Posts Tagged ‘Fausta’s blog’

Dancing the hemispere

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Couple dances the length of the Americas
Watch as this young couple travel from Alaska in north America to Ushuaia in Argentina, dancing all the way

I’m sure Rafa and Noelia were inspired by the ever-effervescent Matt Harding,

Whatever happened to the Carnival Magic with the ebola scare?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Following up on the Carnival Magic story, my latest, Whatever happened to the Carnival Magic with the ebola scare? is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Brazil: The election was tweeted

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

After Vote, Brazilians Lash Out on Social Media
A day after President Dilma Rousseff squeaked out a close electoral victory, Brazilian voters vented their frustrations one way they know best: on social media.

Many Neves supporters, hailing largely from Brazil’s wealthier south, joked they would be packing their bags to flee to Miami or Orlando. Some posted images showing Brazil divided into two, with the poorer northeastern states which supported Ms. Rousseff hived off into a separate country.

The reactions underscored the divisiveness of the elections, which were the closest in Brazilian history.

Considering all the factors, it would have taken a miracle from God Himself for Neves to win.

Dilma claims, “I want to be a much better president than I have been until now,” which rather fills me with dread, considering how

Brazil has chosen to warehouse a quarter of its population into welfare serfdom for nothing more than the benefit of leftist parties and their grasp on power.

“Better,” for what?



Venezuela to appeal ICSID Exxon decision

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Living up to its reputation as possibly the world’s worst-managed economy, the Venezuela government is appealing the US$1.6billion settlement against Exxon by the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID.

Just to put things in perspective,

Exxon had originally wanted $20 billion out of the deal; arbitrators awarded it just $1.6 billion, $600 million of which had already been paid.

The country must honor ICSID rulings to avoid default of sovereign bonds; by having the ICSID provisionally stay the enforcement of the award, Venezuela buys time.

Francisco Toro speculates,

One of two things is going on here. Either the super-fancy and well-worth-top-dollar New York Law Firm representing Venezuela at ICSID, Curtis Mallet-Prevost, has persuaded Ramírez they can get an even better settlement on appeal or the government is now so strapped for cash they’re willing to try any delaying tactic to avoid having to pay up right away.

I don’t know which one it is.

I don’t either, and considering how Nicolas Maduro opened his campaign by saying he talked to Chavez, who is now a bird , maybe he (and his cohorts) went by Chavez’s 2012 promise that Venezuela will not recognize World Bank ruling in the Exxon case.

All you can be sure of is that law firm Curtis Mallet-Prevost will make money out of this, and, as I said last month, that Venezuela has no intention to pay Exxon.



Brazil: Ibovespa volatility

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

First Brazil’s stocks tanked,
Ibovespa Tumbles Toward Bear Market as Rousseff’s Win Sinks Real

Brazil’s benchmark equity index led global declines as President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election damped speculation for a change in policies that wiped out $553 billion of stock market value and left the economy in recession.

The Ibovespa (IBOV) dropped 2.8 percent to 50,503.66 at the close of trading, the most among the 20 biggest indexes globally. After tumbling as much as 6.2 percent earlier, approaching the threshold for a bear market, the gauge pared losses as education companies and pulp exporters rallied. The real posted the world’s biggest loss as it sank 1.9 percent to a nine-year low.

After years of weak growth, high inflation and intervention, Dilma’s re-election tanked the currency, too,

The real’s plunge to 2.5224 per dollar put it at the weakest level on a closing basis since April 2005. One-month implied volatility on options for the real, reflecting projected shifts in the currency, was the world’s highest. The currency sank 12 percent in the past three months.

Then why did things rise up again?

“To some extent, markets were already pricing in her victory last week, and that may explain why the reaction to the election results wasn’t as negative as I expected,” Alvaro Marangoni, a partner at Quadrante Investimentos Ltda., said by phone from Sao Paulo. “We’re all waiting to see if policies are adjusted so the economy can recover.”

That’s an optimist, indeed.

