Brazil: Marina Silva is now frontrunner

September 6th, 2014

The former Lula cabinet member is now ahead in the polls:
Brazil’s Marina Silva Woos Farmers Ahead of Presidential Poll
Frontrunner Needs Powerful Agriculture Lobby She Alienated as Environment Minister

Ms. Silva doesn’t need the support of farmers like Mr. Ceolin to win the elections in October—an initial Oct. 5 vote and what polls indicate will be an inevitable runoff. All the polls taken since she officially became the Socialists’ candidate, replacing the late candidate Eduardo Campos, show her beating incumbent Dilma Rousseff in the Oct. 26 runoff.

But if she becomes president, strong opposition from Brazil’s wealthy and influential agricultural sector could make governing more difficult, said Paulo Calmon, a political-science professor at the University of Brasilia.

Additionally,

Ms. Silva promises to end Ms. Rousseff’s policy of forcing state-controlled oil company Petrobras to subsidize the price of gasoline to help control inflation, a policy that ethanol producers have strongly criticized because cheaper gasoline boosts competition for ethanol fuel. The Silva stance doesn’t just play to farmers: The prospect of less interference with Petrobras has boosted the company’s shares, and the benchmark Ibovespa stocks index, to the highest levels in more than a year.

Will see how it all develops; Guido Mantega, the finance minister for the last eight years, is on his way out.

The week in the administration

September 5th, 2014

My latest, The week in the administration, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Raise your hand if you’re sure,

US Signs Agreement with Mexico to Protect Mexican Workers–Including Illegals

September 5th, 2014

US Signs Agreement with Mexico to Protect Mexican Workers–Including Illegals

The four-page memorandum states in the “Overall Objective” section, in part, that its purpose is: “to establish a collaborative relationship to provide Mexican Nationals in the United States with information, guidance, and access to education and training resources to help them understand and exercise their workplace rights, particularly with regard to reducing violations against them under the laws and regulations that are administered and enforced by EEOC.”

Nowhere in the MOU does it show exactly what Mexico is doing to protect its workers’ rights and what processes there are to safeguard them in Mexico.

UPDATE:
Linked yo by Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!

Iran’s tango with Latin America

September 4th, 2014

Readers of this blog will find nothing surprising about this, but this article is today’s must-read:
Iran’s Tango with Latin America

Latin America and the Caribbean tend to be looked at through the prism of drugs, criminal violence or illegal immigration. Anything that challenges this myopic view, such as Iran expanding its operational reach into the region, is either ignored or the threat minimized to justify the way things have always been done. On numerous instances, U.S. agencies responsible for an avalanche of data about the transnational, cross-regional nexus between narcotrafficking, arms networks and terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah, have been marginalized and the Western Hemisphere links to these particular security risks erroneously set aside or treated solely as “law-enforcement matters.”

The crime-terror convergence; the bilateral relations between Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia; the decades-long systematic effort to establish clandestine intelligence stations and operatives. Read it here.

Chile: $30m of cocaine and marijuana seized

September 4th, 2014

The drug trade doesn’t move just from South America to Europe and the USA:

Drugs raid recovers tonnes of cocaine and marijuana in Chile
Dramatic footage shows Chilean authorities seizing almost $30m worth of cocaine and marijuana during a raid

According to a regional prosecutor, the drugs were intended to be sold domestically during Chile’s independence celebrations which are taking place later this month.

Video below the fold,
Read the rest of this entry »

En español: Jennifer Lawrence en la Unidad de Quemados

September 3rd, 2014

Just what are “immigration rights”?

September 3rd, 2014

My latest, Just what are “immigration rights”?, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Corruption: Brazil not on the map

September 3rd, 2014

Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer map is out,

and Brazil’s not in it,

Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer gathered data from 95 countries on bribery. For a small number of them, including Brazil and Russia, data on particular questions has been excluded because of concerns about validity and reliability. For the question on corrupt institutions 105 countries were covered.

An estimated $1tn (£600bn) a year is being taken out of poor countries and millions of lives are lost because of corruption, according to campaigners.

You can read the report here.

US can’t locate 60,000 on student visas

September 2nd, 2014

From that arm of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, ABC News,

Lost in America: Visa Program Struggles to Track Missing Foreign Students


Watch more news videos | Latest world news

The Department of Homeland Security has lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals who entered the United States on student visas, overstayed their welcome, and essentially vanished — exploiting a security gap that was supposed to be fixed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

We are approaching the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, and it’s apparent that we have learned nothing from the attacks. 

In part, the issue with visas has been caught up with comprehensive immigration reform, which has delayed any substantial action to fix the problem. The 9/11 Commission cited border security as another crisis that had to be resolved (on both borders, Canada as well as Mexico) after 9/11. All of these efforts have been stalled by political demands to include broad normalization and the lack of independent metrics for triggers to get to it. Congress should put aside the other immigration issues and deal with the national-security threats first, before we have to get taught the same lessons we should have learned thirteen years ago.

Congress should, but there’s a huge gap between what Congress should do, and what it actually does.

Venezuela: Chavista Lord’s Prayer UPDATED

September 2nd, 2014

Just like cults, totalitarian states are all about the consolidation of power: material and spiritual. Take a look at the latest, complete with the Sign of the Cross,

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN THE CHAVISTA SIGN OF THE CROSS
In the name of Chávez, of Maduro, and of the sovereign people, we shall live and win
NOW TEACH YOUR LITTLE FRIENDS

Allow me to pause and say hello to my little friend,

But wait! There’s more!

“Chávez nuestro que estas en el cielo, en la tierra, en el mar y en nosotros, los y las delegadas, santificado sea tu nombre, venga a nosotros tu legado para llevarlo a los pueblos de aquí y de allá. Danos hoy tu luz para que nos guíe cada día, no nos dejes caer en la tentación del capitalismo, mas líbranos de la maldad de la oligarquía, del delito del contrabando porque de nosotros y nosotras es la patria, la paz y la vida. Por los siglos de los siglos amén. Viva Chávez”.
Our Chavez, which art in heaven, on land, on sea and in ourselves the [male] and [female] delegates, hallowed by thy name, thy legacy come to us to carry it over to people here and there. Give us this day our daily light so that it may guide us every day, do not let us fall into capitalism temptations, and protect us from the meanness of the oligarchy, from the sin of smuggling, for us is [male] and [female] the fatherland, peace and live. For ever and ever, amen. Viva Chavez.

Daniel Duquenal:

I do not know if this is a provocation, an excessively elaborated prank (I wish it so, make it be so My Lord) or if these people have finally reached the deep end.

Here’s a video of the “prayer”:

The “prayer” closed a five-day workshop on “designing the socialist formation [i.e., indoctrination] system” and Maduro, most of his Cabinet and several governors were in attendance, so I assume it’s not a prank.

Lord almighty.

UPDATE:

Look at the mural: Simón Bolívar, Jesus and Hugo Chávez under a sign that reads, “Against imperialism, g*ddammit!” The tweet reads, “Have you seen more shameless and immoral crap than this?

Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!

Twitter hashtag #ChavezNuestro