Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category

Today’s Capt. Louis Renault moment: Hugo Chavez died before he was of officially “dead”

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

I’m shocked, shocked!

According to Leamsy Salazar

Hugo Chavez died in December 2012, not March 2013 as was claimed by his successor, Nicolás Maduro. Salazar says that Maduro and his cronies covered up Chavez’s death for three months so they could sign decrees under his name.

Ahmadinejad kissed the coffin all the same:

Too bad Chevy Chase is not doing this anymore,

John Hinderaker points out that

It is noteworthy that “eight other members of President Maduro’s personal security force have deserted Venezuela and defected to the United States, according to reports in Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional.” These particular rats are well-positioned to know when the ship is about to sink. It can’t happen too soon.

True, but also true is the fact that Putin met Maduro after first having refused him – and now the Venezuelan regime’s on full crackdown mode, so I don’t expect the Communist regime to collapse right away.

The woes of the Venezuelan people may just be starting.

———————-

In a lighter mode,

UPDATE:
Linked to by Designs on the Truth. Thank you!

Venezuela: Fire at will

Friday, January 30th, 2015

The Venezuelan government has authorized its military to fire upon civilians at rallies and public demonstrations:

The armed forces are now directed to use “potentially lethal force, whether with firearm or any other potentially lethal weapon”, as last resort to “avoid disorders, support legitimate authority, and reject all aggression, confronting it immediately and by the necessary means.”
( “uso de la fuerza potencialmente mortal, bien con el arma de fuego o con otra arma potencialmente mortal”, como último recurso para “evitar los desórdenes, apoyar la autoridad legítimamente constituida y rechazar toda agresión, enfrentándola de inmediato y con los medios necesarios”.)

The resolution makes no distinction between peaceful or violent demonstrations, and may most likely be unconstitutional (link in Spanish), but, as Emiliana Duarte points out,

There’s a grim kind of tradeoff at play here: the government’s relaxed brutality when it comes to Human Rights affords them the time to hesititate over the economic shitstorm that’s creating the protests they will need to repress in the first place.

And, really, who’s to argue against expediency for the sake of peace?

In other news, Key Evidence in Leopoldo López Case Allegedly Manipulated
Lawyers to File Criminal Complaint against Discrepancies in Court Documents
.



Venezuela: The talking bodyguard

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Leamsy Salazar, former bodyguard of Hugo Chávez and Diosdado Cabello, is in New York and talking:
Bodyguard Outs Diosdado Cabello as Drug Cartel Chief
Chavismo’s Number Two Security Official in New York to Testify with DEA

Salazar has already testified that Cabello heads up the Soles cartel, a criminal organization that monopolized drug trafficking within the country, according to sources involved in the case.

An post shared on Twitter by Ramón Pérez-Maura, an ABC journalist covering the case, stated that Salazar’s testimony had also linked Cuba with the country’s narcotrafficking trade, “offering protection to certain routes along which drugs were brought to Venezuela from the United States.”

Pérez-Maura‘s colleague in New York Emili J. Blasco added further details that Cabello gave direct orders for the distribution of illicit substances, and that Salazar knew of locations where the accused “keeps mountains of dollar bills.”

Interamerican Security Watch translated a report from Spain’s ABC (emphasis added),

The Cartel of the Suns, primarily composed of members of the military (its name comes from the insignia worn on the uniform of Venezuelan generals), has a drug trafficking monopoly in Venezuela. The drugs are produced by the Colombian FARC [Fuerzas Revolucionarias de Colombia guerrillas] and taken to their destinations in the U.S. and Europe by Mexican cartels. Recent international figures indicate that Venezuela ships five tons of narcotics on a weekly basis. Ninety percent of the drugs produced by Colombia transits Venezuela.
. . .
In his revelations, Salazar also implicates the governor of Aragua state, Tarek el Aissami, who also has links with Islamic networks, and José David Cabello, brother of the National Assembly president, who for several years served as director of SENIAT [tax agency] and minister of industry. José David Cabello is allegedly responsible for the finances of the Cartel of the Suns. Salazar mentions that [the state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela] PDVSA is a money-laundering machine (sic). PDVSA’s former president from 2004 to 2014, Rafael Ramirez, was appointed in December as Venezuela’s ambassador before the U.N. Security Council.
. . .
Regarding the links with Havana, Salazar mentioned the regular use of PDVSA aircraft to transport drugs. A son of Chávez’s and a son of former Cuban ambassador in Caracas, Germán Sánchez Otero, organized these shipments. Other Cuban officials are mentioned as part of the scheme. The final destination of these shipments was the United States.

