Argentina: Veterans take torture case to inter-American court of human rights

May 22nd, 2015

Argentinian Falklands veterans take ‘torture’ case to international arena
Veterans of the 1982 conflict recount their ordeal and the anti-Semitic abuse they faced in a press conference, including instances of beatings and sexual violence

Argentinian Falklands War veterans who accuse military officers of torture during the 1982 conflict will take their case to an international appeal court after Argentina’s highest court ruled the alleged offences’ statute of limitations had expired.

Mario Volpe, the president of the CECIM Falklands veterans’ association, said his organisation had asked the inter-American court of human rights to rule on whether the Argentinian state had deprived the former soldiers of “the right of access to justice and right to the truth”.

CECIM has gathered together some 150 complaints of former servicemen against their officers during the military dictatorship’s ill-fated invasion of the Falklands, which include instances of beatings, sexual violence, cruel immobilising practices in the absence of punishment cells and the application of electric shocks.

Their case had previously been dismissed under the statute of limitations, now they are appealing to the OAS’s International Court of Human Rights.

For her part, Cristina said, good luck with that “I hope you go to the inter-American Court; I’m sure you will be listened to.”

I’m still reading The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina and highly recommend it.

Cuba and terrorism

May 21st, 2015

Today’s must-read is by Alejandro Chafuen:
Cuba’s Twisted Definition Of Terrorism (h/t Babalu). You must read the full article, but here’s a clip,

Communist terrorism in Latin America was inspired and trained in Cuba, with frequent trips to the specialized “schools” in the Soviet Union. Cuba also acted as the banker, especially with the help of Czechoslovakia, and even of major Swiss banks who preferred to look the other way.

At the peak of the oil boom, analysts estimated that Venezuelan subsidies to Cuba reached $13 billion per year. In one of the most successful operations, the Argentine terrorist group, Montoneros, netted $60 million in 1974. That would be over $300 million in today’s dollars. They kidnapped brothers Jorge and Juan Born, businessmen and heirs to a fortune. The money ended up in Cuba, and then, after a short laundering stop via Switzerland, it was parked in the Central Bank of Czechoslovakia. The Cubans also acted as couriers and bankers for other South American terrorists groups, such as the Uruguayan Tupamaros. That was then. Today, if the Cubans need money, or if leftists want funds to subvert other governments, they can ask Venezuela to send them cheap oil, Argentina to provide cheap foreign exchange to one of their crony companies, and ask Brazilians for a big bribe for an infrastructure project. Why bother with killings? They are too dramatic. Bombings? Too messy. Bureaucrats will do.

As I’ve mentioned before, the Communist regime has asserted its commitment to remain unchanged.

Also in today’s news, U.S. and Cuba Meet for Talks to Fully Restore Diplomatic Ties

Brazil: Up next, China’s 3,000mile railroad?

May 21st, 2015

The Chinese are big on mega-infrastructure, and now they’re proposing a 3,300 mile railroad through South America, starting with Brazil (starting with, since that’s the first stop of the tour):

China begins charm offensive in South America amid controversy over Amazonian railway
Beijing denies that Li Keqiang’s eight-day visit to South America, which begins in Brazil, means China is muscling in on the United States “backyard”

Top of their agenda will be the so-called trans-Amazonian railroad which would link Rio de Janeiro’s Atlantic coast with Peru’s Pacific coast, cutting through remote areas of rainforest that are home to a wealth of biodiversity as well as numerous indigenous tribes. Mr Li is expected to announce a feasibility study for the megaproject during his trip.

This is different (at least so far) from the proposed Nicaragua Canal in two major ways:

  • The Brazil-Peru railway is officially backed by the Chinese government, which sent prime minister Li Keqiang. The Nicaragua Canal project’s only investor is Wang Jing’s HKND Group (which may or may not be a cover for the Chinese government – who knows?), a company that made a $300 million telecommunications contract with Nicaragua.
  • Li is, from the start, announcing feasibility studies. With the Nicaragua Canal so far, no details on where the funds come from and no feasibility studies (if any) have been made public.

After three days in Brazil, Li will head to Colombia, Peru and Chile.

Environmental concerns are not very high on China’s priorities.

Communism: When the only way out is death

May 20th, 2015

My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog, Communism: When the only way out is death, is up. Please read it!

Mexico: Human rights division head resigns over Iguala case

May 20th, 2015

#HastaEncontrarlos

The head of the human rights division at Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office has resigned. Prior to that, Mexico’s Attorney General resigned under pressure over the investigation of the kidnappings and murders of 43 students last year in Iguala:

Mexico’s top human rights prosecutor resigns in midst of political storm
Questions over government inquiry into Iguala massacre costs Peña Nieto official her job

According to official figures, there are more than 25,000 missing-person cases in Mexico.

In March, National Human Rights Commission president Luis Raúl González urged the Peña Nieto administration to introduce fast-track legislation to deal with torture and forced disappearances.

Besides the Iguala case, the Mexican government has also been under pressure over the killings of 22 alleged drug traffickers, reportedly at the hands of the military in Tlataya.

