Venezuela: Break-in in London

November 20th, 2014

Alek Boyd, who investigates chavista corruption, had his London apartment broken into:

They didn’t take my wallet, money, valuables… mind you they even left behind one of their own rain jackets and a mobile phone. Frankly I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about it. On the one hand, I have to respect the boldness of the men who carried out this action. I have used plural all along on purpose, for there is CCTV evidence of at least three men, totally unrelated to the residents of the building where I live, trying to gain access to it. Neither of them bothered to cover their faces. In fact, one of them spoke to the porter and tried to force his way in, in three separate instances, through the front door of the building, while another stood at a very close distance and laughed at the porter. I have got to interpret their boldness as if they purposefully wanted to send a strong message: “we came to your flat, we broke into it in broad daylight, and we can’t care less about being caught by video cameras or be seen.”

Another part of me is convinced that this is most definitely the work of chavistas. For only chavistas can break into a flat to steal laptops containing sensible information and leave behind so much evidence, such as their own phone. This reminds me of the typical Venezuelan “rambos” that make up the “intelligence” forces in that country: smash first and never bother with details. Guapos y apoyaos sort of attitude. But then, if they could do that, it is evident they are prepared to do anything.

Here are CCTV photos of the suspected perpetrators,

Why weren’t taxes an issue in the last election?

November 19th, 2014

Having voted with my feet, I’m asking Why weren’t taxes an issue in the last election? at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Weren’t they?

Cuba: The Nation’s Valentine’s cruise

November 19th, 2014

You can’t make up this stuff,

The Nation is, in fact, going to Cuba. They are going in February. It is not too late. Cuba is still a one-party dictatorship with a gulag. It has not yet been spoiled. The Castros and their fellow Communists are firmly in charge, as democrats and liberals in prison would be happy to tell you, if only they could speak to you.

Jay Nordlinger asks,

What if ordinary Cubans, in their innocence, ask The Nation’s people for help? What if they ask some American to send an e-mail for them, for example? Will The Nation’s people be like Paul Robeson in Stalin’s Russia, and turn the wretched locals in to the Party?

Wouldn’t surprise me if they did.

———————————

In today’s podcast at 1PM, I’m Silvio Canto’s guest,
We will discuss the political crisis in Mexico and the 43 dead students, FARC in Colombia, and other stories



Amnesty: I told you so UPDATED

November 19th, 2014

Yesterday I said,
I expect Obama to enact amnesty this week.

Breaking news:
Obama to Announce Executive Actions on Immigration Friday
Move to Give Temporary Legal Status to Millions in the U.S. Illegally

The announcement will be made at Del Sol High School, the same school where Mr. Obama gave a major immigration speech in 2013, one of those people said.

Del Sol, “of the Sun.”

UPDATE
Make that Thursday night.

Countdown to amnesty

November 18th, 2014

Headlines from Drudge:
3000 Illegal Minors Join Texas Schools…

New wave expected…

READY TO RUMBLE ON AMNESTY…

FLASHBACK: How President Eisenhower solved border crisis — with mass deportations… 

Obstacle to O’s Plan: His Own Statements…

WASH POST: Action will expand authority into ‘murky, uncharted territory’…

C-SPAN Sets Up Separate Phone Line for Illegals to Call In…

The case against:
Video: Democrat rep unable to say why Obama’s immigration plan is legal

 

Fight the Power Grab
We cannot wait for future revenge — similar constitutional overreach by a Republican president.

ICYMI:
The Next Border Crisis
Column: How Congress can fight Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty

The 150 million adults worldwide who would move to the United States if given the chance will draw the conclusion that their status and future are secure as long as they end up on U.S. soil. Pay the snakeheads and coyotes, avoid the authorities, and fall under the next amnesty. Just as it happened in 1986 and happened again, piecemeal, in 2012 and 2014.

I do not consider it humanitarian to induce people to undertake perilous and uncertain journeys through hazardous territory in the hopes of joining a population that is at best ambivalent about them. I think it is cruel. And it is cruel not only to the immigrants, but also to American citizens, who must cope with the attendant fall in low-skilled job opportunities and wages, rising inequality, economic and social consequences of population density, and erosion of social cohesion. These are all reasons confidence in public institutions is at a low. Obama’s executive order will drive it lower.

I expect Obama to enact amnesty this week; at the latest by Thanksgiving Day.

It’s hard to see how the solution to lawlessness is more lawlessness.



Keystone XL & Venezuela

November 18th, 2014

Caracas Chronicles (emphasis added):
Keystone XL Isn’t a Threat to the Environment; It’s a Threat to Venezuela

The whole idea that if you stop Keystone XL, somehow less oil is produced and consumed is infantile: the question isn’t “how much?” it’s “where from?” (And if you think exploiting the Orinoco Belt is less environmentally dicey than piping oil through Nebraska, there’s a mountain of coke in Jose I’d like to sell you.)

If the Venezuelan government had the bandwidth to think longer term – which it manifestly doesn’t – it would grasp Keystone XL as a key strategic threat. The main reason anyone would want to take Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast is because that’s where the refineries that can handle crappy, high-sulphur, high-tar content crude are. And the whole reason they’re got built there in the first place is to handle Venezuelan crude. This is why KeystoneXL is such an important piece of the North American Energy Independence puzzle: it’s what it takes to shut Venezuela out of the North American market.

Of course, a government that’s long made it positively a policy goal to shift Venezuelan production away from the U.S. may not be able to register that as a threat. Ideology is always going to prevail with them. But that’s only the umpteenth policy mistake the Venezuelan government made today before breakfast.

Even in a post-Keystone XL future where Venezuela doesn’t have access to North American energy buyers, Venezuela will find buyers for its oil, of course. It’s just that it will have to ship that oil further to get it to refineries that will need to be reconfigured (or built from scratch) to handle it, and each part of that costs money: money Venezuela could use for any of the thousand pressing and growing policy problems going unaddressed right now.

The Communist regime in Venezuela finances itself and its parasites, including Cuba, through oil proceeds, all the more reason to approve KXL.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Dustbury. Thank you!

Colombia: Government suspends peace talks after FARC kidnaps general

November 17th, 2014

Colombia Suspends Peace Talks With Rebels After General’s Capture
President Says Negotiations With FARC Are Off Until Further Notice

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in a statement that the peace talks between the Colombian government and members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, currently under way in Havana, Cuba, would be suspended until further notice following the FARC’s capture of Gen. Rubén Darío Alzate in a conflict-torn region near the Pacific coast.

Mr. Alzate was taken hostage along with an army captain, Jorge Rodriguez Contreras, and a civilian lawyer, Gloria Urrego.

All throughout the “peace talks” taking place in Havana, the FARC continued killing and kidnapping. Former president and now senator Alvaro Uribe tweeted,
639 soldiers and police murdered by FARC terrorists during dialogue with Santos.”

Uribe also published an article (in Spanish) on the error of negotiating with the FARC:

Colombia’s Constitutional Court has ruled that President Santos must present any peace agreement with the Marxist rebels to Congress no later than 24 February, and that the public must be told in advance of this date.

The falling oil price Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

November 17th, 2014

LatinAmerThe price of crude oil has dropped by 30% in four years, so Iran, Venezuela urge oil price support ahead of OPEC meeting

Iran and Venezuela need higher oil prices to balance their budgets than fellow OPEC members Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab producers.

ARGENTINA
La enfermedad argentina

Outrage as Argentina milks millions out of UK foreign aid budget
DAVID Cameron is today facing demands to block British taxpayers’ cash going to Argentina.

Argentina Cracks Down on Black Market for Dollars

BELIZE
Belize’s 2014 Tourism Boom Breaking Records

BOLIVIA
Why Foreigners Fall for the Evo Morales House of Cards
Statistics Gloss Over Bolivia’s Lack of Development, Bubble Waiting to Pop

BRAZIL
Police Raid Odebrecht’s Offices Amid Corruption Probe

Petrobras Former Executive Among a Score Arrested in Brazil Corruption Probe

Cannibal gang baked victims into pies
Three Brazilians sentenced to prison after being caught murdering two women and using their flesh as the filling in “empadas” which they sold to neighbours

Study: Brazil’s Underground Economy Equivalent to 16.2% of GDP

CHILE
Chile and China
¡Salud!
Food and drink draw two regions together

COLOMBIA
Ex-President Samper Took $10 Million from Cartel, Colombian Kingpin Says

CUBA
3 Cuban activists sentenced to prison on bogus charges

Yoelkis Rosabal, 31, was sentenced to 4 years in prison.

Ricardo Pelier, 28, was sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Ernesto Darián Duffo, 24, was sentenced to years in prison.

ECUADOR
Term limits in Ecuador
If you can’t beat ‘em, referendum
A vote could cost President Correa his job—in 2017

EL SALVADOR
25 Yrs After El Salvador Priest Killings, Groups Press For Justice

GUYANA
Guyana: Legislature Is Suspended

HONDURAS
Obama and Honduras, 2009: portent of things to come

IMMIGRATION
I expect that Pres. Obama will issue an executive order for amnesty this week. Here are a few links:
The Missing Immigration Memo
Has Obama asked the Office of Legal Counsel for its legal opinion?

But a Justice-OLC opinion is all the more necessary on domestic issues because the President’s authority is far more limited. He is obliged to execute the laws that Congress writes. A President should always seek legal justification for controversial actions to ensure that he is on solid constitutional ground as well as to inspire public confidence in government.

The Next Border Crisis
Column: How Congress can fight Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty

The 150 million adults worldwide who would move to the United States if given the chance will draw the conclusion that their status and future are secure as long as they end up on U.S. soil. Pay the snakeheads and coyotes, avoid the authorities, and fall under the next amnesty. Just as it happened in 1986 and happened again, piecemeal, in 2012 and 2014.