Caracas Chronicles has more on The Bodyguard.

In Latin America, drugs, terrorism and crime are threads of one fabric.

And paying for the Bolivarian Revolution is not cheap.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Stones Cry Out. Thank you!
Linked to by Pseudo-Polymath. Thank you!

Venezuela: Turned away at the prison gates

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

The Venezuelan government has turned down a request by former presidents of Chile and Colombia to visit opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez in jail (h/t HACER). Mexico’s former president Felipe Calderón would also been turned away, creating An impossible to avert PR mess for Maduro

Piñera and Pastrana have now a first hand account, a direct witness position on repression in Venezuela. They saw the Nazional Guards everywhere, they were both somewhat threatened by diverse hecklers and possibly by “security”, they experienced personally the harshness and autism of the regime, etc, etc.

@AndresPastrana_ and @sebastianpinera enter Ramo Verde to meet with @leopoldolopez

Maduro then doubled down and accused Piñera and Pastrana of enriching themselves from drug money (as if Piñera needed the money). This is particularly offensive to Pastrana, who was held prisoner by Pablo Escobar 27 years ago.

Pastrana, on his part, scored a dig or two on Maduro, referring to him as “my fellow countryman”, since Maduro may have been born in Colombia – which would disqualify Maduro from being president of Venezuela (video in Spanish),

Pastrana points out that he and Piñera went to the Ramo Verde jail on the regular visiting day, when no permits are required to see the inmates.

Just another day in the Communist Bolivarian Revolution.



The Nisman murder Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 26th, 2015

LatinAmerThe hemisphere’s top story continues to be the murder of Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman. This weekend it was revealed that Damián Pachter of the Buenos Aires Herald, the first to journalist break the news of Nisman’s death on Twitter last Sunday, reportedly fled the country because he feared for his life.

ARGENTINA
Nisman death: ‘Now we will never know what happened’
Mother of one of the victims of the 1994 terrorist attack in Argentina tells The Telegraph that she fears they will never have justice, after prosecutor Alberto Nisman found dead

Cash-starved Argentina tried to protect Iran, cover up Jewish Center bombings for cheap oil

Can Castro admirer Cristina from Argentina survive the Nisman murder scandal? All she has to do is hang in there until the Ocotber 25 election, and the November 9 runoff, if there is one.

Argentine Prosecutor’s Death May Warrant U.S. Economic Sanctions, More

BERMUDA
CDC Removes Chikungunya Notice For Bermuda

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Caravan Celebrates Return of God of Prosperity

Evo Morales sworn in for third term as president which brings up to the tweet of the week,

Drug trafficking, Corruption, Treason, Terrorism, Poverty. All of Latin America’s problems in one picture.

BRAZIL
Petrobras Says It’s Still Tallying Up Losses from Kickback Scheme

CHILE
Was Pablo Neruda, Chile’s greatest poet, murdered by Pinochet?
Fresh tests to see whether Nobel laureate’s body displays signs of poisoning – or whether he really did die of prostate cancer more than 40 years ago

COLOMBIA
25 Colombia Military, Police Sanctioned for Spying on Peace Talks

CUBA
U.S.-Cuba Talks Recap: Castro Coerces, Obama Acquiesces

Did U.S. send Cuba its next leaders when it released the ‘Cuban Five’?
There’s no clear successor to Castro, and the five men have youth, fame and revolutionary credentials.

ECUADOR
Ecuador goes for Super Bowl exposure with halftime ad

China and Ecuador Do Away with Tourist Visas, Sign Broad Range of Agreements

GUATEMALA
Police Chief Found Guilty of 1980 Massacre at Spanish Embassy in Guatemala

HAITI
Haitians Desperately Seek Ways to Get into Dominican Republic

Haiti ‘back on democratic path’
Haiti installs a Provisional Electoral Council to organise long-delayed elections – after weeks of protests and political uncertainty.

