Ecuador: Rafael Correa at Yale UPDATED

April 11th, 2014

Rafael Correa wants your money. Carlos Eire reports:

He demanded the “hegemonic” industrialized nations pay Ecuador and all other nations with rain forests for the oxygen produced by the trees in those forests. I let out a chuckle. Much to my surprise no one else laughed.

He also demanded that Ecuador be paid for all of the petroleum that he refuses to extract from its soil in order to keep the rain forest pristine. Not drilling for oil costs Ecuador billions of dollars, he complained. Some clapped enthusiastically.

And he demanded that the “hegemonic” industrialized nations pay fines to the non-industrialized nations as recompense for the air pollution caused by their industries and vehicles. More applause.

Even more applause greeted his proposal to abolish intellectual property and patents. No one should charge for what they invent, and perhaps not even for what they manufacture, he argued.

He called these proposals “a new distribution of labor” and railed against the present “world order” as unjust and “immoral.”

Maybe I ought to demand that Ecuador pay me for the oxygen produced by the trees in my yard, and for not fracking on my property, for the sakes of “a new distribution of labor” or something.

UPDATE:
The Five questions for President Correa that Dr. Eire was not allowed to ask.

4. Mr. President, it is common knowledge that Ecuador wants to return to international financial markets to borrow money again following its 2008 default. Yet you yourself have publicly attacked bond holders, calling them “true monsters.” Outside institutions tend to think that the rule of law and protection for investors is weak in Ecuador. So what is the case you make for investing in Ecuador today?

You can watch the whole lecture here (the YouTube starts right away) below the fold:

Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Hammer goes to Chile

April 10th, 2014

Not this Mike Hammer,

this one:

Grew up in Latin America,
Georgetown U international relations graduate,
100% fluent in Spanish,
and personable.

Photo of Ambassador @MikeHammerUSA at a meeting presenting credentials to Pres. Bachelet at La Moneda.

Certainly a much more qualified diplomat than the Noah Mamet guy they were thinking of sending to Argentina!

Tonight’s podcast 8PM Eastern

April 9th, 2014

talking about Dr Gross in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador & US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio Canto. Live, and also archived for your listening convenience.

Cuba’s American hostage

April 9th, 2014

My latest article at Da Tech Guy’s, Cuba’s American hostage, Alan P. Gross.

Brazil: Airports not ready yet

April 9th, 2014

Oh-oh:

Brazil’s Latest Airport Project Not Fully Ready For FIFA World Cup

The Brazilian media have been almost gleefully picking on its country’s lack of preparedness for the FIFA World Cup matches that begin in June, with the latest news being that an airport won’t be fully functional as planned.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. The Viracopas International Airport in the interior São Paulo city of Campinas will surely be opened for its usual flights, but its newest R$2 billion ($800 million) terminal will not be ready as promised.

The airport terminal is not the only problem.

Expanding the roadway in and out of the airport, including areas for taxi service, also requires some new construction. But, again according to Folha, the consortium was only granted its go-ahead environmental permit on March 28. Ownership said that is enough time to expand the roadway before the May 11 deadline, and surely before the World Cup opening.

Not to worry – Putin’s team will get there

For now, team aircraft from Russia, Japan and Portugal, among four others, as well as TAP Airlines will be the only aircraft allowed at the new terminal when World Cup soccer begins on June 12.

Still, the developer says the project will be “fully operational” by May 11.


Mexico: en español, Terapia Intensiva 203

April 8th, 2014

@DrNetas habla sobre “maestros aviadores”, y otros temas,

New book: Chavistas en el Imperio

April 8th, 2014

Miguel Octavio reviews Casto Ocando’s new book, Chavistas en el Imperio: Secretos, Tácticas y Escándalos de la Revolución Bolivariana en Estados Unidos (Chavistas in the Empire: Secrets, Tactics, and Scandals of the Bolivarian Revolution in the United States):

Perhaps nothing summarizes better the book, as Ocando’s revelation in the introduction, that Chavez spent US$ 300 million in propaganda in the US during his first ten years in power. Thus, while Chávez was accusing Washington of trying to destabilize Venezuela, he was outspending Bush and Obama in promoting his revolution. And his buddies in Government, were always (or are?) trying to make friends in the US, to defend their money, their properties and even guarantee protection sometime in the future.

