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.
Miami is unlike any other place in the USA, with stories like this, which go unnoticed by the national media:
Billions in drug dealers’ illegal Amazon gold ‘laundered’ through Miami refinery, feds say.
In brief, a Colombian guy named Juan P. Granda, working as director of operations NTR Metals, allegedly – with two other guys – was buying gold from illegal mines in Peru’s Amazonian rain forest, refining it, selling it, and then wiring the funds back to drug traffickers.
Things get complicated and at least seven countries are involved: Granda was born in Ecuador, is a U.S, citizen, the gold was coming from Peru, but was routed through Bolivia, and
At least one of the companies sending the gold to NTR was financed by a man identified as P.F. in the complaint. According to sources, he is “Peter Ferrari,” whose real name is Pedro Perez Miranda.
Ferrari was acquitted of narcotics money laundering in Peru. But he was later arrested on charges of illegal gold mining and laundering more than $500 million worth of gold.
After the Peruvian crackdown, smuggled gold was transported to Bolivia before it was shipped to NTR in Miami, the complaint said. Last year, Ecuadorean authorities made arrests involving about $400 million in gold from Peru bound for refineries in Miami, including NTR Metals, according to the complaint.
Federal agents said customs records show that NTR also participated in “highly suspicious gold imports” from Colombia, Chile, Guyana and the Caribbean.
Today’s top story: Macri won yesterday’s runoff in Argentina. I’m working on a longer post for this afternoon. [Update: Post is up]
Keep it all in the family: Kirchner Supporters Urge Voters to Steal Relatives’ ID Cards.Facebook Page behind the Campaign Claims It Was All a “Joke”
Outgoing Argentine president Cristina Fernandez will be leaving not only the Central bank reserves exhausted but also a budget deficit which is estimated at 7% of GDP by the end of the fiscal year, equivalent to 400.000 million Pesos, according to the country’s National Auditing Office, AGN.
Economic activity in Brazil contracted for the fourth straight quarter, central bank data showed this week as Latin America’s biggest economy plunges further into recession. The bank’s IBC-Br economic activity index indicates economic activity fell 1.41% in the third quarter from the previous three months.
Por qué crece el narco tráfico en el Gbno Santos? pic.twitter.com/hDPJH4uLsa
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) November 18, 2015
Regional Bloc to Consider Cuban Migrants
With a name like Carlos Marx, what’s not to love? Ecuador the First LatAm Nation to Convict a Twitter Activist. Opposition Leader Given 15 Days in Prison for Libeling Labor Minister Carlos Marx
Extradition in Latin America: How to handle a drug gang. The pros and cons of outsourcing justice to the United States (emphasis added)
Extradition can create dependency by reducing pressure to clean up local justice systems. Although Colombia has broken up gangs, increased drug seizures and cut its murder rate, its courts and jails remain inefficient and corruptible by global standards. Because it now extradites even mob foot-soldiers, no one knows if it could jail a proper capo safely. Just 9% of murders there lead to a conviction.
Paraguay Strikes Blow Against Guerrilla Group the ACA, Armed Peasant Association, not to be confused with the US’s Affordable Care Act.
File this one under “No s**t, Sherlock!”: Uruguay Authorities Discover ‘Gray Market’ for Pot
Authorities in Uruguay say the country’s legal pot-growing clubs may be selling marijuana and cannabis products without approval, creating a kind of “gray market.”
Venezuela pair held by US for drugs ‘were kidnapped’. First direct comment on the case from a high-ranking Venezuelan official, who claims relatives of President Nicolas Maduro were ‘kidnapped’
Why Does Argentina Keep Shielding Iran?
Following the mysterious death of a prosecutor who had indicted Mrs. Fernandez on conspiracy charges, Francis in January stepped in forcefully to keep the president from being deposed in a “soft coup,” The Washington Times learned from a close personal friend of the pope.
Local magnates had plotted to seize the moment and oust the president after Alberto Nisman was found with a gunshot wound to his head hours before he was due to testify on a supposed top-level cover-up of Iran’s suspected involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
But through calls and intermediaries, Francis persuaded “the right people at the right moment” to let Mrs. Fernandez serve our her second term, set to expire Dec. 10, Gustavo Vera, a Buenos Aires legislator and social activist who maintains a close friendship with the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, said.
Cristina stops by the Vatican frequently, and has had six private audiences with Francis.
Rosatom will assist in the establishment of a nuclear research institute, including training for staff, Energy Minister Luis Sanchez said from Moscow in comments reported by official news agency ABI.
The pact also anticipates that Rosatom will advise the Bolivian government on how to educate the population about the nuclear power initiative, seen as necessary in light of the rejection by residents of La Paz of plans to build a nuclear research center in their neighborhood.
Besides power generation, Bolivia will use peaceful nuclear technology for medical applications and devices employed in geological research and prospecting for oil and gas, the minister said.
