Posts Tagged ‘Maria Corina Machado’

Venezuela: Maria Corina charged; falling oil prices

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

It wasn’t enough to break her nose on the floor of the National Assembly, now Venezuela indicts opposition leader Machado, alleging plot to kill Maduro; she has not been arrested yet.

Watch her response, translated by Global Post,

We know what’s going on in Venezuela.
Our country is collapsing. It’s total chaos. And those clinging to power and are responsible for this situation have decided to respond by repressing and persecuting.
They’re trying to silence everybody, from union members to journalists, tweeters, mayors, human rights defenders, anyone of us who fights for truth.
Today that’s what I’m charged for. They accuse me of a monstrous crime that everyone in Venezuela and the world knows is a big lie.
They charge me because I tell it like it is. Because I tell Maduro every day that he must resign. …
… Because we denounce the corruption and the abuse. Because we accompany the students and workers in their protests and their demands.
They charge me because we are organizing a formidable citizens platform … to carry out the urgent transition to democracy in peace.
Many ask me, why am I turning myself in?
I’ll respond with what I told my own children when they asked me the same question.
I am not turning myself in. I am presenting myself to defend the truth.
What’s the option? Flee, keep quiet, give up?
Our only option is to fight. It’s to confront lies with the truth, because truth always prevails.
The weapon these dictatorial regimes have for remaining in power is the fear they sow in citizens.
… In Venezuela the people are rebelling. We are an enormous majority that wants profound change.
Pain and anguish unite us, but so do our dreams and our democratic convictions.
That’s why it’s time to fight and go forward. My message to all right now is: Rise up, because we are going to succeed.

The trending Twitter hashtag is #YoEstoyConMariaCorina (#IAmWithMariaCorina).

Juan Cristobal Nagel is Live-blogging Maria Corina’s day

—————————————

Earlier today I posted some questions on Venezuela and the falling oil price

Post title changed.

Venezuela: Oil break-even price?

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Tom Bemis looks at Breakevens for most major oil-producing countries (emphasis added)

A widely used measure of the impact of oil prices on major producers’ governments is the fiscal breakeven price. That’s “the average price at which the budget of an oil-exporting country is balanced in a given year,” according to Standard & Poor’s. Estimates of fiscal breakeven prices can vary considerably based on a variety of factors including actual budget expenditures, and differences in oil production forecasts.

In most cases, the oil price necessary to balance the budgets of major oil producing countries is above $100 a barrel in 2015, according to data from Citi Research’s Edward Morse.

Venezuela, already facing serious fiscal woes and rampant inflation, needs oil at $151 a barrel next year to balance its budget, according to the data.

Iran, which has yet to agree to curb development of nuclear weapons and heavily subsidizes gasoline for its citizens, needs oil at $131 a barrel.

And Russia, whose seizure of Crimea and continuing aggression towards Ukraine has raised tensions throughout Europe and inspired western financial sanctions, needs oil at $107 for a chance of getting its finances in order.

Silvana Ordoñez:

Venezuela’s future? ‘Barbarity and people looting’One analyst at Nomura recently estimated that Venezuela may need oil prices to hit $200 a barrel to balance its budget. (The precise figure is difficult to determine, because Venezuela doesn’t disclose as much economic data as other countries do.)

Will The Minister Come Back Empty Handed From China?

It seems as if President Maduro really believed that OPEC would cut production after he sent Ramirez to visit a few countries, including Russia, who happens not to be a member of OPEC. But as most analysts expected, OPEC did not cut production and scheduled the next meeting for next June, bringing a lot of people back to reality, including Maduro. It was only after Ramirez reportedly left the meeting “red faced”, that it sunk in that maybe Plan A was not going to work. Thus, Maduro switched to Plans B and C. Plan B is to “hope” that oil prices bounce back and plan C was to send Minister of Finance Marco Torres to Beijing to see if he can get some money there. Plan D was to name a commission to cut salaries and luxurious expenses. Yeah, sure!