The criminal conviction rate in Mexico is 1.8%.

[Post title corrected]

Today’s podcast

May 20th, 2015

at 1PM Eastern,

Venezuela: Diosdado and drugs – whose powerplay?

May 19th, 2015

José De Córdoba and Juan Forero report at the WSJ:
Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine HubU.S. probe targets No. 2 official Diosdado Cabello, several others, on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering. Diosdado is not alone:

In addition to [Interior Minister Tarek] Mr. El Aissami, other powerful officials under investigation include Hugo Carvajal, a former director of military intelligence; Nestor Reverol, the head of the National Guard; Jose David Cabello, Mr. Cabello’s brother, who is the industry minister and heads the country’s tax collection agency; and Gen. Luis Motta Dominguez, a National Guard general in charge of central Venezuela, say a half-dozen officials and people familiar with the investigations.

Diosdado’s reaction?

In an appearance on state television Wednesday, Mr. Cabello said he solicited a court-ordered travel ban on 22 executives and journalists from three Venezuelan news outlets that he has sued for publishing stories about the drug allegations earlier this year.

Jaime Bayly interviewed one, Miguel Henrique Otero, editor and director of El Nacional daily, last night (video in Spanish),

Daniel sees Diosdado as Hugo Chávez’s creation,

Because let us all be clear about one thing: this has happened because Hugo Chavez, the hero of the left, has allowed for it to happen, has encouraged it to happen. Diosdado did not come out of thin air. That maybe he became too strong for Chavez to control is another story, but Diosdado Cabello is a Chavez creation, just one of the cogs in the drug machinery that Chavez set up to help the FARC against Uribe. And the cogs are many, including noteworthy high ranking pieces like current Aragua state governor.

Daniel expects that

Diosdado Cabello will take down with him as many as he needs to take down. He will take the country down with him if he needs to.

Caracas Chronicle’s Juan Cristóbal Nagel believes

the unraveling of the Suns Cartel has tremendous implications for the power balance within chavismo.

Nagel calculates it’s a US$27 billion/year enterprise, which was “was anything but clandestine, and anything but competent,” and

Maduro has an obvious choice: either tie his sinking presidency to the fate of clumsy, leaky, “stocky and bull-necked” (loved that) drug smugglers, or turn Diosdado and crew over and save face. And just what do you think the Cubans will suggest he do? Maduro’s handlers, after all, are the folks who murdered Arnaldo Ochoa.

Of course, this is all speculative, but if you think Maduro isn’t mulling what to do at this point, then I think you’re being naive.

Nagel has the perfect photo and caption in his post,

Clubbing with Godgiven

Miguel Octavio ponders, Is Maduro so strong that he can get rid of the most powerful former military in Government just like that?

Amid all this speculation, the only thing you can rely on is that, no matter the outcome, the U.S. will continue to be portrayed as the root of all evil.

Ecuador: Brazilian prosecutor sides with Chevron

May 19th, 2015

Paul Barrett reports, Senior Brazilian Official Backs Chevron in Oil Pollution Case
Prosecutor recommends that Brazilian courts reject $9.5 billion Ecuadorian contamination judgment
(emphasis added):

. . . Donziger and his legal team can’t enforce the Ecuadorian judgment in that country, because Chevron has no assets in Ecuador. So the plaintiffs have sought to enforce the verdict in other countries where the oil company does have assets worth billions of dollars.

One of those countries is Brazil. The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice asked the Brazilian Attorney General’s Office for its view of the complicated international case. In a 16-page nonbinding opinion dated May 11, the prosecutor’s office recommended that the Brazilian court reject the Ecuadorian verdict for much the same reasons that the U.S. court found it unenforceable.

The Brazilian Attorney General’s Office cited at length the March 2014 U.S. court ruling and said that the Ecuadorian judgment was thoroughly infected by “corruption.”

Read the whole article.



The “Silence is health” Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

May 18th, 2015

Orwell was off by a decade, as this 1974 sign in Buenos Aires showed.

ARGENTINA
Things that can’t be said

A Weekend Without Soccer: Argentina’s Stadiums Silenced After Player Killed

BOLIVIA
Evo Morales wants his revolution to perpetuate itself “like China’s”: Evo Morales quiere que su revolución se perpetúe “como en China”

“Gobernar para toda la vida, pero sirviendo al pueblo boliviano y no estamos lejos de eso” [“To govern for a lifetime, but serving the Bolivian people, and we’re not far from that”]

BRAZIL
Brazil’s supreme courtCourtly intrigueThe battle between president and Congress moves to the judiciary

Mr Fachin’s travails have little to do with jurisprudence and everything to do with a power struggle between an unruly Congress and an enfeebled president. The two sides have been tussling ever since the start of Ms Rousseff’s second term in January. The new battleground is the supreme court, the final interpreter of the constitution. On May 5th Congress amended the constitution to raise the age at which judges on higher federal courts must retire from 70 to 75. This could deprive Ms Rousseff of five supreme court nominations she had expected to be able to make before her term ends in 2018.

