Puerto Rico: Default

July 7th, 2014

Mary O’Grady writes, Puerto Rico’s Borrowing Bubble Pops
Moody’s measure of ‘expected default’ for Puerto Rico is higher than Argentina and Venezuela.

A Puerto Rican default should not surprise anyone. According to Carlos Colón de Armas, acting dean of the School of Business Administration at the University of Puerto Rico, for eight years from 2005 through 2012, government expenses exceeded revenues on average by approximately $1 billion annually. The dean told me by telephone that total commonwealth debt is now around $73 billion and in 2013 it was 101% of the island’s gross national product (GNP) up from 57% in June 2001. (Although gross domestic product is the most widely accepted measure of an economy’s size, it reflects the profits of large multinational corporations booked for tax purposes in Puerto Rico but not retained in the local economy. Therefore, GNP, a measure of what is produced by locals, is a more accurate tool to assess the economy.)

Unlike Luis Fortuño, the previous governor, current governor Alejandro García Padilla

increased expenses by almost $600 million in his first budget. While he is now cutting spending, the cuts are mostly from that increase, according to Mr. Colón de Armas. Some $500 million-$800 million in fat—from subsidies to special interests to funding for political parties—remains untouched in the $9.6 billion budget.

Fortuño lost by 12,000 votes since García Padilla (known as Agapito) promised the moon and the stars.

And there it goes: a certain default.

Added,

Guatemala: When The Mountains Tremble to be corrected UPDATED WITH PAMELA YATES’S INVESTIGATION

July 6th, 2014

UPDATE:
Pamela Yates kindly sends the link to her investigation report:

What our guides from Batzul, victims of the massacre, asked of us is that we make clear that the guerrillas and not the Army carried it out. We intend to make a correction that will clarify what happened in this scene in both “When the Mountains Tremble” and “Granito”. It stands as a reminder of the terrible human costs of the violence in 1982-83, when the Guatemalan Government launched a massive offensive against the Maya Ixil people – part of a state sponsored campaign targeting civilians and which led to the CEH’s findings that during the years of the internal armed conflict 93% of the deaths were at the hands of the Armed Forces. What we have learned from this investigation will inform our new film “500 Years”. We remain committed to historical accuracy in our work and to supporting efforts to secure full human rights for all the people of Guatemala within a freely functioning democracy.

I applaud her efforts and thank her for contacting me.

(Please read also Gringo’s comments below.)

———————————

Earlier post:

Filmmaker to correct 1983 film on Guatemala war (emphasis added):

“When the Mountains Tremble” was an award-winning movie that awakened wide attention to the war in Guatemala. But at least one thing turned out to be wrong — and filmmaker Pamela Yates says she’s going to set it right.

A dramatic scene from the 1983 documentary will be corrected to show that the Batzul massacre highlighted in the film was committed not by the military, but by leftist rebels disguised as soldiers.
. . .
She did not specify how the films will be corrected. In an emailed message, she said “at this point it is premature to say just how I will modify the earlier films.”

Specifically, the Ejército Guerrillero de los Pobres – EGP, (Guerrilla Army of the Poor) were responsible for the Batzul massacre.

When The Mountains Tremble has a 20th anniversary edition; here’s the Amazon product description,

The film that shook audiences and critics alike upon its original theatrical release this revoutionary [sic] tour-de-force and Sundance Film Festival winner is now available for the first time on DVD. Digitally remastered to commemorate its 20th Anniversary this special edition chronicles the astonishing story of one woman who stood up for her people and helped wage a rebellion in the wake of seemingly unconquerable oppression. Shot at the height of a heated battle betwwen [sic] the heavily-armed Guatemalan Military and a nearly defenseless Mayan population filmmakers Pamela Yates and Newton Thomas Sigel threw themselves into the center of a storm to capture live combat footage with a surprisingly robust passion and exhilarating flair. As the first film to depict this previously unreported war it is firmly anchored by the firsthand accounds [sic] of Rigoberta Mench+Ý [Menchú] a Quich+ª [Quiche] Indian woman known around the world for her humanitarian efforts. Throughout the imminent chaos and danger Menchu provides courage and optimism in a time where death squads kill without conscience and an oppressive dictator seizes power. Updated after Mench+Ý [Menchú] was awarded the Nobel Peach [sic, Peace] Price WHEN THE MOUNTAINS TREMBLE includes a compelling filmmaker commentary as well as a never-before-seen introduction from Susan Sarandon and an illuminating epilogue reflecting on the country’s events a decade later. DVD Features: Filmmaker Commentary from Pamela Yates Newton Thomas Sigel and Editor Peter Kinoy; Never-Before-Seen Introduction by Susan Sarandon; Epilogue featuring Rigoberta Mench+Ý [Menchú]; Filmmaker Biographies; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection

