Archive for November 9th, 2012

Really — an honorary degree for Fidel Castro?

| November 9th, 2012 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

Last week, the Autonomous University of Morelos in Mexico awarded the title Doctor Honoris Causa to Fidel Castro for “his contributions to agriculture, education and culture”. It is shameful that a university in a democratic country would award such a title to a dictator. Especially for these alleged contributions.

Lets discuss the “achievements” of Castro and his contributions to the island in regards to agriculture, culture and education.

Perhaps the university ignores that under the Castro regime, culture, education and agriculture have been seriously affected by his government. In kolkhoz (Soviet-style farms), the state has

total control over production. This by itself destroys any possibility that the farmers may have to achieve growth.

When it comes to improvements in terms of agriculture, Cuba is the last country to be seen as successful in the field. The university may ignore that Cuban agriculture covers only 20 percent of the needs of the population; forcing the government to ... Read More

Cuban dissidents detained; Yoani Sánchez released

| November 9th, 2012 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


Cuban authorities ordered the temporary detention of several dissidents who had gathered in front of a Havana police station Thursday to demand freedom for a group of activists and independent lawyers.

Among those detained were blogger Yoani Sánchez, former political prisoner Guillermo Fariñas, and writers Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, Angel Santiesteban and Eugenio Leal. Several former political prisoners from the Group of 75 also were detained. They included Angel Moya, Félix Navarro, Julio Aleaga, Eduardo Díaz Fleitas and Librado Linares.

Yoani Sánchez was freed late Thursday, according to a Twitter message from her husband, Reynaldo Escobar.

The activists were detained outside a police station at Acosta and 10 de Octubre in a Havana neighborhood called La Víbora where they were demanding the immediate, unconditional release of more than a dozen activists who had been detained at midweek.

A pro-government group that blogs under the name Yohandry said on Twitter that Sánchez ... Read More

A wrong turn in Buenos Aires

| November 9th, 2012 | No Comments »
Chicago Tribune

Cry for yourself, Argentina.

What a shame to see a country of such great economic promise swerving off the road to prosperity again.

The latest in a history of unforced errors began in 2007. National elections ushered in populist President Cristina Fernandez, who has led her nation to the brink of disaster by refusing to play by the rules of global finance. She restricted international trade, violated contracts and pumped out phony data to disguise the soaring inflation her policies brought about. All the while she scored cheap political points by blasting the rich countries of the north for their supposed economic imperialism.

Argentina took a grave step in May when it nationalized YPF, its main energy company. The takeover, condemned around the world, forced out Spain’s Grupo Repsol, which owned a majority stake in YPF. Repsol was providing the engineering know-how and financial investment to develop Argentina’s massive energy reserves—including the huge ... Read More

Argentina’s International Trade Disaster

| November 9th, 2012 | No Comments »


Alejandro Echeagaray got into the rice business in a roundabout way. As president of BMW Group Argentina, he’s not known for his farming abilities. But in March 2011, Argentina’s government decided that car importers would have to match their imports with exports of equal value. As Echeagaray tried to figure out a way to comply, vehicles piled up in customs like undocumented aliens. Echeagaray could not be reached for comment, though Buenos Aires dealer Adrián Santos says “about 500” BMWs packed the huge lots at the car port 55 miles northwest of the city. During the first 10 months of 2011, overall BMW sales plunged by half, according to Argentina’s car dealers association.

After months of negotiations, Echeagaray figured out a fix. The government agreed to let in BMW’s vehicles as long as the company’s Argentine subsidiary exported an equivalent amount of upholstery leather, car parts, and … processed rice. Echeagaray worked a deal with ... Read More

Thousands of Argentines vent anger at President Fernandez in protest march through capital

| November 9th, 2012 | No Comments »

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina –  Thousands of people flooded the streets of Argentina’s capital for hours Thursday night and many others marched in cities worldwide in the country’s biggest anti-government protest in more than a decade.

Angered by high inflation, violent crime and high-profile corruption, and fearful President Cristina Fernandez will try to hold onto power indefinitely by ending constitutional term limits, protesters marched on the iconic obelisk in Buenos Aires chanting: “We’re not afraid.”

In a march organized on social media, demonstrators also converged on the pink presidential palace at the Plaza de Mayo square in scorching heat. There was little rowdiness, and the protest had the air of a family affair, with toddlers in strollers and grandparents in wheelchairs joining in.

People banged on pots, whistled and waved the Argentine flag. They held banners that read: “Stop the wave of Argentines killed by crime, enough with corruption and say no to the ... Read More

Mexico reports capture of alleged Zetas cartel commander

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From the Los Angeles Times


MEXICO CITY — An alleged local commander of the Zetas paramilitary cartel in the troubled border state of Coahuila has been captured, the Mexican navy announced Thursday, expressing hope that he might lead authorities to the notorious group’s remaining top leader.

Said Omar Juarez was taken into custody on a prominent street in Saltillo, Coahuila’s capital, the navy said in a statement released as the suspect was presented to reporters in Mexico City. In his possession were weapons and packages containing what may be cocaine and marijuana, the statement said.

Juarez was described by the navy as the Zeta operative in charge of Saltillo, who “presumably” has direct ties to Miguel Angel Treviño, the Zetas’ top leader. Treviño emerged as the undisputed Zetas capo after Heriberto Lazcano was killed in a shootout with navy special forces last month.

Coahuila, which borders Texas and is Mexico’s third-largest state, has recently been the subject of increased ... Read More

Mexico says marijuana legalization in U.S. could change anti-drug strategies

| November 9th, 2012 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post


MEXICO CITY — The decision by voters in Colorado and Washington state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has left Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto and his team scrambling to reformulate their anti-drug strategies in light of what one senior aide said was a referendum that “changes the rules of the game.”

It is too early to know what Mexico’s response to the successful ballot measures will be, but a top aide said Peña Nieto and members of his incoming administration will discuss the issue with President Obama and congressional leaders in Washington this month. The legalization votes, however, are expected to spark a broad debate in Mexico about the direction and costs of the U.S.-backed drug war here.

Mexico spends billions of dollars each year confronting violent trafficking organizations that threaten the security of the country but whose main market is the United States, the largest consumer of ... Read More

Exclusive: Venezuela sees Exxon, Conoco arbitration rulings in late 2013

| November 9th, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters


Venezuela expects international arbitration rulings by late 2013 in multi-billion-dollar claims by Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips over nationalizations by President Hugo Chavez’s government, the oil minister said.

Of more than 20 cases against Venezuela at the World Bank and the International Chamber of Commerce’s panels, the biggest involve Conoco (COP.N) and Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), which are seeking some $40 billion between them.

Both companies filed for arbitration after Chavez ordered foreign firms to slash their stakes in production and upgrading projects for heavy crude oil in the Orinoco Belt as part of a 2007 wave of state takeovers.

“We don’t expect resolutions this year. Probably the biggest cases (Conoco and Exxon) will be resolved in the second half of 2013,” Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told Reuters.

He did not give more details of the ongoing cases.

A huge compensation bill would be painful for cash-strapped state oil firm PDVSA, which has been unable to boost ... Read More