You don’t have to be a supporter of Putin’s domestic to recognize that he is successfully expanding Russia’s influence and strengthening his country’s global position, while Obama has thoroughly squandered American prestige, abandoned allies, embraced our enemies, and reduced American influence to third-rate status.
But Putin sees a necessity in humiliating the United States. That’s business. And yet, despite Putin’s obviousness, the White House team and its acolytes publicly scratch their heads and other body parts, saying, “We’re not certain what the Russians intend.”
Another storm cloud, which may or may not be catching Putin’s attention, is the Colombia/FARC agreement. Alvaro Uribe sums it up in one tweet:
“I helped elect Santos in 2010 and he brings terrorists to power, buried our policies that elected him, and offers me a guaranteed jail sentence.”
Ayudé a elegir a Santos en 2010 y lleva terroristas al poder enterró nuestras políticas que lo eligieron y me ofrece la cárcel de garantía
Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had a curious incident of her own at the UN.
And perhaps there’s a reason Kirchner is making this accusation now:
Coincidentally [???– or not. Ace], the speech by Argentinian President Kirchner coincides with the release of the anticipated documentary film Los Abandanados, which examines the role of Iran in the 1994 AMIA bombing. The film also highlights the circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of Nisman, who actively devoted his life to uncovering the judicial misconduct following the attack. Nisman was found dead in January at his home in Buenos Aires, hours before he was scheduled to address the Congress of Argentina.
Nosotros sabíamos de estas negociaciones, estábamos esperanzados en que el acuerdo finalmente llegara. Ustedes se preguntarán y cómo sabíamos. Simple, en el año 2010, nos visitó, en Argentina, Gary Seymour, en ese entonces principal asesor de la Casa Blanca, en materia nuclear. Él nos vino a ver con una misión, con un objetivo que la Argentina que había provisto, en el año 1987, durante el primer gobierno democrático y bajo el control de OIEA, la Organización Internacional, en materia de control de armas y regulación nuclear, había provisto el combustible nuclear, del denominado reactor “Teherán”. Gary Seymour, le explicó a nuestro Canciller, Héctor Timerman que estaban en negociaciones precisamente para llegar a un acuerdo y que la República Islámica de Irán no siguiera enriqueciendo uranio, lo hiciera a menor cantidad, pero que Irán decía que necesitaba enriquecer este reactor nuclear de Teherán y esto entorpecía las negociaciones. Nos venía a pedir a nosotros, los argentinos que proveyéramos de combustible nuclear a la República Islámica de Irán. No estaba Rohani todavía, estaba Ahmadinejad, ya había comenzado las negociaciones.
We knew of these negotiations, we hoped that an agreement would finally come about. You may ask, how did we know. Simple, in 2010, we were visited, in Argentina, by Gary Seymour, who at that time was the White House’s main advisor on nuclear issues. He came to see us with a mission, a purpose that Argentina had foreseen, in 1987, during its first democratic government, and under the control of the IAEA, the International Organization on nuclear regulations and weapons control, had provided the nuclear fuel, for the reactor named “Teheran”. Gary Seymour, explained to our Minister of Foreign Relations, Héctor Timerman, that they were negotiating to reach an agreement so that the Islamic Republic of Iran would not continue enriching uranium, that they would [instead] do it in smaller quantities, but that Iran said that they needed to enrich this Tehran nuclear reactor and that hindered the negotiations. He came to ask us, the Argentinians, to provide nuclear fuel to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Rohani wasn’t on yet, it was still Ahmahinejad, who had started the negotiations.
The Blaze‘s translation polished Cristina’s meandering style to a much clearer paragraph, but it changed Seymour to Samore:
In 2010 we were visited in Argentina by Gary Samore, at that time the White House’s top advisor in nuclear issues. He came to see us in Argentina with a mission, with an objective: under the control of IAEA, the international organization in the field of weapons control and nuclear regulation, Argentina had supplied in the year 1987, during the first democratic government, the nuclear fuel for the reactor known as “Teheran”. Gary Samore had explained to our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Héctor Timerman, that negotiations were underway for the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease with its uranium enrichment activities or to do it to a lesser extent but Iran claimed that it needed to enrich this Teheran nuclear reactor and this was hindering negotiations. They came to ask us, Argentines, to provide the Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear fuel. Rohani was not in office yet. It was Ahmadinejad’s administration and negotiations had already started.
My question remains, who confirmed the story, Seymour, or Samore, or who?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 2014 Annual Report to Congress reveals that the Obama administration has granted asylum or residency to 1,519 foreigners with terrorist ties.
“After 56 years in which the Cuban people put up a heroic and selfless resistance, diplomatic relations have been re-established between Cuba and the United States of America,” the military dictator said.
Normalization of relations “will only be achieved with the end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba; the return to our country of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo naval base; the cessation of radio and TV broadcasts and of subversive and destabilizing programs against the island; and when our people are compensated for the human and economic damages they still endure,” he said.