HUMOR

JAMAICA
Jamaica considers marijuana legalisation and production, while Jamaica to Discourage Pot Use Among Teens, Pregnant Women

MEXICO
U.S., Mexico Increasingly Competing for Farm Labor
Dwindling Pool of Workers Likely to Have Implications on U.S. Agricultural Sector

Top Mexico State Police Official Arrested
The head of Tlaxcala’s state police has been arrested on kidnapping charges, underscoring the challenges Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto faces trying to overhaul corrupt police forces and quell rampant crime.

PANAMA
Ton of Cocaine Seized on Panamanian Island

PERU
Greenpeace Seeks to Exclude Journalists From Peru Case

PUERTO RICO
16 Cubans repatriated after boat sinks near Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
Uruguay’s Mujica Believes Europe Is “Lashing Out Blindly” in Fight Against Fanaticism

VENEZUELA
Venezuela Oil Barrel Stays Below $40
Venezuela’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum reports that the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending January 23 remained below $40

Venezuelan Free Press for Sale, under “Siege”
Hotel Magnate Buys Notitarde, Tal Cual to Close Due to Regime Pressure

Notitarde: Censorship in the 21st Century

After his unsuccessful begging tour, Maduro’s Answer for Venezuela’s Economic Woe: “God Shall Provide”
President Rolls Out Plan to Expand Biometric ID Ration Cards to Counter Shortage

Maduro’s Announcements: The Devil Sees Few Details

Choses vues at the Hunger Games

The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina: Why Nisman’s lawsuit matters

Cuba: File this one under “No sh*t, Sherlock

Argentina: Today’s Nisman roundup

Cuba: For Rangel, “there’s always pain”

Argentina: #Nisman’s murder is all about Iran

Argentina: Nisman’s door was unlocked

Ecuador: Censorship on line

Argentina: Who killed #Nisman?

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
It’s all about Iran

The curious case of the dead Argentinian prosecutor UPDATED

Podcast:
Argentina, Cuba and other US-Latin America stories



The easement Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 19th, 2015

LatinAmerThis Carnival is dedicated to the new meaning of the word easement, which, following last Friday’s U.S. Department Of Commerce and U.S Department Of The Treasury Announcement Of Regulatory Amendments To The Cuba Sanctions now includes “making a deal where one gets nothing in return.”

However, the big news of the day is Alberto Nisman’s death by a gunshot wound in his home while his bodyguards were absent. Go to this morning’s post for more.

ARGENTINA
THE LONESOME DEATH OF ALBERTO NISMAN

Oil and trouble
A prosecutor accuses the president of obstructing justice in the country’s biggest terror case

In 2013, Argentina announced that it would collaborate with Iran in a joint commission “to advance knowledge of the truth about the attack,” as Ms Fernández wrote on Twitter at the time. The country’s Jewish population, the world’s seventh largest, was puzzled and angry about the accord. Now the prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, alleges that the controversial deal was reached in back-channel negotiations that Ms Fernández initiated with Iran. He claims that she offered to cover up the involvement of any Iranian officials in exchange for increased trade. Argentina would export grain to Iran, while Iran would sell oil to Argentina to ease its severe energy deficit.

In the end, for reasons that are still unclear, the negotiations failed and the deal fell apart. But Mr Nisman has marshalled evidence of the talks in a 300-page document that he filed in a Buenos Aires court. “They decided, negotiated, and assured the impunity of the fugitive Iranians in the AMIA case with the aim of faking Iran’s innocence to serve geopolitical and commercial interests,” Mr Nisman declared. The allegations against Ms Fernández, her foreign minister, Héctor Timerman, and others are based on “irrefutable proof” from two years of investigations and myriad wiretaps, Mr Nisman claims.

