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.


Venezuela: Derwick in the news

August 9th, 2014

In the WSJ:
American Agencies Probe Venezuelan Energy Company
Federal and New York City law-enforcement authorities are investigating Derwick Associates, which became one of Venezuela’s leading builders of electricity plants during the Chávez administration.

Manhattan prosecutors are investigating Derwick and ProEnergy for possible violations of New York banking law, people familiar with the matter said.

Meanwhile, people familiar with the matter said prosecutors in the Justice Department’s criminal fraud section are reviewing the actions of Derwick and ProEnergy for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits offering foreign government officials improper payments in exchange for a business advantage.

Federal prosecutors are scrutinizing the difference between the prices ProEnergy charged Derwick for its equipment and the prices Derwick ultimately charged the Venezuelan government, one person familiar with the matter said. The person said that in some past FCPA cases, excessive margins have been used to conceal bribes to foreign officials.

Casto Ocando, in his book Chavistas en el Imperio: Secretos, Tácticas y Escándalos de la Revolución Bolivariana en Estados Unidos (page 224), estimates that the Chavez government awarded Derwick contracts of nearly a billion dollars (plus $400 million overruns) between 2009-2010.

Alek Boyd has been writing about Derwick since 2012; in today’s post he explains that

Derwick Associates never won “competitive bids”. In the multiple occasions that Batiz and Ultimas Noticias asked Derwick Associates to reveal details of the contracts it had gotten from the Venezuelan State -bold added with the purpose of highlighting the fact that this is public money we are talking about- the company refused, repeatedly, to come clean. Derwick Associates has never been a “transparent company”. Quite the opposite in fact.

Read Alek’s post here.


Today’s illegal invasion headlines

August 8th, 2014

From Drudge:

Rwandan man accused of war crimes arrested crossing into USA…

Immigration Official Arrested for Bringing Man from Ghana…

Border Patrol: Feds Releasing Murderers Into USA…

Email Tirade…

Mother of slain agent: ‘I will not rest’…

WIRE: Americans worry illegals threaten way of life, economy…

UNIVISION POLL: Immigration Low Priority for Latino Voters…

DREAMers vow confrontations…

REPORT: New migrants entering public school system to cost Texas taxpayers $45M…

Feds Bend CDC Rules, Allow Sick Illegals to Stay…

Embattled Dem: I voted with John McCain…

Americans Renouncing Citizenship Hits New Record…

Neoneocon answers Dana Milbank:

Dana Milbank wants all you old white men to know that he understands your concerns, although he doesn’t share them. Big of him, isn’t it?

Actually, he doesn’t even understand them, as his essay proves. He thinks the concerns of those other white men have to do with race itself, and that they’re upset because, increasingly, “Whiteness has less and less to do with being American.”

No, Dana dear, they’re upset because traditional and historical Americanvalues increasingly have less and less to do with being American. You’re the one obsessed with race and ethnicity. For most people opposing increased illegal (or greatly increased legal) immigration, the problems are the following ones, and they have nothing to do with the color of the new arrivals:

(1) Letting people come here who break the law means that you’re bringing in a lot of people with no respect for law. That bodes ill for their future as law-abiding citizens.

(2) Way too many of the new arrivals are economically dependent on the welfare state, and in fact by their own admission that’s one of the main reasons they come here. That was never true in the past (especially back when there was no welfare state) and will constitute a drain on our already-stressed economy no matter whether such arrivals are white, black, green, or purple.

(3) Years ago we stopped stressing assimilation in all its important manifestations. American values have suffered as a result. Assimilation was (and still is) the key to this country’s encouraging immigration and yet continuing to be America, with its American exceptionalism intact. It’s not the race of the new arrivals that’s the problem, the problem is that their failure to assimilate is making this country more like the places from whence they came, and that’s not a good thing.

I don’t see white Dana spending years living in China, Latin America, or any other such places.

The Squeegee men and broken windows are back in NYC

Pope Francis reinstates Marxist to the priesthood

August 8th, 2014

My latest, Pope Francis reinstates Marxist to the priesthood, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Yes, the guy who accused Israel of genocide is now back saying Mass; that Miguel D’Escoto.

Related:
Nicaragua: A reminder on the sandinistas

Nicaragua: A reminder on the sandinistas

August 8th, 2014

I have an article coming up later today on a related topic, so please keep the following in mind:
The Black Book of the Sandinistas

In emulating Castro and their other communist heroes such as Stalin and Mao, the Sandinistas took control of everything in the country: mass organizations, the army, police, labor unions, and the media. They censored all freedom of speech, suspended the right of association and ruthlessly crushed the freedom of trade unions. Faithful to their Marxist ideology, the new tyrants seized the means of production. State controls and nationalization spread, aid to the private sector and incentives for foreign investment disappeared. To put it plainly, another 20th-century experiment with socialism annihilated a nation’s economy along with a peoples’ prospects for a better life.

