Posts Tagged ‘CELAC’

Mexico: Behind the Peña Nieto-Fidel photo-op

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto attended CELAC last week and sat with Fidel Castro for the cameras. Carlos Puig explains what’s behind the photo-op:
Mexico’s Pena Nieto Is for Reform, Just Not in Cuba

The picture released afterward by the Cuban government — Pena Nieto talking, Fidel listening — didn’t come cheap. Last year, Pena Nieto’s administration erased $340 million of Cuba’s debt to Mexico, or about 70 percent of the total amount. That’s more than the value of trade between the two countries, which reached $297 million over the first nine months of last year; $274 million of that represented Mexico’s surplus. The bilateral relationship is otherwise limited. From the Mexican side, at least, the main issue may be the influx of Cubans who use Mexico as a way station to the U.S.

Puig poses the question,

Yet it isn’t clear what Mexico gains by ignoring the reality that Cuba has no elections, no political parties, no free press or freedom of expression, and that dissidents are harassed and jailed. Certainly, Mexico stands to gain little economic benefit.

Pena Nieto’s choice also raises interesting questions about the character of a government willing to ignore such human-rights violations in a neighboring country. Isn’t such a government more likely to excuse its own human-rights problems, such as the tens of thousands of murders and disappearances during the last decade of drug war?

Meanwhile, in Mexico, there’s a lot going on in Michoacán’s Tierra Caliente. Enrique Krauze describes Mexico’s Vigilantes on the March

The epicenter of the present vigilante confrontation with the Knights Templar is the area known as the Tierra Caliente, a relatively isolated zone that, since colonial times, has been marked by its torrid climate, fertile soil, aggressive animals, poisonous plants, and a tendency toward violence among its inhabitants. Fray Diego Basalenque, who composed chronicles of Michoacán in the 17th century, wrote about the Tierra Caliente: “For someone not born here, it is uninhabitable. For its natives it is unbearable.” It has become a preferred sanctuary for the Knights.

The national government recently sent a substantial federal force (both military and police) to the region. Corrupt municipal police officers have been stripped of their authority and national troops have established a modus vivendi with self-defense groups. The vigilantes have the support of the majority of the population and of respected clerics.

Unverified rumors have it that some of the self-defense units are connected with a narco gang in a neighboring state called Jalisco New Generation Cartel (Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación). Regardless of whether that is true or not, President Enrique Peña Nieto, who came to power in 2012, would be wise to press for the incorporation of the vigilantes into a legal entity, as two powerful presidents in the 19th century, Benito Juárez and Porfirio Díaz, did when they were dealing with crime. They developed a mobile strike force (Los Rurales) that suppressed rampant banditry. The elimination of a gang like the Knights Templar, however, will require much intelligence-gathering and coordination among various law-enforcement agencies. And it will take time.

Joshua Partlow, on the other hand, last week posited that A Mexican militia, battling Michoacan drug cartel, has American roots.


The Groundhog Day / Superbowl weekend Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina’s Luck Is Finally Running Out

Héctor Timerman: el canciller que denunciaba que “Cuba es una dictadura” hoy participa de la CELAC en La Habana

BRAZIL
Debt bondage and indentured servitude in modern-day Brazil: Brazil’s Slaves Are Being Freed, But Owners Go Largely Unpunished

Barbarians at the Mall Entrance

CHILE
Detenida por caso Guzmán relacionaría a Bachelet con el FPMR
“Ella es clave en delitos terroristas y además podría individualizar dirigentes, jerarquías y funciones en que participaron dirigentes actuales de la izquierda chilena”, acusa el abogado Raúl Meza sobre la información que manejaría la “Comandante Ana”.

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s next president; a woman Marta Lucia Ramirez

Colombian chief prosecutor Eduardo Montealegre says he will bring charges against six employees of the US coal mining company, Drummond, over an environmental disaster last year.