Pope Francis angers victims of sex abuse after calling protesters ‘dumb’. Pope made remarks at Vatican to a group of Chileans who have been protesting against a bishop alleged to be complicit in a sex abuse scandal
“War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength;” Uribe loyalists are Colombia’s ‘new terrorists’: Senate peace commission chairman
The indictment charged Jaime Rolando Rosenthal Oliva; his son Yani Benjamin Rosenthal Hidalgo; and his nephew Yankel Antonio Rosenthal Coello.
Good luck with that: Mexico’s President to Propose Bill to Improve Efforts to Locate 25,000 Missing. Legislation aims to improve coordination between authorities in search for people missing since war on drugs began
Just like their counterparts at the central bank, Peruvian government officials are finding that some of the usual ways to propel a developing economy don’t work in this case. In particular, Peru cannot take the common step of expanding its industrial sector to export value-added products rather than raw materials because of globalized value chains and an oversupply of industrial facilities in China, said Piero Ghezzi, Peru’s minister of production.
Puerto Rico May Not Be Able to Avoid Defaults, Adviser Says. I am shocked, shocked!
The dust hasn’t settled on the Colombia kerfuffle, but Maduro needs a distraction:
Guyana says Venezuela deployed troops on border area (emphasis added),
Guyana’s President David Granger says Venezuela has deployed troops along their border area.
Mr Granger described the move as a “dangerous escalation” in the long-running dispute between the two South American neighbours.
Venezuela says its troops are conducting exercises in the region.
It lays claim to the vast mineral-rich area of jungle west of the Essequibo river, which accounts for about 40% of Guyana’s territory.
That Bolivarian Revolution sure doesn’t come cheap.
Starting on September 19th, Pope Francis will be traveling to Cuba and the U.S.. The Communist regime’s propaganda machine announced it will be releasing 3,522 prison inmates, none of which is a dissident;
The latest 3,522 prisoners to be freed will include minors, people over the age of 60, prisoners in poor health and foreigners who will be repatriated, according to the Granma newspaper. It said there will be no releases of those convicted of “crimes against state security”.
— ISEPTAPHILLY (@SEPTAPHILLY) September 2, 2015
An Argentine court on Tuesday ordered the electoral board of the northern province of Tucuman not to declare any winner in the Aug. 23 gubernatorial election until a move to have the ballot overturned is resolved.
Jorge Lanata’s investigation showed votes bought with drugs (video in Spanish):
Brazilian Police Seek to Question Former President in Petrobras Probe. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his ruling Workers’ Party ‘could have benefited,’ authorities say. An understatement if there ever was one.
Brazil to Auction Hydroelectric Plants. Brazil plans to auction off 29 power plants to private operators Oct. 30, a government official said, a move that is expected to bring the cash-strapped government about $4.4 billion.
Down to BB+: S&P Cuts Brazil’s Debt Rating to Junk. Brazil lost its coveted investment-grade credit rating in the eyes of one major firm on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the government’s credibility with investors and threatening to aggravate its economic downturn.
El Salvador baby-swap couple reunited with child
Guatemala Outsources a Corruption Crackdown.A U.N.-sponsored agency has put Guatemala’s president and much of its political elite behind bars, in one of the most sweeping anticorruption campaigns ever
The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or Cicig, has broad powers to launch its own criminal investigations. It then works alongside Guatemala’s own attorney general’s office to prosecute cases in local courts. Its staff hails from 20 countries, from Italians who have tussled with the Mafia to Colombian anti-money-laundering experts.
Only 34 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics, and 33 percent of foreign-born Hispanics, want to increase legal immigration, said the Gallup report.
Sixty-four percent of each group of Hispanics want migration to be reduced or leveled, said Gallup, which released the report under a misleading headline, “U.S. Support for Increased Immigration Up to 25%.”
‘El Chapo’ Guzman escape: Mexican prison officials charged. Four Mexican officials have been charged with aiding the escape of the notorious drugs lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from a maximum security prison.
New evidence has emerged suggesting ACA guerrilla rebels in Paraguay have reunited with their cousins in the EPP, likely marking the end of a tiny guerrilla organization that has suffered several casualties and arrests of top leaders since breaking away last year.
Puerto Rico Debt Crisis: A Bond Guide as Potential Defaults Loom, or, a brief guide to Russian roulette, money-wise?
[President Tabare] Vazquez said Uruguay has reached out to Lebanon because that’s where the refugees would like to go. Since Lebanon is not willing to welcome them, his government is asking the five Syrian families to choose another country.
Last February’s report on domestic abuse within one of the families (note that the 5 families are comprised of 80 people):
On Monday, September 7, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) issued a ruling ordering the Venezuela government to restore the network’s broadcasting license and return all seized assets.
The week’s posts and podcast:
9/11/2001: It is altogether fitting and proper
— Fausta (@Fausta) September 10, 2015
What a guy.
Bolivia’s Adepcoca (Asociación Departamental de Productores de la Hoja de Coca i.e., Coca Leaf Growers’ Departamental Association) have prepared 20,000 bags of coca leaves to gift the people lining up from the airport to La Paz, giving new meaning to the term goodie bag.
You really can’t make up this stuff.
