Archive for the ‘Venezuela’ Category

The missing aliens Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 29th, 2014

LatinAmerSome 45,000 illegals released during the border crisis didn’t show up for their immigration hearings, provoking another Capt. Louis Renault moment.

ARGENTINA
While the government sends drones and goes into travel records, who does the UN Human rights Council complain about?
Argentina uses drones to root out wealthy tax evaders
Drones deployed by tax inspectors near Buenos Aires found 200 mansions and 100 swimming pools that hadn’t been declared

Argentine Government Defends Centralizing Air Passengers’ Data

Hedge funds condemned over Argentina
The United Nations Human Rights Council passes resolution backing Argentina in its debt battle against US hedge funds.

BOLIVIA
Indigenous Bolivians Demand Unwritten “Community Democracy”
Campesinos Draw on Native Customs to Elect Officials

BRAZIL
Fallen Mogul Eike Batista Faces Securities Charges in Brazil

CHILE
Chile Investigating Thursday’s Bombing
Chile officials said they were unsure who made a homemade bomb that exploded yesterday in central Santiago that killed a 29-year-old man but were vowing to track down those responsible.

COLOMBIA
Anibal Guarin Herrera, a.k.a. “Tomate,” Colombian Military Kills Important Rebel Commander

CUBA
Cuba’s Anti-Israel, Pro-Palestinian Activities

South Africa gives $ 31 million gift to Castro Kingdom

ECUADOR
More on Law of the Jungle:
La Ley de la Jungla
¿Cómo pudo un abogado americano graduado en Harvard lograr una sentencia judicial por más de 19 mil millones de dólares en contra de la segunda empresa petrolera más grande de EE UU?

The Global Lawyer: A Review of Paul Barrett’s ‘Law of the Jungle’

Behind the Chevron Case

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador’s total abortion ban lethal, says Amnesty

JAMAICA
Ebola in Jamaica?
Health ministry official dismisses Ebola claim in Jamaica

MEXICO
Laundering Mexico’s drug money
Washing up
Drug kingpins turn to trade-based money-laundering

On September 10th roughly 1,000 law-enforcement officials raided the Garment District of Los Angeles, seizing at least $65m in cash and arresting nine people. According to court documents, several garment businesses allegedly helped drug traffickers ferry proceeds from sales back into Mexico. The scheme is relatively simple. Black-market peso brokers contact Mexican importers who want to buy goods from a business in Los Angeles. The broker then finds a gang associate in the United States to pay the bill on behalf of the Mexican importer, using dollars from drug sales. The importer pays the broker in pesos; the broker takes a cut and passes along the remainder to the gang in Mexico.

Kidnapped Mexican Congressman Gabriel Gomez killed
The Mexican authorities say one of two burned bodies found in a car in the central state of Zacatecas is that of a federal Congressman abducted on Monday.

NICARAGUA
Hundreds protest against Nicaragua Canal

PANAMA
It Must Be The Inequality That Makes Panama The Happiest Country In The World

PARAGUAY
Pope sacks Paraguay bishop accused of protecting abuser priest
Pope Francis’s latest crackdown on clerical sex abuse comes days after Vatican ordered Polish archbishop to be put on trial for allegedly abusing young boys

PERU
Peru: Suspects Arrested in Killings of 4 Environmental Activists
Peru has arrested two loggers suspected of murdering four environmental activists to keep them from opposing timber extraction on native lands near the border with Brazil.

PUERTO RICO
Chikungunya Kills 3 in Puerto Rico

VENEZUELA
Venezuela announces ‘temporary occupation’ of US firm Clorox

Clorox Questions Safety After Venezuelan Takeover
Company Closed Facilities Due to Country’s Economic Crisis

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Venezuela: Nothing to dance about

Just what the world needs: Eau de Hugo!

Maduro goes to the South Bronx

FIFA follies

In case you missed them

En español: Miley Cyrus en la Unidad de Quemados

Mexico: La Tuta’s newest YouTube

Argentina: What do Pope Francis and George Soros have in common?

Venezuela: Don’t talk about the Chikungunya

Podcasts:
Rick Moran’s show, Cry Havoc! And let slip the dogs of war

This morning’s podcast with Silvio Canto, Jr., US-Latin America stories of the week

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Pretty good news from Latin America: the Pacific Alliance

Up next: A mercenary army?


Venezuela: Nothing to dance about

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Nicolas Maduro was in NYC for the climate change summit and the UN General Assembly – ignoring protesters, but he also took the Mrs. dancing in the South Bronx, where he indulged on the congas,

Over in Venezuela, while the cat was away the mice had nothing to dance about:

The opposition are beginning to collect signatures to force a constitutional assembly and remove Maduro before the 2019 presidential elections.

Unions Confront Venezuelan Leader
Workers are increasingly striking to protest President Maduro’s Labor policies; ‘the state is the new big boss,’ complains one union leader.

