Aruba: Venezuelan consul detained on drug charges

July 25th, 2014

The other pollos.

Three chavistas indicted for conspiring with Colombian FARC drug traffickers to export cocaine to the U.S.:

  • Hugo Carvajal, a.k.a. “”el Pollo,” a former chief of Venezuelan military intelligence, detained in Aruba while awaiting confirmation as Nicolás Maduro’s consul-general to Aruba,
  • former Venezuelan judge, Benny Palmeri-Bacchi, arrested last week in Miami,
  • and the former head of Interpol in Venezuela, Rodolfo McTurk, whereabouts were unknown.

Daniel Duquenal speculates,

If indeed Carvajal is sent to the US, beyond diplomatic implications that this will entail, the local consequences will be high. There are possibly dozens and dozens of chavista high officials with dossiers under investigation and the reality for them has suddenly changed. Never mind that if Carvajal is indeed sent to the US, he may add a lot to these dossiers.

In addition to providing weapons to the FARC, Carvajal had been allegedly working with Iranian intelligence, and is under investigation for his role on the attacks to the Colombian consulate, and the Jewish center in Caracas.

WSJ:

In the Miami indictment unsealed Thursday, Mr. Carvajal is accused of taking bribes from late Colombian kingpin Wilber Varela, who was killed in 2008, and in return allowing Mr. Varela to export cocaine to the U.S. from Venezuela and avoid arrest by Venezuelan authorities.

Carvajal directly dealt with one-time of the world’s top three drug kingpins, Walid Makled, according to Makled himself,

“For example, I used to give a weekly fee of 200 million bolívares (about $50,000 at the time), and 100 million was for General Hugo Carvajal,” Mr. Makled said.

Makled went on trial in Venezuela since the Obama administration dragged its feet; I do not know the outcome of the trial.

Carvajal is now seeking diplomatic immunity in Aruba.

Case study in “smart diplomacy”: Bolivia

July 25th, 2014

My latest article, Case study in “smart diplomacy”: Bolivia, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

The latest from the O administration: Let’s make it easier for the Hondurans!

July 25th, 2014

Now the Obama administration wants to get the Hondurans here directly, without going through Mexico:

Hoping to stem the recent surge of migrants at the Southwest border, the Obama administration is considering whether to allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras into the United States without making the dangerous trek through Mexico, according to a draft of the proposal.

If approved, the plan would direct the government to screen thousands of children and youths in Honduras to see if they can enter the United States as refugees or on emergency humanitarian grounds.

By making the trip easier,

the plan aims to slow the rush of minors crossing into the United States illegally

Not being a member of the Obama administration, I fail to follow the logic.

Or, as Ace put it,

Obama wants to avoid the spectacle of just giving hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minors amnesty at the US border.

Solution? Give hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minors amnesty from the offices of the US Embassy in Honduras.

Sounds like a plan.

But wait! There’s more!

The proposal, prepared by several federal agencies, says the pilot program under consideration would cost up to $47 million over two years, assuming 5,000 applied and about 1,750 people were accepted. If successful, it would be adopted in Guatemala and El Salvador as well.

But wait! There’s more!

How many people are accepted is critical, because refugees qualify for public assistance upon arrival in the United States.

Allahpundit:

Minor footnote: Federal law doesn’t allow refugee status to be granted for fear of street gangs, only for fear of racial/religious/political persecution, but oh well. Legal details never stopped Obama before.

Speaking of fear of religious/political persecution, over in the Middle East . . .


Ecuador and the ‘straitjacket’

July 24th, 2014

Many of you approaching retirement age may have read multiple public relations articles touting Ecuador as A Top Retire-Overseas Choice. Among the reasons listed,

– Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar meaning no exchange-rate risk for American retirees.

If that’s a reason for your relocation, don’t get packing yet: Rafael Correa has other plans,
Ecuador Weighs Escape From Dollar ‘Straitjacket’

Congress has until the end of today to vote on President Rafael Correa’s proposal to change the South American nation’s financial laws, which would allow payments in “electronic money.” Lawmakers are debating whether to insist the central bank back the new currency with a one-to-one dollar guarantee.

As a current-account deficit drains dollars from the economy, making it harder for Correa to fund a burgeoning budget gap, a new currency could be used to meet government payments, said Jaime Carrera, a former deputy finance minister and director of the Quito-based Fiscal Policy Observatory. It could also lose its value quickly if not backed by the central bank, he said.

You may recall, seven years ago

Rafael Correa said Ecuador’s economy will remain dollarized during his four-year mandate

Of course that was before he changed the constitution to allow for his “indefinite re-election.”

Much water under the bridge and many debts later,

Correa, who calls the South American country’s use of the greenback an economic “straitjacket,” has already started paying some pension obligations in government bonds, which brokers are refusing to redeem at face value.

Additionally, Correa wants to issue electronic money without explicit public guarantees.

I can’t wait for him to turn to bitcoin.

Too bad Putin didn’t include Correa in the upcoming BRICS bank.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

Venezuela: Lopez on trial, Tower of David evacuation

July 24th, 2014

Leopoldo López‘s show trial has begun; while the defense has asked for an adjournment, we all know what the verdict will be: guilty.

Daniel Duquenal expands on this,

The first thing, oddly, is the timing.  Since Lopez arrest 5 months ago and the alleged clear evidence one wonders why did it take so long for the regime to start the trial. Waiting for the end of guarimbas? A trial can restart them at any time. Waiting for folks to go on vacation? There are no flights out!  Expecting for scarcity problems to soften? They are not and will not for the foreseeable future. The answer is elsewhere,with the PSUV congress about to open. Some red meat thrown to the radical wing. Period, IMHO.

Another thing to wonder comes by asking the reverse question: why bother trying Lopez anyway? International pressure plays a role here, but not necessarily the way you may think. Sure enough there has been plenty of publications, the Washington Post for one pushing up the subject of Lopez dismal jail conditions. But the real deal brokers may be the people trying to organize Venezuela’s financial rescue.

Without a doubt, this is a show trial: Daniel concludes his post,

In case you still do not get it, the trial starts with 138 “witnesses” for the prosecution and only 1, ONE, for the defense

In other Venezuelan news, the infamous Tower of David, Caracas’s high-rise to nowhere, is being evacuated. Caracas Chronicles says the Chinese are involved:

Thanks to Kepler, we can somehow confirm that our Chinese overlords are indeed taking the building. In this article from the website Archidead, looks like the Bank of China will turn “La Torre de David” as its South American HQ.

It’s going to be interesting to see what exactly the Chinese get from this, considering the ruinous state of Venezuela’s oil industry.

Maybe Homeland will do a follow-up episode on the “new”, Chinese, tower.


Communism at work: Give up your car

July 23rd, 2014

Translation: Workshop:
Maximum Socialist Efficiency
The State enterprise building
the New Economic Order

My latest article, Communism at work: Give up your car, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

In other related news, Maduro says he needs $15billion to rebuild the exhange system, which is the amount Hugo Chavez spent on weapons purchases three years ago.

En español: Dilma llega a la Unidad de Quemados

July 23rd, 2014

Immigration: The coyotes’ job, in dollars

July 22nd, 2014

El Nuevo Herald has a report that has not made its way yet into the Miami Herald, Coyotes, detrás de millonario tráfico de migrantes (Coyotes, behind the multi-million immigrant trade).

Among the findings:

  • It’s a high-risk business, generating an estimated US$6.6 billion per year.
  • Each illegal alien pays $5,000-$10,000.
  • The human traffic networks bribe authorities, gangs controlling railways, and drug cartels’ tax.
  • The profit is estimated at US$3,500-$4,000 per illegal alien per successful trip.
  • The field guides may not necessarily know who they work for.
  • Mexican teens may work as field guides since they are returned to Mexico and not charged as adults. They are paid $100 per illegal alien.
  • U.S. citizens are paid $150-$200 per illegal alien when delivering them to safe houses.

The reporters interviewed some of the coyotes, from one that claims to charge $2,500 from the Guatemala-US trip, to another who charges US$10,000 from Central America to the US. The $10,000 includes hotels, bribes, and a cut for the cartels, but there may be an additional $5,000 fee for hazard pay if the Zetas must be avoided/paid off.

I continue to ask, who’s paying for the current invasion? Or are we supposed to believe that tens of thousands of Central America’s indigents suddenly could come up with the money to pay the coyotes? And that the coyotes are not getting paid?

Added:
Seton asks, And does the report say how much is saved by the Obama Administration picking up the last leg of the process?

UPDATE:
The AP article, in English, MIGRATION SPOTLIGHTS MEXICAN ‘COYOTE’ SMUGGLERS

Linked to by Warner Todd Hudson. Thank you!
Linked to by Wizbang. Thank you!

—————————————

At Drudge:
Gov. Rick Perry deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops to border


Budget to transport illegals across USA approaches $100M…

Gutierrez to La Raza: Obama promised to ‘stop deportation of our people’ …

‘Punish’ citizens who oppose amnesty…

100,000 Illegal Alien Gang Members in TX…

REPORT: Border Patrol Ordered to Release Pregnant Women…

Senate immigration bill would provide enough green cards to admit every single person in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador…

NY immigration groups to close over alleged fraud…

Cuba-North Korea: Another weapons cargo?

July 22nd, 2014

Remember the Chong Chon Gang, the North Korean rust bucket caught by the Panamenians carrying attack planes and armaments?

Now there’s the Mu Du Bong!

(No, I did not make up that name.)

