrests Suspected Rapist of Journalist Bedoya

How Libertarianism Can End Bogotá’s Traffic ChaosShared-Spaced Designs Can Lift the Burden of Unnecessary State Controls

CUBA
Human rights group: Political repression in Cuba almost doubles in May

Dictatorship and the Nature of the Vatican

In an online world, Cuba remains a stand-in-line society
Waiting in long lines for just about everything is an inescapable fact of life on the island.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Republic Inches Closer to Consecutive Presidential ReelectionDanilo Medina Clears Another Hurdle toward 2016 Bid

ECUADOR
Ecuador’s Pope Francis Propaganda Reaches Critical MassCorrea Splits with Bishops over Papal Visit Branding

GUATEMALA
Another Guatemalan Minister Calls It Quits as Protests SpreadMounting Money Trail Goes Right to the Top

Rios Montt Defense Lawyer Slain in Guatemala

HONDURAS
Thousands rally in Honduras calling for president to quit

JAMAICA
Building Jamaica from Burma through IndiaLachu Ramchandani started with nothing, now opens up possibilities for many

LATIN AMERICA
Crime in Latin AmericaQuickie kidnappingsAs abductions get faster, the poor are being targeted along with the rich

MEXICO
**UPDATES** BREAKING: US CBP CHOPPER DOWN AT TEXAS BORDER, FIRED ON FROM MEXICO

DABIQ: ISIS COULD TRANSPORT NUKE FROM NIGERIA INTO U.S. THROUGH MEXICO

Video of Mexican Prison Riot Highlights a Crisis as Elections NearThe footage of a deadly melee illustrated the difficulty the government has in controlling inmates in its overcrowded and violent prison system.

Mexico’s Midterm Elections Likely to Reflect President’s WoesSunday’s vote is shaping up as a referendum on President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose early popularity has been undercut by a resurgence in gang violence and corruption scandals.

PERU
Peru Two land roles as hairdressers in Peruvian jail in bid to get early parole

PUERTO RICO
Broke And Barred From Bankruptcy, Puerto Rico Seeks Outside Cash

Thank God this was not a trend when I lived there, Dead man standing: Macabre wakes of Puerto Rico prop up the dead

URUGUAY
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee weds Muslim convert in UruguayAdel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi, a 50-year-old Tunisian, married Roma Blanco, a 24-year-old Uruguayan; Omar Abdelhadi Faraj’s wedding was postponed to next week.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan President Maduro Cancels Visit With Pope FrancisMaduro, criticized on human rights record, says he is ill and cannot travel

Good luck with that: Pope asked to intercede in Venezuelan hunger strike
Pope and President Maduro are due to meet in Rome on Sunday amid concerns that jailed opposition figures beginning to develop serious health problems as a result of their fast
. As you can see above, Maduro’s not going.

Venezuela: Not Hyperinflating — Yet

The week’s posts and podcast:
Uruguay: De facto dollarization

Nicaragua: The canal, a pretext for expropriation?

An exquisitely civilizing moment: Sinatra and Jobim

Cuba: Outside the Tourist Bubble

Argentina: Who went into #Nisman’s laptop?

Venezuela: Maradona for FIFA president!

Why do we talk about Jenner?

En español: Lo que sabía #Nisman: la conexión iraní

Colombia: Today’s Capt. Louis Renault moment

Ecuador: Hasta la vista, dollars!

Argentina: Crime scene video from #Nisman apartment



Venezuela: Maradona for FIFA president!

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Before we get to Maradona, this:
Venezuela’s currency isn’t worth a penny

Just a month ago, $1 was worth 279 bolivars. That was already pretty dismal for Venezuela. Now $1 equals 408 bolivars, according to the unofficial exchange rate, which most Venezuelans get when they try to trade currency.

Put another way, one bolivar equals $0.002 — less than a penny. The country’s currency has lost nearly half its value since the beginning of May, according to dolartoday.com, a website that tracks the unofficial exchange rate.

It’s another sign that Venezuela is arguably the world’s worst economy.

Elsewhere in the nuthouse,
Diego Maradona backed for FIFA presidency by Venezuela’s Maduro

Speaking on his national television program, Maduro said Argentine football legend Maradona had been calling out FIFA for decades, only to be laughed at. Maradona has been a high-profile supporter of the 16-year-old socialist revolution launched in Venezuela by late President Hugo Chavez.

Just weeks ago, the 1986 World Cup winner wrote a column in The Telegraphnewspaper in England blasting Blatter as a “dictator for life,” while calling FIFA “a disgrace.”

Maradona has exhibited disgraceful behavior of other sorts over the years, but I’m inclined to agree with him on FIFA.

Heck, things are so crazy Maradona may even get the job.

We’ll talk about this in tonight’s podcast at 8PM Eastern.



