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DBMA Espanol => Espanol Discussion => Topic started by: Crafty_Dog on November 27, 2005, 01:33:19 PM

Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 27, 2005, 01:33:19 PM
Disculpen por favor que lo siguiente sea en ingles:

Why Latin Nations Are Poor

      November 25, 2005; Page A11

      With hysteria mounting about the political shift leftward in Latin
America and 11 presidential races in the region over the next 13 months, the World Bank's "Doing Business in 2006" survey merits a read. We mentioned it two weeks ago but a fuller airing is in order.

      The annual report, by the research side of the bank, measures the
regulatory burden and property rights in 155 countries. This year's results
demonstrate clearly that despite persistent claims that the region has tried the "free-market" model and found it wanting, Latin America is stubbornly stuck in a statist time warp.

      When it comes to burdensome government and weak property rights,
Latins don't fare as badly as Africans but their freedoms lag behind those
in much of Asia and the former Soviet satellites of Europe.

      It's been 20 years since Hernando de Soto's Lima-based Institute for
Liberty and Democracy published "The Other Path," documenting the burdens that the Peruvian state was heaping on the backs of the struggling underclass. But in two decades little has changed in a region mostly known for caudillo government and its capacity to disappoint. More than ever, the Latin predatory state is driving entrepreneurs underground and forcing the most industrious citizens to emigrate, mostly to the U.S.

      Take for example Mexico, which has enormous oil reserves and open
trade with North America. Its economy is sadly underperforming. Mexican
Finance Minister Francisco Gil Diaz has managed the macro side of things
exceedingly well. But on the micro side, Mexican businesses face crippling
regulation and inadequate legal protections, weakening the potential for
market competition, investment and productivity gains.

      In the category of the World Bank report that deals with "hiring and
firing," Mexico ranks 125th out of the 155 countries surveyed, not least
because it costs a firm almost 75 weeks of wages to fire a worker. Mexico
also ranks 125th in "protecting investors" against fraud, self-dealing and
other corporate abuses. Correspondingly, it ranks 100th in the "enforcing
contracts" category, meaning that when two parties strike a deal, neither
knows whether it will hold up.

      Peru gets a better overall rating than Mexico, but it can hardly be
said to encourage entrepreneurship. In "starting a business," Peru ranks a
low 106th because of the red tape Mr. de Soto wrote about so long ago.
Firing a worker costs almost 56 weeks of wages, discouraging employers from hiring and risking huge costs if business takes a turn for the worse. A medium-sized business in Peru can expect a tax burden reaching almost 51% of gross profits, which is part of the reason Peru has the 133rd worst tax burden. "Enforcing contracts" takes 381 days on average, leaving Peru in 114th place in this category.

      Argentina, still saddled with Peronist labor laws, has an even less
flexible labor market than Peru, at 132nd in "hiring and firing." Moreover,
a medium-sized company must theoretically pay almost 98% of its gross profit to the tax man, which explains a high rate of tax evasion.

      In 25th place globally, Chile has the best business climate in the
region but is inexcusably behind Malaysia, Estonia and Lithuania. It badly
needs to advance reforms undertaken in the 1980s, but instead the Socialist government of Ricardo Lagos has yielded to union activists by increasing labor law burdens.

      Colombia -- at 66th -- has dreadful ratings in "hiring and firing"
(130th) and in "paying taxes," where a medium-sized business has a total
payable tax of 75% of gross profits. Venezuela doesn't enforce contracts
(129th), doesn't protect investors (142nd) and makes paying taxes a
bureaucratic nightmare (145th). There are some notable improvements among small countries. Honduras gets better marks for making property registration more efficient. El Salvador has quickened "business entry" but still ranks far down the list in this category due to the cost of starting a business.

      The correlation between economic freedom and prosperity is clear from reading the World Bank ratings. As one would expect, overtaxing and overregulating economic activity stunts growth, as do weak property rights. Much of the region's stagnation is attributable to burdens inflicted by government.

      Why hasn't democracy in Latin America produced change? The answer can be found in public-choice theory -- a school of economics made famous by Nobel Prize winner James Buchanan. Public choice views politics as a market, where the highest bidders have the power to "purchase" what they want. Deregulation may be best for the majority, but politicians don't have an incentive to do it when their most powerful, best-organized constituents --  the ones who put them in office -- prefer the status quo. That includes not only labor unions but rich, established oligarchs and government bureaucrats. Most Latin countries don't have large enough middle classes to counter these oppressive forces, thanks to the twin curses of overregulation and weak property rights.

      At the cost of a civil war, El Salvador has had some success in
awakening the power elite to the need for change. But most of the region is more like Mexico, where labor unions and a handful of wealthy individuals --  like telecom mogul Carlos Slim and media giant Ricardo Salinas Pleigo -- see no need to reform a system that serves them so well.

      On reviewing the World Bank study, it is worth noting that external
forces also militate against reform. The International Monetary Fund, the
U.S. Agency for International Development, World Bank loan officers and the United Nations provide easy money -- "aid" -- to support failed governments and an entrenched ruling class. "Conditionality" has been a dismal failure.  IMF assistance to Argentina worked against challengers to Peronism in the 2003 election and ensured victory for the present anti-market government.

      Rich-country bureaucrats also often tie their handouts to objectives
favored by rich-country pressure groups, such as environmental and labor "protections" that in the name of "social justice" add more red tape and further destroy individual initiative. All the while, Godzilla government is leaving Latin America's underclass living in the shantytowns and favelas
with little opportunity or hope.
Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: LazMartinez on November 27, 2005, 03:19:10 PM
Dejame traducir:
   La cosa esta jodida en todas partes.   :wink:
Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: LazMartinez on November 27, 2005, 03:26:47 PM
Para los que no saben:

Parece que los lideres de Cocacola han tomado unas lecciones desde sus "primos" en otros negocios de "coca".
Title: No hay valor en nacionalismo. Es puro desvalor.
Post by: captainccs on December 03, 2005, 10:51:16 AM
Vargas Llosa: "No hay valor en nacionalismo. Es puro desvalor"
Por admin - Fecha: 2005-11-28 15:52:57

Guadalajara (M?xico), 28 nov (EFE).- El escritor peruano Mario Vargas Llosa afirm? en M?xico que "no hay ning?n valor en el nacionalismo", una ideolog?a aberrante a la que considera "el gran obst?culo" para que Am?rica Latina sea democr?tica.

"Desde mi punto de vista, el nacionalismo es una cat?strofe para cualquier pa?s, en cualquier circunstancia", declar? Vargas Llosa anoche en la Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara (FIL), que este a?o, en su XIX edici?n, tiene a Per? como pa?s invitado.

Ante cientos de personas que acudieron a escucharle durante la inauguraci?n del ciclo "Di?logo: Convergencias y divergencias entre Per? y M?xico", Vargas Llosa se expres? con rotundidad y dijo que, a pesar de que la globalizaci?n marca una necesidad de apertura que muchos pa?ses han entendido, ?sta no se ha producido en la regi?n.

"Am?rica Latina da el triste espect?culo de que todos los intentos de crear organismos regionales fracasan uno tras otro por el lastre del nacionalismo, del que ninguno de nuestros pa?ses ha conseguido liberarse", se?al?.

Seg?n el escritor, "no hay ning?n valor en el nacionalismo. Es un puro desvalor", al tiempo que llam? a no confundir el nacionalismo con "el amor natural que uno tiene al medio en el que naci?, en el que creci?, que le da toda su referencia cultural".

"El nacionalismo es una ideolog?a colectivista que convierte en un valor el accidente m?s banal, que es el lugar de nacimiento de una persona, y hace de eso un valor y, en alguna forma, un privilegio", indic? Vargas Llosa.

El novelista considera que los nacionalismos de la regi?n desencadenaron buena parte de sus guerras y fueron la excusa para que los Gobiernos de esos pa?ses "gastaran inmensas sumas de dinero arm?ndose, llen?ndose de arsenales para combatirse, defenderse, uno del otro".

Record? que en esas circunstancias los ej?rcitos jugaron en muchas ocasiones "el papel de partidos pol?ticos" y se?al? que "un partido pol?tico armado de ca?ones y de fusiles es siempre un ganador".

"El nacionalismo est? detr?s de las dictaduras, que ha sido la raz?n mayor de nuestro fracaso en los intentos democr?ticos que hemos tenido y en nuestro atraso econ?mico, desde luego", recalc?.

Vargas Llosa consider? que el nacionalismo de cualquier clase "est? esencialmente re?ido con la cultura democr?tica" porque hace que las personas no existan como tales sino s?lo "como parte de una tribu, como miembros de una sociedad, de una naci?n, que es el valor supremo".

"Yo creo que al nacionalismo hay que atacarlo frontalmente como lo que es: una aberraci?n ideol?gica, una forma de religi?n laica nacida apenas en el siglo XIX, pues comienza en el XVIII pero nace en el XIX, y que s?lo nace para producir cat?strofes en la Humanidad", afirm?.

En particular, el escritor hizo referencia al atraso que esa forma de pensar y hacer pol?tica ha causado en Latinoam?rica.

"(Si) nosotros no hemos llegado a adoptar la cultura democr?tica, que es el ?nico instrumento para desarrollar, para crear un sistema de vida humano, una legalidad, para que la libertad sea una realidad, se debe fundamentalmente al nacionalismo", indic?.

"Ha sido el gran obst?culo para que seamos democr?ticos", a?adi? el escritor, quien pidi? cotejar la experiencia de dos de los protagonistas de la FIL de este a?o: Per? y M?xico.

Ambos tuvieron civilizaciones prehisp?nicas de vanguardia, pero hoy son "pa?ses pobres, atrasados, que una y otra vez fracasan, pierden el tren y se quedan en la estaci?n".

Tambi?n lament? que, ante los cambios y el progreso, la reacci?n en los pa?ses de la regi?n fuera cerrar fronteras y tratar de desarrollar "econom?as nacionalistas para defender nuestras identidades".

"Identidades entendidas en t?rminos colectivos no existen. Son ficciones", a?adi? el escritor peruano.

"Yo estoy a favor de las ficciones, soy un escritor de novelas y nada me gusta tanto como las ficciones, pero las literarias. Las ficciones pol?ticas no. Son peligrosas, mentirosas, no hay una ficci?n m?s mentirosa que la de una identidad colectiva. Eso no existe", concluy?.

Vargas Llosa: "No hay valor en nacionalismo. Es puro desvalor" (
Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 01, 2006, 05:54:44 PM

Bolivian President Evo Morales signed a decree May 1 by which Bolivia nationalizes its oil and gas resources. Nationalization was one of Morales' main campaign promises. While Morales had apparently flip-flopped on his policies to allow the unrestricted growing of coca, he was facing increasing pressure to act soon on some of his campaign promises. Now he is starting to deliver.


On May 1, Bolivian President Evo Morales signed decree 28701, which nationalizes Bolivia's oil and gas resources. This was one of Morales' main campaign promises and sets Bolivia on a course similar to that of countries like Venezuela.

Even before winning the presidency, Morales said he intended to nationalize Bolivia's oil and gas resources. In that sense, this announcement is not a surprise, especially after reports emerging in the first days of April said a law to nationalize the resources was ready to be proposed. If anything, Morales just caught the local media by surprise, having announced it on a holiday. Using the figure of a decree instead of a change in the law, which can come later, also gives Morales an element of surprise to protect the announcement from potential legal challenges. At the same time of the announcement, Bolivian troops took control of several oil fields. The deployment of troops is intended both as a symbolic way to signal that Morales means business and to prevent any attempt to shut down production. Even if the nationalization was not unexpected, the way in which Morales' government has acted shows some heavy-handedness and not much willingness to compromise.

The decree's first details establish that the firms operating in the country will need to hand their production to the state-owned Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), which will take over selling the private firms' production as well as its own. The decree further says that private companies have 180 days to sign the new contracts in order to keep operations in Bolivia. Morales had said from the time he was campaigning that he would not confiscate companies' actual facilities and investments.

The main foreign energy companies operating in Bolivia are the Spanish company Repsol YPF, the Brazilian company Petroleo Brasileiro and the French company Total. Morales' decree establishes that those companies that had produced more than 100 million cubic meters in 2005 would only benefit from 18 percent of the production, with the rest of it going directly to the Bolivian government. Companies like Repsol YPF, which had registered the largest amount of reserves, will be affected most by the nationalization. If those details turn out to be true, then it will not leave those companies with many incentives to keep operating in the country.

Morales was facing increased domestic pressure to act quickly to fulfill some of his campaign promises, after having initially flip-flopped on the promise to allow unrestricted coca growing. This seems to be a way for Morales to reconcile himself with the other Bolivian political actors, and it will likely be well received by Bolivia's new partners on the just-signed Peoples' Trade Agreement: Cuba and Venezuela.
Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 02, 2006, 08:35:57 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Bolivia and Leftward Movement in Latin America

Bolivian President Evo Morales followed through on a campaign promise on Monday by nationalizing the country's oil and natural gas industries. The move, which Morales discussed frequently during his first 100 days in power, should not have come as a surprise, but the way in which it was done caught many off-guard. Rather than sending a bill to the legislature, Morales enacted the law by decree, announced it on the national May Day holiday --  to the surprise of Bolivia's own media -- and immediately sent the armed forces to secure oil facilities, seeking to prevent any disruptions in operations. In other words, everything was done in the style of the old Latin American populist governments, with a flair that portends a penchant for theatricality and unwillingness to compromise.

Monday's development raises two questions. First, given Bolivia's poverty
and dependence on other countries as shipping routes for its gas exports,
will the nationalization policy be sustainable over the long run? And
second, is this part of a leftist trend that Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez has been encouraging in the region, or will Bolivia's lurch to the
left with the hydrocarbons policy be an isolated case?

Whatever the answer to the first question, Bolivia is hardly an isolated
case. Venezuela has set certain precedents by incrementally changing the
playing rules for foreign companies: Taxes have been increased, and
foreign-owned firms have been forced to enter into joint ventures with the
state-owned oil company. Ecuador is now moving down the same path. Quito recently approved a law that allows the government to renegotiate contracts with oil companies, giving the government more than half of the revenues from oil sold above a certain price level. And in Peru, presidential candidate Ollanta Humala has promised to nationalize gas reserves and production if he wins the runoff election. There is indeed a pattern here.

Another pattern appears to have developed on trade issues as well. During the Summit of the Americas (hosted by Argentina in November 2005), a bloc of countries -- vocally led by Venezuela, with backing from Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia -- expressed strong opposition to calls to move forward with the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Instead, Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba during the past weekend signed the Peoples' Trade Agreement -- note the absence of the word "free" -- as a way to promote unity in the Americas and as their response to the FTAA.

That said, not all the countries in Latin America are treading the same
course. In fact, there may be more differences than similarities in the
policies emerging from the region. Although most of the recently elected
governments have been labeled "leftist" and supposedly have common agendas, Latin America is beginning to show signs of deep divisions rather than growing unity. Only the most radical governments have nationalized their energy industries or attempted to change the rules of engagement for foreign-owned companies. Countries like Brazil, Uruguay and Chile -- all of which have elected leaders belonging to old leftist movements -- have not pursued nationalization policies, and in fact the investment environment in these countries has remained at least level (or improved, in comparison to the more radical countries in the region.)

On trade, the countries that favored the FTAA did not sit back and wait for
Chavez or Argentine President Nestor Kirchner to take the lead or declare it a good idea -- they moved ahead to negotiate bilateral agreements with the United States themselves. Colombia and Peru already have signed their respective agreements, although they still await ratification. Ecuador also has engaged in negotiations with the United States, although the approval of Quito's version of the hydrocarbons law has stalled talks. As a result of all of this, Chavez decided last week to pull Venezuela out of the Andean Community of Nations -- a group that includes Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia -- saying (with Bolivia's agreement) that it is incompatible to seek trade agreements with the United States and fellow Latin American states at the same time. Colombia and Peru, defying Chavez's strange economic logic, have decided to move ahead with their U.S. trade deals.

Deeper south, integration has suffered as well. Uruguay and Paraguay have questioned Mercosur's current structure, claiming that Brazil and Argentina run rough-shod over the small members of the trade bloc. Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez has labeled the organization -- which comprises Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay -- "useless" and called for reform. At the same time, Vazquez has been looking to launch free-trade talks -- or at lest an investment agreement -- with the United States, and he is scheduled to meet this week with U.S. President George W. Bush.

All in all, Venezuela's Chavez appears to have been sowing division among his neighbors rather than uniting Latin America behind the project he envisions for Venezuela. He has engaged in bitter verbal spats with
President Vicente Fox of Mexico, with President Alejandro Toledo Manrique of Peru and with Peruvian presidential contender Alan Garcia. It is true that Peru, Mexico and Nicaragua still might elect leaders who would be closer to Chavez ideologically than to the United States or other moderate Latin American leaders. But despite that, it is not entirely clear that all of them would follow the same policy path. It is considerably more likely that divisions will persist among Latin American states. Economic realities place clear constraints on the policies that the governments of the region can follow.

Thus, with economic and geographic realities in mind, we return to Bolivia
and our first question: Are the nationalization policies sought by Morales

Though Bolivia has South America's second-largest reserves of natural gas, its hydrocarbons industry remains quite underdeveloped. The country currently exports most of its gas to and through Brazil (whose state-owned Petrobras is one of the main foreign companies in Bolivia's hydrocarbons industry). By expropriating the hydrocarbons -- or, to be even more to the point, by reducing the status of foreign companies to mere operators of oil and gas fields -- Bolivia will obstruct flows of new investment and strain its relationship with Brazil. Considering that Morales came into office strongly opposed to a plan that would build a gas export line through Chile, he basically would have only one other route to get the gas to market if Brazil was alienated: through Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay. But such a pipeline would take years to construct. And though Chavez has pledged support to his friend in Bolivia, it is not clear whether he can do much to help out, especially since the two countries do not share a border.

Morales has made good on one of his chief campaign promises, but doing so might hurt the indigenous population he wants to lift out of poverty more than it helps. The gas deposits are now theirs, but without assistance, the Bolivians will find it difficult to develop or export the gas. The alternative, in the less-than-diplomatic words of Mexico's President Fox: They might have to eat it instead
Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: LazMartinez on May 02, 2006, 09:18:13 PM
   Como Ud. sabe, este movimiento a la izquierda no es algo nuevo.  Se ve en todas partes del mundo que el que ofrece una vida mejor, posible o imposible, va a ganar el apoyo de la clase baja solamente por la esperanza que da.  Me gustaria oir lo que nuestros amigos en America Latina tienen que decir por esto.  

Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 03, 2006, 09:15:35 PM
Mientras esperamos comentarios de nuestros amigos latinos, permitame ofrecer un pequeno resume de la teoria que se me ensenaba cuando, hace muchos anos (30!) cuando yo estudiaba en la universidad.

Se decia:

El analisis de derecha-izquierda no explica mucho.  El mundo tiene mas que dos dimensiones.  Hay mercado libre, hay socialismo, y hay fascismo.  Se trata de este tercero cuando el titulo al capital (the means of production) queda en manos privados, pero esta' dirigida por el gobierno-- como se ve en mucho de latinoamerica.  El individuo no se ve como tal, sino como miembro de un grupo (campesino, obrero, empresario, indio, iglesia, etc).  Modelos perfectos serian Italia de Musolini, Espana de Franco, Agentina de Peron, etc.  Parece que Chavez de Venezuela va por este rumbo-- no obtante las palabras de izquierda que diga.

Disculpa por favor las limitaciones de mi castellano.  Ya se hace tarde y voy a dormir.

Les despido de Uds con lo siguiente del WSJ de hoy.  No usa mi terminologia, pero si' ofrece un punto de vista.


Latin Energy Fad
May 3, 2006; Page A14
Latin culture is all the rage these days, from Botero sculptures and Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie," to burritos and margaritas. So maybe we shouldn't be surprised that Bolivia is getting in on another Latin craze: the abrogation of contracts.

We refer to President Evo Morales's pronouncement on May 1 -- not a coincidental date -- to tear up Bolivia's agreements with foreign investors in the natural gas industry and take, in his words, "absolute control" of Bolivia's natural resources. Kicking out foreign investors by executive decree sounds a lot like the same authoritarian nationalist populismo that has earned Bolivia the only prominence it has ever enjoyed: South America's poorest nation.

The Morales move shocked markets but not for its originality. The newly inaugurated president is following the lead of Venezuelan President Hugo Ch?vez, who is a knock-off of Argentine strongman Juan Peron. Peron is long since dead but his spirit lives on in his party, which has been the 21st century's trend setter in the assault on property rights. In 2001 and 2002, Argentina's Peronistas reneged on their commitments not only with foreigners but with their own people, declaring a debt moratorium, tearing up utility contracts, confiscating dollar bank accounts and devaluing the peso.

Se?or Ch?vez followed suit after a fashion. He canceled contracts with foreign oil companies last month, demanding that the government oil company be given majority ownership and operational charge of oil fields. New terms offered to investors are also far less profitable. Some have agreed to stick it out, but Exxon Mobil sold its operations and when France's Total and Italy's ENI SpA refused to give in, Mr. Ch?vez responded by seizing their operations.

Like all fads, this one has its surface appeal. Argentina cleared its balance sheets by sticking it to its creditors and tearing up contracts. Its economy is still growing four years after its theft of private-sector assets, and it may even believe it's gotten something for nothing.
Yet the real predictor of a country's economic future lies in its investment rate. Economists estimate that to achieve steady long-term growth of 3.5% to 4%, Argentina needs an investment-to-GDP rate of at least 23%. To reach 5%, a more reasonable target for a quasi-developed country, it needs 25% investment to GDP. Yet last year's investment rate was a measly 19.8% and today's rate is only 22%. In other words, there are lots of places to put capital these days and few are rushing into Buenos Aires.

It may be that Mr. Morales has been emboldened by the petro wealth of Venezuela. But that country, too, is having trouble sustaining investment in energy production. Thanks to rampant corruption and the government's use of energy profits for buying support for socialism at home and around the region, Venezuela's oil fields are suffering from under-investment. Given an annual depletion rate of 25%, the only thing not clear is how long it will take to run the sector completely dry.

Bolivia to date has had only about $3.5 billion in foreign investment in natural gas, not nearly enough to exploit its vast reserves in the future. Even if Brazil's Petrobras and Spain's Repsol YPF decide to stay and accept the operating terms laid down by President Morales -- including a tax of 82% on natural gas extracted from country's two biggest fields -- new investment is unlikely to be nearly so brave.

Which means Bolivia would become either less productive or highly dependent on state-owned foreign companies from Venezuela or perhaps Russia. Neither option bodes well for the country's sovereignty, much less its prosperity.

URL for this article:
Title: Mesi?nico, populista, presidencialista y caudillista
Post by: captainccs on May 04, 2006, 12:05:19 AM
America latina no es un bloque monol?tico. Somos mas de 20 paises con mucho en com?n y con muchas diferencias. Me limitar? a hablar sobre Venezuela.

Somos un pa?s mesi?nico, populista, presidencialista y caudillista y no terminamos de entender como deber funcionar una democracia. Los 40 a?os de la cuarta rep?blica tuvieron un ligro barniz de democracia sobre lo que realmente fu? una dictadura de partidos. El hecho que uno pueda ir a votar no es suficiente para definir una democracia. Hace falta la libertad de comercio y la representaci?n del ciudadano en el gobierno. Cuando uno solo puede elegir por lista, el electo no es leal al elector sino al elaborador de la lista. En el voto lista estuvo el sustento de la dictadura de partidos de la cuarta republica.

Para muestra un bot?n, en el segundo gobierno de Carlos Andr?s Perez el parlamento le di? poderes dictatoriales al presidente para que mandara por decreto. ?Cuando se ha visto en una democracia funcional que el poder legislativo auto abroge sus poderes? El caso es que el tiro le sali? por la culata al partido de gobierno cuando CAP trat? de normalizar el precio de la gasolina. El pueblo protest? de forma tal que CAP fu? removido de su cargo en base a acusaciones falsas y para el colmo, su partido se volte? contra ?l creyendo que as? iban a salvar la imagen del partido.

El despelote de la cuarta rep?blica fu? tal que algunos pedian un golpe militar (caudillismo), mientras que uno de nuestros mas renombrdos intelectuales pedia la interrupci?n de la democracia para establer un gobierno de "Notables." El resultado final fu? la eleccci?n de Hugo Chavez y hago constar que no fueron solo los de clase baja los que votaron por ?l, tambien lo hicieros muchos de clase media que se comieron el cuento del "redentor" mesi?nico.

En Venezuela cuando hemos tenido un gobierno civil ha sido con la anuencia de los militares. En abril del 2001 fueron los militares quienes quitaron y luego volvieron a poner a Ch?vez. En una democr?cia funcional el ministro de la defensa es un civil. En Venezuela siempre es alg?n generalote. Muy a menudo los cuerpos policiales tambi?n est?n comandados por alg?n militar.

Lo que tenemos en Venezuela ahora es mas caudillismo (fachismo) que socialismo o comunismo. Hay una fachada comunista por los partidos que us? Chavez para hacerse elegir y por el apoyo que compra en La Habana. ?Como se explica que no hace mucho se abrio con bombas y platillos una casa de bolsa con el slog?n: "Ahora todos los venezolanos tiene acceso a la bolsa de valores?" Que idea tan disparatada. ?Como va a tener acceso a la bolsa de valores un pobre que no es due?o legal de nada? Pero en un comunismo la bolsa de valores no puede tener existencia. Hoy d?a los grandes comerciantes son todos amigotes de Ch?vez.

La diferencia real entre este gobierno y los anteriores es el nivel de represi?n y de exclusi?n.
Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: LazMartinez on May 04, 2006, 10:30:18 AM
Primero a Marc,
   Se me parece muy interesante que el WSJ estar? hablando de Caudillos y de dictaduras sin mencionar a Castro.  Fue ?l que empeso esta pr?ctica de "robar" las intereses de otros pa?ses, en America Latina.  Y si Ch?vez es un modelo de alguien, es un modelo de Castro.  

    La democracia no es una sistema perfecta, pero ense?ame otra sistema mejor.  Lo que se les olvida a muchos es que no importa la manera en que se gobierna, siempre vamos a tener clases sociales que contralan a los de m?s.  La democracia por lo menos les da al "hombre en la calle" un poco m?s control que, por ejemplo, una dictadura, y no al punto de un rifle.  Como dijiste, en America Latina hay muchos pa?ses, pero son pa?ses peque?os, doden el ej?rcito tiene m?s control sobre la poblaci?n.  En pa?ses como M?xico y Brasil, eso no se ve, porque tienen una poblaci?n grande.  Lo mismo se ve en muchos pa?ses en Africa.  No se puede saber si esto es un problema sociol?gica o matem?tica, pero no es algo "Latino".  

Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: captainccs on May 04, 2006, 11:59:30 AM
Quote from: LazMartinez
    La democracia no es una sistema perfecta, pero ense?ame otra sistema mejor.

Se ve que no entendiste mi mensaje. Yo no estoy diciendo si la democracia es buena, mala o perfecta o imperfecta. Estoy diciendo que en Venezuela NUNCA HA HABIDO democracia representativa.

We have never had democracy in Venezuela. That is my message.

Cuando los parlamentarios se eligen por listas elaboradas por los partidos, los parlamentarios NO REPRESENTAN al pueblo, representan a los partidos y a los partidos no los eligio nadie, se pusieron ellos solos.

Es esa actitud, de que si hay elecciones todo esta dandy, es el motivo por el cual yo no quiero tener observados como Jimmy Carter en mi pais. Son un fraude y ayudan a perpetuar el fraude en mi pais.
Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: LazMartinez on May 07, 2006, 12:23:46 PM
Yo te entendi perfectamente bien, pero parece que tu no pudiste leer "entre las lineas".

Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Rainer on May 09, 2006, 11:44:28 AM
Hola a todos,

es un tema caliente mas que todo ahora en Peru que estamos a punto de votar en la segunda vuelta entre Humala y Garcia.
Aca el tema no es tanto si el partido es izquierdista , central o derechista.
Surgi? lo que tenia que surgir:
La gente esta harta de que no hayan cambios y ya no confiaban en los partidos gente sigue con hambre, sin empleo, sin educacion ....el gobierno sigue siendo corrupto, la injusticias sociales estan de pie, las promesas nunca se cumplen  y la minoria de personas (politicos, empresarios - todos lo que tienen mucho poder)se llenan los bolsillos con plata etc...
Entonces se present? un Sr. Humala que no promete nada ( ni siquiera presento al comienzo un plan de gobierno) pero que quiere un cambio drastico. Eso fue para muchas personas (30-40%) razon suficiente para votar por el. Como el candidato con mas votos paso a la segunda vuelta...

Va a suceder aca en el Peru lo de siempre en las elecciones presidenciales:
Aca siempre ganan los antivotos, asi fue con Fujimori/Vargas LLosa los antivotos del escritor hicieron ganar a Fujimori, lo mismo sucedio con Toledo/Garcia - por los antivotos de Garcia gano Toledo.
En estas elecciones va a suceder lo mismo: El que menos antivotos tiene va a ganar...
La decision electoral ahora para la segunda vuelta es una decision bien fregada: Eliges el mal que ya sabes lo que te pueda suceder o eliges el mal del cual no sabes que pueda pasar.
El voto va a ser el que menos da?o pueda hacerle al pais (antivoto).
Humala estaba hasta hace poco como favorito en las encuestas. Su padrino el presidente Chavez empezo a meterse a la campa?a electoral (ahora no solo aportando economicamente la campa?a) y para bien o para mal - no lo se - hizo da?o a su pupilo Humala, porque la eleccion presidencial es estrictamente asunto nacional y Chavez metio alli la pata en ataquar a Garcia y al gobierno actual. Eso no le gusto a muchos peruanos - ademas de que nivel politito estamos hablando ? Donde se ha visto eso de que un presidente de otro pais se mete a iasuntos internos de otro pais? Bueno la gente me dira : USA  y es verdad tambien se meten y se han metido en asuntos ajenos...
Las amenazas del Sr. Chavez de no tener relaciones de ningun tipo con Peru si no sale Humala, igual el tema del TLC y la comunidad andina tantos a?os de esfuerzo lo tiro al tacho nomas. No es muy boliveriano que digamos....Ademas se sabe que Chavez vende petroleo a USA.....
Todo eso salio a la luz y esta creando antivoto a favor de Garcia...
Pero todo este fenomeno surgio porque hay mucha injusticia social, racial y mucho abuso de poder. Ademas la historia de la civilizacion nos narra en realidad lo mismo: Existe un pais que no haya pasado por dictaduras , guerras civiles etc...para llegar a un sistema democratico funcional?
Si en el Peru no cambia eso entonces pueden surgir siempre ideas nacionalistas, o ideologias izquierdistas etc....el hombre que no tiene nada que perder solo lo tiene de ganar .....por eso estos 40% de la poblacion se arriesgan a un cambio drastico....

Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: captainccs on May 09, 2006, 12:19:57 PM
Quote from: Rainer
La gente esta harta de que no hayan cambios y ya no confiaban en los partidos gente sigue con hambre, sin empleo, sin educacion ....el gobierno sigue siendo corrupto, la injusticias sociales estan de pie, las promesas nunca se cumplen  y la minoria de personas (politicos, empresarios - todos lo que tienen mucho poder)se llenan los bolsillos con plata etc...


Cuando describes el Per? pol?tico actual estas describiendo a la Venezuela que vot? por Ch?vez en 1998. Saltamos de Guatemala a Guatepeor. No hagan lo mismo.

Mientras los peruanos y los venezolanos dejemos la pol?tica en manos de los partidos politicos, estamos fracasados. Debemos reconqistar nuestros paises para toda la ciudadania, no solo para las c?pulas politicas y las aristocracias del dinero. El mesianismo de Humala y Chavez no trae nada bueno. Hay que conseguir la descentralizaci?n de nuestros gobiernos. Hay que conseguir la representaci?n real del pueblo mediante el voto uninominal donde el parlamentario sea responsable unicamente a su pueblo y no a una c?pula politico-partidista.

Uno puede so?ar, ?No es as
Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Rainer on May 10, 2006, 12:19:22 PM
Hola captain...

si eso seria so?ar...yo tambien he hablado con venezolanos y estan todo menos contentos y me cuentan que la situacion en venezuela esta pesima a pesar de tener esa riqueza petrolera. Es una pena que se vea siempre el abuso de poder aca en latinoamerica de parte del gobierno y  en peru hay redes de poder que no son faciles de romper y estan en manos de pocos. Yo tambien espero que no se vuelva a caer el trabajo de construir un gobierno democratico, porque Peru ya paso por dictaduras y gobiernos que dejaron al pais en bancarota. Yo insisto: ya pues que roben, que abusen como siempre y todos lo han hecho pero por lo menos que devuelvan algo al pueblo (educacion, puestos de trabajo).
Hay que saber que antes en lo feudal era indispensable dejar al pueblo ignorante. Hoy en dia no se puede dejar al pueblo sin formacion, educacion etc.. eso es una inversion a largo plazo que nos conviene a todos y no solo a unos pocos...y asi  jalamos todos de una cuerda. Eso es uno de los puntos criticos aca - todos jalan por su lado (y si es necesario pisando al otro). La mayoria de la gente ni siquiera tiene la formacion basica tanto en lo politico como laboral.
Peru es uno de los paises con mas riqueza natural y siempre ha sido mal administrado: muchos se han olvidado de la inflacion y las colas para comprar pan en el primer gobierno de Alan Garcia y ahora puede ser reelecto un presidente que ha llevado al pais a lo mas bajo.
Estamos en un dilema politico nosotros.....
Por el otro lado esta Humala - y mi opinion sincera es que yo no confio en los militares - asi de simple - para mi los militares son los que peor gobiernan hoy en dia. Hay personas que apuntan justamente a eso, dicen:
La mayoria del pueblo no son gente preparada, estudiada - con otras palabras ignorantes - y lo que se necesita aca es una mano dura (tipo dictadura/militar)para educar y disciplinar a la gente.
Yo no pienso igual - a mi se me paran los pelos si hablamos de militares.....bueno eso es lo que esta pasando en Peru..... venezuela y bolivia estan metiendose tambien para manipular aca las elecciones....
osea esta afectando toda la region nuestras elecciones - no deberia ser asi....
Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 15, 2006, 05:51:27 PM
Gracias Rainer.

Disculpenme por favor que otra vez yo ponga otra cosa en ingles.


Latin America: A Growing Anti-Chavez Backlash

A series of events in recent weeks appears to signal growing disenchantment in Latin America with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Bolivia's May 1 nationalization of its energy sector has only served to fuel this nascent anti-Chavez backlash.


Over the past few weeks, several Latin American leaders have issued statements criticizing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, while two presidential candidates have openly campaigned against the Chavez model for the region. Although strong words against the Venezuelan president are not unusual in Latin America, the intensity of the anti-Chavez sentiment has grown since Bolivian President Evo Morales nationalized his country's energy sector May 1 -- a move that bears a strong Chavez imprint.

Since assuming power in 1999, Chavez has directed his rhetoric at pushing his Bolivarian dream -- Latin American economic and political integration, and isolation from the United States. Today, however, the region looks far from united, due to increasing differences between the countries on a wide set of issues. Although Chavez is not entirely to blame for this state of affairs, his incessant comments on -- and downright meddling in -- the internal affairs of others appear to be undermining his own efforts to attain that dream.

Victories in recent years of left-leaning parties in Latin America have increased U.S. concerns that a strong anti-American alliance, one hostile to foreign investment, would emerge. Bolivia and Venezuela, for example, have instituted the kinds of policies investors fear most. Not all the "leftist" governments in Latin America are the same, however. In fact, some are closer to European-style social democracies, while others are similar to the old-style populist governments that ruled in the region for decades.

While nationalism is a common thread among most Latin American leaders, little else really unites them -- and the current bickering among the different countries and their blocs only enhances their differences. A good number of these countries, however, seem to have found a common bond: concern about Chavez's influence inside their borders and a desire to contain him. As a result, the region is at a crossroads of sorts. Some new elements on the table could serve to strengthen the nascent anti-Chavez movement, but differences in other areas could make it difficult to sustain a containment bloc.

Although criticism from Venezuela's neighbors of Chavez's attempts to extend influence in the region is not a new phenomenon, the difference this time is that a larger number of countries -- Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico and Brazil -- all have openly criticized Chavez over the past three weeks.

In Peru, where Chavez has openly called for the election of newcomer Ollanta Humala, President Alejandro Toledo Manrique and former president and current candidate Alan Garcia have both responded harshly to Chavez's meddling, especially after he compared them to one another. Garcia has invoked Chavez's name as part of his campaign strategy, saying Chavez is attempting to create satellite states and that he has the luxury of coming out against free trade and foreign investment because his country has plenty of oil. As a result, Garcia has jumped ahead of Humala by more than 12 points in most polls. Three weeks ago, polls had Humala and Garcia tied in a runoff scenario ahead of the June 4 election. The polls also show that more than 60 percent of Peruvians have a negative opinion of Chavez and only 17 percent have a favorable one. Meanwhile, 84 percent of those surveyed consider him an authoritarian leader. Chavez's support, which fueled the rise of Humala, might now be a liability.

In designing his strategy, Garcia might have copied Mexico's Felipe Calderon, the National Action Party's presidential candidate. After months of running behind in the polls, Calderon has begun to take on the Revolutionary Democratic Party's Lopez Obrador, releasing a series of televised ads that pair Chavez and Lopez Obrador -- and highlight their authoritarian tendencies. These ads, as well as other actions by Lopez Obrador -- such as his unwillingness to participate in the first televised debate -- have pushed him into second place for the first time since he declared his candidacy. It appears the Mexican public is growing concerned about the possibility of electing another Chavez or Morales on July 2. Lopez Obrador probably could not follow in the steps of the Bolivian and Venezuelan leaders, even if he wanted to, but Mexican voters are starting to have second thoughts regardless.

Meanwhile, Chavez might be starting to lose his appeal among the citizens of other countries as well. When Latin Americans start looking at the possibility of a return to the tough economic times of the 1970s and the 1980s, they might find populist alternatives not that appealing.

Perhaps Chavez's biggest problem, however, is that his meddling is awakening South American powerhouse Brazil. In the past, Chavez has counted on Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva as his friend and ally on issues such as trade and energy. However, Chavez's visible role in the nationalization of Bolivia's energy sector -- a move that affects Brazil most directly -- is seen as a direct challenge to da Silva. Moreover, Chavez's influence represents a challenge to Brazil's standing in the continent, and its sphere of influence.

Despite da Silva's call for an immediate summit with Argentine President Nestor Kirchner and the leaders of Bolivia and Venezuela following the nationalization decree -- as well as a series of relatively tough statements by Brazil's foreign minister and the president of Brazil's state-owned energy firm -- Brazil's other political parties and its business sector have criticized da Silva for his "weak" response to Chavez. Taking into account the relatively close relationship between the two leaders before these events, however, da Silva appears to be clearly marking his distance -- especially when one of his direct criticisms of Chavez came during the European Union-Latin America summit. While Chavez is accustomed to meddling in the affairs of governments that cannot do much against him, he now runs the risk of facing an angry Brazil.

Chavez, meanwhile, has other irons in the regional fire and could use his influence to further fuel the differences between countries in the Andean Community (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia) and Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay). He has been siding with Argentina in its dispute with Uruguay over construction of paper plants along their shared border, for example. Uruguay, meanwhile, has threatened to abandon Mercosur -- but to associate with Washington, not with Caracas. These games have tested Brazil's patience, which appears to be running out.

Chavez could be facing a decline in his popular support in the region. At the same time, he appears to have angered the largest country in South America. In order to assure his own re-election -- and defend Brazil's economic interests -- da Silva will need to show he cannot be overshadowed by Chavez. For starters, Brazil could stop cooperating with Caracas on a variety of projects, including the South American pipeline.

For the United States, the bickering between Latin American states could not come at a better time. Washington is focused on Iraq, Iran, Russia and China -- not to mention U.S. President George W. Bush's problems on the home front -- and Chavez represents a painful thorn in the side. Should the other Latin American countries take care of that problem, so much the better for the United States.
Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 18, 2006, 11:16:54 PM
The battle for Latin America's soul
May 18th 2006
From The Economist print edition

A fight between democrats and populists

?LATIN AMERICA doesn't matter...people don't give one damn about  
Latin America.? So said Richard Nixon, offering career advice to a  
young Donald Rumsfeld. With the bloody exception of the Central  
American wars of the 1980s, Nixon was right?until now. Suddenly  
Latin America has grabbed the world's attention. There are several  
reasons for this. But they come down to the notion that, after two  
decades in which country after country in the region seemed to  
embrace liberal democracy and market capitalism, something  
fundamental is changing.

A spectre has arisen, one of anti-American leftist nationalism.  
Ecuador this week became the latest Latin American country to kick  
out a foreign energy company?in its case, Occidental. But there are  
plenty of other signs that all is not well. The crime mobs created  
by foreign demand for cocaine continue to run amok. More than 100  
people have died in a fight between one of these mafias and the  
state in S?o Paulo, the region's most modern metropolis (see  
article). The tide of migrants fleeing lack of opportunity in Latin  
America has become a bitter issue north of the border, especially  
with the Republican right. That has prompted George Bush to offer  
up to 6,000 National Guard troops to patrol the border (see  
article). His administration has also announced a (largely  
symbolic) ban on arms sales to Venezuela, which is run by the  
noisiest of the anti-Yanqui nationalists, Hugo Ch?vez, because, it  
is claimed, he is not co-operating in fighting terrorism.

   Yet to portray what is happening in the Americas as a battle  
between the United States and its Latin neighbours is mistaken.  
Latin America does matter?but not quite, or not only, for the  
reasons commonly believed. The battle being waged is one within  
Latin America over its future. It is between liberal democrats?of  
left and right?and authoritarian populists. Latin America's efforts  
to make democracy work, and to use it to make searingly unequal  
societies fairer and more prosperous, have implications across the  
developing world.

 Those efforts suffered a severe blow in 1998-2002, when the region  
suffered financial turmoil and economic stagnation. Rightly or  
wrongly, voters blamed the slowdown on the free-market reforms  
known as the Washington consensus. As happens in democracies, they  
started to vote for the opposition?which tended to be on the left.  
Yet in Latin America, as this newspaper has often noted, the  
differences among the left-wing governments are more important than  
the similarities.

 Broadly speaking, one camp is made up of moderate social democrats,  
of the sort in office in Chile, Uruguay and Brazil. The other camp  
is the radical populists, led by Mr Ch?vez, who appears to have  
gained a disciple in Evo Morales, Bolivia's new president. The  
populists shout louder, and claim that they are helping the poor  
through state control of oil and gas. Neither Mr Ch?vez nor Mr  
Morales is from the ?white? elites who, in caricature at least,  
have long ruled in the region. Both direct volleys of abuse at Mr  
Bush. For all these reasons, the populists have captured the  
sympathy of ignorant paternalists abroad, such as London's mayor,  
Ken Livingstone, who this week welcomed Mr Ch?vez as ?the best news  
out of Latin America in many years?.

 The facts speak otherwise. Yes, after seven years in power and a  
massive oil windfall, Mr Ch?vez has finally created some health and  
education programmes for the urban poor. At last, poverty is  
falling (though it is still around 40%) in Venezuela?but it would  
be extraordinary if it were not, given the oil price. Yes, Mr  
Ch?vez has twice been elected and remains popular. But he is  
running down his country's wealth. Having dismantled all checks,  
balances and independent institutions, his regime rests on his  
personal control of the state oil company, the armed forces and  
armed militias.