I do not consider it humanitarian to induce people to undertake perilous and uncertain journeys through hazardous territory in the hopes of joining a population that is at best ambivalent about them. I think it is cruel. And it is cruel not only to the immigrants, but also to American citizens, who must cope with the attendant fall in low-skilled job opportunities and wages, rising inequality, economic and social consequences of population density, and erosion of social cohesion. These are all reasons confidence in public institutions is at a low. Obama’s executive order will drive it lower.

Minors in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras Can Now Apply for Asylum in U.S.

Obama’s Amnesty Will Turn U.S. Into Welfare Magnet

From Drudge: ILLEGALS TAUNT AGENTS AS AMNESTY NEARS…

NYT: BIG Money Behind Push…

CRUZ: ‘DEFIANT OF VOTERS’…

DEPORTATIONS PLUMMET…

Central American Children to be Granted Refugee Status…

NYC Will No Longer Hold Illegals For Feds…

MEXICO
Mexican President’s Reputation Takes A Further Dive Thanks To Reports About A Luxury Home

A Familiar Anger Begins to Boil Again in Mexico

Mexico’s Iguala Massacre: Criminal gangs and criminal government

PANAMA
“48 Hours” investigates American’s death in Panama

PERU
Peru’s Most Wanted Gangster Captured after 4 Months on the Run
Hiding in Colombia, Orellana’s Network Allegedly Committed US$100 Million in Fraud

PUERTO RICO
Hefty Losses Cause US Shipper to Close Door on Puerto Rico
Long-Time Competitors to Acquire Alaska, Hawaii Lines

URUGUAY
Vázquez leads polls ahead of Uruguay’s runoff

VENEZUELA
Cubanization 8.2: Maduro creates snitching hot lines

Venezuela cracks down on peddling diapers: ‘I feel like a drug dealer’
As basic goods grew more scarce on store shelves, authorities targeted open-air black markets that sold everything from coffee, eggs and cooking oil to shampoo, deodorant and detergent.

A broke Venezuela splits its finances in two

The week’s post and podcast:
Venezuela: Oil slide

And now for a surfer saint?

En español: UdQ 199, Los Vándalos del Zócalo

The Monroe Doctrine’s dead, but Putin’s alive and kicking

It’s raining parodies!

Argentina: Jorge Lanata will petition US Court re: Cristina’s US businesses

Mexico: And now, for #Articulo39RenunciaEPN

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
And now for a @BatDadBlake break

Keith Hennessy on Jonathan Gruber’s honesty

Podcast:
Venezuela & US-Latin America stories

Mexico: No rule of law

November 17th, 2014


Teacher protesting the #Ayotzinapa disappearance of the 43 student teachers. His shirt reads “I AM A TEACHER. I defend education. I defend my people. I defend my country.”

Mary O’Grady looks at Mexico’s Rule of Law Crisis
The fate of 43 missing university students and corruption allegations test President Peña Nieto’s pledge to transform the country.

Until now the president has been able to ignore Mexico’s legendary lawlessness. He has been riding an international wave of excitement around the opening of the energy sector, with few questions asked. But unless he wants to make common cause with the hard left—which thinks it has him on the ropes because of the missing students—he needs to admit his mistakes, purge his cabinet and make the rule of law job No. 1.

That would be a first in Mexico’s history, a country that sees, as O’Grady puts it, “the traditional use of the criminal-justice system as a profit center for the state.”



Venezuela: Oil slide

November 15th, 2014

From commenter Kermit,

Venezuela is importing oil as a direct result of its disastrous refinery fires a year ago. What is being imported is light sweet crude to act as diluent when blended with the very heavy crude oil so that it can be pumped from the fields to the terminals/refineries.

Without fully functioning refineries/upgraders, no diluent is being made (kind of like diesel)

Also being imported is diesel and gasoline.

There is severe ship congestion since terminals are not set up to receive the crude oil and refined products. Long waiting times (meaning a lot of extra cost in demmurage to shipowners)

Meanwhile, Venezuela Dollar Income Falls 30% on Lower Oil Prices

Venezuela’s average oil-export price last week fell to $72.80 a barrel, the lowest in four years, pushing the yield on the country’s benchmark bonds to almost 19 percent for the first time since the global financial crisis. Oil accounts for 97 percent of foreign exchange income, which the country needs to pay about $28.5 billion of bond principal due in 2016.

To defend oil prices, Maduro said he sent the country’s foreign minister to five oil producers, including Mexico and Russia, to drum up support ahead of the Nov. 27 meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which Venezuela co-founded. Back in the late 1990s, Venezuela ended a slump in oil prices by cutting production along with other OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

To rumors of selling refineries, Caracas Chronicles says, Go bold, go big