In fact, the promotion was not only of the revolution, but even paying companies in the US to regularly show that Venezuela’s economic numbers were doing well. ironically, while Chávez formed the Venezuelan Information Office and Eva Golinger was hired to show the US was conspiring in Venezuela, there was proof of all the money being spent very directly by the Venezuelan Government to promote itself in teh US and very little proof was ever shown that the US was ding the same thing in Venezuela or elsewhere.

In the end, the book just tells us how Chavismo went from corruption to drugs, joining forces with the FARC, the Iranians and drug cartels, showing that Chávez was willing to allow anything to his buddies in order for the revolution to survive.

This alone would make a valuable contribution to the literature of Latin America’s history.

Ocando, as his Twitter feed notes, is an

Investigative Reporter & Writer with Univision Network. Interests: Public Corruption, Narco-Terrorism, US-LatAm Relations, Venezuela. http://www.univision.com.

I bought the Kindle edition, and will post on it.

Cuba: Alan Gross on hunger strike

April 8th, 2014

Very bad news:
Alan P. Gross, the American who’s been in prison for over four years, has started a hunger strike.

Gross, 63, had already lost over 100lbs and has a large lump growing on his back, which under the “excellent free healthcare” Cubans endure are considered “chronic illnesses that are typical of his age.” He said in a statement (h/t Babalu)

that he was frustrated by the continued lack of effort by the U.S. government to orchestrate his release.

“I am fasting to object to mistruths, deceptions, and inaction by both governments, not only regarding their shared responsibility for my arbitrary detention, but also because of the lack of any reasonable or valid effort to resolve this shameful ordeal,” Gross said in a statement released by his attorney. “Once again, I am calling on President Obama to get personally involved in ending this stand-off so that I can return home to my wife and daughters.”

In practical terms, the Cuban government is holding Gross hostage over the release of the Cuban Five, men convicted in federal court on espionage charges. Two of the men have been released from prison and returned to Cuba.

Sen. Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke about Gross on the Senate floor,

“And the clock is ticking for Alan Gross. On December 4th, 2009, Alan Gross, a private sub-contractor for the U.S. government, working to bring information to the Cuban people, was arrested in Cuba. Mr. Gross is a 64-year old development professional who worked in dozens of countries around the world with programs to help people get access to basic information.

“Since 2009, he has been detained in Villa Marista – a prison in Havana notorious for its treatment of political prisoners by the Cuban National Security Agency. This is not a minimum security prison where foreigners are routinely held. It is a harsh, repressive prison –reserved for Cuban dissidents.

“He is still being held at Villa Marista, and so I come to the floor to urge my colleagues – indeed, to urge the Administration – to do all it can to free Mr. Gross, and keep pressure on the Castro regime.

“After serving four years of a 15 year sentence, this 64 year old American’s mental health is reported to be deteriorating and his life may well be in danger.

“The case of Alan Gross is only one example of why we cannot let up until the dead weight of this oppressive regime is lifted – once and for all — from the backs of 11 million Cubans living on that island nation, isolated from the world.”

Gross’ situation is desperate.

Related:
A Cuban immigrant to Ecuador attempted suicide when denied entry.

Castro’s “Murder, Inc.”

UPDATE:
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

The Juan Boria Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

April 7th, 2014

Juan Boria was an Afro-Puerto Rican poet, teacher and actor whose joyful performances on television I used to watch when I was a child growing up on the island. You couldn’t not have fun listening to him, even if sometimes you didn’t understand the words. I dedicate this Carnival to him, in thanks for the delightful moments his work still brings us. I have not found any YouTubes videos of his performances, only of his audios. Here’s one:

ARGENTINA
Argentina’s economy
Creeping toward normality

BRAZIL
Which Path Will Brazil Choose?

CHILE
Big Earthquake In Chile, Not Many Killed

COLOMBIA
Vote for peace, vote for Santos?