COSTA RICA
After yesterday’s elections, Luis Guillermo Solís is ahead: Leftist Costa Rica outsider leads election, run-off expected

Costa Rica Flirts with Chavismo

Costa Rica holds presidential poll
Voters in Costa Rica choose a successor for President Laura Chinchilla, with opinion polls predicting a tight race between four main contenders.

CUBA
Cuba steps up repression on the eve of the CELAC summit

How do Cuban doctors escape Venezuela?
Doctors escape medical missions assigned by the Cuban government. These missions are not only to Venezuela, but to other parts of the world.
Via Babalu.

ECUADOR
Ecuador Fines Leading Newspaper Over Cartoon
The Ecuadorean government has fined newspaper El Universo, saying a political cartoon it recently published was defamatory and promoted social unrest, stoking concerns about press freedom in the South American country.

Lima Journal, Part I, and Part II By Jay Nordlinger

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador: former leftwing guerrilla takes lead in presidential election
Salvador Sanchez Cerén was rebel leader in bloody civil war but with nearly half votes counted he is favourite to win March run off

El Salvador in Peril
If leftist Sánchez Cerén becomes president, the future would be grim.

El Salvador votes for new presidentElection posters in San Salvador, 31 January
El Salvador is voting in a presidential election pitting the left-wing FMLN against the conservative Arena party, amid rising concern gang violence.

GUATEMALA
The Antigua Forum: Exporting A Different Kind of Latin American Revolution

Central America’s largest museum of Mayan culture to be built in Guatemala (h/t DP)

HAITI
Haiti celebrates first cardinal
The first Haitian cardinal didn’t believe the news — until he turned to the Internet.

HONDURAS
Narcos In The Mist

JAMAICA
Tufton wants Jamaicans to open eyes to economic realities

MEXICO
The Violent Gang Wars Behind Super Bowl Guacamole
Mexican growers in the world’s avocado capital chase off a criminal gang that extorted millions of dollars a year.

Humor: Los Horóscopos del Maestro Piyush 30/01/2014

PANAMA
Panama releases majority of crew on North Korean ship

PUERTO RICO
Not surprising: Puerto Rico bonds facing possible junk ratings are no longer part of the S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index because of the debt’s outsized yields and spotty liquidity, S&P Dow Jones Indices said on Friday

Dead Puerto Rico boxer posed standing in the ring

HUMOR: Cinco Parientes De AGP Trabajan En El Gobierno; Aparecen Miles De Garcías Y Padillas A Pedir Cacao

VENEZUELA
At markets, Chavez successor falls short

Venezuela and Argentina
The party is over
Latin America’s weakest economies are reaching breaking-point

Quiqueo throws the towel. He made the news.

Daniel’s recipe for the Venezuelan opposition (for what good it does…)

The week’s posts and podcast:
Brazil: Not quite ready for World Cup prime time

Crazy Venezuelan headline of the day: “Maduro offers 80% discount in tickets to the moon”

Ecuador: Maybe Mia ought to meet Vaca

Argentina: Chronicle of a default foretold, continued

En español: Angry Birds en la Unidad de Quemados

Cuba: CELAC, the hypocrisy summit

Mexico: Michoacán vigilantes to join with police

Guatemala: The lost orphans

At Da Tech Guy Blog: Latin America: What was missing from the SOTU

Podcast: Crime and inflation in Venezuela PLUS other US Latin America issues.

Cuba: CELAC, the hypocrisy summit

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, a.k.a. CELAC) is meeting in the island prison, richly earning the title of The hypocrisy summit:

In the shadows, meanwhile, the police-state goons, who represent the real Cuba, will be busy rounding up the usual suspects — those who clamor for genuine freedom and detest the oppression that prevails in the country of Jose Martí’s birth.

This is the customary script for events in Cuba that draw international media attention, as with papal visits. The government is so keen to create the impression that everyone lives happily under a benevolent Castro dictatorship that it takes extra measures to ensure that neither official visitors nor the press witness signs of dissent.

Dilma, Evo, and Cristina are in attendance as the Cuban Regime “Cleans up” Opposition for CELAC Summit. Cristina met with Fidel and his wee wifey,

Just in case, Dilma is saying that Argentina has not asked for help in the devaluation crisis (link in Portuguese). Not that any would be coming from her.

