Posts Tagged ‘Repsol YPF’

The Memorial Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 26th, 2014

LatinAmerWith deep gratitude to all who have served our beautiful country in the armed forces, this week’s Carnival.

ARGENTINA
Spanish oil company Repsol ends operations in Argentina
Spanish oil company Repsol has ended its operations in Argentina, two years after the government seized its assets.

Last month the Argentine congress gave final approval to pay $5bn (£3bn) in compensation for Repsol’s stake in Argentine oil firm YPF.

The Spanish company has now announced that it has sold the last batch of bonds it received to cover its losses.

Argentina’s Jewish community talks fondly of friend Francis in the Vatican
Rabbi Abraham Skorka only one of large number of Argentinian Jews with whom pope has developed strong, personal ties

A Desperate Mother’s Search Leads to a Fight Against Sex Trafficking
Desperate for answers about her daughter’s disappearance in 2002, Susana Trimarco started the Fundación María de los Ángeles, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates sex slaves in Argentina.

BAHAMAS
Ah, Bahamas: Sun, Sand and the NSA Recording Your Cell Phone Calls

BOLIVIA
Bolivia Hires Spain’s Isotron to Build Solar Power Plant

BRAZIL
Brazil Deploys Vast World Cup Security Plan
Brazil is spending $855 million on security and safety during the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup, which the country will host from June 12 to July 13, the government said on Friday.

Freak hail storm strikes World Cup 2014 host city Sao Paulo
A hail storm covers streets in ice in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo which will host the opening match of the football World Cup in less than a month

CHILE
Revolutionary ‘tears-up’ £300m student debt to protest fees
A Chilean artist has destroyed £300m of student debt ‘IOUs’ to protest tuition charges

COLOMBIA
Colombia’s President Santos to face Zuluaga in run-off vote
Official results from Colombia’s presidential election say the incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos will face his main rival, Oscar Zuluaga, in a run-off next month.

Oscar Iván Zuluaga, a conservative candidate closely allied with former President Álvaro Uribe, won the most votes in the first round of Sunday’s presidential election.

CUBA
Yoani Sanchez’s Independent Online Publication Unblocked in Cuba

From Inside Cuba’s Burning Fire

Miami, Safe Haven for Cuban Torturers? Federal Case of Ethiopian Abuser Reminder, You Cannot Hide from US Justice

Andres Oppenheimer: In Cuba, technology may beat censorship

A Cagy KGB Rabbi

ECUADOR
Ecuador to Begin Oil Drilling in Amazonia

Presidente for life: Ecuador’s Correa Seeks to Allow Indefinite Re-Election of All Officials
Ecuador’s President Asks for Constitutional Amendment

EL SALVADOR
6 Gunned Down on Bus in El Salvador

GUATEMALA
U.S. Sentences Guatemala Ex-President to 5 Years for Money Laundering

HONDURAS
In Violent Honduras, Soccer Is Offering Young Children An Escape From Gangs, Drugs

JAMAICA
Lobbyists call for Jamaica to decriminalize pot

MEXICO
Marine hero stuck in Mexican prison on gun charges

Mexican Zapatista head Marcos steps down
The leader of the Zapatista rebels in southern Mexico, Subcomandante Marcos, announces he is leaving the 20-year-old guerrilla group.

Mexican federal forces rescue 68 CentAm migrants being held captive

How Mexico’s New President Is Turning His Country Into a Servile US Client
Enrique Peña Nieto is using violence and repression to dismantle his country’s progressive legacy.
So, is servility why Mexico’s holding Andrew Tahmooressi?

PERU
U.S. Opens Talks with Peru on Waiving Visas

Attorney: Joran van der Sloot to marry in Peruvian prison, become father

PUERTO RICO
Borinqueneers to get Congressional Gold Medal

URUGUAY
Marijuana to Be Sold for Less Than $1 a Gram in Uruguay
Authorities said the price was deliberately set below what marijuana sells for illegally, and the quality control of the drug available at pharmacies would be “very high”

VENEZUELA
CNN team denied right to cover Venezuela local elections

Surprise! Latrine America backs Maduro in Venenozuela

Mythbusting the reduction of poverty

Unfortunately, A Bleak Future For Venezuelans.

Crackdown presents challenge to Citizens Energy, Joe Kennedy II

The week’s posts and podcast:
Puerto Rico: rising volume of drugs coming from Venezuela

Colombia: Who will be the next president?