 Look around the rest of Latin America, and there is plenty of  
better news. In the current spate of elections, the populists are  
not carrying all before them. That is partly because the region's  
economies are now doing well again (see article), but it is also  
because some democrats seem to have learnt a salutary lesson. This  
is that governments neglect education, health and anti-poverty  
programmes at their peril.

 Governments in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil are starting to  
achieve sustained reductions in poverty?and even in inequality?
partly by more effective social policies. The difference will  
become even clearer when commodity prices fall and the economic  
cycle turns. Chile will then be able to maintain its social  
programmes by spending what it has saved from its copper windfall.  
By contrast, Venezuela's future may resemble not Cuba, as some of  
Mr Ch?vez's opponents fear, but Nigeria?a failed petro-state.

 In place of drugs and migrants

It has become commonplace to berate Mr Bush for ?losing? Latin  
America. But that is to overstate the influence of the United  
States in South America and Mexico (though not in the smaller  
countries of the Caribbean basin). Relations between the two halves  
of the Americas are not as good as a decade ago, yet the bigger  
change is the disarray within Latin America itself, largely  
provoked by Mr Ch?vez and his allies (who include Fidel Castro,  
Cuba's communist gerontocrat).

 That said, the Bush administration could do more to help. Mr Bush's  
gesture towards tightening border security is a blow to America's  
friends in Mexico. If it is the price for approving the Senate's  
version of immigration reform, which includes routes to citizenship  
for illegals and expands legal migration, so be it. But it would  
help Latin America greatly if the United States coupled its trade  
deals with a more generous partnership for development, including  
targeted help with infrastructure?and if it accepted that its ?war  
on drugs? has failed.

 Meanwhile, democrats everywhere?including in Europe and in Latin  
America itself?need to make it clear on which side of the battle  
they stand. They should not welcome Mr Ch?vez in their midst unless  
the presidential election in Venezuela in December is demonstrably  
free and fair. Restoring democracy in Latin America cost too much  
blood for the achievement to be lightly thrown away.
Title: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 20, 2006, 10:06:17 AM
Seeking United Latin America, Venezuela's Ch?vez Is a Divider

Published: May 20, 2006
BOGOT?, Colombia, May 19 ? As Venezuela's president, Hugo Ch?vez, insinuates himself deeper in the politics of his region, something of a backlash is building among his neighbors.

Mr. Ch?vez ? stridently anti-American, leftist and never short on words ? has cast himself as spokesman for a united Latin America free of Washington's influence. He has backed Bolivia's recent gas nationalization, set up his own Socialist trade bloc and jumped into the middle of disputes between his neighbors, even when no one has asked.
Some nations are beginning to take umbrage. The mere association with Mr. Ch?vez has helped reverse the leads of presidential candidates in Mexico and Peru. Officials from Mexico to Nicaragua, Peru and Brazil have expressed rising impatience at what they see as Mr. Ch?vez's meddling and grandstanding, often at their expense.

Diplomatic sparring has broken into the open. Last month, after very public sniping between Mr. Ch?vez and Peru's president, Alejandro Toledo, the country withdrew its ambassador from Caracas, citing "flagrant interference" in its affairs.

"He goes around shooting from the hip and shooting his mouth off, and that has caused tensions," Jorge G. Casta?eda, a former Mexican foreign minister, said by phone from New York, where he is teaching at New York University. "The difference now is that he's picking fights with his friends, not just his adversaries."

Some of Mr. Ch?vez's gestures, like his tendency to tweak the Bush administration, or the aid projects he has bankrolled with Venezuela's oil money, still leave him popular, particularly among the poor.

But increasingly, the very image of the Venezuelan leader has come to stand for a style of caustic nationalism that many in the region fear, as the divisions provoked by the man who professes to want to unify his region have widened.

"He is beginning to overreach, wanting to be involved in everything," said Riordan Roett, director of Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. "It's a matter of egomania at work here."

Mr. Ch?vez, for instance, has taken the uncompromising stand that governments must choose either his vision of continental unity or free trade with Washington, which Mr. Ch?vez blames for impoverishing the region. "You either have one or the other," he said. "Either we're a united community or we're not."

In late April, he exasperated Colombia, Ecuador and Peru by declaring that Venezuela would drop out of their trade group, the Andean Community of Nations, because the other three members were seeking free trade agreements with the United States. He has instead formed a trade bloc with Cuba and Bolivia's new Socialist government.

While the move was filled with political symbolism, analysts say it offers few real prospects for trade and threatens badly needed integration among Andean countries, which still depend on United States markets.

"Ch?vez's idea of sovereignty seems pretty selective," said Michael Shifter, a senior policy analyst at the Inter-American Dialogue policy group in Washington. "Ch?vez has been saying, in effect, 'You're either with us or against us.' For most Latin Americans that hubristic message doesn't go over very well, whether it comes from Washington or Caracas."

The sparring with Peru's government erupted last month after President Toledo said it made no sense for Mr. Ch?vez to criticize his Andean partners for dealing with Washington when Venezuela sells most of its oil to the United States.

But he saved his strongest words for Mr. Ch?vez's general involvement in Peruvian affairs.

"Mr. Ch?vez, learn to govern democratically," Mr. Toledo said. "Learn to work with us. Our arms are open to integrate Latin America, but not for you to destabilize us with your checkbook."

When Alan Garc?a, a candidate in Peru's June 4 presidential election, also took Mr. Ch?vez to task, the Venezuelan president responded with, among other things, an endorsement of his opponent.

"I hope that Ollanta Humala becomes president of Peru," Mr. Ch?vez declared, backing Mr. Garc?a's nationalist opponent, who has modeled himself on the Venezuelan leader. "Go, comrade! Long live Ollanta Humala! Long live Peru!"

Mr. Ch?vez called Mr. Garc?a, a former president whose tenure was marred by corruption scandals, "shameless, a thief," and warned that if he were elected "by some work of the devil," Venezuela would withdraw its ambassador.


Page 2 of 2)

But it was Peru that made the move first. Venezuela soon followed, and the Ch?vez government responded by calling Mr. Toledo an "office boy" for President Bush. Mr. Garc?a benefited handsomely, taking a long lead in the polls.

 Surveys showed Peruvians had little patience for Mr. Ch?vez's interference. Only 17 percent of Peruvians said they had a positive view of the Venezuelan leader, the Lima-based Apoyo polling firm found.
In Nicaragua, Mr. Ch?vez has thrown his support behind Daniel Ortega, the former leader of the communist Sandinista revolution, who is running for president in November elections.

"I shouldn't say I hope you win because they will accuse me of sticking my nose into Nicaraguan internal affairs," Mr. Ch?vez told Mr. Ortega, who was invited on his radio show in late April. "But I hope you win."

Mr. Ch?vez pledged to supply cheap fuel to a group of Sandinista-run towns. The gesture was interpreted by opponents as a naked ploy to influence the vote and criticized as a backhanded way to funnel money to the Ortega campaign.

Nicaragua's government called on Mr. Ch?vez to stay out. "We hope this partisan support comes to an end so that Nicaraguans can freely choose who we want to be the next leader of Nicaragua," Foreign Minister Norman Caldera told Nicaraguan television this month.

The American ambassador to Nicaragua, Paul A. Trivelli, speaking to Nicaraguan media, accused Mr. Ch?vez of "direct intervention," but analysts said it was too soon to say what effect Mr. Ch?vez would have on the vote.

In Mexico, the leftist candidate in the July presidential election, Andr?s Manuel L?pez Obrador, has labored to distance himself from Mr. Ch?vez, to no avail.

When he made a slip of manners recently, calling President Vicente Fox a chattering bird and telling him to shut up, his conservative opponent, Felipe Calder?n, ran a series of attack advertisements intercutting the gaffe with images of Mr. Ch?vez, whose tendency to hurl insults is a trademark. (He has called Mr. Bush a drunkard and Mr. Fox a "puppy dog of the empire.")

In recent weeks, Mr. L?pez Obrador's lead in the polls has evaporated, and he now trails his opponent.

The disputes are not limited to politics, however, but also touch important national interests.

Mr. Ch?vez, for instance, encouraged and quickly supported Bolivia's nationalization of its energy sector this month, a move that infuriated Argentina and Brazil, which depend on Bolivian natural gas.

Though Venezuela was not a party to the dispute, Mr. Ch?vez joined a meeting of leaders from Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia aimed at calming the crisis, and dominated a news conference afterward, upstaging even his Bolivian prot?g?, President Evo Morales.

President Luiz In?cio Lula da Silva of Brazil, steward of South America's largest economy and nominally a left-wing ally of Mr. Ch?vez, was particularly humiliated. Celso Amorim, the foreign minister, was called before senators and quizzed about Brazil's weak response. He said Mr. da Silva had admonished the Venezuelan leader in a private phone call, telling him that the Bolivian move could jeopardize Mr. Ch?vez's dream of a 5,000-mile pipeline to carry Venezuela's gas to Argentina.

Mr. da Silva also rebuked Mr. Ch?vez, he said, for involving himself in a dispute that Brazil is having with Uruguay and Paraguay over their trade bloc, Mercosur, saying Mr. Ch?vez's role was "a stimulant to activities incompatible with the spirit of integration."

The wounds have yet to heal. Jorge Viana, the governor of Acre state in Brazil, and a crucial ally of Mr. da Silva, told Brazilian radio last week that Mr. Ch?vez's meddling was "lamentable." He criticized Mr. Ch?vez's "precipitated decisions to interfere in the internal affairs of Bolivia, Peru and, by extension, those of Brazil." Mr. Ch?vez, he said, "needs to calm down."
Title: Per?: Europa rechaza la intromisi?n for?nea
Post by: captainccs on June 02, 2006, 08:41:38 PM
Europa rechaza la intromisi?n for?nea

La Misi?n de Observaci?n Electoral del Parlamento Europeo presidida por el espa?ol Jos? Ignacio Salafranca, rechaz? esta tarde cualquier injerencia internacional en el actual proceso electoral peruano. Estas declaraciones hacen clara alusi?n a las continuas intromisiones del presidente de Venezuela, Hugo Ch?vez, en el proceso electoral peruano.

Seg?n la Agencia Andina, Salafranca hizo un llamado a la ciudadan?a a mantener la calma y serenidad durante el desarrollo de los comicios de este domingo 4 de junio, y rechazar cualquier tipo de violencia.
Anot? que estas elecciones deben ser llevadas con orden y transparencia al igual que el desarrollo de la primera vuelta del pasado 9 de abril.

En ese sentido, refiri? que la misi?n del Parlamento Europeo conf?a en la honestidad de las autoridades electorales para que este proceso se realice sin ninguna clase de incidentes, por lo que descartan de antemano cualquier irregularidad durante el escrutinio.

La delegaci?n de eurodiputados presenciar? el desarrollo de la segunda vuelta electoral en las ciudades de Arequipa, Lima y Cusco y est? integrada por Horst Posdorf, Emilio Menendez, Manuel Medina, Nathalie Griesbeck, In?s Vaidere e Irena Belohorsk?.
Title: La balanza en suspenso
Post by: captainccs on June 04, 2006, 08:29:51 AM
La balanza en suspenso

El Universal
Domingo 04 de junio de 2006

LIMA.- Hoy en las urnas peruanas parece jugarse algo m?s que el rumbo de los pr?ximos cinco a?os. De la serie de elecciones de este 2006, la segunda vuelta aqu? aparece como la m?s importante de la regi?n porque ayudar? a volcar la balanza hacia uno de los lados de esos dos modelos en pugna que afloraron en Sudam?rica desde hace poco m?s de un mes, cuando el venezolano Hugo Ch?vez decidi? intervenir en las formas -no en el fondo- de la nacionalizaci?n de los hidrocarburos bolivianos, que termin? enfrent?ndolo con Brasil.

Venezuela y Brasil est?n enfrentados no s?lo por sus presidentes -de lo que sobran testimonios de discusiones subidas de tono en las ?ltimas cumbres entre Lula y Ch?vez-, sino con relaci?n a sus petroleras estatales PDVSA y Petrobras, que se disputan en Bolivia buena parte de las reservas de gas.

Per? tambi?n posee m?dicas reservas gas?feras (13 trillones de metros c?bicos) pero con posibilidades de ampliarlas considerablemente.

No s?lo por su ansiado gasoducto sudamericano es que Ch?vez y su proyecto pusieron los ojos aqu?.

Su anhelado liderazgo regional, con el que busca fortalecerse ante Brasil, fue el que lo movi? a apoyar con declaraciones y algo m?s la candidatura de un camarada de armas tan controvertido como Ollanta Humala. El tama?o econ?mico y geogr?fico de Brasil es ocho veces m?s el del l?der petrolero regional y s?lo sumando voluntades como las de Evo Morales, su proyecto podr?a tener indicios de ?xito.

En el camino por conquistar Per?, Ch?vez se encontr? con uno de los pol?ticos m?s avezados de la regi?n: el ex presidente Alan Garc?a, a quien ni su amplio rechazo entre el electorado y en ciertos sectores de poder le provocaron una p?rdida de su talento a la hora de hacer pol?tica. R?pido de reflejos, Garc?a se erigi? en el retador de Ch?vez, golpe?ndolo ah? donde m?s le duele: en su controvertida y por momentos inexplicable relaci?n con Estados Unidos y con las empresas petroleras de ese pa?s.

"Aqu? se define el futuro inmediato de la regi?n. O se ?bolivarianiza? o lo que primar? ser? una tendencia m?s racional, moderna y de una centroizquierda a la altura de los tiempos", resume a EL UNIVERSAL un ex canciller sudamericano que participa de la observaci?n de la OEA en Lima, apasionado por conocer el desenlace.

Mientras Colombia acaba de renovar su alianza con Estados Unidos con la reelecci?n de ?lvaro Uribe y despu?s de conocer si se termina de construir ese dique al chavismo en el que se erigi? y erigieron los gobiernos de la regi?n a Garc?a, o de abrirle las puertas a trav?s de una figura tan sinuosa como Humala, todas las miradas se dirigir?n a Ecuador, donde Ch?vez ya tiene preparada su infanter?a pol?tica para dar la batalla.

Hasta el gobierno del presidente argentino N?stor Kirchner entendi? de qu? iba la partida. As? como en la primera vuelta apoy? abiertamente a Humala, ahora envi? a un senador del oficialista Frente para la Victoria con un mensaje de apoyo a Garc?a.

Brasil y Chile no s?lo esperan ver a Alan asumiendo el pr?ximo 28 de julio sino que aguardan saber con cu?l de los dos candidatos mexicanos, Andr?s Manuel L?pez Obrador o Felipe Calder?n, pueden estructurar una agenda de intereses comunes que se diferencie de la de Ch?vez, tal como coincidieron diplom?ticos de ambos pa?ses en d?as pasados. "PDVSA y Petrobras tambi?n est?n llamados a enfrentarse", destac? el funcionario brasile?o. Por eso hoy en Per? no se juega nada m?s que una presidencia, "ni el mal menor" o la humalista "nueva pol?tica" con muchos pol?ticos viejos (fujimoristas, toledistas, montesinistas), sino el color y el rumbo geopol?tico de una regi?n que, hasta aqu?, viene desperdiciando una de las mejores coyunturas regionales de toda su historia.
Title: Ch?vez, escucha, Alan ya gan?
Post by: captainccs on June 04, 2006, 04:51:24 PM
Elecciones en el Per?

4:25 pm. Cientos de simpatizantes apristas apostados en la sede de dicha agrupaci?n, en la Av. Alfonso Ugarte, comenzaron a entonar a voz en cuello "Ch?vez, escucha, Alan ya gan?", ante la mirada curiosa de decenas de transe?ntes y polic?as que custodian el orden. El tr?nsito en la zona se ha restringido.
Title: Per?: resultados internacionales
Post by: captainccs on June 04, 2006, 05:09:52 PM
Resultados a boca de urna a nivel internacional

Televisi?n Nacional del Per? (TNP) difundi? algunos resultados a boca de urna de la segunda vuelta electoral en algunos pa?ses del extranjero.

Alan Garc?a P?rez 56%
Ollanta Humala Tasso 44%

Alan Garc?a P?rez 57%
Ollanta Humala Tasso 43%

Alan Garc?a P?rez 72%
Ollanta Humala Tasso 28%

Alan Garc?a P?rez 52%
Ollanta Humala Tasso 48%

Estados Unidos
Alan Garc?a P?rez 70%
Ollanta Humala Tasso 30%

Alan Garc?a P?rez 65%
Ollanta Humala Tasso 35%

Alan Garc?a P?rez 59%
Ollanta Humala Tasso 41%
Title: Hugo Ch?vez es el ?nico derrotado
Post by: captainccs on June 04, 2006, 08:27:43 PM
"Hugo Ch?vez es el ?nico derrotado"

El candidato aprista Alan Garc?a dijo que el presidente venezolano Hugo Ch?vez "es el ?nico derrotado" en las elecciones presidenciales que, seg?n los resultados oficiales de la ONPE, gan? a Ollanta Humala, candidato de UPP.

En un discurso ante miles de sus simpatizantes, Garc?a P?rez dijo que "aqu? el ?nico derrotado no tiene documento de identidad nacional peruano, es el que quiso llevarnos de las narices con la fuerza de su negro dinero, el que quiso extender su dominaci?n y dictadura, el que quiso traer hasta nuestro pa?s y a otros el militarismo como f?rmula repulsiva del ayer", dijo Garc?a.

Como se sabe, Hugo Ch?vez apoy? decididamente a Ollanta Humala, rival de Garc?a. Incluso lleg? a anunciar su intenci?n de cortar las relaciones diplom?ticas con Per? en el caso de una victoria del l?der aprista.

Durante los ?ltimos d?as de campa?a, ambos pol?ticos intercambiaron descalificaciones e insultos, con Ch?vez llamando a Garc?a "truh?n" y "ladr?n" y ?ste respondiendo que el mandatario venezolano es un "sinverg?enza", entre otros.


Parte del discurso de Alan Garcia proclamando su victoria como presidente electo del Per?:

Aqu? el ?nico derrotado no tiene documento de identidad nacional perunano

Es el que quiso llevarnos de las narices con la fuerza de su negro dinero

Es el que quiso extender su dominaci?n y su dictadura

Es el que quiso traer hasta nuestro pais y a otros el militarismo como formula repulsiva del ayer

Alli esta la democracia del Peru que le ha dicho: ?No!

Alli esta la democracia que reinvidica la independencia de los peruanos

Title: Re: Hugo Ch?vez es el ?nico derrotado
Post by: Rainer on June 05, 2006, 10:08:06 AM
Hola a todos,

lo confirmo desde aca Lima, Peru lo que esta poniendo captainscs.. Alan Garcia gano con gran mayoria en Lima, en  las provincias mas que todo del sur y en la selva votaron por Humala. Gracias a la intervencion de Chavez y el papelon que esta haciendo el presidente boliviano Evo (chavez lo trata como si fuese un ni?o...) el candidato Humala perdio muchos votos- como lo puse anteriormente en un comentario- para mi era obvio oque con esa intervencion iba a perder la candidatura...
Pero les comento que solo los apristas estan contentos - el resto eligio al "menos peor" que es supuestamente Garcia. Lo que esta claro es que Peru tiene que cambiar de ruta, si eso no sucede con Garcia - no durara ni un a?o este gobierno.

Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 05, 2006, 11:01:22 AM
Crime and Militancy in South America's Tri-Border Area
Sometime this fall, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay will join forces on an intelligence center aimed primarily at combating criminal and militant activity in their tri-border area (TBA). The expected U.S. cooperation in the center is an example of increasing vigilance by Western intelligence in the region, where a combination of geography, corruption, weak governments and an influx of investment has spawned what is now a flourishing organized crime industry -- and in turn opened the doors to militant groups.

The TBA, which sits at the intersection of the Parana and Iguazu rivers, comprises Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, Foz do Iguazu in Brazil and Puerto Iguazu in Argentina. Ciudad del Este is connected to Foz do Iguazu by the east-west Bridge of Friendship, while Puerto Iguazu is connected to Foz do Iguazu by the north-south Tancredo Neves International Bridge.

Because of tourist attractions such as Iguazu Falls, Brazil and Paraguay heavily promoted tourism and energy development in the region during the 1970s. As a result, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay entered into free trade agreements and rapidly developed regional infrastructure. Today, Ciudad del Este generates an estimated 60 percent of Paraguay's gross domestic product and is the third-largest free-tax commerce zone in the world, after Miami and Hong Kong. Because of the job opportunities, the area attracts immigrants from the Middle East, Asia and former Soviet Union. With the free trade agreements and infrastructure development bringing investment into the TBA -- and little law enforcement oversight -- corruption soon followed.

Money laundering, cargo theft, drug trafficking, gun-running and other criminal activities all take place in the TBA. Beyond the lax law enforcement, the TBA also is popular with criminals because the rivers, roads and bridges in the area provide easy access to transportation networks. The Parana River, for example, leads to the port of Buenos Aires and the Atlantic Ocean, from which stolen or diverted shipments can be sent anywhere in the world.

This criminal presence, combined with lax law enforcement and corruption, has attracted militant groups as well. Relying on contacts and supporters within the TBA's large Arab community (predominantly ethnic Lebanese), Hezbollah has used the area as a logistics and transshipment base for years. The U.S. government also has investigated money-laundering and counterfeiting operations linked to Hezbollah and Hamas in the region. Hezbollah has used the TBA to support attacks against Israeli targets, most likely including the 1992 and 1994 attacks against the Israeli Embassy and Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires. Other groups, especially the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, also use the TBA to support themselves via drug trafficking and other illegal activities.

These activities have not gone unnoticed by the United States. As a result, intelligence cooperation between the United States and Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay began in earnest in 2002 with the establishment of the 3+1 Group, which monitors events that could affect security in the area. Paraguay, as the poorest of the three countries, has been perhaps the most eager recipient of the U.S. spending in the area. In July 2005, the United States first began deploying troops to Paraguay to train local security forces in counternarcotics operations. The FBI also has plans to open a field office in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion in 2007.

Meanwhile, the three South American countries plan to join forces soon on an intelligence center established by Brazil in Foz do Iguazu in 2005. The new regional center will focus primarily on tracking the movements of criminal and militant groups in the TBA. Although the United States is not a financial sponsor of the facility, the U.S. State Department said in August that it "looks forward" to working with its partners in the 3+1 Group "on many important aspects of security in the tri-border area."

Despite the added vigilance in the TBA, however, corruption and weak government control will make eliminating organized crime and militant activity a difficult task.
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 06, 2006, 03:08:24 PM
Will Ecuador Join the Axis of Outcasts?

October 6, 2006; Page A15

What do you get when you cross a Venezuelan Bolivarian with an Argentine Peronist? Answer: a power-hungry demagogue who doesn't believe in paying debts.

That would be funnier if just such a hybrid -- Rafael Correa -- hadn't recently popped up as Ecuador's leading presidential candidate for the Oct. 15 election. Polls out this week show that Mr. Correa has surged from a distant third place only one month ago to first place, 10 percentage points ahead of his closest competitor. He is shy of what he needs for victory in the first round of balloting, and 40% of the electorate remains undecided. But Ecuadoran democrats have good reason to fear his growing popularity.

The 43-year-old Mr. Correa, who has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Illinois, has railed against the cost of servicing Ecuador's foreign debt, the dollarized economy and free-trade talks with Washington. If he makes it to the seat of power in Quito, he has made it clear that Ecuador will join the Latin American axis of outcasts -- Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Argentina -- and make the U.S. an official enemy. A Correa presidency would be a negative for Colombia too, which would have to deal with hostile states on two borders along with home-grown narcoterrorism.

Yet what is most troubling is Mr. Correa's pledge to raze the political system and rebuild it to ensure his long-term agenda. If that sounds familiar, it may be because it is precisely what Venezuelan President Hugo Ch?vez promised to do when he took office in 1999. Since then Mr. Ch?vez has demolished any independence in the country's institutions, seized control of the economy, militarized the government and run the private sector into the ground. He says he plans to remain in power until 2021. If some Ecuadorans are frightened by Mr. Correa, it's because he has made so clear his intention to follow Mr. Ch?vez's path to unchecked power.

The candidate's appeal is easy enough to understand. In a country where more than 45% of the population still lives below the poverty line, many voters are out to punish the established political class. Their anger is rational. When Ecuador dollarized in 2000, the country experienced stability for the first time in decades. But, bowing to special interests, politicians stopped there, failing to modernize the financial system and further open and deregulate the economy. The end of inflation has been a boon to the poor, but with mediocre economic growth rising expectations have not been met. Along comes the charismatic Mr. Correa, billed as an "outsider" to the political system and threatening to trash the capitalists. At least some voters are enthralled.

As it turns out, though, Mr. Correa has had his hand in Ecuadoran politics more than he wants to admit. He did, after all, hold the job of minister of the economy for a short time last year until his resignation was accepted when he visited Mr. Ch?vez in Caracas without the permission of President Alfredo Palacios. During his tenure there was a rapid deterioration in the country's relationship with foreign investors and the international financial institutions. He also raised salaries for public-sector employees, surely helping his poll numbers in bureaucracy-bloated Quito. After he left his post in the ministry, his replacement followed through on the Correa plan to expropriate Occidental Petroleum's Ecuadoran assets.

Dollarization, which brought inflation down to 3.1% last year from persistent double-digit levels in the 1990s, is so popular -- 70% of Ecuadorans love it -- that Mr. Correa has had to tone down his hostility. Whereas he used to say that dollarization ruined the economy, he now claims to be agnostic about it. Yet all his other policies, which are designed to choke off foreign investment, close down international commerce and increase government spending, will ensure that in the end dollarization cannot survive. Once he reclaims control of money creation, devaluations, inflation, exchange controls and price controls won't be far behind. As the owner of the country's largest source of hard-currency revenues -- oil -- the government will have little trouble destroying the private sector and controlling dissent. This is a page out of his Venezuelan guru's playbook, as is his promise to hold a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution.

On the campaign trail Mr. Correa has become a caricature of his more experienced teacher. After Mr. Ch?vez made a fool of himself at the United Nations two weeks ago in a rant calling President Bush the devil, Mr. Correa rushed to outdo him. In a nationally televised interview in Ecuador a week later the presidential candidate said that Mr. Ch?vez had insulted Satan.

University of Illinois professor Werner Baer, who was on the committee to approve Mr. Correa's doctorate, told the Associated Press last month that Mr. Correa's anti-Americanism is probably just a ploy to help him get votes, not the way in which he would govern. But Prof. Baer might be underestimating his former student's ambition. Markets are not nearly as sanguine. When the polls showing Mr. Correa's 10-point lead came out on Tuesday, investors dumped Ecuadoran bonds and the country's risk premium shot up.

The immediate concern is his pledge, if elected, to break contracts with foreign bondholders and demand a negotiated restructuring. In August Mr. Correa took a trip to Buenos Aires to meet with the dean of deadbeats, Argentine President N?stor Kirchner. If you're planning to stiff creditors, Mr. Kirchner is the go-to guy.

There is some speculation that Mr. Correa's campaign is peaking. If he doesn't get 50% plus one, or 40% with a 10% spread over the second-place finisher, on Oct. 15, there will be a second round. In that event, the more sensible, less interventionist ?lvaro Noboa, a wealthy businessman from Guayaquil who defends dollarization, free-trade agreements and good relations with the U.S. and is now polling in a statistical tie for second place, could upset him. That's because, despite all the blather from the left about anti-Americanism in Latin America, a majority of voters may be more worried about Venezuelan imperialism and the return of inflation than a Yankee invasion
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 14, 2007, 06:10:31 PM

Iranian, Nicaraguan leaders meet, vow to work together

POSTED: 2352 GMT (0752 HKT), January 14, 2007

var clickExpire = "02/13/2007";Story Highlights

• Iran's president met with Nicaragua's president Sunday in Managua
• Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Venezuela's president Saturday
• Hugo Chavez, Ahmadinejad join for projects to combat U.S. influence
• Ahmadinejad said Latin American nations will work together against America
Adjust font size:

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) -- Iran's hardline president expanded his courtship of allies in his standoff with Washington on Sunday.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pledged deeper ties with Nicaragua's leftist leader through the opening of new embassies in each other's capitals.

Ahmadinejad was in Managua as part of a whirlwind series of meetings with Latin America's newly inaugurated leftist leaders.
He visited fellow OPEC member Venezuela on Saturday, vowing with President Hugo Chavez to spend billions of dollars financing projects in other countries to combat the global influence of their common enemy, the United States.
Ahmadinejad's tour comes as he faces rising criticism at home for his handling of the international debate over his country's nuclear program and its alleged meddling in Iraq.

Conservatives and reformists alike have blamed his provocative remarks for increasingly isolating Iran, which now faces sanctions for refusing to halt uranium enrichment.

President of a fundamentalist Shiite theocracy deeply hostile to Washington, Ahmadinejad met with Nicaragua's newly inaugurated leftist President Daniel Ortega.

Ortega's first government faced a U.S.-backed guerrilla insurgency during the 1980s.

The leaders announced they would open embassies in each other's capitals, strengthening ties between two countries that have had little interaction yet share long and troubled histories with the U.S.

Their paths crossed in the 1980s during the Iran-Contra affair during which the U.S. secretly sold arms to Iran to free American hostages. The U.S. then used some of the proceeds to back Contra rebels who fought Ortega's first, Soviet-backed government.
"Our two counties have common interests, enemies and goals," Ahmadinejad said. "We may be far apart, but we are close in heart."

Ortega, however, did not match Ahmadinejad's confrontational rhetoric in his remarks Sunday. The Nicaraguan president instead focused on how Iran and Nicaragua should work to help the developing world.

He spoke of "constructive agreements to combat hunger, unemployment and poverty."

While pledging close ties with Ahmadinejad, Ortega has tried to start his new government on a cordial note with the U.S. government.  His measured remarks also contrasted those of Chavez, who railed against America during Ahmadinejad's visit to Venezuela on Saturday. (Full story)  Later in his visit to Nicaragua, Ahmadinejad toured a poor, trash-strewn neighborhood in Managua, where barefoot children on their parents' shoulders waved flags from Ortega's Sandinista party.

"The imperialists don't like us to help you progress and develop. They don't like us to get rid of poverty and unite people," he said. "Iran, Nicaragua and Venezuela and other revolutionary countries are together and we will resist together."

Ortega and Ahmadinejad are expected to sign a cooperation agreement.  On Monday, the Iranian leader will attend the inauguration of Ecuador's new president, Rafael Correa, and meet with Bolivian President Evo Morales. Both are both outspoken critics of the Bush administration's policies in Latin America.  Venezuela and Iran, both oil-rich nations, had previously announced plans for a joint $2 billion fund to finance investments in their own countries.  But Chavez and Ahmadinejad said Saturday the money would also be used for projects in other countries. Chavez is a close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro whom Washington sees as a destabilizing influence. He has pledged billions of dollars to the region in foreign aid, bond buyouts and preferentially financed oil deals.

Iran, meanwhile, is accused of bankrolling militant groups in the Middle East like Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, as well as insurgents in Iraq.  On Saturday, the U.S. military said five Iranians arrested in northern Iraq last week were connected to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard faction that funds and arms insurgents in Iraq.  Ahmadinejad did not respond to those allegations while in Managua.

Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday denied reports that nuclear activities had stalled at one of its uranium enrichment plants and reiterated it would press ahead with its nuclear program.

The West fears that Iran could be using uranium to make atomic weapons.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 17, 2007, 12:57:31 PM
Pues, faltando participacion en espanol, he aqui algo en ingles:

Hugo and Mahmoud
January 17, 2007; Page A18
We've known for some time that Hugo Chávez is a menace to the economic well-being of his own people. But the question that seems increasingly urgent is whether he's becoming a threat to U.S. security interests -- both in the Western Hemisphere and beyond.

Specifically, we'd like to know what Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Bill Delahunt make of Mr. Chávez's weekend summit with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian President stopped by Caracas on Saturday as part of a four-day engagement with Latin America's new leftist governments. On Sunday, the Iranian communed with Nicaragua's new boss, Daniel Ortega, and then on Monday he hit the inauguration of Ecuador's new pro-Chávez President Rafael Correa.

The Caracas visit was Mr. Ahmadinejad's second in four months. "This is just a prelude of what we will do," declared Mr. Chávez, in a televised speech announcing the creation of a joint $2 billion fund to finance development and other projects. "This large and strategic fund, brother, is going to be converted into a mechanism of liberation," he added, saying their goal is to build "a network of alliances."

In Managua, the Iranian also signed a "broad cooperation accord" with Mr. Ortega. Mr. Chávez openly funded the Sandinista's Presidential campaign last year, and he earlier supported Evo Morales in Bolivia. Venezuelan soldiers have reported that they are under orders to give Colombian rebels safe haven, and Mr. Chávez signed contracts last year to buy Russian MiGs and open a Kalishnakov factory at home.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan is using his recent election victory to consolidate his grip on the economy. A week ago, he announced he would nationalize the country's electricity and telephone companies; he already controls the oil business. His goal here is to redistribute income but especially to shrink the private economy in order to reduce the space in which any political opposition can operate.

The Caracas Stock Exchange Index fell 16% last week, but that didn't phase Señor Chávez. He's moving to withdraw the license of a prominent independent television network, and he has asked Congress to grant him temporary executive power to rule by decree. "The world should know: Our revolution is not turning back," he said. "This is the path our boat is on: socialism. Country, socialism, or death."

The world should have known this a long time ago but too many people chose to ignore it. Mr. Chávez took office in 1999 on a promise to end corruption and injustice. By 2000, human rights groups warned of a deterioration in constitutional protections, and Mr. Chávez began importing Cuban security agents along with Cuban doctors and teachers to spread propaganda.

Each time Mr. Chávez has faced resistance, he has tightened the screws. Price and capital controls and property seizures became state policy. Employees of the state-owned oil company and its contractors were fired if they opposed the government; political opponents were jailed.

All the while, Mr. Chávez has had American enablers who excused his growing repression, or blamed it on a reaction to U.S. policy. Foremost among them has been Mr. Dodd, who has defended Mr. Chávez as "democratically elected" despite his clear trend toward authoritarianism. In 2004, the circumstances surrounding a recall referendum were so anti-democratic that the European Union refused to act as an observer. Jimmy Carter nonetheless blessed the outcome amid heavy irregularities, and the U.S. State Department endorsed the process. Other politicians, such as Mr. Delahunt, embraced and flattered Mr. Chávez for his PR stunt of offering cut-rate oil to poor Americans.

Perhaps it's time these Americans paid attention to the kind of "socialism" and "revolution" that their support is helping Mr. Chávez to build in Venezuela.

Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 22, 2007, 10:08:04 AM
Making Lenin Proud
January 22, 2007; Page A14

"The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation."

-- Vladimir Lenin

Mexican historian and author Enrique Krauze has written that he believes that the "last Marxist in history [will] die at a Latin American university." At a minimum, Mr. Krauze seems to have gotten the geography right.

Most of the rest of the world has stuffed communism into the dustbin of history but, as events over the past week remind, Latin America has not. Earlier this month, President Hugo Chávez officially took control of Venezuela's central bank and declared himself a communist. He then traveled to Ecuador to attend the swearing-in ceremony of his latest and perhaps most promising protégé, Rafael Correa, as that country's new president. Mr. Correa has lost no time emulating his mentor.

Mr. Correa, who was Ecuador's finance minister in 2005, was well known in the early stages of the presidential campaign last year as an anti-American, anti-market extremist with a view that "dollarization was the biggest economic error [Ecuador] has ever committed." But when he failed to win in the first round of voting in October, he was forced to adopt a more measured tone and backed off his pledge to end dollarization.

The trouble for Ecuadoreans, as we are now seeing, is that their new president's stripes have not changed. In his first week on the job, he has already demonstrated a profound understanding of Lenin's dictum that power over monetary matters is a revolutionary essential. To that end, he has begun an effort to destroy Ecuador's dollarization. From there, taxation and inflation will do much of his work for him.

At his inauguration last Monday Mr. Correa put on quite a show. Most extraordinary was his not-so-subtle admission that Mr. Chávez is going to be the power behind the Ecuadorean throne. Most Latin governments guard their independence as a matter of national pride. But Mr. Correa appeared quite happy to let the world know that he will be outsourcing Ecuadorean sovereignty to Venezuela.

Ecuador, the new president declared, is "leaving the night of neoliberalism behind" and the new "Bolivarian" government will pursue "21st-century socialism." He denounced competition and called for cooperation instead. He held up a sword that Mr. Chávez had given him as a gift and cried, "Look out, look out, Bolívar's sword is passing through Latin America," a reference to the Chávez agenda, which calls for South American integration under the thumb of the continent's largest energy producer. The Venezuelan president was perched behind the new president, eyes narrowed, enthusiastically applauding the performance. Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was also an honored guest, sitting next to Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Ecuador's political instability is legendary and Mr. Correa is the eighth president in 10 years. He will have to move quickly in his goal to consolidate power and if he is to avoid the fate of his predecessors, he will also have to move carefully.

Rewriting the constitution is so central to his agenda that on inauguration day he decreed a March 18 national referendum on the issue. The only problem is that Mr. Correa hasn't the power to call a constitutional referendum. Changes to the constitution fall under congress. Since Mr. Correa's party has no members in the 100-seat chamber and his coalition is shaky, it is not entirely clear that he will be able to push through the constitutional changes he seeks. His socialist revolution via a constitutional coup could be delayed.

Still, that doesn't leave the aspiring authoritarian without options. He has Lenin's millstones to fall back on, if only he can resurrect a local currency. This explains the assault on dollarization now under way.

The adoption of the greenback as Ecuador's currency seven years ago has been extremely popular among Ecuadoreans of all classes. A long history of repeated bouts of hyperinflation, which destroyed both wages and savings, has finally come to an end and been replaced by a new sense of stability. Mr. Correa knows full well that he cannot strip Ecuadoreans of this one economic gain without facing the kind of rebellion that brought down previous governments. Yet the control he yearns for will not be his as long as the dollar reigns.

To reverse dollarization and introduce a fiat currency, Mr. Correa will have to undermine the dollar economy. One step in that process is stifling commerce with the U.S., his country's largest trading partner. He has already pledged that under his guidance Ecuador will move away from trade liberalization with the gringos and throw its lot in with Mr. Chávez's Bolivarian Alternative for America trading block.

Protectionism will help weaken the dollar economy but it may not be enough to provoke a crisis. A forced restructuring of the country's $10.3 billion in external debt will provide further assistance by damaging the country's creditworthiness and discouraging new investment, particularly because it is well known that Ecuador's debt service as a percentage of gross domestic product is lower than Colombia's or Brazil's. Creditors understand that paying what is owed is a matter of willingness. Nevertheless, Mr. Correa's finance minister, Ricardo Patino, last week proposed a haircut of 60% on the country's debt and invited a team of Argentine officials -- otherwise known as the world's most experienced deadbeats -- to Quito this week to act as advisers.

It will be claimed that the "savings" on debt service will be used to help the poor. This will boost Mr. Correa's populist appeal but politicians never have enough revenue to meet their goals. Low growth rates and disappointing oil prices will exacerbate revenue shortfalls. In a fiscal crisis it is easy to imagine a government like Mr. Correa's issuing script or a new currency in parallel to the dollar.

The new president seems to be prepared for just such an outcome. In the past he has called for a regional currency and he has now announced that he will end central-bank autonomy. Once foreign investment and trade dry up and the bottomless pit of corruption and social spending drains public coffers, dollarization will be the scapegoat. Mr. Correa can then begin to print his own notes and make Lenin proud.

Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 08, 2007, 09:35:01 AM

U.S., Latin America: The President Tours a Divided Region

U.S. President George W. Bush is beginning a weeklong tour of Latin America, a region of countries that have chosen either political populism or political moderation.


U.S. President George W. Bush is about to begin a week of travel to Latin America. He has chosen to visit five countries that are on good terms with the United States in a region divided between countries that have chosen political populism and those that have chosen political moderation.

Though Latin America often is seen as being divided between left and right -- with the charismatic Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez leading the left -- the region can more accurately be divided between populist and moderate governments.

While all countries in the region claim to want greater regional integration and help for the poor, the populists (Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and, to some extent, Argentina) aim to provide for the general population by appropriating their natural resource wealth, while the moderates (Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, Chile and, to some extent, Mexico) aim to thrive via commerce. Of these two groups, only Venezuela and Brazil aspire to shape the region as a whole.

Chavez is the populist movement's leading figure, though he neither created nor fully controls it. The rebirth of populism, which ideologically is tied to the region's socialist roots, was inevitable following widespread disillusionment with the neoliberal economic adjustments the International Monetary Fund (IMF) imposed during the 1990s in order to create macroeconomic stability. Although the measures managed to bring serious inflationary pressures under control, they did not resolve the region's notorious inequalities, and considerable resentment grew.

This led each country to one of two conclusions. The first was that the policies pursued by the IMF, the so-called "Washington Consensus," benefited multinational corporations, Washington and wealthy Latin American elites who served the first two -- meaning an entirely new approach was needed. This conclusion was most popular in places with a great deal of oil and mining wealth from which the public did not directly benefit -- Latin America's populist countries.

The second conclusion maintained that a painful adjustment period was necessary, and could be brought about by expanded education and other social programs. Meanwhile, this view held, the rule of law could be strengthened to allow commerce to continue to expand, and the lower classes would be offered the means to improve their lot. This conclusion was most popular in places where the business class was successfully expanding, moderate countries that today essentially are continuing policies put in place during the 1990s.

Although the populist/moderate divide is not as stark as some have made it out to be, it is not negligible either. The mixture of populism and socialism has potential implications for the political structures of the nations that have embraced populism as they pursue constitutional reforms that will include redistricting and the creation of local citizen councils with expanded powers. In the name of promoting community rights, these nations will further undermine the operational stability of companies operating there.

Chavez has taken the first conclusion to its extreme, making it clear that U.S. influence and private companies are not welcome in Venezuela and justifying the consolidation of authoritarian powers by the popular backing won through oil-funded social programs. While Bolivian President Evo Morales and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa have taken similar steps, they are not interested in completely imitating or obeying Chavez, nor do they really share his regional ambitions. Instead, they are interested in their respective visions for the welfare of their own countries, though they agree with some of Chavez's measures and appreciate his aid.

Chavez has thrown a great deal of money around Latin America (though some of these financial promises could go unfulfilled as Venezuela runs a budget deficit), while the United States has been distracted in Iraq and elsewhere and the IMF has basically finished up its lending in the region and gone home.

Meanwhile, Venezuela and Brazil have competing visions for the region. Venezuela's is more aggressive, while Brazil's is more passive. However, the countries differ in more than just approach -- the cores of their visions are incompatible. As long as Brazil enjoys secure access to Bolivian natural gas, it need not be too concerned about Chavez's antics in the region. However, Brazil also would like to see the region conduct trade negotiations with other powers as a bloc rather than individually, increasing its collective bargaining power and giving Brazil a natural leadership role. Venezuela's entry into Mercosur destroyed the regional organization's ability to serve as such a trade bloc. Brazil now finds itself stuck, unwilling to kick Venezuela out, withdraw itself or bypass Mercosur and negotiate unilaterally.

