Thursday night tango: Natacha Poberaj & Vladimir Khorev

August 14th, 2014

dancing to Recuerdo,

Brazil: Socialist Party candidate dies in plane crash

August 14th, 2014

We talked about this in last night’s podcast:

Brazilian Candidate Dies in Crash
Eduardo Campos, the Brazilian Socialist Party candidate for president, was killed in the crash of a private jet, upending the October election.

A leftist who was also friendly to business and tough on crime. Mr. Campos had hoped to appeal to both progressives and fiscal conservatives, but his campaign had trouble gaining traction. A recent poll had shown him with about 8% of the likely vote—a distant third behind Ms. Rousseff and her main rival, Aécio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party.

Campos was in third place behind Dilma and Aécio, but the accident may affect the SP’s standing,

Those standings could change, however, if Mr. Campos is succeeded at the top of the ticket by his popular running mate, Marina Silva, who ran for president herself in 2010 and won about 19% of the vote.

Ms. Silva had been exploring another presidential run again this year, but when her own party, Rede Sustentabilidade, was unable to meet the requirements to get her onto the ballot, she joined Mr. Campos’s ticket as vice president.

A deeply religious, environmental activist, Ms. Silva could attract votes from both the left and right in a way that Mr. Campos couldn’t, said João Augusto de Castro Neves, Latin America director at the Eurasia Group think tank in Washington.

“She will threaten both Dilma and Aécio,” he said.

It was a horrible crash: the plane’s fall damaged seven houses:

O Globo reports that firemen have found the plane’s cabin and Campos’s wallet (link in Portuguese).

In addition to the seven killed who were aboard the plane, there were six residents injured.


En español: Barbara Padilla

August 14th, 2014

The 2d place finalist of America’s Got Talent, Barbara Padilla, interviewed in Spanish by Jaime Bayly,

She has a new CD out today, available through Amazon. I’d like Andrea Bocelli’s agent to sign her up.

The Pontifical Council denounces ISIS

August 13th, 2014

My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog, The Pontifical Council denounces ISIS, is up.

Don’t miss also tonight’s podcast at 8PM Eastern, when I’m Silvio Canto’s guest.

Socialism: making it harder to get a drink since 1848*

August 13th, 2014

First we hear that producers of cheap Malbec are getting squeezed by inflation. Now this,
Venezuela Sips More Local Rum, Less Pricey Whiskey
Lagging Economy Pushes Consumers Away From Expensive Scotches
.

 

At fancy steakhouses and Spanish-style tascas, Scotch is served the Venezuelan way: poured to the brim in a highball glass with ice.

Let’s hope they don’t do that to any of these.

Regardless, $5 says the chavistas are still getting their Buchanan’s and Chivas.

*1848: Karl Marx puts out the Communist Manifesto.


Brazil: Hacking the reporters

August 13th, 2014

Miriam Leitão and Carlos Alberto Sardenberg, outstanding journalists who report on the many corruption scandals of the Dilma years, found out they were being hacked and smeared by someone using a computer address inside the Planalto presidential palace.

Ooopsie!

Or should I have a Captain Louis Renault moment?

I mean, “I’m shocked, shocked” that the journalists have come under attack by someone who doesn’t have enough brains to realize a computer address inside the Planalto could be located.

But I digress.

What’s interesting is the blowback; Mac Margolis:

Launching stealth attacks on critics from within the presidential palace plays well with the party faithful, but maybe less so at the voting booth. Although official probes in Brazil rarely reach the highest office, the blowback from the smear campaign suggests that Rousseff’s road to re-election will be fraught.

Brazil’s general election’s scheduled for October 5th. The Economist calls the presidential campaign “A tightly scripted telenovela.”

Video below the fold, since it starts right away,
Read the rest of this entry »

Cuba: The end of the deepwater oil lie

August 12th, 2014

After offshore oil failure, Cuba shifts energy focus (emphasis added)

Cuba has shifted its focus away from offshore oil, concentrating on renewable energy and improving output from onshore wells due to a lack of interest by foreign companies for further deepwater exploration, sources close to the industry say.

That includes China and Russia; after three deepwater wells drilled in 2012 came up dry.

Capitol Hill Cubans blog had a more tactful title than mine, Cuba Ends Deepwater Oil Exploration Illusion.

Brazil: Opposition now has Arminio Fraga

August 12th, 2014

Arminio Fraga, president of Brazil’s central bank from 1999 to 2002 under the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, is now back in the game:
Brazil Ex-Insider Returns to Help Oust President
With slow growth and high inflation hurting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s chances of winning a second term, former central banker Arminio Fraga joins the opposition to persuade voters that Brazil needs a new economic steward.

Mr. Fraga appears to be positioning himself as something of an inflation whisperer. As president of Brazil’s central bank from 1999 to 2002 under the administration of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, he helped stabilize the currency and rein in consumer prices. Mr. Fraga supports restrained public spending, tough inflation targeting and a floating exchange rate, policies that became known in Brazil as the “economic tripod.”

He is highly critical of the Rousseff administration’s decision slow inflation by capping gasoline prices and electricity rates, moves he dismissed as “gimmicks.” He’s also alarmed that Brazil’s central bank has been intervening regularly in the currency markets to prop up Brazil’s real against the dollar, a strategy he ridicules a “populist move.”

