Mary O’Grady talks about the unintended consequences of Unicef’s policies:
Archives for January 2014
To err is human, and to misplace the ruins is definitely not divine, so today’s Carnival is dedicated to Hema Maps, the publishers of this guidebook.
Erosion of Argentine Peso Sends a Shudder Through Latin America
The decline in Argentina’s currency is the steepest since the country’s economic collapse in 2002, and it is raising fears of a global slump in developing countries.
Belize and Guatemala agree on ‘road map’ to address the territorial dispute
Belize and Guatemala agreed at the headquarters of the Organization of American States on a “Road Map and Plan of Action”, which has as its main objective the strengthening of the bilateral relationship between the two countries during 2014 in order to make concrete the holding of popular consultations to enable the consideration of the territorial dispute before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The Brazilian ranch where Nazis kept slaves
On a farm deep in the countryside 100 miles (160km) west from Sao Paulo, a football team has lined up for a commemorative photograph. What makes the image extraordinary is the symbol on the team’s flag – a swastika.
New book claims THIS picture proves Hitler escaped his Berlin bunker and died in South America in 1984 aged 95
Fuhrer ‘fled to Argentina and then Paraguay before settling in Brazil’
Hunted for treasure with a map given to him by Vatican allies, book claims
Author Simoni Renee Guerreiro Dias claims fascist actually died aged 95
Claims he had a black girlfriend to disguise his fascist background
Says her suspicions increased after she photoshopped a moustache [sic] onto the grainy picture and compared it to photos of the Fuhrer
World Cup protesters set fire to car
Brazil World Cup protesters set fire to car
Violence erupts on the streets of Brazil’s largest city Sao Paulo as more than 2,000 demonstrators gathered to protest against the cost of the upcoming soccer World Cup
Cash for votes
Costa Rica needs genuine market reforms that eliminate the government’s power to pick winners and losers or otherwise bestow favoritism. In the areas aforementioned, the country should
* Implement a neutral exchange rate regime either by allowing the colón to freely float against the U.S. dollar or by adopting the latter as the country’s official currency.
* Abolish all tariffs on agricultural products as well as other regulations that provide monopoly powers to conglomerates that produce farm goods such as rice, beef, and sugar, and eliminate price controls on rice.
* Dismantle regulations that stifle domestic entrepreneurship, following the guidelines laid out by the World Bank’s Doing Business project.
* Adopt a neutral and competitive tax regime that taxes all businesses domiciled in the country equally but at a low flat rate.
Dominican Republic runaways told they cannot return to Stonyhurst College
The two pupils who ran away from Stonyhurst College to the Dominican Republic will not be allowed to return to school
Ecuador airline suspends flights to Venezuela because of tickets’ debts
Ecuadorean airline Tame has suspended flights to Venezuela, demanding 43m dollars in overdue payments for tickets. Some 80 passengers were left stranded on Thursday at the airport in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito. Tame says the Venezuelan Central Bank has not transferred any money to its account in Ecuador since April 2013.
El Salvador Presidential Election Preview, 2014
Your taxes just went up: Gobernador convierte en Ley medidas de COFIM
A really big mess: Dead Sperm Whale Washes Up on Beach in Uruguay
Carta abierta a @abc_es
Maduro sets limits on company profits and prison terms for hoarding or over charging
Venezuela decreed a new price control law that sets limits on company profits and establishes prison terms for those charged with hoarding or over-charging, part of populist President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to tame inflation.
The week’s posts and podcast:
CELAC: Maduro & Cristina want Puerto Rico’s independence
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
UN Climate chief: Communism fights global warming
The week’s podcast:
Venezuela & US-Latin America stories of the week
Puerto Ricans’ opinions don’t matter to the tinpot Venezuelan dictator or to the Evita-wannabe, because they need a distraction from driving their own countries to ruin:
Crises Squeeze Two Latin Leaders
The leaders of Argentina and Venezuela were set to attend a conference in Cuba to debate Puerto Rican independence on Tuesday, as their countries faced their most acute economic crises in a decade.
