Archive for February 7th, 2013

Envoy Declares Cuba’s Readiness to Enhance Ties with Iran

| February 7th, 2013 | No Comments »
FARS News Agency

Cuban Ambassador to Tehran William Carbo Ricardo in a meeting with Senior Advisor to the Iranian Parliament Speaker for International affairs Hossein Sheikholeslam announced Havana’s preparedness to broaden ties with Tehran.

During the meeting here in Tehran on Tuesday, the two officials explored avenues for the further expansion of mutual cooperation between Iran and Cuba.

The Cuban ambassador pointed to the close relation between Tehran and Havana, and reiterated that his country is willing to enhance mutual cooperation with Iran in all fields, including political, economic, cultural and parliamentary areas.

Sheikholeslam, for his part, said Iran has long stood by Cub, and noted that Tehran and Havana have backed up each other both politically and economically.

In December, Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi felicitated Cuban President Raul Castro on the 50th anniversary of the victory of the Cuban revolution.

Rahimi, in his message to the first Vice President of Cuba’s Council of State, Jose ... Read More

With the Burgas Bombing, Hezbollah Returned to Its Roots

| February 7th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Atlantic

Hezbollah, a growing body of evidence suggests, is back in the business of international operations after a long hiatus — striking out not only at military or official targets of its sworn enemies, but also, this time, at civilians. Bulgarian officials said on Tuesday that they could connect Hezbollah to the July 2012 bombing at a Black Sea resort that killed six civilians (five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver) along with one attacker. The results of Bulgaria’s investigation, if they bear out, add credence to a pattern that has slowly taken shape over the last seven years, ever since Hezbollah was first indicted for a political assassination in Lebanon and later accused of strikes on Israeli targets abroad. The Party of God, once eager to forswear tactics considered terrorist, appears to be tilting back into their embrace. The culmination of this transformation, or return to origins, could have serious ... Read More

Argentina: Falklands Islanders ‘Don’t Exist’

| February 7th, 2013 | No Comments »
Sky News HD-01

Argentina has escalated the row over the Falklands by claiming its people do not exist as a nation and are just British citizens living on disputed land.

Foreign minister Hector Timerman continued his war of words with Britain after declaring on Tuesday that Argentina would control the islands within 20 years.

On a visit to London, Mr Timerman claimed the United Nations only acknowledges two parties to the sovereignty dispute – the UK and Argentina.

He told a news conference: “The Falklands islanders do not exist. What exists is British citizens who live in the Islas Malvinas.

“The United Nations does not recognise a third party in the conflict. It says there are just two parts – the UK and Argentina.”

Mr Timerman also expanded on his decision to withdraw from talks with William Hague after the Foreign Secretary insisted islanders should also be represented.

He blamed Mr Hague for issuing an “ultimatum” and invited him ... Read More

Peru holds Colombia ‘drug lord’ Jacinto Nicolas Fuentes

| February 7th, 2013 | No Comments »
BBC

Peruvian police have arrested Jacinto Nicolas Fuentes German, who is suspected of being a leader of Colombia’s Urabenos criminal gang.

Peruvian officers detained Mr Fuentes in Lima, after a joint intelligence operation with Colombia, Peru’s police chief, Gen Raul Salazar said.

Mr Fuentes, known as Don Leo, entered Peru illegally last month, they added.

The Urabenos gang controls much of the drug trade in northern Colombia, with many ex-paramilitaries in its ranks.

According to the Colombian authorities, Mr Fuentes took over running part of the Urabenos after one of the most wanted drug dealers, Henry de Jesus Lopez, was arrested in December in Argentina.

Mr Fuentes had been in prison in 2008 after being arrested with a group of armed men, but was subsequently released, Colombian media reported.

Click here for ... Read More

Colombia’s Farc proposes legal coca and marijuana crops

| February 7th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
BBC

Colombia’s Farc rebels have called for some coca, poppy and marijuana cultivation to be legalised as part of land reform in the country.

The guerrillas’ proposal came as they attended ongoing peace talks in Cuba with the Colombian government.

Legalisation of drug crops should be considered for therapeutic, medicinal, industrial or cultural reasons, Farc chief negotiator Ivan Marquez said.

