They are the only four countries outside the US in the region that fully comply with US standards outlined in the US State Department’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, according to InSight Crime.
Big news in Colombia: the ELN released Salud Hernández, Diego D’Pablos and Carlos Melo after holding them for a week. Details below.
An Argentine court has sentenced Reynaldo Bignone, the country’s last dictator, to 20 years in prison for his part in Operation Condor.
It’s the “first time a court has ruled that Operation Condor was a criminal conspiracy to kidnap and forcibly disappear people across international borders,” The Associated Press reports.
Under this plan, the military dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil agreed to share information with each other to help track down political opponents and leftists starting in 1975. 376 people were killed as a result of Operation Condor, the BBC reports. As The Guardian describes, “after their arrest, the victims were made to ‘disappear’, usually by being cremated, or thrown drugged but still alive from military planes into the Atlantic Ocean.”
Argentina Plans Amnesty Over Funds Stashed Abroad. President Mauricio Macri tries to encourage Argentines to repatriate billions of dollars hidden in overseas vaults and accounts. If he succeeds, it’ll be very good news.
The Worst Boyfriend in Bolivia
Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel has taken control of the US heroin market by elbowing out traffickers of the Asian product, according to a DEA official, but the dynamics of the drug trade on both sides of the border are somewhat more complex.
Mexico Has a New US Ambassador after 10-Month Blockade – Roberta Jacobson.
ICYMI: There is Nothing New Under the Nicaraguan Sun
Puerto Rico’s born-again farmers dig for victory in island’s debt battle. They have a long way to go: agriculture accounts for less than 1% of the island’s GDP.
In January 2002, Mr. Daniel, the former mayor of Santo André, a suburb of São Paulo, was found shot to death a few days after being kidnapped. Six men were convicted and sentenced to prison, but the case has been reopened and closed several times since.
Mr. Moro on Friday alleged funds siphoned from the state-owned oil company at the center of the complex web of bribery and coverups, Petróleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, could have been used to pay hush money related to Mr. Daniel’s murder.
Brazil Court Crimps Judge’s Probe. Sergio Moro’s aggressive probe of a bid-rigging-and-bribery scheme at state oil company Petrobras has put him in open conflict with President Dilma Rousseff—and made him a star to her many detractors.
La protesta pacífica habla más duro que la violenta. pic.twitter.com/9qW5ePWA5T
— Claudia Gurisatti (@CGurisattiNTN24) April 3, 2016
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) April 2, 2016
Can Paraguay Escape Decades of Despotism, Ineptitude, and Corruption? Despite promising one of the biggest turnaround stories in the southern hemisphere, President Horacio Cartes has more work to do.
The drug mule’s makeover: Incredible transformation of ‘Peru Two’ Brit as she shows off new blonde hair and smarter, slimmer look in first interview since leaving jail for smuggling £1.5million of cocaine
Pope Francis concluded his visit with an in-flight press conference that got him and Donald Trump more mileage than the flight itself.
Brazilian Supreme Court Judge Orders Release of Jailed Senator. A Brazilian senator who was arrested in November on charges of obstructing a federal investigation was ordered released from jail on Friday after a judge on the country’s Supreme Court accepted a petition from the senator’s lawyers.
Delcídio do Amaral had been arrested in November on charges of obstructing a federal investigation
You must read this: A Mexican Impasse for the Pope
The shape of things to come: As Socialist Economy Implodes, Venezuela Creates Army-Run Oil Firm. President Maduro Hands Over New State Company to the Military amid Criticism from Own Supporters
Venezuela’s parliament approves amnesty law in first salvo against the government.
An amnesty law designed to free Venezuelan opposition leader including Leopoldo Lopez has been approved, but faces a long battle to be enacted
— JARED LETO (@JaredLeto) February 19, 2016
Baha Mar: The hotel that threatens to bankrupt the Bahamas. The Baha Mar resort was supposed to add 12 per cent to the Caribbean island’s GDP. But it has turned into the world’s biggest white elephant and the investors have gone to war. The case will soon hit the London courts. Michael Bow reports
Read the sad tale of too big a project, not enough funds, but this jumps out (emphasis added)
Mr Izmirlian, the son of commodity tycoon Dikran Izmirlian, who made his money cornering the global peanut market, was asked to try and revitalise the rundown area of Cable Beach, a dilapidated area of the island long overlooked in favour of other boltholes.
He bought land around Cable Beach and signed a deal with a US construction group in 2007 to develop the site. He securedfinancing for the project but the onset of the global financial crisis scuppered the plans.
