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

Argentina: “Silence is health”

May 17th, 2015

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Reader Gringo, commenting on Side-by-side #Nisman, recommended The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina. I bought the Kindle edition and can’t put it down.

In it, author Uki Goñi describes the following,

During these long walks, I came across a disturbing sign of the times that I should perhaps have heeded better. On the broad Nueve de Julio Avenue that divides Buenos Aires in half – ‘the widest avenue on the world’, according to some Argentines – stands a giant white obelisk that is the city’s most conspicuous landmark. In 1974, the landmark lost its virginity in the strangest of ways. A revolving billboard was suspended around the Obelisco, snugly encircling the huge white phallus. Round and round the ring turned, inscribed with an Orwellian message in bold blue letters on a plain white background: ‘Silence Is Health.’

I found a YouTube via the Plaza de Mayo blog,

Forty-one years ago. Has anything changed?

So many Evitas, so little time . . .

May 16th, 2015

In the WSJ,
Notable & Quotable: ‘Evita’“Never been a fund like the Foundation Eva Peron!”

Never been a fund like the Foundation Eva Peron! . . .

And the money kept rolling out in all directions,

To the poor, to the weak, to the destitute of all complexions

Now cynics claim a little of the cash has gone astray

But that’s not the point, my friends.

When the money keeps rolling out, you don’t keep books

You can tell you’ve done well by the happy, grateful looks

Accountants only slow things down, figures get in the way.

Never been a lady loved as much as Eva Peron!

Sing it, Ricky!

Argentina: Side-by-side #Nisman

May 15th, 2015

The Wall Street Journal sums it up neatly:

To enlarge, and for the whole article, click here.

Why the University of Alabama won over the Ivy League

May 15th, 2015

The exceptionally smart Ronald Nelson makes the right decision: read my article on Why the University of Alabama won over the Ivy League

Ecuador: Correa thinks Brad bought the wrong book

May 15th, 2015

Brad Pitt bought the movie rights to Paul Barrett’s book, Law of the Jungle: The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil in the Rain Forest and the Lawyer Who’d Stop at Nothing to Win about fraudster Steven Donziger.

Rafael Correa is not happy:

Ecuador’s president urges Brad Pitt to scrap Amazon oil spill movie
Socialist leader Rafael Correa concerned film will be based on a book he alleges covered up actions of oil giant Chevron

He said: “Now they’ve brought out a book, Law of the Jungle, all paid for by Chevron, in which we look like savages in a country without any separation of powers. If he has any doubts, we invite him to come to Ecuador and scoop up with his hands the oil which still lies in pools 30 years later and which was left by that corrupt oil company Chevron-Texaco, continuing to pollute our forest. Given the clarity of the facts, anybody who signs up to or collaborates with Chevron is an accomplice to that company’s corruption.”

Correa seems to have heeded John Oliver’s advice to stay away from Twitter, but there’s a hashtag all the same – #braddotherightthing.

One with misspellings, complete with photo of Brad’s 2012 trip to Lago Agrio,

One grammatically correct,

Correction:
In my original post, I snarked about Brad Pitt. I reconsidered, and apologize for unduly casting aspersions.



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

May 15th, 2015

For your consideration:

Minion:

Rothko:

Venezuela: The dark side of price controls

May 14th, 2015

Rachel Cunliffe looks at The dark side of price controls in Venezuela

Shortages of basic goods, from food to fuel, have led to a sharp increase in crime and situations “where police officers are gunned down for their weapons, trucks ambushed for merchandise and commuters held up for cellphones.” Now the shortage of motorcycle parts is so severe that bikers are being attacked for their vehicles, and in some cases murdered.

This is the reality of price fixing and currency controls.

Read the whole thing.

Related:
Grenades galore

The central government prefers to blame violence on drug traffickers and politically-motivated paramilitaries. But that view isn’t that far from the truth: these criminal gangs sort-of fit the basic definition of a paramilitary body, and many of those groups (such as the infamous “El Picure” gang) are involved in drug-related activities. However, the political angle the government desperately wants to stick onto the problem simply doesn’t match the evidence available.

Our crime epidemic is surpassing all estimations, to the point that Venezuela is (according to the Brazilian think tank Instituto Igarape) the second most murderous country in the planet. If you are being murdered, there is a high chance you are in Venezuela.

Godgiven Traps His Enemies With Him In Venezuela

UPDATE:
Linked to by Rantburg. Thank you!