En español: Unidad de quemados

Mexico: Kevin’s selfie

Bob Menendez on the Venezuelan nightmare

LatAm in top-10 happiest

UN: Cuba to chair World Health Assembly

Venezuela: Chavistas rolling in dough

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Cuba and moral blindness

Podcast:
US-Latin America stories of the week


The first Monday in March Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

LatinAmerVenezuela’s demonstrations continue to be the week’s top story, in spite of the media blackout. Take some time to look at photos and read about The Venezuela Paradox,

After three weeks of repression, fifteen dead, at least 60 reported tortured and more than eight hundred detained, including opposition leaders and reporters, the Venezuelan students have at least shown the world what little respect the Maduro administration has for the human and civil rights of the people.

Keep in mind that

The protests come from people who realize that their future has been robbed by a narco-kleptocracy. Almost anyone in Venezuela that has aspirations to a better future through education, hard work, you name it, questions more or less actively the regime.

More below:

ARGENTINA
Heisenberg: Chapo Guzmán, la conexión argentina

What could possibly go wrong? Argentina Plans Price-Control Measures
President Cristina Kirchner has pledged tougher measures against businesses that raise prices, as her administration tries to stabilize an economy suffering from double-digit inflation and hard currency shortages.

Devaluation Hurts Argentina’s Regional Standing
Colombia Has Likely Overtaken Argentina as Latin America’s Third-Largest Economy

Two Years After Expropriation, Argentina and Repsol Sign Accord on YPF
The agreement establishes compensation for the Spanish oil firm of $5 billion in dollar-denominated government bonds, a debt that will be settled by 2033, at the latest, if the bonds are held to maturity

Upcoming meme alert: Expect MSNBC to start referring to the Venezuelan demonstrations (if they ever notice them) as “attempts at a soft coup”, Presidenta argentina habla de ‘golpe suave’ en Venezuela

BOLIVIA
Bolivia’s 2013 revenue from gas sales to neighbors totals $6 bn

BRAZIL
Pity Brazil’s Military Police

The military police are not part of the armed forces, and yet they operate according to military principles of rank and discipline. They cannot strike or unionize, and are subject to a military-style penal code (meaning transgressions at work can be treated as mutiny or treason, and officers are tried in a special court). They are prohibited from “revealing facts or documents that can discredit the police or disrupt hierarchy or discipline.”

They also can’t openly disapprove of the acts of civilian authorities from the executive, legislative or judicial branches of government, and are forbidden to express their personal political opinions.

Brazil Sings a New Tune
As millions leave poverty behind, Brazilian funk is moving from the slums to the mainstream

CHILE
South American Anarchists Teach Anti-Capitalist Tactics to American Students

Scientists solve mystery of Chile’s ‘whale graveyard’

“This is a site on par with Dinosaur National Monument here in the United States, a whole hillside littered with dinosaur skeletons. We seem to have the same thing except with whales here in Chile.”

COLOMBIA
US Dismisses Colombia FARC Request to Join Peace Negotiations

More women in Colombian politics, please

CUBA
From The Economist story (also posted under Panama, below): Caribbean ports and the Panama canal
Ripple effects

Brazil and Cuba agreed in 2009 to develop the port of Mariel, west of Havana, through a partnership between Brazil’s Grupo Odebrecht and a state-owned Cuban company, with PSA International of Singapore as operator. The port has been dredged to a comfortable 18 metres and was inaugurated in January. But a major transshipment role is blocked by the American trade embargo: ships which have been to Cuba are barred for six months from American ports. More time to complete the Panama expansion means more time for the embargo to lift.

Lining a Dictator’s Pockets
No good would come of lifting the embargo on Cuba.

CURACAO
Curacao’s StartUp Stock Exchange Combines Crowdfunding with Stock Exchange

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
U.S. Medical Tourism To Dominican Republic Could Increase With High-Tech Clinic

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador Could Be the Next Venezuela
Experts say country could morph into Venezuela if ruling party retains control

GUATEMALA
The Fine Tapestry of the Kaqchikel Women of Guatemala

HAITI
UN official urges Haiti compensation
A UN official breaks ranks with the world body, and calls for compensation for Haitian victims of a cholera outbreak many blame on peacekeepers.

HONDURAS
Democracy

MEXICO
Mexican Drug Lord Owns Nearly 300 Companies

NICARAGUA
Why the Plan to Dig a Canal Across Nicaragua Could Be a Very Bad Idea

PANAMA
Caribbean ports and the Panama canal
Ripple effects

The new locks will accommodate ships which can take almost three times that load and need a draft of over 15 metres.

These monsters will slash shipping costs for Pacific cargo en route for Atlantic ports, and boost the 6% share of world trade that the Panama canal now claims.

PARAGUAY
Giant Prehistoric Sloth Fossil Found In Paraguay

PERU
Voting in Peru? Referendum on ballot just got more confusing

PUERTO RICO
Moody’s Issues Junk Rating for Coming Puerto Rico Bond Sale

20 arrested for bank fraud, money laundering in Puerto Rico

VENEZUELA
Whither Venezuela?

The WSJ lists Venezuela’s Opposition Leaders
University students have been the backbone of the antigovernment movement, but demonstrators recently have looked to Leopoldo López, a former mayor of the Chacao district of Caracas and leader of the Popular Will party. Read more about the opposition to President Nicolás Maduro.

Death toll from Venezuela street protests rises to 18
caracas clashes
Anti-government protests continue to Caracas and across Venezuela with ongoing battles between protesters and police claiming the life of a national guardsman

Chavismo Thrives on Mistrust

The U.S. Was Ready to Impose Sanctions on Ukraine. Why Not Venezuela, Too?

How Chavez planted the seeds of violence

‘A Perfect Storm': The Failure of Venezuela’s New President
He was hand-picked by Hugo Chávez, but Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has lost control of the country’s economy. Vast protests have been the result, but the government in Caracas has shown no signs of bending.

Jailed Venezuela protest leader mocks President’s talks

ARE CUBAN SPECIAL FORCES SHOOTING AT VENEZUELAN PROTESTERS?

Senate Resolution Targets Venezuelan Rights Violators

The week’s posts and podcast:
Latin America at the #Oscars2014

Just what the Venezuelans need: Jimmy Carter!

#SOSVenezuela: Hugo loses his head in Táchira

Rubio’s speech on Cuba and Venezuela

Argentina: The more things change . . .

Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua: Russia to add military bases overseas UPDATED

Venezuela, en español: Entrevista con Gen. Ángel Vivas

En español: Terapia intensiva

Venezuela: Tweeting the barricades #SOSVenezuela

Mexico: How Chapo was nabbed

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
What would it take for Latin America’s left-wing populist economies to turn around?

Venezuela: “Don’t you get weary!”

Podcast:
Victor Triay, author PLUS US-Latin America this week

The “where is Snowden” Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 1st, 2013

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Today’s must-read: Iran’s Latin America Strategy

Repsol Rejects Argentina’s YPF Compensation Offer
Spanish Oil Firm Calls Terms Unsatisfactory After Last Year’s Expropriation by Buenos Aires

CFK contra los pueblos originarios: Antes de subir al avión al Vaticano el líder Qom tuvo que explicar sobre sus dólares

BOLIVIA
10 Worst Countries for Tourists
Turistas Go Home

BRAZIL
The Gringo’s Guide to Demonstrations in Brazil

Brazil Protests Prompts a Media Shift
Brazil’s recent protests has allowed independent media to gain some traction in a landscape long dominated by a few mainstream giants.

Support for Brazil’s President Plummets
Backing for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s administration has dropped sharply in the past month.

Brazilian Tycoon Batista’s Empire on Edge
Just months after he unveiled it, Brazilian commodity tycoon Eike Batista’s bid to rebalance his unsteady oil, mining and shipping empire is nearly in tatters, overtaken by a shift in investor sentiment.

Brazil’s protests
The cries are answered
The government offers a package of reforms to appease protesters. Is it enough?

CHILE
Chilean Police Dismantle Student Protests
Police have evicted protesting students from the public schools that will be used as polling stations for Sunday’s primary elections in Chile, making at least 150 arrests.
Former president Michele Bachelet won, which comes as no surprise.

COLOMBIA
Colombian Land Deals Are Scrutinized
Large Firms Bought Out Deeds Distributed to Farmers

Colombia, a country without memory?