I have been arguing with a bunch of friends about the probability that Torres will come back with a significant loan, which I peg to be around 0.00001, but they seem to think it is somewhat higher. You see, they actually believe that Venezuela has something to offer the Chinese, like oil or oil fields. But the reality is that Venezuela has little to offer at this time and the Chinese know it, so that Minister Torres is very likely to come back empty handed.

Related:
María Corina, and a unified theory of rationed repression



The post-Thanksgiving weekend Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 1st, 2014

LatinAmerYes, I love Thanksgiving Day. No, I don’t go shopping in stores on the weekend.

Now we have that out of the way, let’s look at the week’s stories:

ARGENTINA
Castro Helped the Devil in Argentina

Although they kept it quiet, Argentina’s dictators had a gentlemen’s agreement with Castro. Under the pact, Videla supported Cuba’s bid in 1977 to join the Executive Council of the World Health Organization, a diplomatic feather in Castro’s beret. The quid pro quo was that Havana stump among nonaligned nations to name Argentina to the United Nations prestigious Economic and Social Council. Apparently Cuba’s vote was the 18th and decisive ballot, landing Argentina the coveted UN seat.

Argentina to Snoop Emails from Citizens with Swiss Bank Accounts
Suspected Tax Violators Must Prove Innocence to Authorities

BOLIVIA
ICYMI Beware a Leftist Landslide in Bolivia

BRAZIL
Capping Brazil’s Corruption Gusher

Brazil’s Economy Claws Out of Recession
GDP Expands 0.1% in Third Quarter But Outlook for Latin America’s Biggest Economy Remains Clouded

Drought-hit Sao Paulo may ‘get water from mud': TRFN

CHILE
Chilean Teachers on Strike over Bachelet’s Education Reform
Internal Union Dispute over Benefits May Cause Ruling Party to Reshape Policy

COLOMBIA
Colombia: Farc rebels release two soldiers

CUBA
The Blackest of Fridays Planned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara

Castro’s agents had targeted Macy’s, Gimbels, Bloomingdales, and Manhattan’s Grand Central Station with a dozen incendiary devices and 500 kilos of TNT. The holocaust was set for detonation the following week, on the day after Thanksgiving.

CNN promotes pro-Castro editorials of The New York Times to a wider audience

Silence Enables Violence Against Cuba’s Dissidents

ECUADOR
Ecuador shrimp prices tumble as Chinese buyers hold off

ENTERTAINMENT

Antonio Banderas, Distinguished as Buenos Aires Guest of Honor

IMMIGRATION
White House – Illegal Immigrants Entitled to Social Security and Medicare

Incentivizing the Lawless and Penalizing the Lawful

JAMAICA
Jamaica’s Economy to Show Growth for 2014/15

LATIN AMERICA
The great deceleration
The region’s economies have slowed far more abruptly than anyone expected

Worst off are those countries with populist governments that squandered the windfall from the boom. Forecasters see no let-up in the stagflation afflicting Venezuela and Argentina. Thanks to lack of investment and clumsy macroeconomic management, Brazil’s economy will barely grow this year and faces a fiscal squeeze in 2015. Yet the deceleration goes far wider. The high-flying and well-run economies of Chile, Peru and Colombia are all suffering. The growth rate this year in Chile (2%) and Peru (around 3%) is half that of 2013. Contrast that with sub-Saharan Africa, which is also a big commodity producer and where the IMF expects growth of 5.1% this year and 5.8% next.

MEXICO
As Mexican Border Town Tries to Move On, Some Are Stuck in Limbo

British forensic experts work with Mexican parents to create database of disappeared
As Mexican president announces police revamp following student atrocity outrage, British-funded project aims to identify human remains buried in mass graves across violence-plagued country

NICARAGUA
Andres Oppenheimer: Canal calamity looms in Nicaragua

PANAMA
Alleged Ponzi scammer Quintin Earl Sponagle returned to N.S., to stay behind bars until Tuesday

PERU
Corruption Revives Debate on Peru’s Political Stability

PUERTO RICO
U.S. government warns Puerto Rico of funding loss if transit shuts

URUGUAY
Uruguay’s election
Feeling very mellow
Voters are not in the mood for change

VENEZUELA
Venezuela to charge opposition leader over alleged plot to kill President Maduro
Maria Corina Machado denies any wrongdoing and says the threat is an attempt to silence critics of the government

Venezuela Says 35 Prison Inmates Dead From Overdose
Pressure is building on Venezuela’s government to fully investigate a rising number of deaths at an overcrowded prison, with human-rights activists questioning authorities’ claim of a mass drug overdose by dozens of inmates who stormed an infirmary.

The week’s posts:
Venezuela: AP does Orwell so well

Argentina: Investigate Cristina, get impeached?

En español: Terapia Intensiva 233

Mexico’s failures and immigration

Venezuela: New deal with China

Panama: Legal truble for Carlos Slim

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans

On thankfulness and apple pie



Venezuela: North Korea to open embassy in Caracas

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Caracas hairdressers better take notice:

The June 20 issue of the Gaceta Oficial, the Venezuelan government’s official organ, announced that North Korea is allowed to open an embassy in Caracas.

The murderous Communist North Korean regime, which has attempted to interfere with private businesses in democratic countries, will have an embassy near the newly-expanded Panama Canal.

No wonder the chavistas are decamping to Spain.

In other Venezuelan news,
University students and government opponents protested in Caracas on Tuesday, demanding the release of people who have been arrested in street demonstrations in recent months. Also on Tuesday, Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) granted the army permission to participate in political marches and rallies, and denied that it would encourage proselytizing of the military.

A review of Al-Jazeera’s Fault Lines documentary, Venezuela Divided:
Al-Jazeera sent me information and a preview link to its Fault Lines documentary, Venezuela Divided, which will air on Al Jazeera America Saturday, June 28, at 7 p.m. Eastern time.

The reporter was accompanied by chavistas throughout the film, which is very sympathetic to the regime (as you can see from the article title The art of the Boliviarian revolution in Venezuela, as if the Boliviarian revolution was a symphony).

Venezuela Divided starts by contrasting a slum with an ice cream shop in a middle-to-upper class neighborhood, in the premise that it’s all “rich vs. poor”; the possibility that some of the people in the ice cream shop may be high-ranking chavistas or their relatives does not cross the reporter’s mind.

It shows a confrontation between university students and the National Guard, and a chavista college student whose nose was broken allegedly by anti-government students, while it forgets to show assemblywoman Maria Corina Machado’s nose being broken on the floor of the National Assembly by chavista Nancy Asencio, or the fact that the chavista regime deposed Machado of her Assembly seat and banned her from leaving the country.

Additionally, al-Jazeera’s emphasis on showing the Venezuelan demonstrators as engaged in a “simple” class struggle ignores this,

The report, while talking to members of a colectivo, spent no time on news like this, or this, or on Human Rights Watch’s finding of “systematic” human rights violations in Venezuela.

In the past, al-Jazeera’s reports on Latin America have been interesting, but this one I find lacking.


#SOSVenezuela: Testing Venezuela’s sincerity

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Yesterday’s Miami Herald editorial:
Testing Venezuela’s sincerity
OUR OPINION: Government’s actions undermine calls for mediation

If his stated interest in reconciliation were sincere, the first thing President Nicolás Maduro would do is call off the dogs — the pro-government militants who have sown terror on the streets by intimidating, beating and shooting protesters.

Instead of putting them on a leash, though, Mr. Maduro has publicly praised these thugs as defenders of the “Bolivarian revolution.” Resorting to brute force to silence critics hardly sets the stage for mediation. Targeting high-profile government adversaries, including elected officials, only makes matters worse.

Shortly after the wave of protests began, the government ordered the arrest of outspoken government critic Leopoldo Lopez for allegedly inciting violence. On Friday, an appeals court rejected his plea for bail. Far from discouraging opponents, Mr. Lopez’s imprisonment has served only to raise his profile as a leader of the hard-line opposition and fueled further protest.

Apparently unable to learn from its mistakes, the government doubled down on its dubious tactic. On March 21, authorities jailed the mayors of two cities that have seen some of the most intense unrest — Daniel Ceballos of San Cristóbal and Enzo Scarano of San Diego. They were arrested, tried and sentenced within a matter of hours on trumped-up charges of failing to prevent violence.

Then, last week, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello announced that a prominent opposition deputy, Maria Corina Machado, had lost her seat and parliamentary immunity and could be arrested at any time. She courageously defied the government by leading a street protest days later and remains free as of this writing. But for how long?

While Maduro says he’s open to having a “facilitator” create a dialogue with the opposition, last month he was threatening to bomb the state of Táchira:

“If I have to decree a state of exception especially for the state of Táchira, I am ready to do so. I am ready to decree it, and I will send in the tanks, the troops, the Air Force, the entire armed forces of the fatherland, because we will preserve Táchira as Venezuelan territory, as belonging to Venezuela. I am ready to do it now! I have the constitutional authority to do it, I have the clear strategic vision for it, and ultimately, I have the Enabling Law. I have the Enabling Law. I am willing to do anything for Táchira, anything.”

That was in February; this is what Táchira looked like yesterday,

A top Venezuelan military commander says the security forces have retaken control of the streets in the western city of San Cristobal in Táchira,

The current wave of unrest started in San Cristobal on 4 February, when students took to the streets to protest against the alleged attempted rape of a university student.

Students Set Up Long Term Protest Camp In Front Of UN’s Office in Caracas

When you first talk to them,there are a number of surprises. First, they are not all from Caracas. Second, they are not middle class. Finally, they are not all students, as many of them are part of radical, left wing groups 8yes! [sic], real left wing not imitation Chavistas!) which oppose the Government. So, for fools that claim that these protests are somehow motivated by the US, driven my middle class students, please come down and talk to them. You will be surprised, really surprised.

Today Maria Corina Machado will attempt to attend the scheduled National Assembly meeting, after NA president Diosdado Cabello divested her of her elected position. The Venezuelan Supreme Court rubber-stamped Cabello’s decision.

Now the question is what the opposition will do. Is it still trying to pretend dialogue is possible? Will it make a show of force and try to enter with Maria Corina Machado in Parliament even if all may risk arrest? When are we going to start calling the regime a dictatorship and deal with it accordingly?

There’s a demonstration scheduled at noon to show her support.

We’ll see how it evolves.

Elsewhere, in “one of the most democratic nations on Earth”, the government announced it will begin fingerprinting customers who use state-run grocery stores. Supposedly to prevent hoarding,

Patrons will register with their fingerprints, and the new ID card will be linked to a computer system that monitors purchases. Food Minister Felix Osorio says it will sound an alarm when it detects suspicious purchasing patterns, barring people from buying the same goods every day.

Considering the precedent of the Tascón List and the Maisanta program, this does not bode well.

Update:
Re: the new ID cards for food purchases, it’s worth keeping in mind that just 2 days ago ABC.es was reporting that Cubans manage Venezuela’s ID system, its identity cards and passports.

What could possibly go wrong?

This just in,
Venezuelan president orders landlords to sell homes in 60 days or face fine of £24,000 in wild bid to plug housing shortage
Owners leasing for 20 years ‘must sell’, evicted if don’t pay fine in five days
Law dictates they must sell for ‘fair price’ to prevent dip in the market
Landlords must submit prospective sale prices to the government
Comes as ‘grocery ID’ scheme launched to monitor amount people buy


Venezuela: Slingshots vs tanks

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

A demonstrator uses a slingshot against the National Guard during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in San Cristobal, about 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas, February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuela’s Failing State, by Leopoldo López, jailed since Feb. 18,

For 15 years, the definition of “intolerable” in this country has declined by degrees until, to our dismay, we found ourselves with one of the highest murder rates in the Western Hemisphere, a 57 percent inflation rate and a scarcity of basic goods unprecedented outside of wartime.