What lessons can be learned from the Paraguayan experience? That happiness is possible if you close your eyes to the inevitable evils of life, if you live in the present, if you are content with just having the essential items for living, and can achieve the enormous luxury of not having to worry about money. But there is one ingredient missing to make Paraguay an earthly paradise. Before those who live afflicted by the crisis or by other hardships taking place around the world can follow in the footsteps of the old utopian dreamers, it is essential to ask one thing of the wealthy minority that governs Paraguay: to install a democracy sin qua non and rule of law so that justice is equal for all. When that day comes, yeah, let’s go there. They have everything else.
The Federal District, home to some nine million of the 20 million inhabitants in the Mexico City metropolitan area, saw homicides rise 21% to 566 in the first eight months of this year, according to Interior Ministry data released last week, putting the capital’s murder rate at its highest level over the same period since 1998.
. . .
The increase in murders in Mexico City has contributed to a nationwide rise in homicide for the first time since President Enrique Peña Nieto took power in late 2012, months after the rate of killings linked to the country’s murderous drug war began to fall.
During the first eight months of this year, murders rose 5% nationwide. August was the fourth consecutive month in which the murder rate increased.
The rising toll is a big challenge for Mr. Peña Nieto, whose administration had trumpeted the decline in murders over the past two years as proof that the government’s security initiatives, such as improved coordination between crime-fighting agencies like the army and federal police, were working.
Raúl Toledo, a security consultant and former city official, said the rise in Mexico City’s crime rate coincides with estimates by local authorities of a 17% increase in drug consumption in the capital over the past three years.
Latin American countries are prone to deny the existence of drug use among their citizenry. Yet it exists.
And of course they also deny the existence of organized crime.
For starters, the White House pressured for a deal.
Pope Che intervened during last week’s visit to Cuba,
Referring to four years of Colombian government negotiations in Havana with the drug-trafficking terrorist group FARC, Pope Francis said “Please, we do not have the right to allow ourselves yet another failure on this path of peace and reconciliation.” That was pope-speak for “get this done.”
Then there’s the secrecy. As I stated above, as of the writing of this post I could not find the text of the accord itself, only of the Communiqué. O’Grady points out (emphasis added):
FARC atrocities will not land the perpetrators in jail. Instead they will go before one of two special tribunals, which will include judges from other countries. What countries, nobody knows.
If the accused acknowledge their crimes, their most severe penalties will be confinement to the rural areas where they already live, for five to eight years, and some community service. In the case of crimes against humanity this will violate Colombia’s commitments under the Geneva convention.
At the same time, the military, and members of the civilian government and civil society would be on trial alongside the terrorists – would they simply be sentenced to confinement to the areas where they already live, and some community service?
The FARC has said it will not turn over its weapons. It owes reparations to victims and the nation, but how it will pay its debts or to whom nobody knows. FARC leaders will enter politics flush with cash acquired in the cocaine and kidnapping trades.
Last year Mr. Santos announced that he wanted to widen the definition of a political crime to include drug trafficking so that the FARC could claim that they are not gangsters but political actors. This was so he could meet their demand of no jail time.
O’Grady doesn’t mention that the Communiqué describes a number of vague measures, such as “Una ley de amnistía precisará el alcance de la conexidad.” (An amnesty law will specify the extent of the connectedness – what does that mean?), and that some crimes would fall exclusively under the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the one with judges from unspecified foreign countries.
However, one thing is clear: Santos doesn’t want a referendum, as O’Grady states,
I’ve lost count of how many times Mr. Santos told me personally that Colombians would have a chance to vote on whatever was agreed upon in Havana. He repeated that pledge in interviews and numerous speeches to the nation. Yet on a radio show in August he stated categorically “I have never been on board with a referendum.” Now he calls a referendum “suicide.
Santos wants special commissions in Congress to approve the agreement, and is asking Congress for an enabling law granting him special powers
for 180 days so that he can dictate implementation of the deal.
The Catholic Church’s traditional discomfort with modernity has cachet at this moment in American politics, especially when it is wrapped in the fashionable causes of income inequality and climate change. In this sense, Pope Francis is (inadvertently) a genius marketeer by taking crackpot attitudes about economic development and getting them a respectful hearing.
Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC leaders signed an accord in Havana under the aaegis of Raul Castro. Alvaro Uribe refers to it as an “Agreement of Impunity” (#AcuerdoDeImpunidad):
“Santos, it’s not peace that’s near, it’s the surrender to FARC and the tyranny of Venezuela.”
Santos no es la paz la que está cerca, es la entrega a Farc y a la tiranía de Venezuela
The figures show high concentrations of violence in the states of Amambay and Alto Parana, with those provinces registering 50 and 31 homicides respectively. Both of these states are major border crossings between Paraguay and Brazil. Amambay in particular isone of the most dangerous border regions in Latin America, registering a murder rate of 66.7 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014.