CUBA
North Korea and Castro Kingdom: Forging Bright Plans for the Future, For Sure

Afraid of Change

More U.S. Citizens Imprisoned in Cuba

Blob alert from Castro Kingdom: It’s a monster… it’s Michael Moore… it’s the ghost of Hugo Chavez…no…. it’s something else!

ECUADOR
Snowden Scrap: Ecuador Thumbs Nose at Washington

The Errors of Edward Snowden and His Global Hypocrisy Tour

And what about Ecuador? Why, just two weeks ago, this country that is apparently on Snowden’s list of possible future homes passed new rules that impede free expression. The statute, called the Communications Law, prohibits anyone from disseminating information through the media that might undermine the prestige or credibility of a person or institution (you know, like revealing a government-sponsored surveillance program). The law also places burdens on journalists, making them subject to civil or criminal penalties for publishing information that serves to undermine the security of the state (you know, like revealing a government-sponsored surveillance program).

Biden Contacted Ecuador on Snowden
Ecuador’s president said the U.S. vice president called him and asked that the NSA leaker’s asylum request be rejected.
HONDURAS
US renews Honduras Travel Warning

JAMAICA
Chris Blackwell’s Jamaican Retreat
The Island Records founder and hotelier shares his love for Jamaica through his latest homegrown hit—his farm.

MEXICO
How Mexico Became So Corrupt
From Sicily to Tijuana, how monopolies and governments perpetuate one another.

Drug-Related Killings Drop in Mexico
The trend is welcome in a nation exhaused by years of violence associated with organized crime, even if the reasons behind it are hard to pin down.

The US-Mexico border
Secure enough
Spending billions more on fences and drones will do more harm than good

Mexico’s middle class
Too bourgeois to bus tables

PERU
Ancient Wari royal tomb unearthed in Peru
Archaeologists in Peru have unearthed a royal tomb with treasures and mummified women from about 1,200 years ago.

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Rolling Out The Welcome Mat For Millionaires

VENEZUELA
ALBA
Laundering Venezuela’s dirty money

Maria Corina Machado victim of a Cuban character assassination technique (counts as XXI century fascism too)

Government Imports Soar In Venezuela

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Today’s must-read

Ecuador: Maybe Assange ought to keep his mouth shut

Ecuador: No travel documents for Snowden

Alexander does the tango

Is Edward Snowden about to become the world’s most famous illegal alien?

Snowden not in Ecuador

Brazil: Left manipulating demonstrations

Where is Snowden?

Podcast:
The Snowden episode & Ecuador


Argentina: The bond extortion

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Cristina looks at a specimen

Argentina’s Deadbeat Special: Buy a 4% Bond or Go to Jail

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wants tax evaders hiding about $160 billion in dollars to help finance Argentina’s oil-producing ambitions. Her offer: Buy a 4 percent bond or face the prospect of jail time.

The tax authority announced the plan May 7, highlighting its information-sharing agreements with 40 nations and warning Argentines who don’t use the three-month amnesty window that they risk fines or arrest. Evaders have two options for their cash and the only one paying interest will be a dollar bond due in 2016 to finance YPF SA (YPF), the state oil company. The 4 percent rate is a third the average 13.85 yield on Argentine debt and less than the 4.6 percent in emerging markets.

I’m sure investors will rush to purchase bonds with below-market yields from a government who’s fined economists who dared publish data on Argentina’s real inflation rate of 25%, while

The government’s statistics agency reported Wednesday that annual inflation last month amounted to 10.5%.

That’s been roughly the rate around which the government has been paying on its inflation-linked bonds.

If investors in those securities have accepted the reduced payments based on the official data, workers unions in recent years have not, successfully garnering annual wage increases of 25% or more.

But, hey, the government’s increasing the monitoring of income and spending.

What could possibly go wrong?

Linked by Dustbury. Thank you!

Remember that dry offshore Cuban oil well? UPDATED

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Last month Spanish oil company Repsol came up dry after drilling in more than 6,000 feet of water off Cuba.

In an interesting turn, guess who’s buying the platform? PDVSA!

Yes, Hugo Chavez’s oil company.
Petronas, PDVSA to drill off Cuba (that’s Petronas, not patronus), so now the Malasians, the Venezuelans, and the Russians are involved with that particular platform:

Cash-strapped Cuba’s long quest for black gold took another twist on Tuesday with the announcement that a Malaysian firm and Venezuela’s PDVSA will use an advanced oil platform vacated by Spain’s Repsol.

