A Fortune Mag/CNN Money article out this week reports the latest, overwhelming evidence of horrendous skullduggery in a long-running environmental case, supported by the highly corruptible Ecuadoran government, against the U.S.-based Chevron oil company. In a Manhattan federal district court, reports Fortune’s Roger Parloff, “Chevron filed the declaration of a former Ecuadorian judge, Alberto Guerra, who describes how he and a second former judge, Nicolás Zambrano, allegedly allowed the plaintiffs lawyers to ghostwrite their entire 188-page, $18.2 billion judgment against Chevron in exchange for a promise of $500,000 from the anticipated recovery.”
Repsol YPF SA (REP), the Spanish oil explorer seeking $10.5 billion from Argentina for seizing its assets, will line up behind companies from Exxon Mobil Corp. to Unisys Corp. yet to be repaid by the most-sued nation on earth.
There are 26 cases pending against Argentina, more than any other country, at the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington, the principal arbitration court for claims against sovereign countries. So far, it has refused to pay any of the tribunal’s judgments, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists’ report.
As to the good reason for such a trip, consider the shared geopolitical interests between the U.S. and the biggest democracy in Latin America. Although former President Lula da Silva, also from the Workers’ Party, did almost nothing to deregulate a mostly unfree economy over his eight years in office, he did manage to respect the central bank reforms carried out by his predecessor, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. As a result, after decades of inflationary chaos caused by central bank financing of government deficits, Brazil has now had vastly improved price stability for more than a decade. Ending the cycle of repeated devaluations is enabling the formation of a substantial middle class, and it is shaping a nation that increasingly wants to be part of the modern, global economy.
If Brazil is seeking rapprochement with the U.S., it is a welcome development for the entire hemisphere. As an ally on the fundamentals, like opposition to torture in Cuban jails, Brazil could be part of a long-awaited regional push to denounce human rights abuses. It might also come in handy next year when Venezuela holds presidential elections. Mr. Chávez has said that even if he loses, he won’t step down, and the commander of the army has agreed.
That could make for a situation not unlike what is unfolding in Libya today. If the U.S. and Brazil are singing from the same hymn book, it will help. It’s only too bad the commander in chief who was starting a war didn’t have the good sense to return home after the meeting in Brasilia.
Obama’s trip is in the headlines throughout the hemisphere.
Chevron’s suit alleges that the named defendants, and certain non-party co-conspirators, have used the Ecuador lawsuit to threaten Chevron, mislead U.S. government officials, and harass and intimidate Chevron employees, all in order to extort a financial settlement from the company.
As you may recall, Colombian authorities dealt a huge blow to the FARC by killing its #2 guy and seizing 15 laptops, which will surely reveal much valuable intelligence on the criminal/terrorist organization. Here’s my article at Real Clear World: FARC’s Military Leader: He Died With His Boots On
We are supposed to conclude that Cuba is no longer a threat to global stability and that Fidel is a reformed tyrant. But how believable is a guy whose revolution all but wiped out Cuba’s tiny Jewish community of 15,000, and who spent the past 50 years supporting the terrorism of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Syria, Libya and Iran? And how does Castro explain Venezuela, where Cuban intelligence agents run things, Iran is an ally and anti-Semitism has been state policy in recent years? Mr. Goldberg doesn’t go there with Fidel.
It also is passing strange that we hear nothing from Mr. Goldberg about poor Alan Gross. Mr. Gross, a U.S. government contractor and a Jew, has been languishing in a Cuban prison since December. His crime: distributing computers to a handful of Cuban Jews who want to establish contact with the diaspora. Is that any way to show love for the Jewish people?
It never seems to cross Mr. Goldberg’s mind that he is being used in a manner Communists first learned at Lenin’s knee. Or perhaps he is happy to be useful. In a follow-up post he explains that since Fidel is not as bad as Pol Pot, Cubans should stop complaining.
Goldberg in turn says Mary’s “unhinged” because, after all, the Jews were not exterminated and can travel to Israel…only with permission of the government, Jeffrey.
Tonight’s screening of The Sugar Babies at the University of Miami will proceed as scheduled despite enormous pressure from a member of the university’s Board of Trustees. One of the board’s senior trustees is Alfonso Fanjul, who is also the Chairman and CEO of Flo-Sun, Inc., a sugar company featured in the film for its inhumane labor practices, which include employing children to work sugar cane fields in conditions that can best be described as modern-day slavery.
The award-winning, feature-length documentary The Sugar Babies is scheduled to be screened tonight at 7 p.m. as part of the Latin American Film Series organized by the University of Miami Center for Latin American Studies. It will be followed by a question and answer session with filmmaker Amy Serrano. Tomorrow, November 13, Serrano will also lead a round table discussion about the film and the current situation of Haitian laborers in the Dominican Republic.
Dominican diplomats also pressured the university to remove the film from the festival. Edgar Aponte, Dominican Minister Counselor, will be attending the event. Aponte works under Carlos Morales Troncoso, the Dominican Minister of Foreign Affairs, who happens to be the former president and CEO and current shareholder at the Fanjul-owned Central Romana Corporation in the Dominican Republic.
Fuentes castrenses que pidieron el anonimato por razones obvias confirmaron a ABC que el último año ha sido frecuente la llegada sin registro de militares venezolanos, aparentemente para “colaborar” con las Fuerzas Armadas en tareas de inteligencia. La coordinación estaría a cargo del agregado militar de ese país, Oscar Carrizales Pinto, que llamativamente es general, cuando este tipo de puestos habitualmente lo ocupan oficiales de menor rango. Los tripulantes del Hércules que se habrían quedado en el país el jueves no hicieron trámites migratorios.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez says he will join a team of Cuban scientists on flights to “bomb clouds” to create rain amid a severe drought that has aroused public anger due to water and electricity rationing.
Chavez, who has asked Venezuelans to take three-minute showers to save water, said the Cubans had arrived in Venezuela and were preparing to fly specially equipped aircraft above the Orinoco river.
“I’m going in a plane; any cloud that crosses me, I’ll zap it so that it rains,” Chavez said at a ceremony late on Saturday with family members of five Cubans convicted of spying in the United States.
In case you think this came from The Onion, here he is saying it in Spanish, announcing that the Cuban technicians arrived and are ready to bomb the clouds: