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.
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,
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.
. . . 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.
Orwell was off by a decade, as this 1974 sign in Buenos Aires showed.
Things that can’t be said
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”]
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.
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.
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).
Latin American Allies Resist U.S. Strategy in Drug Fight
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
Russian rocket comes down in Siberia – it was carrying Mexican satellite http://t.co/zUBjjW7cKO
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 16, 2015
Bring Your Own Salt – BYOS – Assault On Salt: Uruguay Bans Shakers In Restaurants And Schools
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
The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina: “Silence is health”
— Fausta (@Fausta) May 14, 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.”
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.
Read Melanie Phillips’s As I see it: The Vatican channels war against Israel
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?
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!
The Wall Street Journal sums it up neatly:
To enlarge, and for the whole article, click here.
The exceptionally smart Ronald Nelson makes the right decision: read my article on Why the University of Alabama won over the Ivy League
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:
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.”
One with misspellings, complete with photo of Brad’s 2012 trip to Lago Agrio,
— JusticiaParaEcuador (@Justice_Ecuador) May 5, 2015
One grammatically correct,
— JusticiaParaEcuador (@Justice_Ecuador) May 6, 2015
In my original post, I snarked about Brad Pitt. I reconsidered, and apologize for unduly casting aspersions.