Archive for February 21st, 2012

Venezuela president confirms faces new surgery

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY FABIOLA SANCHEZ

CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday that doctors in Cuba have found a new lesion in the area where he had cancer surgery last year, and he will require surgery.

“It is a small lesion of about 2 centimeters (less than 1 inch) in diameter, very clearly visible,” Chavez told state television.

The announcement throws new uncertainty over the country’s politics because the socialist leader is seeking re-election this year, hoping to extend his more than 13 years in power.

He did not say when he would undergo the surgery, other than “in the coming days.”

Chavez, 57, said the new surgery should be less complicated than what he underwent in Cuba in June, when doctors removed cancerous tumor from his pelvic region. From July to September, he received four rounds of chemotherapy, both in Cuba and in Venezuela, and he has since said that tests show he is cancer-free.

On Tuesday ... Read More

The Cuba Embargo: A Foreign Policy Success Story

| February 21st, 2012 | 1 Comment »
Breitbart News

BY HUMBERTO FONTOVA

Last week the media was flush with stories on the 50th Anniversary of the U.S. “embargo” of Cuba. From the New York Times to USA Today, most are running AP and Reuters stories (from Havana) which begin and end with quotes from “academic experts” deploring the “embargo” as “failed,” “archaic,”  “cruel,” “political pandering to Republican Cuban-Americans,” blah, blah…

First off, a totalitarian regime bestowed both Reuters and the AP with press bureaus. There was a day when Americans understood what this implied. For those who’ve forgotten, here’s a quote from Vicente Botin, who reported for Madrid’s El Pais from Cuba for years. “The Castro regime assigns 20 security agents to follow and monitor every foreign journalist. You practice self–censorship or you’re gone.”

And that’s lucky for those foreign journalists, because local Cuban journalists don’t get off so easily. They don’t get a discreet little note saying, “Dear foreign journalist, we need to ... Read More

Venezuela’s Chavez back on TV, squashes new rumour

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

BY DANIEL WALLIS

CARACAS – Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez appeared on state TV on Tuesday, squashing a report he had secretly flown to Cuba for urgent cancer treatment ahead of a presidential election in October.

Strolling around the site of the proposed Veneminsk truck and tractor factory in his home state of Barinas, the 57-year-old socialist leader chatted with workers and looked to be in reasonable health.

“I came to Barinas last night to rest, to greet the family. I decided to come and make an inspection (of Veneminsk),” he said, wearing a dark blue jacket over a trademark red T-shirt.

His information minister had earlier denounced the rumour that Chavez was back in Havana as part of a “dirty war by scum,” launched by the opposition ahead of the October 7 election.

It was the latest in a cycle of rumours about the health of the president that have ranged from him having only months ... Read More

Publican el índice de libertad económica de 2012 ¡Venezuela penúltimo!

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
La Patilla

Chile y Uruguay se ubican en los mejores puestos de América Latina. El informe, elaborado por Heritage Foundation, coloca muy lejos en la tabla a Brasil, la Argentina, Bolivia y Venezuela.

Libre, mayormente libre, moderadamente libre, mayormente controlada o reprimida. Cinco clasificaciones que sirven para definir la libertad económica en 184 países del mundo, según el último índice publicado en 2012 por la Fundación Heritage, que contó con la colaboración del diario estadounidense The Wall Street Journal.

Hong Kong, Singapur y Australia lideran el informe, mientras que Nueva Zelanda y Suiza completan los primeros cinco puestos. En la actualidad, se presentan como los únicos países del globo con total libertad en términos económicos.

No es casualidad que estas cinco economías libres sean relativamente fuertes. El compromiso constante que mantienen con el Estado de Derecho, la limitación al gobierno, la eficacia reguladora y los mercados abiertos han sido la fuente de su increíble resistencia ... Read More

Cuban archbishop evacuates Ladies in White from basilica amid fears of police beating

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY JUAN O. TAMAYO

The archbishop of Cuba’s second-largest city helped evacuate 14 women dissidents who had sought refuge at the El Cobre Basilica amid reports that police were waiting nearby to beat them, dissidents reported Monday.

Lady in White member Thaimí Vega alleged, meanwhile, that she suffered a miscarriage after police detained her to keep her from joining the other women for Sunday’s mass at El Cobre, nine miles west of Santiago de Cuba.

The incidents came on a weekend when police arrested about 30 members and supporters of the Ladies in White around the eastern region of Santiago alone, dissident Prudencio Villalón reported. Three more members were detained Monday.

Villalón, who accompanied the 14 Ladies in White to the Our Lady of Charity Basilica, said they declared a hunger strike on the steps after mass Sunday morning, saying that they had received threats from a large group of police deployed at a ... Read More

Iranian, Nicaraguan Ministers Stress Expansion of Tehran-Managua Ties

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
FARS News Agency

TEHRAN – Iranian Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini and Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos Lopez underlined Tehran and Managua’s willingness to further boost bilateral ties.