On the streets of Argentina and Venezuela, many asked what their leaders were doing in Cuba when they were struggling with Latin America’s highest rates of inflation and the palpable fear that things could worsen when private investment is veering toward a recovering American economy.
independence for Puerto Rico, which was handed over by Spain after the Spanish-American war, has never gotten much traction. In a 2012 referendum, 61% voted for statehood and only 5% for independence.
Puerto Rico’s independence party has such low turnout that they needed to re-register after general elections.
Apparently, the first objective of that organization, as declared, is: “To reaffirm that the preservation of democracy and democratic values, the validity of the institutions and the Rule of Law, a commitment to the respect for, and the validity of, all human rights for all, are the essential objectives of our countries.”
What do these people understand democracy to be? Cuba, like the other countries hatched by the now-extinct Soviet Union, is a one-party dictatorship older than half a century where no individual freedoms exist and no human rights are respected. While the CELAC is being held, the political police harasses and bashes the Ladies in White and the opposition democrats who dare to protest. Is anyone unaware of this?
Cuban dissidents and activists plan to hold a forum on democracy in Havana on Jan. 28, parallel to the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, opposition sources told Efe on Saturday.
Organized by the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America, or CADAL, and the dissident group Arco Progresista, the forum hopes to bring together members of the opposition like Guillermo Fariñas and Jose Daniel Ferrer, Ladies in White leader Berta Soler, blogger Yoani Sanchez and activist Antonio Rodiles, among other representatives of civil society on the island.
Cuban police will block the opposition’s meeting.
OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza is attending CELAC, but refused to meet with any dissidents, thereby offering further evidence of the OAS’s irrelevance.
Elsa Morejón, whose husband Dr. José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) was arrested after meeting with the ambassadors of Spain and the Netherlands this week and transported away from Havana for the duration of the summit, tweeted,
The only country in the Americas without free elections or multi-party [system] in 56 years, will host the #CELACSummit. Unbelievable.
— Elsa Morejon (@ElsaMorejon) January 20, 2014
But look at the bright side: The more Maduro, Cristina, and their ilk cackle about Puerto Rico, the fewer the Puerto Ricans who’ll side with them.
Post re-edited to add links.
#CELACSummit As if there isn’t enough poop in #PuertoRico, @NicolasMaduro & @CFKArgentina want to bring theirs.
— Fausta (@Fausta) January 27, 2014
Capital Hill Cubans points out,
the State and Justice Departments have already denied Correa’s extradition request of the Isaias brothers on six occasions starting in 2004.
The State and Justice Departments officially denied Correa’s extradition requests of the Isaias brothers in 2004, 2009, three times in 2010, and most recently in June 2013.
In each of these denials, the State and Justice Departments noted how Ecuador’s allegations against the Isaias brothers do not meet the minimum legally-required standard of “probable cause” to even merit consideration of extradition.
Moreover, that Ecuador has not provided any evidence whatsoever against the Isaias brothers for the accusations that the New York television station takes at face-value.
Finally, Menendez is not the only Member of Congress that has expressed concern about the fate of the Isaias brothers.
There have been nearly a dozen other Members of Congress who have similarly (and rightfully) expressed concern.
So why is Menendez being singled-out and targeted?
Isn’t it curious that all of these smears against Menendez began when it first appeared that he would take the helm of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee?
So who is afraid of Bob Menendez?
Perhaps that’s a question the media should begin asking.
My prior post here.
Argentina And Venezuela: Chronicles Of Devaluations Foretold And they inevitably lead to inflation. For 2012, Venezuela’s inflation surged to 56.1%, its central bank said. In Argentina, the rate was 28%, according to a watchdog.
These man-made disasters are due to governments spending more than they have to buy votes. In Argentina, spending rose 50% in the past decade, and in Venezuela it surged 60% in just the past year.