En español: Lo que sabía #Nisman: la conexión iraní

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

What Nisman knew: The Iranian connection,

Jorge Lanata reporta.

The off-the-sponsors-of-terror-list Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 1st, 2015

LatinAmerThe week’s big news: Pres. Obama removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terror, as part of a deal brokered by the Vatican, in exchange for which Cuba had to do nothing.

The top headlines in the hemisphere: FIFA corruption; as expected, its re-elected president blames the U.S. and England.

ARGENTINA
Cristina’s not running: ‘CFK will not be candidate in the upcoming elections’ . . . maybe.

Re: Nisman, Calls on prosecutor Fein to hurry probe into Nisman’s deathJudge: investigate Lagomarsino

‘Meteorite thieves’ held by policePolice in Argentina arrest four men who appear to have been trying to steal more than a tonne of meteorites in the northern province of Chaco.

BAHAMAS
China mulls air route to Bahamas

BOLIVIA
“Refugio de corruptos”

BRAZIL
Former Petrobras Executive Sentenced to Five Years
Nestor Cerveró, Petrobras’ former director of international operations, was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to five years in prison.

Brazil Dangles Leniency to Spur Energy Industry
Brazil’s government is preparing to offer U.S.-like leniency deals to several private companies linked to the Petrobras corruption scandal to lessen its drag on the nation’s economy

CAYMAN ISLANDS
How the Cayman Islands Became a FIFA Power

CHILE
When a government spies on its citizens: lessons from Chile

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s peace process
Bullet proof
Despite an escalation of violence, the talks continue

One reason for the talks’ resilience is that both sides are used to negotiating during bouts of violence, which did not end even during the quietest periods. Military action by the FARC fell by 85% during its ceasefire and civilian deaths fell by 73%, according to the Conflict Analysis Resource Centre (CERAC), a think-tank in Bogotá. Even so, CERAC recorded 21 attacks by the FARC (and suspects it was responsible for another 75). Mr Santos has staked his reputation on concluding a peace agreement (by the end of this year, he hopes). For the FARC, the alternative to peace is further pounding by the armed forces; it no longer hopes for victory.

Farc peace negotiator killed in Colombia bombingPedro Nel Daza Martínez, the Farc leader better known as “Jairo Martínez”, had returned from peace talks in Havana when he was killed by a government bombing raid

Public opinion and pessimism in Colombia’s peace talks

CUBA
Raul Castro Meets with Leaders of Mexican Left

Voluntary Corporate Code of Conduct for Cuba Needed

Interamerican Human Rights Commission asked to intervene on behalf of besieged Cuban pastor

On Cuba’s Removal From the State-Sponsors of Terrorism List

Carlos Eire writes on how “they hate it so much when we refuse to be the caricatures they want us to be:” Okay, that’s it. Se acabó la pachanga. The party’s over. Time to say “Hell is my homeland.”

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Legal Limbo over for Haitian Descendants in Dominican RepublicCritics Fear Many Still Fall through the Cracks

ECUADOR
Bye-bye, dollarization: Ecuador Moves Toward Electronic Currency

Ecuador’s Monetary Council has published a resolution making it mandatory for private and public banks to deal with transactions in electronic currency.

Depending on their size, banks will have between 120 and 360 days to register as Macro Agents of the electronic currency system in the central bank.

The resolution reiterated that the central bank is the only entity authorized to issue electronic currency, and that the electronic currency must be backed up by liquid assets of the central bank.

Tax Me, I’m Ecuadorian
Taking More from Inheritances Will Depress Salaries, Impoverish Middle Class

EL SALVADOR
How gang violence is spreading fear in El Salvador

HAITI
Accused Clinton Donation Solicitation Used For Haiti Projects

The money will be used for “undetermined” projects in Haiti.

Yeah, right.

LATIN AMERICA
U.S. Soccer Probe Brings Adulation From AbroadUnexpectedly, the FBI’s case is garnering plaudits even in regions like Latin America that are traditionally suspicious of Washington’s motives

MEXICO
Mexico Shelves Key Part of Education OverhaulThe Mexican government suspended its planned teacher evaluations that were a cornerstone of the country’s education overhaul, in a decision ahead of midterm elections that dissident teacher groups threatened to boycott.

Major US Banks Closing Border Branches to Fight Money Laundering

LIFE AND DEATH ON THE AVOCADO TRAIL
A fearless Mexican-American cook routinely travels 2,000 miles, driving through a drug war and slipping out of kidnappers’ fingers, all in the name of a decent mole poblano for her New York customers.
Inexplicably, they let her go.