During the meeting on Monday, Hosseini said that Iran is committed to develop relations with Nicaragua.

“There is a good level of political cooperation between Tehran and Managua and there is a potential for expansion of economic relations between the two countries,” the Iranian minister stated.

The Nicaraguan minister, for his part, said that Managua is keen to develop relations with Tehran

“Nicaragua invites Iranian companies and investors to visit Managua and examine the investment opportunities in this region,” he underscored.

Iran has been seeking to boost its ties with Latin American countries in recent years to the concern of the United States.

Since taking office in 2005, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expanded Iran’s cooperation with many Latin American states, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and ... Read More

US, Mexico agree to cooperate on energy

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

BY BRADLEY KLAPPER

The United States and Mexico agreed Monday to work together when drilling for oil and gas below their maritime border in the Gulf of Mexico.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mexico’s foreign minister signed the deal at a ceremony in the Mexican resort of Los Cabos as Mexican President Felipe Calderon and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar looked on.

The cooperation stems from an understanding that President Barack Obama and Calderon reached in 2010 to share in the profits and work together to avoid spills.

Clinton said the deal would “ensure safe, efficient, responsible exploration of the oil and gas reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico.’’

“These reservoirs could hold considerable reserves that would benefit the United States and Mexico alike,’’ she said.

But they don’t necessarily stop neatly at our maritime boundary,’’ Clinton added. “This could lead to disputes if a company discovers a reservoir that straddles the boundary — ... Read More

El caudillaje de Cristina Kirchner: embestida contra la prensa libre

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
ABC Madrid-01

CARMEN DE CARLOS

En el discurso de investidura del pasado 10 de diciembre, tras su reelección con más del 54 por ciento de los votos, la presidenta Cristina Fernández reconoció que para ella era «un ejercicio militante leer los diarios». La viuda de Néstor Kirchner no está contenta con lo que se publica de su gestión. La jefa del Estado, en rigor, lo que está es muy disgustada con los periódicos, semanarios, emisoras de radio, canales de televisión y aquellos periodistas que ejercen la profesión con un sentido crítico.

En esta legislatura, si nos fiamos de sus primeras medidas, parece estar determinada a poner fin a su sufrimiento. El primer día hábil después de jurar el cargo mandó un proyecto, que ya es ley, para declarar de interés público la fabricación, comercialización y distribución de papel de periódico que hoy está en manos del Estado (accionista minoritario), el grupo «Clarín» y «La Nación» ... Read More

Venezuela obligada a devaluar el bolívar, según analistas

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

ANTONIO MARIA DELGADO Venezuela se verá obligada a devaluar el bolívar el próximo año, independientemente de que quién gane las elecciones presidenciales de octubre, dijeron el lunes analistas que advirtieron sobre la insostenibilidad del tipo de cambio exageradamente alto que mantiene el gobierno de Hugo Chávez.

Expertos consultados dijeron que la moneda venezolana tendría que ser sometida a una devaluación de al menos 50 por ciento para corregir las serias distorsiones que el actual tipo de cambio está ejerciendo sobre la economía.

“Si dejaras flotar la moneda, el bolívar se iría a una tasa de ocho o nueve bolívares por dólar”, afirmó el analista venezolano Miguel Octavio.

“Ellos han creado tanto dinero que la masa monetaria, la cantidad de bolívares en circulación, está en niveles récord. Está como en 16 bolívares por cada dólar en reserva. Nunca había llegado a un número tan brutal”, agregó.

Esa gigantesca masa de dinero significa que el bolívar está ... Read More

Colombia’s No. 2 rebel group seeks peace talks

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
Boston Globe

Colombia’s No. 2 leftist rebel group is offering to halt offensive actions if the government agrees to peace talks.

The offer from the National Liberation Army comes in a communique published Monday by an activist group led by former Sen. Piedad Cordoba.

In response, Vice President Angelino Garzon has repeated the government’s long-held stance: Halt violence and the government will consider the offer.

The rebel group counts at least 3,000 fighters and has stepped up attacks the past two years. It held on-and-off exploratory talks in Cuba with Colombia’s previous government.

Colombia’s main rebel group is the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. It has about three times more fighters and operates much more widely.

Click here for original ... Read More

Pope’s Credibility On The Line With Cuba Visit: Expert

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
MSNBC

View more videos at: http://nbcmiami.com.

BY HANK TESTER

A South Florida religion expert said on Monday that the credibility of Pope Benedict XVI is on the line with his visit to Cuba.

“The creditability of this pope is on the line. According to many observers myself included, the church has done a very poor job of influencing events in Cuba,” Daniel Alvarez, professor of religion at Florida International University.

News broke over the weekend that the pope wanted to see Fidel Castro while in Cuba. Fidel Castro is no longer head of state and he was excommunicated by the church in the 1960s.