The states that opposed Dilma out in the grasslands, soybean farms, cattle ranches and productive and innovative industrial centers down south, went for her free-market opponent. The states with 25% of the population dependent on welfare went for Dilma,

The takers have become politically stronger than the makers

As Monica Showalter of IBD said,

Now Brazil can look forward to not just low growth, but also high protectionist trade walls, more taxes, more corruption, more intrusive government and an increasingly arrogant state.

I was optimistic on Brazil years ago, but no more.

The return of the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, October 27th, 2014

LatinAmerAfter skipping a week because of unpacking, the Carnival’s back, while the unpacking’s not finished.

Brazil and Uruguay held presidential elections yesterday. Voters went for the same old, same old.

ARGENTINA
Life terms for Argentina jail crimes
An Argentine ex-police chief and ex-interior minister are among 15 people given life sentences for involvement in a torture centre in the 1970s.

BRAZIL
Why is Dilma Hiding Business Deals With Cuba?

Boa sorte, Brasil

Brazil poll shows Neves leading election, at odds with major surveys

Dilma Rousseff’s dizzy spell live on TV after presidential debate
Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, was briefly taken ill on Thursday at the end of a bruising political debate with presidential rival Aecio Neves

In Brazil’s Election, a Stark Vote on the Nation’s Economy

CHILE
Bomb That Killed Man in Chile Meant to Blow Up Prison Guard Building

COLOMBIA
Alexander Beltran Herrera, US judge sentences Farc commander
A US judge has sentenced an ex-Colombian rebel to 27 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping of three American citizens in 2003.

Marcos de Jesus Figueroa, alias “Maquitos Figueroa,” Colombian Drug Lord Captured in Brazil Wanted for 100 Murders

COSTA RICA
Solís a Trojan Horse for Socialism in Costa Rica
Relationships Bloom with Trade Unions, University Students, Chavistas

CUBA
Religious persecution disguised by Castro regime as a crackdown on “criminal” activities

Cuban Ladies In White, other activists arrested as they support political prisoner Sonia Garro

Must-Read: Are Cuba and Brazil Partners in Human Trafficking?

Cuban Docs Should be Banned from Ebola Fight, Restrict US-Cuba Flights

Quote of the day: “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.”

ECUADOR
HRW Criticizes Correa for Applauding Police Abuse During Protests

HONDURAS
Just Say No to Presidential Reelection in Honduras
Too Many “Necessary” Men in Latin America

MEXICO

Mexico’s Burgeoning Wine Scene
Mexico may be best known for its beer and tequila, but that’s slowly changing as its wines are finding their way onto restaurant wine lists and specialist shops.

Amado Yáñez shows up at the burn-out unit (in Spanish):

PANAMA
If Panama’s Anti-Corruption Hunt Continues, Miami Should Watch Out

PARAGUAY
Report Oil Found in Paraguay; Gov’t Cautious

PERU
Health Care Workers in Peru Go on Strike

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico needs a financial control board

URUGUAY
POLL NUMBERS!!! Uruguay election this weekend

Uruguay Leader’s Party Fights to Retain Rule After Vote
President José ‘Pepe’ Mujica popularity isn’t enough to guarantee victory for the center-left Broad Front coalition that has ruled for a decade, according to polls and political analysts.

VENEZUELA
Dakazo 2 and Technocrats

How Bad Are Things In Venezuela? It’s Rationing Food – And Importing Oil

Venezuela seizes warehouses packed with medical goods, food

The 61% Devaluation That Venezuela Told No One About

The week’s posts and podcast:
Elections: No change in Brazil, Uruguay

Friday afternoon tap dancing priests

Argentina: Creeping to the edge

Venezuela: Mileposts on the highway to hell

Cuba: NYT goes Duranty on ebola

Venezuela: Happy Halloween! Hugo Chavez M&Ms

Immigration: Obama to allow in 100,000 Haitians with no visas

At Da Tech Guy’s blog:
What may be the most consequential election of the decade

Mexico: The death of #Felina

The curious incident of the Carnival Magic in Belize UPDATED

The Synod and the Pope-A-Dope

In Silvio Canto’s podcast:
The elections in Brazil with Monica Showalter of Investor’s Business Daily.