Mr. Fraga said these are stopgap measures that already are proving unworkable and that Brazil needs to focus on long-term fundamentals like increasing private investment and balancing its books.

The fact that earlier this year Standard & Poor downgraded Brazil´s long term bonds credit rating to one notch above junk doesn’t help Dilma – but you have to remember that, even when Dilma’s the candidate, Lula is the man to beat.

Venezuela: El Pollo as big fish

August 11th, 2014

Mary O’Grady on today’s WSJ:
A Terrorist Big Fish Gets Away
The Netherlands refuses to extradite FARC ally Hugo Carvajal Barrios to the U.S.

While O’Grady contradicts herself on the criminals’ intent, saying, on the one hand, “America’s voracious appetite for illegal drugs has allowed violent political actors to create powerful transnational criminal organizations”, while on the other hand stating, “All of this terror is done in the name of social justice for Colombians,” the effect of current U.S. foreign policy is clear: The bottom line? (emphasis added)

Yet it’s not surprising that the Netherlands decided it would be less costly to be on the good side of the bad guys than to be on the bad side of the good guys. After six years of the Obama global retreat, any leader would be crazy to expect the U.S. to go to the mat for an ally, even one that stuck its neck out for Uncle Sam. So when Venezuela threatened military and economic retribution at the Netherlands Antilles if Carvajal was extradited, the Dutch foreign affairs minister relented.

Read the whole thing here.

The wine squeeze Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

August 11th, 2014

Producers of cheap Malbec are getting squeezed by inflation, according to the WSJ,

Wine has been hit harder than agricultural products like soy because picking the grapes is so labor intensive. Analysts say producers’ costs have risen at least 100% in the past four years.

That means fewer bottles of cheap Argentine wine are making it to the shelves of restaurants and liquor stores in the U.S. and Europe.

As if things weren’t tough enough already.

ARGENTINA
Judge Threatens Argentina With Contempt Over Its Statements

Argentina seeks legal case against U.S. in The Hague

Argentine grandmother leading search for stolen children reunited with own grandson after 36 years
Country celebrates as Estela Carlotto, head of the renowned Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, finds the grandchild taken from her daughter by the military regime almost four decades ago

BOLIVIA
‘King Midas’ Bat From Bolivia Identified As A News Species

BRAZIL
Brazil anger over gynaecological tests for teachers
Brazilian women’s rights advocates denounce Sao Paulo state’s requirement for prospective female teachers to undergo gynaecological test

Women’s rights advocates in Brazil have denounced requirements by the country’s most populous state for prospective female teachers to submit to gynaecological exams or prove their virginity in order to work.

The education department of Sao Paulo state requires female prospective teachers to undergo a Pap smear in order to prove they are free of a variety of cancers, or to present a doctor’s statement verifying they have not been sexually active.

Until recently, it also required women to have a colposcopy, a type of visual examination used to detect disease.

CHILE
Chile youth leader freed in Venezuela, going to Santiago

COLOMBIA
Colombian rebels attack oil field
Colombian rebels attack an oil field in the north-west of the country although no-one is hurt, the state-owned company Ecopetrol says.

CUBA
Cy Tokmakjian – Imprisoned in Cuba No Charges. No Justice

Cuba and the outside world
Rekindling old friendships
Cuba is once again resorting to geopolitics to support a failing economy

Museum enshrines the history of Cuba according to “The Godfather II”

ECUADOR
Ecuador to open embassy in ‘Palestine’, president cancels visit to Israel

What Can Tens of Millions of Dollars Buy Ecuador in the ‘Empire’?

GUATEMALA
Guatemala Receives Deported Children from U.S.

IMMIGRATION
BORDER PATROL AGENT: CARTELS USING CHILDREN AS ‘SHIELDS’

JAMAICA
Jamaica: The good, the bad and the ugly

LATIN AMERICA
Why is Latin America Coddling Hamas?

The Spin of Things to Come

Russia Slaps Embargo on Western Food Imports and Looks to Latin America

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO CYNTHIA MCKINNEY? She’s at TeleSur, which is

funded by the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Venezuela.

MEXICO
Mexico Gains Winning Edge By Opening Energy Market

Mexico Mulls Over Raising It’s Shockingly Low Minimum Wage

NICARAGUA
Costa Rica seeks investigation of immigrant bribes to Nicaraguan military

PANAMA
Has Panama weaned itself off drugs and cleaned up?

PARAGUAY
Pope Benedict XVI OK’d abusive priest in Paraguay, local bishop says

PERU
PERU HAS REOPENED ITS OFFICE OF UFO INVESTIGATIONS

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Ricans Are Fleeing the Economic Disaster That Is Their Home Island

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan weather vanes

Evil in the Bayou

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: Derwick in the news

Today’s illegal invasion headlines

Nicaragua: A reminder on the sandinistas

Venezuela: What a show trial looks like

“once every 5 years”

Ecuador: Like bitcoin, but not as solid

Need a coyote? Check Facebook!

Mexico: Knights Templar chief La Tuta’s on YouTube

Illegal immigration: Just who is getting in?

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Pope Francis reinstates Marxist to the priesthood (update DTG)

And now, for a “train deal” with Mexico

The week’s podcast, with Silvio Canto.