Land use and ending drug trafficking are among the key issues at the talks.

The concentration of land was a major cause of the uprising that brought about the Farc’s establishment in the early 1960s.

“We need to reorientate the use of land towards sustainable agricultural production,” Ivan Marquez told reporters, as the Farc presented eight proposals for land reform.

This meant even considering “legalising some marijuana, poppy and coca leaf plantations for therapeutic or medicinal reasons, for industrial use or cultural ends,” he added.

Communities who grow such crops should not be criminalised and persecuted, the rebels ... Read More

Flights to Cuba cut back for lack of demand

| February 7th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY JUAN O. TAMAYO

A weekly flight between Los Angeles and Havana made its last trip Wednesday, the latest victim of a sharp reduction in U.S.-Cuba charter flights that industry officials blame on vastly overblown predictions of a boom in demand.

Cuba Travel Services of Long Beach, run by Michael Zuccato, announced that it had cancelled its once-a-week, non-stop flight after the chartered United jetliner returned Wednesday to LAX because of a lack of passengers.

Last month, Miami-based ABC Charters and XAEL Charters announced they would cancel two Tampa-to-Cuba flights. ABC shut down its weekly flight to Holguin as of Feb. 28, while XAEL will end its one flight to Havana per week on Feb. 14.

About 45 charter flights per week from the United States to Cuba are now programmed for the month of March, according to knowledgeable charter industry officials, compared to nearly 60 in September. Those flights are well booked, they ... Read More

Bolivia: rethinking nationalisations

| February 7th, 2013 | No Comments »
Beyond Brics

BY ANDRES SCHIPANI

Trying to carve out a Bolivian mining industry purely on his own terms is proving tricky for Bolivia’s leftwing President Evo Morales.

Recently, he was forced to give out some disappointing numbers about the performance of the Colquiri mine, which the government took over from London-listed commodities giant Glencore in June of last year, during a dispute between rival mining unions.

“Before, with few people there was more production. Now, with more people, there is less production. If nationalisations means producing less, then there is no point in nationalising,” Morales said.

Back then, according to Morales, the mine’s output was 429 tonnes of unrefined tin and zinc. By December 2012, the monthly production rate from the mine fell 21 per cent to 337 tonnes. At the same time, the now state-controlled mine bumped up Colquiri’s workforce by 30 per cent, from 959 workers to 1,249, in order to keep everyone happy.

Sales ... Read More

Editorial: For Hugo, wherever he is

| February 7th, 2013 | No Comments »
Boston Herald

Hugo Chavez, inaugurated last month in an elaborate and altogether bizarre ceremony where the guest of honor was MIA, is apparently lying in a Cuban hospital bed while his cronies run the show back home in Venezuela. Meanwhile Venezuelans are forced to rely on such reliable sources as Fidel Castro for updates on the their president’s health — Chavez, Castro said in a rare public appearance in Cuba this week, is getting better! — but haven’t laid eyes on him since early December.

Of course none of that has discouraged Joseph P. Kennedy II from airing his annual thank-you note to Citgo and the people of Venezuela (as if they have any say in the matter) and to Chavez himself for coming to the aid of folks in Massachusetts in their time of need, as he promotes the fuel assistance program run by Citizens Energy.

No, no one should be left out ... Read More

Corruption charges fly in Venezuela

| February 7th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

Corruption accusations and insults are flying between allies and opponents of President Hugo Chavez nearly two months after the Venezuelan leader disappeared from the political stage to undergo cancer surgery in Cuba.

Analysts say the increasingly heated attacks between the two camps could be a preamble to a bruising campaign ahead of a possible new presidential election this year.

National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello on Tuesday night accused three lawmakers in the Justice First party of involvement in corruption.

Opposition leaders responded on Wednesday, saying members of the party are totally innocent and that senior government officials are the ones who have enriched themselves during Chavez’s 14 years in office.

Political analyst Jose Vicente Carrasquero said Chavez’s camp is trying to “demoralize the opposition” and hurt it politically ahead of a possible presidential election. A new vote would be called within 30 days if Chavez were to die or step down from the presidency.

By ... Read More