It’s basically a hatefest against the USA, with the blessing of the OAS’s Insulza, who so far has not met with the Ladies in White, and also of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who came up with a real doozy,

“Since [violence against women] is rooted in discrimination, impunity and complacency, we need to change attitudes and behavior – and we need to change laws and make sure they are enforced just like you are doing in Cuba.”

“Just like you are doing in Cuba”:


The misplaced Machu Picchu Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 27th, 2014

To err is human, and to misplace the ruins is definitely not divine, so today’s Carnival is dedicated to Hema Maps, the publishers of this guidebook.

ARGENTINA
Wash, Rinse, Repeat: Argentina’s Latest Crisis

THE TWO WORLDS OF BUENOS AIRES: MACRI’S LEGACY OF INEQUALITY

Erosion of Argentine Peso Sends a Shudder Through Latin America
The decline in Argentina’s currency is the steepest since the country’s economic collapse in 2002, and it is raising fears of a global slump in developing countries.

Currency controls in Argentina
Relaxation therapy

BELIZE
Belize and Guatemala agree on ‘road map’ to address the territorial dispute
Belize and Guatemala agreed at the headquarters of the Organization of American States on a “Road Map and Plan of Action”, which has as its main objective the strengthening of the bilateral relationship between the two countries during 2014 in order to make concrete the holding of popular consultations to enable the consideration of the territorial dispute before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

BOLIVIA
Bolivia ‘to build first nuclear reactor’

Radio Serial About Evo Morales Debuts in Bolivia

BRAZIL
The Brazilian ranch where Nazis kept slaves
On a farm deep in the countryside 100 miles (160km) west from Sao Paulo, a football team has lined up for a commemorative photograph. What makes the image extraordinary is the symbol on the team’s flag – a swastika.

New book claims THIS picture proves Hitler escaped his Berlin bunker and died in South America in 1984 aged 95
Fuhrer ‘fled to Argentina and then Paraguay before settling in Brazil’
Hunted for treasure with a map given to him by Vatican allies, book claims
Author Simoni Renee Guerreiro Dias claims fascist actually died aged 95
Claims he had a black girlfriend to disguise his fascist background
Says her suspicions increased after she photoshopped a moustache [sic] onto the grainy picture and compared it to photos of the Fuhrer

World Cup protesters set fire to car
Brazil World Cup protesters set fire to car
Violence erupts on the streets of Brazil’s largest city Sao Paulo as more than 2,000 demonstrators gathered to protest against the cost of the upcoming soccer World Cup

CHILE
Chile’s president-elect chooses old faces for new cabinet

Chile’s 33 miners still haunted by their past

Magic and Mystery: Isabel Allende
The best-selling author on her new mystery and why her work isn’t so ‘magical’

COLOMBIA
Cash for votes

COSTA RICA
Cato’s ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BULLETIN NO. 18
Growth without Poverty Reduction: The Case of Costa Rica

Costa Rica needs genuine market reforms that eliminate the government’s power to pick winners and losers or otherwise bestow favoritism. In the areas aforementioned, the country should

* Implement a neutral exchange rate regime either by allowing the colón to freely float against the U.S. dollar or by adopting the latter as the country’s official currency.
* Abolish all tariffs on agricultural products as well as other regulations that provide monopoly powers to conglomerates that produce farm goods such as rice, beef, and sugar, and eliminate price controls on rice.
* Dismantle regulations that stifle domestic entrepreneurship, following the guidelines laid out by the World Bank’s Doing Business project.
* Adopt a neutral and competitive tax regime that taxes all businesses domiciled in the country equally but at a low flat rate.