NICARAGUA
DRUG TRAFFICKING
Beachcombing along the Caribbean drug trail in Nicaragua

PANAMA
Global Migrants Brave Panama’s Vipers, Bats, Bandits to Reach U.S.
Africans, Asians, Cubans cross the treacherous jungle of the Darien Gap

PERU
Peru planning to dam Amazon’s main source and displace 1000s
Over 20 hydroelectric projects proposed for the main trunk of the River Maranon would have devastating impacts

PUERTO RICO
Fat lot of good that’s going to do: Puerto Rico Governor Signs Law Raising Sales Tax to 11.5 Pct. To cover its $1.2 billion in debt service due this year from sales tax alone, it would have to raise over $10 trillion in sales – absurd.

URUGUAY
June brides: Ex-Guantanamo Prisoners to Marry Uruguayan Women

Abd al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj [a.k.a. Abd al Hadi Faraj], 40, from Syria and Tunisian Abdul Bin Mohammed Ourgy [a.k.a. Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy], 50, will marry Muslim women at a mosque in Montevideo.

VENEZUELA
Venezuelans March in Caracas to Demand Release of Jailed Opposition Leaders


Diosdado is now reading members of NGOs Provea and Public Forum emails on TV.

#SOSVenezuela: Venezuelans, Cubans, others protest for freedom, democracy in Venezuela #30M

Leopoldo Lopez shows us what a selfie should be all about

The week’s posts and podcast:
Cuba: Willfull blindness

Masplaining and the shrinking violets

This just in: Cuba off sponsors of terror list

Latin America: Breitbart news report on Iranian expansion in our hemisphere

Brazil: The WaPo’s evangelical Frank Underwood

Is Venezuela dollarizing

Argentina: #FIFAarrests in 22 tweets

Cuba: Is China rebuilding Cuba’s ports?

The era of moral imbecility

Brazil: Beam him up, Scotti

Mexico: The independent El Bronco

Venezuela: Leopoldo Lopez’s jail video

Note to all Latin Americans: Being a populist socialist won’t save you from ISIS

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week



Is Venezuela dollarizing?

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Officially, they won’t, but in practice, yes:

Venezuela Embraces the Dollar—Reluctantly
Increasing dollarization reflects doubt in President Maduro’s ability to boost a sclerotic economy and halt a plummeting currency

From real estate to cars to even some cheaper goods like health-care products, an increasing number of vendors demand dollars—or its black market equivalent in bolivars, now about 350, several times the official rate. That prices out most Venezuelans, who can’t get greenbacks because of complex currency controls the government uses to prevent capital flight.

Those controls have helped exacerbate class divisions between those who hold only bolivars and those with access to dollars, undermining Mr. Chávez’s so-called Bolivarian Revolution, the social movement embraced by his successor, President Nicolás Maduro, which aims to equitably distribute wealth.

Steve Hanke saw it coming.

Worthless bolivar, replaced by hard currency, ought to not surprise anyone, or, as Capt. Louie said, “I’m shocked, shocked, there’s gambling going on in here.”

I wonder what became of my former friend, the liberal, who told me that Chávez had improved the economy. She’ll blame Maduro for not getting Communism straight, unlike Hugo.

——————————–

Additionally, just because you have dollars doesn’t mean you can get necessities.

For example, buying car tires: A contrast between a command economy, and a consumer-oriented economy.

At the command economy: Where gasoline is almost free, but two months go by and you can’t get tires for your car.

Gustavo Hernandez Acevedo describes Chavismo on wheels,

In early April, a close relative of mine was looking everywhere for new tires. He hasn’t found anything yet.

. . .

The root of the problem is (as expected) the fall in domestic production and the lack of currency to either reactivate local factories or bring enough imports to satisfy demand. Representatives of three major tire brands have met with government representatives, but they didn’t get any specifics about when they will get the resources to keep working.

But another factor is affecting the vehicle tire market: Proveeduria (Procurement)

What’s that?

It’s a state-led initiative thought up the central government back in 2013 to directly provide spare parts and tires to public and cargo transportation drivers, under the control of the Transportation Ministry. At the beginning, those State procurement stores got their tires from illegal units that were seized by the authorities.

But in March of this year, Land Transportation Minister Haiman El Troudi published an administrative order in which tiremakers are forced to sell 20% of production to proveedurias in order to keep public transportation up and running.

At the consumer-oriented economy: Tires replaced, car serviced, in less than three hours.

The other day I needed tires. I drove to the local service station, talked to the gentleman at the desk, and dropped off my car.
About an hour later, they called me back, we discussed price and what was needed.
Two hours later, the car was ready, I went, paid, and happily drove off.

———————————–

According to this official website of the Venezuelan government (link in Spanish), the Tower of David has been evacuated and its squatters placed in government housing. The structure will be used as an Emergency Coordination Center – hopefully after a great deal of refurbishing.

Previous reports mentioned that the Bank of China would be using “La Torre de David” as its South American HQ.