Our crippled economy is matched by an equally oppressive political climate. Since student protests began on Feb. 4, more than 1,500 protesters have been detained and more than 50 have reported that they were tortured while in police custody. Over 30 people, including security forces and civilians, have died in the demonstrations. What started as a peaceful march against crime on a university campus has exposed the depth of this government’s criminalization of dissent.

Indeed. As the country goes up in smoke, the same government who claims to have been “democratically elected” is in full assault against elected representatives:

And it’s also jailing the military:

President Nicolás Maduro said Tuesday that three air force generals allegedly plotting to overthrow the government had been arrested amid antigovernment protests that have roiled the country for nearly two months.

While publishing Leopoldo López’s letter, the NYT did a “two newspapers in one” by sending two reporters to gather opinions about Cuba’s interference in Venezuela. Babalu explains,

But alas, this is the New York Times and the outcome of their so-called investigation had already been decided before the reporters were even assigned to the story. Of course the newspaper of record – the same one that has brought us so many honest and respectable journalists such as Herbert Matthews — found absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Cuba’s Castro dictatorship has infiltrated Venezuela. Instead, what they discover are “hardliners” who are “fixated” with going after Cuba. They even trot out Castro regime supporter Arturo Lopez-Levy, a former Castro-intelligence-agent-turned-American-academic who also happens to be a member of the Castro crime family to prove their point.

It’s not just Cuba; it’s also Russia. Back when he was alive, Hugo Chavez offered Putin the use of military installations as Russian bases. A Venezuelan general has even tweeted about it:
SECRET ACCORD with Russia signed in 2009 when Chavez unconditionally offered Russia the use of the Orchilla Island military base.”

Related: Putin’s quiet Latin America play, and it’s not only Russia,

With the American presence waning, officials say rivals such as Russia, China and Iran are quickly filling the void.

Iran has opened up 11 additional embassies and 33 cultural centers in Latin America while supporting the “operational presence” of militant group Lebanese Hezbollah in the region.

“On the military side, I believe they’re establishing, if you will, lily pads for future use if they needed to use them,” Kelly said.

China is making a play for Latin America a well, and is now the fastest growing investor in the region, according to experts. Although their activity is mostly economic, they are also increasing military activity through educational exchanges.

The Chinese Navy conducted a goodwill visit in Brazil, Chile and Argentina last year and conducted its first-ever naval exercise with the Argentine Navy.

It’s slingshots vs tanks.


#SOSVenezuela, Maria Corina, and the OAS

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

As I reported yesterday, the OAS voted yesterday to shut out the media and the public from Maria Corina Machado’s testimony. Here’s the video she prepared for the OAS:

34 OAS ambassadors didn’t see [the] video; 385,000 citizens have

Thanks to Panamanian ambassador @ArturoVallarino, Maria Corina was able to testify at the OAS, albeit behind closed doors:

In an unusual move, Maria Corina Machado, an opposition lawmaker whom the Venezuelan government is trying to put in prison, was made a temporary member of Panama’s delegation to have access to the organization, which so far has largely failed to act on, or even publicly debate, the continuing crisis in Venezuela.

We did it!!! The voice of the Venezuelan people was heard at the OAS!!!

The OAS’s closed-door vote is a shameful spectacle, a triumph of autocracy over democracy.

In violation of the OAS charter,

the representatives of these so called “democracies” had to start by protecting the repressor, Dictator Nicolas Maduro, violating not only the Charter of the OAS, but Ms. Machado’s rights and that of the opposition to be heard in a forum which is supposed to be there to defend the basic rights of people across the Americas.