But does he want to get back into the church? Give a confession? Alvarez said he wouldn’t be surprised.

“Maybe this pope is willing to change the character of that relationship and insist on some substantive change. In other words, releasing political prisoners might not be enough ... Read More

Venezuelan challenger aims to oust Chavez

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

BY CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER & IAN JAMES

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan presidential hopeful Henrique Capriles last week called for “balanced elections” and criticized the use of government money and slanted coverage in state media as President Hugo Chavez seeks re-election.

Mr. Capriles is expected to face a tough race against Mr. Chavez, who even after 13 years in office remains a hero to many of his supporters and maintains a visceral connection to a significant segment of the poor in Venezuela.

Mr. Chavez also will likely use a bonanza of public spending as he seeks re-election in the Oct. 7 presidential election.

Mr. Capriles complained last week that government-run television coverage is tilted against him.

“Let’s have some balanced elections,” Mr. Capriles said at a news conference a day after handily winning the opposition’s first-ever presidential primary.

The 39-year-old candidate, who is governor of Miranda state, also strongly criticized Mr. Chavez’s economic policies. He condemned the government’s expropriations of hundreds of businesses, apartment buildings ... Read More

The republic vs. Chávez

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY CARLOS ALBERTO MONTANER

You multiply it by 2.5 or 3 — depending on whom you ask. That’s how you usually translate the votes from the primaries into the final election results. Electoral experts insist that the three million votes obtained by Henrique Capriles in the Venezuelan primaries could bring him between 7.5 and nine million votes in the balloting against Hugo Chávez. Enough to remove him from power.

“Eight and a half is a reasonable prediction,” Joaquín Pérez Rodríguez, one of the most knowledgeable people in the subject, told me. Then he added: “It will depend on many factors, inasmuch as more than seven months remain until the Oct. 7 balloting, but if the elections were held next week, and if there was no cheating, with the degree of enthusiasm now observed in the opposition, especially among the young, Chávez would be clearly defeated.”

The Democratic Unity Board , led by Ramón ... Read More

Chavez Media Say Rival Capriles Backs Plots From Nazi to Zionist

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »

BY CHARLIE DEVEREUX

Venezuela’s state media has accused opposition presidential nominee Henrique Capriles Radonski of offenses ranging from participating in a Zionist conspiracy to joining a Nazi-inspired effort to wipe out blacks and the poor.

An election on Oct. 7 will be a choice between President Hugo Chavez’s socialist revolution and “international Zionism which threatens to destroy the planet,” according to an article published on the website of Radio Nacional de Venezuela a day after Capriles won a Feb. 12 opposition primary.

The attacks, which were condemned by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, are a taste of what’s to come as Chavez faces his biggest challenge yet after 13 years in power, said Carlos Romero, a political analyst at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Capriles, a descendent of a Jewish immigrant, won the primary by a 34-percentage-point margin over his nearest rival, pushing down bond yields on optimism he may defeat Chavez and introduce ... Read More

Elecciones en Venezuela, las más riesgosas para el crudo: Citi

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

Londres (Reuters) – Las elecciones en Venezuela serán las más riesgosas de una serie de votaciones que enfrentará el mercado petrolero este año, dijo el lunes Ed Morse, director global de investigación de energía de Citi.

“El mercado no ha absorbido el impacto de la enfermedad de (el presidente Hugo) Chávez en la elección, nadie sabe cuán enfermo está, o si podría morir”, sostuvo Morse a Reuters, luego de una presentación a clientes.

Chávez, quien ha estado en el poder durante 13 años, fue sometido en junio a una cirugía en la que le extirparon un tumor maligno de la pelvis. El mandatario se ha declarado libre de cáncer desde entonces.

Venezuela, un miembro de la OPEP cuyas exportaciones fueron estimadas por Morse en casi 1,8 millones de barriles de crudo por día, realizará sus elecciones presidenciales en octubre.

Durante la presentación, Morse sostuvo que medidas políticas antes de las elecciones de este año en ... Read More

Joseph Humire: Iran’s Informal Ambassadors to Latin America

| February 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

BY JOSEPH HUMIRE

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in India and Georgia, the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has pointed the finger at Iran. This marks the second time in two months that Israeli officials have publicly alluded to the fact that Iran is engaging in terrorist activity on foreign soil.

Late last year, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said that Iran is developing a “terrorist infrastructure in Latin America that lies dormant for a time and at any moment can attack U.S. interests or the United States,” as well as “Israelis or Jews or any other country that opposes their political posture.”

This raises the question—is Latin America vulnerable to the next Iranian orchestrated terrorist attack?

The answer is yes and should not be surprising as Iran has already been implicated in the second largest terrorist attack in the Western Hemisphere—that of the  bombings in 1992 at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires ... Read More