Repsol had been doing exploratory drilling since February offshore not far from Havana, but on May 22 said it had not found oil with the Scarabeo-9, a state-of-the-art US$500,000-a-day platform.

“The Scarabeo-9 platform used in exploratory drilling in the field Jaguey-1X has been moved to the Catoche-1X well area,” said a statement from state oil firm Cupet read out on an official news broadcast.

The new well, “where drilling started May 24,” is operated by a Malaysian firm that is a subsidiary of Petronas “on a risk contract with Cupet in which Russia’s Gastrionet also is taking part.”

Once drilling is complete on the current well, Scarabeo-9 will be moved to an area called Cabo de San Antonio 1X, run by Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), the Cupet statement added, without giving dates.

It’s not clear if Repsol got reimbursed for its state-of-the-art platform, since the article doesn’t mention that any money actually changed hands, but

Cuba’s economic zone in the Gulf is divided into 59 blocs. They include ventures with Repsol (Spain), Hydro (Norway), OVL (India), PDVSA (Venezuela), Petrovietnam, Petronas (Malaysia) and Sonangol (Angola). China and Venezuela have said they intend to help Cuba triple its refining capacity by 2017.

Alberto de la Cruz poured some snark on the news,

Considering how Venezuela’s PDVSA is hemorrhaging money due to corruption and mismanagement in spite of that country’s oil wealth, this new venture in Cuba ought to go real well

Oh, come on, Alberto, there is such a thing as boundless optimism in Communism,

But if Cuba locks in its energy independence, it could lurch from a cash-poor developing nation into a flush oil exporter overnight, potentially breathing new life into its one-party state.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the last time anyone became a “flush oil exporter overnight,” they made a TV series,

UPDATE,
Read Kermit’s comments here and here.


Property rights are human rights,

Monday, June 4th, 2012

as Argentina’s case shows: The government who took over individual pensions and the Spanish company Repsol YPF’s assets is now trying to get out of paying Repsol by doing an Ecuadorian maneuver and try to assess “environmental penalties”, all in violation of the country’s constitution,
Kirchner’s Oil Expropriation Backfires
Many Argentines fear the checks and balances restraining presidential power are gone.

the YPF decision might make matters worse, even in the short run. That’s because the nationalization was done in violation of Article 17 of the Argentine constitution, which says that an expropriation has to be carried out according to the law and not before the company is compensated.

The fact that neither the courts nor Congress (including the opposition) tried to stop what was clearly illegal under Argentine law confirms what many Argentines have feared: The checks and balances on executive power that the founders once envisioned are gone. The logical conclusion is that if the executive wants to run a police state, she will have no quarrel from other institutions.

Not only won’t she have any quarrel, by filling all positions with her followers, she’ll be heartily cheered, as she was when she announced the takeover.

Perhaps if the YPF action were an isolated event, Mrs. Kirchner could hope to salvage some credibility for Argentina’s rule of law. It is not. From civil liberties—notably press freedom, which has been aggressively attacked by the executive—to economic freedom, Argentines and foreign investors have been losing their rights. The YPF expropriation has heightened their sense of foreboding.

The latest manifestation is the crackdown on the right to buy dollars. With accumulated inflation in 2010 and 2011 totaling almost 50% but the peso depreciating only about 15%, markets had been expecting that the government would be forced to let the exchange rate adjust more rapidly. Instead, Mrs. Kirchner’s economic team moved earlier this year to stop the peso from falling by putting strict controls on its sale. Importers who need to be able to buy dollars are now hard-pressed.

The government also began to demand that exporters turn dollar revenues over to the central bank within 15 days of making a shipment abroad. When exports dropped, the deadline was moved to 30 days, which is still an unreasonable burden. Travelers who need dollars must apply to the government, explaining where they are going and why.

It’s turned the country, as Mary O’Grady says, into “an accident waiting to happen and a good place for investors to avoid.”

Cuba’s offshore drilling? Not so fast!

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Spanish company Repsol (yes, the same one whose subsidiary got ripped off by Argentina’s Cristina Fernández) went digging for offshore oil off Cuba and came up … empty:
Oil well in Cuba comes up dry, raises questions about future exploration
After reporting that it found no oil in its well in Cuba, Repsol will likely now consider leaving the country.

