Posts Tagged ‘Juan Manuel Santos’

The Swedish model Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Contrary to what the uninformed Left would believe, the Swedish model won’t be working in LatAm any time soon.

ARGENTINA
Whale appears alongside yachts in luxury Argentine area
News of the whale quickly spread on social media and was broadcast live by local stations, prompting hundreds to line up along the port area to catch a glimpse

Post-Kirchner Argentina Promises More Populist MiseryNo Matter What Party Tops the Election, the Welfare State Wins

Argentine Tango With Creditors Takes a TwirlArgentine officials are hinting at a thaw in a long-running standoff with hedge-fund creditors, boosting investors’ interest in the struggling South American nation ahead of a New York court date Wednesday.

El narcotráfico salvó la campaña

After some delays in early voting, Argentineans cast their ballots to elect presidential candidates

BOLIVIA
Law Requires Bolivian Officials to Speak an Indian Language

BRAZIL
Delivering a message, with a hit, Brazilian anti-corruption radio DJ shot dead live on air
Gleydson Carvalho gunned down in studio as he broadcast
; Two Arrested in Killing of Brazil Radio Host

Brazil’s space programme
Ten, nine, ten…
Rocket science is hard. Rocket diplomacy is harder

Brazil’s space programme suffered a blow in July when President Dilma Rousseff scrapped an 11-year-old agreement with Ukraine to launch satellites aboard Ukrainian Cyclone-4 rockets from Brazil’s Alcântara spaceport in the northeastern state of Maranhão. The official explanation implied that the much-delayed project, which had been budgeted at 1 billion reais ($290m), had become too expensive. Brazil may also fear that Ukraine will not fulfil its part of the deal, not least because its space industry is located near Donetsk, which is controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

8%: Brazilian President’s Approval Rating Hits Record Low
The country’s economy is struggling and nation faces a growing corruption scandal

Gunmen shoot Spanish convict dead in front of his home in Brazil
Galician Anxo Antono Valiño had been convicted of murdering a businessman in 2007

CHILE
Chile ex-spymaster, Manuel Contreras, dies at 86

COLOMBIA
Santos: Colombia Government Negotiator Met Twice with FARC’s Top Leader

Santos Pisses Away Colombian Tax Dollars on His Own BrandingState Propaganda Makes Mockery of Accountable Presidency

CUBA
Havana’s hottest spot is a crowded ramp to WiFi bliss
At one the world’s most unusual Web lounges, Cubans have been trying WiFi for the first time
.

Locarno: Andy Garcia on Hemingway, Family, Directing and Cuba

“The political situation is Cuba has not turned,” Andy Garcia said politely, but very adamantly. “There is one government, a dictatorship. The Castros are still in power. There’s never been a popular election in Cuba. Nothing will change in Cuba until the Castro regime leaves and the people are free.”

ECUADOR
Leaked Documents Blow Rafael Correa’s Spying Ways Wide OpenEcuadorian Watchdog Alleges Long-Term Surveillance, Infiltration of Opposition

EL SALVADOR
String of Driver Murders Invoke Militarized Transport for El SalvadorSánchez Cerén Will Not Negotiate with Narcos

HAITI
Haitians vote in delayed elections
Haitians vote in legislative elections that have been repeatedly delayed since 2011, in a test of stability for the impoverished nation.

IMMIGRATION
ILLEGAL ALIEN CRIME ACCOUNTS FOR OVER 30% OF MURDERS IN MANY STATES

MEXICO
Mexico’s economy was supposed to soar. It’s starting to flop.
President Peña Nieto’s economic reforms have yet to produce growth, and the peso has been battered.

