The Economist blog, America’s View, reports on Extortion in Latin America
Death and taxes. One has to pay a $40 airport tax to leave the country at San Pedro Sula airport; crossing the US-Mexico border illegally is controlled by the cartels, and the “tax” is heavier,
In Nuevo Laredo, several migrants recount how, in addition to paying a “coyote” to guide them across the Rio Bravo (Texas’s Rio Grande), they have to pay a “tax” of about 4,500 pesos ($350) to the drug gang (remnants of the Zetas) who control access to the river. One migrant had his picture taken when he paid his extortionists. They said the payment gave him the right to two attempts; on the third, if he didn’t pay again, he would be killed. The photo was the Zetas’ way of keeping records.
Where are the thieves?
Authorities — who have said they expect that the thieves will turn up to get medical treatment for possible radiation exposure — have not announced explicitly that anyone has been caught.
But the Notimex article detailing the hospitalizations did state that a 25-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy are in federal police custody. The report did not say why they’d been detained, only that the Interior Ministry will soon have more details.
Nor was there an indication whether the two were among those hospitalized in Pachuca, the capital of Hidalgo state.
The attorney general office’s organized crime division is investigating the case, according to Manjarrez. He added that the driver of the stolen truck continues to cooperate with authorities.
For a man imprisoned for his political beliefs, he had a weakness for those who did the very same thing to their ideological opponents, but were allowed a pass because they supported, for realpolitik reasons, the struggle against Apartheid. So Mandela was painfully slow in denouncing the squalid dictatorship of Robert Mugabe. He was rather fond of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro (it won’t take you long to find photos of the two bear-hugging each other in Havana) and regularly referred to Libyan tyrant Muammar Qaddafi as “Brother Leader of the Revolution of the Libyan Jamahariya.” It was on a return visit to Robbin Island, when Mandela, as president, announced with appalling tone deafness that he would invite both Castro and Qaddafi to South Africa.
In 1997, he unloaded on the Clinton administration when it criticized his embrace of the Libyan dictatorship. “How can they have the arrogance to dictate to us where we should go or which countries should be our friends? Gaddafi is my friend.” In 2000, the Boston Globe reported that when Iran charged 13 Iranian Jews and eight Muslims with espionage on behalf of Israel, Mandela “expressed his satisfaction with assurances from Iranian leaders that their trial would be ‘free and fair.’” To those critical of his stance, he shouted that “you have not been to Iran. I have been to Iran, and your criticism has no foundation,” declaring the trial “a purely domestic affair in which citizens of the Islamic Republic are being tried. Foreigners should avoid any action that may be regarded rightly or wrongly as interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.” The affairs of non-democracies, Mandela argued, were not the business of democracies.
Thankfully, not all governments indulged this brand of human rights isolationism when Mandela was jailed on Robben Island. The problem with this stance isn’t merely that Mandela was wildly wrong—which he was—about the fairness and independence of the Iranian judiciary or the righteousness of the Cuban and Libyan dictatorships, but his reliance on the old debating trick of shouting “sovereignty” about a crowded political prison. This was, you might remember, the argument of both the apartheid regime and its criminal co-conspirators.
Go read the rest.
Mandela’s accomplishment: That he did not turn South Africa into a totalitarian “democracy” by consolidating power around himself. After Mandela,
South Africa’s transition to a more open economic system has been facilitated by a relatively competitive trade regime, but structural reforms to diversify the economic base have achieved only marginal progress. With overall regulatory efficiency constrained by the lack of transparency, policies to sustain dynamic flows of investment are not firmly institutionalized. The government faces challenges in improving the effectiveness of budget management.
Work on the stadium was halted last week after an accident killed two workers there and damaged a part of the stadium. Because ongoing investigations paralyzed construction at part of the site, authorities were concerned about construction being completed on time. The stadium was originally scheduled to delivered at the end of this month, giving organizers time to test the stadium ahead of the sporting event.
According to a report in Estado de S Paulo newspaper, Odebrecht asked local authorities for clearance to resume work on the damaged portion of the stadium. Odebrecht didn’t confirm on Friday if it had asked for such authorization, or if the April 15 deadline depends on getting that authorization.
There’s no way that the world cup opener won’t be held at Corinthians.
A witness in the case of the murder of Venezuelan Ambassador Olga Fonseca in Kenya 2012 told a court in Nairobi on Wednesday that the diplomatic mission would use the diplomatic bag for drug-trafficking purposes.
The robbery occurred as the cobalt-60 was being driven from a public hospital in the border town of Tijuana to a storage facility in central Mexico. The driver and his assistant worked for a licensed private company, and the lethal radioactive substance was sealed in the back.The cargo truck, equipped with a crane, was nearing its destination in the darkness early Tuesday, several hours before the storage facility opened. While waiting for daybreak at a gas station in the state of Hidalgo, north of Mexico City, the drivers were jumped by two gunmen who beat them and stole the truck
Both the driver and his assistant were taken to an empty lot where they were bound and told not to move. They heard one of the assailants use a walkie-talkie type device or phone to tell someone, “It’s done.”
And now for a little speculation (this is entirely my opinion, and again, pure speculation):
Let’s imagine that the truck hijackers try to fence the truck and its contents to the Knights Templar. Once the Templars realized that the cargo was getting the attention not only of the Mexican authorities, but also international attention, they may have decided to not hold on to it.
Especially if they could not get a good enough price from a third-party client (Hezbollah?) to make it worth their troubles.
A police strike for higher pay — which the governor blamed on his closure of brothels that provide a money stream to corrupt officers — has prompted waves of looting and robberies in Argentina’s second largest city.
The violence in Cordoba began Tuesday night and continued Wednesday morning, with storefronts being shattered, mobs stealing merchandise, robbers attacking people in the streets and vigilantes arming themselves to protect their homes. More supermarkets and a mobile television van recording the violence were attacked this morning, even as officers and provincial authorities began negotiations to end the strike.
Hospital authorities reported one shooting death and more than 100 injuries, mostly from shattered glass.
[Gov. Jose Manuel] de la Sota also described the strike as a police response to his decision to close 140 brothels that provide income to corrupt officers. “We know that this, which is a terrible business, horrible, is linked to drug trafficking and that it would bring us problems sooner or later,” the governor said.
The new police salaries are the equivalent of about US$1,400/month at the black market rate. This is a 52% increase over their prior salary.
RT reports that the police union has agreed on the new salary,
According to Sapiezynska and Akram, the Venezuelan economy is stable, economic woes are politically induced, and Venezuela’s electoral system is “the best in the world” because Jimmy Carter said so.
That al-Jazeera would publish such nonsense about the second-most corrupt and least-free nation in our hemisphere, a country with an implied annual inflation rate of 325%, , speaks poorly not only of al-Jazeera; it also makes you wonder what kind of charlatan they hire at the University of Chile.