The numbers are so hard, and crisp and predictable, it’s astonishing anyone could be surprised by them.
Read the whole thing – the US M2 money supply is up 34% since President Obama took office.
Long-time readers of this blog know that I have not written favorably about the senior senator from New Jersey in the past.
This new story, however, has the fetid odor of a smear campaign:
Feds reportedly looking into Robert Menendez for allegedly helping fugitive bankers. The “fugitive bankers” are Ecuadorian brothers William and Roberto Isaías, who fled Ecuador ten years ago after the government allegedly confiscated media outlets they owned which were critical of the government. They are here legally.
The Isaías brothers
have a variety of real estate and oil holdings in the United States, and recently acquired to broadcast rights of CNN Latino. They have also created a network of private schools, according to Andes, Ecuador’s state news agency.
Now NBC NY is echoing the accusations the Ecuadorian government made against the brothers, charges for which Ecuador has provided no evidence,
The ambassador recommended the Isaias brothers be kicked out of the United States. But to date, the Justice Department says Ecuador’s government, which has been at odds with the U.S. in recent years, has not provided enough evidence to warrant extradition.
Ecuador has seized many of the Isaias brothers’ assets in that country. But so far, a court in Florida has rejected Ecuador’s efforts to seize assets inside the U.S.
Based on unnamed sources, NBC says that
the FBI is looking into why the New Jersey Democrat contacted a high-ranking official at the Department of Homeland Security in April 2012 to ask him to give “full consideration” and “expedite” its review of the case of William and Roberto Isaias, who are seeking permanent residence in the U.S. The report said Menendez also made calls to the Department of State about the brothers.
And Ricardo Patino, Ecuador’s chancellor, has said he thinks campaign donations to American politicians have helped the brothers stay in the country.
Let’s ponder that for a moment: The Correa regime thinks something, so NBC NY runs a story on it?
The same NBC whose talking heads support immigration amnesty?
There remains the Melgen investigation. A grand jury in Florida already found no basis for the prostitution allegations; the remaining investigation should be concluded and not dragged unnecessarily.
But this new story is flimsy indeed. Members of Congress routinely hear from their constituents on a variety of issues, and, going by the article, Menendez does not appear to have done anything inappropriate.
Menendez, a member of Congressional Human Rights Caucus, has been a staunch supporter of human rights, meeting with dissidents, and consistently opposing lifting the travel ban on Cuba, “a regime that denies its own people basic human rights,”
He’s consistently shown vigorous support for the State of Israel against Hamas in Gaza, and supports international sanctions against the Iranian nuclear program – the sanctions that Ecuador and Venezuela attempt to help Iran avoid.
So, let’s ask, who gains from smearing Menendez? Who is to gain from having Menendez removed as chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations?
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!
Subroto Roy sent this article, Argentine Default Chaos Relived as Blackouts Follow Looting, which describes the deja-vu conditions as the country is about to default, again, this time on its $50 billion foreign currency obligations,
Investors are bracing for the possibility of another default. The country’s average dollar bond yield of 12.4 percent is the highest among major developing nations after Venezuela. Trading in swap contracts that insure bonds shows investors see a 79 percent probability of a halt in payments over the next five years, a reflection in part of concern that Singer’s demand of full repayment on the securities he kept from the 2001 default will disrupt debt servicing.
“Over the next five years”, maybe, maybe earlier, as the Specter of Default Stalks Argentina. Argentina’s dollar reserves have now slipped below $30 billion.
Yesterday’s 8% devaluation (the largest one-day decline since the 2002 country’s default on its debt)
and falling reserves raise the specter of a deep economic crisis with inflation already believed to be running above 25% before the devaluation, the product of years of rapid increases in government spending financed in part by money printing. A weaker currency can aggravate inflation by reducing consumers’ purchasing power and pushing up the cost of imported goods.