Posts from the prior week:
In transit, again

Venezuela and the falling oil price UPDATED

Venezuela wins U.N. Council seat

Eichmann’s true nature: 2 reviews of “Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer”

Mexico: #Ayotzinapa backlash in Mexico Bronco

Could Mexico become the next Russia?



Elections: No change in Brazil, Uruguay

Monday, October 27th, 2014

First Uruguay: Same old, same old, in age and in politics,
Since Pepe Mujica could not run for a second term according to the Uruguayan Constitution, an election took place yesterday, which now goes to a runoff

Leftist ruling coalition candidate Tabare Vazquez led Uruguay’s presidential election on Sunday but he fell short of a first-round victory and will go to a runoff vote next month with the country’s pioneering marijuana bill hanging in the balance.

Vazquez of the Broad Front coalition said as results trickled in that the race would go to a second round and he is likely to face a nerve-jangling contest against young center-right opposition candidate, Luis Lacalle Pou.

Exit polls showed Vazquez winning 44-46 percent of the vote compared with 31-33 percent for Lacalle Pou of the National Party.

The 74 year old Vazquez first was president in 2005, and it looks like he’s going for a rerun. Lacalle Pou is 41.

Also going for a rerun, Brazilians choose to remain “the country of the future”:
Brazil Sticks With Statism
Odds are that the country’s reputation for economic mediocrity is safe for another four years.

Neither Lula nor Ms. Rousseff seem to care about development. According to Goldman Sachs , from 2004-13 government spending grew at almost 8% a year, in real terms, which was more than twice the rate of GDP growth. Inflation is now 7% year-over-year on prices for goods and services not regulated by price controls and 8.6% for services alone. Inflationary expectations are rising.

More worrying is the damage the PT might do to institutions and the rule of law over another 48 months. Civil society here jealously guards civil liberties and pluralism. But as one astute businessman told me, “We are noticing, bit by bit, a trend toward copying Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador. The tendency is to reduce democracy.” One example is Ms. Rousseff’s May decree empowering “popular councils,” which would move the country away from representative democracy à la Venezuela. Congress has so far refused to approve the measure but if the usual vote-buying goes on, that may change.

To celebrate, Dilma wore a suit that matched the drapes and her politics,

Friday afternoon tap dancing priests

Friday, October 24th, 2014

It’s Friday afternoon, I’m in the middle of business-related errands, and everybody’s talking about the doctor who bowls for ebola.

So, for a pause that refreshes, here are the Vatican’s American tap dancing priests and barbershop chorus:

What may be the most consequential election of the decade

Friday, October 24th, 2014

I wrote today on What may be the most consequential election of the decade. Go read it at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Argentina: Creeping to the edge

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Chris Noon interviews Prof. Steve Hanke on Argentina creeping closer to the edge. You must read the interview in full,

Argentina’s bleak fiscal situation could deteriorate further over the next year, with a prominent economist telling Interfax on Monday the Latin American country’s foreign reserves could shrink to “near $10 billion” by October 2015. It would leave Buenos Aires struggling to meet payments for dollar-denominated LNG imports, which are essential to the country’s energy matrix.

“To get there [$10 billion], we would see monthly declines in reserves that were roughly similar to those of Q1 2014. It could come about through macroeconomic factors, such as the combination of a strong US dollar, weak commodity prices, and decreasing oil prices. The Saudis are squeezing their competition – especially Canadian tar sands producers – as they push for more market share. This may push down Brent crude further to $60-70 per barrel,” said Hanke.
“It’s difficult to say what will be the ‘straw to break the camel’s back’, but if you keep piling up economic problems, you create a ‘tipping-point’ situation. There’s just too much weight on everything and it gives way,” said the economist.

Trying to put a band-aid on a gashing wound, the government is trying to bring dollars into the country by forcing farmers to export soybeans held in storage even when the price of soybeans has plummeted by around 30% since April, and

Buenos Aires has resorted to making deals with friendly foreign lenders to replenish its coffers. A multibillion-dollar currency swap between Argentina and China will be launched in November, the Latin American country’s central bank chief was quoted as saying in a local paper on Sunday.

That will probably help remedy Argentina’s deeply-ingrained structural problems as well as Venezuela’s oil deals with China have in solving that country’s problems, which is to say, not at all.