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

Holy Vine, Batman, it’s BatDad!

November 14th, 2014

A @BatDadBlake break at Da Tech Guy Blog, the best way to start the weekend!

And now for a surfer saint?

November 14th, 2014

Brazil’s ‘Surfer Angel’ could become saint
Vatican agree to consider canonisation of Guido Schaffer, the ‘Surfer Angel’ who drowned in 2009

A Brazilian priest could become the Catholic Church’s first surfer saint after the Vatican agreed to consider his canonisation, five years after he drowned while surfing off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

Guido Schaffer, who was 34 when he died in 2009, was known in Brazil as the “Anjo Surfista,” or “Surfer Angel”.
. . .
Schaffer, who had trained as a doctor before studying to enter the priesthood, had worked with indigenous tribes in Brazil as well as with the poor.

Schaffer drowned a few months before his ordination.

In other Catholic news, Catholicism Continues to Decline in Latin America
Pew Report Finds More Young People Are Shifting to Protestantism.



En español: UdQ 199, Los Vándalos del Zócalo

November 13th, 2014

Luego del numerito que armaron prendiendo fuego a la puerta de Palacio Nacional, distrayendo a los medios del verdadero motivo de la manifestación del sábado pasado, los rijosos llegan a la UdQ… y en el Cineclub de Nicasio: Interestelar

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

November 13th, 2014

Eight months ago I was blogging about Putin’s quiet Latin America play. Not so quiet anymore,
Russia’s long-range bombers to conduct regular patrols over Arctic Ocean, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico

Russia’s long-range bombers will conduct regular patrol missions from the Arctic Ocean to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, the military said Wednesday, a show of muscle reflecting tensions with the West over Ukraine.

To remind you,

Earlier this year, [Russian Defence Minister Sergei] Shoigu said that Russia plans to expand its worldwide military presence by seeking permission for navy ships to use ports in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere for replenishing supplies and doing maintenance. He said the military was conducting talks with Algeria, Cyprus, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore.

Shoigu said Russia was also talking to some of those countries about allowing long-range bombers to use their air bases for refuelling [sic].

Almost a year ago to the day, John Kerry put a “Kick me” sign on America; now we have major cities, army bases, ports, and refineries at Russian-missile range.

Change!

Related:
Why Russia Has Reinvaded Ukraine
Aware that America lacks the resolve to impose sanctions, Putin has little incentive to back down.

Keith Hennessy on Jonathan Gruber’s honesty

November 12th, 2014

honesty about lying, that is. I posted on it at Da Tech Guy Blog, along with an offer to buy a guy lunch at Versailles:

Today’s podcast at 1PM Eastern

November 12th, 2014

Venezuela & US-Latin America stories, hosted by Silvio Canto, Jr, with guest Comandante Cazorla.

It’s raining parodies!

November 12th, 2014

Remember the walking in NYC for ten hours videos?

Via Twitchy, they’re happenin’!

Blogging on more serious matters shall resume shortly.

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

November 11th, 2014

The headline is less tactful,
Argentinean Journalist to file petition in U.S. Courts to obtain information about Cristina Kirchner’s money laundering operations

Last night, Argentinean renowned investigative journalist Jorge Lanata announced he is planning to submit an application for an order for discovery pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 in a Nevada District Court, aiming to obtain information related to President Cristina Kirchner’s companies in the United States.

Section 1782 of Title 28 of the United States Code is a federal statute that allows a party to a legal proceeding outside the United States to ask an American court to obtain evidence for use in the non-US proceeding. The full name of Section 1782 is “Assistance to foreign and international tribunals and to litigants before such tribunals”.

For the last two years, Jorge Lanata has been conducting an investigation known as the “Kirchner Money Route”, through which he demonstrated that Kirchner cronies were laundering millions of dollars coming from corrupt activities through a vast networks of shell companies and shady financial institutions in Argentina, Uruguay, Panamá, Switzerland, Seychelles Islands and the U.S., among others.

This investigation was then used by NML Capital Ltd., a hedge fund who holds a judgment against Argentina for more than $1.7 Billions (see NML Capital Ltd. vs. Republic of Argentina), as the main source of evidence to produce information about 123 companies in the State of Nevada that may point to the location of Cristina Kirchner’s assets in the United States and abroad. NML Capital Ltd. was able to depose a key witness to the “K-Money Route”. However, that deposition is being sealed by the request of the parties.

In Spanish, Lanata’s Sunday show.

More on NML bond holdouts:
A New Twist in the Argentine Debt Saga

But Dart’s legal complaint draws attention to something that had been overlooked as the talks progressed: The so-called Gang of Five—the five holdouts at the center of Singer’s legal case: Singer’s NML Capital, Aurelius Capital, Blue Angel Capital, Oliphant, and a small group of retail investors—hold only about a quarter of all the New York bonds held by holdouts. In addition to Dart, there are approximately $2.4 billion worth of bonds out there that are governed by New York law and in the hands of other holdout investors. The minute Argentina settles with Singer’s group and the bondholder payments are allowed to flow through, all the other holdouts will likely rush forward to Judge Thomas Griesa’s court, demanding the same legal rulings and the same terms, which could block the payments again. The default could be cured temporarily, but then Argentina would be right back where it started.

NML Capital Ltd. can’t force an Argentine lawyer to remain in the U.S. for questioning, a Washington judge ruled

NML sought an emergency court order last week barring attorney Cesar Guido Forcieri, a former World Bank director, from returning. There’s no reason NML can’t question Forcieri when he gets to Argentina, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said in a one-page order issued Nov. 6 and made public today.
. . .
Forcieri is a close associate of Argentine Vice President Amado Boudou, NML said in court papers. Boudou was indicted in June by an Argentine federal court on corruption charges related to his alleged involvement in acquiring a bankrupt printing company, Ciccone Calcografica SA, that later won contracts to print the nation’s currency.

Boudou was initially indicted with five others. In September, an Argentine judge indicted Forcieri for his alleged role in helping to steer business to Ciccone. If Argentine courts find Boudou guilty, the country may confiscate any profit, funds or property employed in the takeover scheme, according to NML’s lawyers.

Until last month, Forcieri served in Washington as a World Bank director for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. He worked with Argentina’s Ministry of Economy and Public Finances as a G-20 finance deputy from 2010 until March, according to a profile on LinkedIn.

NML served Forcieri with a subpoena on Sept. 10 seeking documents regarding his involvement in the alleged Ciccone scheme. The Argentine lawyer failed to appear for a deposition on Oct. 20, NML said.

This ain’t over yet, not by a long shot, no matter what the SCOTUS ruled.