COSTA RICA
The election results are a given, after the challenger stopped campaigning – he’s still in the ballot, though (video in Spanish)

CUBA
AP Considers Twitter “Subversive” — for Cubans

ECUADOR
Chevron Takes Battle To Radical Environmentalist Lobby

JAMAICA
‘Ganga Future Growers’: Pot-growers group launched in Jamaica

MEXICO
Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez admitted to hospital in Mexico City
Colombian author, whose works have outsold everything in the Spanish language except the Bible, is being treated for lung and urinary infections

PANAMA
Mexico, Panama sign free-trade pact

PERU
Visit Choquequirao, Peru
Explore Peru’s famous Incan ruins in the lesser-known but still breathtaking city of Choquequirao.

PUERTO RICO
Ft. Hood: Puerto Rico friends, family of Ivan Lopez shocked

URUGUAY
Move aside, president of Uruguay: We have a new ‘poorest world leader’. He’s still the worst-shod, though.

VENEZUELA

Spain Halts Sale of Riot Gear to Caracas
Madrid Seeks to Avoid Fanning Violence, As 200,000 Spaniards Reside in Venezuela

30 Spaniards have been arrested by forces loyal to the socialist administration of President Nicolás Maduro.

(Related: Who Is Killing Venezuela’s Protesters?
New evidence suggests that Chávez recruited today’s political militia from among the army.
)

Are Race and Class at the Root of Venezuela’s Political Crisis?

Killing dissent? One of Leopoldo López’s aides, and the brother-in-law of an opposition mayor have been murdered. Matan a allegado de Leopoldo López y a cuñado de alcalde opositor
Un allegado del líder opositor venezolano Leopoldo López y un cuñado del alcalde del municipio caraqueño de Sucre, Carlos Ocariz, fueron asesinados en un parque de Caracas, se informó el domingo.

GM Takes $400 Million Loss in Venezuela as Ford Loses $350 Million

Crash dummy policies

NEWS FROM VENEZUELA

The Market For Common Sense

Caracas chaos: Venezuelan general [Antonio Rivero] on the run
Death in the streets, rationing by fingerprints and a general on the run: how oil-rich Venezuela has descended into chaos

NYT Gives Print Op-ed Space to Venezuela’s Maduro, Ignores Growing Repression

The week’s posts:
Ecuador: Pass the Ketchum

Annals of Papal gift-giving, UPDATED

Venezuela; about that Maduro op-ed in the NYT, UPDATED

We interrupt our blogging on Latin America to bring you the latest on Putin

Vargas Llosa going to Venezuela

Ecuador: Looking for fools wanting to part with their money

#SOSVenezuela: Testing Venezuela’s sincerity

The Most Interesting Man in the World has spoken,

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
What Eich means

A makeover for . . . cream cheese?


Mexico: The high cost of limes

April 7th, 2014

Mr. Bingley has noticed that limes are $2.99…for 3 limes.

Here’s why, in order of importance:
1. The Knights Templar: Mexican drug cartel behind increase in lime prices
Lemons being swapped for limes as prices continue to climb

Gustavo Arellano, a syndicated columnist and author who writes about Mexican cultural issues, says the Knights Templar have been making their presence known in an area called La Tierra Caliente for a few years now.

“So what they’ve done over the last couple of years, is that, if they’re nice, they put humongous taxes on the farmers. If they’re not nice, they just kill farmers and take the land and take over lime production themselves.”

Starting last year, however, things began to change in Michoacán, when local militias began to spring up in opposition to the Knights Templar cartel.

Those local militias, which are often backed by lime farmers, have been somewhat successful at curtailing the cartels. And the Mexican government has found itself caught in the middle.

2. Mother Nature:

A severe drought was followed by the spread of a bacterial disease (huanglongbing) that attacks citrus trees, then by a harsh winter that killed tree blossoms.

First came Mother Nature, and then the Knights Templar saw an opportunity – a truck of limes is worth $300,000

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Those of you in the appropriate farming zones considering growing legal marijuana may want to look into lime production instead.