But in March 2009 Mr Izmirlian got a break, thanks to the Chinese.
CSCEC, through its US arm CCA, agreed to come on board and construct the resort with the proviso that debt financing came from Cexim, which stumped up $2.45bn of secured credit.
CCA, led by president and chief executive Ning Yuan, is the largest division of CSCEC and has been operating in the US for 30 years. CSCEC added another $150m and Mr Izmirlian $850m.
The Chinese company was given the green light to start building in February 2011, with a completion scheduled in November 2014.
Despite the company’s size, the Baha Mar president Tom Dunlap said it had concerns about whether the Chinese could deliver such an ambitious construction project. CSCEC drafted around 5,000 migrant Chinese labourers on to the holiday island to build the resort, winning work permits for them from the Bahamian government.
“Although [CSCEC] is one of the world’s largest contractors, it had little experience in constructing single-phase resorts projects of [the] size and complexity of the [Baha Mar] project,” Mr Dunlap said in a statement filed as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.
Keep that in mind every time you read about the proposed Nicaragua Canal.
To the extent that it has an ideology it is a vague blend of nationalism and labourism, expressed in the PJ’s founding “three banners” of political sovereignty, economic independence and social justice.
Power as an end in itself,
Rather than ideas, Peronism embodies a consistent set of political emotions and practices. Perón declared in 1951: “The masses don’t think, the masses feel and they have more or less intuitive and organised reactions. Who produces those reactions? Their leader.” His second wife, Eva Duarte, touched the hearts of the masses. Ms Fernández has proved to be an accomplished disciple: she has ruthlessly pursued popularity by postponing inevitable economic belt-tightening, by exploiting her widowhood and by associating herself with Pope Francis, an Argentine who has Peronist roots.
However, on Thursday he resigned from the commission citing his disappointment in the transitional justice deal which he claims was “the biggest concession achieved by the FARC after the acceptance of drug-trafficking as a crime connected to their ideals.”
Haiti, Dominican Republic to reopen talks on migration, trade disputes. The presidents of Haiti and the Dominican Republic have agreed to resume talks to resolve disputes on migration and trade. Relations between the neighbors on the island of Hispaniola have been strained.
But with an unfriendly business environment, Correa may find it hard to entice the private sector to pick up the slack.
In August alone there were 911 murders – an average of nearly 30 a day.
In one incident, 14 members of one of the country’s most powerful street gangs were killed in a prison.
The dead were said to have belonged to ‘Barrio 18’ gang ‘Faccion Revolucionarios’, or Revolutionaries’ Faction.
Normally at war with rival gang ‘Mara Salvatrucha’, an internal power struggle between Revolucionarios and Surenos (Southerners) has seen the violence – and death toll – soar.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Storm clouds are coming to a hemisphere near you.
Argentina warns US to cooperate in heightened search for fugitive spy chief. President Cristina Fernández says US must be ‘protecting’ Antonio Stiuso, who reportedly fled to Miami soon after star prosecutor’s mysterious killing
The narrative changes: Nisman documentary tied to US conservatives. Expect a lot more of that.
Ex-Brazil President Lula to be questioned in Petrobras case. Brazilian officials investigating a corruption scandal at the state-run oil company Petrobras will be allowed to question ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the supreme court has ruled.
Funny how so many bring up the Swedish model but few understand it: 7 fatos que contradizem tudo que você acreditava sobre a Suécia
Apparently this is how Cubans get Netflix (h/t Spotniks) without Internet. I wouldn’t be surprised if Danny Paquete is a front:
[In Puerto Rico, un paquete can mean either package or a bundle of lies]
“The Profit of One Man Is the Damage of Another” is the 21st essay in this edition.
We Jamaicans can’t blame our entire malaise on the evil white bogeyman. Whatever David Cameron’s motives for the repatriation scheme, our prisons are a disgrace – and the whining of the reparations lobby masks the screw-ups of our own governments
13 narcos extradited from Mexico include a former Texas high school football star, “La Barbie”.
Chinese giant Huawei opens its sixth distribution center in Panama. Good luck collecting,
According to official figures, Venezuelan buyers owe the free zone vendors a total of 1.2 billion dollars.
High times: Uruguay Awards Two Marijuana Permits to Investors
The World Is Watching Caracas. Why Venezuela’s approaching parliamentary elections matter — and not only for Venezuelans. Dude, the election is scheduled for December 6.