CUBA
Dissidents Arrested Ahead of CELAC Summit

RIP, Inter-American Democratic Charter

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Republic runaways told they cannot return to Stonyhurst College
The two pupils who ran away from Stonyhurst College to the Dominican Republic will not be allowed to return to school

ECUADOR
Ecuador airline suspends flights to Venezuela because of tickets’ debts
Ecuadorean airline Tame has suspended flights to Venezuela, demanding 43m dollars in overdue payments for tickets. Some 80 passengers were left stranded on Thursday at the airport in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito. Tame says the Venezuelan Central Bank has not transferred any money to its account in Ecuador since April 2013.

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador Presidential Election Preview, 2014

Shaky truce: Is El Salvador’s gang war really on hold?

GUATEMALA
Guatemala’s Stranded Orphans
Unicef’s pressure to stop international adoptions has tragic results.

JAMAICA
Mass Burial Site Claim
Police said to be aiding some criminals in the East

LATIN AMERICA
Latin America and the Caribbean: Congressional Priorities for 2014

MEXICO
The American roots of a Mexican militia movement
Many who have joined fight against Michoacan drug cartel once lived and worked in the U.S.

Knights Templar on quest for drugs efficiency
Mexican narco-gang diversifies into mining and iron ore export

PANAMA
Panama Canal Authority Says Proposal on Table That Could End Dispute

Car Shopping Observations

PARAGUAY
Six Hurt in Clash with Police in Paraguay

PERU
Peru Lawmakers Find Evidence of Graft Under Former President

PUERTO RICO
Your taxes just went up: Gobernador convierte en Ley medidas de COFIM

Puerto Rico: The next debt crisis?

Puerto Rico: Harbour of debt
The territory is imposing tough austerity measures as it seeks to allay investor concerns and issue new bonds

URUGUAY
A really big mess: Dead Sperm Whale Washes Up on Beach in Uruguay

Uruguayan Economy Minister Resigns Amid Airline Scandal

VENEZUELA
Carta abierta a @abc_es

Maduro sets limits on company profits and prison terms for hoarding or over charging
Venezuela decreed a new price control law that sets limits on company profits and establishes prison terms for those charged with hoarding or over-charging, part of populist President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to tame inflation.

Jeff Bezos will go to jail in Venezuela

Venezuelan Government Devalues Currency

Miami on the cheap? Venezuelans traveling to Florida face new restrictions

HRW “unlikes” Maduro

Will Venezuela default on its debts?

The week’s posts and podcast:
CELAC: Maduro & Cristina want Puerto Rico’s independence

The question the media should be asking about Menendez

Argentina And Venezuela: Chronicles Of Devaluations Foretold

Who is to gain from smearing Robert Menendez?

Argentina: Chronicle of a default foretold

Cuba: Success through ruination

En español: Terapia intensiva

Cuba: Michael Totten’s road trip

Mexico: Michoacan’s fighting priests

The BVI, China’s new tax haven

Venezuela: Worst judicial system

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
UN Climate chief: Communism fights global warming

Cuba: What a “prosperous and sustainable socialism” looks like UPDATED

The week’s podcast:
Venezuela & US-Latin America stories of the week


CELAC: Maduro & Cristina want Puerto Rico’s independence

Monday, January 27th, 2014


Sayonara, suckers.

Puerto Ricans’ opinions don’t matter to the tinpot Venezuelan dictator or to the Evita-wannabe, because they need a distraction from driving their own countries to ruin:
Crises Squeeze Two Latin Leaders
The leaders of Argentina and Venezuela were set to attend a conference in Cuba to debate Puerto Rican independence on Tuesday, as their countries faced their most acute economic crises in a decade.

On the streets of Argentina and Venezuela, many asked what their leaders were doing in Cuba when they were struggling with Latin America’s highest rates of inflation and the palpable fear that things could worsen when private investment is veering toward a recovering American economy.

The fact is,

independence for Puerto Rico, which was handed over by Spain after the Spanish-American war, has never gotten much traction. In a 2012 referendum, 61% voted for statehood and only 5% for independence.

Puerto Rico’s independence party has such low turnout that they needed to re-register after general elections.