Regarding Menchú, you may want to read The Truth About Rigoberta Menchú, a review of the book Rigoberta Menchu And The Story Of All Poor Guatemalans

Stoll went on to examine other aspects of Rigoberta’s book and soon found other claims that were not true. In her book, Rigoberta describes herself as an uneducated peasant girl. In interviews with Rigoberta’s relatives and former classmates, however, Stoll discovered that she’d spent several years at convent schools—first at the Colegio Belga in Guatemala City and then at the Colegio Básico Nuestro Señor de Candelaria in Chiantla, Huehuetenango, where she finished seventh grade—a remarkably high level of education for an Indian girl in Guatemala. Because she’d been in convent school, moreover, Stoll argues that Rigoberta can’t have been employed—as she claims to have been—as a maid for a rich family in Guatemala City, and can’t have worked in abusive conditions on coastal plantations—where she claims a younger brother Nicolás died of malnutrition. Stoll, in fact, found a living brother, Nicolás, who successfully resettled the family’s land long after the war had finished.

Stoll does not deny that Rigoberta’s village was destroyed and that half her family was killed, including her father, her mother, and her brother Petrocinio. But he points out that many of the other events in Rigoberta’s book are either distorted, fabricated, or claim to be eyewitness accounts of events which Rigoberta herself cannot actually have seen. The reason for all this, Stoll argues, is that after Rigoberta fled to Mexico in 1980, she allied herself with guerrilla groups there and “drastically revised the prewar experience of her village to suit the needs of the revolutionary organization she had joined.” In other words, when she wrote her book, Rigoberta was essentially serving as a propagandist.

Last Friday, Fermin Felipe Solano Barillas, also known as ‘Teniente David’, was sentenced to

90 years in prison for ordering a group of 10 guerrillas to strangle and kill in the town of El Aguacate 22 pro-government indigenous farmers, accusing them of collaborating with the army

Solano was with the Organización Revolucionaria del Pueblo en Armas, or ORPA (Revolutionary Organization of Armed People), another one of the four guerilla groups of the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca or URNG (Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity).

The correction of When The Mountains Tremble is quite overdue, but in LatAm leftist circles the truth is glimpsed at a very slow pace.

Venezuela: Bye-bye, El Universal UPDATED

July 5th, 2014

As Venezuelans struggle with the world’s fastest inflation and the worst growth prospects outside Equatorial Guinea, Major Venezuelan newspaper to be sold

One of Venezuela’s oldest and most prestigious newspapers has been sold amid increasing government pressure on independent news media.

The editor in chief of Caracas-based El Universal, Elides Rojas, confirmed that a group of Spanish investors had bought the broadsheet from the family that has run the paper since it was founded 104 years ago.

While neutral reporting in Venezuela is hard to come by after 15 years of polarization over socialist rule, El Universal has stuck closer than most to the ideal of fact-based, investigative reporting amid a crackdown on media outlets that, like it, have been fiercely critical of the government.

As you may recall, last year Globovisión was sold to highly-placed chavistas (who own very pricey digs in Miami), after Guillermo Zuloaga, Globovisión’s majority owner, had to flee Venezuela in 2010, following Hugo Chavez’s constant threats against him and the station.

Caracas Chronicles describes the latest transaction as “HegemonCorp. [the private business sector of the communicational hegemony] gets El Universal

The new head of El Universal would be Jesús “Chucho” Abreu Anselmi, brother of José Antonio Abreu, head of the National Orchestra System (better known as El Sistema).

The Spanish investors’ company, Epalisticia, is described as a “semi-clandestine enterprise” in this report.

UPDATE
Alek Boyd has more, much more on Epalisticia:
Spain’s €3,500 Epalisticia buys El Universal for €90 million


Happy Independence Day!

July 4th, 2014

ISIS’s Chilean spokesman UPDATED

July 3rd, 2014

The man in this video, Abu Safiyya, spokesman for jihadist terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), was identified by Norwegian public TV NRK as 24-year old Bastián Alexis Vásquez.

Vásquez was born and raised in Norway of Chilean parents. After converting to Islam he took the name Muhammad Jundullah or Abu Saffiya, and joined radical islamist Norwegian group. “Profetens Ummah”.

