First Santos is named in the Odebrecht corruption scandal.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday reiterated his thanks to his Ecuadorian counterpart and host, Rafael Correa, for the latter’s support of Bogota’s peace process with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas.
“Many thanks for all the support that you have been giving us, support in the peace process. Your generosity, your vision, your commitment to peace in the region and peace in Colombia is something that we will never forget,” said Santos upon his arrival in the city of Guayaquil to meet with his Ecuadorian colleague.
Correa said that it was “an honor” to welcome the Nobel Peace Prize winner, a recognition – he said – that was “well deserved for being the author of peace in your beloved Colombia and in the region.”
“You know you can count on us,” said Correa, adding that “Ecuador is the facilitator and guarantor of this negotiation process. I hope it has resounding success and seals a comprehensive peace in our beloved Colombia.”
What precipitated the lovefest?
On Feb. 7, the Colombian government and the ELN in Quito began an historic dialogue with an eye toward ending the confrontation they have pursued for more than 52 years, after the peace accord signed on Nov. 24 with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Ecuador’s presidential election is next Sunday. The Ecuadorean Opposition Looks Ahead to Second Round to Build Coalition.
In the metropolis of the eternal traffic jam,
Mexico City Doubles Driving Ban as Pollution Persists. Authorities order two out of every five private vehicles off the road amid heavy smog
Officials had banned every car from hitting the road one weekday each week and one Saturday a month from April through June based on their license plate numbers and regardless of how new the vehicles are or how they fare on emissions tests.
But after an air-quality monitoring station in the city measured ozone at 160 micrograms per cubic meter on Tuesday—the WHO recommends 100 micrograms at most—the environmental commission issued an emergency order forcing twice as many cars to stay off the roads Wednesday.
It won’t take much ingenuity to find a way around that, either.
Dr. Netas wore a mask,
The Grey Lady in her dotage, asserts “The embargo and socialism helped protect Cuba’s environment.”
Consistent with senility, the article by Erica Goode, Cuba’s Environmental Concerns Grow With Prospect of U.S. Presence goes bad quickly,
The country is in desperate need of the economic benefits that a lifting of the embargo would almost certainly bring. But the ban, combined with Cuba’s brand of controlled socialism, has also been protective, limiting development and tourism that in other countries, including many of Cuba’s Caribbean neighbors, have eroded beaches, destroyed forests, polluted rivers, damaged coral reefs and wreaked other forms of environmental havoc.
Never mind that beach erosion is a natural process; the Cuban communist dictatorship has destroyed multiple natural habitats, as listed in this paper:
During the last 25 years, the Cuban government, as the almost absolute owner of the island’s economy, has dumped all kinds of waste and hazardous materials into Cuba’s rivers, lakes and bays due to the lack of real concern for the ecology and environmental regulations. At the same time it has changed completely the course of rivers and the normal flow of coastal ocean currents. Furthermore, it has been experimenting with biotechnology, thus creating a potential for biological and chemical warfare. It has also been involved in the construction of a nuclear power plant with serious risks for all adjacent areas. Let us examine the facts on some of these issues.
1. The Almendares River, the main river flowing through the city of Havana, is the most contaminated river in the western hemisphere. It is dead, with no animal life.
2. The Bay of Havana, the Bay of Matanzas (about 100 miles east of Havana) and the Bay of Nipe, in the northeastern coast are among the 10 most contaminated bays in the world.
3. The city of Matanzas is one of the most contaminated cities in this hemisphere, proportional to its population of 150,000, due to industrial waste.
4. During the 1970’s Castro capriciously built over 2,100 dams throughout the country without a serious study of hydraulics or their ecological impact. These dams are adversely affecting the ecology, the fertility of the soil, and are causing the salt contamination of the groundwater.
5. Again, following Castro’s whims, many of the so-called “pedraplenes” have been built along several coastal areas. These are causeways built of sand and stones, with no asphalt. They have altered the normal flow of coastal water currents, causing salt contamination of the groundwater on the land close to these constructions.