To Brazil's south, Uruguay and Argentina are engaged in an ongoing border conflict over pulp mills, and neither Buenos Aires nor Montevideo appears eager to resolve the dispute.

To Brazil's northwest, Colombia is surrounded by Ecuador and Venezuela -- both of which are populists. Border tensions in the area have been increasing, while there are rumors of infiltrations by Bolivarian propagandists from Venezuela into Colombia in an effort to woo towns away from Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez. As far as hotspots go, Colombia's border area is the one to watch, especially since Colombia is the flashpoint between U.S. influence in the region and its opponents.

Bush's itinerary includes stops in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil and Uruguay. Mexico finds itself in the interesting position of being economically dependent on its oil exports but attempting to go the moderate route. There, Bush will affirm his positive relationship with President Felipe Calderon and try to smooth over border/immigrant policy tensions. Meanwhile, Guatemala is stuck in the geopolitically irrelevant region that is Central America; the main reason for Bush's Central American stop is to acknowledge Guatemala's participation in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. In Colombia, Bush will show his support for the president, who has been beleaguered by a scandal tying members of his government to right-wing paramilitaries.

But, ultimately, it is Brazil and its junior neighbor, Uruguay, that potentially have the power to jointly transform or dismantle Mercosur, eventually reopening dialogue with Washington on a Free Trade Area for the Americas -- although that is a long way off. During his stops there, Bush will promote an ethanol partnership with Brazil and encourage Uruguay to continue to work toward a free trade agreement with the U.S.

For now, most countries in Latin America have settled either on populism or moderation. On this trip, Bush is focusing on the moderates and expanding their U.S. aid -- likely signaling that Washington intends to reward countries that avoid populism. However, the moderates have not chosen their course in order to please the United States, and it will take a much more concerted effort than one trip for Washington to have much of an impact on the region's dynamic.

ECUADOR: Ecuadorian police surrounded the country's Congress building to prevent 57 opposition congressmen from entering. The Supreme Court issued a ruling March 7 that removed the congressmen from office after they voted to replace Supreme Electoral Tribunal President Jorge Acosta for backing President Rafael Correa's plan to hold a referendum on rewriting the constitution.

ARGENTINA: Bolivian President Evo Morales will attend a public event March 9 organized by the Argentine organization Mothers of Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, in which Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will speak, local media reported. Morales also will meet with Argentine President Nestor Kirchner to sign bilateral energy agreements, but will not attend a meeting in which Chavez is set to critique U.S. President George W. Bush's trip to Latin America.
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 16, 2007, 06:50:38 PM
VENEZUELA: The first South American energy summit has begun on the Venezuelan island of Margarita. At the summit, leaders from Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia and Suriname will discuss energy cooperation, including regional pipeline projects. Ethanol also is expected to be on the agenda. Bolivian President Evo Morales likely will hold separate bilateral meetings with the presidents of Chile, Brazil and Ecuador following the summit.

NICARAGUA: Nicaraguan police completely disassembled the structure of Mexican drug cartel Sinaloa in Nicaragua in a joint operation with the army called Operation Fenix, Nicaraguan police spokesman Cesar Cuadra said. Cuadra added that police have detained 24 Sinaloa members and obstructed activities led by Sinaloa chief of aerial operations Jose Juvenal Mendoza Gonzales and main chief of operations in Nicaragua Guillermo "El Cochi." Police also raided the house of Sinaloa chief of maritime operations in Nicaragua Carlos Cisnado Pasos, who remains at large, along with Guillermo and Gonzales.
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 18, 2007, 10:28:16 AM
The Populist Republic
The Washington Post
April 18, 2007

I am fascinated by the similarities between Russia and Latin America. The latest wave of repression against critics of President Vladimir Putin and the victory obtained by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa in last Sunday's referendum, which provides a green light toward setting up a constituent assembly that will give him authoritarian powers, remind us that despotic populism is alive and kicking.

Last weekend's detentions in Moscow and St. Petersburg of members of the "Other Russia," an opposition organization that includes former chess champion Garry Kasparov as one of its leaders, are a reminder that Russia is a ruthless autocracy.

With the exception of Venezuela, the authoritarian institutions operating under democratically elected governments in Latin America are not as bad as Russia's. Power is more decentralized in Latin America, where governments have not been able or willing to wrest back economic influence from the private interests that surfaced during the market reforms of the 1990s. Mexico was also dominated by a party-state for much of the 20th century and underwent a process of reform in the 1990s. Despite its many flaws, reform improved the political and economic environment. In Russia, liberal democracy never quite surfaced. Mr. Putin reacted against the oligarchy of the 1990s by establishing his own oligarchy. By contrast, although there was much crony capitalism, Mexico's system is freer.

With the return of populism to various parts of Latin America, a number of countries are headed in the direction of Russia. The formula usually combines a democratic origin, the dismantling of republican institutions from within and reliance on natural resources that are in high demand in the international markets. Last Sunday, Ecuadorians voted in large numbers to essentially rewrite the constitution. In this, Mr. Correa, who wants to replace democracy with an authoritarian regime, is following the example of his friend Hugo Chavez and of Bolivia's Evo Morales. And if Mexico's and Peru's current governments do not deliver economic improvement, we could easily see populists taking over the reins of power there too.

Russia and Latin America are the products of histories dominated by the absence of civil rights and property rights. In Russia, the absence of a liberal tradition doomed the transition to liberal democracy in the 1990s. In Latin America, the republics of the 19th century preserved the oligarchic structure of the colony. In the 20th century, they mostly experimented with populist democracy and military dictatorship.

Recent developments prove that the populist republic is not a thing of the past in Latin America. And the populist republic -- the combination of democratic appearances and autocratic controls, sustained by the sale of oil and minerals -- has much in common with Mr. Putin's Russia.
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 04, 2007, 06:42:36 AM
Losing Latin America
May 4, 2007; Page A14
Wall Street Journal
A popular theme among Democrats running for President is their pledge to make America better liked around the world. Hillary Clinton says she'll even dispatch her husband as a kind of ambassador to the world. Well, he might start in Latin America, where our allies are getting stiffed by Democrats in Congress on trade and security.

We're referring in particular to Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, who has been in Washington this week, making his case for the U.S.-Colombia free-trade agreement and for continued U.S. help against terrorism. Colombia, Peru and Panama have all negotiated trade accords with the U.S. that, pending Congressional approval, would raise living standards and expand American influence.

A defeat for any of the three would do great harm to the Andean region, where democrats are battling Hugo Chávez's neo-socialist populism. Mr. Uribe, Peruvian President Álan Garcia and Panamanian President Martin Torrijos have all bet their futures on opening their economies to the U.S. If they're rebuffed, the local disciples of Mr. Chávez will say they were right not to trust the capitalist Yankees. The consequences won't look good on Nancy Pelosi's resume.

On economic grounds alone, the U.S. has everything to gain by approving these trade deals. Most Peruvian and Colombian exports already have duty-free access to the U.S. market through the Andean Trade Preferences Act. But U.S. manufacturing and farm exports heading south still face high tariff and non-tariff barriers. The regional financial center of Panama is especially attractive for U.S. services but is likewise a protected market.

The larger goal is spurring development and improving the investment climate in all three countries. While Colombia and Peru have duty-free access to U.S. markets, that privilege must be renewed every few years. The FTAs end this uncertainty. Even if Latin producers lose some protection, new access to imports means they can use help from abroad to innovate and grow more competitive. This is how Chile became an export powerhouse and reduced poverty. Maybe that's why Chile's Socialist President Michelle Bachelet has endorsed the deals.

None of this matters to some Democrats, whose loyalty to the AFL-CIO trumps their concern for the poor. Having won assurances that our Latin trading partners would enforce their labor and environmental laws at home, such Democrats as Michigan's Sander Levin are now asking for more. They're threatening to block the Latin FTAs unless the U.S. accepts language that would force U.S. companies to adhere to International Labor Organization "core principles." These "principles" have never passed Congress, in part because they'd put "right-to-work" states in legal jeopardy. Republicans won't support a trade pact with such a provision, which suggests that Mr. Levin intends it as a poison pill.

All of this is taking place while Venezuela's Mr. Chávez is working to reduce American influence in the Western Hemisphere. He's doing energy deals with China while confiscating U.S. oil assets. And he's pressing to supplant the U.S. goal of hemispheric free trade with a high-tariff South American customs union that he would run. Bolivia and Ecuador have already been captured by versions of chavismo, though Peru and Colombia have so far escaped thanks to their political leadership.

Colombia is especially vulnerable, as Mr. Chávez provides aid and comfort to that country's narco-trafficking guerrillas. This is why Mr. Uribe is also asking for continued U.S. assistance to fight organized crime. The State Department has certified that Colombia has held up its commitment to human rights under this "Plan Colombia" agreement.

But now that they control Congress again, Democrats are putting this policy in doubt. Mr. Levin says the Colombia FTA should be blocked on human rights grounds, claiming that Mr. Uribe's impressive record of reducing murder, kidnapping and terrorism isn't good enough. Vermont Senator Pat Leahy has put a hold on $55 million in new Plan Colombia funding because of false human rights charges coming from Mr. Uribe's political enemies in Bogotá. Mr. Leahy's grandstanding is all the more embarrassing because U.S. demand for cocaine is the largest source of financing for the criminal networks that have killed so many innocent Colombians.

If Democrats want to make more enemies in Latin America, this is the way to do it. The twice-elected Mr. Uribe is the most far-sighted leader Colombia has had in decades, and his FTA is an attempt to align his country's future firmly with the hemisphere's free-market democracies. Peru, Panama and Colombia are saying they want to be America's political and economic partners. Do Democrats in Congress want to drive them into the arms of Mr. Chávez?
Title: Bolivia
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 20, 2007, 08:24:53 AM
BOLIVIA: A group of university students with torches, sticks, rocks and dynamite demonstrated in Sucre, Bolivia, late June 19. Police used tear gas to prevent the students from reaching the Constitutional Assembly. The students were protesting a proposed article in the assembly that would grant government control over universities -- a measure that ruling Movement Toward Socialism party already has said it will no longer support.
Title: Guatemala
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 23, 2007, 05:38:11 AM

Train Wreck in Guatemala
July 23, 2007; Page A14

Henry Posner III is an American entrepreneur who has revitalized rail systems in Peru, Argentina, Mozambique and Malawi. He also has been working since 1996 to revive rail service in Guatemala. But now Mr. Posner's Pittsburgh-based company, Railroad Development Corp., is suspending operations in the Central American country, charging that the government has violated RDC's 50-year concession contract and refused to enforce the company's property rights.

"Because of the government's action and the lack of the rule of law in Guatemala, we have no other alternative," Mr. Posner wrote in a letter to customers, investors and employees on July 6.

Americas columnist Mary Anastasia O'Grady discusses an American's fraught attempt to develop the country's railroads.
For Guatemala, the matter is more serious than a simple dispute about a state concession. Mr. Posner, who is chairman of RDC, is taking his beef to international arbitration under the Central America Free Trade Agreement (Cafta) and asking for $65 million in lost revenues and investments. In its complaint to the Cafta panel, the company also charges that there is method to the government's maddening mistreatment of the company: It wants to "redistribute to certain Guatemalan private-sector companies the benefits of the right-of-way, without compensation."

If the American businessman prevails, the case will reinforce the country's traditional image as a banana republic uninterested in equality under the law and ready to trample property rights whenever it is politically expedient. What else are investors to conclude if it turns out that President Oscar Berger's "right-of-center" government, which pays lip service to property rights, has unilaterally abrogated a lawful contract? This would be a blow to all Guatemalans, who need investment in their country if they are to benefit from and compete within Cafta.

Transportation infrastructure is crucial to economic development in any country and Guatemala is no exception. In the early part of the 20th century the country had a national railway that was largely the product of investment by an affiliate of United Fruit. It was nationalized in the 1960s and over three decades run into the ground. By 1996, it was completely defunct.

That left the country's distribution system entirely reliant on a costly, polluting highway system subject to congestion, accidents and rampant hijacking. In 1997 Guatemala held a World Bank-style, sealed-bid tender process for the concession that was to restart the dead railroad. RDC won. In December 1999, Ferrovías Guatemala's first train chugged out of the Atlantic coastal city of Puerto Barrios on its maiden journey to the capital. Mr. Posner says that the concession included the right-of- way on the old rail line that runs out to the Pacific at Puerto Quetzal, north to Mexico and south to El Salvador as well, and that RDC promised "best efforts" to get the Pacific side going.

In 2005 the railroad shipped some 150,000 tons of traffic -- mostly steel, as well as containers -- on the Atlantic route but it was having a lot of trouble with the government. Mr. Posner says the terms of the concession included a government pledge to remove squatters from the railroad right-of-way and to redirect half of the lease payments from railroad-owned assets toward track maintenance and improvements. The squatters were never resettled elsewhere -- photographs support this claim -- and, he says, the lease revenue "disappeared and we had to replace it."

In 2005, RDC tried to get Guatemala to go to binding arbitration as provided for under the concession. But the government refused, arguing that it was not bound to do so. The government also says that the company has not kept up its side of the agreement by investing in the country. While Mr. Posner says his company has invested $15 million in the railroad, President Berger has said that the concessionaires "have not invested one cent." In August 2006, the government declared the concession "harmful" to the interests of Guatemala and moved to confiscate the railroad's rolling stock and equipment. The company says this inflicted further damage on it as investor confidence plummeted and its ability to access credit markets was strained.

Still, Mr. Posner says the railroad could have continued to operate were it not for Guatemala's indifference toward another of its property rights. The company's business plan had included charging for use of the right-of-way for electricity distribution, pipelines, fiber optics and the like. This was stipulated in the concession and would have subsidized rail operations. But while some local companies paid for that use, others began free riding along the right-of-way. When RDC appealed through the Guatemalan legal system for protection in the matter, the courts sided with the commercial squatters. This signaled the market that what is essentially theft would be tolerated, and RDC lost an important source of revenue.

The World Bank hasn't been much help either. It declared Ferrovías Guatemala's property a "category A environmental problem" because of the squatters and refused to lend to it. Mr. Posner says the bank's position was that he had to prove to the satisfaction of the squatters that RDC has done no harm. "That's like handing someone a loaded gun while you open your wallet and negotiating from there," Mr. Posner says. No wonder no one takes the Bank seriously. It lends to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim but when it comes to defending property rights it runs for cover.

Most troubling in all of this is the charge in RDC's Cafta complaint that in driving the company out of the country, the government seeks to satisfy special interests. There is talk that a cross-country rail system designed to compete with the Panama Canal would be a big money maker as Asia booms. And while Mr. Posner dismisses that idea, he notes that the rail right-of-way is immensely valuable for more than simply hauling freight. Whatever the reason for breaking the concession, it's hard to see how it won't harm Guatemala's image with foreign investors at a time when the country ought to be courting them.

• Write to O'
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 24, 2007, 11:40:43 AM
Lo siento que este articulo del Wall Street Journal sea en ingles:

Beware of Venezuelans Bearing Gifts
September 24, 2007; Page A18

When Argentine customs officials caught a Venezuelan businessman trying to smuggle almost $800,000 in cash into the country last month, they parted him from his loot but allowed him to leave the country. He flew to Uruguay and then to Florida where, as someone who also holds an American passport, he has a home.

The mystery of where the money came from and where it was going has not been solved. But thanks to investigative reporting by the Argentine daily La Nación, we now know that there was good reason for Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson to think he could just walk off that plane with a bag of money. As it turns out, the Argentine government of President Nestór Kirchner has a policy of allowing Venezuelans tied to the government in Caracas to come and go freely at Buenos Aires' Aeroparque airport, with no scrutiny of their baggage whatsoever.

This revelation has raised serious questions about Argentine sovereignty and about the relationship Mr. Kirchner has established with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. More to the point, Argentines now want to know whether unchecked Venezuelan traffic through the country is what's behind the acceleration of Mr. Chávez's Bolivarian Revolution in Argentina, as it was in Bolivia. They also want to know if the money was destined for the political campaign of Mr. Kirchner's wife, Cristina Fernández Kirchner, who is the Peronist candidate in next month's presidential elections.

The Argentine government appeared happy to get rid of Mr. Antonini in the early morning hours of Aug. 4 when the money was discovered. With him out of the country, it apparently believed the whole thing could be easily swept under the rug. But then a local cable TV station reported the incident. Soon the wider Argentine media picked up the story and the public learned that the Venezuelan bagman had arrived on a charter flight from Caracas with two Argentine government officials and three executives of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, PdVSA. This sparked a political firestorm for the Kirchners. Now Argentina wants Washington to extradite Mr. Antonini. That process could take up to a year.

In the meantime, the presidential race is heating up and the first couple is claiming to know nothing about what Mr. Antonini was up to. For a while that seemed at least plausible. But as details have emerged about the circumstances at Aeroparque, the government's umbrage at the suggestion that it could have been complicit in the matter is looking downright theatrical.

Mr. Chávez's influence has been rising in Argentina for some years now, in part because Mr. Kirchner has much in common ideologically with the Venezuelan. Like Mr. Chávez, Mr. Kirchner has surrounded himself with former left-wing terrorists and their sympathizers and has made anti-Americanism a central theme in his policy agenda. Mr. Kirchner is also a practical man and after Argentina was branded a deadbeat for its 2001 debt moratorium, the Chávez offer to play international banker and buy up government bonds was an offer he couldn't refuse. Now the Antonini affair has exposed another facet of the Chávez-Kirchner alliance: open access to Argentina for Chávez foot soldiers.

La Nación reported on Aug. 18 that PdVSA flights receive "preferential treatment" when they arrive in Argentina. The planes drop their passengers in the military zone at Aeroparque where they clear Customs and Immigration. But according to the paper, that zone has one special feature that makes it relevant to the suitcase scandal: "there are no scanners to examine baggage."

The plane Mr. Antonini was on, which was hired by the Argentine state-owned energy company Enarsa, seems to have parked at the wrong terminal. That's why he got nabbed. La Nación also reports that sources familiar with airport activity say that in the past few months at least eight PdVSA flights have landed at the military zone in Aeroparque and that at least one PdVSA plane lands there every month. Given what was found on Mr. Antonini it is reasonable to ponder what these flights might be carrying. As La Nación has pointed out, one of the organizers of the anti-American rally in Buenos Aires when George W. Bush went to Uruguay in March admitted that the event was paid for by Venezuela. But how the money got to Argentina is still not known.

Quite apart from money, there is also the question of revolutionary personnel coming and going. Citgo, the Venezuelan gasoline company that operates in the U.S. but has no business in Argentina or Bolivia, has a U.S. registered plane that has landed more than once in Aeroparque. The same plane, in July 2006, was used for an official visit to a presidential summit in Cordoba, Argentina. "But," according to La Nación, "in that moment, it was operating as the transportation for the Cuban delegation." In fact, the paper says "these planes are used for both government and business purposes and it is difficult to know the nationality of the passengers because they fly Venezuelans, Cubans and Bolivians."

The highest ranking Argentine official on Mr. Antonini's flight was Claudio Uberti, the director of highway concessions. La Nación says that Mr. Uberti flew out of Argentina 27 times in the past 12 months and six of those trips were to Venezuela. The paper reports that he went more frequently than that to Venezuela but sometimes flew from Bolivia. When he arrived home on charter flights, he repeatedly used the military zone at Aeroparque. "If that had happened this time, Mr. Antonini wouldn't be famous," writes La Nación reporter Daniel Gallo. For his part, Mr. Antonini reportedly entered Argentina 12 times in the past year.

According to Mr. Gallo, "the PdVSA flights are peculiar in that their passengers, supposedly high-ranking Venezuelan representatives, do not appear on the registers or meeting agendas of Argentine officials, as they should by law. Neither [Planning] Minister Julio De Vido nor Mr. Uberti report meetings with PdVSA that would have required the trips by such visitors."

It may take a good long time to figure out just where Mr. Antonini was going with his stash. Speculation ranges from laundering money to paying a bribe to funding political activity. But in a sense it doesn't really matter. What has been revealed since Aug. 4 is that Mr. Kirchner has sacrificed Argentine national security in order to satisfy Mr. Chávez. That can't be good for the stability of the Southern Cone.

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Title: No room for Entrepeneurs
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 08, 2007, 06:23:38 AM
No Room for Entrepreneurs
October 8, 2007; Page A18

Economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) may be best known for his innovative work showing the link between entrepreneurial discovery and economic progress.

But as Carl Schramm, president of the Kauffman Foundation of Entrepreneurship has pointed out, Schumpeter's insights about risk-takers didn't make him an optimist.

In a speech last year to European finance ministers in Vienna, Mr. Schramm explained Schumpeter's fears: He "worried that entrepreneurial capitalism would not flourish because the bureaucracies of modern government and big corporations would dampen innovation -- the process of 'creative destruction' would be too ungovernable for a modern, Keynesian-regulated economy to tolerate." As a result, Mr. Schramm said, Schumpeter thought that "the importance of entrepreneurs would fade over time as capitalism sought predictability from governments who would plan economic activity as well as order social benefits."

Mr. Schramm's comments caught my attention because they so accurately describe Latin America. There the entrepreneur has been all but run out of town by the bureaucracies that Schumpeter feared. Growth has suffered accordingly.

The World Bank's annual "Doing Business" survey, released last week, demonstrates the point. The 2008 survey, which evaluates the regulatory climate for entrepreneurs in 178 countries, finds that Latin America and the Caribbean was the slowest reforming region this year and that it "is falling further behind other regions in the pace" of reform.

The average time it takes to start a business -- one of 10 factors measured -- in Latin America and the Caribbean is 68 days, longer than anywhere else. Compare that with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, where business start-ups take less than 15 days. Other common problems in the region are weak minority-shareholder rights, slow legal regimes and punishing tax systems.

Yet as bad as the regional averages are, entrepreneurs in Venezuela probably view them with envy. When it comes to the ease of doing business Venezuela now ranks six places from the bottom world-wide, between Eritrea and Chad. It also finishes dead last among the region's 31 countries -- and that includes Haiti. In the category of "employing workers" Venezuela ties with Bolivia at No. 177. The authors note that it is "not possible" to fire a Venezuelan employee. "Starting a business" takes 141 days and in ease of "paying taxes" it ranks No. 174.

Keeping Venezuela company in the cellar are Ecuador, which finishes 27th in the region, and Bolivia, which comes in 28th. Only Suriname, Haiti and Mr. Chávez's oil paradise have more hostile business climates.

To understand how Argentina went from being one of the world's top-performing economies during Schumpeter's lifetime to the basket case it is today, this report is instructive. The resurgence of Peronist economics helped it slide 16 places lower than its 2006 ranking. Not only has it failed to carry out any meaningful reforms but in the past year it complicated the insolvency process. And its tax system remains punitive: A company that pays all its taxes coughs up the equivalent of 113% of its profit. Argentina finishes 22nd in the region but ahead of Costa Rica, which comes in 24th. Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua are all better places to be an entrepreneur than Costa Rica.

Brazil earned about the same ranking as last year. It made improvements to its legal regime but lost ground to more aggressive reformers in the category of "trading across borders." It also takes last place world-wide for the time it takes to comply with the tax code (2,600 hours) and ranks 137th in the "paying taxes" category.

Sluggish reform in the region has led some analysts to conclude that democracies in the developing world cannot overcome the obstacles to modernization presented by the political economy. Yet there are regional successes that prove that where there is political will, there is a way.

Take Mexico. In last year's report it jumped almost 20 places world-wide thanks to a reform-minded treasury ministry under former President Vicente Fox, which lowered tax rates and made property registration easier. It now has the fifth-most pro-business climate in the region. If the government of Felipe Calderón keeps its reform promises, more improvements should be on the way, though its price controls on bread and tortillas are not a good sign.

This year's superstar is Colombia. It is among the top 10 reformers world-wide and ranks 12th in the region. It made enormous progress in "trading across borders" by reducing the time goods spend in terminals, extending port operating hours and making more selective customs inspections. It also strengthened investor protections, adopted an electronic tax filing system and progressively lowered the corporate tax rate to 33% in 2008 from 35% in 2006. Much more work is needed but the moral of the story is that with leadership, such as that which President Álvaro Uribe has provided, reform is possible.

But the opposite is also true. Chile has fallen nine places since its No. 24 ranking in the 2006 report, suggesting that the center-left coalition running the country is not attuned to the importance of entrepreneurial freedom.

The most important lesson for Latin America from the World Bank's report is that its competitors around the world are working to unleash entrepreneurial spirits, and doing nothing is not an option. As Mr. Schramm told his Vienna audience, "Schumpeter saw what a century of evidence would prove: Socialism has not sustained economic growth." Now, if only more Latin American policy makers would catch on.

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Title: !Fuego!
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 10, 2007, 05:56:26 PM

Grave incidente diplomático entre Chávez, Ortega y el Rey de España
12:11 pm | 10 Nov 2007 | 622 comentarios | 81,697 views

En la reunión de hoy de la Cumbre, se ha producido un lamentable y fuerte altercado verbal entre Hugo Chávez y la delegación española, que respondió, con evidente molestia, los nuevos insultos del presidente venezolano a Aznar. El Rey Juan Carlos visiblemente indignado gritó a Chávez: “¿Por qué no te callas?”. Al seguir las ofensas por parte de Daniel Ortega, el Rey de España abandonó la reunión. Terminadas las palabras de Ortega, unos minutos después regresó para la Clausura.

Si por medio de la violencia o medios ilegítimos la oligarquía, los “pitiyanquis”, llegarán a cerrarle el camino a las revoluciones pacíficas el continente puedo explotar el violencia. Así lo acaba de decir Hugo Chávez en su participación en la Cumbre, que ha vuelto a repetir su amenaza de los Vietnams en el continente.

Chávez, en su intervención, ha reiterado su narración de los sucesos del 11 de abril de 2002, haciendo énfasis en que “estuvo a punto de morir una madrugada”. Igualmente reiteró sus críticas a España y EE.UU., lo que ha provocado la visible molestia de Zapatero, quien esta mañana insistió ante la prensa, en referencia a Hugo Chávez, la necesidad de dirigirse con respeto a los demás, incluso a los oponentes políticos.

El presidente Zapatero pidió la palabra y exigió a Hugo Chávez, con vehemencia, respeto a los gobernantes democráticos, “ahora y en el futuro”

El Rey Juan Carlos, muy molesto, le gritó “¿por qué no te callas?” a Hugo Chávez, ante las descalificaciones vertidas por éste contra el ex presidente del gobierno español, José María Aznar.

Hugo Chávez, también molesto volvió a hablar y le dijo a Zapatero que “con la verdad ni ofendo ni temo”.

El presidente de Nicaragua está criticando ahora a los “europeos y gringos” ante un Zapatero cuya cara de crispación es cada vez más evidente. Ortega está echando leña al fuego acusando a España de haber colaborado con EE.UU. en el ataque a Libia donde murió una hija de Gadaffi.

Las imágenes han mostrado la visible molestia del Rey Juan Carlos I ante la discusión que se está llevando a cabo.

Esta es la crónica completa de la Agencia Efe:

Tras una monumental bronca, protagonizada por Venezuela y España, en la que el Rey Juan Carlos abandonó el plenario, se clausuró la XVII Cumbre Iberoamericana.

Las descalificaciones del presidente de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, al ex-presidente del gobierno español, Jose María Aznar, provocaron una respuesta del presidente Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, en la que le recordó que “en una mesa en la que hay gobiernos democráticos, se tiene como principios esenciales el respeto”.

El presidente venezolano Hugo calificó de nuevo de fascista a Aznar y sostuvo que en una conversación privada le respondió “esos se jodieron (sic)” al aludir a los países más pobres del mundo.

Chávez reveló detalles de una conversación mantenida con Aznar durante la visita oficial a Caracas que el entonces presidente del Gobierno hizo en julio de 1999 para “invitarle” a incorporarse al “club del primer mundo”.

En la sesión de clausura de la Cumbre Iberoamericana, Chávez reiteró su acusación a Aznar de que éste apoyó el golpe que intentó derrocarle en 2002. “Sabía del golpe y lo apoyó”, dijo.

Chávez había pedido la palabra para replicar a la intervención del presidente del Gobierno español, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, centrada en subrayar que un país nunca podrá avanzar si busca justificaciones de que alguien desde fuera impide su progreso.

El presidente venezolano mostró su desacuerdo con los argumentos de Rodríguez Zapatero y dijo que “no se pueden minimizar” el impacto de los factores externos, paso previo a un largo discurso en el que volvió a atacar con dureza a Aznar.

En el momento en que Chávez interrumpió a Zapatero, el Rey Juan Carlos le espetó “¿por qué no te callas?”.

Ortega critica las empresas españolas y el Rey abandona la sala

El presidente de Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, lanzó duras críticas, en presencia del rey Juan Carlos y del jefe del Gobierno español, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, a la empresa eléctrica española Unión Fenosa, a la que dijo que en la actualidad no le hubieran dejado entrar en el país.

El 90 por ciento de la opinión de Nicaragua “está en contra de Unión Fenosa”, afirmó. “Esa empresa española llega a Nicaragua a ayudar, decía, a que la energía llegue a todo el país, se va a controlar el precio y todo lo demás. Llegó con los Gobiernos peleles, nosotros no le hubiéramos dejado entrar a Unión Fenosa, no le hubiéramos entregado la distribución“.

“Le entregaron la generación del 47 por ciento de la energía”, pero “los inversionistas no compraron las empresas generadoras que estaban en mal estado, compraron mediante actos de corrupción las empresas generadoras que estaban en buen estado donde podían sacarle utilidades y ganar lo que estaban dando por la empresa en un año”, señaló Ortega durante una intervención en la turbulenta sesión de clausura de la XVII Cumbre Iberoamericana.

El rey de España Juan Carlos I abandonó entonces el plenario de la Cumbre.

Resultados de la Cumbre que terminó en polémica

En la Cumbre se aprobó la “Declaración de Santiago” y un Plan de Acción, que incluye medidas destinadas a mejorar la cohesión social, lema del encuentro. También se aprobaron una serie de comunicados especiales sobre la lucha contra el terrorismo y la corrupción, la reclamación por Argentina de la soberanía en las Islas Malvinas, el rechazo del bloqueo de Estados Unidos a Cuba y la cooperación para el desarrollo con países de renta media.

Los Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno se comprometieron también a poner en marcha un Convenio Multilateral de Seguridad Social, con el se podrán beneficiar seis millones de inmigrantes latinoamericanos. La presidenta de Chile, Michelle Bachelet, el presidente de El Salvador, Elías Antonio Saca, y el Secretario General Iberoamericano, Enrique Iglesias, ofrecerán una rueda de prensa para informar de los resultados de la cumbre.
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 12, 2007, 04:31:58 PM
El mundo hispano hablante reacciona:

Tambien el Wall Street Journal ofrece su opinion:

Royal Reprimand
November 12, 2007; Page A16
Spain's King Juan Carlos is revered for his decisive role in restoring democracy in his country after the death of General Francisco Franco. Over the past quarter century, the Spanish royal has been a voice for civility and reconciliation, both in his home country and throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

So it was a rebuke heard 'round the world this weekend when he told Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, "why don't you shut up," at the Ibero-American summit in Santiago, Chile. Mr. Chávez had gone on a rant against former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar, calling him a "fascist" and stating that "fascists are not human. A snake is more human."

Venezuelans have endured this sort of rhetoric for nine years from their strongman president, and Mr. Chavez has shown the same bullying style without rebuke at the United Nations. But the summiteers apparently had enough. Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero -- who has enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Venezuelan government and is no ally of Mr. Aznar -- demanded that Mr. Chávez respect the participants at the table. He reminded the Venezuelan that Mr. Aznar had been elected by the Spanish people. As he later told journalists, Mr. Chávez's words were "inappropriate and unacceptable."

Mr. Chávez would have none of it and, although his microphone was turned off, tried to talk over the Spanish head of state. That's when King Juan Carlos leaned forward, looked directly at Mr. Chávez, and told him to close down his act. Mr. Zapatero finished his dress down of Mr. Chávez and the room erupted in applause. The king rose and walked out shortly thereafter, having made his point in defense of civil discourse.
Title: Argentina
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 16, 2007, 10:21:16 AM
Argentina's First Lady
November 16, 2007

Just before Cristina Fernandez's victory in Argentina's recent 
presidential elections, author Marcos Aguinis told me in Buenos Aires, 
"Some people think she might be a bit better than her husband because 
she likes haute couture and meeting the rich and famous -- but who 
knows." He was referring to the hope that her well-known penchant for 
all things glamorous will keep the president-elect, who is also a 
former senator, from being an anti-American and globaphobic populist 
like her husband, outgoing president Nestor Kirchner.

Glamour, however, will not prevent the crisis that will hit Argentina 
if she does not reverse her husband's policies. In classic Peronista 
form, the Kirchner couple has engaged in political patronage, 
manipulated the country's institutions, and encouraged radical left-
wing groups to take center stage while presiding over a serendipitous 
economic boom.

What the Kirchners think is their "new model" for Latin America is 
essentially the short-term reward resulting from the massive 
devaluation of the currency a year and a half before Nestor Kirchner 
took office, the skyrocketing prices of the country's commodities, and 
the president's decision to pay back barely one-third of the face 
value of $140 billion worth of government debt paper.

The prices of Argentina's cereals, fuels and minerals have experienced 
a double-digit rise this year, continuing a trend that, together with 
cheap tourism, has helped generate GDP growth rates of between 7% and 
9% in the last four years. As the world's fifth largest exporter of 
foodstuffs, Argentina is having a field day with the voracious demand 
coming from China and other nations. At times, Argentineans seem to be 
reliving their golden 19th century days when their abundant meat and 
cereal exports attracted millions of Europeans to Buenos Aires in 
search of the cornucopia.

But these blessings conceal two fundamental problems. The first is a 
dysfunctional institutional environment. It did not start with the 
current administration but the presidential couple has made it worse. 
The second problem is a byproduct of the first: An economy riddled 
with political bottlenecks that are consuming the capital accumulated 
in the previous decade, and fueling inflation.

The Kirchner presidency has systematically undermined checks and 
balances. Thanks to a law that was passed with the support of his wife 
in the Senate, Mr. Kirchner changed the structure of the Magistrate 
Council and placed the judiciary under Peronista control. He also 
brought into the fold the crushing political machinery of the Buenos 
Aires province, which accounts for almost 40% of the national vote and 
used to be in the hands of former president Eduardo Duhalde, a 
Peronista rival. That was achieved by having Cristina Fernandez run 
for the Senate seat of the Buenos Aires province as opposed to the 
seat representing Santa Cruz.

Mr. Kirchner has also used his majority in Congress -- now expanded by 
his wife's victory in the presidential elections -- to obtain 
"emergency powers" that have given him personal discretion over the 
entire budget. In traditional corporatist fashion, Cristina is now 
speaking of a "social pact" by which the government will negotiate 
laws and policies with groups supposedly representing civil society 
but in reality working to keep the Peronista clientele happy.

Then there is the economy. On the surface, things couldn't be better. 
After a crisis that turned a middle-class country into a Third World 
nation, Argentina has seen about 11 million people pull out of poverty 
-- i.e. go back to their living conditions of the 1990s. By raising 
public spending by 50% annually and wages by 40% in the last four 
years, keeping interest rates low, controlling half the prices that 
make up the consumer price index, and nationalizing or creating state 
enterprises in eight major sectors of the economy, the government has 
achieved a populist artifice. As the results of the presidential 
elections show, Argentineans are not buying this illusion of 
prosperity in the main urban centers (the nation's capital, Cordoba, 
Santa Fe, and others), but the rest of the nation is.

The real story is that investment is very low and inflation very high 
-- and the social demands of a population that has been promised a 
paradise are infinite. Although Mr. Kirchner has tried to conceal 
inflation figures by replacing the head of the national statistics 
institute, no one I talked to in Argentina thinks inflation is below 
20%. The energy crisis, a consequence of Mr. Kirchner's decision to 
continue to freeze prices at one-third of market value and therefore 
discourage investment at a time of rising demand due to the economic 
bounce, is causing havoc. Foreign direct investment has dropped by 
about 30% in the last three years, whereas in Chile, Argentina's next-
door neighbor, it has risen by almost 50%.

This amounts to the squandering of a marvelous opportunity for a 
country whose past prosperity, relatively educated population and 
political gravitas in the region should have granted it a leading role 
in Latin America in this new millennium. The fact that a sophisticated 
woman will be the next president should have been a reason to rejoice 
in a part of the world where politics has been a notoriously 
"machista" enterprise. But it will take a miracle, i.e. an act of 
political treason by Cristina against her husband's legacy, to avoid 
the iceberg for which Argentina's Titanic is headed.

Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina's late poet, used to say, "Peronismo is 
neither good nor bad -- it is incorrigible." Will Cristina's love of 
the good life serve as an antidote to Peron-style populist socialism? 
Although the chances are extremely slim -- she has announced that nine 
of her husband's ministers will stay on to serve in her cabinet -- let 
us pray that Cristina proves Borges wrong.

Mr. Vargas Llosa is the director of the Center on Global Prosperity at 
the Independent Institute and the editor of the upcoming book "Lessons 
 From the Poor," to be published in March by the Independent Institute.
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 17, 2007, 06:03:02 AM
Stung in Miami
December 17, 2007; Page A20

Argentina isn't conscientious about paying its debts, but maybe that's about to change under freshly inaugurated President Cristina Kirchner. Two news items that broke last week suggest that her government may be running a hefty tab with President Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and is earnestly trying to repay him.

The U.S. Justice Department alleged on Wednesday that Mrs. Kirchner's recent election campaign was the destination for $800,000 in cash shipped south in a suitcase from Mr. Chávez in August. If true, it would confirm what many Argentines have long suspected: that Argentina, under former President Nestor Kirchner and now his wife, has been leased out to the Venezuelan strongman in much the same way that Bolivia and Nicaragua have come under Mr. Chavez's influence.

This is grim not only for Argentine democracy. If members of the Organization of American States are indeed on Mr. Chávez's payroll, it would explain why the Washington-based multilateral organization, charged with defending democracy, has been so timid with the anti-democratic Venezuelan president.

It also raises questions about whether Mrs. Kirchner was acting in good faith last week when she met with Mr. Chávez's sworn enemy in South America, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, to discuss the plight of French-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt and 44 others held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Mrs. Kirchner went on the offensive last week, charging that the U.S. sting operation was "garbage." But the feds may have the goods. Recall that the bagman carrying the $800,000 returned to his home in Florida after being released by the Argentine authorities. The U.S. attorney in Miami says that three Venezuelans and an Uruguayan acted as foreign agents when they traveled to the U.S. to try to silence him "in an effort to keep the lid on a burgeoning international scandal."

Given the nonchalance with which the smuggler approached his task, it is not hard to fathom that the transaction was considered routine by Venezuela and that he was only an unlucky one who got caught. The Argentine daily La Nación revealed last summer that Venezuelan aircraft and personnel regularly land and bypass customs inspections at Jorge Newberry Airport in Buenos Aires.

Mrs. Kirchner would owe Mr. Chávez a lot if he did indeed underwrite her campaign. So perhaps that explains the pro-Chávez attitude she took last Tuesday toward Colombia's hostage issue when she met with President Uribe in Buenos Aires. Rather than endorse the 1949 Geneva Convention and, as Chilean President Michelle Bachelet did recently, call for the FARC to immediately release its victims without conditions, Mrs. Kirchner pressured the Colombian head of state to be more forthcoming. In other words, she took the same line as Mr. Chávez and the FARC, insisting that Mr. Uribe is the barrier to progress.

Mrs. Kirchner may have domestic political reasons for avoiding the subject of the Geneva Convention. Her government -- and her husband's before her -- relies on allies, advisers and cabinet members who are former members of Argentine terror groups that made a living from kidnapping in the 1970s. If the FARC is guilty of violating the convention, so too are many kirchneristas.

If she has a debt with Mr. Chávez, she now has an additional motivation for trying to place blame on Mr. Uribe rather than the terrorists. Mr. Chávez makes no secret of his support for the FARC or his enmity for Mr. Uribe. The FARC leadership hangs out in Caracas and runs its drugs through Mr. Chávez's backyard. If he wanted to free the hostages for purely humanitarian reasons, he could have already done so. The guerrillas need passage through Venezuelan territory and could be brought to heel anytime Mr. Chávez wants.

Mr. Uribe may have made a big mistake by even considering a hostage negotiation with the FARC. The rebels have never suggested that they are interested in peace. They want to trade their "political" captives -- police, soldiers, politicians and three American contractors -- for a strategic gain that will enhance the efficiency of their narcotics and kidnapping businesses. In light of this reality, Mr. Uribe would have been better off sticking to a policy of no talks with terrorists.

But the Colombian government is under intense pressure from French President Nicolas Sarkozy and hostage family members, so he gambled on opening a dialogue. He took an even bigger risk by agreeing to allow Mr. Chávez to act as a negotiator. The Venezuelan president almost immediately violated the ground rules by attempting to talk directly with the military. His goal was to secure the guerrillas' No. 1 demand, a new rebel territory guaranteed free of Colombian forces. Mr. Uribe promptly and wisely fired the Venezuelan "negotiator," but now he finds himself under renewed pressure from Mrs. Kirchner to do more to satisfy the demands of the narcotraffickers.

According to local news reports, in her meeting with Mr. Uribe, Mrs. Kirchner showed no appreciation of Colombia's latest concession to the FARC, to allow an internationally observed, demilitarized zone of 150 square kilometers for 30 days in order to exchange 500 FARC insurgents that the government holds for the hostages. The FARC has also ignored the offer.

Nor does the Argentine president seem interested in getting to the bottom of the "suitcase affair." Instead, an enraged Mrs. Kirchner went before television cameras last week and played the gender card. "This president may be a woman but she is not going to allow herself to be pressured," she said in reference to U.S. antipathy toward her friend, Mr. Chávez.

Her attitude can't be too comforting to Colombians, men or women, who live with the FARC terror that Mr. Chávez and now Mrs. Kirchner want to appease.

• Write to O'
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 14, 2008, 08:30:07 AM
A Hollywood Yarn Unravels
January 14, 2008; Page A12

It was Christmas week in the Colombian city of Villavicencio and the events, as they were set to unfold, had all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. If only the "heroes" hadn't been exposed as liars.

A 3-year-old boy, his mother and another woman, all hostages of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), were about to be freed. Credit for their release was to go to Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela. Former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner had flown up from Buenos Aires to take part in the show. Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone was on hand too, eager to document the Christmas spirit of the revolutionary killers and their socialist sympathizers. The child, as luck would have it, was called Emmanuel.

WSJ's Americas columnist Mary Anastasia O'Grady discusses the series of embarrassments that have befallen Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in recent months.
The part of the villain was bestowed on Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, a U.S. ally who as a matter of policy has refused to give in to FARC demands for Colombian territory in exchange for the release of hostages. Mr. Uribe had also recently announced that Mr. Chávez was no longer welcome as a negotiator in the broader effort to free former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three American contractors and 41 other politically valuable FARC hostages. He had jerked away the welcome mat after Mr. Chávez tried to bypass him and talk directly to the Colombian military. According to the script, even Mr. Uribe's stubbornness couldn't stop the big-hearted Mr. Chávez from winning the freedom of these three.

For Mr. Stone, an anti-American Christmas miracle was in the offing. His film would portray Mr. Chávez as a humanitarian hero while demonizing Mr. Uribe. But it wasn't to be an obscure foreign film with no American message. It would also complement the assertions of U.S. unions, other trade protectionists and President Bush's political adversaries, all of whom insist -- against the evidence -- that the Colombian president violates human rights.