ISIS English-language outfit, Al-Hayat media, released two videos Sunday, one of which features Abu Safiyya,

The high production values make Al-Hayat videos appear far more sophisticated than the average jihadist propaganda and serve to attract Western viewers, who may be inclined to join ISIS. Unlike other jihadist groups, they are seeking to build their numbers by persuading Western Muslims–not jihadists already active in the area. This explains the development of a theme song and editing of a mass execution to make it look like a scene out of a World War II movie. ISIS’s adeptness with media makes it one of the most dangerous of such threats against the Western world, and as it expands, expect the group to parade its international recruits more prominently in subsequent videos.

The second video is much violent, as you can see here.

ISIS declared a caliphate last Sunday. Among other propaganda released is this other video, not as polished, in Spanish (which I translated), staking a claim on Spain,

UPDATE:
Abu/Bastián is the guy who taunted Obama to buy diapers.

Argentina: Pay up, Cristina

July 3rd, 2014

Argentine Consensus Emerges: Pay Off Debt
Argentines, Business Groups and Ruling-Party Lawmakers Say the Government Should Settle Its Bondholder Debt

“The solution is to reach an agreement, and an agreement obviously means paying,” Daniel Scioli, governor of Buenos Aires province and a leading figure in Mrs. Kirchner’s Peronist movement, said in a recent televised interview.

I would not be at all surprised if she decides to default.


Invasion update: No visitors allowed on federal facilities, CDC opens Emergency Operations Center

July 3rd, 2014

Fort Sill houses 1,200 unaccompanied children, but members of the U.S. Congress are not allowed in:
A congressman trying to visit a federal facility housing unaccompanied illegal immigrants from Central America was denied access to the building today.

According to a press release, Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., attempted to visit the Fort Sill Army post—run by the Department of Health and Human Services—in Lawton, Okla., Tuesday but was told that he would have to schedule an appointment to enter the building.

Bridenstine says an HHS official told him he could schedule a visit in three weeks.

Rep. Bridenstine, a member of the Armed Services Committe, explained why he wanted to visit the facility,

Many of the children are sick,

Three or four children were reportedly taken to Rady’s Children’s Hospital on Tuesday night, although details of the hospital visits or what diseases the children may have were not immediately available.

There are also high incidences of communicable diseases,

The Central American passengers were screened for unknown diseases and at least 40 were being quarantined at the Border Patrol Chula Vista Station with active scabies and head lice.

Murrieta Border Patrol agents are testing positive for Tuberculosis. Hand and Foot Disease, and Chagos, both previously eradicated from the area, are on the rise.

In related news, CDC CONFIRMS ACTIVATION OF “EMERGENCY OPERATION CENTER” IN RESPONSE TO IMMIGRANT INFLUX
After months, federal health agency responsible for “disease control and prevention” breaks silence.

“The CDC Emergency Operations Center is activated during events such as hurricanes or disease outbreaks,” a 2009 CDC video about the EOC states.

Oh, wait, they’re not illegal aliens, they’re #RefugeeRiders. And they’re here to stay: Little known law could allow many of the unaccompanied children to remain in the U.S. legally if they are “abandoned”

Today’s update on the immigrant invasion

July 2nd, 2014

At Drudge:

Flood the border. Crisis. Opportunity:

Obama wants to use the crisis for one of two things (or maybe both, come to think of it): (1) coercing Republicans into passing a “comprehensive” bill and giving him what he wants, on pain of being called obstructionist do-nothings (2) doing it himself and getting exactly what he wants.

So far, the plan has worked for him.


Bean-counting Catholic justices

July 2nd, 2014

faustaBack in the Middle Ages, theologians would count how many angels could dance on the head of a pin; now the Left is Bean-counting Catholic justices.

Read my latest at Da Tech Guy Blog.

While you’re at it, listen to last night’s podcast, Are Liberals Patriotic? I was Rick Moran’s guest.

Venezuelan army protection racket at Guyana border

July 1st, 2014

The usual diversion of tyrants? Or an offer someone refused?

(h/t Monica’s FB feed & commenter Tom),

Military officers said to have trespassed on the Essequibo
Guyanese president not to issue any statement until probe’s results
.

Looks like the bribe went missing,

According to Stabroek News the civilians attacked, which are part of an illicit gold mining and smuggling network, failed to pay the soldiers a periodical fee in exchange for them turning a blind eye to illegal mining on Venezuelan territory.

Meanwhile someone had A rude awakening in Bonn .