Kirchner Accused of Covering Up 1994 Terrorist Bombing
Prosecutor: President Made Secret Deal with Iran for Cheap Oil

Fernandez Graft Cases Multiply in Argentine Electoral Year

Argentina’s Jews Reel From New Twist in Terror Probe
Prosecutor Accuses President Christina Kirchner of Conspiring to Cover Up a Probe Into a 1994 Terrorist Attack on a Jewish Center

Argentina’s Kirchner Named in Criminal Complaint
An Argentine prosecutor filed a complaint against President Cristina Kirchner, her foreign minister and others for allegedly conspiring to cover up a probe into Iran’s alleged involvement in the bombing of a Jewish community center.

A federal prosecutor in Argentina has filed a criminal complaint against President Cristina Kirchner , her foreign minister and others, accusing them of conspiring to cover up an investigation into Iran’s alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in this capital city.

The prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, said on Wednesday that Mrs. Kirchner had ordered Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and others to negotiate immunity for Iranian suspects in hopes this would reestablish trade ties and allow Argentina to import Iranian oil to ease a domestic energy crisis. The alleged plan didn’t come to fruition, however.

Prosecutor: Argentinian President Plotted to Cover Up Iranian Role in AMIA Bombing

ARUBA
Aruba Tops 1 Million Visitors for First Time

It also makes Aruba one of just five Caribbean destinations above the 1 million mark, along with the Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

Cuba’s 1 million visitors sure made a difference so far, or haven’t they?

BOLIVIA
Bolivian Peasants Urged On by Drug Traffickers Hold Hostage, Beat 4 Police

BRAZIL
Petrobras’s Lesson for Latin America
We Ignore Cronyism at Our Peril

Codenamed Lava Jato, or “car wash,” the investigation into Petrobras operations by police and public prosecutors revealed a colossal corruption scheme involving former top executives, construction companies, and prominent politicians from the governing coalition dominated by the Workers’ Party (PT). Evidence uncovered so far suggests the privileged club of racketeers pocketed billions of dollars under the cover of public contracts.

CHILE
Chile’s Penta Case Pulls Dozens Into Corruption Scandal
Officials Took Cash for Influence, Allege Prosecutors

Chile’s Landmark Electoral Reform Passes Senate Hurdle
Binomial System on the Way Out, Gender Quota on the Way In

After a marathon 20-hour session on Wednesday, January 14, the Chilean Senate approved reform to an electoral system that dates back to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The objective is to increase the number of deputies and senators, and change the voting mechanism from binomial to proportional.

COLOMBIA
Why is Colombia Smuggling Coca Base to Honduras?

Colombia’s Santos Orders Discussion of Bilateral Cease-Fire with FARC

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica’s Quakers dodged US draft, now face perils of changing world
After leaving Alabama in 1951, small group of American pacifists maintains community in Central American highlands

CUBA
U.S. eases Cuba embargo

Breaking News from the Rumor Desk: Fidel gravely ill due to “embolia” (embolism)

Via Babalu,
* Obama will allow Americans to use credit cards in Cuba
* Castro will continue to prohibit private businesses from accepting credit card payments

ECUADOR
Ecuador targets cartoonist as world rejects Paris attacks

EL SALVADOR
U.N.’s Ban Ki-Moon Worried by El Salvador Violence as Murders Soar

FALKLAND ISLANDS
Bronze bust of Margaret Thatcher unveiled in Port Stanley
A statue honouring former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who lead Britain to victory in the 1982 conflict to defend the islands the Falkland Islands, has been unveiled in Port Stanley.

HONDURAS
U.S. Seeks to Seize Properties Bought by Corrupt Honduran Officials

IMMIGRATION
CBO: ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS GRANTED EXECUTIVE AMNESTY WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR CERTAIN FEDERAL BENEFITS

México: las rutas de los migrantes que no pueden viajar en La Bestia

MEXICO
DECOMPOSING BODY OF MURDERED MEXICAN ACTRESS FOUND IN WATER TANK

Mexico’s Unemployment Drop Points to Labor Market Recovery
Unemployment In Mexico Last Month Was 3.8%

MEXICO PROVIDING BIRTH CERTIFICATES TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN U.S.