6. Cuba and Florida have the largest coral reefs in this hemisphere. Over 40% of the Cuban coral reefs have been destroyed due to contamination. The flow of contaminated Cuban ocean water is affecting the Florida reefs.
7. The water and sewer system in the main urban areas of Cuba have not received any major maintenance in over 25 years. The average age of these systems is over 60 years. Consequently, there is contamination of the drinking water in most main urban areas due to the mixing of drinking water and sewer waste through the transmission pipes. There is a constant deposit of sewage in the streets of most main urban areas of Cuba.
8. Since the mid 1980’s Castro has been developing centers dedicated to the research, development and manufacture of biotechnological materials. Since 1992, Castro has spent over $1.2 billion on these efforts. There are 12 sites dispersed throughout the capital city of Havana. They are found mainly in Arroyo Naranjo, Playa Bejucal and Habana del Este. Due to the sensitive work done in these sites, and their lack of adequate quality control, these centers are a permanent risk to the population of Cuba due to possible leakage of lethal material. There have been several reports of evacuations from these areas due to hazardous leakage. These centers have the potential to manufacture bacteriological and chemical warfare materials and there is increasing evidence that this is happening.
9. The unfinished nuclear power plant at Juragua presents another potential for ecological disaster, including huge loss of human lives. There have been reports of over 24 violations of standards set by the IAEC during the construction of this plant. If it is completed, the possibilities of an accident are four times higher than standard plants. Greenpeace has called plants like Juragua a “ticking time bomb.”
10. If the plant becomes operational, the handling and disposal of the nuclear waste will present another threat to the ecology, as well as to human life in Cuba, the southeastern United States, the Caribbean and Central America.
Missing from Ms Goode’s bad reporting is also any evidence of the catastrophic and systematic decay in living conditions for ordinary Cubans outside the bubble,
We may call it a “What The Hey moment”; Bill Sanderson was more direct,
— Bill Sanderson (@mrgeology) July 2, 2015
Other “WTH moments”:
Today’s “WTH Moment” brought to you by Jorge Ramos
Also of interest,
Real Clear Politics has an article by Fabio Rafael Fiallo, Cuba’s Own Napoleon III
Today’s tropical socialism has, too, its Napoleon III. His name is Nicolas Maduro, the current president of Venezuela who to a significant extent is a creation of the Castro regime. Not only was Maduro trained in the Cuban schools of agitprop, he was also anointed president of Venezuela – with the lobbying of the Castro brothers – by a moribund Hugo Chavez with waning intellectual faculties who was receiving medical treatment in Cuba.
Interesting article, but I disagree with his conclusions,
Napoleon Bonaparte died in 1821 – well before his political legacy was squandered by his nephew, Napoleon III. The Castro brothers have not been so lucky: They have lived long enough to witness the irreparable damage caused by their pupil, Nicolas Maduro, to whatever remained of popular sympathy for Latin American socialism. This, more than any other setback or defeat, is the worst punishment that destiny will have inflicted on the brothers who have tyrannically ruled Cuba for over half a century.
Fiallo forgets that there’s one thing the Castros and their ilk care about more than their “revolution”: The care the most about staying in power.
For starters, most of Latin America is ignoring Maduro, for as long as he keeps sending them money.
And then there’s the win:
While Pres. Obama pats himself on the back for announcing the July 20th opening of a U.S. Embasy in Havana, Raul answers back by demanding billion$ in reparations, an end to the U.S. embargo, the return of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, and the end of all American radio and TV broadcasts aimed at Cuba.
$5 says they’ll get it, too.
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!
In his post Carlos Eire posted this photo of an open sewer in Batabano, Cuba,
So much for “Cuba’s brand of controlled socialism” being “protective.”
This is a photograph of a 420,000-gallon oil spill in Ecuador’s Amazonian region in June 2013:
Andrew Ross, writing at The Nation, asks,
Why Is Ecuador Selling Its Economic and Environmental Future to China?