And while I can understand the strong dependency of the weak Caribbean economies on the stupid (or is it?) largesse of the even more stupid revolution, I was most disappointed at how so many of these Latin American countries were ready to prostitute themselves in order to protect their mercantile interests. It is remarkable how low these mostly leftists Governments have fallen. Despite being democratically elected, they were not willing to give a voice to the over 50% of Venezuelans that find themselves discriminated against and repressed by the Maduro Dictatorship.

And in doing so, they are trying to defend the most repressive Government, save for Cuba, to have risen in the region in the last two decades. How these representatives and their Governments can sleep at night is beyond me, more so when some of them were victims of similar repression in the past.

But somehow they are short sighted enough in thinking that this will not happen again in their countries and that their commercial interests are being protected by their unethical actions. Both premises are actually wrong. As the world turns, their countries may swing back to repression and they may need the same type of solidarity Venezuela’ opposition deserves today. But more importantly, their belief that their actions in support of the Maduro Dictatorship will somehow lead to payment of Venezuela’s debts with their countries or companies is simply wrong. As stated by Minister Ramirez or the President of the Central Bank, Nelson Merentes, there is no money to pay anything but the foreign currency budget they have established for the year 2014.

So, forget it! You will not collect under Dictator Maduro. In fact, you would probably have a better chance under a change in Government that would put order in the economy and reduce some of the absurd subsidies present in the Venezuelan economy. Only in this case, could Venezuela receive loans and cut subsidies which would, with very strict management, allow it to pay its debts with these countries, that so easily supported what can not be supported under any moral framework.

While Maria Corina was allowed to speak at the OAS, a student, and the mother of one of the protestors killed were not, as the Brazilan ambassador labeled their presence “a circus“.

These countries voted for openness:

Canada
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
USA
Guatemala
Honduras
México
Paraguay
Perú

Daniel Duquenal sees the vote as a breakdown of the OAS.

Simeon Tegel of Global Post writes on Why the OAS doesn’t want you to hear what this woman has to say
The Organization of American States blocked press access to hear a staunch opponent of Venezuela’s government

Machado faces the prospect of being jailed like Leopoldo Lopez, another opposition leader who has encouraged the demonstrations against widespread food shortages, skyrocketing inflation and the horrendous violent crime wave engulfing Venezuela.

Separately, two opposition mayors have been arrested in the last 48 hours — with one already sentenced to 10 months in jail — for failing to remove the street barricades put up by some of the protesters.

Upon her return, Maria Corina will be facing charges of murder and treason,

The attempt to silence Machado on trumped up charges follows the pattern of treatment opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has experienced. Lopez was arrested in February on charges including murder, arson and incitement and immediately placed in a military prison. Some of those charges were later dropped but charges of incitement remain.

Venezuela journalist Nelson Bocaranda writes that Maduro’s paying Cubans to vandalize.

While this is going on, Maduro claims that Venezuela’s the country with the highest democratic participation, and that his government has eradicated hunger. I can’t wait for the US lefties to repeat those two gems, the way they tout how Hugo Chavez “improved the economy drastically and ameliorated poverty drastically”, and Cuba’s “excellent free healthcare”.

Food shortages in fact now run at 47.7% of what’s demanded, along with shortages of water and electricity.

Antigovernment demonstrators in Caracas faced off against riot police armed with tear gas and water cannons on Friday after Wednesday’s arrest of another opposition leader:

There’s another demonstration scheduled for today, too. The official protest death toll in Venezuela is up to 31.

RELATED:
VENEZUELA’S MADURO THREATENS TO ARREST MORE OPPOSITION MAYORS

UPDATE:
Linked to by Doug Ross and Babalu. Thank you!


LIVE: OAS hearing on Maria Corina Machado blacked out?

Friday, March 21st, 2014

UPDATE:
4:40PM EDT: AFP reports OAS bars press for session on Venezuela

Among the countries voting with Brazil to keep out the press were Nicaragua, Uruguay, El Salvador, Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia and all but one of the Caribbean countries. Barbados abstained.

Panama had accredited Venezuelan lawmaker Maria Corina Machado to its delegation so she could speak about the situation in Venezuela where 31 people have been killed anti-government protests since February 4.