Of course, the American left's current obsession with Mr. Uribe is not really about concern for human life. It's about the pending U.S.-Colombian free trade agreement, which they want to kill on "moral" grounds. Depicting Mr. Uribe as an intransigent right-winger is critical to their narrative. In this, the protectionists are allies of the rebels. The truth is that Mr. Uribe's restoration of law and order in Colombia has thrown the guerrillas back on their heels, and they are now frantically pulling the levers of international propaganda.

Over Christmas week the suspense surrounding the promised release was building. Mr. Chávez reminded TV viewers daily that his dramatic rescue plan had nothing to do with him and everything to do with his tender concern for the hostages. Mr. Uribe had agreed to allow Venezuelan aircraft to swoop into Colombia to pick up the two women and the child. The FARC had only to say where. But no word came.

The rebels blamed the delay on bad weather and on Mr. Uribe, who they said had mobilized his armed forces in the area. Mr. Uribe denied the charge, as did his top military commander. Mr. Chávez said Mr. Uribe could not be trusted. Meanwhile the Venezuelan minister for FARC relations, Ramon Rodríguez Chacín, made excuses for the rebels, who, he said, had to be ready for Colombian military actions against them after the handover. The guerrillas, he said, should "prepare their retreat strategy and take all the security measures they need."

Finally, on Dec. 31, Mr. Uribe held a press conference to give his "hypothesis" of why the liberation hadn't occurred: The FARC had lied when it said it had the child, and it had been trying to buy time to find him. In fact, the boy was in a foster home in Bogotá. The suggestion was a bombshell, but after DNA tests confirmed the fact, Mr. Uribe was vindicated.

Among the more shocking revelations was the FARC's inhumane treatment of the infant. His mother, Clara Rojas, who had been Ms. Betancourt's vice presidential running mate, was kidnapped in 2002. The child was born in a rebel camp in 2004, and was less than one year old when he was left with a local peasant. After about a month, his humble caretaker realized he could not treat the child's serious illnesses and took him to a local clinic, which transferred him to a hospital.

Press reports say that doctors diagnosed the baby with anemia, malaria, a parasitic skin disease, malnutrition and an arm that had been broken at birth and not treated. "Anyone would have fallen apart before this child, with so many diseases," the hospital director told the Miami Herald. "He didn't raise his eyes. He got toys but did not pick them up. He did not stand but dragged himself on his butt. He cried but no tears came because of the malnutrition."

When the news of the child's whereabouts broke Mr. Stone went away spitting mad, not at his FARC heroes, who had been exposed as child abusers, but at Mr. Uribe and Mr. Bush. Of the FARC he said, "Grabbing hostages is the fashion in which they can finance themselves and try to achieve their goals, which are difficult. I think they are heroic to fight for what they believe in and die for it, as was Castro in the hills of Cuba."

Meanwhile, with Mr. Chávez looking like a fool, the two women were finally freed on Thursday. The FARC had reason to help him try to salvage his image: As this column has frequently noted, it needs Venezuela as its main transit route for cocaine and as a safe haven.

Mr. Chávez tried to paint himself as a neutral, third-party peacemaker but a day later he peeled off his mask. We already knew that a diplomat from Cuba, which has been sowing terror in Colombia for 50 years, accompanied the hostages to Caracas, underscoring the ties between Mr. Chávez, Cuba and the rebels. We also knew that as the helicopter carrying the hostages took off Mr. Rodríguez Chacín called to the rebels, "keep up the fight and count on us!"

On Friday, Mr. Chávez went further, arguing that the FARC has a "true" army that "occupies space" and is therefore a "belligerent" -- a term that would give it standing under international law. He demanded that its terrorist status be revoked. Colombia called his speech "off-the-wall" but it knows better. Following the hostage release, this was a calculated move and is only the latest step in what is now Mr. Chávez's war, waged by the FARC, against Colombia.

• Write to O'
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 07, 2008, 10:09:20 AM
 Opositores a Morales saquean un avión militar cargado de material antidisturbios

¡Tanto que les maman gallo y vean los ....... que tienen! ¡UN GENERAL!
Éstos sí merecen nuestro Himno...

Enviado por un amigo:

Opositores a Evo saquean avión militar

Menos mal que no fue "nuestro" YV-1495

Yahoo News

Noticiero Digital (05/09/08-9:55pm).- Este viernes centenares de opositores al gobierno de Evo Morales saquearon un avión militar cargado de material antidisturbios y gases lacrimógenos en Cobija, ciudad ubicada en el departamento de Pando. Los pilotos del avión, un general y dos capitanes, fueron liberados unas tres horas después.

Según Yahoo!News, unas "trescientas personas se encuentran en vigilia permanente en el aeródromo de Cobija.

Hasta donde hemos podido averiguar, el avión saqueado no es venezolano. En particular, no se trata del avión siglas YV-1495 de PDVSA que fue usado por Evo Morales en su reciente gira por Asia.

Foto: El Deber (Bolivia)

Lea la nota de Yahoo!News a continuación:


Opositores a Morales saquean un avión militar cargado de material antidisturbios

La Paz, 5 sep (EFE).- Centenares de opositores de la ciudad de Cobija, al norte de Bolivia, saquearon hoy un avión militar que había llegado al aeropuerto de esa localidad cargado de material antidisturbios y gases lacrimógenos, informó una fuente oficial.

Hugo Mopi, portavoz de la Prefectura de Pando, departamento cuya capital es Cobija, confirmó a Efe que miembros del Comité Cívico retuvieron a los tres militares que pilotaban la aeronave y trasladaron a sus oficinas todo el material antimotines que transportaban.

El funcionario de la gobernación pandina, controlada por la oposición, informó de que los tres militares, un general y dos capitanes, fueron liberados horas después de haber sido retenidos por "unas 300 personas" que se encontraban en "vigilia permanente" en el aeródromo de Cobija.

En la avioneta "encontraron 23 tambores con granadas de gases lacrimógenos y material antimotín", señaló el funcionario prefectural, quien agregó que los cívicos no van a devolverlo, según manifestó la presidenta de la entidad, Ana Melena.

Tanto los medios como Mopi confirmaron que las ruedas de la aeronave fueron pinchadas porque los tripulantes "querían escaparse", afirmó el funcionario.

Según la prensa local de Cobija, situada a unos 600 kilómetros al norte de La Paz, en la frontera con Brasil, los cívicos además tomaron cinco oficinas de instituciones estatales sin que la policía pudiera impedirlo.

En otras seis ciudades de mayoría opositora se ha desatado una ola de protestas, que incluyen bloqueos de carreteras e intentos de toma de oficinas estatales, desde que el Gobierno de Evo Morales aprobó por decreto la convocatoria de un referendo para someter a consulta popular la nueva Constitución.

El presidente Morales volvió a acusar hoy a los autores de las protestas de "golpistas" y de tener una motivación "netamente política". [¡No, pendejo!, es por razones deportivas... ¡Nomejodan...!]

Por su parte, la delegada de Morales en Pando, Nancy Texeira, en declaraciones a la Red Erbol, dijo que el asalto al avión militar fue obra de un "grupo de vándalos encabezado por el secretario general de la Prefectura".

Además, denunció que los militares fueron "agredidos, insultados y amenazados" y que un periodista fue brutalmente golpeado cuando desempeñaba su labor informativa en el aeropuerto.
Title: Bolivia
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 12, 2008, 07:54:53 PM


El conflicto andino alcanza una nueva dimensión con la expulsión mutua de embajadores de Estados Unidos y Venezuela

Evo Morales envía tropas y blindados al Oriente para reforzar a los militares que no reprimen a los manifestantes


La rebelión cívica y social de cinco provincias autonomistas del oriente de Bolivia ha alcanzado un punto álgido de violencia, destrucción y muerte, que podría desembocar en guerra civil. El conflicto interno del país andino alcanzó dimensión internacional con la expulsión por los gobiernos de La Paz y Caracas del embajador de Estados Unidos en esas capitales. Washington reaccionó en forma fulminante al  ordenar en reciprocidad la salida de los representantes diplomáticos de Bolivia y Venezuela.

En forma enérgica, las Fuerzas Armadas bolivianas condenaron la afirmación de Hugo Chávez de que apoyará "cualquier movimiento armado" si Evo Morales es derrocado. En respuesta al presidente venezolano,  los militares rechazaron  "intromisiones externas de cualquier índole" en asuntos internos.

“Al presidente Chávez le decimos que las Fuerzas Armadas rechazan enfáticamente intromisiones externas de cualquier índole, vengan de donde vengan, y no permitirán que ningún militar o fuerza extranjera pise el territorio nacional", se afirma en  un comunicado de la institución castrense. Esta posición representa también un fuerte revés para Evo Morales, quien ha promovido la presencia de militares venezolanos en Bolivia. Su guardia personal es de oficiales del país andino.

Una vez más, Bolivia se acerca al abismo. Tras los enfrentamientos a tiros en varias poblaciones del departamento de Pando, que causó diez muertos y decenas de heridos, el presidente Evo Morales ha enviado fuerzas militares a las regiones rebeldes para someter a los manifestantes opositores. Las provincias de Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni, Pando y Chuquisaca piden recuperar el impuesto a los hidrocarburos que les quitó el Gobierno y defienden el derecho a las autonomías regionales. El conflicto se recrudeció cuando Morales anunció un referéndum para ratificar una nueva Constitución de corte estatista e indigenista, que fue aprobada de noche en un cuartel sin presencia de la oposición.

Desde hace diez días, la violencia no cesa de aumentar. Los choques entre opositores y oficialistas, la ocupación de edificios del Estado y los saqueos en las regiones de la denominada media luna, marcan el fortalecimiento de una larga pugna política cargada de violencia social, de proporciones y consecuencias insospechadas.

 Luego de tres semanas de enfrentamientos en calles y carreteras, la tragedia se desató en Porvenir, población del departamento de Pando, en donde el tiroteo entre afines al Gobierno y autonomistas causó al menos diez muertos. Hay mucha confusión sobre el origen de la matanza, ya que cada parte acusa a la contraria. 

A diferencia de la violencia registrada en octubre del 2003 en el forzado final del mandato del presidente Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, cuando el enfrentamiento se dio entre el Ejército y la población, los actuales choques armados son entre grupos civiles, unos partidarios y otros detractores de Morales. Si en octubre del 2003 fueron los militares los que se dispararon a manifestantes en La Paz y el altiplano, hoy son grupos civiles contra grupos civiles los que disparan, tienden emboscadas, montan bloqueos y se preparan para nuevos choques.

En una peligrosa estrategia basada en el cálculo político, el Gobierno parece decidido a mandar al frente de batalla a los movimientos sociales; por su parte, los gobernadores opositores movilizan a enardecidos universitarios y a grupos cívicos para repartir golpes y balas. Esta situación sin precedentes hace que las consecuencias del conflicto sean imprevisibles.

Hasta ahora, militares y policías evitaron reprimir a los manifestantes que penetraron en los edificios públicos que custodiaban, como centros de telecomunicaciones, aeropuertos y oficinas fiscales. De hecho, los uniformados asistieron impasibles a la mayoría de las ocupaciones, sin actuar. Ante la pasividad de las tropas, Evo Morales envió por tierra varios regimientos con carros de combate para reforzar las guarniciones de las provincias autonomistas, desbloquear las carreteras y redoblar la seguridad de los yacimientos de gas, que ya fueron tomados por civiles. El cierre de válvulas obligó a suspender los envíos a Argentina y a reducir el suministro a Brasil. La llegada de los militares provocó nuevas protestas.

Lo que comenzó con una crisis interna de Bolivia, por la rebelión de las regiones autonomistas contra  Evo Morales, tomó una nueva dimensión con la expulsión del embajador de Estados Unidos en La Paz y Caracas. Al final de una jornada llena de denuncias de magnicidios, golpes de Estado y el anuncio de un eventual apoyo militar a Evo Morales, el presidente Hugo Chávez ordenó la salida en un plazo de 72 horas del embajador norteamericano Patrick Duddy de 72 horas y ordenó el regreso del representante venezolano en Washington, "antes de que lo echen".

Aunque los insultos de Chávez contra Estados Unidos han sido elevados de tono, en medios diplomáticos sorprendió el fuerte lenguaje que utilizó al ordenar la expulsión del diplomático: "¡Yanquis de mierda, váyanse al carajo cien veces. Ya basta de tanta mierda de ustedes, yanquis de mierda".

         Washington, que durante años ha aguantado sin chistar la interminable retahíla de duros improperios contra Estados Unidos y su presidente, en esta ocasión reaccionó en forma contundente. Como había hecho horas antes al expulsar al embajador boliviano, decretó la salida del representante venezolano.




En Bolivia se abrió una vía de esperanza al conocerse que Mario Cossío, gobernador de Tarija –una de las regiones opositoras- aceptó una invitación del Gobierno para abrir un diálogo sin condiciones ni imposiciones. Consciente de que tal vez sea la última oportunidad para la reconciliación, Cossío debía reunirse anoche en La Paz con  las altas autoridades del Estado, llevando la representación de las provincias autonomistas.


Title: Re: Bolivia
Post by: captainccs on September 13, 2008, 12:55:51 PM

El conflicto andino alcanza una nueva dimensión con la expulsión mutua de embajadores de Estados Unidos y Venezuela

Según los comentaristas venezolanos a Chávez le hace falta una crisis de grán magnitud para enfrentar las venideras elecciones locales en noviembre. La expulsión del embajador americano Duddy parece un guión tomado directamente del libro 1984 de George Orwell.
Title: Ecuador
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 29, 2008, 04:45:07 PM

 En Guayaquil el sí tan sólo obtuvo 41’80 %


 Los ecuatorianos aprobaron en referéndum la nueva Constitución, 
 dando luz verde al presidente Rafael Correa para  que ponga en 
 práctica los cambios políticos y económicos que, según sus 
 promesas, deben cambiar al país.  Las encuestas a pie de urna 
 otorgaron al Gobierno una victoria más clara de lo que se había 
 anticipado. Según Cedatos-Gallup, el sí ganó con un 70%, el no 
 obtuvo 25 %, y el resto sufragios en blanco y nulos. El canal Uno-
 Noticias otorga al sí el 62’8 %, y al no 30’10%. Teleamazonas sumó 
 66’4 para el sí y 25 % para el no.

 El triunfo arrollador de Correa quedó en parte empañado por la 
 votación en Guayaquil, la ciudad costera que es el motor económico 
 del país. Según las encuestas a pie de urna, el sí no alcanzó el 50 
 %. Unos sondeos colocaban al no por encima del sí, y en otros el sí 
 por delante del no. En todas las encuetas, la suma de los votos por 
 el no, unido a los sufragios en blanco y nulo superaban las 
 papeletas por el sí. En el futuro habrá que analizar que supone que 
 la zona más próspera del país, en defensa de la autonomía, el 
 respaldo a la Constitución no haya llegado al 50 %..

 Al conocer las encuestas que anticipaban su triunfo, Correa saludó 
 en primer lugar a los emigrantes ecuatorianos, “a los tres millones 
 de exiliados de la pobreza”. El presidente señaló que el país “vive 
 un momento histórico que trasciende las personas, es un proceso de 
 cambio de todo un pueblo.

 “Ecuador ha decidido un nuevo país, las viejas estructuras han sido 
 derrotadas por los soldados de la revolución ciudadana”, dijo 
 Correa en Guayaquil, desde la gobernación de la provincia de Guaymas.

 Con este cuarto triunfo electoral consecutivo Correa ya tiene las 
 manos libres para presentarse a la reelección y acelerar sus 
 polémicas reformas socialistas, que, entre otras cosas, otorga al 
 Estado un mayor control en sectores estratégicos. Sumak kawsay, 
 buen vivir en lengua quechua, será el eje del nuevo marco 
 institucional que prometió el presidente. Sin embargo, sumak 
 kawsay, una fórmula tan difusa como el  Socialismo del Siglo XXI 
 que impulsa el joven mandatario ecuatoriano, parece ser el 
 envoltorio de un proyecto estatista y de concentración del poder.

 Por tercera vez en este año y por quinta en los últimos 26 meses, 
 unos 9,7 millones de ecuatorianos (el voto es obligatorio) se 
 pronunciaron sobre el texto constitucional Aunque con 
 características propias, el modelo de Correa sigue la hoja de ruta 
 trazada por Hugo Chávez desde Caracas. El libreto del calendario es 
 el mismo: referéndum para convocar una Constituyente, comicios para 
 Asamblea Constituyente, nuevo referéndum para aprobar la Carta 
 Magna, y otras elecciones para renovar los poderes. Todo en un 
 tiempo muy rápido; las votaciones se suceden mientras el presidente 
 mantiene una alta popularidad y la economía todavía no se resiente 
 de una política populista que multiplica el gasto público.

 Al aprobarse la Constitución,  Ecuador deberá celebrar a principios 
 del próximo año nuevos comicios legislativos y presidenciales; 
 Correa podrá volver a ser candidato -y aspirar a la reelección 
 cuatro años después- sin que se le computen los 20 meses que lleva 
 en el poder. De esta manera, el actual mandatario  podría continuar 
 en el palacio de Carondelet hasta 2017.

          Muchos ecuatorianos fueron a votar con ilusión y 
 esperanza, confiando en que se cumplirán las promesas de Correa de 
 “un mejor vivir”.

 “Tengo fe en Correa, me inspira confianza después de tantos 
 políticos ladrones”, nos comentó Luisa Valle tras votar en un 
 colegio del barrio quiteño Las Casas, en la falda del volcán 

 Jaime Costales, psicólogo y catedrático de la Universidad San 
 Francisco, dijo que el ecuatoriano vive en un "delirio colectivo" 
 por la manipulación de la conciencia con promesas mesiánicas de 
 Correa que jamás podrán llevar al país a una nueva democracia”. “Se 
 usan las mismas artimañas y vicios de los viejos partidos para 
 instaurar un régimen presidencialista que aspira a controlar todos 
 los poderes, silenciando las discrepancias e imponiendo su verdad", 
 señala el profesor.

 Aunque Correa mantiene alta popularidad, en el mundo empresarial se 
 esperan con recelo los cambios. Algunos analistas los rechazan por 
 considerarlos "un listado de buenas intenciones irrealizables en la 

 Joaquim ibarz
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 21, 2008, 04:02:22 PM
!!!Hijo de muchos padres!!!  :-o :-o :-o

Argentine Bonds, Stocks Plunge on Pension Takeover Speculation

By Drew Benson and Bill Faries
Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Argentine bond yields soared above 24 percent and stocks sank the most in a decade on speculation the government will seize private pension funds and use the assets to stave off the second default this decade.
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will unveil a new pension fund plan at 4 p.m. New York time today, the country's social security administration said in a statement. Fernandez will nationalize the system, giving the government control of $29 billion in retirement accounts, La Nacion reported, citing government officials it didn't identify.
``It's horrible,'' said Jaime Valdivia, who manages $1 billion of assets for Emerging Sovereign Group in New York. ``We're going back to the dark ages. Not even in times of the worst financial stress did the government ever think about taking over the private pension system.''
Fernandez has struggled to raise cash to cover growing financing needs as the global financial crisis drives down prices on the country's commodity exports and erodes demand for higher- yielding, developing-nation debt. The government's borrowing needs will swell to as much as $14 billion next year from $7 billion in 2007, RBC Capital Markets, a Toronto-based unit of Canada's largest bank, said today.
Yields on the government's 8.28 percent bonds due in 2033 surged 4.35 percentage points to 24.77 percent, the highest since the country issued the debt in a 2005 restructuring, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. The bond's price sank 7.9 cents to 29 cents on the dollar, leaving it just pennies above the price on defaulted debt that investors held out of the 2005 renegotiation.
$95 Billion Debt Default
Argentina's benchmark Merval stock index tumbled as much as 13.8 percent today to a four-year low, extending its losses this month to 37 percent.
The South American country hasn't had access to international capital markets since it defaulted on $95 billion of bonds in 2001. Holders of some $20 billion of those bonds rejected the government's 2005 payout of 30 cents on the dollar, the harshest sovereign restructuring since World War II.
The social security administration didn't provide details on today's announcement. The press offices at the presidential palace and the pension fund regulator declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.
``This is negative, very negative, for the markets,'' said Mariano Tavelli, a portfolio manager at Tavelli & Compania in Buenos Aires. ``It's going to cause a sharp drop in confidence in the country and this government.''
`Last-Ditch Measure'
Nestor Kirchner, Fernandez's husband and predecessor, began tightening restrictions on private pension funds last year, requiring them to keep more investments in the country as part of an effort to sustain a five-year-old economic expansion.
Argentina created the private accounts in 1994 with the aim of phasing out the government-run system. A government takeover of the accounts would probably require congressional approval, Tavelli said.
Argentina's private pension fund administrators managed 94.4 billion pesos ($29 billion) in savings at the end of September. About 55 percent of the investments are in government debt, according to the pension fund regulator's Web site.
Nationalization would allow the Fernandez administration to write off the government bonds held by the funds, said Javier Salvucci, an analyst with Buenos Aires-based Silver Cloud Advisors.
``The government is explicitly saying that it has problems meeting debt maturities and this is a last-ditch measure to do so,'' Salvucci said. ``For accounting purposes, this debt will no longer exist.''
Central Bank Intervention
Argentine bonds have lost 37 percent this year, putting them on pace for the worst year since the 2001 default, according to a Merrill Lynch & Co. index. The bonds lost 62 percent that year.
A pension funds takeover may add to capital flight as Argentines seek the safety of U.S. dollars, RBC said Capital Markets said in today's report.
The peso was little changed today, rising 0.2 percent to 3.2163 per dollar, as traders said the central bank intervened in the foreign exchange market to shore up the currency. The bank sold ``large amounts'' of dollars, said Gustavo Quintana, a trader with Lopez Leon Brokers in Buenos Aires. A central bank spokesman didn't return a phone call seeking comment.
The cost of protecting Argentina's bonds against default soared. Five-year credit-default swaps based on Argentina's debt jumped 1.57 percentage points to 31.18 percentage points, according to Bloomberg data. Credit-default swaps, contracts to protect against or speculate on default, pay the buyer face value should a borrower fail to adhere to its debt agreements.
`Closer to the Abyss'
That price means it costs $3.118 million to protect $10 million of the country's debt from default. In September 2006, it cost just $244,000 as record exports of wheat, soybeans and corn fueled economic growth and swelled government coffers.
Commodities have dropped 40 percent from a record high reached on July 2 as the global financial crisis has deepened a global economic slowdown, according to UBS Bloomberg CMCI Index of 26 raw materials.
Growth in South America's second-biggest economy, which gets more than half its export revenue from commodities, will slow to 5 percent this year and 2.5 percent in 2009, RBC Capital Markets said. The economy expanded 8.8 percent on average over the past five years as Kirchner and Fernandez used surging tax receipts to boost government spending on everything from civil servant pay rises to energy subsidies.
``Argentina is ever closer to the abyss,'' RBC said in the report.
To contact the reporters on this story: Drew Benson in Buenos Aires at Abenson9@bloomberg.netBill Faries in Buenos Aires;
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 21, 2008, 07:26:28 PM
It's a done deal. Disaster has struck Argentina yet again.

from The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 21, 2008

Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner announced plans to nationalize 
Argentina's private pension funds. Speculation that the move was 
imminent sent the country's stocks down 11%. The government said the 
takeover of the private system aimed to protect investors from losses 
due to the global market turmoil. But economists said the underlying 
motive would be to provide the government with about $5 billon in 
annual pension contributions that it needs to plug a gap in financing 
next year and avert a debt default.

Title: Democratas en LA necesitan apoyan EUA
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 12, 2008, 08:50:08 AM
Publicado en ingles en el WSJ, traducido por software al espanol.
Somos amigos de Estados Unidos. Admiramos el compromiso largo y firme de las personas norteamericanas a los valores de libertad, la democracia y dignidad individual. Cuándo nosotros servimos nuestros países, nosotros hicimos cuanto pudimos para reforzar lazos hemisféricos y transatlánticos con EEUU

Hace unos pocos semanas, las personas norteamericanas tuvieron su elección presidencial 56. La libertad de las personas norteamericanas expresar su hace por el proceso democrático ha mostrado el mundo una vez más que los logros de una gran nación dependen del respeto fuerte para los principios del pluralismo, liberten opinión pública, y la regla de la ley.
Nosotros siempre hemos creído que cerramos relaciones entre naciones democráticas son no sólo bueno bilateralmente pero globalmente también. La amistad, el respeto, la cooperación y el comercio entre democracias promueven prosperidad, favorecen la estabilidad, y refuerzan libertad.

El presidente electo Barack Obama y su nueva administración y Congreso encararán desafíos y amenazas difíciles. Sus decisiones y las acciones jugarán un papel decisivo en la promoción de la democracia y la prosperidad a través del mundo.
En este momento, nosotros experimentamos una crisis financiera de dimensiones inauditas. En este mundo globalizado, la cooperación, el liderazgo, honradez intelectual y valor político son requeridos más que nunca. Juzgando de nuestra experiencia que gobierna, podemos ver que algunas nuevas respuestas serán requeridas a dirigir esta crisis. Necesitamos soluciones creadoras, y ellos deben ser basados en los principios sano de responsabilidad y transparencia. Sin embargo, nosotros no debemos descuidar los otros problemas que encaramos.

La elección del Sr. Obama para el ministro -- Hillary Clinton -- ayudará a construir puentes de la comprensión y la cooperación con Iberoamérica. Iberoamérica es una parte esencial de la comunidad de las naciones que comparten los valores de la democracia y la economía de mercado liberales. Su PIB combinado es más grande que PIB de China.
La historia muestra que siempre que Iberoamérica haya sido descuidada que la causa de libertad y prosperidad ha sido socavada. Por lo tanto, es esencial que las naciones que abracen los principios de libertad y democracia se juntan para encarar amenazas actuales de seguridad.

Vivimos en un mundo peligroso. El fallecimiento del comunismo fue un paso hacia adelante en la causa de la libertad. Pero la historia ha vuelto. Los enemigos viejos de sociedades libres y abiertas colocan nuevos desafíos al mundo. El terrorismo, cualquier su naturaleza, continúa colocar una amenaza a la civilización y la paz. Islamismo es un modelo y una yunta para millones. Utopianism regresivo esparce en muchos países latinoamericanos por una onda del populismo. El nacionalismo y el fanatismo religioso continúan alimentar conflicto e inestabilidad.

Los enemigos de libertad que comparte vistas anti-occidentales ahora forman nuevas alianzas. Las libertades y libertades son disminuidas progresivamente dentro de algunos países latinoamericanos mientras políticas exteriores de duro-poder son aplicadas como un medios para aumentar influencia y debilitar al enemigo común: el Oeste. Latinoamericanos debe continuar trabajar con sus socios y amigos norteamericanos para asegurar la protección de la democracia y otras instituciones civiles. Debemos promover una transición a la democracia en Cuba y dirigir nuestros esfuerzos de evitar el resurgimiento de regímenes autoritarios.

La pobreza es una realidad dolorosa en muchos países. Millones de personas no tienen acceso a la asistencia médica ni la educación. Esto es inaceptable. Creemos totalmente que los beneficios de globalización deben estar disponibles a todos. Hemos encontrado en nuestros propios países que instituciones democráticas fortificantes, proporcionando gobierno bueno, y abriendo nuestras fronteras para comerciar es la mejor manera de mejorar condiciones sociales y bienestar económico.

Iberoamérica tiene mucho en ganar del libre cambio. Los acuerdos de libre cambio exitosamente negociando ayudarán a traer el progreso y la prosperidad a países latinoamericanos, así como alrededor del globo.

Hoy, hay sobre 40 millones de personas con lazos fuertes a Iberoamérica que vive en EEUU y, por su dinamismo, contribuye a su grandeza. La tradición de libertad abrazada por EEUU está en el acuerdo con tradiciones hispanas y cultiva. La coexistencia pacífica del norteamericano y tradiciones hispanas refuerza la idea de Iberoamérica que forma parte del mundo Occidental.

Iberoamérica necesita apoyo contra las amenazas que encara actualmente. Es esencial que Iberoamérica pueda contar con el apoyo de EEUU si es de tener éxito en promover y consolidando valores y principios comunes.

Demócratas latinoamericanos comparten el sueño de libertad y progreso con las personas norteamericanas. El presidente electo Obama personifica una esperanza que debe ser cumplida.

El Sr. Aznar es un presidente anterior de España. El Sr. Zorro es un presidente anterior de México. El Sr. Pastrana es un presidente anterior de Colombia. El Sr. Sanguinetti es un presidente anterior de Uruguay. El Sr. Flores es un presidente anterior de El Salvador.
Title: Ecuador
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 30, 2008, 11:47:42 AM
Mi computadora no tiene internet en el momento por lo cual no puedo traducir lo siguiente:

Ecuadorian President Rafael CorreaSummary
In the wake of a default on international debt, Ecuador is already borrowing from its own Social Security Institute. At the same time, the country is imposing all oil production cuts related to its membership in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on foreign investors — a decision that will alienate foreign direct investment. The two moves together bring Ecuador closer to economic crisis.

Ecuador is due to sell a $500 million tranche of debt to the country’s Social Security Institute (IESS) on Dec. 29, bringing the government’s total domestic borrowing to $1.2 billion in the past week. The move follows Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa’s announcement that his government would default on $3.9 billion worth of debt owed on international credit markets. At the same time, Ecuador is poised to force foreign energy investors to absorb Ecuador’s portion of the production cut agreed on by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Combined, the moves bring Ecuador closer to the brink of economic crisis.

Ecuador’s decision to default on its debt made it the first developing country to use default as a way of managing its options in the wake of the international financial crisis. The move exacerbates Ecuador’s isolation from an already risk-averse international capital market, and will make it very difficult for the country to cover its expenses.

With no access to international capital, the government’s only option for borrowing is the domestic capital market, which is limited to Ecuadorian banks and lending institutions such as the IESS. But the market is extremely small, particularly given that Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar as its national currency and has no recourse to monetary expansion as a method of broadening its spending options.

Although Ecuador may be forced to drop the dollar, in the meantime it is limited to the pools of dollars that already exist. The capacity of the IESS is quite limited, as social security taxes only amount to about $1.9 billion per year. With the government already purchasing $1.2 billion, this option will be quickly exhausted. Furthermore, the government is also rapidly depleting foreign reserves, which fell 8.4 percent Dec. 19 from a week earlier, to $4.8 billion.

The country’s largest pool of capital (and likely the next stop for the government) is the banking industry, which is worth about $18.8 billion, or about 30 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. But the banking industry has already expressed nervousness about the current economic situation, and the government’s complete reliance on the small sector could quickly exhaust the banks’ resources. Furthermore, the government’s absorption of all domestic capital will make it impossible for private businesses to borrow, which will stifle the private sector as it attempts to adjust to a declining economy.

The government’s budgetary stress is exacerbated by the fact that the price of oil — a major export commodity for Ecuador — has fallen dramatically. As a member of OPEC, Ecuador is obligated to cut production alongside fellow OPEC members in an attempt to raise the international price of oil. This further reduces Ecuador’s options for revenue. The Correa administration has decided to implement the cuts, but only through reductions in foreign firms’ production quotas.

Ecuador’s decision to place the entire burden of OPEC cuts on foreign companies will hit Ecuador’s only other source of foreign capital: foreign direct investment. It does make a certain kind of sense for Ecuador to force private companies to absorb the production cuts. Ecuador relied on oil revenues for about 39 percent of its 2008 budget, which totaled just under $16 billion, and most of that revenue came from the country’s state-owned energy company Petroecuador. Thus, enforcing OPEC cuts on the state company could hurt the budget severely in the short term. But by targeting foreign investors, Correa is courting a long-term economic decline.

Ecuador’s options are severely limited in the wake of the financial crisis and the default. With oil prices plunging and access to international credit gone, the government will have to scrounge for funding sources. A complete reliance on domestic capital and the alienation of international investors appear increasingly likely to bring Ecuador close to yet another economic crisis.
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 01, 2009, 02:54:37 AM
 MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Imagina a Presidente Rafael CorreaSummary ecuatoriano tras un defecto en la deuda internacional, Ecuador ya pide prestado de su propio Instituto de Seguridad social. Al mismo tiempo, el país impone todos cortes de la producción de petróleo relacionados a su asociación en la Organización de los Paises Exportadores de Petróleo en inversionistas extranjeros — Una decisión que enajenará inversión directa extranjera. Los dos movimientos traen juntos Ecuador más cerca a la crisis económica.


 Ecuador es debido vender una $500 millones de tranche de deuda al Instituto de la Seguridad social del país (IESS) en diciembre. 29, trayendo el préstamo doméstico total del gobierno a $1,2 mil millones en la semana pasada. El movimiento sigue el anuncio de ecuatoriano Presidente Rafael Correa que su gobierno dejaría de pagar en $3,9 mil millones de valores de deuda debida en mercados internacionales de crédito. Al mismo tiempo, Ecuador es puesto en equilibrio para forzar inversionistas extranjeros de energía a absorber la porción de Ecuador del corte de la producción convino en por la Organización de los Paises Exportadores de Petróleo (OPEP). Combinado, los movimientos traen Ecuador más cerca al borde de crisis económica.

 La decisión de Ecuador para dejar de pagar en su deuda lo hizo que el primer país en desarrollo para utilizar defecto como una manera de manejar sus opciones tras la crisis financiera internacional. El movimiento exacerba el aislamiento de Ecuador de un mercado principal, internacional y ya arriesga-contrario, y lo hará muy difícil para el país para cubrir sus gastos.
 Con ningún acceso a la capital internacional, la opción única del gobierno para pedir prestado es el mercado principal doméstico, que es limitado a bancos ecuatorianos e instituciones circulantes como el IESS. Pero el mercado es muy pequeño, especialmente dado que Ecuador utiliza dólar de EEUU como su moneda nacional y no tiene recurso a la expansión monetaria como un método de ampliar sus opciones del gasto.

 Aunque Ecuador pueda ser forzado a dejar caer el dólar, mientras tanto es limitado a las piscinas de dólares que ya existen. La capacidad del IESS es limitada bastante, como impuestos del seguro social sólo ascienden a acerca de $1,9 mil millones por año. Con el gobierno ya comprando $1,2 mil millones, esta opción será agotada rápidamente. Además, el gobierno también agota rápidamente las reservas extranjeras, que se cayeron el 8,4 por ciento diciembre. 19 de una semana más temprano, a $4,8 mil millones.

 La piscina más grande del país de capital (y probable la próxima parada para el gobierno) es la industria de la banca, que vale acerca de $18,8 mil millones, o acerca del 30 por ciento del producto interno bruto del país. Pero la industria de la banca ya ha expresado el nerviosismo acerca de la situación económica actual, y acerca de la dependencia completa del gobierno en el pequeño sector podría agotar rápidamente los recursos de los bancos. Además, la absorción del gobierno de toda capital doméstica lo hará imposible para negocios privados pedir prestado, que suprimirá el sector privado como procura ajustar a una economía declinante.

 El énfasis presupuestario del gobierno es exacerbado por el hecho que el precio de petróleo — un bienes mayores de la exportación para Ecuador — Se ha caído dramáticamente. Cuando un miembro de OPEP, Ecuador es obligado a cortar la producción al lado de miembros prójimos de OPEP en una tentativa para levantar el precio internacional de petróleo. Este reduce aún más las opciones de Ecuador para la renta. La administración de Correa ha decidido aplicar los cortes, pero sólo por reducciones en cuotas de la producción de empresas extranjeras.

 La decisión de Ecuador para colocar el carga entero de cortes de OPEP en compañías extranjeras golpeará Ecuador única otra fuente de capital extranjera: inversión directa extranjera. Hace una cierta clase de sentido para Ecuador para forzar las empresas privadas a absorber los cortes de la producción. Ecuador dependió de rentas de petróleo para acerca del 39 por ciento de su 2008 económico, que totalizó justo bajo $16 mil millones, y la mayor parte de esa renta vino de la compañía energética estado-poseído de país Petroecuador. Así, imponiendo cortes de OPEP en la compañía de estado podrían doler el presupuesto severamente a corto plazo. Pero concentrando en inversionistas extranjeros, Correa corteja un descenso económico a largo plazo.

 Las opciones de Ecuador son limitadas severamente tras la crisis financiera y el defecto. Con precios del crudo que hunden y conseguir acceso a crédito internacional ido, el gobierno tendrá que buscar para financiar fuentes. Una dependencia completa en la capital doméstica y la enajenación de inversionistas internacionales parece cada vez más probable de traer Ecuador cercano a mas otra crisis económica.
Title: Nicaragua
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 28, 2009, 09:58:28 PM
Geopolitical Diary: Nicaragua and the Basis of Ortega's Power
El 28 de enero de 2009

El Presidente nicaragüense Daniel Ortega puede estar enfermo y es considerado confiando mucho en su mujer, Rosario Murillo, informes de noticias que el martes surgido dijo, citando declaraciones de un sacerdote, Ernesto Cardenal. Según Cardenal, Ortega tiene una enfermedad de sangre que requiere él evitar el sol y realizar la mayor parte de sus asuntos de noche. Stratfor no tiene confirmación independiente de esta alegación y no tiene razón verdadera para creer Cardenal, que es un crítico de Ortega. Ciertamente hay las enfermedades (como porfirismo) eso puede causar que sus víctimas eviten el sol. (Casualmente, algunos creen que estas enfermedades pueden haber ocasionado las leyendas de vampiros y hombres lobo).

Típicamente, doblaríamos no tanto como una ceja en noticias de la salud declinante de un líder de un estado como pequeño y estado desesperadamente pobre como Nicaragua — No porque somos despiadados, pero porque individuos pueden raramente tomar medidas que sube al nivel de significado geopolítico. Gran presidentes y los líderes inspiradores son forzados en todo el mundo enormemente por las instituciones que los apoyan, la geografía que los rodea y los recursos que últimamente forman su capacidad para la acción. Sin embargo, hay unas pocas situaciones en las que individuos pueden tomar papeles desproporcionadamente significativos. Y porque Nicaragua – aunque uno de los estados más pobres en el Hemisferio Occidental — Ha servido como una pezonera para el control de América Central desde que su principio, Ortega es un ejemplo que hace al caso.

Estados Unidos ha tomado gran interés en Nicaragua con el paso de los años. En 1912, ocupó el país en el nombre de estabilizar el gobierno allí. EEUU fuerza sacó en 1933 después de años de rebeldes luchadores de Sandinista. Washington entonces apoyó el Somoza el régimen familiar que tuvo el poder de 1936 a 1979. Bajo ese régimen, el Sandinista Frente Nacional de Liberación (FSLN) renovó rebeliones y, dirigido por Ortega, se hizo con el poder finalmente en 1979. El gobierno izquierdista se alió inmediatamente con Cuba y la Unión Soviética. Estados Unidos entonces empezó financiando el “contra” rebelión para desarzonar el Sandinistas. Ellos fueron quitados del poder, pero no por una rebelión: El FSLN fue rechazado en 1990. Se encrespó para enchufar atrás con la reelección de Ortega en 2006 (después de tres ofertas fracasadas). Desde entonces, Ortega ha encarado acusaciones graves, como alegaciones que él persiguió a sus adversarios políticos resultados totales y manipuló de elecciones municipales. El descontento con su regla ha llevado a desestabilizar disturbios en el corazón de Nicaragua, con elementos de profesional-oposición y partidarios de Ortega que chocan violentamente.

Es difícil de decir cómo este período actual de desestabilización jugará fuera, pero hay dos lecciones clave de tomar de esta historia breve. Primero, el país está extraordinariamente prono a períodos de la inestabilidad de guerrillero-dirigió yuxtapuso con períodos del despotismo. El segundo, la posición de Nicaragua en el istmo que separa Norte y Sudamérica crea una amenaza estratégica potencial a Estados Unidos.

En el primer punto, el factor más importante que ha hecho Nicaragua prona a tanto la rebelión como el autoritarismo son su geografía. La mayor parte de la población es concentrada por la costa occidental, donde tierra fértil y lluvia segura compensan las tendencias de la región hacia el volcanismo y terremotos. El territorio restante es dividido entre selvas, las montañas y la Costa caribe de Mosquito. Las tierras vírgenes relativamente vastas del territorio nicaragüense proporcionan suelo fértil para la concepción de movimientos persistentes de guerrillero para desafiar a líderes que bien-atrincheran en Managua. Sin embargo, con la mayor parte de la población concentrada en una pequeña área, es vulnerable a la dominación por cualquiera controlando a gobernante.

De ahí que el líder individual sea mucho más importante en Nicaragua que en muchos otros países. Con muy pocos centros de población para controlar, el país bastante puede ser dominado bien por un solo político. Y Ortega, habiendo vuelto a enchufar, haber utilizado su posición de aprovecharse de aspecto geográfico más pertinente de Nicaragua: la proximidad a Estados Unidos.

Ortega no sólo se ha declarado que un aliado de Rusia por reconocer oficialmente la independencia de escapada las regiones georgianas Abjazia y Ossetia del sur, pero de él también ha dado la bienvenida a Irán en una asociación de trabajo. Y él ha sido implicado a ayudar las Fuerzas armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia. Estas relaciones no podrían ser diseñadas para dar mejor Estados Unidos acidez. Para Rusia, que busca un resurgimiento de bajo nivel de influencia en Iberoamérica por primera vez desde que la Guerra Fría, la asociación con Ortega presta la posibilidad concreta de basar operaciones de inteligencia en la tierra nicaragüensa y el beneficio más político de hacer su presencia sentía en el traspatio de EEUU. Más siniestro, sin embargo, puede ser la relación de Ortega con Irán, que podría dar iraní Apoyó militantes de Hezbolá una base sólida de operaciones en la región. De hecho, Robert Puertas de Ministro de Defensa de EEUU indicaron el martes que Estados Unidos considera a Irán para ser mucha más amenaza en Iberoamérica que Rusia.

Fueron Nicaragua y su geografía situados en otra parte en el mundo, Ortega no tendría la capacidad de ofrecer los servicios de su país a tales aliados internacionales. Pero a causa de la posición del país — la América Central que cabalga — Ortega es posicionado extraordinariamente esgrimir su pequeña influencia con efecto sorprendente.

Title: WSJ: O'Grady
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 20, 2009, 09:44:45 AM

Si el objetivo de Presidente Barack Obama en la quinta Cumbre de las Américas en Trinidad y Tobago que este fin de semana fue mejor ser querido por los dictadores de la región y populistas izquierdistas que su antecesor George W. El arbusto, la Casa Blanca puede apuntar una victoria.

Si, por otro lado, el comandante en el jefe procuró avanzar ideales norteamericanos, las cosas no fueron bien. Cuando la prensa convencional informó, el Sr. Obama pareció bien recibido. Pero el país más libre en la región tomó una paliza de Chávez de Hugo de Venezuela, de las Moral de Evo de Bolivia, y de Ortega de Danny de Nicaragua.

Jamás desde Bill Clinton organizó la primera Cumbre de las Américas en 1994 en Miami, esta reunión regional ha estado en el descenso. Pareció golpear su nadir en 2005 en Estropea del Plata, Argentina, cuándo Presidente Nestór Kirchner permitió el Sr. Chávez y a sus aliados revolucionarios de alrededor de la región para tener un masivo, la norteamericano Bandera que quema odio-fiesta en un cerca estadio con el objetivo de Sr. Bush humillante. Estas cosas del año consiguieron todavía peor con los peleones de la región que acaparando toda la atención y el Sr. Obama que rechaza una oportunidad inapreciable defender libertad.

