He probably doesn’t want to upset the folks in the tri-border area:
President José Mujica said in an interview Monday that any Guantánamo detainees his country takes will be treated as refugees and will be free to travel wherever they wish, even if they have promised the United States that they’ll stay in the South American country for at least two years.
Mujica told El Espectador radio that Uruguay has tentatively agreed to take four Syrians and a Palestinian who have been held at the military detention center in the U.S.-held corner of Cuba.
Mujica denied that the five are dangerous and said that “in no way” would Uruguay prevent them from traveling.
While he was at it, Mujica also said he’ll skip meeting Pres. Obama in Washington, thank you.
The big news of the week: the OAS voted on Friday to shut out the media and the public from Maria Corina Machado’s testimony, thereby disgracing itself.
ARGENTINA Y EL NARCOESTADO (PARTE II)
Al menos seis carteles operan en Argentina.Colombianos en Rosario,mexicanos en el Norte de Buenos Aires,narcotransportistas bolivianos en la ruta 34,”la ruta blanca”,sumadas a otras organizaciones criminales transnacionales que incluyen a chinos y serbios.
How convenient: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner turns Pope Francis from foe to friend
Argentinian president praises cardinal’s commitment and vision, despite previously treating him as a political arch-enemy
Brazil troops to quell Rio violenceHeavily-armed police patrol a shanty town in Rio de Janeiro, on March 13, 2014
Brazil’s government says it will send federal troops to Rio de Janeiro to quell recent attacks targeting police ahead of the World Cup in June.
On Thursday, three police bases in the city were attacked by suspected gangs.
Four police officers have been killed since February in similar attacks.
Chile asks extradition of alleged ex-guerrilla Marie Emmanuelle Verhoeven,
The 54-year-year-old has been wanted since 1996 on an international arrest warrant for the 1991 slaying of Jaime Guzman, leader of the conservative Chilean party Independent Democratic Union.
Alfonso Portillo, Ex-President Admits Taking Taiwan Bribes
Jamaica’s gang culture
Global Economy and Development – Brookings: A HIGH-CARBON PARTNERSHIP?
CHINESE-LATIN AMERICAN RELATIONS IN A CARBON-CONSTRAINED WORLD
Finra Examining Trading in Puerto Rico Bonds
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is examining trading in Puerto Rico bonds, just a week after the island territory’s $3.5 billion bond sale.
Earlier this month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned that international airlines would likely stop serving Venezuela unless the country took steps to resolve the issue. Carriers don’t want to acquire more bolivars, which aren’t exchangeable outside the country.
Chavistas want to save their movement from incompetent leadership and foreign interference and to protect their social base. Student protesters want to roll back the authoritarian intrusions and economic mismanagement that threaten their future. These fundamental goals are far from mutually exclusive for Venezuelans of good will looking to rescue their country.
The week’s posts and podcast:
#SOSVenezuela: Who’s doing the killing? UPDATED
En español: Terapia intensiva #200 ¡Felicidades a @DrNetas por las doscientas terapias!
At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Latin America: Putin gets his license
Mary O’Grady has the answer: Who Is Killing Venezuela’s Protesters?
New evidence suggests that Chávez recruited today’s political militia from among the army. (emphasis added)
Six documents stamped with the seal of the Venezuelan army show clearly that as far back as December 2001, agents of then-President Hugo Chávez —Mr. Maduro’s mentor—sought to build a paramilitary. What is more, the recruitment efforts targeted military bases in order to incorporate army personnel into this nonuniformed militia. In other words, the Chávez government was looking for trained professionals who could handle weapons.
Miguel Rodríguez Torres, then a lieutenant colonel, was one of the recruiters, according to one document. Today Mr. Rodríguez is Venezuela’s minister of the interior, the cabinet post charged with state security. The interior ministry’s mission includes supporting “grass roots organizations.” That would include the country’s “Bolivarian Circles,” which are modeled on Castro’s “committees to defend the revolution.”
Ostensibly the Bolivarian Circles are civic-minded community groups. But chavista street violence is carried out by organized, trained and well-armed civilians, another aspect of the Cuban model. If they aim their guns well, now we know why.
Back in June of 2012 Chávez was bragging about the rifles he was producing with Russia’s financing, and bullet-proof vests made under a joint enterprise with China. Are they now being put to use?