Salarios en Venezuela: cómo el régimen chavista empobreció a la población. Un profesor universitario cobra 16 dólares, un maestro 12, un médico no llega a los 10 y un policía araña los 14 (si suma bonos y horas extras)… Advertencia: cuando usted termine de leer esta nota, puede que los valores ya estén desactualizados.
U.S. Charges Venezuelan Ex-Officials with Drug Trafficking. U.S. judges have unsealed indictments charging two former top Venezuelan police officials with drug trafficking, an action likely to fuel further tensions between Washington and embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
Judges in the southern district of Florida unsealed indictments against Pedro Luís Martín, a former head of financial intelligence for Venezuela’s secret police, and Jesús Alfredo Itriago, a former antinarcotics official with Venezuela’s investigative police.
During his visit in Bolivia, pope Francis stepped out of the popemobile to pray at the site where the late Jesuit Luis Espinal’s body had been dumped, after which Evo Morales (who wore a jacket embroidered with Che Guevara’s face to the Pope’s speech) presented Francis with the Communist crucifix designed by Espinal, and a matching medal, which Francis accepted:
Following the ensuing outrage, Francis left the medals and crucifix in Bolivia while the Vatican launched into spin mode.
Evo certainly milked the photo ops. It’ll be interesting to see what Raul Castro does when Francis goes to Cuba.
From her official website: Cristina Kirchner interview with The New Yorker – Up Close and Uncut (march 11, 2015) President Cristina Kirchner interviewed by Dexter Filkins from the US magazine The New Yorker, on March 11, 2015
From March 2013: Sobre el mensaje del arzobispo de Buenos Aires
Pope gives his backing to Morales’ social programs in BoliviaPontiff reported to have sipped coca-based tea before reaching high-altitude destinationPresident hopes Francis will offer to mediate in border conflict with Chile
Contrast Francis’s visit with Pope John II’s 1983 visit to Nicaragua and his attitude towards liberation theology.
Brazil oil giant faces $98bn shareholder lawsuit in US over corruption schemeNew York court to hear case brought by investors including pension funds of British academics and US state workers over ‘Carwash’ scam at Petrobras
The lawsuit claims that Petrobras executives accepted bribes for inflating the value of construction contracts and “used the money to bribe politicians through intermediaries to guarantee they would vote in line with the ruling party while enriching themselves”.
Duff idea? Fox hopes Chile’s beer lovers give Simpsons brew a warm receptionCompany to sell beer – which an executive calls fruity with a caramel aromatic – after decades of pirated versions ruling the market
Colombian president replaces military chiefs days after scathing report into extra-judicial killingsPresident Juan Manuel Santos overhauls his high command despite rejecting Human Rights Watch claims about role of military commanders in murders of civilians who were then framed as left-wing rebels
The Mixed-Up Brothers of BogotáAfter a hospital error, two pairs of Colombian identical twins were raised as two pairs of fraternal twins. This is the story of how they found one another — and of what happened next.
This is how bad El Salvador’s murder rate is
El Salvador is on pace to pass its neighbor, Honduras, as the deadliest country on the planet.
Guatemala: Ex-ruler Rios Montt found unfit for trial
A former Guatemalan general, Efrain Rios Montt, who ruled the country briefly in the 1980s, has been found mentally incapable of standing trial.
A matter of when, not if? Mexican Drug Lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Escapes From PrisonMexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has escaped from a maximum-security prison in central Mexico, almost a year and a half after being captured, prompting a major search operation.
Panama and Nicaragua – Two Canals, One Shared Dream, but with the Chinese financial market in flux, what will happen to the Nicaraguan project?
Pope Praises Paraguayan Women
Pope Francis celebrated Paraguayan women as the “most glorious women of America” in a sermon at the shrine of the country’s patron Madonna Saturday, the second-to-last day of his weeklong visit to South America.
Argentina Sees Exodus as Pope Visits Paraguay
Roughly one million people will cross the border into Paraguay from Argentina to see Pope Francis in the capital, Asunción, immigration officials estimate.
Better keep Greenpeace away: New Nazca geoglyphs in Peru could be older than famous Unesco siteJapanese team believes new images are older than the famous monkey, spider and hummingbird at the Unesco World Heritage site
The week’s posts and podcast:
The new perfect Latin American idiot
LIVE now – US-Latin America stories with Jerry Brewer, by Silvio Canto Jr http://t.co/KyOFowVwbq
— Fausta (@Fausta) July 8, 2015