6 Tons of Cocaine Seized in Homemade Submarine

Convicted rapist arrested in Mexican journalist murder case
Still no official motive as to why Rubén Espinosa and four women were brutally killed

NICARAGUA
US Lifts Restrictions Over Seized Property in Nicaragua

PANAMA
Panama Canal to limit ship draft due to drought

PERU
Peru’s Shining Path Rebels still Enslaving Around 200 People

PUERTO RICO
Pain of Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis Is Weighing on the Little Guy, Too

ST. LUCIA
St. Lucia to Launch Citizenship-by-Investment Program

VENEZUELA
Venezuela shortages: ‘Take away beer and things get risky’
Venezuelans facing prospect of heatwave without their favourite beer, latest in a series of shortages from disposable nappies to light bulbs

Obama’s failed ‘charm offensive’ in Venezuela

The week’s posts and podcast:
Sunday palate cleanser: Carlos Copello & Anabela Brogioli

Saturday essay: The Swedish model again, and why it won’t work in Latin America

Venezuela: Food riots

Don’t call that a debate

Another Capt.Louis Renault moment, Mexico: People’s disbelief at official story of El Chapo’s escape

Today’s must-read: It’s Time for an Encyclical on Christian Persecution

Brazil: File this under “Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas”

Argentina: A story in 5 tweets

Hillary’s sinking, roll out Princess Chelsea

Cuba: Hillary’s ignorance

Running out of people’s money: Puerto Rico UPDATED

Venezuela: The shocking state of its health service



Colombia: Pope Francis wants to meddle with the “peace process”

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

After earning Raul Castro’s thanks and praise for brokering the restoration of relations between Cuba and the US, and thereby screwing the dissidents as repression becomes more severe, now Francis wants to meddle in the Colombian “peace process.”

During a private audience with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, Francis

“. . . se mostró enseguida “dispuesto a desempeñar el papel que sea necesario” para poner fin al “más viejo conflicto de Latinoamérica”. [My translation: . . . he’s immediately “willing to take whatever part is needed” to put an end to “Latin America’s oldest conflict”.]

“Peace process” is a fluid term, as last week the Colombian military finally killed Jose Amin Hernandez Manrique, known as Marquitos, a top commander from the country’s second largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), a group urging the FARC to continue its war following a surprise FARC attack that killed 11 soldiers.

To his credit, Santos didn’t jump at Francis’s offer. However, the FARC already thanked Pope Francis for his interest regarding the peace talks.

Why the hell does Francis want to meddle? First with Cuba/U.S., then with the global warming scam, and now with Colombia/FARC?

Is he after a Nobel Peace Prize?

Where did Church doctrine and spiritual matters go?

While a majority do call themselves at least nominally Catholic, Colombia does not have a state religion. The Pope’s words carry weight, but only among those who follow him.

Francis is working on the premise that, as head of the Catholic Church, his intervention will carry moral suasion.

Here’s the catch: It cannot.

The FARC, the ELN, and any of the other sundry Marxist narco-terrorist groups, have, for half a century, kidnapped, tortured, killed, maimed, raped, stolen from, and perpetrated heinous crimes on their fellow countrymen. They will only go along for as long as, and only if, it serves their purpose. They are immune to moral suasion.

Likewise on global warming, Francis speaks pretty words,

“Enlighten the masters of power and money so that they should not fall prey to the sin of indifference, so that they should love the common good, support the weak, and care about this world that we inhabit,”

Apparently Francis hasn’t realized that fossil fuels work for the common good. I highly recommend that he read Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels which makes a convincing case that fossil fuels are the only way to develop cheap, reliable, plentiful energy for seven billion people, and that it’s immoral to deny it to the developing world.

For Francis, the thousands of Christians martyred wholesale by ISIS, the Cuban dissidents, the hundreds of millions relying on the use of fossil fuels, are just window dressing. Now the FARC stands to benefit from Francis’s intercession.

But back to Latin America:
Until and unless Francis publicly denounces the role of the Catholic Church in the safe passage of Nazis (among them Josef Megele) into Argentina, his country of birth, as far as I’m concerned, he can STFU.

Colombia: Today’s Capt. Louis Renault moment

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Push for Colombians to Stop Farming Coca Falls Short
The effort has gained new urgency since the government’s decision last month to halt an American-backed campaign to kill coca crops with spraying.

The project set out to bring rural residents under the governmental umbrella for the first time and create the conditions for them to succeed. That meant improving roads needed to bring crops to market, giving titles to farmland, granting agricultural loans, bringing electricity to isolated hamlets, and setting up government services like courts, schools and health clinics.