Losing marijuana business, Mexican cartels push heroin and meth

PANAMA
Obama to Meet With Cuban Dictator Raul Castro in Panama

PERU
Peru’s Entire Economy Is Threatened By Anchovies

Peru Currency Drops to Lowest Since 2009 After Surprise Rate Cut

PUERTO RICO
Google to Launch ‘Modular’ Smartphone
Google plans to launch a ‘modular’ smartphone in Puerto Rico, part of an audacious and risky effort by the Internet giant to upend the way mobile devices are designed, built and sold.

Sony to Withdraw from Puerto Rico after 25 Years, Web Site Says

URUGUAY
Uruguay Offshore Bidding Plans Hinge on Oil Recovery

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan Bishops Get Religion

Venezuela’s Bishops Have A Message For Pope Francis on Communism

Wow! Venezuela bishops tell Pope Francis the downside of socialism and communism

Report: Coup Plot Possible Against Socialist Venezuelan President. Not quite yet.

Venezuelan oil basket down to USD 39.19 per barrel

The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina: Cristina’s corrupt deals with the Ayatollahs

Starting the day with Smart Diplomacy

Cuba: Effective Friday UPDATED

Charlie Hebdo: 5 million

Venezuela: Qatar gives a band-aid

Who’s publishing the new Charlie Hebdo cartoon? UPDATED

Cuba: Finally, the list of the 53 UPDATED

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Film: Boyhood

Cuba’s outdated Cold War mentality

Podcast



Venezuela: Qatar gives a band-aid

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

No specifics, though:
Qatar Helps Venezuela Weather Oil Crisis
Venezuela Will Receive ‘Several Billion Dollars’ in Financing From Qatari banks, President Nicolás Maduro said, as Opposition Members Criticized the Leader’s Economic Stewardship.

“They’re giving us enough oxygen to cover the fall in crude prices,” he said in remarks carried on Venezuelan state television.

An untold amount, in an untold date, by unnamed banks.

Sounds like a deal!

Meanwhile, Venezuelan authorities are doing what they do best:
Over 1.5 Million Diapers Seized from Venezuela Warehouse

A government raid on a warehouse in western Venezuela has resulted in the confiscation of more than 1.5 million diapers along with over 360 tons of detergent and thousands of pounds of food which were being illegally hoarded.

Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza said on state television Monday that during the raid, 1,523,776 diapers, 360 tons of detergent powder, as well as conditioners, razors and towels, were found.

In the warehouse, situated in Zulia province, there were also 15,000 units with thousands of liters (gallons) of infant milk substitute, 17,076 kilograms (37,646 pounds) of beans, 11,176 liters (2,952 gallons) of milk, 40,250 kilograms (88,736 pounds) of maize flour and 30,000 kilograms (66,139 pounds) of rice, Arreaza said.

They also found sanitary napkins, shampoos of different brands, soap powder, toothpastes, batteries, napkins, food supplements, milk powder, salsas and pet food.

No band-aids there.

And people who photograph the long lines and empty shelves are sent to jail.

Juan Cristobal Nagel posted videos of folks Overcoming capitalist savagery at Farmatodo Bella Vista:

The trip to China Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 12th, 2015

LatinAmerLast week Nicolas Maduro and a few others visited China in search of funds. How did that work out?

ARGENTINA
Ha! You Thought Argentina Would Negotiate

BAHAMAS
What the New Value Added Tax Means for Visitors to the Bahamas

BOLIVIA
Robert Downey Jr. helped out, too: A Devoted Sean Penn Helps US Man Recover From Bolivia Ordeal

Ostreicher, who is an Orthodox Jew, had the attention of the Aleph Institute, a foundation that helps incarcerated Jews. The Florida-based group asked Wahlberg to reach out to Penn, who is widely known for his Haiti relief efforts and closeness to leftist Latin American leaders.

Penn became convinced Ostreicher had been unjustly imprisoned since mid-2011 so corrupt authorities could drain the assets of the $25 million rice-farming operation in which he was a minor investor. Though he was accused of money-laundering, no evidence was ever presented.

Penn was self-effacing when asked about his odd-couple friendship with Ostreicher and why he decided to help. “What can I say? He was likable,”

When Penn asked Bolivian President Evo Morales to intercede, Penn got a tepid response.