El Sr. Obama tuvo que saber que la reunión es utilizada por los políticos de la región para recuperarse la base en casa mostrando que ellos Le pueden poner a Tío Sam en su lugar. Dándose cuenta de esto, el presidente norteamericano quizás había llegado en el Puerto de España preparó para volver su lluvia. Ellos tienen, después de todo, tolerados e incluso favorecidos por décadas uno de los regímenes más represivos del siglo XX. En los últimos años, esa represión ha esparcido de Cuba a Venezuela, y hoy millones de latinoamericanos vive bajo la tiranía. Cuando el líder del mundo libre, el Sr. Obama tuvo el deber para hablar francamente para estas almas sordas. En este él falló.

El sujeto de Cuba fue un béisbol que el presidente norteamericano podría haber golpeado fuera del parque. El supo bien en avance que sus contrapartes lo presionarían para terminar la prohibición de EEUU. El preparó aún para ese hecho unos pocos días adelante de la cumbre por levantar incondicionalmente restricciones de EEUU en el viaje y remesas a la isla, y ofreciendo permitir las compañías de teleco de EEUU para traer la tecnología a la isla atrasada.
Las Américas en las Noticias

 Get the latest information in Spanish from The Wall Street Journal's Americas page.
¿Piensa que molde ayudado EEUU en una mejor luz en la región? Oportunidad gorda. Raúl Castro respondió el viernes de Venezuela con una diatriba larga contra el opresor yanqui y una oferta fresca negociar de igual a igual. En caso de que usted no hable a cubano, yo traduciré: Los hermanos de Castro desean crédito de bancos de EEUU porque ellos han dejado de pagar en el resto del mundo, y nadie prestará a ellos ya. Ellos también desean ayuda al extranjero del Banco Mundial.

Cualquiera que piensa que Raúl rumia sobre elecciones libres sueña. No obstante, la sugerencia de Cuba para poner "todo" llegó a ser sobre la mesa las "noticias" de la cumbre. Y mientras es verdad que el Sr. Obama mencionó a presos políticos en su lista de artículos que EEUU quiere negociar, él podría haber hecho mucho más. Verdaderamente, él podría haber llamado el francote de Raúl poniendo el proyector en los presos de conciencia, denominando nombres. El podría haber hablado de hombres como Oscar Elias Biscet pacifista Afro-cubano, que ha escrito eloquentemente acerca de su admiración para Martin Luther Rey Jr., y se sienta hoy en la cárcel para el crimen de disensión.

El primer presidente negro de EEUU podría haber denominado cientos de otros ser contenidos condiciones inhumanas por el dictador blanco. El también podría haber preguntado da del Presidente de Brasil Lula Silva, el Presidente de Chile Michelle Bachelet y Calderón de Felipe de México donde ellos se paran en derechos humanos para todos cubanos. Imagínese si el Sr. Obama pidió una exposición de manos para averiguar que cree que cubanos merecen menos de libertad que, dice, la mayoría negra en Sudáfrica bajo apartheid o chileno durante la dictadura de Pinochet. Por otro parte, eso no sería manera de ganar un concurso de popularidad ni para congraciarselo con partidarios norteamericanos que forman fila para hacer el negocio en Cuba.

En lugar presidente de EEUU flotó simplemente abajo el río de cumbre botando pasivamente de cualquier obstáculos que él se encontró con. El "regalo" de Chávez de la 1971 guía revolucionaria izquierdista "Abre Venas de Iberoamérica" seguido por una sugerencia de renovar relaciones diplomáticas fueron un insulto a las personas norteamericanas. Otorgado, dando la atención venezolana habría sido contraproducente. Pero el Sr. Obama se debía haber quejado fuertemente acerca de la agresión de ese país. Ha apoyado a terroristas colombianos, la droga que trafica con drogas y ambiciones nucleares de Irán. Cuando Michael Hayden anterior de director de CIA dijo Zorro Noticias el domingo, "la conducta de Presidente Chávez sobre los años pasados ha sido categóricamente horrenda -- internacionalmente y con respecto a lo que él ha hecho Venezuela internamente interior".

El Sr. Obama demasiado malo no tuvo una copia del éxito de venta del final de la década del noventa "El Idiota latinoamericano Perfecto" como un regalo para Sr. Chávez. Otra manera que Sr. Obama podría haber neutralizado la izquierda habría sido de anunciar un empujón de la Casa Blanca para la ratificación de EEUU-Acuerdo de libre cambio de Colombia. Eso no sucedió cualquiera. El sólo prometió hablar unos más, una estrategia que ofenderá nadie y no logrará nada. Es una estrategia que resume, para fechar, la política exterior de Sr. Obama para la región.

If President Barack Obama's goal at the fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago this weekend was to be better liked by the region's dictators and left-wing populists than his predecessor George W. Bush, the White House can chalk up a win.

Hugo Chavez and Barack Obama.
If, on the other hand, the commander in chief sought to advance American ideals, things didn't go well. As the mainstream press reported, Mr. Obama seemed well received. But the freest country in the region took a beating from Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, Bolivia's Evo Morales, and Nicaragua's Danny Ortega.

Ever since Bill Clinton organized the first Summit of the Americas in 1994 in Miami, this regional gathering has been in decline. It seemed to hit its nadir in 2005 in Mar del Plata, Argentina, when President Nestór Kirchner allowed Mr. Chávez and his revolutionary allies from around the region to hold a massive, American-flag burning hate-fest in a nearby stadium with the goal of humiliating Mr. Bush. This year things got even worse with the region's bullies hogging the limelight and Mr. Obama passing up a priceless opportunity to defend freedom.

Mr. Obama had to know that the meeting is used by the region's politicians to rally the base back home by showing that they can put Uncle Sam in his place. Realizing this, the American president might have arrived at the Port of Spain prepared to return their volley. They have, after all, tolerated and even encouraged for decades one of the most repressive regimes of the 20th century. In recent years, that repression has spread from Cuba to Venezuela, and today millions of Latin Americans live under tyranny. As the leader of the free world, Mr. Obama had the duty to speak out for these voiceless souls. In this he failed.

The subject of Cuba was a softball that the American president could have hit out of the park. He knew well in advance that his counterparts would pressure him to end the U.S. embargo. He even prepared for that fact a few days ahead of the summit by unconditionally lifting U.S. restrictions on travel and remittances to the island, and offering to allow U.S. telecom companies to bring technology to the backward island.

The Americas in the News
Get the latest information in Spanish from The Wall Street Journal's Americas page.
Think that helped cast the U.S. in a better light in the region? Fat chance. Raúl Castro responded on Friday from Venezuela with a long diatribe against the Yankee oppressor and a cool offer to negotiate on "equal" terms. In case you don't speak Cuban, I'll translate: The Castro brothers want credit from U.S. banks because they have defaulted on the rest of the world, and no one will lend to them anymore. They also want foreign aid from the World Bank.

Anyone who thinks that Raúl is ruminating over free elections is dreaming. Nevertheless, the Cuba suggestion to put "everything" on the table became the "news" of the summit. And while it is true that Mr. Obama mentioned political prisoners in his list of items that U.S. wants to negotiate, he could have done much more. Indeed, he could have called Raúl's bluff by putting the spotlight on the prisoners of conscience, by naming names. He could have talked about men like Afro-Cuban pacifist Oscar Elias Biscet, who has written eloquently about his admiration for Martin Luther King Jr., and today sits in jail for the crime of dissent.

The first black U.S. president could have named hundreds of others being held in inhumane conditions by the white dictator. He could have also asked Brazil's President Lula da Silva, Chile's President Michelle Bachelet and Mexico's Felipe Calderón where they stand on human rights for all Cubans. Imagine if Mr. Obama asked for a show of hands to find out who believes Cubans are less deserving of freedom than, say, the black majority in South Africa under apartheid or Chileans during the Pinochet dictatorship. Then again, that would be no way to win a popularity contest or to ingratiate yourself with American supporters who are lining up to do business in Cuba.

Instead the U.S. president simply floated down the summit river passively bouncing off whatever obstacles he encountered. The Chávez "gift" of the 1971 leftist revolutionary handbook "Open Veins of Latin America" followed by a suggestion of renewing ambassadorial relations was an insult to the American people. Granted, giving the Venezuelan attention would have been counterproductive. But Mr. Obama ought to have complained loudly about that country's aggression. It has supported Colombian terrorists, drug trafficking and Iran's nuclear ambitions. As former CIA director Michael Hayden told Fox News Sunday, "the behavior of President Chávez over the past years has been downright horrendous -- both internationally and with regard to what he's done internally inside Venezuela."

Too bad Mr. Obama didn't have a copy of the late 1990s bestseller "The Perfect Latin American Idiot" as a gift for Mr. Chávez. Another way Mr. Obama could have neutralized the left would have been to announce a White House push for ratification of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. That didn't happen either. He only promised to talk some more, a strategy that will offend no one and accomplish nothing. It is a strategy that sums up, to date, Mr. Obama's foreign policy for the region.
Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: captainccs on April 20, 2009, 01:26:23 PM
Si, por otro lado, el comandante en el jefe procuró avanzar ideales norteamericanos, las cosas no fueron bien. Cuando la prensa convencional informó, el Sr. Obama pareció bien recibido. Pero el país más libre en la región tomó una paliza de Chávez de Hugo de Venezuela, de las Moral de Evo de Bolivia, y de Ortega de Danny de Nicaragua.

Por lo visto, WSJ: O'Grady no conoce el dicho: Los perros ladran y la caravana pasa.
Title: Castro vs. Castro
Post by: captainccs on April 22, 2009, 07:34:42 AM
Tengo la impresión que las tácticas de Barak Obama para manejar a los dictadorzuelos latinoamericanos está funcionando. Primero, al decirle a Chávez, "Quiero ser to amigo," le quitó cualquier papel protagónico que Chávez pensaba jugar en la conferencia de Trinidad y Tobago. Quedó como actor de reparto, no estelar. Ahora Obama tiene a un Castro desmintiendo al otro Castro. Es dificil tener dos co-dictadores manejando a un país y Obama le está sacando provecho.

Por todo eso es que dije que O'Grady no entiende. Quiere que se sigan aplicando técnicas que han fracasado durante 50 anõs pensando que en el año 51 o 52 si van a ser efectivas.

Una de las armas principales de los dictadores es crear un monstruo foráneo para fustigarlo. Funcionó de maravilla con Bush. Pero ¿como le dices a tu gente que una persona que quiere ser to amigo es, en realidad, un monstruo? El cambio de paso tomó de sorpresa a los caudillitos.

Fidel Castro: Obama 'misinterpreted' Raul's words

By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 57 mins ago

HAVANA – Fidel Castro says President Barack Obama "misinterpreted" his brother Raul's remarks regarding the United States and bristled at the suggestion that Cuba should free political prisoners or cut taxes on remittances from abroad as a goodwill gesture to the U.S.

Raul Castro touched off a whirlwind of speculation last week that the U.S. and Cuba could be headed toward a thaw in nearly a half-century of chilly relations. The speculation began when the Cuban president said leaders would be willing to sit down with their U.S. counterparts and discuss "everything," including human rights, freedom of the press and expression, and political prisoners on the island.

Obama responded at the Summit of the Americas by saying Washington seeks a new beginning with Cuba, but he also said Sunday that Cuba should release some political prisoners and reduce official taxes on remittances sent to the island from the U.S.

That appeared to enrage Fidel Castro, 82, who wrote in an essay posted on a government Web site that Obama "without a doubt misinterpreted Raul's declarations."

The former president appeared to be throwing a dose of cold water on growing expectations for improved bilateral relations — suggesting Obama had no right to dare suggest that Cuba make even small concessions. He also seemed to suggest too much was being made of Raul's comments about discussing "everything" with U.S. authorities.

"Affirming that the president of Cuba is ready to discuss any topic with the president of the United States expresses that he's not afraid to broach any subject," Fidel Castro wrote of his 77-year-old brother, who succeeded him as president 14 months ago.

"It's a sign of bravery and confidence in the principles of the revolution," he said, referring to the rebel uprising that toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista and brought the Castros to power on New Year's Day 1959.

"Nobody should assume that he was talking about pardoning those sentenced in March 2003 and sending all of them to the United States, if the country were willing to liberate the five Cuban anti-terrorist heroes," Castro wrote.

He was referring to 75 leading political opposition leaders who were rounded up and imprisoned six years ago. Some 54 of them remain behind bars, though Raul Castro suggested last year that Cuba would be willing to liberate some political prisoners if U.S. authorities would free five Cuban spies.

Castro compared the prisoners arrested in 2003 to exiles who attacked the island's southern coast during the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and said they were "at the service of a foreign power that threatens and blockades our country," referring to charges they conspired with Washington to destabilize the communist system.

The ex-president had previously expressed his admiration for Obama, but this time Castro blasted the new U.S. president for showing signs of "superficiality."

He also defended Cuba's right to levy a 10 percent fee on every U.S. dollar sent to relatives on the island by Cuban-Americans, saying if the money arriving from abroad "is in dollars, all the more reason we should do it because it is the currency of the country that blockades us."

All top Cuban leaders routinely call the 47-year-old trade embargo against this country a blockade.

"Not all Cubans have family members overseas that send remittances," Castro said, adding that Cuba uses the revenue from fees on exchanging dollars to provide free health care, education and subsidized food to all of its population.
Title: Conozca al verdadero Insulza
Post by: captainccs on July 07, 2009, 10:25:58 AM
Martes 7 de julio de 2009


Conozca al verdadero Insulza

Jorge Salaverry

El secretario general de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA), José Miguel Insulza, llegó el viernes a Honduras portando una dura resolución de la Asamblea General que él mismo se encargó de promover, redactar y conseguir que se aprobara.

En ella se exigía la restauración "inmediata, segura e incondicional" de Manuel Zelaya en la presidencia de Honduras, y se señalaba que si en 72 horas no se había procedido en ese sentido, la OEA aplicaría "inmediatamente" el artículo 21 de la Carta Democrática Interamericana para apartar a aquel país de su seno. Ya sabemos que el nuevo gobierno hondureño se adelantó retirándose voluntariamente del organismo regional. Dada la relevancia del cargo que desempeña Insulza en la OEA, y del papel que personal e institucionalmente está desempeñando éste en el conflicto hondureño, es importante saber de quién hablamos, para así formarnos un juicio sobre su parcialidad o imparcialidad en el asunto. El 27 de noviembre de 2006, Insulza dictó en Madrid una conferencia en la que puso de manifiesto sus simpatías políticas. Al preguntársele si creía que podría haber elecciones libres a corto plazo en Cuba, el chileno sonrió pícaramente y, rascándose la parte posterior de una oreja, declaró: "Una de las grandes fuentes de legitimidad del sistema cubano se llama Fidel Castro, y esto lo digo con mucho respeto y casi una admiración por el personaje". Dijo más. Esto:

Yo soy un gran convencido que el sistema cubano puede evolucionar en la medida en que respetemos lo que los cubanos quieran y, segundo, que no intentemos imponer soluciones, o crear una agitación o un proceso conflictivo dentro de Cuba. En suma, yo creo que nosotros podemos cooperar mucho en la transición en Cuba diciendo claramente que queremos una transición y que queremos que haya democracia, pero al mismo tiempo no pretendiendo imponerla desde fuera y dándole todo el tiempo que sea necesario.

Se puede ver y oír esa conferencia en internet. Aquí:


El arrogante secretario general de la OEA, que con grandes ínfulas se presentó en Honduras el viernes día 3 para "exigir" que en 72 horas se "restaure la democracia y el Estado de Derecho", es el mismo que dice que a Cuba, país que sufre una brutal tiranía desde hace cincuenta años, hay que darle "todo el tiempo que sea necesario" para que regrese a la democracia. El Insulza que en Tegucigalpa, el viernes pasado, no quiso reunirse con el presidente Roberto Micheletti, para, supuestamente, no legitimarlo, es el mismo que considera que Fidel Castro es "una de las grandes fuentes de legitimidad del sistema cubano". El Insulza que no escucha el clamor de los miles de manifestantes hondureños que pacíficamente aspiran a que su país se mantenga libre de las irrespetuosas y desestabilizadoras intromisiones de Hugo Chávez porque quieren vivir en libertad y en democracia es el mismo que dice que debemos "respetar lo que los cubanos quieran", como si los pobres cubanos tuviesen posibilidad de manifestar lo que quieren. El Insulza que dijo que "no hay que intentar imponer soluciones o crear una agitación o un proceso conflictivo dentro de Cuba" es el mismo que como secretario general de la OEA está promoviendo el enfrentamiento violento y la desestabilización en Honduras. Insulza pretendió ser el candidato socialista a la presidencia de Chile en las elecciones que se celebrarán en diciembre de este año. Al no lograrlo optó por buscar su reelección en la OEA, para lo que necesita el apoyo de Chávez. Por ello, aprovechó la crisis en Honduras para ganar puntos con Chávez y su grupo.

Publicado por Gustavo Coronel
Title: Las FARC se arman con misiles antiaéreos rusos comprados en Venezuela
Post by: captainccs on July 27, 2009, 11:18:11 AM
Las FARC se arman con sofisticados misiles antiaéreos rusos comprados en Venezuela

Las FARC habrían logrado comprar 20 sofisticados misiles antiaéreos capaces de derribar a un avión a más de seis kilómetros de altura, según informó el diario El Tiempo citando a la inteligencia colombiana. Los terroristas tratan así de sacar ventaja a los últimos avances del ejército colombiano.

Los terroristas habrían logrado hacerse con los proyectiles a través de contactos en Venezuela. Las FARC buscan así contrarrestar la ventaja estratégica lograda por el Ejército colombiano en 2000 con la entrada en servicio de helicópteros y aviones especializados en el combate contrainsurgente.

Según estas fuentes, en diciembre de 2008 tres representantes de las FARC, liderados por alias 'Iván Márquez', integrante del secretariado de los terroristas.  Hasta el momento no hay constancia de que los misiles hayan entrado en territorio colombiano, aunque los pilotos del Ejército que participan en operaciones contra los terroristas ya han sido alertados.

"En los últimos años hemos lidiado con los rockets (cohetes). Muchas veces los hemos visto pasar, como un fogonazo, por el lado de los helicópteros, pero un misil es otra cosa y de eso ya estamos notificados", afirmó un piloto en declaraciones a El Tiempo.

La cuestión ya ha sido abordada al más alto nivel del Gobierno colombiano e incluso el presidente Álvaro Uribe planteó el asunto durante su viaje oficial de abril a Venezuela. Incluso el Gobierno del presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, se habría comprometido a investigar el tema.

Title: El Tiempo: FARC compran 20 misiles antiaéreos rusos en Venezuela
Post by: captainccs on July 27, 2009, 11:37:02 AM
El Tiempo: FARC compran 20 misiles antiaéreos rusos en Venezuela

Lea la información que publicó El Tiempo de Colombia. El tema se ha manejado como secreto de Estado. Pasó de ser un rumor que circulaba desde mediados del 2007 a convertirse en una alerta concreta entre organismos de inteligencia y seguridad del país colombiano.

Fuentes de altísima responsabilidad en el Gobierno colombiano le confirmaron a EL TIEMPO que hay información confiable que señala que esa guerrilla concretó un negocio para adquirir sofisticados lanzacohetes tierra-aire rusos a través de contactos ubicados en territorio de Venezuela.

Este diario conoció los últimos reportes de un grupo especial de Inteligencia que desde el año 2000 tiene la misión de seguir los movimientos que ha hecho esa guerrilla para revertir la desventaja estratégica en la que quedó cuando las Fuerzas Militares completaron sus flotillas de helicópteros y aviones.

En diciembre pasado, ese grupo estableció que tres representantes de las Farc en el exterior empezaron a manejar información de los misiles IGLA-S24, última generación del armamento tierra-aire desarrollado por la industria militar rusa. Varias agencias extranjeras de inteligencia también manejan versiones en el mismo sentido.

Al frente de los contactos estuvo, según los mismos reportes, ‘Iván Márquez’, integrante del secretariado de las Farc, y del que el propio presidente Álvaro Uribe ha dicho que está en el exterior.

Hasta ahora no se tiene confirmación de que ese material haya entrado a territorio colombiano. Lo cierto es que la potencial amenaza ya fue notificada a los pilotos de la Fuerza Aérea y de la Aviación del Ejército que están asignados a tres zonas del país donde se concentran las mayores operaciones contra las Farc y donde están refugiados al menos tres jefes del secretariado.

“En los últimos años hemos lidiado con los rockets (RPG). Muchas veces los hemos visto pasar, como un fogonazo, por el lado de los helicópteros, pero un misil es otra cosa y de eso ya estamos notificados”, señala un piloto militar.

Reuniones en Palacio

Una de las fuentes confirmó que las Farc, a través de ‘Márquez’, estaban detrás de al menos 20 de esos misiles, cuya velocidad supera de lejos la de los aviones y helicópteros militares que cambiaron el curso del conflicto.

El tema es tan delicado que ya ha ameritado dos reuniones entre el alto Gobierno y la cúpula militar. Se han analizado varios escenarios: desde la búsqueda de nuevas tecnologías capaces de conjurar la amenaza, hasta rastrear los seriales de los misiles que estarían en manos de la guerrilla, para determinar quién los compró.

Una fuente de la Casa de Nariño reveló que el asunto estuvo en la agenda del presidente Uribe durante su última visita oficial a Venezuela, en abril pasado. Agregó que el gobierno del presidente Hugo Chávez se comprometió a hacer averiguaciones al respecto.

¿De dónde salieron los misiles?

La intención de las Farc de conseguir misiles tierra-aire está documentada en extenso en los computadores de ‘Raúl Reyes’ y es ampliamente conocida en el mercado negro de armamento en todo el mundo.

Tanto así que el famoso ‘Mercader de la Muerte’, Víctor Bout -capturado en Tailandia el año pasado en una operación encubierta de la DEA que usó a la guerrilla colombiana como señuelo- ofreció vender entre 700 y 800 lanzacohetes.

“El 26 de enero del 2008, durante una reunión en Rumania (…) se informó que Bout tenía 100 misiles IGLA disponibles inmediatamente”, se lee en el expediente contra el traficante ruso, al que E.U. pide en extradición.

En promedio, cada lanzacohetes se negociaría por unos 100 mil dólares. En Colombia y en E.U. hay preocupación por el control sobre un lote de misiles de ese tipo que Venezuela le compró recientemente a Rusia para armar su Unidad Antiaérea de Combate a Pie. Es la misma que exhibió 50 cohetes IGLA en el desfile militar del pasado 19 de abril, día de la independencia venezolana.

“Los lanzamisiles antiaéreos portátiles que Venezuela le ha comprado a Rusia son sistemas muy modernos. Es importante que se controlen debidamente para que no terminen en otras manos”, dijo en ese momento Sara Mangiaracina, portavoz del Departamento de Estado, citada por el diario The Miami Herald.

No es la primera vez que la inteligencia colombiana rastrea este tipo de operaciones de la guerrilla. Una situación similar se vivió a mediados del 2000, cuando altos oficiales del Ejército viajaron por varios países de Europa, América y África tras el rastro de traficantes que le iban a vender a las Farc un lote de misiles Sam-7.

E.U. cazó a los 2 traficantes más grandes con guerrilla como anzuelo

Hace dos semanas, una corte federal de Estados Unidos condenó a 25 años de prisión a Tareq Mousa al Ghazi, un libanés de 62 años acusado de intentar vender “millones de dólares en armamento” a las Farc.

Mousa al Ghazi era, según la justicia estadounidense, uno de los contactos de Monzer al Kassar, un traficante de armas sirio que desde los años 80 era considerado como uno de los enemigos públicos más importantes de Estados Unidos y que por años logró eludir la persecución de Washington.

Eso fue así hasta el 2007, cuando al Kassar fue detenido en su mansión de Marbella (España) por intentar venderles fusiles AK-47 y misiles a las Farc.

El sirio cayó en una trampa montada por la DEA y otras agencias de inteligencia de E.U. Ellas infiltraron agentes que lo contactaron como supuestos representantes de la guerrilla y lo convencieron de que querían negociar el arsenal. Incluso depositaron miles de dólares en sus cuentas y en el expediente aparece detallada la lista del armamento (con instrucciones sobre el lanzamisiles Strella) y cartas falsas de la Policía de Nicaragua que supuestamente iban a ser la fachada legal del negocio. España lo extraditó a Estados Unidos y allí lo condenaron a 30 años de prisión.

El mismo anzuelo lo mordió hace un año Víctor Bout, el ex KGB cuyos negocios con armas inspiraron el libro El Mercader de la Muerte, que terminó en película de Hollywood.

Bout, que está en plena batalla legal para evitar su extradición a E.U., fue contactado por agentes encubiertos que le pidieron (como a al Kassar) misiles para derribar los helicópteros usados en la lucha antinarcóticos en Colombia.

Ofreció entregar entre 700 y 800 en marzo del 2008, entre ellos 100 IGLA que, dijo, tenía disponibles de inmediato.

La búsqueda de los cohetes que llegaron de Centroamérica

En noviembre de 1999, la inteligencia colombiana tenía la plena confirmación de las transacciones que el ‘Negro Acacio’, jefe del frente 16 de las Farc, había hecho con los hermanos peruanos Luis y Frank Aybar Cancho, para la compra de 10 mil fusiles AK-47.

Por esa misma época, el contacto que entregó los detalles de la transacción habló de otra compra en curso: un lote de misiles Sam-7 que había quedado de la guerra en Nicaragua. “La información fue tan exacta que planteamos la posibilidad de buscar a los contactos de las Farc en Europa. Se designó un grupo y empezó el seguimiento”, dice una fuente militar.

Así nació ‘Hielo Azul’, una de las más grandes operaciones de inteligencia encubiertas, hecha por militares colombianos y de la que hasta hoy no se tenía noticia. Dos oficiales viajaron al Reino Unido y, con el apoyo de la inteligencia británica, ubicaron a un sirio encargado de contactar a los vendedores.

“Tuvimos que ir hasta Europa y Suráfrica para saber que la transacción se cerraría en Centroamérica y la entrega se haría en Panamá, para que los misiles entraran por el Pacífico colombiano y de ahí a la zona de distensión”, señala uno de los oficiales que hicieron parte del equipo.

Los militares colombianos lograron penetrar la red, pero seguir adelante costaba 800 mil libras esterlinas de la época, valor que en su momento altos funcionarios consideraron demasiado elevado. La operación se abortó y, según altos mandos retirados, los misiles se compraron y entraron a Colombia, pero quedaron inutilizados porque las Farc no hallaron cómo mantenerlos refrigerados, una condición básica para ese tipo de armamento. “La humedad de la selva los dañó y perdieron la plata”, agregó una fuente.

“Cuando se creó la Fuerza de Tarea Omega y se lanzó la campaña militar ‘JM’, con el Plan Patriota, había tres objetivos principales: capturar o dar de baja a los integrantes del secretariado de las Farc, hallar sus estructuras en medio de la selva, incluidas las cuevas que se encontraron este año, y los Sam 7″, agrega otro oficial.

Esa tarea no ha concluido. A pesar de que en Meta, Caquetá y Guaviare, la Fudra ha encontrado gigantescos arsenales que incluyen granadas hechizas y RPG (rockets) capaces de derribar un helicóptero, hasta ahora no se ha dado con el rastro de los misiles de las Farc.

El Tiempo

Title: Colombia aclara que notificó varias veces en los últimos meses a Venezuela...
Post by: captainccs on July 29, 2009, 12:30:08 PM
Colombia aclara que notificó varias veces en los últimos meses a Venezuela sobre armas de las Farc

En un comunicado de 10 puntos, el Gobierno colombiano reiteró su solicitud a los países vecinos que controlen el acceso de la guerrilla a armamento y planteó que las Farc buscan armas antiaéreas.

Video de Chavez rompiendo relaciones con Colombia

Desde Costa Rica, a donde asiste a una cumbre presidencial del mecanismo de Tuxla, el secretario de prensa de la Presidencia, César Mauricio Velásquez, leyó un comunicado del presidente Uribe que expresa además que desde junio de este año intentó que el gobierno de Venezuela atendiera el tema de las armas de las Farc, sin obtener respuesta.

De acuerdo con el comunicado, en octubre de 2008, la fuerza pública incautó tres lanzacohetes en la Macarena, Meta. Las armas provienen de Suecia, país que confirmó que ese material fue fabricado en ese país y vendido a Venezuela en 1988.

"El pasado dos de junio, el Canciller colombiano entregó al canciller de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, durante una reunión en San Pedro Sula (Honduras), un documento en el que se evidencia la posesión por parte de las Farc de ese tipo de lanzacohetes", señala el comunicado.

De acuerdo con el comunicado, en la misma reunión, "el canciller Bermúdez también entregó información sobre dos cabecillas de las Farc que mencionan la colaboración de tres altos funcionarios del Gobierno venezolano en la entrega de lanzacohetes similares a los que posteriormente fueron incautados por la fuerza pública en la Macarena".

Según la Presidencia,  esta información fue entregada de manera discreta "con el propósito de obtener una aclaración por parte de Venezuela".

"A la fecha Venezuela no ha dado respuesta alguna. No obstante, nuestra disposición de diálogo", agrega la declaración.

También precisó Velásquez que el Gobierno ha recibido información de que las Farc intentan obtener misiles tierra-aire.

"Las Farc buscan obtenerlos a través de traficantes de armas que operan desde otros países". Colombia ha pedido y pide colaboración a esos otros países para capturar a estos traficantes", agrega el comunicado.

Exportadores inquietos

Entre tanto el tema comercial comenzó a preocupar al Gobierno y a los empresarios.

"No es fácil para Colombia buscar mercados; tampoco para Venezuela buscar proveedores", afirmó el Ministro de Comercio, Luis Guillermo Plata.

El ministro Plata sostuvo que ante la crisis con Venezuela "hay que seguir adelante" y pidió a los comerciantes "mirar a otros mercados".

El funcionario sostuvo que ya se han tenido situaciones similares en el pasado y el comercio siguió creciendo a pesar de que el presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, ha ordenado congelar las relaciones con Colombia.

"Tenemos que seguir haciendo un esfuerzo de buscar mercados, esto no puede ser un tema coyuntural de Venezuela y Ecuador y debe ser un esfuerzo constante. Hay otros mercados, otros socios", dijo.

Plata agregó que los mercados más cercanos que tienen una demanda similar a Venezuela y Ecuador "son los mercados centroamericanos en los que Colombia ha negociado un TLC que está por entrar en vigor".

"El mercado del Caribe también es muy importante (...) porque el Caribe obtiene sus divisas por el turismo y entonces importan esencialmente todo", agregó el ministro colombiano.

Además de los mercados de Centroamérica y el Caribe, los exportadores colombianos también buscarán nuevos socios en mercados como el de Estados Unidos, la Unión Europea y Canadá.

A propósito, Plata también admitió que la crisis con Caracas es propicia para pedir a Estados Unidos aprobar el TLC. "Vamos a ver que sucede y como se dan las cosas", subrayó.

El presidente Chávez ordenó ayer congelar las relaciones comerciales con Colombia y pidió el "retiro" del embajador venezolano en el país, Gustavo Márquez. El mandatario también amenazó con expropiar empresas colombianas en caso de que 'haya otra agresión'.

Todo, según dijo, como consecuencia de la "nueva agresión" del Gobierno colombiano a su país, a propósito de la denuncia de la posesión, por parte de las Farc, de unos lanzacohetes suecos comprados hace 20 años por Caracas.

Empresarios se declaran preocupados

El presidente de la asociación del sector automotor Asopartes, Tulio Zuloaga, dijo que "preocupan las decisiones anunciadas por el presidente Chávez".

Puntualizó que los empresarios colombianos deben buscar nuevos mercados y mirar especialmente los países asiáticos y los centroamericanos.

Zuloaga indicó que las relaciones comerciales no deberían verse afectadas por las situaciones políticas.

Por su lado, el presidente de la Federación Nacional de Avicultores (Fenavi), Jorge Enrique Bedoya, coincidió con Zuloaga en que Colombia debe buscar nuevos países para vender los productos colombianos.

"Rechazamos esas decisiones del presidente Chávez. Aquí es claro que no se pueden mezclar caprichos de carácter político con asuntos netamente comerciales", dijo.

"No podemos concentrarnos en mercados donde los gobiernos tienen un repudio por nuestra sociedad, por nuestro país, por nuestro sistema económico y diversificar", agregó.

Por su lado, el presidente de la Sociedad de Agricultores de Colombia (SAC), Rafael Mejía, manifestó que la situación actual es preocupante, pero confió en que los canales diplomáticos obren de la mejor manera posible para llegar a una solución.

A su turno, el presidente de la Federación de Ganaderos de Colombia (Fedegán), José Félix Lafaurie, dijo que "el comercio no puede ser un instrumento de retaliación política" y abogó porque los procesos de intercambio comercial entre los dos países fluyan.

Comunicado de la Presidencia

El Gobierno de Colombia se permite informar:

1. En octubre de 2008, la Fuerza Pública de Colombia incautó tres lanzacohetes en un campamento del grupo narcoterrorista de las Farc, en La Macarena, departamento del Meta.

2. El Gobierno sueco ha confirmado que ese material fue fabricado en Suecia y vendido a Venezuela en 1988.

3. Suecia ha pedido explicaciones a Venezuela.

4. El pasado 2 de junio, el Canciller de Colombia, Jaime Bermúdez, entregó al Canciller de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, durante una reunión reservada, en San Pedro de Sula (Honduras), un documento en el cual se evidencia la posesión de esos lanzacohetes por narcoterroristas de las Farc, los cuales hacían parte del lote vendido por el Gobierno de Suecia al Gobierno de Venezuela en 1988.

5. En la misma reunión, el 2 de junio, en San Pedro de Sula, el Canciller Bermúdez entregó también información documental, en la cual dos cabecillas de ese grupo terrorista de las Farc mencionan la colaboración por parte de tres altos funcionarios del Gobierno venezolano en la entrega de lanzacohetes de características similares a los que posteriormente fueron incautados por la Fuerza Pública colombiana en La Macarena.

6. El Gobierno de Colombia entregó dicha información de manera discreta, con el propósito de obtener una aclaración por parte de Venezuela.

7. A la fecha, Venezuela no ha dado respuesta alguna, no obstante nuestra permanente y reiterada disposición de diálogo.

8. El Gobierno de Colombia ha recibido información adicional que demuestra que el grupo narcoterrorista de las Farc viene tratando de obtener misiles tierra-aire.

9. El grupo narcoterrorista de las Farc proyecta la adquisición de los misiles tierra-aire a través de traficantes internacionales de armas de otros países.

10. El Gobierno de Colombia también ha pedido y pide colaboración a estos otros países, para evitar este tráfico terrorista de armas y capturar a los traficantes.

Guanacaste, Costa Rica, 29 de julio de 2009.

Con EFE y SP.
Title: ¿Una excusa para esconder un delito?
Post by: captainccs on July 30, 2009, 12:30:21 PM
Jueves 30 de julio de 2009

¿Una excusa para esconder un delito?

El diplomático venezolano Diego Arria, establece que la crisis entre Venezuela y Colombia se origina con el propósito de distraer la opinión pública.

Por Diego Arria. Diplomático venezolano y ex Embajador ante la ONU.

El retiro de un Embajador representa un expresión de inconformidad por algún hecho o actuación de otro país. No es un rompimiento de las relaciones diplomáticas, pero sin duda representa su paso previo.

En el caso de Venezuela – Colombia se origina con el propósito de distraer la opinión pública de un hecho que podría acarrear responsabilidades criminales para el Estado Venezolano si es comprobado. La denuncia gobierno colombiano, corroborada por la empresa fabricante Saab Bofors Dynamics, y por el propio gobierno de Suecia, establece que los lanzacohetes encontrados en posesión de la organización narco terrorista de las Farc habían sido vendidas a las Fuerzas Armadas Bolivarianas de Venezuela en 1988.

Los lanzacohetes suecos AT-4 registrados a nombre de Venezuela -encontrados en manos de la FARC- son iguales a los utilizados por los militares golpistas encabezados por el hoy jefe de Estado venezolano que el 4 de febrero de 1992 atacaron la residencia presidencial de La Casona.

Al no poder responder satisfactoriamente ni al gobierno de Suecia ni al gobierno colombiano por esta grave acusación, el gobierno venezolano optó por la decisión de retirar el cuerpo diplomático en el vecino país, que hasta ahora no ha extendido retirando también al Embajador de Venezuela en Estocolmo.

La situación se agrava porque el retiro de la representación diplomática de Venezuela en Bogotá fue ordenada públicamente con instrucciones precisas por el propio del jefe de Estado. Su declaración de dejar en Bogotá solamente a un solo funcionario del mas bajo nivel diplomático expresa claramente su intención no mantener relaciones con Colombia.

Por otra parte, las instrucciones del Estado venezolano al “ordenar sustituir las compras a Colombia” van mas allá del retiro del personal diplomático. Implica casi una agresión económica que al estar acompañada de la amenaza de "expropiar las empresas colombianas" ante cualquier motivo que pueda molestarle, constituye una situación preocupante. El presidente Hugo Chávez se refirió específicamente a aquellas "empresas colombianas distribuidoras de alimentos", como si estas empresas comercializaran productos venezolanos, lo cual no es para nada el caso. De hecho Venezuela le debe cerca de $250 millones de dólares a los exportadores colombianos.

Las fronteras no han sido cerradas aún, debido a que mientras Venezuela no logre diversificar su fuente de suministros de Colombia –lo cual no para nada sencillo- no podría arriesgarse a crear situaciones de desabastecimiento nacional.

La posición de Hugo Chávez implica un endurecimiento progresivo que probablemente escale rápidamente a un rompimiento de relaciones acompañado de una acción de movilización militar a la frontera, como lo anunció en el pasado, bajo el argumento de estar preparándose para defenderse de una Colombia asociada a las “fuerzas imperialistas de los Estados Unidos”.

De esta manera, los gobiernos del Presidente Pastrana al igual que el del Presidente Uribe vienen siendo victimas de un chantaje comercial por parte del régimen venezolano. De hecho a pesar de que estos gobiernos vienen diciendo que tienen pruebas “reinas” suficientemente contundentes para acusar al gobierno venezolano de cooperación activa con la organización de las Farc, han decidido simplemente amenazar con estas pruebas, comprometiendo de manera significativa su propia seguridad e impidiendo que la comunidad internacional asuma una posición más activa en esta material. Esto ya que los intereses comerciales de Colombia con Venezuela representan cerca de $5 mil millones de dólares anuales.

Es fácil presumir que la amenaza de Venezuela de cortar el comercio con Colombia aspira a doblegar nuevamente al gobierno del presidente Uribe para que no presente las pruebas del origen de los lanzacohetes suecos , al igual que lo hizo con la información contenida en las computadoras de Reyes, donde se mencionaba el armamento ofrecido por Venezuela a esa guerrilla, la cual incluía cohetes antitanques. (Según el computador de Reyes, el guerrillero Iván Márquez menciona que el 3 de enero de 2007 se reunió con los generales venezolanos Clíver Alcalá y Hugo Carvajal -los dos oficiales más cercanos al Presidente Chavez- “quienes me ofrecieron armamento…” que describió en detalle).

Si Bogotá no cede al chantaje comercial venezolano, eso dará para que el próximo paso sea romper formalmente las relaciones diplomáticas. Esa sería la única manera de no dar explicaciones a Colombia por el tema de los lanzacohetes, aunque sí tendrá que darlas al gobierno de Suecia y hasta a la Unión Europea que tiene a las Farc en su lista de organizaciones terroristas. Ellos no pasarán por alto un acto irresponsable y criminal como el que ha originado esta situación.
Title: Venezuela: relaciones peligrosas
Post by: captainccs on August 03, 2009, 02:20:19 PM
Venezuela: relaciones peligrosas
ROMÁN D. ORTIZ 03/08/2009
Uno de los pecados mortales en asuntos de seguridad es ignorar una amenaza para ahorrarse los costes de enfrentarla. Los casos abundan. Los países europeos desdeñaron la retórica ultranacionalista de Milosevic hasta que fue demasiado tarde para evitar una década de guerras en los Balcanes y los gobiernos occidentales pasaron por alto el imperio de terror de Sadam en Irak hasta darse de bruces con la invasión de Kuwait. Algo así puede estar pasando con Venezuela. Para llevar a cabo sus ambiciones hegemónicas, Caracas ha desplegado una política exterior extremadamente agresiva y ha ofrecido su apoyo a grupos terroristas. Si la comunidad internacional continúa mirando hacia otra parte, la región andina puede hundirse en una crisis sin precedentes.

El régimen venezolano ha hecho pocos esfuerzos por ocultar su cercanía con un grupo terrorista como las FARC. Hoy, Caracas tiene una plaza que lleva el nombre del fundador de la organización, Manuel Marulanda. Pero las cosas van más allá de la retórica. El hallazgo de cohetes AT-4 de fabricación sueca en manos de la guerrilla demuestra que la autoridad venezolana ha armado a los terroristas colombianos. Este descubrimiento es la evidencia física de un envío de armas desde Venezuela reseñado en los ordenadores capturados al extinto líder de las FARC, Raúl Reyes. Las cosas pueden ponerse peor. El régimen venezolano ha adquirido 200 misiles superficie-aire portátiles Igla-S. Con sus antecedentes, nadie puede garantizar que algunos no terminen en manos de la guerrilla.

Entretanto, Venezuela se ha convertido en la puerta de Irán en América Latina. Ambos países mantienen una activa colaboración en el ámbito militar y espacial. Todo ello sin olvidar que Caracas ha firmado un acuerdo de cooperación nuclear con Teherán que burla las sanciones internacionales contra el programa atómico de los ayatolás. ¿Excentricidades de Chávez? Tal vez. Pero el Departamento del Tesoro de EE UU ha denunciado que al menos un diplomático venezolano ha servido de puente para la penetración en América Latina de Hezbolá. Una organización terrorista libanesa que el Gobierno iraní emplea como un brazo armado clandestino.

Además, el régimen de Chávez esta inmerso en un colosal programa de rearme. Ya ha adquirido cazabombarderos SU-30, helicópteros Mi-35, misiles antiaéreos Tor M-1 y radares JYL-1. Muy pronto, se podrían sumar 100 tanques T-72M y 300 vehículos blindados BMP-3. Estas compras están haciendo de oro a Rusia y China. Pero también gobiernos europeos como los de España y Francia están participando en el negocio sin tomar en cuenta que sus armas van a apuntar a los vecinos de Venezuela.

Tras el 11-S, pareció cristalizar un consenso sobre la necesidad de una política de tolerancia cero hacia aquellos países que tuviesen lazos con grupos violentos. En este contexto, se ha acumulado una evidencia abrumadora sobre las conexiones del Gobierno venezolano con las FARC y los intentos de Caracas de desestabilizar a los países vecinos. Sin embargo, el Gobierno del presidente Chávez no ha recibido ninguna sanción por este comportamiento. Esta inacción puede resultar muy costosa para la estabilidad de América Latina.

Román D. Ortiz es consultor del Grupo Triarius y profesor de la Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá).