But critics say that after Mr. Santos was elected president in 2010, the government’s interest seemed to wane.

Santos’s commitment is to negotiations, not actions.

Rather than spray and build infrastructure, the government will be sending groups of workers to pull up coca crops by hand. Meanwhile, the farmers have had to continue paying the FARC protection money all the same.

It comes as no surprise, then, that “the effort here has fallen far short of expectations,” or, as Louis would put it,

Colombia: Santos wants former FARC as cops

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Words fail me:

Colombia has become embroiled in a heated debate after President Juan Manuel Santos announced the possible creation of a rural police force similar to the French gendarmerie if the government signs a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The idea, Santos said, was to consolidate security in the regions most affected by the internal armed conflict, and he did not rule out the participation of demobilized ex-guerrilla members in that force.

Santos’ initial proposal did not mention the FARC, but when a journalist asked him about the possibility, the president thought about it and replied: “I hadn’t thought about that, but I would not rule it out. We could very well negotiate something like that with the other party [FARC],” he told the press in Paris after meeting with French President François Hollande during an official visit to the country.

Considering how Santos wants unelected FARC in Congress, it’s no surprise that many were outraged, among then Uribe,

“Santos has destroyed the self-esteem and initiative of law enforcement, and now he finishes them off by announcing the creation of terrorist police forces”

Let’s hope Santos was only talking off the top of his head.

The Santos administration talks with the FARC will resume on February 4 in Havana.

Colombia: Peace at all costs?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Former president, now senator, Álvaro Uribe has been keeping track of the FARC casualty list during the peace talks:

FARCMETER (on peace talks) Attacks: 842,
Civilians wounded: 326, murdered: 105,
FARC wounded: 726, murdered: 650,
Kidnappings: 71

But president Juan Manuel Santos is intent on leaving a legacy as the president who ended “the longest-running conflict in the hemisphere.” Cynic that I am, he’s probably hankering for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Now he’s proposing broadening the definition of “political crime” to include drug trafficking, but only for FARC members. Mary O’Grady explains,

Not all drug traffickers would be eligible to have their crimes reclassified, he said. Instead the proposal would be a sweetener offered by the government “specifically” for the narco-terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the peace talks, now in their fourth year in Havana. The idea, he said, is to prepare for “the day that members of FARC want to participate in politics.”

The negotiations, which were supposed to last a year, have gone on for 40 months, which gives the Cubans plenty to work on,

Cuba is notorious for 24/7 surveillance of influential visitors. The home-court advantage allows it to psychologically evaluate Colombian negotiators, study their weaknesses and develop relationships of trust to manipulate them. The KGB also taught the Cubans to recognize, and make use of, excessive personal ambition, Mr. García said.

Mr. Santos has not hidden his yearning for a deal that would be labeled the end of the longest-running conflict in the hemisphere. It’s hard to ignore the possibility that Cuba and the FARC are toying with the president’s ego.

Fifteen months ago, Santos was saying he was amenable to granting unelected guerrilla leaders seats in Congress. He has become enough of a tool to destroy democracy in the process.

Colombia: Government suspends peace talks after FARC kidnaps general

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Colombia Suspends Peace Talks With Rebels After General’s Capture
President Says Negotiations With FARC Are Off Until Further Notice

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in a statement that the peace talks between the Colombian government and members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, currently under way in Havana, Cuba, would be suspended until further notice following the FARC’s capture of Gen. Rubén Darío Alzate in a conflict-torn region near the Pacific coast.

Mr. Alzate was taken hostage along with an army captain, Jorge Rodriguez Contreras, and a civilian lawyer, Gloria Urrego.

All throughout the “peace talks” taking place in Havana, the FARC continued killing and kidnapping. Former president and now senator Alvaro Uribe tweeted,
639 soldiers and police murdered by FARC terrorists during dialogue with Santos.”

Uribe also published an article (in Spanish) on the error of negotiating with the FARC:

Colombia’s Constitutional Court has ruled that President Santos must present any peace agreement with the Marxist rebels to Congress no later than 24 February, and that the public must be told in advance of this date.