Not that democracy matters to anyone at the upcoming CELAC

Apparently, the first objective of that organization, as declared, is: “To reaffirm that the preservation of democracy and democratic values, the validity of the institutions and the Rule of Law, a commitment to the respect for, and the validity of, all human rights for all, are the essential objectives of our countries.”

What do these people understand democracy to be? Cuba, like the other countries hatched by the now-extinct Soviet Union, is a one-party dictatorship older than half a century where no individual freedoms exist and no human rights are respected. While the CELAC is being held, the political police harasses and bashes the Ladies in White and the opposition democrats who dare to protest. Is anyone unaware of this?

Cuban dissidents are holding their own forum:

Cuban dissidents and activists plan to hold a forum on democracy in Havana on Jan. 28, parallel to the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, opposition sources told Efe on Saturday.

Organized by the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America, or CADAL, and the dissident group Arco Progresista, the forum hopes to bring together members of the opposition like Guillermo Fariñas and Jose Daniel Ferrer, Ladies in White leader Berta Soler, blogger Yoani Sanchez and activist Antonio Rodiles, among other representatives of civil society on the island.

Cuban police will block the opposition’s meeting.

OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza is attending CELAC, but refused to meet with any dissidents, thereby offering further evidence of the OAS’s irrelevance.

Elsa Morejón, whose husband Dr. José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) was arrested after meeting with the ambassadors of Spain and the Netherlands this week and transported away from Havana for the duration of the summit, tweeted,

The only country in the Americas without free elections or multi-party [system] in 56 years, will host the #CELACSummit. Unbelievable.

But look at the bright side: The more Maduro, Cristina, and their ilk cackle about Puerto Rico, the fewer the Puerto Ricans who’ll side with them.

Post re-edited to add links.

UPDATE:
My tweet,
#CELACSummit As if there isn’t enough poop in #PuertoRico, @NicolasMaduro & @CFKArgentina want to bring theirs.

RELATED:
Puerto Rico: La crisis final del “ELA”

Raul Castro, CELAC president

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

The blinders come off:
Gaddafi was praised by the UN’s Human Rights Councila, and now Raul Castro is president of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States:

Cuba will lead CELAC until early 2014, when Ecuador will take over.

But should we be surprised? After all,

The organization was founded in Caracas in 2011 as a brainchild of the Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. It groups 33 nations of Latin America and the Caribbean but excludes the United States and Canada. Many people see it as Chávez’s challenge to the Organization of American States, which is based in Washington and includes the United States and Canada among its members.

Notch it up as a success of the Cuban dictatorship.

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 26th, 2011

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina Deputy Commerce Secretary Found Dead

As Argentina Seizes Newsprint, Press Freedom Suffers

Cristina prepares to defy gravity
The president begins her second term facing an economic slowdown. She will meet it with a mixture of rhetoric, controls and austerity

Ash From Chilean Volcano Craters Argentine Towns
Unpredictable Eruptions Leave a Pristine Patagonian Region Bereft of Its Tourism Lifeblood; Planes Grounded 7,200 Miles Away

BRAZIL
Brazil Police Seek to Indict Chevron, Transocean Staff

Mystery Of Amazonian Tribe’s Head Shapes Solved, via GoV.

COLOMBIA
Rescuers End Search for Colombian Blast Survivors

CUBA
American Not in Cuban Prisoner Amnesty

60 Minutes Fails to Note Why Invasive Lionfish Dominate Cuban Coral Reef

Political arrests on rise in Castro´s Cuba

GUATEMALA
Journalists who denounced human rights abuses in Guatemalan civil war accused of participating in kidnapping, torture

LATIN AMERICA
THE MEANING AND IMPLICATIONS OF THE LATIN AMERICAN CARIBBEAN SUMMIT

Iranian Regime TV Beamed in the Americas

Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, Hispasat claims it reaches 15 million homes in Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. In addition to this new Iranian line-up, they also carry programming for another state sponsor of terror, Cuba. Cuba Vision Internacional (CVI), one of Cuba’s propaganda arms of the Cuban Communist party, is broadcast via Hispasat systems.