“Venevision News in mourning! Our sign language interpreter, Adriana Urquiola, was murdered, was pregnant.”
Noticiero Venevision de luto! Fue asesinada nuestra intérprete de señas Adriana Urquiola, estaba embarazada. pic.twitter.com/VDqXwo9AA1
— Adriana Andrade. (@adri2andradeVV) March 24, 2014
— Cristancha (@Tanchamovil) March 23, 2014
[Update] Better yet view from a done, via Daniel,
Armed civilian gangs, loyal to the “revolution” and known euphemistically as colectivos, act as community enforcers. “The majority are criminals,” says José Quintero, an opposition activist from ProCatia, a non-governmental organisation, “and they are armed to the teeth.”
Since the conflict turned violent in mid-February, alleged members of the colectivos have been filmed and photographed using firearms against protesters. Acting in concert with security forces, they are accused by the opposition of several deaths (which they deny). Their tight grip on poorer communities is one reason the barrios, or shanty towns, have stayed quiet.
Another is the widespread fear of losing benefits such as housing allocations, employment or subsidised food, which are contingent on political loyalty. The oil boom that began in 2002 allowed Chávez to mount a plethora of clientelistic welfare programmes, known as “the missions”. Health and education were the main focus of these initiatives, which made up in quantity for what they lacked in quality. Poverty was greatly reduced. When the oil price stalled, so did social gains. The leadership of the opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) alliance has so far failed to take full advantage of ensuing discontent. Critics say it has yet to convince disaffected chavistas that it has their best interests at heart.
In western Caracas, its task is made harder by the threat of chavista violence. Lest that prove insufficient, Nicolás Maduro, the president, recently banned opposition marches in this part of the city, which is where the most vital government institutions—including his office—are located.
A recent survey by Datos, a polling firm, found discontent with the government right across the social spectrum. Only 27.1% of respondents described themselves as pro-government; 43.7% favoured the opposition. More than seven out of ten had a negative view of the situation today and over half thought it would be even worse in six months.
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”
34 embajadores OEA no vieron video;385mil ciudadanos ya lo han visto http://t.co/Y5cmqFMUIq
— María Corina Machado (@MariaCorinaYA) March 22, 2014
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!!!”
— María Corina Machado (@MariaCorinaYA) March 21, 2014
The OAS’s closed-door vote is a shameful spectacle, a triumph of autocracy over democracy.
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:
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.
The Economist‘s cover story:
Mr Putin’s new order, in short, is built on revanchism, a reckless disdain for the truth and the twisting of the law to mean whatever suits those in power. That makes it no order at all.
Some of the more unsavory heads of state in Latin America have been borrowing a page from Putin: Last year I posted on Mary O’Grady’s article on how Cuba Studies ‘Putinismo’ for Survival Tips
behind the scenes, putinismo blends authoritarian political control and crony capitalism to produce a lock on power.
It’s not only indirect “putinismo”: Putin has been interested in Latin America all along.
Russia has been cruising through the region for quite a while.
Read the rest at Da Tech Guy Blog.
Related: Putin’s quiet Latin America play
Linked to by Doug Ross. Thank you!
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.
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.
11:07AM EDT: Session closed. No more video.
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:
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.
They are voting now (watch at OAS Live). 22 votes in favor of closing, 11 against, 1 abstained.
Newspaper 2, same article, 5th paragraph:
The link between Koch and Keystone XL is, however, indirect at best. Koch’s oil production in northern Alberta is “negligible,” according to industry sources and quarterly publications of the provincial government. Moreover, Koch has not reserved any space in the Keystone XL pipeline, a process that usually takes place before a pipeline is built. The pipeline also does not run anywhere near Koch’s refining facilities. And TransCanada, owner of the Keystone routes, says Koch is not expected to be one of the pipeline’s customers.
I would add this, from Wikipedia: the Athabasca Oil Sands planned production through 2024. Koch isn’t even on the list. Zero. Nada
But, hey, the WaPo’s sources are the far-left International Forum on Globalization via some guy who was arrested during the anti-WTO demonstrations in Seattle back in November 1999, and the reporter is married to Andrew Light, who writes on climate policy for the Center for American Progress.
I couldn’t make up this stuff if I tried.
A proposed pipeline to transport Canadian crude from oil sands in Alberta to U.S. refining centers could further restrict Venezuela’s access to profitable export markets, according to Tissot Associates.