Colombia: Who will be the next president?

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Today’s the first round of the Colombian presidential election.

I say the first round because it’s unlikely that current-president Santos will get a large enough majority to avoid a second round.

Uribista Óscar Iván Zuluaga was making headway until the video scandal popped up:
Colombian Presidential Candidate Stumbles Over Campaign Allegations
Conservative Óscar Iván Zuluaga’s Surge in Pre-Vote Polls Hurt by Flap Over Videotapes

A 55-year-old former finance minister who has centered his campaign on sharply criticizing Mr. Santos’ peace talks with Marxist rebels, Mr. Zuluaga became entangled in the scandal after one of his campaign workers was arrested on May 6 for allegedly spying on Mr. Santos’s emails and those of guerrilla commanders participating in negotiations taking place in Havana, Cuba, with the Colombian government.

Eighteen days, two viral videos and numerous denials later, Mr. Zuluaga just can’t shake off accusations he was directly involved in what prosecutors here call a complex case of computer hacking.

Zuluaga denies involvement with the spying that the Santos campaign accused him of orchestrating.

Santos, however, had a scandal, too,

another scandal took off on May 8, when Mr. Zuluaga’s most powerful supporter, former President Álvaro Uribe, alleged $2 million that may have been tainted by drug trafficking was funneled into Mr. Santos’ 2010 presidential campaign. The Santos administration denied accepting funds from drug traffickers, and prosecutors said Mr. Uribe didn’t presented evidence.

Al-Jazeera has Five reasons to care about Colombia’s polls
Arms dealers, coffee drinkers and potential holidaymakers, take note.

5) Colombia is now the closest Western ally in South America, bucking the left’s pink tide

There’s enough dissatisfaction that Colombia Politics blog advises, If no one deserves your vote, vote “en blanco”. The Miami Herald speculates, Analysts say it’s far from clear how badly Zuluaga will be hurt by the scandal, but some have suggested it may sap enough votes to put another candidate into the second round against Santos.The Brazilian psychic predicts Zuluaga will be the next president:

As Drudge says, developing . . .


Colombia: Santos campaign chief resigns

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Today’s top news in Latin America:
J.J. Rendón, who has managed some of the most successful political campaigns in Latin America (and the failed campaign for Henrique Capriles in Venezuela, which he did pro-bono), has resigned as campaign manager for Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos on allegations that Rendón had negotiated with drug traffickers an offer to surrender in 2011 and shut down their operations.

Who is J.J. Rendón?

Rendón is THE topmost campaign advisor in Latin America. He plays to win, and plays hardball. Here’s his talk on neo-totalitarianism:

Who is the accuser?
The man making the accusations, Javier Antonio Calle, was one of Colombia’s most hunted drug traffickers. He turned himself in to the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2012 and is now in jail in the U.S.

The firestorm:
Since Colombia is holding a presidential election on May 25, this has generated a political firestorm.

Adding to the fire, there’s also the 18-month old FARC negotiations in Havana, Rendón’s opposition to Chavismo (he’s Venezuelan), and speculation as to what role international players may have had in the release of this news. One may also have to consider Calle’s motivations, too.

The Espectador story:
Last Sunday El Espectador newspaper published an article claiming that Rendón was given $12 million for submitting a proposal to end 90% the country’s lucrative drug trade

According to El Espectador, the former drug lord, Javier Antonio Calle, alias “Comba,” has told prosecutors that several of the country’s drug traffickers made ​​a deal in 2011 with Rendon in order to submit the proposal to the government.

The proposal outlined a route to shutting down 90% of Colombia’s drug trade, with the surrender of top capos and their henchmen. Among those who participated in the proposal were some of Colombia’s top drug lords, such as Luis Enrique Calle, alias “Comba,” alias “Cuchillo,” Diego Rastrojo, and Loco Barrera.

The 2011 document called ”Agenda for solving the problem of drug trafficking and the violence it generates,” allegedly shows that Rendon officiated as a general strategist for the proposal, which was facilitated by former ELN guerrillas Francisco Galan and Jorge Castañeda. Other sources consulted by El Espectador confirmed that Rendon was actively involved in creating the plan.