Title: Las mentiras de Chávez
Post by: captainccs on August 16, 2009, 05:31:44 PM
Las mentiras de Chávez

SEMANA revela la verdadera historia de los lanzacohetes vendidos por Suecia a Venezuela que terminaron en manos de las Farc.
Sábado 15 Agosto 2009

De Hugo Chávez se pueden decir muchas cosas, pero no se puede negar que es un genio de la comunicación y extraordinariamente carismático. En la cumbre de Unasur la semana pasada fue el protagonista. Su astucia, su calor humano y su chequera lo han convertido en el líder de la región. Antes de la llegada de Chávez al escenario los jefes de Estado se referían los unos a los otros como "señor Presidente". Hoy todos parecen una familia y las cumbres se han convertido en una reunión de primos que se llaman los unos a los otros por los nombres: Cristina, Rafael, Hugo, Evo. Muchos de los primos son de izquierda y los que no lo son le tienen tanto cariño al primo mayor, que le siguen la corriente o, por lo menos, no lo contradicen. La oveja negra de esa familia es Álvaro Uribe Vélez, que es un 'nerd', juicioso, sin sentido del humor y que en lugar de la frescura y el carisma tropical de los otros, es más serio y tiene una posición ideológica antagónica de la de sus primos revolucionarios.

Lo que sorprende de esta descripción es que la preeminencia de Chávez se haya podido mantener después de la revelación de hechos gravísimos que en épocas anteriores lo habrían convertido en la oveja negra. El 'comandante' es tan hábil, que ha logrado generar dudas sobre su complicidad con las Farc. Correa, Evo Morales y Daniel Ortega sin duda alguna le tienen simpatía y hasta solidaridad a esa organización guerrillera y no la consideran terrorista. Pero no tienen una complicidad tan evidente. Sus pecados pueden ser más por omisión que por acción, cosa que no ocurre en el caso de Chávez.

En su ofensiva mediática de la semana pasada, Chávez desplegó toda su brillantez como comunicador ante Vicky Dávila y posteriormente en La W radio y en El Tiempo. El objetivo principal de esas entrevistas era desvirtuar el tema de los lanzacohetes AT-4 que podían haber sido entregados por su gobierno a la guerrilla. Lo que es increíble es que casi todo lo que dijo sobre ese tema era falso.

Mentiras y cohetes
Uno de los primeros argumentos de Chávez presentado el pasado 5 de mayo durante una rueda de prensa en el Palacio de Miraflores era que los lanzacohetes encontrados en un campamento de las Farc el año pasado habían sido robados en 1995 por la guerrilla en ataque a una base de la infantería de marina venezolana en Cararabo, en el estado fronterizo de Apure. Sin embargo, tres días más tarde, durante la entrevista con Vicky Dávila, la periodista le hizo caer en la cuenta al mandatario de que el ataque al que se refería había sido efectuado por el ELN y no por las Farc. Chávez no pudo explicar por qué si quienes robaron los lanzacohetes eran guerrilleros del ELN, esos artefactos acabaron en poder de las Farc.

Otro de los argumentos que no cuadran en las explicaciones de Chávez tiene que ver con el número de lanzacohetes perdidos. El Presidente venezolano mostró a la prensa un documento con la relación de las armas robadas durante el ataque de 1995, entre las cuales, según él, estaban cinco rockets robados por la guerrilla. Esa afirmación tampoco es verdad. En algunos medios de comunicación venezolanos varios ex militares, políticos y funcionarios judiciales que hicieron la investigación por el ataque a la base en 1995 coinciden en afirmar que en ese lugar no había lanzacohetes. Uno de ellos fue el vicealmirante retirado de la armada venezolana Carlos Ramos, quien en declaraciones al diario El Nacional, de Caracas, afirmó que "en ese destacamento no había AT-4. Los irregulares se llevaron fusiles y municiones, pero no más. En esa clase de puesto militar, un armamento de ese tipo no es útil". Lo mismo dijo el general venezolano Gonzalo García, quien fue uno de los primeros en llegar a la base atacada por el ELN hace 14 años: "Allí sólo se encontraron ametralladoras, fusiles y un lanzacohetes similar al AT-4 denominado Carl Gustav". Al quedar claro que fue el ELN y no las Farc las que realizaron el ataque, y que no había lanzacohetes en el lugar, la versión de Chávez queda desvirtuada.

Pero estos no son los únicos argumentos que evidenciarían mentiras, ni los más comprometedores. Durante la rueda de prensa y en las diferentes entrevistas de Chávez en las últimas semanas, siempre afirmó que los lanzacohetes encontrados a las Farc eran unos artefactos obsoletos, inservibles y básicamente unos tubos viejos. Esto es otra falsedad. El 25 de septiembre del año pasado el ministro del Interior venezolano, Tareck El Aissami, convocó una rueda de prensa en Caracas en donde mostró un lanzacohetes AT-4, idéntico al encontrado a las Farc, con el cual supuestamente se iba a realizar un atentado contra el presidente Chávez. En ese momento, hace menos de un año, las autoridades venezolanas explicaron con lujo de detalles el gran poder destructivo y el alto peligro de ese tipo de lanzacohetes. Resulta curioso, por decir lo menos, que esos mismos rockets que fueron considerados por los propios venezolanos como muy efectivos cuando el supuesto atentado es contra Chávez, acaban siendo inservibles y chatarra cuando aparecen en manos de las Farc.

Además de esta contradicción del propio gobierno venezolano, desafía la lógica creer que una guerrilla experimentada como la de 'Tirofijo' y 'Jojoy' tenga a sus hombres cargando durante 14 años en la selva y al rayo del sol unos tubos inservibles.

Los otros 'rockets'
Pero esto no es lo más grave. Hasta ahora Chávez ha asegurado que son cinco los lanzacohetes supuestamente robados en la base fluvial de Cararabo. Pero la realidad es que la cifra de estos artefactos en poder de las Farc que hasta ahora se ha encontrado por las autoridades colombianas es de siete (ver fotos). Y lo peor es que, aunque Chávez afirma que son obsoletos, esos lanzacohetes ya han sido utilizados por las Farc en territorio colombiano. Y lo más increíble es que uno de estos fue disparado ni más ni menos que contra el avión del presidente Álvaro Uribe.

Esto ocurrió el 21 de octubre de 2003, cuando guerrilleros de las Farc dispararon un rocket que cayó cerca de los hangares de la base militar de Catam en Bogotá, poco antes que aterrizara el avión con el presidente Uribe. La reacción de las autoridades impidió que un segundo artefacto fuera disparado desde una casa cerca de la pista, pero el lanzacohete fue incautado por las autoridades. Ese atentado fue registrado en su momento por los medios de comunicación, pero no se conoció inmediatamente el origen de las armas. Posteriormente, los números de serie de los artefactos decomisados fueron enviados a la Interpol y a la Agencia contra el Alcohol, Tabaco, Armas de fuego y Explosivos (ATF) de Estados Unidos para identificar su origen. Las investigaciones de las autoridades internacionales permitieron establecer que los que habían sido utilizados en el atentado contra Uribe eran AT-4 de fabricación sueca vendidos al Ejército de Venezuela.

En mayo de ese mismo año, 2003, las autoridades ya habían incautado en una vereda del Guamo, Tolima, otros dos lanzacohetes que estaban en poder de la columna Teófilo Forero. Los números de serie de esos rockets también fueron enviados a autoridades internacionales y también resultaron ser AT-4 pertenecientes al mismo lote del atentado contra el avión presidencial. Ese lote es el mismo de los tres lanzacohetes que dieron origen al conflicto actual entre Colombia y Venezuela.

Aunque en 2004 ya las autoridades colombianas sabían que esos primeros cuatro lanzacohetes habían sido vendidos por Suecia a Venezuela, en ese momento no había certeza sobre la forma como habían terminado en manos de las Farc, razón por la cual el gobierno nacional optó por guardar un prudente silencio. No obstante, en marzo del año pasado, después del bombardeo al campamento de 'Raúl Reyes', aparecieron comprometedores correos electrónicos hallados en su PC los cuales empezaron a dar preocupantes indicios sobre la entrega de armas por parte del gobierno de Chávez a la guerrilla.

Una de las comunicaciones más comprometedoras es del 4 de enero de 2007. 'Iván Márquez' le envió un correo electrónico a 'Reyes' y otros miembros del Secretariado en el cual les da un reporte con varios puntos. "Como estaba previsto, el 3 de enero me reuní con los generales (Cliver) Alcalá y (Hugo) Carvajal (ambos generales venezolanos), hablamos de tres aspectos del plan estratégico: finanzas, armas y política de fronteras. Nos van a hacer llegar la próxima semana 20 bazucas de gran potencia, según ellos, de las cuales 10 serían para Timo (Timochenko) y 10 para acá. Alcalá sugirió que fuera una cantidad mayor". Pocos días después de esa comunicación, el 20 de enero de 2007, 'Márquez' envió un nuevo correo dirigido a 'Tirofijo' y al Secretariado. Allí les confirmó, entre otras cosas, que "los aparatos que hemos recibido con Timo son cohetes antitanque de 85 mm., dos tubos y 21 cargas. El amigo dice que tienen más de 1.000 cargas y que próximamente nos hará llegar otras más, así como algunos tubos". 'Márquez' afirma en su comunicación que los venezolanos "de nuevo plantearon la posibilidad de aprovechar las compras de armas de Venezuela a Rusia para incluir unos contenedores con destino a Farc. Sin asentir ni negar dijeron que no debería ser de la misma característica del material que están importando". En otras palabras, los generales de Chávez les ofrecieron a las Farc camuflar su armamento con el del gobierno venezolano.

Estos, entre muchos otros correos, alertaron a las autoridades colombianas sobre la posibilidad de que al menos dos de los generales más cercanos a Chávez estuvieran entregando armas a las Farc. Las alarmas se dispararon en octubre del año pasado cuando el Ejército encontró los tres lanzacohetes en el campamento de las Farc, los cuales coinciden con las características de los descritos en los correos de 'Iván Márquez'. A mediados de este año, el gobierno de Suecia confirmó a Colombia que esos lanzacohetes habían sido vendidos al Ejército de Venezuela. Con esta verificación Colombia entregó en junio pasado al gobierno de Chávez la información y solicitó las explicaciones del caso. Lo mismo hizo el gobierno sueco sin obtener ninguna respuesta oficial por parte de Chávez, quien se ha limitado a dar entrevistas a medios de comunicación repletas de desinformación sobre el tema.

Como si todo lo anterior fuera poco, hace tres semanas el diario estadounidense The New York Times registró en un artículo publicado en la primera página cómo después de haber sido pillado en el computador de 'Reyes' entregándoles equipo militar a las Farc, el Presidente de Venezuela había seguido con la intención de armar a esa guerrilla. De acuerdo con lo revelado por ese diario, funcionarios de ese país "apoyaron en territorio venezolano a los miembros de la guerrilla en negociaciones de armas y les expidieron documentos de identidad para que se movieran de un sitio a otro".

Dice el Times que la información revelada proviene "de un material de computador incautado a los rebeldes hace algunos meses y que está siendo analizado por agencias de inteligencia occidentales". El prestigioso diario afirma que tuvo acceso a comunicaciones entre miembros del Secretariado, entre ellos un mensaje de 'Iván Márquez' en el que se "describe el plan de las Farc de comprar en Venezuela misiles tierra-aire, rifles para francotiradores, y radios".

El artículo de Times afirma que la negociación, tal como escribió 'Márquez', contaba con la ayuda del entonces director de la Policía de Inteligencia venezolana, el general Henry Rangel Silva. Otro alto funcionario venezolano que supo de la compra de armas que se pensaba llevar a cabo, según el diario, "cerca del Río Negro en el estado de Amazonas", era el ex ministro del Interior venezolano Ramón Rodríguez Chacín.

Es totalmente escandaloso que un ex ministro de Chávez, su jefe de inteligencia y dos de sus más cercanos generales estén comprometidos en el proyecto de armar a la guerrilla colombiana. Pero tal vez más desconcertante es que con un acervo probatorio de esa magnitud, se haya logrado confundir a la opinión internacional.

Es difícil establecer si Hugo Chávez es un cínico o un mitómano. Cínico es el que miente con tal convicción que no se le nota. Mitómano es que el que se cree sus propias mentiras. Sea cual sea el rasgo dominante de su personalidad, lo que es increíble es que los que están en el banquillo en este momento son Álvaro Uribe y Colombia.

Title: Izquierdistas de AL temen al precedente hondureño
Post by: captainccs on August 19, 2009, 02:26:51 PM
Izquierdistas de AL temen al precedente hondureño

TEGUCIGALPA -- Las posibilidades de que Manuel Zelaya sea repuesto en la presidencia de Honduras se alejan con cada semana que pasa. En toda Latinoamérica, tanto aliados como adversarios consideran que se está sentando un precedente.

Es un rayo de esperanza para la elite conservadora de la región, que ha presenciado con desaliento durante la última década cómo una ola de presidentes izquierdistas ha subido al poder, prometiendo echar abajo el sistema y dar mayor poder a los pobres.

Cuando el otrora moderado Zelaya inició ese camino, los militares, el Congreso y la Corte Suprema se aliaron para derrocarlo y, pese a protestas en todo el continente, el gobierno instalado por el golpe sigue en el poder. ¿Podría ser éste el modelo que los conservadores latinoamericanos buscaban desesperadamente?

El presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez, que fue derrocado durante dos días en un golpe en el 2000, afirmó que el líder cubano Fidel Castro le dijo que la situación en Honduras "abrirá la puerta a la ola de golpes que se viene en América Latina".

"Fidel dice algo que es muy cierto", agregó.

Y según dijo el presidente ecuatoriano Rafael Correa, estrecho aliado de Chávez y Zelaya, "tenemos algunos estudios de inteligencia que dicen que, después de Zelaya, el próximo soy yo".

En toda la región, los conservadores que desde hace largo tiempo gobernaban Latinoamérica -y que siguen en gran parte de ella- están manifestando su inquietud con levantamientos armados en Bolivia y marchas en Guatemala donde decenas de miles de manifestantes han exigido la renuncia del presidente.

Pero el caso más extremo se produjo en Honduras, un país con tres décadas de estabilidad política y siete presidentes consecutivos elegidos democráticamente.

"Sorprende mucho el golpe realmente", dijo Jorge Acevedo, subdirector de un grupo hondureño defensor de los derechos humanos. "La sociedad no la esperó. Creíamos que el derecho civil era un tema superado en el país".

Los soldados arrestaron a Zelaya el 28 de junio y lo enviaron al exilio, y horas después el Congreso proclamó al segundo en línea a la presidencia, Roberto Micheletti. En las seis semanas desde entonces, las manifestaciones de los partidarios de Zelaya y los esfuerzos diplomáticos de varios países desde Estados Unidos hasta Venezuela han sido infructuosos para lograr el retorno de Zelaya.

La presidenta argentina Cristina Fernández, cuya popularidad se ha venido abajo, dijo que permitir que el gobierno interino hondureño siga en el poder hasta las elecciones presidenciales del 29 de noviembre socavaría la democracia en toda la región.

"Bastaría que alguien diera un golpe cívico ayudado por fuerzas militares, o simplemente cívico, y luego subsanar esto con una convocatoria a elecciones, con lo cual entonces las garantías democráticas serían una verdadera ficción", dijo Fernández a líderes sudamericanos.

Honduras respondió dando a la misión diplomática argentina 72 horas para salir del país.

Quienes han causado conmoción en países gobernados por la izquierda insisten en que son ellos quienes defienden la democracia.

Muchos de los llamados gobiernos "revolucionarios" que han llegado al poder mediante las urnas, desde Nicaragua hasta Bolivia, no sólo han tratado de redistribuir la riqueza sino también levantar los límites de su período en el poder. Muchos han reducido los poderes de sus oponentes, que han hecho sentir a las elites tradicionales que sus bienes privados, inversiones y libertades democráticas corren peligro.

"Creo que Zelaya dio razones suficientes para que lo sacaran del gobierno, y estas razones, en Venezuela, sobran", comentó el líder opositor venezolano José Luis Farías. "Son de muchísimo más bulto las violaciones a la Constitución que hace Chávez que las que hizo el propio Zelaya".

En Bolivia, el gobernador opositor Rubén Costas calificó la destitución de Zelaya como una reacción lógica.

"Las imposiciones y arbitrariedades tienen un límite", afirmó. "Lógicamente hay reacción hacia la imposición de arbitrariedades y hacia un proceso que sigue el mismo libreto determinado y comandado por Hugo Chávez, que lo único que quiere es una Constituyente para la perpetuidad de los caudillos".

Por supuesto, el precedente de Honduras tiene sus limitaciones.

Ningún otro líder en la región enfrenta el aislamiento político que desplazó a Zelaya del poder de manera tan expeditiva: los militares, la Corte Suprema y aun su mismo partido político se volcaron contra él cuando profundizó su alianza con Chávez y buscó cambios constitucionales en desafío a los fallos de la justicia.

En otros puntos en la región, muchos de los líderes ya han cimentado su poder, en parte por medio de plebiscitos y nuevas constituciones aprobadas por gran mayoría de votantes. En Venezuela, otras ramas del gobierno, incluyendo el Congreso y el poder judicial, están llenos de aliados de Chávez, lo que deja a sus oponentes pocas opciones para volver al poder.

"Sacar a Chávez por la vía legal, o sea, a través de las instituciones, sería bastante difícil porque él tiene un control absoluto sobre todas las instituciones el país y a esto se suma el control de otras instancias como las fuerzas armadas", dijo Farías.

Los líderes izquierdistas no quieren correr riesgos.

Ecuador anunció planes de crear comités de ciudadanos para defenderse de golpes al estilo hondureño. Correa no ha dado detalles de cómo funcionarán esos grupos, pero sus críticos temen que sean similares a los Comités para la Defensa de la Revolución, de Cuba, utilizados para vigilar las actividades "contrarrevolucionarias".

El presidente boliviano Evo Morales, quien calificó de "golpe civil" dos semanas de cruentas protestas en el este del país el año pasado, anunció recientemente que tres hombres muertos por la policía habían planeado asesinarlo en un golpe apoyado por líderes opositores.

El guatemalteco Alvaro Colom atribuyó a las elites indignadas por sus intentos de eliminar resquicios impositivos empresariales la movilización de millares de manifestantes en mayo. Éstos exigieron su renuncia después que una videograbación de un abogado prominente anticipó su propio asesinato y culpó a Colom.

Y para muchos líderes latinoamericanos que se sienten confiados en su poder, Honduras ofrece una lección por la rapidez con que un presidente puede perder el control.

Luis Vicente León, un analista de la encuestadora venezolana Datanalisis, dijo que todos los líderes izquierdistas latinoamericanos "tienen muchos enemigos".

"Nadie es inmune", sentenció.

Los periodistas de Associated Press que contribuyeron a este informe incluyen Christopher Toothaker en Caracas, Jeanneth Valdivieso en Quito, Ecuador, Carlos Valdez en La Paz, Michael Warren en Buenos Aires y Juan Carlos Llorca in Guatemala.
Title: Policia venezolana usa gases dentro de estación de metro
Post by: captainccs on August 22, 2009, 04:57:45 PM
Sábado, Agosto 22, 2009

Polícia de Chávez tentou sufocar as pessoas dentro do Metrô!

Depois de baixar o porrete, lançar bombas de gás contra a manifestação pacífica da oposição neste sábado na Venezuela (veja fotos em post mais abaixo), Chávez tentou sufocar a população dentro do Metrô de Caracas, onde estavam até mesmo crianças, conforme se vê nesta foto.

Trata-se de uma brutalidade inaudita a ação policial de Hugo Chávez, ao tentar sufocar as pessoas dentro do Metrô, quando foram lançadas bombas de gás lacrimogênio num ambiente completamente fechado.

A turma dos direitos humanos, da OEA e da ONU não vão se manifestar?

Não dirão uma só palavra esses porcos comunistas.

Foto do site Noticias24.

Mas fotos:

Post by: captainccs on August 22, 2009, 07:41:40 PM
Álvaro Vargas Llosa


"...La estrategia de Chávez reposa en una red de franquicias políticas repartidas por la región: les vende a sus potenciales aliados el derecho a explotar su marca "Socialismo del Siglo 21" a cambio de servilismo político..."

14 de agosto de 2009

El venezolano Hugo Chávez nunca ha escondido sus planes imperiales. Lo que empezó como el eje Cuba-Venezuela incluye hoy a Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua y las islas caribeñas de Antigua y Barbuda, San Vicente y las Granadinas, y Dominica. Pertenecen a la (rebautizada) Alianza Bolivariana de las Américas (ALBA). Argentina y Paraguay son íntimos del grupo. El partido del gobierno en El Salvador responde directamente a Chávez.

El hecho de que gobiernos de la izquierda moderada presten apoyo a Caracas y los dirigentes de centroderecha anden en puntas de pie por temor a consecuencias internas da al autócrata venezolano un amplio margen de maniobra.

Empleando a Petrocaribe, un mecanismo para suministrar petróleo subvencionado a trece de las quince islas del CARICOM más Cuba y Guatemala, la mano larga de Chávez trasciende el ALBA. Los beneficiarios del soborno venezolano retribuyen el petróleo dando apoyo a Chávez en la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) y Naciones Unidas. Fueron determinantes en la elección de José Miguel Insulza como Secretario General de la OEA en 2005 y tienen capacidad para reelegirlo en 2010.

Los ojos del caudillo venezolano se fijan ahora en el Perú, donde la pobreza ha caído a un tercio de la población gracias a la democracia liberal y la empresa privada. El 29 de mayo, el boliviano Evo Morales envió una carta a una reunión de comunidades indígenas en la región peruana de Puno convocando a una rebelión abierta. Durante un reciente alzamiento nativo contra los decretos gubernamentales que buscaban relajar las restricciones sobre la minería y la agricultura privada en la selva amazónica, el gobierno de Nicaragua concedió asilo político a Alberto Pizango, el agitador acusado por las autoridades peruanas de ser responsable de la muerte de docenas de policías.

La estrategia de Chávez reposa en una red de franquicias políticas repartidas por la región: les vende a sus potenciales aliados el derecho a explotar su marca "Socialismo del Siglo 21" a cambio de servilismo político. Cada franquicia adapta el producto a las circunstancias locales, que pueden consistir en exacerbar tensiones étnicas (los Andes), remover fondos nacionalistas contra países vecinos (Sudamérica), o convocar fantasmas antiamericanos (México y el Caribe). El Socialismo del Siglo 21 está tácticamente aliado con autocracias no latinoamericanas, como Irán y Rusia.

Para consolidar la revolución chavista, fueron necesarios una implacable deslegitimación ideológica de los valores republicanos y la propiedad privada, y el establecimiento de un método para entronizar una dictadura con medios aparentemente democráticos. Tras su llegada al cargo en 1999, Chávez utilizó referendos y comicios para deshacerse del sistema de pesos y contrapesos. Pergeño una nueva Constitución que proporcionó el entramado "democrático" para reemplazar a la Asamblea Nacional, el Consejo Nacional Electoral y los tribunales.

Cada institución actúa con el fin de controlar e infligir temor en la población. El sistema electoral está diseñado para crear el espejismo de la mayoría. Según "Súmate", una respetada organización, el padrón de votantes ha crecido 52 por ciento en diez años. Ninguna institución independiente ha podido verificarlo. Las máquinas "captahuellas" que registran las impresiones dactilares en los centros de votación permiten a las autoridades rastrear la identidad de quienes votan en contra de Chávez.

Otras formas de control "democrático" incluyen la colosal expansión del Estado. Casi 5 millones de venezolanos —el 28 por ciento del padrón electoral— dependen de él para su subsistencia. Si sumamos a sus familias y las fuerzas armadas, hablamos de la mayoría de los votantes.

Chávez ha obtenido el manejo de tres cuartas parte de los medios de comunicación. A comienzos de julio, 285 estaciones de radio y TV fueron clausuradas. Los tribunales son otra pieza clave de la dictadura "democrática". De todos los cientos de jueces que se encontraban en funciones cuando Chávez llegó al poder, sólo tres permanecen. Los nuevos jueces provisionales están persiguiendo a los alcaldes y gobernadores de la oposición elegidos en 2008.

Estas son, pues, la ideología y el método que Chávez ha convertido en franquicia. El ecuatoriano Rafael Correa ha sustituido los pesos y contrapesos por instituciones subordinadas a él a través de elecciones y referendos; una nueva Constitución le permitió este año conseguir la reelección. Mediante acusaciones fraudulentas, asumió el control de las estaciones de TV de la familia Isaías y ahora tiene cercada a Teleamazonas.

En Bolivia, Evo Morales será reelegido en diciembre porque modificó las reglas mediante una nueva Constitución aprobada en un referendo; también utiliza el armazón "democrático" para concentrar poder mediante la intimidación y de masivas expropiaciones rurales. Daniel Ortega, que se robó los comicios locales del año pasado en Nicaragua, anhela una nueva Constitución para buscar la reelección permanente.

La cataléptica economía de Venezuela, la caída de la producción de petróleo en ese país debido a la corrupción y la ineficiencia, y el hartazgo con la revolución en otros países sugieren que Chávez podría enfrentar grandes obstáculos en el futuro. Pero si los propios latinoamericanos no responden a ese desafío antidemocrático con una vigorosa y desacomplejada defensa de la libertad, la región perderá el siglo 21 tal como perdió el 20.

Fuente: 2009, The Washington Post Writers Group (

Title: Fuertes rumores sobre congelamiento de dinero del Estado venezolano en EEUU
Post by: captainccs on August 23, 2009, 09:53:31 AM
Fuertes rumores sobre congelamiento de dinero del Estado venezolano en EEUU
por Edgar C. Otálvora
domingo, 23 agosto 2009

Las deudas de Venezuela con países proveedores de sus cuantiosas importaciones, se ha convertido en un asunto reiterativo en los últimos meses. Diversas empresas -grandes y pequeñas-  han debido recurrir a sus respectivos gobiernos solicitando gestiones diplomáticas para lograr el pago de los montos adeudados.

El caso más reciente y notorio se conoció esta semana, cuando el pasado miércoles fue filtrada a la prensa brasileña la noticia de una carta enviada por Lula da Silva a Hugo Chávez. Pese a las constantes y amenas conversaciones que mantienen los dos mandatarios, el brasileño habría optado por la vía  epistolar para llamar la atención por los retrasos de hasta ocho meses en el pago a las empresas brasileñas. 


El listado de las deudas venezolanas revelado por la prensa de Brasil incluye US$ 3,2 millones a dos empresas productoras de alambre, US$ 2,2 millones a una empresa productora de alimentos, una fábrica de calzados que espera su pago por US$ 300 mil y una vendedora de mármol que Venezuela le debería US$ 11 mil. Empresas productoras de maquinaria reportan acreencias de montos considerablemente superiores.

Las noticias sobre la morosidad venezolana se multiplican: En abril pasado, la industria láctea uruguaya contabilizaba en US$ 15 millones sus acreencias ante Venezuela.

En junio pasado, otro socio político de Chávez, Evo Morales, debió pedir a Caracas prontitud en el pago de las deudas. En aquel caso Bolivia se refirió a la morosidad que la estatal Suministros Venezolanos Industriales (Suvinca) mantenía con la empresa boliviana Ametex por cerca de US$ 3 millones. Casi simultáneamente desde Lima se conoció que Venezuela mantenía deudas por US$ 500 millones con pequeños productores textiles peruanos.


Garantías de que EEUU no actuará desde Colombia contra los países suramericanos sería la carta que Unasur presentaría a Alvaro Uribe el próximo viernes, en la prevista reunión de Bariloche. El acuerdo para la utilización por parte de militares de EEUU de bases aéreas y navales en Colombia será el motivo para la reunión extraordinaria de Unasur. Lula da Silva ha expresado la  necesidad de negociar -  previo a la Cumbre de Bariloche - un acuerdo para garantizar que el encuentro sea fructífero. Colombia, por su parte, ha expresado que va a la Cumbre de Unasur sin que ello signifique que modificará su acuerdo militar con EEUU.


Para Brasil el tema del acuerdo EEUU-Colombia es de alta relevancia, ya que concede veracidad al escenario, definido por sus planificadores militares, sobre la presión militar extranjera para el control de la Amazonía.

Desde que Ecuador anunció su decisión de no renovar el acuerdo que permitía a EEUU utilizar la Base de Manta, Brasil comenzó una fuerte campaña de presión sobre Paraguay. Buscaba la cancillería brasileña impedir un eventual acuerdo entre Washington y Asunción que permitiría a EEUU reemplazar Manta con las instalaciones de Concepción al noreste de Paraguay. El triunfo de Fernando Lugo en Paraguay alejó la posibilidad de un acuerdo EEUU-Paraguay para tranquilidad de Brasilia.


La filtración desde Colombia de las negociaciones que seguía con EEUU para el uso de bases militares despertó nuevamente las alarmas brasileñas.

Para Hugo Chávez y Fidel Castro, junto a sus socios en Ecuador, Bolivia y Nicaragua, el tema de las bases se asomó como una nueva bandera publicitaria contra EEUU y el gobierno de Alvaro Uribe. Esto, junto al derrocamiento de Manuel Zelaya en Honduras, son las más recientes incorporaciones temáticas al discurso propagandístico de la izquierda radical continental.

El empuje mediático de Chávez contra el acuerdo EEUU-Colombia tuvo su momento estelar durante la reunion de Unasur, celebrada en Quito con motivo de la toma de posesión del segundo gobierno de Rafael Correa. Ese día, en ausencia de Alvaro Uribe, los presidentes de Venezuela, Ecuador y Bolivia utilizaron el acto-programa de TV desde la Sala Capitular del quiteño convento de San Agustín para arengar contra Colombia. Si bien las cancillerías habían acordado no incluir el tema de las bases en la declaración final, Chávez utilizó su tiempo al aire para referirse a ellas.


El tema se convirtió para Brasil en un caso de delicada diplomacia que procuraba varios y complicados objetivos: mantener a Colombia en el seno de la joven y débil Unasur; mostrar el malestar brasileño ante EEUU sin llegar a sumarse al grupo radical y; definir una solución diplomática de conveniencia que salve la cara de Unasur dando por entendido que el acuerdo EEUU-Colombia ya es en la práctica un hecho consumado. Pareciera que Lula pudiera tener éxito en su propósito el cual ha seguido empujando exponiéndole el tema vía telefónica a Barack Obama. 

Ya el propio Chávez se  refirió esta semana a la necesidad de “garantías” por parte de Colombia y EEUU. Algunas cancillerías suramericanas hablan de “garantías escritas”.  Lo cierto es que el propósito de Venezuela y Cuba de lograr una condena a Colombia por parte del vecindario suramericano ya no pareciera tener cabida en la agenda diplomática regional.   


Dinero del Estado venezolano habría sido congelado por el gobierno de los EEUU. La información se maneja con alta discreción en Venezuela y de hecho, no ha sido posible confirmarla con fuentes oficiales.

Según expertos independientes consultados, la supuesta decisión de las autoridades de EEUU es legalmente probable y estaría basada en las sanciones acordada en 2007 por el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU contra Irán.

Como se recordará, un banco propiedad de Irán que actúa amparado en la legislación bancaria venezolana, ya fue incluído a principios del 2008 en la lista de la Financial Crimes Enforcement Network del Departamento del Tesoro de EEUU.  En aquella ocasión, el Banco Internacional de Desarrollo, abierto en Caracas en el 2007, fue incorporado a la lista de instituciones vetadas en el sistema financiero estadounidense bajo el señalamiento de facilitar operaciones del terrorismo. Esta es sólo una de las varias sanciones que ya EEUU ha aplicado, por diversas razones y en varios terrenos, a Venezuela.

Ahora los rumores aseguran que depósitos de una entidad bancaria estatal venezolana estaría retenidos en EEUU.


Medios internacionales dedicados a temas bélicos han reseñado cambios producidos recientemente en la estructura militar venezolana. La publicación Jane´s llamaba la atención sobre la asignación al Comando Estratégico Operacional (CEO) de las Fuerzas Armadas de dos instancias relacionadas con guerra de alta tecnología.

A principios de julio la Unidad de Guerra Electrónica del Ejército fue transferida al CEO. Igualmente, el Comando Aereo de Defensa Aeroespacial Integral, que dependía de la Fuerza Aérea, pasó a control del CEO. Estos cambios fueron publicados en la Gaceta Oficial del 20 de julio.  El Comandante del CEO reporta directamente al Comandante en Jefe, es decir, al Presidente de la República.

Artículo publicado originalmente en el diario El Nuevo País
Title: América Latina reacciona contra Chávez
Post by: captainccs on August 23, 2009, 10:19:03 AM
América Latina reacciona contra Chávez


El Senado brasilero ha protestado contra el atropello de Hugo Chávez a la libertad de expresión. Hasta ahora, ese cuerpo legislativo no ha dado su conformidad al ingreso de Venezuela al MERCOSUR. El Senado paraguayo tampoco parece dispuesto a apoyar la solicitud ``bolivariana'' de acceso al organismo. El MERCOSUR tiene entre sus reglas de adhesión una ``cláusula democrática'' y el gobierno venezolano no cumple los requisitos. Los senadores sospechan de las intenciones del ``socialismo del siglo XXI'' y temen que el presidente Fernando Lugo, de la mano de Chávez, esté intentando arrastrarlos en esa dirección.

La reacción contra el chavismo, aunque demorada y todavía débil, era previsible. La vocación imperial de Chávez y su injerencismo son demasiado estridentes y oportunistas. Chávez le concede a cada aliado lo que necesita. A los candidatos de su vasta familia política les da dinero y asesoría para ganar elecciones y luego para mantenerse en el poder comprando voluntades. La maleta repleta de petrodólares descubierta en Buenos Aires con destino a los Kirchner, esa ``flor de pareja'', era sólo un botón de muestra. A las narcoguerrillas colombianas de las FARC les proporciona santuario, armas y dinero para sangrar al país vecino y al odiado gobierno de Uribe. A los terroristas de Hamás y Hezbolá y a Gadaffi los corteja con una permanente campaña antijudía y antiisraelí. En Jerusalén no olvidan que uno de los primeros actos de gobierno de Chávez fue el envío de una carta solidaria al terrorista Carlos Illich Ramírez, el Chacal, preso en una cárcel francesa por sus múltiples atentados y asesinatos contra el Estado judío. A Irán, además de antisemitismo, de acuerdo con las denuncias de la oposición, luego confirmadas por Israel, le entrega uranio para su desarrollo armamentista, le sirve de puente para la adquisición de equipos sofisticados que poseen uso bélico, mientras a los terroristas islamistas que lo requieran para sus actividades clandestinas les entrega pasaportes venezolanos que les permiten moverse con ciertas garantías de no ser detectados.

A los rusos los soborna y contenta con la compra millonaria de armas y aviones, los invita a maniobras navales conjuntas, y les ha dicho que el país examinaría de buen grado la presencia militar permanente de ese país o la instalación de una base de escucha como la de Lourdes, que existiera durante muchos años cerca de La Habana, cerrada en el 2001 por Vladimir Putin, y con la cual Moscú espiaba todas las comunicaciones norteamericanas de la costa atlántica. A los chinos, más pragmáticos, los complace comprometiendo las entregas de petróleo a un precio preferencial, para que puedan seguir creciendo al ritmo del 8 o 10% anual.

No hay la menor coherencia moral o ideológica en el sistema chavista de alianzas. A Hugo Chávez le da lo mismo el indigenismo colectivista y autoritario de Evo Morales, el islamismo fanático de Ahmadineyad, la cleptocracia kirchnerista, el estalinismo decrépito de los hermanos Castro, el capitalismo mafioso de Rusia o la versión salvaje y autoritaria que arraigó en China. Le tiene sin cuidado si sus aliados de Hamás y Hezbolá dinamitan autobuses escolares o instituciones de beneficencia, como ocurrió con la AMIA en Buenos Aires, o si secuestran ciudadanos indefensos, extorsionan y trafican en drogas, como sucede con las FARC colombianas. Todo lo que se les exige es que practiquen alguna suerte de antiamericanismo, le den respaldo político y diplomático a su proyecto de conquista planetaria y sean renuentes al mercado y a las libertades individuales.

En su gráfico lenguaje cuartelero, Chávez se refirió a uno de sus adversarios, al que obligó a abandonar el país para no acabar en la cárcel, como ``un loco con un cañón''. En realidad, el loco provisto de un cañón es él, y no deja de disparar constantemente contra cualquiera que se mueva, lo critique o le moleste. ¿En qué terminará su vertiginosa aventura? Obviamente, en el desastre. No se puede pelear en tantos frentes sin que en algún momento sobrevenga la derrota. La reacción de los senados de Brasil y Paraguay es todo un símbolo.

Después de escrito este artículo, hace unas horas, fue encausado en New York el oficial de inteligencia sirio Jamal Yousef, con pasaporte venezolano, acusado de de intentar venderles a las FARC un impresionante arsenal en el que había 18 misiles tierra-aire para derribar aviones. La transacción incluía el intercambio de una tonelada de cocaína. Yousef había vivido en Venezuela al amparo del gobierno de Hugo Chávez y se había trasladado a Honduras en época del gobierno de Zelaya. El actual gobierno hondureño lo entregó a las autoridades norteamericanas por medio de la DEA.

Title: Micheletti anuncia que participará en protesta internacional contra Chávez
Post by: captainccs on September 01, 2009, 07:04:16 PM
Micheletti anuncia que participará en protesta internacional contra Chávez

El presidente de Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, anunció hoy que se sumará el próximo viernes a una protesta internacional contra el gobernante de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, al igual que organizaciones civiles hondureñas. "Yo voy a participar, yo le pido a la población hondureña que igual participemos, porque aquí dictadores no queremos, de ninguna clase", respondió Micheletti ante preguntas de la prensa sobre la protesta contra Chávez. Micheletti, que fue elegido presidente por el Parlamento de su país después de que Manuel Zelaya fuera depuesto, no adelantó detalles de su participación en la protesta. La marcha anti-Chávez fue convocada por una plataforma cívica colombiana a través de Facebook y ya han respondido positivamente usuarios de esa red social en Colombia, Venezuela, Estados Unidos, Israel, Canadá, Perú, Ecuador, España y Francia. El Gobierno de Micheletti rompió relaciones diplomáticas con Venezuela en julio pasado por las "amenazas" de acciones militares por parte de Chávez, quien es aliado del depuesto Zelaya, derrocado por las Fuerzas Armadas el 28 de junio.

Title: No mas Chávez
Post by: captainccs on September 03, 2009, 07:44:52 PM
No mas Chávez

Queridos Amigos

A Protestar y Marchar
todos contra Chávez
Todo el tiempo


Ya basta de Chávez y su tiranía en contra del pueblo venezolano, contra los medios de comunicación y contra las democracias Latinoamericanas.  Ya basta de despilfarrar el dinero de Venezuela para mantener su populismo dictatorial. El sueño de Bolívar era una Venezuela libre y democrática, sin odio ni divisiones.

Vamos todos a marchar por Venezuela, por Latinoamérica y el resto del Hemisferio.

El terrorismo de Chávez tiene que parar YA. Tenemos que seguir luchando antes de que nuestros niños y los niños de nuestros niños terminen asesinados, torturados y mutilados en las manos del dictador como le sucedió a los hermanos cubanos, en las manos del déspota de Fidel Castro.

Levántate, Latinoamérica, por la democracia, porque sólo con democracia puedes hablar, pensar, trabajar y soñar. Porque nadie tiene derecho a decirte qué hablar, pensar o qué soñar...

Me llegó por email. Visitar también:

Title: Iniciativa del diputado colombiano Armando Benedetti
Post by: captainccs on September 04, 2009, 10:53:13 AM
Iniciativa del diputado colombiano Armando Benedetti


Title: Infeliz Navidad, Hugo Chavez - Presidente de Venezuela
Post by: captainccs on December 06, 2009, 07:08:57 AM
Infeliz Navidad, Hugo Chavez - Presidente de Venezuela

To:  Presidente de Venezuela - Hugo Chavez
Esta carta será enviada al Presidente de Venezuela Hugo Chavez,el dia 24 de Diciembre del 2009...UNETE Y FIRMA


Presidente Chávez… pensé mucho antes de empezar esta carta y no llegué a ninguna conclusión que me hiciera cambiar la idea de hacérsela llegar para Navidad. Me senté frente al computador pensando también en escribirle a su amiga Piedad, pero ahora creo que no vale la pena… ella es solamente un peón en el complicado juego de ajedrez que usted pretende ganar. (O una PEONA, para usar el lenguaje “incluyente” que tanto les gusta a ustedes).

Desde siempre he visto en usted a un enemigo… desde siempre. Cuando usted estaba en campaña política me parecía improbable que pudiera ganar. Una persona con ese talante y a quien se le notaron las mentiras desde un principio, no podía ganar. Pero ganó y “triunfó la democracia”. “Que venezolanos tan pendejos”, pensé. Y el tiempo me ha dado la razón. Resultaron siendo víctimas de su propio invento. Y hoy lo lamento por ellos. Lo único bueno de esa desgracia ha sido que colombianos y venezolanos nos hemos acercado solidariamente.

Que usted quiera joder a los venezolanos finalmente no es algo en lo que nosotros los colombianos debamos inmiscuirnos… fueron ellos finalmente quienes lo eligieron (la primera vez, de la segunda tengo dudas), pero que su ambición llegue hasta Colombia y pretenda hacernos comer la basura con que está alimentando a su pueblo, eso si que no. Ni en sueños, pues.

Otro cuento distinto son los gobiernos cómplices, dizque de izquierda, que embolatan a su pueblo con una retórica libertaria gaseosa e incomprensible, a cambio de su generosidad con la chequera de los venezolanos. Otro cuento distinto es Evo que resultó ser el más malicioso, taimado y perverso representante indígena de Bolivia, un pobre títere orgulloso de su jefe rico, un especímen sin dignidad ni honor. Otro cuento es Cristina y su marido que encaramados en un status diferente al de su vecino boliviano defienden una supuesta revolución que tenía a Argentina encaminada a un futuro parecido al de Venezuela, a cambio de mucha plata para comprar conciencias, vestidos y maquillaje. Otro cuento es Ortega, que no sabe en donde está parado, un cerdo de baja condición que, deslumbrado por su plata, es capaz de cualquier barbarie, de cualquier atropello. Otro cuento es Correa, que a pesar de toda la diplomacia de reconciliación con Colombia, todavía está en deuda con usted (y con sus compinches de las FARC). Y otro cuento es Zelaya, a quien le salió el tiro por la culata porque creyó que los hondureños eran ignorantes. Una pequeña gran batalla que han resistido hasta las nuevas elecciones. Fuera de concurso, Castro… para ese monstruo ya no existen calificativos. Y de Lula ni hablemos, el perfecto lobo con piel de oveja que lo ahija y alcahuetea soterradamente.

Veía hace diez años sus alocuciones televisadas cuando iba con cierta frecuencia a Caracas, cuando aquí no era popular su “Aló Presidente” y cuando muy pocos se olían sus verdaderas intenciones, y desde entonces notaba displicencia en sus palabras para Colombia. Aquí empezamos a pellizcarnos cuando usted armó semejante tierrero por la captura de Rodrigo Granda en Venezuela. Su actitud cómplice y mezquina, siempre en defensa de los más hampones, encendió las luces de alerta.