Voting with Panama against closing the OAS session were the United States, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras.

Machado said the vote against opening the session reflected “the totalitarian vocation of the Venezuelan regime.”

Machado is a proponent, along with jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, of an opposition strategy called “the exit” which seeks to force President Nicolas Maduro’s resignation under pressure of street protests.

The government is threatening to strip her of her parliamentary immunity and charge her with murder over the street protests.

The Venezuelan case was discussed two weeks ago at the OAS in a special session of its permanent council, which also was held behind close doors.

Caracas Chronicles:

Out of the 17 Spanish speaking countries in OAS, 9 voted against the Maduro regime, just 8 for it.

In fact, all we saw today was the payoff from a long-running strategy by the Chávez regime to buy off small, weak Caribbean island states with oil subsidies. The thirteen smallest countries in OAS voted as a block to support the government, including every Caribbean statelet and every non-Spanish speaking country except for the U.S. and Canada.

All today’s vote really shows is that the government went on a shopping spree in the Caribbean, buying off weak states on the cheap. But it’s a funny kind of Bolivarian alliance, isn’t it, where 14 out of 22 countries supporting you don’t speak Bolívar’s language.

UPDATE:
11:07AM EDT: Session closed. No more video.

EARLIER:
10:10AM
Will democracy survive the OAS today?

I was attempting to connect to the Organization of American States hearing where Venezuelan Assemblywoman and national opposition leader Maria Corina Machado is scheduled to speak. Surprise! The http://www.oas.org/ website is down:


Service Unavailable

Sources in DC say that the servers in the US government and Congress cannot access the OAS site, either.

Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua want the meeting closed to the press.

Panama demanded this meeting three weeks ago. Canada, the US, and Peru insist on proceeding according to OAS rules. Allan Culham, the Canadian ambassador, was particularly eloquent.

10:59AM
They are voting now (watch at OAS Live). 22 votes in favor of closing, 11 against, 1 abstained.

#SOSVenezuela: Maria Corina calls for protests today, Maduro Warns protesters “We are coming for you”

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

National Assemblywoman Maria Corina Machado will be leading a demonstration today at 10AM Caracas time,
Today, #March16, to the streets to defend our sovereignty and dignity! #AgainstCubanOpression and V[enezuela]’s submission to Cuba. C[aracas] 10AM El Indio Square

The gathering will protest the presence of Cuban military in the armed forces, and student leaders fron several universities are speaking.

Yesterday, Maria Corina Machado and at least one other legislator were attacked as they were about to board a flight at Ciudad Guayana airport.

Maria Corina has more guts than most men, continuing as a true leader, after having had her nose broken at the instigation and in the presence of National Assembly head Diosdado Cabello.

The Cuban regime has ordered snipers to take positions on top of buildings in Venezuela.

Dictator Nicolas Maduro escalated his comments

exclaiming that he “won’t be bullied,” and warning “prepare yourself, we are coming for you,” if protesters don’t “go home within hours.”

  • *VENEZUELAN PROTESTERS HAVE ‘HOURS’ TO CLEAR BARRICADES: MADURO
  • *MADURO SAYS HE’LL SEND ARMED FORCES TO ‘LIBERATE’ PROTEST AREAS

With 28 dead in the last month of protests, things are very serious but as we warned previously, Maduro still enjoying the support of the poor – as EuroNews reports, it appears he is not going anywhere soonJohn Kerry also came under fire as the foreign minister called him “a “murderer of the Venezuelan people,” accusing him of encouraging the protests.

He then played John Lennon’s song ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and urged the United States to discuss “peace and sovereignty” in a high level commission mediated by the Union of South American Nations (Unasur).

Maduro, in an interview with Christiane Amanpour, seized the opportunity to speak out of both sides of his mouth, saying that

“Venezuela no necesita tener ninguna mediación… Creo que lo que requiere es colaboración”.

“Venezuela needs no mediation. . . I believe what it requires is colaboration”.