Rendon subsequently told El Espectador that there was no exchange of money, that he “acted as a simple messenger”. He insists that he only recently learned the details of the proposal, adding that he will take legal action in response to the allegations.

In the dossier held by El Espectador, Rendon is described as the “general strategist” charged with “damage control, crisis management and facilitator of the negotiations.”

When asked by the journalist Daniel Coronell of Semana Magazine if money had been involved, Rendon replied that, “if there was money involved it must have been in the hands of those who put him in touch with representatives of the narcos: the then senior presidential advisor for political affairs German Chica.”

Rendón has tweeted seven points in response, which I translate (Rendón’s tweets posted below the fold)

1. I received from F[rancisco] Galán a request to communicate to the Government the illegal groups’ proposal to submit to justice.

2. I communicated to Mr. President @JuanManSantos in the presence of prosecutor @Viviane_Morales and General Naranjo their intention.

3. Mr. President @JuanManSantos requested that I channel to the Prosecutor’s Office the documents of that intention to submit to justice.

4. So I did: transparently and officially. With the document # 2011-100-001832-3 dated 7/5/2011 at the General Prosecutor’s Office (Despacho de la Fiscal General).

5. The document was on the hands of the competent authority, for study and follow-up. That was the extent of my part in that matter.

6. I firmly insist that I have not received any money, stipend or benefit, and I dare anyone who says I have to prove it.

7. I am fully willing to collaborate with the competent authorities to clarify anything they may consider relevant, as always!

Uribe’s tweets:
Former president Álvaro Uribe, who is staunchly opposed to negotiations with the narcoterrorists, in turn tweeted,

Pres. Santos has been carrying a long dialogue with ELN in spite of that terrorist organization’s continuous crime, adding it to the FARC’s impunity.”

and,

Pres. Santos announces reform to Prosecutor’s [Office] on the day they ordered to investigate him.”

My question:
Never mind Santos; Who gains the most by taking down Rendón?

(more…)

Colombia: Santos throws the towel

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Methinks he’s really hankering for a Nobel Peace Prize:
Colombian President Santos Seeks New Path on Drug War
Leader Says He Hopes for Breakthrough on Drug War in Peace Talks With FARC Guerrillas

The Colombian leader, who faces a critical re-election test in May, said that an important breakthrough in the war on drugs would be achieved if, as expected, negotiators for his government and for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, reach an agreement on stamping out drug trafficking by the guerrillas, the third point in a proposed peace plan.

The FARC, which the U.S. considers to be a terrorist and drug trafficking organization, relies heavily on cocaine trafficking to finance its activities. The two sides have been locked in tough negotiations for the last 17 months in Havana to end the five-decade guerrilla insurgency.

“I expect to reach an agreement on that third point in the near future,” he said. If the FARC stops drug trafficking and becomes a partner with the government in eradicating drugs, it would have “enormous implications repercussions for Colombia and the world,” he said.

It sounds like Santos believes that the FARC will throw away its hugely profitable main source of revenues, everybody will hold hands, and a choir of potheads stoned on legal pot will Kumbaya as peace breaks out all over the land.

Forgive my cynicism, dear reader, but I visualize a slightly different scenario: The FARC signs whatever agreement will get them into congress (since Santos wants them in congress without being elected), legalizes all its drug activities consolidating power, and Colombia kisses the rule of law good-bye.

Álvaro Uribe’s not buying Santos’s tripe:
Pres. Santos forgot to tell the BBC that he promised secure democracy and he has allowed terrorism to advance

Colombia: Santos wets himself UPDATED

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

The guy who wants to cut a deal with the FARC

VIDEO: Incredible footage shows the moment Colombia’s President WETS HIMSELF during re-election speech

UPDATE:
Colombian president has wet spot appear on pants during speech raising questions on health
Juan Manuel Santos, 62, is seen delivering a speech during his re-election campaign Saturday when the mysterious patch appeared. Santos is not publicly known to be suffering from an illness but had prostate cancer in 2012.