Intelsat is a owned by a several private equity firms including one based in Chicago, Illinois. They have several offices in the United States, including one large office right here in Washington, DC.

Iran and S. Arabia launch 2 tv channels in Spanish, via MEXICO
MEXICAN EX-OFFICIALS WORK FOR US INTELLIGENCE

“Underwater” Santa Claus a Hit in Mexico

PUERTO RICO
US-based Excelerate to develop liquid natural gas port off Puerto Rico

VENEZUELA
Venezuela, Iran Linked to Alleged Cyberattack Plot

The Region: Obama preaches, dictators sneer

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CELAC: Chavez’s latest “alternative”

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

After creating the ALBA with Cuba ten years ago, Hugo Chávez now is hosting the inaugural for the CELAC (Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y del Caribe – Community of Latin American and Caribbean States).

ALBA is mostly dependent on Venezuelan oil, and its current members – Bolivia, Nicaragua, (Honduras dropped out), Ecuador, Dominica, St Vincent and Antigua – are not exactly the largest economies in the world. Another Chávez brainchild, the Bank of the South (Banco del Sur) has tanked, so far, due to liquidity issues and lack of reserves.

But Chávez knows how to get publicity, and he also knows that his fellow heads of state in Latin America love to travel all-expenses-paid-by-their citizenry to other countries since it gives the appearance of doing something, everybody gets to badmouth the USA, the local media (which he controls) will lap up the meeting, Mexico wanted to be included in something, and, who knows, there may even be slush fund opportunities in the bargain.

Voilá, CELAC was born, created in Mexico last year.

The spin is intense: CELAC is touted as “a new geopolitical structure“, soon to replace the “old and worn out” OAS, with Caracas not only as its capital (of course!) but also the capital of the Americas, with growing economies ; just take a look at the map:

The map shows the purported growth in GDP for 2010 in each country’s economy. Let me dampen your enthusiasm over these numbers by pointing out that anyone who believes Cuban government statistics deserves to be called a fool. I leave it to you to verify other statistics, for instance, Argentina’s, where their government is prosecuting independent economists.

Canada and the USA are not invited, of course. Chile’s president prudently sent his vice-president instead. In total, leaders of 33 countries are expected.

Raúl Castro turned up for the opening, crowing “for the first time, we’ll have an organization for our America“, conveniently forgetting that his brother said more or less the same thing about ALBA a decade ago. Venezuela rolled out the red carpet and lined up the military in full tin soldier garb, but Hugo couldn’t make it to the airport to greet him,

Crisitina Fernández of Argentina and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil already met with Chávez, and Felipe Calderón tweeted from Mexico this morning that he’s on his way.

And, this morning oil is up, which may help fund the proceedings.

What is there not to love?

Well, for one thing,

Because it lacks any formal charter or mandate, however, Celac will be more effective as a forum for left-wing figures like Mr. Chávez to “pontificate” and fan anti-U.S. sentiment, said Christopher Sabatini, senior director of policy at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas in New York.

It’s a good photo-op, but

“It’s a good show for Chávez. It boosts his standing and shows Venezuelans that he is a regional leader and that other heads of state will come to Venezuela,” Mr. Shifter said.

But beyond photo opportunities, Mr. Shifter says he doubts Celac will be able to distinguish itself from the slate of existing regional organizations such as Mercosur, the Union of South American Nations, the Andean Community of Nations, and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.

“There are very significant problems among the subregional organizations,” Mr. Shifter said. “It’s hard to imagine that an organization that includes all of Latin America and the Caribbean will have fewer obstacles.”

Or, as The Economist put it,

On paper CELAC will try to co-ordinate among trade blocks, such as Mercosur and the Andean Community (but UNASUR is also supposed to do that). It will also try to stimulate regional trade and speak with one voice in international forums. If only. The lesson of ALBA is that regional clubs based on political ideology rather than national interest do not get very far.

The USA is the major trading partner for most of these countries.

It’ll be interesting to see what the heads of state end up signing, if anything, at the end of this summit.

UPDATED:
You can watch it live here.

Cross-posted at Real Clear World

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