Also yesterday, in the spirit of such “collaboration,” the Communist government held an event loaded with Fascist imagery,

proving Hayek right when he said, “Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion.”

Post re-redacted to add two links.


The Iranian networks Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

LatinAmerThis week’s big news item is the spotlight on a subject I’ve posted about for years: Iran’s Latin American networks.

Mary O’Grady has the background information:
Uncovering Iran’s Latin Networks
A prosecutor in Buenos Aires finds Tehran’s fingerprints region-wide.

In October 2006, Mr. Nisman indicted seven Iranians and one Lebanese-born member of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia for the AMIA murders. Interpol notices for their arrest were issued but none was captured. Then, late last year, the Argentine government of Cristina Kirchner announced that a “truth commission,” to be chosen by Argentina and Iran, would examine the viability of the prosecutor’s case.

To many Argentines, that seemed like letting the fox decide the fate of the chickens. But Mrs. Kirchner forged ahead, getting congress to agree. On May 20 Ahmadinejad approved Iran’s participation on the commission.

Mr. Nisman’s response was to release a mountain of evidence against Tehran into cyberspace for all the world to see.

Video:

My posts on the subject this week:
Roundup: More on Iran in Latin America

Argentina: Iran’s infiltration in Latin America

ARGENTINA
Color Dekadencia

Argentina’s Elected Autocracy
Faced with growing public opposition, the Kirchner government is stepping up its attacks on democracy.

An Argentine Dictator’s Legacy

CHILE
Maria Corina Machado went to Chile. Juan Cristobal Nagel is charmed.

COLOMBIA
Colombia says Maduro claims ‘crazy’
Colombia rejects as “crazy” allegations made earlier this week that it is trying to destabilise Venezuela, in the latest diplomatic row.

CUBA
Iran and Cuba: The Real “Mad Men”

All Eyes on Yoani’s Return

Cuban dissident says security forces are studying Vladimir Putin’s rule

An Honor Roll

I did not mention this — that he named the embassies in Havana that allow dissidents and democrats to come in and use the Internet. Would you like the complete list? The embassies of the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Holland, and the U.S. interests section (which is housed in the Swiss embassy). That’s it. “The rest of the diplomatic corps in Cuba does not give us any type of help,” said Roberto.

Che Guevara was no hero, he was a racist (h/t Babalu)

ECUADOR
Ecuador: Concern for Rights of WikiLeaks Founder

EL SALVADOR
A Salvadoran at Risk Tests Abortion Law

Salvadoran woman allowed C-section
A seriously ill Salvadoran woman says she will undergo a Caesarean section following the Supreme Court’s decision to deny her an abortion.

GUATEMALA
Ex-President of Guatemala Faces Judge in Manhattan

HONDURAS
Honduran gang truce begins

JAMAICA
Police: American killed in Jamaica during robbery

LATIN AMERICA
Meet Latin America’s Serious Side: The Pacific Alliance

MEXICO
Murder of Mexican reporter in Veracruz spotlights official hostility toward press

Immigration Reform: Compassion for Mexican Elites

PERU
Wedding bells for Van der Sloot in Peru prison

PUERTO RICO
Annals of the Security State: ‘Is Puerto Rico in America?’

VENEZUELA
The Dead Voted Massively Last October in Venezuela

Venezuelan Military “Technology”: It’s All Kid’s Stuff

The True Intentions of Iran in Latin America are Questioned

The week’s posts:
Mexico: 11 kidnapped in broad daylight

Good news Sunday: The Pacific Alliance

Venezuela: Bayly entrevista a Capriles, 2a. parte

El Salvador: Abortion denied

Venezuela: Capriles travels to Colombia

Mexico: Iron Man? No, Peatónito!

Venezuela: 2 Americans shot in strip club

Cuba: Would you spend a week’s salary for an hour on the internet?

Paraguay: Nueva Germania, and Nietzsche’s sister

Podcast:
US-Latin America: Free trade agreements