Pero Colombia, Presidente Chávez, le ha resultado un hueso muy duro de roer. Colombia es la protagonista de sus pesadillas. Y aunque quiera propagar su ideología sin fundamento, lo veo mal de cancilleres. Sus amigos cómplices colombianos están muy mal marcados. Difícilmente Samper convence a nadie, con gran dificultad Las FARC van conseguir simpatías masivas en su favor y es imposible que Piedad llegue a la presidencia algún día.

Aquí, Hugo Rafael, no se cierran medios de comunicación aunque trapeen con el Presidente. Aquí no se le roban las empresas a nadie, aquí no existen gaminas como Lina Ron representando al gobierno e inventándose turbas criminales, aquí no se hace cola para comprar una libra de arroz, aquí no tenemos que bañarnos a totumadas y en 3 minutos, aquí no tenemos racionamientos de energía. Y eso que por mucho tiempo hemos sido su vecino pobre. Usted habría podido ser la Dubai latinoamericana y haberse ganado una popularidad inimaginable, pero decidió regalar todo a cambio de respeto y apoyo, pasando por encima de las necesidades de su gente.

Fui de las personas que brincaron de alegría con el golpe que lo sacó del poder… y me tuve que tragar el sapo, usted volvió en menos de lo que cualquiera hubiera esperado. Y hasta hoy llevamos años mamándonos todas sus sandeces, groserías, amenazas, improperios, injerencias indebidas, complicidades criminales, burlas y desaires…

Empecé esta carta con la firme intención de no caer en el insulto soez, (aunque es lo único que usted inspira) y créame que he hecho acopio de toda mi voluntad para no referirme a su madre. Yo hago ingentes esfuerzos para no caer en la chabacanería y en la ordinariez que lo caracterizan a usted. Siempre he dicho que uno no puede ser igual a lo que critica, pero debe disculparme, porque usted me causa una repulsión infinita. No crea que es agradable prender el televisor y verlo a usted, abrir mi facebook y verlo a usted, ojear las revistas en el supermercado y verlo a usted, abrir la primera página de cualquier periódico y verlo a usted y oir hablar todos los días de usted, como si fuera el rey del universo. Qué mamera.

La verdad es que estoy haciendo catarsis. Ese amor que usted dice sentir por el pueblo colombiano está muy mal correspondido. Los colombianos lo detestamos, salvo una minoría que lo defiende sin argumentos por que se oponen a Uribe. ¡Desagradecidos! Si no fuera por Uribe, usted ya se nos hubiera metido al rancho con la eficaz ayuda de sus amigos de las FARC y sus escuderos Córdoba, Samper, Dussán y toda esa recua zurda que posa de demócrata y no son más que el brazo político de la guerrilla sanguinaria de este país.

Es evidente su odio por el gobierno colombiano. Cuando a uno le eliminan a sus amigos y le descubren los secretos, la mejor manera de defenderse es atacando.

Usted es el presidente de un país muy rico (bueno, ahora no se qué tanto) pero los colombianos no le comemos cuento de revolución. La verdadera revolución la hacemos día a día quienes trabajamos honestamente para vivir, los que nos la rebuscamos y con ingenio, salimos adelante, los que crean empresa para estimular el empleo, los que luchamos por saber, conocer y aprender para ser mejores personas, para sobresalir, pero usted, pobre imbécil sin educación, no es más que un ignorante al que se le apareció la virgen con toneladas de petrodólares.

Presidente Chávez, yo a usted no le encuentro nada bueno. Usted es un mentiroso, un esquizofrénico, un tipo de bajísima condición moral, con escasa educación, con un prontuario delictivo abultado, un cínico, un cobarde, un monigote que tiene que comprar el respeto, un remedo de presidente incoherente y malhablado, un maldito guerrillero de mierda.

Y a mi no me vaya a calificar de “pitiyanqui”, hasta que yo no averigüe qué significa eso exactamente ni se vaya a inventar que pertenezco a la más rancia “burguesía neogranadina” ni que me paga el gobierno, ni que tengo intereses políticos personales, por que no soy más que una ciudadana de a pie, con dos dedos más de frente que la minoría retrasada que lo aplaude como autista.

Ah… y ahora dizque quiere guerra. Usted parece una histérica loca con viruela. Subnormal patético y mediocre. Tanta amenaza también nos tiene mamados. Matón de medio pelo. ¿Qué se ha imaginado? ¿Que somos sus lacayos a quienes hay que castigar por desobediencia? Atrévase a atacarnos ¡degenerado! y su propio pueblo le cobrará el someterlo a un enfrentamiento bélico que nadie quiere. Atrévase, a ver si por fin nos lo quitamos de encima. Su enfermizo delirio de armas, guerra y sangre va a dejar huérfano al rebaño impresentable de sus amigos.

Aprovechando la época decembrina que ya viene, le quiero desear una infeliz navidad y un año nuevo bien podrido. Sueño con que sus militares lo traicionen, con que efectivos gringos lo saquen en calzoncillos de Miraflores, con que un valiente francotirador le de un disparo en esa testa llena de basura que tiene, con que su propio pueblo se levante por fin y le desinfle el ego, con que un patriota venezolano lo envenene, con que lo ataque un virus bien berraco y acabe con usted en una semana.

Cualquiera de las opciones anteriores me harían más feliz que si se me apareciera el Niño Dios con un millón de dólares.

Ciudadana Colombiana

Title: Discurso de Guillermo Cochez, embajador de Panamá ante la OEA.
Post by: captainccs on December 19, 2009, 10:58:00 AM
Chávez versus Cochez
Sábado, 19 de diciembre de 2009

A continuación el espléndido, brillante, valiente y humoroso discurso de Guillermo Cochez, embajador de Panamá ante la OEA. No me queda duda de que Rómulo Betancourt debe estar aplaudiéndolo desde su tumba:


Si no tiene tiempo de ver los ocho minutos, recomiendo 1) el  chiste sobre la reacción de un derechista, un demócrata cristiano y un comunista a la infidelidad de su novia o esposa (el volumen de las risas es revelador); y 2) la sabrosa  síntesis de las “otras” amenazas a la democracia en América Latina.

Title: Se le complica el panorama a Chávez para las elecciones
Post by: captainccs on January 27, 2010, 02:17:58 PM

26 Ene 2010 - 10:25 pm
Se le complica el panorama a Chávez para las elecciones
Por: Joaquim Ibarz

El cierre de RCTV, la salida de fichas clave del gobierno y la crisis económica y energética alimentan manifestaciones populares.


Foto: EFE

La policía venezolana se enfrentó a estudiantes que protestaban por el cierre de RCTV. 

En medio de crecientes marchas de protesta de los estudiantiles venezolanos, que ya han ocasionado la muerte de dos jóvenes en Mérida, renunció el vicepresidente Ramón Carrizález (uno de los dirigentes más cercanos al presidente Hugo Chávez) y su esposa, Yubirí Ortega, ministra de Ambiente. Un escueto comunicado oficializó la decisión de los ministros sin dar mayor explicación. Pero según el diario El Nacional, de Caracas, la renuncia se originó por discrepancias de Carrizález con Diosdado Cabello, ministro responsable del cierre de RCTV.

Carrizález era partidario de no clausurar el canal de manera inmediata. Cabello apoyaba la vía de actuar con todo el rigor y la fuerza que, en su opinión, le otorgan las leyes. El respaldo de Chávez al cierre habría originado la dimisión, que representa un nuevo revés para Hugo Chávez, quien enfrenta un complicado panorama para las elecciones legislativas de septiembre ante el creciente descontento de la población por la devaluación del bolívar, los cortes en el agua y la electricidad, y altos índices de criminalidad.

Para rematar, el director del Banco Central de Venezuela, Eugenio Vásquez Orellana, renunció también a su cargo. El anuncio se conoció un día después de que su padrino político, Ramón Carrizález, dimitiera aduciendo motivos personales.

El malestar de los venezolanos está creciendo, como una mancha de aceite, las protestas estudiantiles se extienden por todo el país en defensa de la libertad de expresión. El movimiento estudiantil volvió a salir a las calles en varios puntos de Caracas y otras ciudades para protestar por el cierre del canal RCTV. Pese a que han sido reprimidos con gases lacrimógenos, miles de estudiantes se concentraron de nuevo en Chacaíto, punto neurálgico de la capital venezolana, para marchar con pancartas y carteles. El poderoso movimiento estudiantil, que en 2007 fue determinante para que Chávez perdiera el referendo para poder reelegirse, se está reorganizando.

Ayer celebró asambleas en todas las universidades del país para definir las acciones que seguirán en los próximos días y continuar las protestas en contra del cierre de RCTV. Roderick Navarro, presidente de la Federación de Centros Universitarios de la Universidad Central (UCV), dijo que todas las universidades de la capital se habían unido a la movilización.

Óscar Lucien, profesor de posgrado en Comunicación Social y responsable de la no gubernamental Ciudadanía Activa, señaló que, “a pesar de los laberintos legales, la lectura es política, no sólo por la línea opositora de RCTV, sino porque el gobierno no logra captar sintonía con las decenas de medios que tiene a su disposición”.

Hacía tiempo que los venezolanos no protestaban de esta manera generalizada. Han hecho sentir su malestar de manera sonora. Incluso, el rechazo se ha sentido fuera del país.

La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos deploró la salida del aire de algunas estaciones de televisión porque “se profundiza el deterioro del derecho a la libertad de expresión en Venezuela”. El cese de RCTV también generó el rechazo del secretario general de la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA), José Miguel Insulza; del Departamento de Estado norteamericano; de la cúpula de la Iglesia católica venezolana y de grupos opositores locales.

El ex ministro Teodoro Petkoff escribió en TalCual, diario caraqueño que dirige: “Tendrán que prohibir internet, twitter, los celulares, los SMS y toda la fantástica parafernalia comunicacional de estos tiempos para callar a este pueblo”.

Según Petkoff, “por encima de la vocación totalitaria del régimen, que quisiera una sociedad silenciosa y resignada, lo que reconforta y llena de esperanza es la presencia indomable de un país que no se la cala, que responde y lucha. “Esto nos lo cobramos en septiembre”, dice una voz anónima en algún periódico. Voz del común. Pura sabiduría popular de quien sabe que no por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano y que el juego no se acaba sino cuando se acaba.

Joaquim Ibarz | EL ESPECTADOR

Title: El diálogo Uribe-Chávez -- ¡buenísssimo!
Post by: captainccs on February 25, 2010, 08:23:37 AM
Una fuente anónima envío hoy a nuestra sala de redacción la transcripción de pelea entre Álvaro Uribe y el Presidente Chávez, a continuación, el texto:

Comienza el almuerzo

Calderón: –¡Disfruten el almuerzo!

Chávez a Evo: –Me pasas la Ketchup.

Evo a Chávez: –La tiene Uribe, comandante.

Chávez a Evo: –Pídesela, que yo no le hablo.¡Es un vasallo del imperio!

Calderón a Chávez: –Hugo, estamos comiendo.

Uribe a todos: –Lo escuché y exijo una disculpa.

Chávez a todos: –No me disculpo. La revolución no se disculpa, ni descansa.

Leonel: –Comamos y buen apetito

Chávez a todos: –Apetito el del imperio (a media voz)

Uribe a Chávez: –No sea cansón, hermano. Tanto hablar del imperio y ¿quieres la Ketchup? Ven y quítamela

Chávez a Uribe: –Te voy a bloquear el postre.

Uribe a Chávez: –Hasta eso me quieres bloquear.

Chávez a Uribe: –A que me paro y te quito la salsa.

Uribe a Chávez: –A que no haces la vuelta.

Chávez a Uribe: –A que sí.

Uribe a Chávez: –A que no. Qué jartera.

Castro a Chávez: –Óyeme tú, Chávez, quédate tranquilo

Voz anónima: –Que nadie se meta. Esto se pone bueno

Chávez a Castro: –Si Fidel me lo pide, me voy.

Castro a Chávez: –Fidel dice que no caigas en la provocación

Chávez a Castro: –¿Seguro?

Castro a Chávez: –Seguro. Te lo pongo.

Fidel a Chávez: –Hugo, no caigas. Es una treta del imperio, ¿no lo ves?

Chávez a Fidel: –How are you, Fidel?

Fidel a Chávez: –No sigas, que esto lo filtrarán los medios de la derecha

Chávez a Fidel: –¿Y cuándo nos vemos, Fidel?

Fidel a Chávez: –Cuelga y véte ya.

Chávez a Fidel: –Ok.

Chávez a todos: –Me voy de aquí.

Uribe a Chávez: –¡Quédese, jetón!

Chávez a Chávez: –¡Vete al carajo!

Uribe a Chávez: –Sea varón.

Chávez a Uribe: –Vamos a arreglar esto afuera.

Uribe a Chávez: –Afuera no, porque los micrófonos están aquí

Chávez a Uribe: –¿Micrófonos?

Uribe a Chávez: –Micrófonos, desde lejos y a través de los micrófonos eres muy hombre.

El mesonero: Cállense.

Colaborador: David González

Title: Chávez anuncia que Venezuela abandonará la CIDH
Post by: captainccs on February 25, 2010, 02:59:49 PM
En Venezuela no hay derechos humanos y ahora habrá menos aún.

Chávez anuncia que Venezuela abandonará la CIDH

04:48 PM Caracas.- El presidente de la República, Hugo Chávez, anunció hoy que Venezuela saldrá de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) después de que ese organismo denunció la intolerancia política, hostilidad frente a la oposición y la violencia contra sindicalistas, mujeres y campesinos en ese país.

Chávez dijo en conferencia de prensa que vamos a "prepararnos para denunciar el acuerdo a través del cual Venezuela se adscribió, o como se llame a esa nefasta Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos y salirnos de ahí pues. ¨Pa' qué? No vale la pena, es una mafia lo que hay ahí".

El gobernante fustigó duramente el informe que emitió en la víspera la CIDH sobre Venezuela, el cual dijo que "es pura basura" y luego al secretario del organismo interamericano Santiago Cantón lo llamó "excremento puro".

El gobernante sostuvo que la CIDH es un "cuerpo politizado" que es utilizado por "el imperio para agredir" a los gobiernos, destaca AP.

"Esta es la misma comisión que respaldó a Carmona aquí en el 2002, y es la amenaza permanente, el intento de aislarnos, pero ahí están los resultados, Venezuela será sede de la Cumbre de la Comunidad de Estados de Latinoamérica y el Caribe (Celac)", enfatizó.

El presidente de la República reiteró su convicción de que en un futuro cercano la Organización de Estados Americanos desaparecerá.

En su extenso informe Democracia y Derechos Humanos en Venezuela, emitido en la víspera por la CIDH en Washington y difundido por correo electrónico, se denunció "la impunidad en la que se encuentran los casos de violaciones a los derechos humanos".

La CIDH advirtió también la existencia de "un patrón de impunidad en los casos de violencia, que afecta de manera particular a los comunicadores sociales, los defensores de derechos humanos, los sindicalistas, las personas que participan en manifestaciones públicas, las personas privadas de su libertad, los campesinos, los pueblos indígenas y las mujeres".

Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 26, 2010, 02:13:10 PM
Title: Chávez se atraganta con su ley electoral
Post by: captainccs on September 28, 2010, 11:03:38 AM
Ya el mundo entero se está entrando de que Chavez es un tamposo porque sin trampa no gana. Lo mejor del caso es que fué una joven periodista venezolana, Andreina Flores, quien lo puso a balucear necedades porque respueta clara no hay otra sino "hice trampa para ganar."

Andreina Flores en twitter (

Chávez se atraganta con su ley electoral

El presidente de Venezuela arremete contra quienes cuestionan por qué la oposición empató a votos y sin embargo consiguió 33 diputados menos

PABLO ORDAZ | Caracas 28/09/2010

Hugo Chávez está enfadado, muy enfadado. Los resultados electorales del domingo le han torcido el gesto. No tanto por la resurrección de la oposición -que logró 65 diputados de los 165 en juego-, ni siquiera porque los 98 obtenidos por su partido no son suficientes para legislar a su antojo, sino porque la forma de ganar, mediante una ley electoral diseñada a su medida hace solo un año, ha dejado al descubierto su particular manera de usar la democracia. El enfado de Chávez se desató en la tarde del lunes, ante una pregunta de una periodista venezolana.

Más que una pregunta, era "la" pregunta: "La diferencia entre los votos obtenidos por su partido, el Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV), y los que ha logrado la Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) es de apenas 100.000. Y es difícil de entender que habiendo obtenido casi el mismo número de votos, la oposición haya alcanzado 37 escaños menos que el PSUV [finalmente sería de 33 la diferencia]. Me pregunto si se estaría confirmando la tesis de la oposición que sostiene que la redistribución de los circuitos electorales se hizo con la intención de favorecer al PSUV o que quizá el voto del PSUV vale por dos...". ¿Qué le respondió Chávez? Nada. No supo que responderle y, fiel a su estilo, arremetió contra ella.

La acusó de no conocer la Constitución, de pertenecer a un medio que difunde mentiras, de no prestar atención y formular "preguntas gelatinosas que no tienen fundamentación lógica", de vivir en la Luna, de manipular... Entre exabrupto y exabrupto -coreado por parte de los miembros de su gobierno y de los periodistas del régimen que le ríen las gracias-, Hugo Chávez intentaba responder, cambiaba papeles de sitio, se removía en su silla, agarraba un lápiz o invitaba a Andreína Flores, la periodista, a tomarse el café que le acababan de servir...

Pero el comandante presidente no hallaba una respuesta lógica... y al final decidió tirar por lo alto: acusó a quienes formulan esas preguntas de obedecer a oscuros intereses desestabilizadores que "lo que buscan es quitarle el petróleo a Venezuela para entregárselo a los yanquis...". Pero no respondió. Tal vez porque no había forma de hacerlo: con la ley anterior y estos mismos resultados, el PSUV y la Mesa de la Unidad hubiesen empatado a 80 diputados. Pero él reformó la ley de tal forma que en las zonas más proclives a su gestión un diputado valga menos votos que en las demarcaciones donde nunca ganó. El resultado no puede ser más claro: una victoria de 98 a 65 con el mismo número de votos.

Lo cierto es que el presidente, que estuvo 24 horas en silencio digiriendo en la intimidad el mal resultado, está dispuesto a utilizar los meses que le quedan hasta enero -fecha en que se constituirá la nueva Asamblea Nacional- para aprovechar la mayoría absoluta que todavía tiene. El jefe del comando Bolívar y diputado Aristóbulo Istúriz se lo advirtió así a la oposición: "Vamos a legislar hasta el último día, así que prepárense". Y Chávez, una vez se iba reponiendo del mal trago, desafiaba a la oposición a que convocara un referéndum para revocar su mandato: "Como son mayoría y ya yo cumplí tres años de este periodo, yo les hago un reto: ¡convoquen ya un revocatorio! ¿Para qué van a esperar dos años para sacarme? Dentro de dos años será más difícil, porque lo que viene es joropo, así que vayan comprando alpargatas".

Title: ¡Así se hizo el fraude electoral venezolano!
Post by: captainccs on September 29, 2010, 02:10:47 PM
¡Así se hizo el fraude electoral venezolano! | Salamandra, Gerrymandering

¡Así se hizo el fraude electoral venezolano! | Salamandra, Gerrymandering

Mucho se habla del fraude electoral que se cometió en Venezuela y como Hugo Chávez manipuló el sistema de votaciones para que el voto del PSUV valiera practicamente el doble, pero nadie logra explicar de forma detallada como se hizo, aprovechandose de este desconocimiento público, Chávez argumenta que en muchas partes del mundo se usa idéntico sistema, pero no es como dice Chávez, una cosa es un sistema electoral organizado en cirscunscripciones que beneficia a minorías específicas en su aplicación: étnicas, grupos migratorios, etc. (Gerrymandering positivo) y otra muy distinta es la aplicación del "Gerrymandering" a nivel total y con marcados fines políticos (Gerrymandering negativo).

Pero los fraudes electorales en Venezuela no son nada nuevos, se hacen a todo nivel y en todas las formas posibles, por ejemplo, según varias fuentes en Twitter, la sumatoria del conteo total de la votación Venezolana tuvo como resultado un precioso 106%.

Para mi sorpresa encontré que practicamente no existe información que denuncie el Gerrymandering Venezolano en la web, amén de ciertas páginas económicas o estadísticas especializadas, tuve que utilizar el programa Windows Media Capture para practicamente robarme (de hecho lo hice) una información en flash que debió ser transmitida de forma viral tanto por Youtube como por las redes sociales y que lamentablemente nunca se hizo:



Gerrymandering (pronúnciese yerrimándering) o guerrimandaje es un controvertido modo de redistribuir las circunscripciones electorales de un territorio para obtener ventaja, en especial en los lugares en los que se utiliza el sistema electoral mayoritario.

El gerrymandering puede también servir para favorecer o perjudicar a un determinado partido político o grupo étnico, lingüístico, religioso o social.

Origen del término

Proviene del nombre del gobernador de Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry. En 1812, la legislatura de Massachusetts redibujó los límites de los distritos electorales para favorecer a los candidatos del partido republicano jeffersoniano. Los periodistas que observaban el nuevo mapa electoral se percataron de que uno de los nuevos distritos tenía la forma de una salamandra (en inglés: salamander), a la que pusieron por nombre Gerry-mander. El término tuvo éxito y en la actualidad se sigue utilizando en la jerga de la ciencia política.

Gerrymandering positivo

En Estados Unidos, hay lo que se ha llamado Gerrymandering afirmativo o positivo, la Ley del Derecho al Voto ha permitido en el pasado al Gobierno dibujar curiosos distritos con el exclusivo propósito de posibilitar mayorías negras, o de origen latino o asiático. Sin embargo, la manipulación del sistema electoral para proteger la representación de minorías raramente está libre de controversias.

En Argentina

En 2002 el ex presidente Carlos Menem hizo resurgir una idea que ya venía impulsando, sin éxito, desde su período en la presidencia: la creación de una nueva provincia, denominada Del Plata, formada por el Gran Buenos Aires y la Capital Federal. La propuesta, según explicaba él, tenía como fin dar más participación política a los habitantes de la región, pero la prensa y la opositora Unión Cívica Radical siempre la interpretaron como un intento de diluir el poder de la oposición en la nueva entidad política: los 3 millones de habitantes de la Capital (en su mayoría votantes de la UCR) se convertirían en minoría frente a los 8 millones de habitantes del Gran Buenos Aires (bastión del justicialismo). El objetivo real del proyecto era, por lo tanto, crear una nueva provincia gobernada por el PJ.

En Venezuela

El CNE venezolano recientemente presentó una nueva delimitación de los circuitos electorales que, sometida a análisis, muestra signos evidentes de seguir criterios políticos y no geográficos. Esta nueva organización de los circuitos electorales, hecha de manera acomodaticia y a conveniencia del gobierno, por un CNE subordinado al Ejecutivo, está dirigida a conceder ventaja electoral a la bancada oficialista, haciendo prácticamente imposible para la Unidad Democrática obtener mayoría de diputados en ninguna entidad federal.

Votaciones Venezolanas, inconstitucionales e ilegales

Contrario a lo que establece el Art. 186 de la Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela el CNE (Consejo nacional Electoral), se dedicó a modificar los circuitos electorales para favorecer la opción del partido oficialista:

Artículo 186. La Asamblea Nacional estará integrada por diputados y diputadas elegidos o elegidas en cada entidad federal por votación universal, directa, personalizada y secreta con representación proporcional, según una base poblacional del uno coma uno por ciento de la población total del país.


El origen de la palabra gerrymandering comienza con esta caricatura política elaborado por Gilbert Stuart in 1812. El nombre de la caricatura es The Gerrymander que fue un juego de palabras con el apellido del gobernador de Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry y la segunda mitad de la palabra en inglés, salamander, lo que significa salamandra.

Estas elecciones en Venezuela fueron absolutamente incostitucionales e ilegales, tal parece que el señor Chávez es quien ignora (¡IGNORANTE!) su propia constitución.

Title: Comunicado de RCN Radio sobre su corresponsal en Caracas
Post by: captainccs on September 29, 2010, 03:04:38 PM
Comunicado de RCN Radio sobre su corresponsal en Caracas

Por: RCN Radio

RCN Radio, manifiesta respaldo total al trabajo profesional de nuestra corresponsal en Caracas, Andreina Flórez. En el tiempo que lleva con nosotros nos ha dado muestras de rigurosidad, disciplina y compromiso periodístico.
El pasado lunes en la rueda de prensa que concedió el presidente de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, tras la jornada electoral, se presentó un incidente lamentable a raíz de una pregunta formulada por nuestra corresponsal.

Consideramos en RCN Radio que era una pregunta pertinente, interesante desde el punto de vista periodístico para nuestra audiencia y sin ningún objetivo distinto al de llevar la información puntual a nuestro oyentes.

Sin embargo, la pregunta generó una reacción exageradamente crítica por parte del presidente Hugo Chávez. Una situación que lamentamos y rechazamos.

Hoy se conoce además un comunicado del Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Comunicación y la Información en el cual se refieren a la pregunta formulada como “una interrogante tendenciosa de la periodista”.

No compartimos ese calificativo como tampoco los cuestionamientos a las motivaciones de nuestra corresponsal cuando se afirma que busca “generar la polémica fácil para adquirir notoriedad o alimentar ciertas agendas políticas”.

Esperamos que, como lo señala el Ministerio en su comunicado, Andreína Flórez sea tratada “como periodista” y “sin ningún tipo de restricciones a su labor”.

Por parte de RCN Radio, reiteramos, nuestra corresponsal tiene el respaldo para el desarrollo de su labor profesional con total rigor, como lo ha venido haciendo.
Title: Triangulo amoroso en el rescate de la mina chilena
Post by: captainccs on October 13, 2010, 10:25:36 AM
Triangulo amoroso en el rescate de la mina chilena

¡La vida real si que trae sorpresas! Un humorista sugirió que Yonny Barrios se cambie el nombre a "Yonny Salgo."

Hay que felicitar a los chilenos por su increible labor de rescate. ¡Viva Chile!

La esposa del "doctor" asegura que no verá su rescate porque "irá la otra"

Santiago de Chile, 13 oct (EFE).- La esposa de Yonny Barrios, el "doctor" del grupo de 33 mineros atrapados desde el pasado 5 de agosto en una mina de la región chilena de Atacama, aseguró hoy que no asistirá al rescate de su marido porque "irá la otra".

"Estoy contenta porque se salvó, es un milagro de Dios, pero yo no iré a ver el rescate. Él me lo pidió, pero resulta que también invitó a la otra señora y yo tengo decencia. La cosa es clara: ella o yo", indicó a los periodistas Marta Salinas, con la que Barrios estuvo casado 28 años.

Durante el encierro el trabajador de 50 años, que está en el número 21 en el orden para ser rescatados, Salinas protagonizó un fuerte altercado con la amante de su marido, Susana Valenzuela, con quien se encontró en el campamento "Esperanza", donde los familiares de los mineros los han esperado por 70 días.

"Ni por la tele lo voy a mirar, además que con las conversaciones por teléfono y las cartas que me ha enviado tengo claro que está bien y con eso me basta", añadió Marta, que reveló que la misma primera dama de Chile, Cecilia Morel, le dijo que no era mala su decisión de no ir y dejar que lo haga su nueva pareja.

Barrios es conocido entre sus compañeros como el "doctor" por sus conocimientos sobre primeros auxilios, adquiridos desde pequeño cuando ayudaba a su madre que padecía diabetes.

Durante el encierro, que hoy cumple 70 días, Barrios se encargó de poner inyecciones, redactar los informes médicos de sus compañeros y dárselos al equipo de rescate.

Barrios empezó a trabajar en la mina San José en 1985 y volvió después de la última reapertura.

El día del derrumbe no le tocaba trabajar, había terminado su turno, pero uno de los jefes ofreció hacer un turno doble y él aceptó.

Title: WSJ: Ecuador
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 07, 2011, 10:50:59 PM
After last month's debt-ceiling debacle, a critical mass of President Obama's harshest critics have gone from calling him socialism's evil genius to tagging him as merely a clueless community organizer who is in over his head.

Yet while the haggling over spending exposed many of the president's weaknesses, it seems a mistake to underestimate his collectivist instincts. It may be true that if he cannot accomplish what he wants by decree, he loses interest fast. But it also remains evident that his worldview is largely aligned with the eternal struggle for an all-powerful state.

Observe U.S. foreign policy in Latin America over the last two and a half years: In particular, consider how Honduras took a beating from the Obama administration over its decision to remove a law-breaking leftist president in 2009, while Ecuador is getting little pushback from Washington as it steps ever closer to dictatorship.

This contradiction became pronounced last month when Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa, an ally of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, used his control of the judiciary to win a lawsuit against a columnist and three directors of the Ecuadoran daily El Universo. They will have to pay him a total of $42 million, and each has been sentenced to three years in jail.

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Ecuador's President Rafael Correa
.Mr. Obama's State Department is treating the Ecuadoran incident gingerly. It issued a brief statement on the importance of a free press and said that it "join the Inter American Press Association, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and others in expressing concern over the sentence in the El Universo case." There will be an appeal, and State said it "will closely follow the process." Yet with democracy in peril, that is downright timid—not to mention a little late—compared to the fury unleashed against Honduras two years ago.

In 2009, Honduras fought to save its democracy by removing then-President Manuel Zelaya, who had used street violence to try to extend his tenure in violation of his country's constitution. The Obama administration responded by pulling the travel visas of Honduras's Supreme Court judges, human rights ombudsman and members of Congress. It suspended most U.S. aid and supported the suspension of Honduras from the Organization of American States (OAS), which resulted in the cutoff of aid from international financial institutions.

As with Mr. Zelaya, the administration has given Mr. Correa a wide berth, despite his antidemocratic practices. Since he took office in 2007, he has used both state power and mob violence to enforce his will whenever other branches of government do not cooperate with his agenda. And he has used his primitive definition of democracy—majority rules—to destroy his opponents, stifle dissent and consolidate power.

In a May referendum that Mr. Correa organized, he asked voters, among other things, to give him control of the judiciary and the power to bar owners of media companies from engaging in other businesses. The narrow approval he won portends the end of pluralism in his country.

The president of a democracy might at least pretend to respect the independence of the judicial branch, but Mr. Correa has never bothered with appearances. "Yes, we want to put our hands in the court," he said in January as he prepared the country for the referendum.

The Americas in the News
Get the latest information in Spanish from The Wall Street Journal's Americas page.
.His determination to silence his media critics has been more overt, as the El Universo case demonstrates. The column in question called the president "a dictator" and challenged his claim that he was a victim of "a coup" in September 2009 when he went to a police barracks during a strike. Yet what most agitated Mr. Correa—and what he sued for—was the suggestion that he could be held accountable for giving the order to fire on the hospital across the street from the barracks, as part of his "coup" charade.

In a democracy, opinions are part of free speech and the president's attorney never showed that the columnist had lied. Moreover, the government has classified most documents related to the incident, and a report from the military command that says that Mr. Correa gave the order to fire was not permitted as evidence in the case.

With his court victory, Mr. Correa has established that those who cross him should expect to be financially ruined. Radio and television stations also have been reminded that the government controls the renewal of their licenses.

When I called the OAS press office for a statement on the travesty in Ecuador, the person who came to the phone would only say that the OAS has "no comment." It is hardly surprising. The credibility of that institution has been destroyed because, in the absence of U.S. leadership, Mr. Chávez and company have taken it over. OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, a washed-up Chilean Socialist, bends to every whim of his chavista task masters.

This brings us back to the question of where Mr. Obama's sympathies lie. A good clue can be found by comparing the aggression launched against Tegucigalpa with the timidity of the policy toward Quito.

Title: tregua en El Salvador
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 07, 2012, 09:27:33 AM
Title: Llore por Argentina
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 20, 2012, 09:58:20 AM

Title: London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.
Post by: captainccs on August 20, 2012, 10:31:41 AM
Venezuelan Infrastructure Suffers From Fourteen Years of Chavismo

August 19, 2012


Caracas has three main highways that take you out to the rest of the country. For a few hours this weekend, only one of them was available, the Autopista Regional del Centro. The other two, the Autopista de Oriente and the Caracas-La Guaira highway were closed for different reasons, making life difficult for those wishing or needing to travel.

The Autopista de Oriente was closed because the bridge at Cupira, about 130 Kms. East of Caracas, collapsed last week, as you can see in the picture above. The School of Engineers of Puerto La Cruz had been warning since 2009 that the bridge was in bad shape, but the warnings, much like those of the viaduct in the Caracas La Guaira highway a few years ago, were ignored by the Chavista Government. On top of that, you can see in the picture the large truck crane sitting in the middle of the bridge. There are reports that this truck crane, leased by the Government, weights almost twice as much as Venezuelan laws allow for a vehicle. Nobody stopped it and it was not complying with the regulations for a large vehicle circulating in a highway. This may have contributed to the collapse of the 40 year old bridge.

The consequences are felt everywhere. This is vacation season and an estimated 30,000 people scheduled to return from Margarita island by Ferry in the next couple of weeks will have troubles doing so, unless they take a 4 to 5 hour detour. Add commerce and supplies to the East and you can see that the picture is not pretty. The first day of the collapse the Government said it would have an alternate route ready in three days, but word now is that it will take around 15 days for the alternate route to be ready.

Meanwhile, the Caracas la Guaira highway was shut down yesterday for 14 hours (it was less than that in the end) so that the steel beam of the bridge of a new distributor in the Caracas La Guaira highway could be put in place. This was obviously needed, the information was unclear. At the beginning of the week, I thought it would affect me and I would have to sleep at a Hotel near the coast, as I had an afternoon flight out. But the hours were changed magically and it did not affect me, but it did many others departing and arriving from Maiquetia airport. You only had two alternatives, either sleep at a hotel down by the Coast, or take the old Carretera Vieja, which is extreme adventure tourism because of its decaying state, as well as the possibility of being mugged. You can see the new steel beam below:


But the more interesting thing is why this distributor is being built. The Distributor leads to Ciudad Caribia, a supposedly “socialist” city invented by Chavez on one of his Alo Presidentes. People are given the apartments, but they don’t own them. But the worst part is that thousands of apartments have been built but transportation to and from that new city is terrible. The plan is to have over 100,000 people live there by the year 2018. The problem is that the Caracas La Guaira highway is already overloaded and there are no plans for an alternate route to the 59 year old highway. (I know exactly how long it has been around, my mother always told us about going to see the highway the day it was opened, despite the fact that she was nine months pregnant and gave birth to my sister the next day)

But this is typical of the improvisation of Chavismo. Ciudad Caribia was rushed, without having proper infrastructure for it. People are very critical of it and construction quality has been bad, with building walls falling down months after the construction has been completed. This is not unique to Ciudad Caribia. All over the country buildings are rising, without any additional infrastructure being built. In order to rush the housing units to completion, all ordinances are bypassed, there is no planning and the result is that the quality of life is simply lowered for everyone. I guess that is what they mean by socialism.

Chavez no longer has the excuse of blaming the previous Government. Venezuelan democracy was reinstated in 1958 and Chavez has governed for 26% of those years. Moreover, he has had immense resources but has little to show in terms of infrastructure. In fact, even housing is a late project by Chavez, conceived last year as a way of buying votes ahead of the upcoming election. Chavez track record in housing is so dismal, that he has yet to better the average of the Caldera years in any given year, despite the fact that oil was in the low teens when Caldera was President.

But his track record in maintenance is even worse. Electric projects, highways and bridges have been neglected. Prior to Chavez there would be maintenance, even if few significant infrastructure projects were built.  But those in charge of maintaining the infrastructure were slowly replaced by loyalists, many military officers. Venezuelan infrastructure has suffered fourteen years of neglect under Chavismo.

You would think that this would impact the upcoming Presidential vote. The excuse of the previous Government is no longer valid. After 14 years, Chavez really has little to show, so he resorts to selling ideology rather than facts in his campaign. Hopefully for Venezuelans, it will not work this time.
Title: Camino al mar por Bolivia
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 14, 2013, 03:31:38 PM
Title: $.25B to El Salvador US haters
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 15, 2013, 06:04:51 PM
A U.S. Reward for Misrule in El Salvador
The FMLN has made the country poorer and less free. Yet $227 million in American aid is coming.


In 2001, while Americans were reeling from the deadly terrorist attacks that took the lives of thousands of innocent civilians in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, former Salvadoran guerrilla leader Salvador Sánchez Cerén was leading a mob that celebrated the carnage by burning the American flag in the streets of San Salvador.

Now the former terrorist is the country's vice president and is running for president in 2014. Last week the U.S. government's Millennium Challenge Corporation—an independent foreign-aid agency created by Congress in 2004—approved a new package of $277 million in aid for El Salvador, effectively sanctioning the antidemocratic methods of governance that Mr. Sánchez Cerén represents. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is chairman of the MCC board, which includes Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Morton Halperin of George Soros's Open Society Foundations. To understand why so many Americans distrust Washington's foreign-policy agenda, look no further than this bizarre aid decision.

First some more background: Mr. Sánchez Cerén's onetime guerrilla group—the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front—is El Salvador's ruling political party, and he is vice president under FMLN President Mauricio Funes.

The Funes-Sánchez Cerén government, in office since 2009, has made El Salvador decidedly poorer and less free. Its international reputation as a destination for capital has seriously deteriorated, and allegations of corruption are rife. The World Economic Forum, the World Bank and Transparency International have all noted the country's worsening investment climate. (I detailed this fall from grace in a July 1 Americas column.)

WSJ's Americas columnist Mary Anastasia O'Grady examines the decision to renew U.S. aid to El Salvador. Photo: Associated Press

El Salvador's reversal of fortune started under Mr. Funes's predecessor, center-right president Tony Saca, in office from 2004-09. He also had a problem with the rule of law. Mr. Saca has since been kicked out of the Arena party and today plays the role of third-party king maker.

Yet the most troubling development has to do with the Funes government's efforts to consolidate power by eliminating the independence of the country's Supreme Court. In 2010, when the FMLN disapproved of a ruling on judges from one of the high court's panels, the party's supporters broke into the court building so pro-FMLN judges could be installed.

That set off a constitutional crisis. When a settlement on the judges was negotiated by the political parties behind closed doors, bypassing the constitution and the rule of law, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation applauded. That was bad enough. But that solution isn't giving the FMLN the results it wants now, and the party once again seems to be trying to remove uncooperative judges so that it can name its own bench.

Others in the region who have managed this kind of coup against institutional checks on power include the late Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Nicaraguan strongman Daniel Ortega. If the FMLN prevails, another domino will have fallen in Latin America, this time underwritten by the U.S. government.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation decision to funnel more millions to the country has stunned Salvadorans who are fighting to save their democracy. The U.S. government's opinion is important in El Salvador, and an MCC vote to withhold funds because of poor governance would have been a black eye for the FMLN. Instead, Washington has signaled the Salvadoran political class on both sides of the aisle that creeping authoritarianism is fine with Uncle Sam.

It's not like Washington doesn't know what's going on. Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy voiced concern this summer about the Salvadoran government's weak record on corruption and respect for judicial independence. In a Sept. 12 statement after the grant was approved, Sen. Leahy noted that the MCC was "designed to reward countries whose governments are taking effective steps to address key issues of governance, particularly combating corruption, strengthening the rule of law, and supporting equitable economic growth."

Mr. Leahy further stated that El Salvador remains "a country of weak democratic institutions where the independence of the judiciary has been attacked, corruption is widespread and transnational criminal organizations have flourished."

Mr. Funes has made it clear that he couldn't care less what Mr. Leahy thinks and instead has joined Russia's Vladimir Putin in the new international game of slapping the U.S. around. Before last week's MCC vote, the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Mari Carmen Aponte, was quoted in the Salvadoran press expressing concerns that threats to high-court independence could hold up approval of the MCC grant. President Funes publicly swatted her away like a fly at a picnic. He said she was expressing her opinion and that the MCC grant was a go.

As it turned out, Mr. Funes was right. Nothing stops the aid community in Washington from giving money to its valued "clients."
Title: Russia begins to expand into Latin America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 21, 2014, 09:07:46 PM
Title: GPF: Pink Tide in Latin America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 12, 2018, 02:16:34 PM
South America’s ‘Pink Tide’ in Transition
Mar 8, 2018
By Allison Fedirka

Leftist governments are staging a comeback in South America, right? The talk surrounding upcoming elections throughout the continent seems to suggest they are. Nostalgia for the days of economic prosperity in Brazil has lent credence to the notion that former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva will run for president again. In Argentina, unpopular and painful economic reforms championed by President Mauricio Macri have breathed new life into rumors that citizens would prefer the populist policies of the previous administration. Other examples abound, but suffice it to say, the “pink tide” – South America’s peculiar brand of leftism – is in vogue again.
Or is it? It’s true that the left is alive and well. But the pink tide began to recede in 2015, and despite statements to the contrary, it’s still on its way out, not on its way in.

One Extreme to the Other

The pink tide came to be in the early 21st century. South America leaders mixed elements of populism and socialism into their governments. They lauded the working class, maintained a presence in many aspects of the daily lives of their subjects and regulated the economy. It was not a return to red communism; it was a paler shade of socialism. Hence the name pink tide.

The rise of the left was a result of two things: disillusionment with the ruling governments and higher commodity prices. The political climate of the time gave governments a mandate to more actively try to improve their citizens’ quality of life, renew economic activity and buck the country that so often told them what to do: the United States. Higher commodity prices gave these governments the money to fund large-scale social programs and spurred economic growth. With strong public and economic backing, leftist governments grew more popular, taking hold just about everywhere except Colombia.

But this newfound fervor would not last. Indeed, the political history of the past century suggests that countries tend to swing from one political extreme to the other. Policies that reflect whichever mode of government is in place are felt most acutely in economic management, and their economies depend largely on commodities.

Indeed, commodities – particularly metals, grains and more recently, oil – are the ties that bind South America to the rest of the world. In the 1920s, the region traded openly and primarily with the U.S. and Europe. Commodity prices tanked when the stock market crashed in 1929, and countries began to seek other ways to nurture their economies. World War II complicated things for these countries, since South America traditionally purchased finished manufactured goods from Europe and the U.S. With their industries going offline or reverting to the production of wartime materials, the region had limited access to manufactured goods, and what did arrive was extremely expensive.

It was during this time that countries of the region began to look inward for solutions. They subsequently adopted import substitution models to manage their economies. This model requires a strong hand to regulate the import of finished goods, provide production subsides to increase domestic consumption and devise other programs that facilitate the development of national industry. But the model never fully performed as advertised. Instead, it led to high government spending, debt and distorted markets. This continued into the heady days of the Cold War in the 1970s. Afraid that this would give communism a foothold in the Western Hemisphere, the United States countered leftist movements at nearly every turn, exiling, imprisoning or killing their members. The movements weakened accordingly.

By the time the Cold War ended in 1991, right-wing governments began to assume power throughout the region. Many South American economies had been in a precarious state. They were very far in debt, which they had trouble servicing, and in need of loans and investment. In what became known as the Washington Consensus, institutions such as the U.S. Treasury Department, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank encouraged and promoted the adoption of fiscal reforms, privatization, market deregulation and opening to trade and investment in exchange for loans and investments. They honored the end of the agreement, but they were ultimately unsuccessful in transforming their economies. The right-wing, U.S.-friendly governments soon fell out of favor.

Conditions were ripe for a return to the left, a return we now call the pink tide. The era lasted roughly 10 years, which, uncoincidentally, were years of high commodities prices. It ended near the end of 2015.