The slick, oily underside of Correa’s “citizens’ revolution.” (emphasis added)
While large swaths of the Amazon Basin remain uncharted, the most telling maps depict the region carved into numbered oil blocks, some of them hundreds of square miles in area. The Pañacocha field, for example, sits in Block 12; the ITT oil reserve is located in Block 43; and Block 57 is where Suárez took me. The blocks are periodically auctioned off as concessions to oil companies, and more and more of them are marked as a Chinese claim or interest. The Chinese extraction sites are remote, but anyone traversing the Amazon waterways, as I did this past summer, will routinely pass boatfuls of Chinese oil workers. At this point, China exercises a near monopoly on Ecuador’s oil—up to 90 percent this year alone—and is fast becoming the dominant player in mining and mineral extraction.
Of course, Ecuador is hardly alone in its growing dependence on Beijing. China committed almost $100 billion in loans to Latin America between 2005 and 2013—$15 billion last year alone, while the World Bank lent a mere $5.2 billion. But many believe that the erosion of sovereignty has been sharper in Ecuador than elsewhere in the region. The terms of its loans from Beijing are not fully transparent, giving rise to the worst suspicions. A March 2014 Amazon Watch report alleged that Petrochina has the contractual right to seize assets from any oil companies operating in Ecuador if the nation does not pay back China in full. A more extreme version of this claim is that the terms of loans include a “sovereignty immunity waiver,” that permits China to seize Ecuador’s own assets if it defaults. One of the administration’s chief critics, Acción Ecológica director Alexandra Almeida, told me that “the agreements with the Chinese are unlike any other. Even with Chevron we knew what we were getting. No one knows that much about the Chinese loans.”
Ross views the situation from the left, saying things such as “On the face of it, Beijing is not as easy to demonize as the infamous Paris Club, which represents the interests of Northern creditors,” and “has no history of ecological debt to Latin America.” But Ross is not blind to the fact that
environmentalists, like the YASunidos, have become Correa’s number-one enemy, labeled by some of his ministers as “enemies of the state.” Recent shifts in the interpretation of the penal code have made it possible to criminalize dissidents as “terrorists,” and domestic repression is growing.
Read the whole thing.
Greenpeace willfully engaged in inflicting irreparable damage. In their blindness to say “the future is renewable”, they can’t see that the past is not.
Read my post at Da Tech Guy Blog.
After f**king Greenpeace:
A federal judge ruled in favor of Chevron Corp. on Tuesday in a civil racketeering case, saying a record $9.5 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador against the oil giant was “obtained by corrupt means.”
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan found that New York lawyer Steven Donziger and his litigation team engaged in coercion, bribery, money laundering and other criminal conduct in pursuit of the 2011 verdict.
Last month Locke Lord managing partner Jerry Clements told The Am Law Daily that the potential liabilities and “reputational aspects” of the Chevron matter were a key part of her firm’s due diligence efforts in evaluating a merger with Patton Boggs.
At Chevron’s blog: What You Won’t Learn on Ecuador’s Toxic Tour
John Kerry Gives $16 Million to Vietnam to Fight Global Warming (h/t Frontpage); The AP reported
Kerry pledged $17 million to a program that will help the region’s rice producers, shrimp and crab farmers and fisherman [sic] adapt to potential changes caused by higher sea levels that bring salt water into the delicate ecosystem.
Don’t know about the “higher sea levels”, but some of the water was frozen on its way down:
Some of the rice producers, shrimp and crab farmers and fishermen may need to get themselves some goretex with the $17 million, as Heavy Snowfall Causes Damage In Vietnam’s Lao Cai Province
According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Sa Pa, more than 100 hectares of chayote and another 100 hectares of flowers were buried under snow.
School kids got a snow day off from school, perhaps for the only time in their lives.
In other global warming news to warm your heart, Climate change expert’s fraud was ‘crime of massive proportion,’ say feds (h/t Babalu)
The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job, say federal prosecutors.
He even got his shrink to say the scam was “fueled by his insecurities.”
Tellya what: John Kerry gives me $17 million, and my (financial) insecurities will not only vanish, I’ll even put some of that money towards clearing the waters rising outdoors in the form of snow.
Winter hasn’t even started.