So he exposed the extortion ring, sparking a scandal that eventually would see 14 Bolivian officials jailed ? the ring’s No. 2 figure entered a guilty plea last week ? while others fled the country.

Penn then got Ostreicher moved to a medical clinic. The New Yorker had withered to 107 pounds from a liquids-only hunger strike to protest his imprisonment. Penn leveraged his Venezuelan connections ? he was close to the late President Hugo Chavez ? to get armed Venezuelan security guards assigned to protect him, fearing he’d be targeted for exposing the extortion ring.

Even though he had endured more than 30 court hearings, Ostreicher continued to insist he wanted to clear his name in Bolivia.

Penn told him to let it go.

Ostreicher should have listened to Penn.

BRAZIL
Brazil’s Inflation Rises Even Amid Low Growth
Inflationary Pressures, Sluggish Growth Create Challenger for New Economic Team

CHILE
Robbers set off explosion in Chile subway station heist
The Franklin metro station in Santiago was filled with smoke after thieves blew up two ATMs Wednesday night,
the Santiago Fire Department said. Authorities have not yet said if there were any injuries.
This sort of thing keeps happening.

COLOMBIA
Colombia Passes Law for Referendum on Peace Agreement Along with Elections

CUBA
Cuba dissidents says 36 activists freed as part of deal with US
Opposition activists are freed following Cuban and US governments agreeing to renew diplomatic relations in December

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Republic Won’t Recognize Gay Union at British Embassy

ECUADOR
Ecuador Debt: Vulnerable To Oil, But Safe W/China Loan Vs. Argentina, Venezuela. Maybe.

HAITI

Hillary’s Half-Baked Haiti Project
Caracol Industrial Park is failing to deliver on the promises made to foreign investors and Haitians.

Successful industrial parks are built by people who know the business and who demand accountability. This park was put in the hands of State, the IDB and Bill Clinton. The results have been predictable

HONDURAS
Kidnapped Honduras Aids activist Keren Dunaway freed

JAMAICA
‘Blame the Government of Jamaica’

HUMOR
Terapia intensiva:

Edgar Borja en la UdQ:

MEXICO
Carso Energy Slim-Owned Company Gets Share of Contract for Texas Gas Pipeline

Human-Rights Failings Overshadow Peña Nieto’s US Visit
Pressure Mounts to Resolve Iguala Disappearances, End Impunity

Mexican President Offers Obama Help With Executive Amnesty

Obama Outsources Leader-Of-The-Free-World Job To Mexico

NICARAGUA
Springfield firefighters in Nicaragua to help build homes

PANAMA
The Expansion Of The Panama Canal Will Have A Huge Effect On Global Trade

PARAGUAY
Paraguayan rebel leader Albino Jara ‘killed’

PERU
Peru’s Fujimori Gets Eight Years for Tabloid Bribe
Cash for Coverage Conviction Joins Upheld Corruption Charges

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico begins school semester with complaints of teacher shortage

URUGUAY
Fake bomb prompted evacuation of Israeli embassy in Montevideo

VENEZUELA
No fries for you! Out of French Fries in Venezuela, McDonald’s Turns to Yuca

Ángel Vivas: Venezuela Must Resist the Cuban Invasion
Former General Will Defend His Homeland Through Any Means

Venezuela food shortages: ‘No one can explain why a rich country has no food’
Toilet paper, rice and coffee have long been missing from stores, as Venezuelan president blames CIA plot for chronic shortages
. Idiot.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Cuba: Spoof?

And now, a post on eyeglass frames

France: Hostage situation

Charlie Hebdo’s next: 1,000,000 copies

Venezuela: Maduro does/doesn’t get $20billion UPDATED

France: Massacre on #CharlieHebdo

Venezuela: Maduro wants a Puerto Rican out jail

Argentina, Venezuela, chickens coming home to roost

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Cuba: Is Fidel dead yet?

