@DrNetas nos trae la terapia intensiva de esta semana,
Archives for January 2014
Michael Totten visited Cuba and is writing about it at World Affairs Journal. His latest article, The Lost World, Part I, details the ruinous state of the island:
I’m used to seeing military and police checkpoints when I travel abroad. Every country in the Middle East has them, including Israel if you count the one outside the airport. The authorities in that part of the world are looking for guns and bombs mostly. The Cuban authorities aren’t worried about weapons. No one but the regime has anything deadlier than a baseball bat.
Castro’s checkpoints are there to ensure nobody has too much or the wrong kind of food.
Police officers pull over cars and search the trunk for meat, lobsters, and shrimp. They also search passenger bags on city busses in Havana. Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez wrote about it sarcastically in her book, Havana Real. “Buses are stopped in the middle of the street and bags inspected to see if we are carrying some cheese, a lobster, or some dangerous shrimp hidden among our personal belongings.”
If they find a side of beef in the trunk, so I’m told, you’ll go to prison for five years if you tell the police where you got it and ten years if you don’t.
Read the full article.
I hope Michael collects all his reporting on Cuba in book form, as he did with The Road to Fatima Gate: The Beirut Spring, the Rise of Hezbollah, and the Iranian War Against Israel, Where the West Ends: Stories from the Middle East, the Balkans, the Black Sea, and the Caucasus, and On the Hunt in Baghdad.
My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog,
UN Climate chief: Communism fights global warming
Catholic priests, with the encouragement of their bishop, are actively encouraging people to fight the Knights Templars:
Priests take the lead in fierce revolt against drug gang in Mexico’s Michoacan
The anger of the clergy is aimed with equal vehemence at gangsters and at government officials, who they say have not done enough to rein in crime and extortion. That vexation will get a vast airing at morning Mass this Sunday, when priests across the Apatzingan diocese will read a scathing pastoral letter from Bishop Miguel Patino Velazquez that accuses federal police and soldiers of doing little to capture Knights Templar bosses.
“Their leaders are fully identified and yet no authority stops them,” the letter says.
In his letter, Patino evokes the Nazi era, saying Christian believers should not only console the victims but also halt the Nazi campaign to kill its enemies.
“We ask politicians, the government and the Interior Secretariat to give people of our region clear signals that in reality they want to halt the ‘killing machine,’” Patino writes.
The vigilantes are fighting against corruption,
Since February 2013, a vigilante campaign by armed civilians has spread across nearly a third of Michoacan. The vigilantes call themselves self-defense groups or community police, and they have won broad citizen support from nearly everyone, from large farm owners down to tortilla vendors and doormen at public restrooms.
In barely 11 months, the vigilantes have occupied at least 15 townships. In each, they have disbanded municipal police and run off politicians believed linked to organized crime
As you may recall, the government clashed with the militia last week.
It’ll be interesting to see how it develops. Will the militia turn into criminal paramilitary groups, as the did in Colombia? Or will they clean up Michoacan?
The Caymans are so 1990s:
China’s princelings storing riches in Caribbean offshore haven
Relatives of political leaders including China’s current president and former premier named in trove of leaked documents from the British Virgin Islands
The disclosure of China’s use of secretive financial structures is the latest revelation from “Offshore Secrets”, a two-year reporting effort led by theInternational Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which obtained more than 200 gigabytes of leaked financial data from two companies in the British Virgin Islands, and shared the information with the Guardian and other international news outlets.
In all, the ICIJ data reveals more than 21,000 clients from mainland China and Hong Kong have made use of offshore havens in the Caribbean, adding to mounting scrutiny of the wealth and power amassed by family members of the country’s inner circle.
Inner circle indeed. Go to link above to read the names of the people involved.
Of course, there’s no disclosure required from party leaders, so, who knows?
Venezuela’s Judiciary the worst around the globe
According to research compiled from interviews with scholars, practicing lawyers, human rights advocates and community leaders from 97 countries. They were, among other things, inquired about efficiency in the penitentiary system so as to correct criminals’ behavior
Based on the index, Venezuela’s courts rank last (97) after being graded with 0.24 out of 1, thus standing even below countries democratically challenged such as Zimbabwe, Iran, or China.
Democratically challenged must be pc-speak for criminal dictatorships.
Spain’s ABC has an article in Spanish, Violence expels the middle class from Venezuela, on how over a million professionals and middle-class Venezuelans have left the country during the past 15 years because of the crime rate, the constant economic crisis and Chavismo.
Chavismo: the road to perdition.
The fish are biting . . . you: Carnivorous fish injure 10 Argentine river bathers in area where 70 were wounded last month
The Laureus World Sports Awards, abruptly cancelled, Sporting events in Rio
We regret to announce
Someone explain to me why should anyone trust the FARC, Bomb explodes in Colombian town as rebel ceasefire ends
At least one person was killed when a bomb went off in the town of Pradera in western Colombia, officials say.
OBAMA CALLS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ‘THE DOMINICAN REPUBLICAN’
El Salvador’s first presidential debate brims with pledges – but can candidates deliver?
El Salvador’s presidential election takes place next month, and topics of gang violence, the economy, and healthcare are top of mind.
Andres Oppenheimer is optimistic: Latin America’s downward spiral?
Sure, Venezuela may descend into further chaos, but it doesn’t have many followers. Argentina will most likely change course within the next two years, and Brazil will, in the worst-case scenario, remain stagnant.
More importantly, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile are doing well, and may drag several other countries in their direction. Together with Brazil, the four Pacific-coast countries make up more than 75 percent of Latin America’s economy.
More than a downward spiral, we may soon see the end of the populist cycle, and the beginning of an upward spiral.
Organized crime in 2014: What can Latin America expect?
Organized crime is adaptable and profit-driven, and in 2014, that could mean moving beyond Mexico and Colombia to a more diverse set of nations.
Michoacan replaces security chiefsMexican soldiers patrol the streets of Apatzingan, Michoacan. Photo: 16 January 2014
Mexico’s authorities say top security officials will be replaced in the western state of Michoacan that has recently been rocked by violence.
Gangs from Central America on the rise in Mexico: Report
A new report out of Mexico details the growing links between Central American Maras and the nation’s main criminal groups, highlighting more cross-border gang activity
El pincel de la justicia
Ramiro Gómez hace su primera presentación en un espacio formal, en una pequeña galería en Chinatown. No tiene un taller: el dueño del lugar le prestó el primer piso para que ahí concluyera cuatro lienzos que son parte de la obra que expone.
Fixing Puerto Rico: Part I
Regulation, Death by a thousand cuts (Updated)
Thomas Berry died ‘trying to show family real Venezuela’, parents say
Berry family speaks for the first time of grief at death of their son and his wife, killed by robbers in front of their daughter after their car broke down on a dangerous stretch of highway
Pet rights? When all are rights there are no rights
The week’s posts and podcast:
Puerto Rico: Festival success
At Da Tech Guy Blog: Do heed those travel warnings.
The week’s podcast: The US-Latin America stories of the week