“Dilma in the back seat of a driverless car. Lovely metaphor for today’s Brazil.”
Dilma no banco traseiro de um carro sem motorista. Bela metáfora do Brasil atual. pic.twitter.com/PR7FRUOXRS
— Ricardo Amorim (@Ricamconsult) July 3, 2015
British musician faces five years in Chilean jail after admitting dealing drugs
Alexander Harrild, who was educated at exclusive Dulwich College, is being held in one of Santiago’s most notorious prisons with rapists and murderers
The president, whose hobbies include poker, now faces a choice. Call the FARC’s bluff by laying on the table a take-it-or-leave-it offer on justice—or risk the talks collapsing anyway in the cycle of retaliation. Burdened by disappointments in other areas, Mr Santos has staked his presidency on a peace agreement. But objectively it is the FARC’s negotiators who need it more. Return to war in Colombia, and sooner or later they will be killed.
“FARC & ELN commit crime together or coordinating, regardless of how the Govt may want to treat them:”
FARC y ELN delinquen juntos o coordinados, independiente del tratamiento que el Gbno quiera darles
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) July 4, 2015
It's unacceptable and a slap in the face of a close ally that the United States will have an embassy in Havana before one in Jerusalem.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 1, 2015
Go.Away.Trump. Trump Fallout Continues: Panama Pulls Out of Miss Universe Pageant
It is not in Gov. García Padilla’s interest to improve the economy – you can bank on that. Treasurer Admits Puerto Rico Can Pay Debts, Doesn’t Want To
“Shameful” Myth Diverts Attention from Need for Frugality
The Beeb starts to catch on, Puerto Rico: The Greece of the Caribbean?
How a pie factory in South America is taking on the world
Fray Bentos – the town in Uruguay famous for its pies – could be named a World Heritage Site alongside the Forth Bridge, Sicilian churches and Genghis Khan’s birthplace at the end of this year’s Unesco meeting
Venezuela faces national beer drought
Striking workers linked to the Maduro government have forced the closure of breweries at Polar, the country’s largest producer and a beloved household name
The week’s posts and podcast
Happy Independence Day
Repeat, it is not in Gov. García Padilla’s interest to improve the economy – you can bank on that. Puerto Rico: A few thoughts on the economic crisis
The week’s headlines in a sentence: While the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare subsidies and gay marriage, the deadline for the Iran negotiations looms and terrorists are blowing up people and pipelines all over the place.
The location of the judge is rather interesting: Argentine judge orders seizure of Falklands drillers’ assets
Lilian Herraez, a federal judge in Tierra del Fuego, ordered the seizure of $156 million in bank accounts, boats and other property, the government said on Saturday.
Pope sends video-message to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. The guy can’t stay away from socialist throwaway terminology:
“I want to be a witness of this joy of the Gospel and bring to you the tenderness and caress of God, our Father, especially to your children most in need, to the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, to those who are victims of this throwaway culture,” he said.
Brazil to Narrow Inflation Target Range
Brazil will narrow the inflation target range for its central bank starting in 2017, but the center point of the range will remain unchanged at 4.5%. The tolerance band will be cut to a range of 3% to 6%
Working Within the System to Disrupt Brazilian PoliticsRoberto Mangabeira Unger, a Harvard philosopher born in Brazil and raised in Manhattan, has settled into a career as an appointed public figure charged with fostering long-term thinking about Brazil.
Guyana Assures Exxon Amid Venezuela Row
Guyana’s president has sought to reassure Exxon Mobil that a territory dispute with Venezuela won’t interfere with the company’s recent oil discovery off the coast of Guyana, one that Caracas claims as its own.
Thousands of angry, torch-bearing Hondurans marched on Friday to call for the resignation of President Juan Hernandez and demand an independent probe into one of the worst corruption scandals in the country’s history.
Interesting premise, but premature, Move over, China: Latin America may welcome India. The operative word is may.
Mexican President Undergoes Gallbladder Surgery
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto underwent surgery to have his gallbladder removed and was recovering satisfactorily at a military hospital, officials said.
Nicaragua’s Bizarre Plan to Bury the Panama CanalThe country’s Sandinista government has cut a deal with a reclusive Chinese businessman willing to spend $50 billion on a larger-than-life transport waterway. There are a few unanswered questions, starting with whether Nicaraguans really want it and how much priceless habitat would be wrecked. Traveling the proposed route by motorcycle, boat, and boots, the author hunts for answers.
Manuel Noriega apologises over military rule of PanamaJailed former dictator gives first interview since 1996 and asks for forgiveness over brutal reign – ‘I want to to close the cycle of the military era’
The perfect Summer portrait, A Sleeper Awakened With Color
Frederic Leighton’s “Flaming June” is on loan to the Frick Collection in New York for the next three months.
‘Gourmet cannabis’: Take a peek inside a Uruguay marijuana club , if you must. To paraphrase Dean Wormer, “fat, stoned and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”
MUD, the Sausage Fest
The week’s posts and podcast:
Colombia: FARC blows up oil pipeline