Cuba’s dreams of an oil bonanza suffered a tough but possibly temporary setback Friday when the Spanish Repsol company confirmed it hit a dry hole when it drilled a well off the island’s northwest coast.

The dry well will put more pressure on Cuba’s dependence on Venezuelan oil and means the government of Raúl Castro needs to continue nurturing its tight relations with the ailing president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, one analyst said.

The development also may temporarily allay fears of an oil spill in Cuban waters that could foul the Florida Keys and the U.S. eastern seaboard, although several other foreign oil companies have options to explore in Cuban waters and Repsol had contracted to drill a second exploratory well.

Repsol spokesman in Kristian Rix confirmed to journalists in Havana Friday that the Scarabeo-9 floating drill platform found nothing in a well in more than 6,000 feet of water about 20 miles northwest of Havana. The well will be capped, he added.

The announcement was a tough blow to Cuba’s hopes for finding crude that could fuel its anemic economy.

Jorge Piñon, a University of Texas oil expert who keeps an eye on Cuba, said the dry hole was not surprising because such things can happen, yet surprising because modern technology has significantly increased the chances of hitting oil.

A key question now, Piñon added, is whether Repsol, already battered by the Argentine government’s nationalization of its YPF branch earlier this month, will decide to cut its risks and leave Cuba for more productive areas.

Leave for more productive areas that respect the rule of law and property rights, guys.

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 14th, 2012

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina as No Claims-Nation Revealed in Repsol Losses: Energy

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.

Argentina’s state-owned firms
So far, not so good
Can YPF avoid the grim fate of other nationalised companies?

BOLIVIA
Bases militares venezolanas: Entrevista a la Diputada Norma Pierola

CHILE
Chile charges suspect with Japanese astronomer murder
A Chilean man has been charged with the murder of Japanese astronomer Koichiro Morita in Santiago earlier this week.

CUBA
Smile, You’re on Candid Camera.

Getting Ready for Life after Castro
Managing the transition to a democratic Cuba: A user’s guide.

More Red Than Cross

ECUADOR
Ecuador seeks answer to riddle of Inca emperor’s tomb

Chevron’s Ecuador Morass
The U.S. oil company charges that the $18 billion judgment against it was secured by fraud.

UPDATE:
MUST-WATCH VIDEO,


EL SALVADOR
Central America’s gangs
A meeting of the maras
Precarious truces between gangs have lowered the murder rate in two of the world’s most violent countries—but for how long?

GUATEMALA
End of times not quite here yet: Mayan art and calendar at Xultun stun archaeologists

“The ancient Maya predicted the world would continue, that 7,000 years from now, things would be exactly like this,” he said.

MEXICO
Maps Show 330 Illegal Aliens Crossing Ariz. Border in One Night in March, Including Ultralight Incursion

Forty-nine headless corpses found in Mexico

Mexico’s presidential election
Political lucha libre

Mexico’s leading presidential candidate is handsome, popular and still a mystery

PERU
‘Mutated’ Shining Path Resurfaces in Peru

Peru ministers resign over Shining Path rebel clashes
Peru’s interior and defence ministers have resigned in the face of a public outcry over a failed security operation against Shining Path rebels.

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Plans to Stop Deficit Borrowing by Fiscal 2014

Puerto Rico plans to offer free Web connections at dozens of centers and public plazas

VENEZUELA
Venezuela’s narcostate

Venezuelan politics
A modest concession to reality
, but the weird news continue: Venezuela crossword Chavez assassination plot denied
A Venezuelan crossword compiler has been questioned by intelligence agents after being accused of hiding a coded assassination message in a puzzle.

Venezuela analysts cast doubt on presidential election
Venezuelan analysts in Miami said the Hugo Chávez administration is casting doubts about this year’s presidential election.

Watching Some “Strategic” Companies In Bolivarian Venezuela

The week’s posts:
Saturday tango: CNN version

Cuban slave labor used to build Ikea furniture in the 1980s

The History of Ernesto Che Guevara – A Short Story

Argentina’s Olympic gaffe

Mexico: The boob tube UPDATED with VIDEO

In Defense of Marco Rubio’s Story of His Family’s Exile


Argentina’s Olympic gaffe

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Two weeks ago, Cristina Fernández saw fit to run this ad on TV,

The ad features

Fernando Zylberberg, a member of the Argentine men’s hockey team running through the streets of the Falklands capital Port Stanley with the slogan “to compete on English soil, we train on Argentine soil.” The advert included scenes of Mr. Zylberberg training on the steps of the Island’s Great War Memorial, which commemorates British sailors who gave their lives fighting the Germans in 1914.