Rio de Janeiro Buses Set Afire in Protest against 2 Deaths in Shantytown

CHILE
Two die during Chile student protest in Valparaiso

Two young men have been shot dead during a student protest in Chile.

The victims were named as Exequiel Borbaran, 18, and Diego Guzman, 24. Both men were killed in the port city of Valparaiso, said Interior Minister Jorge Burgos.

Local media report that they had been spraying graffiti on a wall and were shot by the son of the owner of the property.

A poetic trip to ChileUnder Neruda’s influence

COLOMBIA
Colombia Defense Minister Says Cocaine Production Increasing

CUBA
Cuba’s Twisted Definition Of Terrorism

Cuba’s 12 Most Absurd Prohibitions That Tourists May Never NoticeIt’s getting easier to go to Cuba, but not necessarily to live there. Sometimes it’s the little things that make you crazy. But, then, there are big things, too.

4-Can’t live in Havana (without a permit).

Raul Castro Is On a Road Alright, To the Netherworld

ECUADOR
Ecuador Responds to Bloomberg Article: Fernando Alvarado Espinel

GUYANA
Opposition’s Electoral Victory in Guyana Was a Long Time Coming

Five points on Guyana’s elections

HAITI
How the Clintons worked Haiti

JAMAICA
Jamaica Tests Drones to Detect Illegal Fishing

LATIN AMERICA
Latin American Allies Resist U.S. Strategy in Drug Fight

MEXICO
Mexican satellite burns up in launchA Russian rocket carrying a Mexican satellite malfunctions and burns up over Siberia soon after launch on Saturday, Russia’s space agency says. $390 million gone, but Mexican Government Says No Economic Losses Caused by Lost Satellite

Mexico travel advisory: Avoid Puerto Vallarta

PANAMA The Panama Canal Gets Grander

PARAGUAY
Paraguay rejects UN criticism over case of 10-year-old pregnant girl

PERU
Hydroelectric Mega-Project Threatens Machu PicchuLocals Cry for Help with River Set to Dry Up in Vilcanota Valley

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico’s Massive Anti-Austerity Protests Ignored By U.S. Mainland Media

URUGUAY
Bring Your Own Salt – BYOS – Assault On Salt: Uruguay Bans Shakers In Restaurants And Schools

VENEZUELA
Chavismo Meets Its Match in MemesHumor the Last Refuge for Defiant Venezuelans

Mass Deportation of Colombians Underway in VenezuelaMaduro Scapegoating Legal Migrants for Food Shortages Whistleblower: Infrastructure Planning Bites the Dust in CaracasPublic Ministry Sources Sound Alarm on Potential Environmental Disaster

Felipe Gonzalez Will Travel to Venezuela Despite Maduro Snub

US Senators meet with wives of Venezuelan dissenters, voice supportSenator Marco Rubio called for tougher implementation of the executive order imposing sanctions on Venezuelan officials

The week’s posts and podcast
Argentina: “Silence is health”

So many Evitas, so little time . . .

Argentina: Side-by-side #Nisman

Why the University of Alabama won over the Ivy League

Ecuador: Correa thinks Brad bought the wrong book

Art: Abstract interpretation of a minion sells for $46.5million

Venezuela: The dark side of price controls

Brazil: World Cup stadium now a parking lot

If the Pope were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

Hezbollah in Latin America: $100million a year, and more

En español: Unidad de quemados OHL

Honduras: “It’s over for the little guy”

Haiti: Clintons’ scam

Cuba: Fidel’s fantasy islands

Cuba: The annotated Raul-Pope Francis meeting



The Pope and Raul: Why?

May 18th, 2015

Mary O’Grady writes on what’s Behind the Pope’s Embrace of Castro
Speculation runs from a Trojan horse plan to Latin American antipathy of the U.S.

There is another more plausible explanation for why the pope shows disdain in his exhortation for “a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” It lies in an Argentine sense of cultural superiority over the money-grubbing capitalists to the north and faith in the state to protect it.

Mexican historian Enrique Krauze traces this to an intellectual backlash against the U.S. after the Spanish defeat in the Spanish-American war. Examples he cites in his 2011 book “Redeemers” include the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío and the Franco-Argentine historian Paul Groussac, who both painted Americans as uncivilized beasts. According to Mr. Krauze, the southern cone—especially Argentina—also had imported the idea of a “socialism that fought to improve the economic, cultural and educational level of the poor, while generating a nationalist state.”

During his visit,

Castro gave the pope a commemorative medal from Havana’s Cathedral of The Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception, along with a painting by a Cuban artist depicting a migrant praying to a cross made of wrecked barges, a statement onthe plight of migrants and refugees throughout the world.

As O’Grady points out,

Raul mocked every Cuban refugee, dead or alive, by giving the pope, of all things, a piece of art depicting a migrant at prayer.

No need to wonder if the pope pointed out the thousands dead attempting to leave the island-prison; if he had, the meeting wouldn’t look as congenial.

Again, I ask, If the Pope were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

UPDATE:
Read Melanie Phillips’s As I see it: The Vatican channels war against Israel