After that, open-market, internationalist, reformist governments came to power in several countries with center-left governments – most notably Argentina, Brazil and Peru. The trend continued last year in Chile, where right-leaning former president Sebastian Pinera was re-elected for a second term.

Few countries have been able to withstand the swing to the right. In 2017, Ecuador elected as president Lenin Moreno, who had served as vice president under President Rafael Correa. Correa himself was a leftist, but Moreno has already distinguished himself from his predecessor. He inherited an economy in disarray after the collapse of oil prices, so he adopted new fiscal policies and a more pragmatic approach to managing the economy rather than continuing with hefty government spending and protectionism. He has also tried to align the economy with global markets by re-negotiating the country’s previously preferential oil contracts with China.

Bolivia held out a little longer than others, mostly because Bolivia’s economy managed to grow despite low commodity prices. Its primary commodity is natural gas – which accounts for about half the country’s exports – and the price of gas remained high when oil tanked in 2014. (It started to decline only toward the end of 2015.) The public didn’t start to turn against President Evo Morales until 2016. There had always been opposition to his rule, but the opposition gained a lot of momentum when Morales’ traditional allies in Venezuela and Brazil, preoccupied as they were with their own problems, were no longer strong enough to support him. The opposition held a referendum that banned Morales from seeking re-election in 2019, though the Supreme Court would not uphold the results. Protests subsequently broke out, and though Morales is still in power, the rising social discontent, the declining natural gas production and ideological isolation are challenging the government’s hold on power.

Then there is Venezuela, where government this month announced that presidential elections will be held in May, after the initial April 22 date was rejected by opposition parties. Mounting pressures are pushing the country toward some solution that involves the end of the current leftist regime headed by Nicolas Maduro. The most recent dialogue with the opposition has failed, and neighboring Colombia and Brazil have both beefed up border security to help prevent any more spillover of desperate populations moving to border towns and depleting supplies meant for the local populations. Later this month the government will also start the first phases of its cryptocurrency, designed to help circumvent the U.S. sanctions that are restricting the government’s (and the national oil company’s) ability to conduct business and to access imports and U.S. dollars. Colombia already wants to propose a financial recovery plan for Venezuela that would be in line with carefully opening and deregulating the economy. Meanwhile, the United States has not ruled out further oil sanctions against Venezuela.

At GPF, we are not in the business of predicting elections; we are in the business of predicting geopolitical trends. So while we can’t say exactly when Venezuela and Bolivia will succumb to the pressures that felled their neighbors, we can say that eventually they probably will. After all, political transitions do not happen overnight.

The post South America’s ‘Pink Tide’ in Transition appeared first on Geopolitical Futures.
Title: Stratfor: The Central American Caravan
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 25, 2018, 07:50:55 AM

    Thousands of Honduran migrants planning to request asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border will put the Honduran government in a difficult political situation with the White House.
    The Honduran political opposition may continue encouraging migrant groups to emigrate northward as a political tool to pressure the administration of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.
    The White House will keep threatening to cut foreign assistance to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. However, the power to reduce or eliminate assistance rests with Congress, which will be reluctant to do so.
    Even if Congress agrees to major reductions in foreign aid, such a move could backfire for the Trump administration by spurring Central American governments to cozy up to China diplomatically in search of foreign assistance.

An estimated 7,000 Central American migrants making their way through Mexico toward the United States have become a prominent headline in the daily news cycle. The Central Americans intend to request asylum when they finally reach the U.S. border with Mexico, most likely in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. In response, U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to cut assistance to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, the three countries where most of the migrants come from.
The Big Picture

A majority of immigrants caught trying to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border come from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Now, a group of thousands of mostly Honduran migrants hope to cross Mexico to request asylum in the United States. This public show of mass migration is fodder for daily political rhetoric in the United States and Central America, but its significance goes beyond the immediate U.S. debate over immigration. Latin American countries could easily be drawn into the broader confrontation between China and Washington over trade, military competition and global influence.
See Crossing Borders

With U.S. midterm congressional elections less than two weeks away, it's no surprise that Trump, who made securing the U.S.-Mexico border a central part of his administration, has seized on the migrant caravan to rally his political base. But the caravan's significance stretches beyond Trump's desire to shore up electoral support or his administration's attempts to reduce illegal immigration and the number of asylum claims in the United States. The caravan is a product of the unstable internal politics and poverty in Honduras, where the majority of the migrants originated. Former left-wing Honduran legislator Bartolo Fuentes is a key organizer of the caravan, which has led to unverified claims that the Honduran leftist opposition led by former President Manuel Zelaya is behind the effort to encourage such public displays of emigration to the United States.
Migration as a Political Tool

The claim that Honduran opposition figures helped promote migration to the United States may be unverified but it is plausible. Since the country's contested election in November 2017, the opposition in Honduras remains divided between the leftist Liberty and Refoundation Party (Libre) and the more moderate Liberal Party of Honduras. However, Libre politicians may have discovered that emigration can be used to force a crisis with Washington to put pressure on the government of President Juan Orlando Hernandez. The movement of migrants through Mexico will also test the Mexican government's relationship with Washington, particularly if the White House feels Mexico's security forces are not doing enough to block or disperse the group.

The economic and social conditions in Honduras make emigration to the United States — almost always illegally — seem a viable path to economic advancement and an escape from security threats. About 65 percent of Hondurans live below their country's poverty line. The minimum wage is around $370 a month, but nearly half the working-age population is not employed by legally established, tax-paying businesses and often does not make minimum wage. High crime spurred by endemic drug trafficking and gang turf wars also makes daily activities, such as travel to work, risky for some Hondurans. In rural areas, drought conditions can drive food scarcity and extreme poverty, both of which are currently on the rise and may be further exacerbated by a forecast El Nino year. Similar conditions prevail in Guatemala and El Salvador, the other two countries where caravan members originated.

Regardless of whether Fuentes and Zelaya coordinated this effort, the caravan presents a thorny political problem for the Honduran government, and other caravans could form and leave from the country. Hernandez cannot easily crack down on migrant caravans without inviting public discontent against his government. Trying to stop migrant caravans on roads heading west toward Guatemala risks violent confrontations with the migrants, which in turn would likely affect the government's approval ratings. The Hernandez government may increase border security, but such moves may not prevent people from taking secondary routes.
A graphic showing the number of people detained or turned away at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Threatening to Cut Foreign Assistance

Regardless of the constraints on the Hernandez administration, the public nature of migrant caravans makes them a prominent political issue for the Trump administration. However, Trump faces his own political constraints. Lack of congressional funding thus far has thwarted the president's plans to erect extensive physical barriers where migrants frequently cross. Nor has the White House been able to get significantly greater funding for immigration enforcement measures, such as the hiring of thousands of new Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Trump's election created uncertainty among would-be migrants and their smugglers in late 2016 and into 2017, leading to a temporary lull in migration. But that uncertainty dissipated as the constraints to Trump's border enforcement plans have increased, and migrant flows are again on the rise. Still, illegal migration into the United States is well below its historic highs of nearly 20 years ago, when authorities detained about 1.6 million Mexicans at the southern border alone.
A chart showing U.S.-Central American economic ties.

Threatening to cut off foreign assistance to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador is one tool Trump will keep using to try to force Central American governments to curb illegal migration. But temporarily or permanently reducing foreign assistance to Central American nations also requires congressional approval, without which there is little the White House can do to make Trump's threats stick. Congress and government agencies such as the Department of Defense and the Drug Enforcement Administration would be reluctant to agree to such a policy change out of concern it would harm counternarcotics cooperation with Central American governments.

Cutting U.S. assistance to Central America would risk unintended consequences. It could spur Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to seek more aid from China, where assistance would come with fewer political strings attached. Such a turn toward China most likely would be preceded by Honduras and Guatemala ending their diplomatic recognition of Taiwan. The White House confrontation with China over trade, military competition and political influence affects Central America as well, where the U.S. government has tried to pressure Honduras and Guatemala to continue to recognize Taiwan. But El Salvador already has revoked its recognition of Taiwan in favor of China. In September, the Hernandez insinuated that reduced U.S. foreign assistance could prompt Honduras to change its recognition of Taiwan.
Title: GPF: United Fruit; The Battle for Latin America's Soul
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 18, 2018, 12:48:20 PM


Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World
By Peter Chapman
When we define geopolitics, we love to say it’s the study of people in place. Is that pretentious? A little. Reductive? Sure. Vague? Absolutely. But it’s probably as good a rendition as you’ll find of a discipline that defies strict categorization. Today, “people in place” has come to mean the nation-state, though by now we all know that it’s not such a simple matter, that nations don’t always fit into one category. Borders are arbitrary, communities are imagined, and nonstate actors – whether they’re stateless nations such as the Kurds or transnational jihadists such as the Islamic State – compel and constrain behavior just as much as nation-states do. And while we don’t ordinarily think of businesses in the same way, “Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World” suggests that maybe we should.

Its author, Peter Chapman, who writes for the Financial Times, does well to explain the history of bananas and the banana trade, and in doing so, he gives this peculiar fruit the same treatment Mark Kurlansky gave salt, albeit on a much smaller scale. Make no mistake – this book is about one company, the men who built it and, to a lesser degree, the people who lived in its shadow. As Chapman notes, comparisons are inevitably drawn between United Fruit and the British East India Company, which, on the lawless seas of the 1700s, became a profiteering racket in all but name. United Fruit, after all, had its own fleet, and it had effectively created its own empire in the less-governed areas of Central America into which U.S. political influence couldn’t always reach. But Chapman suggests more accurate comparisons were found in the U.S. itself. United Fruit, he argues, was every bit the robber baron enterprise that the railroad, oil and steel industries were in the late 1800s. The only difference was that legislation eventually tamed those industries. The same was never really true for United Fruit and its baron, Minor Keith, the “Cecil Rhodes of Central America,” an “apple-headed little man with the eyes of a fanatic.” The company monopolized at will and solidified its power nearly with impunity.

And United Fruit was powerful. It brought down governments it didn’t like. It supported insurgencies. It used its monopoly early and often to threaten governments that dared to defy it. It dispensed with competitors in ways considered unscrupulous even at the time. It forged secret partnerships with other companies to circumvent antitrust laws. It killed strikers and organizers. It made educational material (read: propaganda) for American schoolchildren. Perhaps most telling, Keith himself married into Costa Rica’s first family.

If this is beginning to sound like the behavior of a bona fide nation-state, it should. Sometimes United Fruit’s interests aligned with Washington’s, and when they did, the two were willing partners. When they didn’t, they went against each other. Replace the name “United Fruit” with that of virtually any country in the world, and you would call it diplomacy.

For all its subject matter, “Bananas” is actually a pretty light read, fast and almost fun at times. Chapman laces the story with personal anecdotes, often citing titans of Latin American literature, such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, some of whom were directly affected by United Fruit and its discontents. The company it once was is gone now.

Through years of financial decline, mergers and suicide, United Fruit transformed into Chiquita Brands International, and the path it charted resembles that of the banana itself, which is said to be on its way to extinction. If it does die out, it’ll be an ignominious end for what was once the world’s fourth-biggest food staple. That’s probably little comfort to the countries that were stunted by its trade.
Cole Altom, managing editor

Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America's Soul
By Michael Reid
After many decades of isolation and U.S. domination, Latin America finally seems to have a chance to become a major player on the global stage. Latin American countries are expanding their trade and economic ties with countries beyond the region, including China and Russia, which are becoming more and more invested in the area. Still, the United States’ presence there remains strong, and Latin America still sits, for the most part, on the periphery of global events, as it continues to focus on problems closer to home. This tendency is due in part to the fact that, for more than a decade and a half, Latin American countries have been undergoing reforms that contributed to a sense of uncertainty and to slower economic development. More recently, drug trafficking and migration driven by violence and poverty have threatened to destabilize the region.
But to understand what’s happening in the region now, you need to first understand how it got where it is today. “Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America’s Soul” by Michael Reid is a good place to start. Published over a decade ago, the book doesn’t deal with the significant events of the past 10 years – including the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the political scandals in Brazil, the economic disarray in Venezuela and the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on Latin America. (There is, however, an updated edition of the book, published just last year, that addresses some of these more recent issues.)

I listened to the audio version of the original edition, and truth be told, I found it a bit hard to follow. The book covers a lot of Latin American history from the early 1800s on, and it was difficult to absorb. I needed to listen to several parts more than once to digest all the information. The book is also disorganized at times – the author moves quickly from country to country and from topic to topic, making it hard to connect the dots, especially if you’re listening to the audiobook.

But “Forgotten Continent” does offer a lot of deep political, economic and historical analysis of a region that is often overlooked. Latin America is home to over half a billion people. It’s neither extremely poor nor extremely rich, yet it has the world’s largest reserves of arable land, minerals and some of the most important energy resources. It’s often left out of discussions about the global system or foreign affairs, but considering that its problems have the potential to spill over into the world’s sole superpower, that may not be true for much longer. Either way, “Forgotten Continent” is a valuable read for anyone interested in the history of this region.

Ekaterina Zolotova, analyst

Title: Re: Politica-Economia en Latino America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 29, 2019, 11:15:21 AM
Could There Be a Cold War Reboot in Latin America?
Scott Stewart
Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Nov 26, 2019 | 09:00 GMT


Russia is working with former Soviet allies in Latin America to undermine U.S. influence and distract Washington from Moscow's activities elsewhere. 

In doing so, Moscow is using online propaganda to stoke the anti-government rhetoric now fueling protests in Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Colombia.

Russia will likely deploy similar tactics to weaken other U.S.-allied governments in Latin America, placing Western businesses and organizations operating in the region increasingly at risk.

South America is again in flames. A wave of anti-government protests has ravaged the streets of Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Colombia in recent months. Such chaos, of course, isn't new to the region. From the 1960s to the 1990s, terrorist and insurgent groups instigated a series of vicious Cold War proxy battles. But in this iteration, which I'm calling the "Cold War 2.0" in Latin America, it's not armed proxy groups in play but already existing social tensions that Moscow is adeptly weaponizing to sabotage Western power structures in the region.

Indeed, with threats to Russia's periphery more daunting than ever, it can be argued that the Cold War never really ended for Moscow. But regardless of whether Russia's current actions in Latin America constitute a second Cold War, or if they're instead merely a reinvigoration of the original struggle, it's apparent that many of the same actors are actively involved in the unfolding unrest in Washington's backyard — and largely, for the same reasons.

The Big Picture

U.S. efforts to stem Russia's influence in its borderlands have compelled Moscow to reassert its geopolitical heft around the world. In Latin America, this can be evidenced by Russia's attempts to protect the Venezuelan government from the U.S.-backed opposition movement, while working to dismantle more Western-allied governments elsewhere in the region. 

The Soviet Legacy in Latin America

In its push to establish a global communist utopia, the Soviet Union encouraged exporting its revolution abroad to "liberate" workers around the world. But as the United States and its allies banded together to contain communist expansion, the Soviet Union began to feel threatened by the alliance structures that surrounded it, as well as the presence of U.S. troops and weapons on its periphery. In response, the Soviets embraced the Cuban Revolution and attempted to place nuclear missiles in Cuba — a gambit that ultimately led to the Cuban Missile Crisis. But even after the Soviets removed their missiles from Cuba, they continued to use the island as a beachhead in the Western Hemisphere from which to expand their influence from Canada to Chile — supporting communist parties in the Americas, while also training, financing and arming a host of Marxist terrorist and insurgent groups across the region.
Moscow's efforts in South and Central America, in particular, were largely conducted through their battle-hardened Cuban allies, as evidenced by the revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara's ill-fated foray into Bolivia in the late 1960s. The Soviets viewed such activities as a way to not only expand world communism, but to counter U.S. anti-communist efforts elsewhere. By creating problems in Washington's own backyard, Soviet actions also helped distract the United States and its resources from those other efforts. Growing communist influence in the region embroiled the U.S. government in a series of efforts that involved high-profile events such as the 1954 coup in Guatemala; the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion in Cuba; the 1973 coup in Chile; and support for the Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s.

Russia's Current Activities

Fast forward to the present, however, and the U.S. threat to Russian influence has only become more acute. The peripheral security buffer that once protected Russia from Europe has significantly eroded following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Former Warsaw Pact member states such as Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania have since become NATO members, as have the former Soviet-occupied Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

Growing fears of entrapment in Russia ultimately paved the way for the rise of President Vladimir Putin in 2000. But despite Putin's promises of restoring the country's past power, Russia's strategic buffer has continued to take hits. The fall of pro-Russian leaders in Ukraine in the wake of the 2014 Maidan protests and the 2005 Orange Revolution, in particular, have only ratcheted up Russian unease. To help offset the loss of such a crucial borderland, Putin has annexed Crimea and invaded southeastern Ukraine. But Russia still undoubtedly feels the sting of having lost the strategic depth of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Bloc that had long shielded the country's soft underbelly.

Instead of arming Marxist groups with weapons, this time Moscow's arming anti-government protesters with rhetoric to counter U.S. interests in Latin America.

The loosening grasp on its borderlands is now again compelling Russia to resort to its old tricks in Latin America. This has notably included propping up Nicolas Maduro's failing regime in Venezuela over the past year with the help of Moscow's Cuban partners. Cuba has been a key security partner of Venezuelan regimes since shortly after former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999. The vast web of Cuban intelligence operators and assets that has infiltrated Venezuelan society since then have informed the Maduro regime about potential threats while keeping the opposition divided and squabbling. Meanwhile, Russia's financial, military and technical intelligence support — not to mention the close protection from Russian military contractors — have been critical to the Maduro regime in recent years as well. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Maduro would have long been ousted had it not been for Russia's and Cuba's help.
But the activities of Russia and its Cuban partners in Latin America are not limited to Venezuela. On Nov. 13, officials arrested four Cubans in Bolivia for allegedly financing anti-government protests in support of the country's former socialist president, Evo Morales. An ally of the Russian-backed Maduro regime, Morales was forced to seek refuge in Mexico after his victory in an apparently fixed election sparked widespread protests. In recent weeks, the Organization of American States (OAS) has also accused Cuba and Venezuela of helping instigate the anti-government protests in Ecuador, Chile and Colombia. Just as the Soviets bankrolled Cuban paramilitary efforts in Latin America during the first Cold War, it is clear that Russia is still funding these efforts, as both Cuba and Venezuela are severely cash-strapped and could not conduct these external operations alone.

Using Social Angst for Political Gain

The Soviets and Russians have had ample experience using protests to undermine their Western opponents' place in power. In the United States, there's evidence of Moscow's hand in both the anti-war protests of the 1960s and anti-nuclear protests of the 1980s, as well as the anti-hydraulic fracturing movement and the Occupy Movement in more recent years. And, of course, there's Russia's intervention in the 2016 Brexit referendum followed by the U.S. presidential election that same year.

Indeed, over the decades, Russia has become increasingly adept at tapping into very real social sentiments and issues to achieve its own political goals. In concert with its Cuban and Venezuelan allies, Russia has proven adept at amplifying the tension along very real social fault lines within these countries. Russia is not simply fabricating issues underpinning the unrest out of thin air; rather, it's simply providing the "spark" to ignite the underlying economic and social grievances that have quietly been brewing just beneath the surface in these countries for years.

Russia also now has vast experience using social media to disperse disinformation on the internet, just as it did ahead of the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and the U.S. presidential election in 2016. In recent years, Moscow has also deployed similar online propaganda campaigns in Germany, Ukraine and the Baltic states. And there are signs it's attempting to do the same ahead of the next U.S. election in 2020.  We can thus expect to see these disinformation tools used elsewhere in the region to support socialist allies and oppose governments that are democratic, more free-market-oriented or otherwise allied with the United States.

Foreign Stakeholders in the Crosshairs

Given the socialist, anarchist and anti-capitalist bent of many of the anti-government movements, protesters have unsurprisingly already begun targeting commercial interests in the region. More than 100 stores owned by Walmart's subsidiary in Chile, for example, have so far been looted and burned amid escalating anti-capitalist demonstrations in the country. As protests rage on across the continent, U.S. and European businesses operating in these countries will likely continue to be targeted, including potentially mining and energy companies, hotels, banks and airline offices. U.S. diplomatic facilities and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the region could also come under fire. A number of businesses and NGOs have already pulled their personnel out of Bolivia following the U.S. Department of State's recent travel warning, which also urged American citizens living there to leave.
Given Russia's imperative to undermine growing U.S. influence closer home, as well as globally, Moscow will do everything in its power to ensure the protests continue apace right outside Washington's door. Businesses and organizations across South America will thus need to closely monitor the dynamics of the unrest in Latin America as it evolves and potentially escalates in the coming weeks. Otherwise, they may soon find themselves caught in the crossfire of another Cold War proxy battle.
Title: Los 10 carteles mas peligrosos
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 24, 2020, 11:07:21 AM
Title: Los Ninos de Guerrero aprenden a defenderse
Post by: Crafty_Dog on January 25, 2020, 08:30:03 AM
Title: GPF: Latin America's place in the world
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 05, 2020, 09:18:13 AM
June 17, 2020   View On Website
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    Latin America’s Place in the World
The region operates on its own timeline.
By: Allison Fedirka

Whether they like it or not, most countries are drawn into the international system in one way or another. For this reason, introducing the concept of “international insertion” into the study of international relations may seem redundant or unnecessary. But it plays an important role in the study of Latin America’s international relations, in particular, because it helps explain the region’s geopolitical realities, which are founded in its place at the periphery of the global system.

The concept involves identifying the ways in which a country can become more involved in the global system. In geopolitics, not all countries are created equal; some are more powerful than others, but the behavior of all is governed by their attempts to acquire and maintain power. Powerful states that are able drive the global system are considered the center of gravity, and weak states that do not have the means to influence the global system exist on the periphery, orbiting around the center. Geography determines whether a country is part of the periphery or the center because these are the things that determine a country’s power potential. Although technological advances have offered countries ways to overcome their limitations, many Latin American states remain on the margins of the geopolitical system.

This is because the region operates on its own geopolitical timeline. Equally important is the power dynamic that has been hardwired into these states over time. Geography may have placed these countries in the periphery, but their political, economic and military conditions, developed over long periods of time, have kept them there.
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Defining Latin American History

With these principles in mind, we can begin to deconstruct Latin America’s geopolitical history by first defining time periods and then studying the lasting impact of political, economic and military events that occur during these periods. There are three distinct epochs – long geopolitical cycles each consisting of different eras – in Latin American history: the pre-Columbian epoch (1000-1492), the colonial epoch (1492-1810) and the U.S. epoch (1898-present). The period from 1810 to 1898 is considered an anomalous era that does not fit into the epochs that came before or after. Each epoch also has a critical era that helped permanently shape the region.

During the pre-Columbian epoch, Latin America had well-developed civilizations that operated completely independently of the European and Asian systems. Due to the technological limitations of the time, geography significantly dictated the needs and capabilities of regions and civilizations. Nonetheless, it was during this time that indigenous civilizations in the Americas reached their peak of sophistication. This epoch’s final era, the empires era (1400-1500), saw the rapid, parallel emergence of the Aztec and Inca empires. Both empires quickly expanded by conquering and absorbing new civilizations. They served as the centers of gravity in Mesoamerica and the Pacific-Andean region and avoided major conflict because geographic barriers ensured little to no contact between them. Smaller, organized civilizations that shared a common language also existed east of the Andes in present-day Colombia, the Amazon and the Rio de la Plata Basin. But none of them achieved empire status because the landscape, resources, climate and livelihoods did not support the establishment of large cities, much less the expansion of territorial control. The arrival of Spanish conquistadors brought the pre-Columbian epoch and the empires era to an abrupt end.
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The colonial epoch marked Latin America’s first opportunity to integrate into the larger global system. But the arrival of the Europeans did not immediately open up the region to the world. Rather, Latin America interacted with just two European powers – the Spanish and the Portuguese – which sought to maintain exclusive control over their newfound territories, particularly with regard to trade. Viceroys were allowed to trade directly with the European colonial power that controlled these territories for most of the epoch. The ruling powers continued to expand their control over local civilizations, imported African slaves and incorporated them into their empires either by using them for labor or through social and marital links.

The final era in this epoch – the Bourbon era (1714-1810) – had the most lasting impact. After the War of the Spanish Succession, Spain quickly moved to recover its position as a European power. To do so, the crown introduced a series of changes that would become known as the Bourbon reforms. Many of these reforms focused on Spain’s relationship with the colonies and were aimed at reducing the power of local populations, consolidating control and optimizing earnings. This led to administrative reforms that established the general borders that roughly represent the region’s nations today. The reforms finally allowed for trade among Spanish colonies – rather than just between Spain and the colonies – but not with areas outside of the Spanish empire. So even though the barriers between the Eastern and Western hemispheres had been broken, Spain’s centralization of power and trade restrictions limited Latin America’s global interaction. Despite the opportunity to integrate into the larger global system, it failed to do so. Resentment over these reforms sowed the seeds of the independence movement that would later grip the region.

The independence and accommodation era is an anomaly because it marks a unique period in which no single power (or two combined powers) dominated the region. While it’s true that transitions between epochs are often opaque, a unique characteristic in Latin American epochs is the presence of a dominating power. But during this era, no prevailing power existed, and neither the U.S. nor the Europeans could control the region.

Latin American countries faced three challenges during this time. The first was potential resettlement by European powers.

Spain had launched a handful of failed attempts to regain territory, Brazil remained a monarchy and France tried to replace the Mexican government multiple times. European recolonization, therefore, could not be ruled out. The second challenge was establishing territorial boundaries with neighboring countries. As fledgling nations tried to consolidate control over their territory, war between the newly formed states was always a possibility. The third challenge was the possibility of civil war or domestic unrest, which was prevalent in all these countries as interests and visions for the future clashed. Ultimately, this meant that Latin American countries were unable to establish regional power centers and were left relatively weak compared to their counterparts in the north.
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The arrival of the U.S. epoch marked the return of domination by a power that would regulate the region’s interaction with the rest of the world. In 1898, the U.S. emerged as the Western Hemisphere’s regional power. It had established full access to the Pacific coast, settled its border with Mexico, unified after a civil war and expelled Spain from the Caribbean. Most important, it had developed a world-class navy that enabled the country to defend coastal approaches, intimidate foreign aggressors and enforce its foreign policy, including the Monroe Doctrine, which until this point had about as much weight as the paper it was written on.

This epoch kicked off with the Roosevelt era (1898-1945), so named for the strong influence Theodore Roosevelt had over it. It was characterized by aggressive U.S. military posturing and involvement in the region in order to keep European powers out of the Western Hemisphere and establish U.S. dominance. Its highlights include U.S. intimidation of German vessels away from Venezuela, support for Panama’s independence, building of the Panama Canal, dominance over Cuba through measures like the Platt Amendment, military expeditions in to Mexico, and waging the Banana Wars across Central America and the Caribbean.

After this era, U.S. power continued to grow, creating more constraints on the region’s behavior. The U.S. presented the entire Western Hemisphere as its sphere of influence, limiting its interaction with outside powers and further isolating the region from the world.

Out of Synch

Latin America’s geopolitical time scale does not synch with the global cycle. The first global epoch started in 1492, with the European discovery of the Americas and forays into Africa and Asia, and ended in 1992. Europe was the center of gravity (indeed, it is known as the European epoch) as different European countries took turns at the seat of power. For Latin America, however, the age of “global opening” during this time remained fairly limited to interactions with Spain and Portugal.

Latin America’s colonial epoch coincided with much of the European epoch but not all of it and ended about 100 years earlier. During the independence era, the region was far too consumed with problems at home and abroad to join the global system from a position a strength. In the 20th century, the distinction between the global and Latin American epochs persisted but became subtler after the Roosevelt era. Latin America’s U.S. epoch predates the North America epoch (1992-present) by roughly 100 years. And appears to generally coincide because of the shared trait of U.S. domination. However, the epochs follow different time scales and are measured differently (regional vs. global).

That Latin America’s cycles do not align with those of the rest of the world makes it incredibly hard for the region to tap into the global system. Latin America was operating on its own geopolitical timetable prior to European arrival, and the colonial period failed to fully bring the region into the global system and synch its cycles with those of the rest of the world. Latin American epochs tend to feature one or two powers that overwhelm the countries or civilizations of the region and limit their ability to interact with other regions, reinforcing the geographic limitations that have relegated this part of the world to the periphery. And so far, technology has not been enough to bring it into the fold.   
Title: GPF: Washington's new economic strategy in Latin America
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 23, 2020, 09:08:49 AM
September 23, 2020   View On Website
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    Washington’s New Economic Strategy in Latin America
Nearshoring is as much a geopolitical issue as an economic one.
By: Allison Fedirka

A few weeks ago, the head of the U.S. National Security Council – not a State Department official, as would normally be the protocol – introduced the Western Hemisphere Strategic Framework, Washington’s new economic strategy for its half of the world, while in Miami. Then, for the first time ever, Washington successfully lobbied the Inter-American Development Bank to take on a U.S. official as its head – a position typically reserved for non-U.S. and non-Brazilian members who have less voting power in the bank. Later still, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made history as the first secretary to visit Suriname and Guyana.

Developments such as these belie the ordinarily passive approach the U.S. takes to managing relations with its southern neighbors. Washington has long held the upper hand and so has rarely needed to tinker with a system that works in its favor. But as it debuts its new economic strategy for the region, it will resurrect memories for countries that have been hurt by these kinds of initiatives in the past. The U.S. may see new-found potential in its relationship with Latin America, but the same cannot necessarily be said for Latin America.

A National Security Issue

The increase in the United States’ commercial interest in Latin America owes largely to a shift in focus from military conflict in the Middle East to economic conflict with China (and, to a lesser extent, Russia).

The U.S.-China trade war has changed supply chain security from a purely economic issue to a national security issue. In short, China’s role as a global manufacturing hub – especially for medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, microchips and other electronics – is now considered a threat. Consequently, Washington has begun to consider new locations for U.S. companies whose factories are currently in China. With its geographic proximity, relatively cheap labor force and firmly established ties, Latin America is an obvious candidate.
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The potential relocation of factories is as much a geopolitical question as it is an economic one. Companies generally go where it makes the most economic sense, but when there are geopolitical interests at stake, it is up to the governments to create incentives and frameworks that compel other actors to produce the desired results.

Washington’s latest hemisphere-wide economic initiative, Back to the Americas, means to address mutual economic-security needs, most notably by relocating U.S. manufacturing companies to Latin America. The relocation would be supported by U.S. investments in infrastructure in host countries that would, in theory, drive economic growth. At the end of July, Mauricio Claver-Carone, then the White House senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs and now the IDB president, said that up to $50 billion in investments could enter the region through Back to the Americas through the participation of four U.S. government departments as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and the Export-Import Bank. It builds on the Growth in the Americas initiative, which launched in 2018 and expanded its scope in December 2019 to focus largely on using private sector investment in infrastructure projects to create new jobs and increase economic growth. A key component to achieving these goals is the reduction of regulatory, legal, procurement and market barriers to investment by host country governments.
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The timing is hardly coincidental: China has steadily enlarged its economic footprint in Latin America over the past two decades. Beijing used the region to help meet its demand for hydrocarbons, metals and food supplies. From 2000 to 2019, Chinese trade with the region grew from $12 billion to nearly $315 billion. It is currently the top trade partner of Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Peru and Argentina. (In every country except Argentina, China replaced the U.S.) According to the Inter-American Dialogue, Chinese state loans to the region exceeded $140 billion from 2005 to 2019, though the amounts have significantly dropped since 2015. China has also made substantial investments in mining and agriculture, power generation, utilities and infrastructure, though again the pace has slowed over the past three years.

The Back to the Americas initiative aims to preserve the U.S. foothold in the region and keep foreign competition at bay. The recently announced Western Hemisphere Strategic Framework, however, rests on five pillars: securing the homeland, advancing economic growth, promoting democracy and the rule of law, countering foreign influence and strengthening alliances with like-minded partners. Relocating manufacturing to the Americas not only takes the supply chain out of China’s hands but also helps diversify it. The finished products made for U.S. consumption may also allow the U.S. to regain some of the space it has lost to China in Latin America. If Washington can encourage Latin American countries to create environments conducive to U.S. interests by giving them money, there may be less need for Chinese financing and more transparency with financial activities, and these countries can more easily access funding from northern financial institutions.

What Washington Has to Offer

But U.S. ambitions will face several obstacles. Local governments may find themselves in the uncomfortable scenario of having to choose between Beijing or Washington, including over how they adopt 5G technologies. Many will seek a balance that will allow them to reap the benefits of siding with one without alienating the other.

Unlike China, the U.S. doesn’t have state-owned enterprises that can do its bidding, or seemingly endless discretionary spending for overseas projects. There will be some funding by the U.S. government along with additional money from places like the IDB, which contributes about $12 billion in infrastructure funding annually, but private enterprise will play a greater role. The U.S. government can incentivize companies, but it can’t force them to participate in its plans. Companies could simply decide the market isn’t right for them.

More importantly, the U.S. strategy requires buy-in from participating countries. This is why it contains provisions that may meet the region’s needs. By targeting infrastructure projects, the U.S. is effectively addressing the long-standing economic development challenge of huge infrastructure investment gaps faced by every country in the region. A 2019 study by the IDB estimated that the region’s infrastructure investment gap is the equivalent of 2.5 percent of gross domestic product (roughly $150 billion) per year. U.S. investments alone can’t solve these problems, but neither can the host countries without large outside capital injections, which U.S. companies can offer.

Infrastructure development also addresses the region’s interest in improving its overall trade competitiveness. Poor transportation and logistics facilities play a major role in raising the price of domestically produced goods to the point that they struggle to compete in global markets.
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Furthermore, the focus on manufacturing aims to diversify the region’s economic activity away from natural resource extraction. Reducing dependence on commodities would inoculate local economies to price shocks and potentially lead to higher-value goods being produced.

Not every Latin American country has the same relationship with the U.S., of course, and those most likely to participate will be countries that have traditionally allied with the U.S. or whose economies are too integrated with the U.S. not to participate. Panama and Costa Rica, for example, are already working to address domestic regulatory measures to meet U.S. requirements, while Ecuador admitted it has an economic need to enact reforms that will facilitate economic cooperation with the U.S.

The poster child for what this initiative could look like in practice is Colombia, which is predisposed to keep a close relationship with the U.S. and has already thrown its support behind the project. Colombia’s ambassador to the U.S. openly acknowledged that Bogota wants to benefit from U.S. nearshoring efforts and welcomes it as an opportunity to reindustrialize. In some ways, it has been preparing all year. In February, the government launched a new national logistics policy that focuses on reducing logistics costs by simplifying bureaucratic procedures and improving road and fluvial transportation infrastructure. The objective of the plan is to incentivize foreign direct investment, boost exports and create economic opportunities. This was followed in the summer by new tax breaks and other measures to attract up to $11.5 billion in non-hydrocarbon foreign direct investment by 2022. In direct response to Back to the Americas, ProColombia has conducted a targeted campaign to identify companies interested in moving to Colombia from China.


The U.S. has a long and complicated history with Latin America when it comes to cooperation, particularly when geopolitical agendas are so closely tied to economic ones. There is a camp that looks at increased U.S. interest in the region with skepticism. Though they share a desire to see value-added goods hold a greater share of exports, they believe the U.S. manufacturing initiative runs the risk of producing low-value-added exports by exploiting local workforces. There is also concern that increased trade with the U.S. could render the region a depository for U.S. goods. Similar initiatives in the past have damaged domestic industries in the region, prompting governments to pursue costly import substitution schemes and to impose strict regulatory environments to prop up local industry and employment.

The other major issue is that there are strings attached. The U.S. government and companies alike will be looking for certain security and political guarantees from their partners. Ultimately, the ability to offer attractive investment environments to U.S. investors will fall to the Latin American governments themselves. Past instances where countries in the region have carried out reforms to participate in U.S.-supported economic programs ended poorly. For example, President John F. Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress purported to enhance economic cooperation to improve Latin America’s per capita GDP, establish democratic governments, achieve price stability, enact land reform and improve other economic and social planning. Washington spent $1.4 billion annually from 1962 to 1967 on this program but failed to produce the desired economic development. Similarly, the Washington Consensus was introduced to the region to help solve the debt crisis and boost growth. It required countries to implement northern-formulated, structural economic reforms that clashed with many of the region’s political and social systems. This led to its failure and rejection, most notably in Argentina.

Hence why this is as much a geopolitical initiative as an economic one. The economic question can be answered only after there are clear sectors, projects and numbers to work with. The current economic environment favors the U.S., but complicated pasts are hard to overlook. All governments will also have to evaluate participation in these plans against national needs. The fact that the U.S. has renewed interest in the region has geopolitical significance considering the U.S. has managed to muscle through its agenda but not with strong results.   
Title: GPF: Long term US strategy for LA
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 01, 2021, 03:54:38 AM

No tomo muy en serio las propuestas sugeridas, pero la descripcion de los problemas tiene valor en mi opinion:


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A Long-Term US Strategy for Latin America
The pandemic created unprecedented problems in the region at a time when Washington’s ability to help is severely constrained.
By: Allison Fedirka

When U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted last month that the U.S. had a mixed record on improving civilian security in Latin American countries, the region did a double-take. Security cooperation, even direct intervention, has been the cornerstone of U.S. engagement with Latin America. When it works, it’s a low-cost approach that leaves spare resources and energy for Washington to project power across the globe. But the economic and social disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the region, interacting with existing security threats to pose new challenges to the United States. The U.S. is responding with a new approach that also emphasizes social and economic development projects, which it hopes will not only reduce immediate security threats but also support longer-term goals like reducing power vacuums, strengthening the region’s economic ties with the U.S., and securing the U.S.-aligned regime structure.

Past the Tipping Point

Nearly all the countries in Latin America were poorly equipped to deal with the pandemic. Large segments of the population lacked access to adequate health care; few workers could perform their jobs remotely; and governments lacked the funds for massive social spending or recovery projects. The region’s economy contracted nearly 8 percent in 2020 – well above the 3 percent global average – and economists expect it will take nearly a decade to recover. Making matters worse, many of these countries were facing severe socio-economic difficulties even before the pandemic, like organized crime, forced displacement, lack of formal employment and natural disasters. The pandemic pushed many states past the tipping point.

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Latin American governments’ difficulties meeting the needs of their population had three major consequences. First, organized crime groups stepped in to ensure economic activity, food distribution and other public needs, especially in remote areas. These groups also offered employment opportunities at a time when jobs were hard to come by. As organized crime gained a stronger hold in these areas, attacks on local communities, turf wars and displacement increased. Second, public trust in government was severely damaged. Nearly all leaders in the region saw their popularity drop, with several facing calls for impeachment. With their power diminished and populations disgruntled, politicians became vulnerable to the influence of foreign powers offering economic relief or political support.

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Finally, migration pressures in three separate areas overflowed and collided in Central America, en route to the United States. The Northern Triangle region (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) is most familiar to Americans because of its prominence during the Trump administration. A second wave involves people from Hispaniola fleeing Haiti’s latest political crisis. There are also migrating Haitians who previously settled in South America, primarily Brazil and Chile, after the 2010 earthquake. Deteriorating conditions in those countries have pushed the migrants north toward the United States. Finally, Venezuelans have been leaving their country in droves in recent years. Many of them settled in Colombia, but with Bogota saying it cannot host any more and other governments in the region prioritizing their own citizens, many Venezuelan migrants are now looking to make the trek north as well.

The simultaneous occurrence of increased migration, stronger organized crime and regionwide political instability poses a formidable security threat to the United States. Though elements of this activity have always been present to some degree in the region, the current magnitude and scope go well beyond previous levels. An adequate U.S. security response would require a massive mobilization of resources at a time when the U.S. is trying to reduce military commitments, manage an unprecedented economic recovery and unify a deeply divided public. Furthermore, these types of operations provide only short-term relief at best. Washington needs a strategy that also addresses long-term threats while minimizing costs.

A New Approach

In recent weeks, the U.S. government has signaled a shift in its engagement strategy with Latin America that integrates a much stronger socio-economic focus to complement security efforts. The first clue came in early October when Mexican officials announced the end of the Merida Initiative, the linchpin policy for U.S.-Mexican security cooperation, and the start of a new stage of cooperation. Shortly thereafter the two countries held their High-Level Security Dialogue, which ended with a joint statement declaring the decision to take a more holistic approach to security. The parties pledged more indirect efforts like working with at-risk youth, reducing drug use and jointly combating arms trafficking. Mexico City had long lobbied for this approach, but Washington had resisted.

Similarly, on Oct. 25, the U.S. government announced a new strategy for combating drug trafficking in Colombia. The objective is to strengthen the government’s presence in rural communities, support the incomes of legal businesses and eliminate coca production. There are other indications of a shift in U.S. strategy in other parts of Latin America. During an Oct. 20 speech in Quito, Blinken said the U.S. had focused too much on addressing the symptoms of organized crime and relied too much on working with security forces rather than addressing root causes. Many communities have come to rely on organized crime to stimulate economic activity. It’s difficult to convince people to leave organized crime without providing them an alternative source of income, especially when their former “employer” relies on violence to keep people in check. The Biden administration wants to correct this, Blinken said, and to create economic opportunities that will weaken organized crime over time.

Migration is another area where a security-focused approach may provide temporary relief but not a permanent solution. People leave their countries for many reasons. Addressing physical insecurity and political turmoil must be part of the solution, but unless the economic situation improves, those problems will invariably return.

Foreign Threats

A final element of Washington’s new approach has less to do with Latin American instability itself than with what hostile powers could do with it. In June, the U.S. said fighting corruption, both domestically and internationally, was a core interest for U.S. national security. Corruption and authoritarian government go hand in hand, Washington argues, and undemocratic regimes divert resources away from economic growth. This is directly relevant to the post-pandemic economic and political landscape in Latin America.

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Disillusionment with Latin American governments’ inability to deal with the pandemic’s fallout has added fuel to preexisting questions about democratic governance. This trend poses a long-term threat to the U.S., which promotes and relies on democratic regimes worldwide. It also raises the possibility that governments in the region will look to nondemocratic powers like Russia or China for assistance if that gives them a better chance of holding on to power. By stressing the links between corruption, economic development and democracy, Washington is trying to make the case for like-minded, pro-U.S. governments in the region.

Funding plays a critical role in any economic development project, and for that the U.S. has relied on its International Development Finance Corp. Washington set up the DFC in late 2018 as part of its response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In Latin America, DFC efforts have focused primarily on providing financing for small and midsized businesses. The DFC can also invest in large infrastructure projects, and it encourages the participation of foreign partners.

Its strength is also a potential weakness: its dependence on private-sector cooperation to execute development projects. The DFC offers longer investment horizons, U.S. government funding upfront, protection against currency inconvertibility, and insurance against expropriation and political violence, all in an effort to attract investors. Without private participation, the DFC lacks the funds to make a serious difference in Latin American economies. The potential benefit of this model, however, is that it allows U.S. companies to gradually increase their presence in Latin America, boosting economic growth in a sustainable way while reinforcing long-term economic ties with the United States.

By giving socio-economic development a more prominent role in U.S. strategy toward Latin America, the U.S. is redefining how it engages with the hemisphere. Security operations will always be needed to deal with immediate threats, but a sustainable approach requires attention to the underlying causes of instability and violence. Doing so now, before the scale of the threats is too great or the costs too high, is key to Washington’s continued ability to project power around the globe.