The Charlie Hebdo massacre

Podcast:
Cuba & US-Latin America topics



Venezuela: Maduro does/doesn’t get $20billion UPDATED

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

After Russia, Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro headed to China in his search for funds. He wore a suit:

He didn’t get what he was after:

When Nicolas mentioned US$ 20 billion, the Chinese smiled. An unscrutable [sic] smile at that. US$ 20 billion, they said, we would not pay that for all of Mongolia, said one of the Chinese. Nicolas argued back saying Sidor alone was worth US$ 10 billion, to what Ling Pin answered: “Chavez paid US$ 1.97 billion for it when it was functioning and eporting [sic]”. As we went out Maduro asked me what that was about and I said: “I did not know that”

Devil’s Excrement has the unofficial Road Trip or The Fantastic Voyage tale.

Bloomberg has the serious take:
Maduro Says Venezuela Gets $20 Billion New China Investment.

Let that heading sink in: Maduro says.

Moving right along (emphasis added),

The impact of the announcement will depend on how much of the $20 billion will be a cash transfer instead of long-term contracts for Chinese goods and labor, Eurasia Group analyst Risa Grais-Targow said in an e-mailed report.

“The funds do not necessarily represent freely available cash that the government can use for imports or to make debt payments,” Grais-Targow said.

Venezuela owes China over $45 billion in loans over the past decade, mostly in return for oil supplies, including a $4 billion loan in July. [Note: In Wednesday’s podcast, I said that Venezuela owes China over $50 billion, not including the July 2014 $4b. I stand corrected.]

Things are bad enough that

Foreign companies working to develop some of Venezuela’s most prized oilfields are asking to be compensated with crude as a way to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid cash owed to them

which, by the way, also avoids the foreign currency control mess.

But wait!

Maduro’s not the only guy looking to China for a handout:
Correa Heads to China for Financial Lifeline
Ecuadorian President Secures US$7.5 Billion Loans to Plug Oil Shortfall

Correa has already netted loans worth US$7.5 billion and signed nine bilateral cooperation agreements with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

China Boosts Support for Latin Leftists
China Pledged Billions of Dollars of Financing to Venezuela and Ecuador, Two South American Energy Exporters Battered by Falling Oil Prices

Experts said it was unclear without further details what kind of impact the new financing would have on the Venezuelan and Ecuadorian economies.

Next thing you know, Nic & Rafa may have to start building canals.

UPDATE:
The planned investment is weird stuff

Venezuela: Maduro wants a Puerto Rican out jail

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

. . . who didn’t want to be pardoned.

Taking a cue from the U.S.-Cuba sweet deal (sweet for Cuba, that is), Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro wants to make a deal:
Venezuela’s Maduro would free Lopez if U.S. freed Puerto Rican

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday he would only seek the release of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez if the United States agreed to release a Puerto Rican nationalist currently held in a U.S. prison.

The man in question, Oscar Lopez Rivera, is serving

70 years for seditious conspiracy and a variety of weapons charges as well as the second thwarted escape attempt (which included plans for the use of violence)

in Leavenworth, and,

he is a dangerous terrorist as well as a sociopath, and has never been known to express any regret or remorse. He was a co-founder of a deadly terrorist group, who constructed bombs (their weapon of choice) and trained others in both how to build them and how to use them. He twice attempted to escape from prison, and the latter attempt included plans of violence and murder.

Lopez-Rivera was offered clemency by Bill Clinton in August of 1999 (in a move that was engineered by then Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder) but refused to show remorse.

So, not only is Maduro meddling into Puerto Rican politics again – where he clearly is not wanted, he’s offering to exchange Leopoldo Lopez, an innocent man, for a sociopath terrorist:

“The only way I would use (presidential) powers would be to put (Leopoldo Lopez) on a plane, so he can go to the United States and stay there, and they would give me Oscar Lopez Rivera – man for man,” Maduro said during a televised broadcast.

After his offer, Maduro headed overseas – in a Cuban jet – in search of money, since at home the shelves are empty and oil hit $50/barrel as of the writing of this post.

He bundled up for the occasion:

First Russia, where Putin couldn’t fit him in his schedule. After that, China, where he has a date with

Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit and take part in a meeting between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Jan. 8-9 in Beijing.

Busy, busy.

UPDATE:
Regarding China, read today’s post by David Goldman.

China will be more active in Latin America.