Thousands of Nicaraguans who attempted to protect their property — or who simply committed the crime of owning private property — were imprisoned, tortured, or executed by the new despots.

Unlike the previous regime of Anastasio Somoza, the Sandinistas did not leave the native populations on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua in peace. In Khmer Rouge style, they inflicted a ruthless, forcible relocation of thousands of Indians from their land. Like Stalin and Mao, the new regime used state-created famine as a weapon against these “enemies of the people.” [2] The Sandinista army committed myriad atrocities against the Indian population, killing and imprisoning approximately 15,000 innocent people. The Sandinista crimes included not only mass murders of innocent natives themselves, but a calculated liquidation of their entire leadership — as the Soviets had perpetrated against the Poles in the Katyn Forest Massacre, when the Soviet secret police executed approximately 15,000 Polish officers in the spring of 1940.

The Sandinistas quickly distinguished themselves as one of the worst human rights abusers in Latin America, carrying out approximately 8,000 political executions within three years of the revolution. The number of “anti-revolutionary” Nicaraguans who disappeared while in Sandinista hands numbered in the thousands. By 1983, the number of political prisoners inside the new Marxist regime’s jails was estimated at 20,000. [3] This was the highest number of political prisoners in any nation in the hemisphere — except, of course, in Castro’s Cuba. By 1986, a vicious and violent Sandinista “resettlement program” forced some 200,000 Nicaraguans into 145 “settlements” throughout the country. This monstrous social engineering program entailed the designation of “free-fire” zones in which Sandinista government troops shot and killed any peasant of their choosing. [4]

The Sandinista Gulag also institutionalized torture. Political prisoners in Sandinista jails, such as Las Tejas,were consistently beaten, deprived of sleep and given electric shocks. They were routinely denied food and water and kept in dark cubicles known as chiquitas (little ones), that had a surface area of less than one square meter. These cubicles were too small to sit up in, were completely dark, and had no sanitation and almost no ventilationPrisoners were also forced to stand for long periods without bending their arms or legs; they were locked into steel hot boxes exposed to the full force of the tropical sun; their daughters or wives were sexually assaulted in front of them; and some prisoners were mutilated and skinned alive before being executed. One sadistic Sandinista practice was known as corte de cruz; this was a drawing-and-quartering technique in which the prisoner’s limbs were severed from the body, leaving him to bleed to death. [5]

The result of all of these horrifying cruelties and barbarisms was yet another mass exodus from a country enslaved by communism with tens of thousands of Nicaraguans escaping and settling in Honduras, Costa Rica and the United States. [6]

As most Marxist regimes, the Sandinista despotism accompanied its internal repression with external aggression. With Soviet and Cuban aid

Read the whole thing here.

Venezuela: What a show trial looks like

August 7th, 2014

Venezuelan Court Bars Defense for Opposition Leader
As Leopoldo López’s trial got under way Wednesday for allegedly inciting violence in a bid to topple the government, his defense faced a problem: They were banned from calling witnesses and evidence on his behalf.

In addition to not being able to call 63 witnesses the defense had proposed, the court barred Mr. López’s defense team from presenting 18 videos taken by journalists at the protest. Hearing from those witnesses would provide clarity over what happened, said Mr. Gutiérrez, because the prosecution is accusing protesters of throwing Molotov cocktails at the Attorney General’s Office. He said no images have emerged depicting that kind of violence.

Meanwhile, the court ruled that the prosecution is permitted to call more than 100 witnesses, mostly government employees.

“once every 5 years”

August 7th, 2014

IRS Abolishes Mandatory Expiration Dates For Illegal Immigrants’ Taxpayer Status

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) quietly changed regulations to allow more undocumented immigrants to keep their taxpayer status through a program that is rife with fraud and abuse, and to delay deactivation of immigrant taxpayer status until 2016.

The IRS now prevents peoples’ Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from automatically expiring after five years as previously mandated. Now immigrants can keep their ITIN so long as they pay taxes at least once in a five-year period. (RELATED: IRS Loophole For Illegals’ Children Costs Taxpayers Billions)

Absolutely remarkable. The IRS apparently doesn’t mind paying out fraudulent refunds to illegal aliens, and balks at using one of the tools the agency needs to prevent that fraud.

UPDATE:
Linked to by Peach Pundit. Thank you!

And now, for a “train deal” with Mexico

August 6th, 2014

My latest, And now, for a “train deal” with Mexico, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.