The devaluation is also a major political blow to Mrs. Kirchner and her new economic team led by Mr. Kicillof. Shortly after her ruling coalition suffered a steep drop in support in October’s midterm congressional elections, Mrs. Kirchner replaced her finance minister, central bank chief, price control enforcer and economy minister. Less than a year ago, the president told the public it shouldn’t expect a devaluation under her watch.
Cristina Fernandez’s chief of cabinet Jorge Capitanich rushed to put lipstick on a pig, easing restrictions on the purchase of U.S. dollars Friday, by saying “The government considers that the price of the dollar has reached a level of convergence that is acceptable with the objectives of our economic policies.”
And the economy is pining for the fjords,
As a result of government price-fixing, Argentinians bought less bread and more cookies in 2013. The price of flour went up by 65%.
A parting question: Where’s Cristina?
Dalrymple contemplated the endless decay of the entire city of Havana,
One of the most magnificent of its many magnificent streets is known as the Prado, a wide avenue that leads to the sea, with a central tree-lined marble walkway down which people stroll at night in the balmy air. Some of the beautifully proportioned mansions along the Prado have collapsed into rubble since the last time I was there; others have their facades—all that remains of them—propped up by wooden struts.
I am not Cuban and do not want to travel to Cuba as long as it remains a dictatorship, but having lived in Puerto Rico, I can guarantee you that the tropical sun, salt and weather of the tropics take a tremendous toll on buildings. Any building owner is in a constant struggle against the elements, the insects, and other nuisances. It doesn’t take long for the onset of decay.
Dalrymple concludes that “the neglectful ruination of Havana has served a profoundly ideological purpose,”
. . .Havana was a large city of astonishing grandeur and wealth, which was clearly not confined to a tiny minority, despite the coexistence with that wealth of deep poverty. Hundreds of thousands of people obviously had lived well in Havana, and it is not plausible that so many had done so merely by the exploitation of a relatively small rural population. They must themselves have been energetic, productive, and creative people. Their society must have been considerably more complex and sophisticated than Castro can admit without destroying the rationale of his own rule.
In the circumstances, therefore, it became ideologically essential that the material traces and even the very memory of that society should be destroyed. In official publications (and all publications in Cuba are official) the only positive personages from the past are rebels and revolutionaries, representing a continuing nationalist tradition of which Castro is the apotheosis: there is no god but revolution, and Castro is its prophet. The period between Cuban independence and the advent of Castro is known as “the Pseudorepublic,” and the corrupt thuggery of Batista, as well as the existence of poverty, is all that needs (or is allowed) to be known of life immediately before Castro.
But who created Havana, and where did the magnificence come from, if before Castro there were only poverty, corruption, and thuggery? Best to destroy the evidence, though not by the crude Taliban method of blowing up the statues of Buddha, which is inclined to arouse the opprobrium of the world: better to let huge numbers of people camp out permanently in stolen property and then let time and neglect do the rest. In a young population such as Cuba’s, with little access to information not filtered through official channels, life among the ruins will come to seem normal and natural. The people will soon be radically disconnected from the past of the very walls they live among. And so the present ruins of Havana are the material consequence of a monomaniacal historiography put into practice.
And it will continue to serve as such; now the present restoration(s) will be shown as proof of what grandiose things the “revolution” could accomplish if only sanctions were eased. There will be much propaganda about the evil results of the embargo on the hapless Cubans, and how easing restrictions on travel/remittances, ending sanctions, best of all, allowing CREDIT THAT WILL NEVER GET REPAID will preserve this fabulous site.
The gullible will buy into it, as they buy the lies about the “free healthcare, free education” and “low infant mortality rates” and life expectancy – the gullible won’t be stopping to think that all the statistics, all the data, come from the Communists.
The gullible won’t stop to think that every red cent will go exclusively for the preservation of the oppressive and deadly Communist regime.
What is your take?