The discontent has spread to unions representing hundreds of thousands of state workers. The National Federation of Public Sector Workers, which represents administrative workers and teachers, this month publicly criticized the government for delaying contract renewals. Some of them expired as long as 10 years ago, leaving workers with devalued salaries.

Venezuela’s Bolívar Currency Hits Record Low on Black Market
The plummeting Venezuelan currency breached a new, symbolic low of 100 bolívares per dollar on the black market Friday.

The central bank’s international reserves meanwhile are down 29% to $21 billion since the start of 2013.

Francisco Toro writes about The Routinization of Barbarism:

Secret public spending is fundamentally unacceptable. Public spending not approved by a legislature is by its nature unconstitutional. The routinization of secret public spending is an outrage no minimally law govern country would yield an inch to, even by implication.

Small wonder that The Economist refers to Venezuela as Probably the world’s worst-managed economy.


Just what the world needs: Eau de Hugo! UPDATED

Friday, September 26th, 2014

UPDATE

I guess Raul’s not getting a cut,
Insólito escándalo en Cuba: Raúl Castro prohibió los perfumes “Ernesto” y “Hugo” [Incredible scandal in Cuba: Raúl Castro forbids “Ernesto” and “Hugo” perfume]

Earlier post:

No, not the German designer, the Venezuelan dictator:
“Eau de Revolution”: Cuba scents honor Che, Chavez

Cuba’s biggest producer of natural products has come up with a pair of colognes for the discerning supporter of international socialism who wants something more than just the iconic “Che” T-shirt.

A woodsy and refreshing citric scent with notes of talcum powder called “Ernesto” honors guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara. For those seeking something softer and fruitier, there’s a blend with hints of mango and papaya called “Hugo,” for the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

“Cuba’s biggest producer of natural products” ought to produce some soap and shampoo that the locals could afford, but I digress.

I can’t imagine why death would smell like “a woodsy and refreshing citric scent with notes of talcum powder” in the bottles of Che stink, but the fruitier Chavez ought to have some notes of sulfur, in honor of Hugo Chavez’s 2006 appearance at the UN and his 2009 Copenhagen speech, where he went heavy on the sulfur. In 2006 he said George W. Bush smelled of it, and by 2009 it was Barack Obama’s turn.

The sulfur scent can be easily replicated – back when I was a kid, you could buy this, and what could be more suitable for the “discerning supporter of international socialism”?

Tip of the hat to the esteemed Carlos Eire, who finds the news completely nauseating,

Creating a line of perfumes that honors dead tyrants and sociopaths is the last thing that would have ever crossed my mind, but I’m no genius and am only 1/16th French.

Clearly neither Carlos nor I are “discerning supporters of international socialism.”

And,
My late uncle Ernesto, were he still alive, would surely have made several off-color jokes about Che stinking of a “woodsy and refreshing citric scent with notes of talcum powder.” I’ll leave that to the reader’s imagination.

NOTE: If anyone has a clip of the Pinky and the Brain Calvin Brain Subjugation ad, I’d love to post it!


Maduro goes to the South Bronx

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Carlos Eire tells us that Maduro visits Chavistas and Useful Idiots in the South Bronx

Apparently, Maduro found plenty of admirers, both among the natives and the Birkenstock-sandal-Mother Jones-and-Subaru crowd, most of whom seem to revere him as the current incarnation of the spirit of Hugo Chavez.

That, and an influx in millions of dollars in Venezuelan charity and free heating oil; Communists don’t live on Birkenstocks(*) alone.

In a dazzling display of smart diplomacy, the U.S. is copacetic,
Maduro recalls Chávez with trip to South Bronx as country makes bid for U.N. security council seat

Maduro, a year and a half into his term, arrived in New York with unanimous backing from Latin America and Caribbean nations to represent the region on the council beginning next year. The U.S. is uneasy with the nomination but says it has no plans to try to derail the bid, as it did in 2006.
. . .
Venezuela is expected to defend U.S.’ archenemies if it wins a seat on the council.

(*) Disclosure: I own Birkenstocks, too. Comfortable when you need them, and owned by capitalists.

Venezuela: Don’t talk about the Chikungunya

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

A new turn on government-controlled healthcare:

Venezuela Seeks to Quell Fears of Disease Outbreak
The government is seeking the arrest of a doctor for saying a string of deaths in a Maracay hospital could point to a mosquito-borne disease

A string of deaths in a hospital here has sparked fears of a potent, mosquito-borne disease and led authorities to seek a doctor’s arrest for allegedly sowing panic, leaving residents wondering how to explain their symptoms.

Angel Sarmiento, president of the College of Doctors in Aragua state, told reporters on Sept. 11 that a virus or bacteria may have been responsible for the deaths of eight patients in quick succession at the Central Hospital of Maracay. A ninth patient died three days after Dr. Sarmiento’s comments.

Insisting there was no cause for general alarm, President Nicolás Maduro last week accused Dr. Sarmiento of “psychological terrorism.”

The confusion in Maracay over the deaths—and over who to believe on their cause—shows how difficult it has become to arrive at a rational approach to public health in Venezuela. Part of the problem, doctors here say, is that the silencing of independent media has squelched the flow of information.