The Olympic Committee has no sense of humor:

The IOC said the 2012 Games should not be a forum to raise political issues.
It added that it “regrets any attempts to use the spotlight of the games for that end.”

The IOC said it had contacted the Argentinian National Olympic Committee about the advert and received assurances that the games would not be used as a political platform.

‘Not political’
“The Olympic Games should not be a forum to raise political issues and the IOC regrets any attempts to use the spotlight of the games for that end,” the IOC added.

And then, Zylberberg’s own team dropped him,

as The Telegraph revealed today, the hockey player featured in the Falklands-set propaganda piece is now likely to miss the London Olympics, after being “virtually ruled out after being excluded from the 18-man Argentine hockey squad taking part in a 10-day tournament in Malaysia from May 24.” His shameless use as a political pawn by the Kirchner administration is undoubtedly a key factor in the decision by Argentina’s own Olympic Committee to drop him, after they distanced themselves from the controversial advertisement.

Zylberberg will probably be offerred a job in Cristina’s bureaucracy.

In the meantime, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning Argentina’s nationalisation of YPF and called for a partial suspension of tariffs that benefit exports from the South American country to the EU.

Oil blues: Argentina takes over YPF, White House yawns UPDATED

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

IBD has the details,

Never was a response to a global outrage more mealy-mouthed than the one from the U.S. after Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, standing under a portrait of Evita Peron, announced a brazen grab for YPF, the Argentine oil company that’s 57% owned by Spain’s Repsol.

Markets fell, world leaders denounced the violation of contracts and economically battered Spain rallied European Union support.

But the U.S.? “We are following developments on this issue. We are not currently aware of any WTO complaints related to this issue,” the State Department said.

Then, leading from behind after Spain vowed a “forceful” response, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to toughen up: “Having an open market is a preferable model. Models that include competition and market access have been the most successful around the world.”

Which must have provoked a horse laugh from Buenos Aires. After all, Fernandez heard President Obama the first time when he declared that he free market “doesn’t work. It’s never worked.”The move — the largest expropriation since Russia expropriated Yukos in 2003 — not only hit Spain’s biggest company, already hit by a 38% loss of share value this year, it also moves Argentina sharply closer to another big default on its sovereign debt, trading in the debt swaps market shows.

You can watch the announcement (in Spanish),

This action,

The move follows Fernandez’s 2008 seizure of $24 billion in private pension funds and her tapping of central bank reserves to make debt payments. Investors already distrustful of Fernandez’s policies will see in this latest grab the start of a Chavez-like drive to expand the state’s control of the economy, further isolating Argentina, said Claudio Loser, a former International Monetary Fund official.

“It’s another sign that Argentina is moving away from the international economic community,” Loser, who oversaw Latin America at the IMF from 1994 to 2002, said in a telephone interview from Miami. “If Argentina already had trouble to get financing, this is going to make it even harder and hurt foreign investments.”

President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, while pointing out that Mexico owns 10% of Repsol): “This action will benefit no one.” (video in Spanish)

Hugo Chavez, still in Cuba, heartily approves (link in Spanish) of Cristina’s move. She’s a good pupil.

“And why should I care about this?”, you may ask. IBD explains,

If Argentina or Spain now defaults, it may mean the IMF will be called in for a bailout. Guess who gets stuck with the tab? That’s right, the U.S.

Meanwhile, U.S. investors own about 5% of Repsol. Its takeover hurts U.S. investors and our tax base. This should concern the indebted U.S., which if it did what other countries do, would defend its investors.

The U.S. buys 29,000 barrels a day from Argentina, a third of its output, and will need to find a new supplier as that collapses. Worse still, Argentina will lose investment in its vast shale reserves, the world’s third-largest at 22%. As that goes, prices will rise.

Worst of all, the expropriated assets may now go to China, significantly raising its influence in the region.

And, you’ll be seeing higher gas prices at the pump.

UPDATE,

Pierpaolo Barbieri: The Tragedy of Argentina
Commentators on Greece are drawing all the wrong lessons from my homeland’s tragic default.