Was North Korean rustbucket stuck on Mexico reef sent to smuggle Cuba arms?
North Korean vessel aground on Mexican reef has similarities to one impounded in Panama

A North Korean freighter has run aground in the Gulf of Mexico just days after a stop in Havana that sparked comparisons with another Pyongyang vessel captured last summer with an illegal shipment of Cuban weapons.

The 130-metre Mu Du Bong grounded on a reef about 11km from the Mexican port of Tuxpan, according to shipping officials. The task of pulling it off the reef would be complicated and take several days, they said.

And, of course, the Mu Du Bong and the Chong Chon Gang share another feature (aside from the same commercial agent, Ocean Maritime Management Company, and the same penurious lack of maintenance),

Both freighters sailed in Cuba waters but their exact locations were a mystery for several days because there were no reports from their automatic location beacons, required by safety regulations. The Chong Chon Gang turned off its beacon to hide its locations, UN investigators found later.

The real answer is that we won’t know what the Mu Du Bong is carrying until the ship is inspected.

Nothing to see here . . .


The upcoming Russian spy base in Cuba Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

July 21st, 2014

LatinAmerJust as the headlines feature a Video Posted by Ukrainian Government Shows Russian Surface-to-Air Missile Carrier Hightailing It Back to Russia… Missing One Missile, Russia will reopen spy base in Cuba

A report that Russia will reopen a Havana base that eavesdropped on U.S. communications from Key West to Washington has triggered fresh warnings of Moscow’s expansionism and predictions of a continued freeze in U.S.-Cuba relations.
Until its closure in 2002, the Lourdes base was Moscow’s largest intelligence facility abroad, with up to 1,500 KGB and GRU military intelligence officers manning an array of antennas and computers in the super-secret 28-square-mile base.

The article says, “If true, reports that Russia will reopen a spy base in Cuba will complicate, if not halt, any Obama administration effort to warm up relations with Havana,” which is risible, considering current U.S. foreign policy.

ARGENTINA
Britain should open talks with Argentina over the Falklands, says Vladimir Putin
The Russian president backs Buenos Aires’ territorial claim to the islands

20th Anniversary of AMIA Bombing is Sober Reminder to Remain Vigilant Against the Global Iranian Threat, Says Ros-Lehtinen

Pope Francis demands justice for Jewish centre attack victims

BOLIVIA
Bolivia becomes first nation to legalise child labour from age 10
Bolivia says law reflects reality in country where 1 million children regularly work, but activists complain it will increase poverty and contravenes United Nations conventions

BRAZIL
Brazil President Loses Ground
Dilma Rousseff is losing ground with potential voters and raising the odds that she will face a runoff in October’s presidential election, a recent poll showed.

Building the myth of under-development, BRIC by BRIC

CHILE
Hard-Line Socialism Overrules Chilean Consensus
“With Us or Against Us” Mindset Obstructs Public Debate

COLOMBIA
Colombian drug boss ‘The Mouse’ arrested by Spanish police
Hernan Alonso Villa is considered to be leader of the Oficina de Envigado cartel which is accused of 400 killings and is connected to the now-dismantled Medellin cartel

CUBA
ISIS follows Castro playbook

Cuban Political Prisoner of the Day, Alexander Fernandez Rico, July 18, 2014

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Many Haitian migrants in Dominican Republic find they lack documents to get legal status

ECUADOR
ALBA’s Favorite Lobbyist

HONDURAS
US child migrants: Honduras calls for anti-drugs plan

HUMOR

JAMAICA
Jamaicans Recruit Special Economic Zones for Accelerated Development
Elusive Foreign Investment, Diversified Economy the Targets

MEXICO
Opening of Mexican Energy Sector Takes Step Forward
Mexico’s Senate voted to give Mexican companies a greater role in energy projects under the landmark opening of the country’s oil and gas sectors, tightening the national content rules that President Enrique Peña Nieto had proposed and partly satisfying demands of local industry groups.

In Mexico, impunity prevails for attacks on the journalists, says Article 19

On Southern Border, Mexico Faces Crisis of Its Own
Mexico has announced plans for tightened deportation and border control policies as its migrant numbers surge in response to worsening gang violence in Central America.

PANAMA
Manuel Noriega sues Activision over Call of Duty
Manuel Noriega, the former dictator of Panama, is suing Call of Duty’s video games publisher.

PERU
Update: Family of ODU student who died in Peru hopes he could be back home by next week

PUERTO RICO
Real-Estate Investors See No Problem With Puerto Rico
About $1 Billion of Upscale-Property Deals in Recent Years

VENEZUELA
Venezuela’s oil diaspora
Brain haemorrhage
Venezuela’s loss of thousands of oil workers has been other countries’ gain

The week’s posts:
Andrew McCarthy on the border invasion

FIFA regrets

China in Latin America

Border flood, alien invasion

Ecuador: BloombergBusinessweek lays it on the line

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
This week in smart diplomacy