“To dissent, to have a position different from the government, leads to a witch hunt,” Dr. Sarmiento said in a telephone interview on Friday. “I am not a terrorist. I am a doctor.” He said he was still in Venezuela but was in hiding because he worried he would face a politically motivated prosecution.

Much of the fear has been focused on Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted by mosquito bites that has been present in Africa and Asia for decades but only recently spread to the Americas. Though there is no cure for the disease, its symptoms can be alleviated with medication. The disease has killed at least 113 people this year in the Caribbean region, according to the Pan American Health Organization, with the islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe hardest hit.

Two cents’ worth: bring back DDT.


The celebrity junket Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

LatinAmerI had another Capt. Louis Renault moment this week, provoked by Mia Farrow, of all people. The ex-Mrs Sinatra apparently received from PR firm MCSquared $180,000 for visiting Lago Agrio in Ecuador. Then Ecuador hired another PR firm, Ketchum (Putin’s American flack), to go after Paul M. Barrett for writing a book. Do read Barrett’s book Law of the Jungle, and Judge Kaplan’s 497-page decision, if you haven’t already.

ARGENTINA
Watch: man films attempted gunpoint robbery on GoPro
A tourist travelling to every country in the world captures the terrifying moment an alleged robber points a gun at him in Buenos Aires, Argentina

BOLIVIA
Bolivian President Evo Morales has a dream … to open a barbecue restaurant
Bolivian President Evo Morales is slated to win next year’s election to serve a third term until 2020 but he’s already thinking about life after retiring from politics.

I was hoping for a bakery,

BRAZIL
Brazil cardinal robbed of crucifix at gunpoint
Cardinal Dom Orani Tempesta, archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, held by three armed men as they steal his crucifix and ring

CHILE
Suspect in Chile Bombings Was on Parole

COLOMBIA
Colombia Tightens Borders to Keep Out Ebola

CUBA
It’s official: Raul Castro invited to Latrine Summit

ECUADOR
China and Ecuador Agree to Strengthen Military Ties

Where’s Preet? The unasked question in Chevron v. Donziger

IMMIGRATION
WATCH: Wait’ll You See What Obama’s DHS Boss Just Admitted About Terrorists At Our Border
DHS Secretary Johnson tried to argue that Republicans can be blamed…

JAMAICA
Jamaica on US drug list
Named among 22 major producing, transit countries by President Obama

MEXICO
Mexico Continues Airlift, Clean-Up After Hurricane Odile
State Authorities Report Three Deaths From Storm

NICARAGUA
She survived a plane crash. Now she’s revolutionizing health care in Nicaragua
After narrowly escaping plane’s wreckage, Vivian Pellas seeks to revolutionize medical care for other burn victims in the developing world.

PANAMA
Panama’s Supreme Court Confirms New Trial Against Noriega

PERU
Peru’s economy
Replacing the pilot
, as Alonso Segura replaced for his long-serving boss, Luis Miguel Castilla, on September 14th.

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico’s main barrier for Caribbean trade and exports is logistics

URUGUAY
Guardian puff piece on José Mujica: is this the world’s most radical president?
Uruguay’s José Mujica lives in a tiny house rather than the presidential palace, and gives away 90% of his salary. He’s legalised marijuana and gay marriage. But his greatest legacy is governing without giving up his revolutionary ideals

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan cartoonist ‘fired’ over healthcare satire
Rayma Suprani says she was axed after representing Chávez’s signature as a flatline heartbeat in protest over health system

Venezuela’s economy
Of oil and coconut water
Probably the world’s worst-managed economy

S&P Downgrade Of Venezuela’s Debt To Add To The Noise

Venezuela’s Criminal Gangs: Warriors of Cultural Revolution

Les fraudeurs

The ongoing Damage to the Venezuelan Economy

The week’s posts:
Venezuela: Beyond-the-grave nepotism

Venezuela: What hemorrhagic fever? UPDATED

Argentina: Cristina’s vultures

Venezuela: Celebrities’ ire

Ecuador: Celebrities for hire

En español: Guillermo Padrés en la Unidad de Quemados

Ecuador: If Correa ain’t happy . . .

Is ISIS at the border? UPDATED

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

Beethoven goes salsa

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
And now for something completely different

Why the game should stand tall, a review of When the Game Stands Tall


Venezuela: Beyond-the-grave nepotism

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

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

Security Council-ready!

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

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

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

while María Gabriela knows all the right people,

She’ll fit right in at the UN.

[Post corrected to add omitted text]


Venezuela: What hemorrhagic fever? UPDATED

Friday, September 19th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indeed,

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

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

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

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

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

since Political imperative trumps national security.

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

Venezuela: Celebrities’ ire

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

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

Venezuela threatens citizenship of actress Alonso

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

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

First instance: El Puma.

[Note: all the YouTubes are in Spanish]

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

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

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

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

Second instance: Ricardo Hausmann

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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