Archive for November 5th, 2012

Spokesman: Venezuela-Iran Close Ties Further Strengthened by Chavez Victory

| November 5th, 2012 | No Comments »
FARS News Agency

TEHRAN – Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast hailed the victory of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in the October elections, saying that his win further consolidates and ensures continuity in the close ties between Caracas and Tehran.

“With Chavez’s victory we can expand our bilateral relationship for the benefit of our peoples,” he said during an interview with the Venezuelan News Agency (AVN, Spanish abbreviation) at his office in Tehran.

He further noted that the two sides have signed more than 300 cooperation agreements over the past few years on technology, health, agriculture, food, industry, infrastructure and housing, indicating that Tehran and Caracas attach special importance to their bilateral ties.

“Venezuela is of paramount importance to Iran since both countries have established trade relations boosting several economic sectors, and improving people’s quality of life,” he said.

Mehman-Parast also said the two states share a number of common goals, including campaign against poverty, armed aggressions ... Read More

The Argentina Scenario

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City Journal

BY JAY HALLEN

The opening decade of the twenty-first century has seen a slow but distinct decline in American capitalism. Economic policy has become increasingly overrun by central planning, redistribution, and government picking of industrial winners and losers. Beginning about half a century ago, those elements helped sink another free-market powerhouse—Argentina. While Barack Obama is no Juan Perón, the president’s misguided policies threaten to squander our economic advantages, just as Perón’s did in Argentina.

Government intervention in the housing market, caused by low interest rates; direct subsidies, such as the home-mortgage interest-tax deduction; and the market distortion caused by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—the two state-backed entities that make virtually all home loans now—has helped throw the American economy into a tailspin. A rerun threatens to occur in the student loan market and perhaps also health care, two areas where the government now plays an outsize role in financing and subsidies. Subsidies and bailouts ... Read More

Cuba: The revolution will not be energized

| November 5th, 2012 | No Comments »
Global Post

HAVANA, Cuba — Cuba’s long, costly quest for socialism-with-oil appears to be ending in little more than a string of empty holes across the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

The latest attempt to strike crude in the deep waters off the island’s northwest coast has come up dry, the Cuban government announced Friday, and industry experts say it’ll likely be years before another rig tries there again.

The bust is a relief to opponents in Florida who feared a cash windfall for the communist government, and tourism officials in the state who have been dreading the possibility of a Cuban spill fouling their beaches.

But the news is a gut-punch to Cuba’s hopes for an oil injection to its faltering economy, and President Raul Castro’s attempt to save his older brother Fidel’s socialist system by introducing limited market principles and new sources of job growth.

Cuban officials recognize that the country’s overwhelming energy dependence on ... Read More

Sandinistas consolidate single-party rule in Nicaragua

| November 5th, 2012 | No Comments »
The Nicaragua Dispatch

BY TIM ROGERS

A tin-pot election that started with the frightening possibility of electing a zombie government culminated in an overwhelming victory for the ruling Sandinista Front early Monday morning amid allegations of dirty tricks, official mischief, voter exclusion, political tomfoolery, post-electoral violence and system collapse.

The Sandinista-controlled Supreme Electoral Council (CSE), an arithmetically challenged group of vest-clad knaves accused of rigging the past two elections according to political instruction, did little to ease concerns over their professional competency yesterday by failing to produce results the same day of the election. Though fewer than 2 million citizens voted on Sunday, the CSE’s laborious vote count dragged into Monday morning. Even the Sandinista enthusiasts who took to the streets Sunday night to celebrate their anticipated victory eventually tired of waiting on the CSE’s remedial-math languidness and head for home.

With 56% of the votes tallied after seven hours of counting, CSE boss Roberto Rivas finally began ... Read More

Lieutenant to ‘Chapo’ Guzman Arrested in Mexico

| November 5th, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

MEXICO CITY

Mexico’s army arrested a lieutenant to Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman who they believe ordered the killing of anti-violence activist Nepomuceno Moreno, authorities said Sunday.

Mexico’s defense department said Jesus Alfredo Salazar Ramirez was arrested in Huixquilucan in Mexico state on Thursday, and that there is an arrest order for him issued by a court in Texas for intent to distribute cocaine.

A department statement called Salazar one of Guzman’s most important lieutenants, and alleged that he ran drug planting, production and trafficking operations for the cartel.

He is also accused of ordering the November 2011 killing of Moreno, a 56-year-old sidewalk seafood vendor who became one of the most visible faces of Mexico’s anti-crime movement after his 18-year-old son Jorge Mario disappeared.

Saying masked police had snatched his son, Moreno pleaded his case directly to President Felipe Calderon last month in a meeting with members of poet Javier Sicilia’s ... Read More

Colombia fires up power ‘locomotive’

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Financial Times

BY ANDRES SCHIPANI

Colombia’s government has put it clear: it is determined to set their “energy locomotive”, as they labelled their ambitious energy plans, full-steam ahead. Luckily, their engine seems to be well tuned.

“Colombia is attractive. You have lots of investment, lots of companies coming, lots of interest in new areas, and production levels practically doubling,” Javier Gutiérrez, the head of the country’s state-controlled energy company, Ecopetrol, told the Financial Times.

After years of decline in production and exploration during the 1990s, in the past decade, Colombia has taken advantage of the commodities boom and a crackdown that has put Marxist insurgents on the back foot.

This had ignited the interest of investors in the energy-rich parts of the country that were off-limits during the rough years of the drug-fuelled, guerrilla and paramilitary violence in what became the western hemisphere’s longest-running armed conflict.

Overcoming fears of becoming an importer, the Andean country has almost ... Read More

Venezuela opposition seeks morale boost

| November 5th, 2012 | No Comments »
Financial Times

BY BENEDICT MANDER

The Venezuelan government and its supporters may still feel euphoric. But Hugo Chávez’s triumph in October’s presidential election has left the opposition and swaths of the country in gloom, wondering if there will ever be an end to “21st century socialism”.

Faced with six more years of “Bolivarian revolution”, on top of 12 years already, increasing numbers of Venezuelans are deciding to abandon their country.

“I can’t stay here any longer,” says Reny Rangel, a 30-year-old entrepreneur who sees no future for himself in Venezuela given its increasingly challenging business environment and personal safety, threatened by a rising tide of violent crime.

“I can’t sit out another six years. It would be interminable,” he despairs, saying he would rather shutter his logistics company and start life anew in the US.

As many as 1m of Venezuela’s 29m population have emigrated since Mr Chávez came to power in 1999, according to Esther Bermúdez, who runs MeQuieroIr.com ... Read More