Archive for February 12th, 2013

Doctors notify Chavez’s family of the Venezuelan President’s imminent death

| February 12th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
ABC Madrid-01

BY EMILI J. BLASCO

Translated by IASW

Physicians caring for Hugo Chávez in Havana have notified his family, the Castro brothers, and the main chavista leaders that their patient will no longer be able to return to his functions as president of Venezuela.

This is according to sources in direct contact with his medical team, who also indicate that Chávez has lost his voice completely as a result of medical treatment. His vocal cords have endured permanent damage making recuperation highly unlikely.  Speechless and unable to move from the bed in which he has spent the last two months, our sources tell us the president is “very depressed.”

A public announcement by the government explaining that Chavez will be unable to resume his duties will be released in the upcoming days, and has already been circulating among members of the Supreme Court.

More than sixty days from his last public appearance on December 8, when ... Read More

Los médicos comunican ya a la familia de Chávez que no se recuperará

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
ABC Madrid-01

POR EMILI J. BLASCO

Los médicos que atienden a Hugo Chávez en La Habana ya han comunicado a la familia del presidente, a los hermanos Castro y a la cúpula chavista que el paciente ya no está en condiciones de regresar para ejercer la presidencia de Venezuela.

Así lo aseguran fuentes en contacto con el equipo médico, que también indican que Chávez ha perdido la voz por completo, a consecuencia del tratamiento médico recibido. Este ha causado daño permanente en sus cuerdas vocales y difícilmente va a poder recuperar la voz. Sin habla y sin poder moverse de la cama, en la que lleva exactamente dos meses, el presidente se encuentra «muy deprimido», apuntan las citadas fuentes.

Un anuncio público por parte del Gobierno de que Chávez es incapaz de reasumir sus funciones será realizado los próximos días, y así ha sido trasladado ya a miembros del Tribunal Supremo, según ha podido saber este diario.

Cuando ya han pasado más de sesenta días desde ... Read More

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Venezuela’s Cavim Arms Company

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »

BY JOSE OROZCO

The U.S. imposed sanctions on a state-owned Venezuelan weapons company after it traded with Iran, North Korea or Syria, the State Department said in a statement posted on its website.

The U.S. sanctioned the Venezuelan Military Industry Company under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act, known as INKSNA. The sanctions, which the statement didn’t detail, expire in February, 2015. The U.S. also penalized companies or individuals in Belarus, China, Iran, Sudan and Syria, according to the statement.

“There was credible information indicating they had transferred to, or acquired from, Iran, North Korea, or Syria, equipment and technology,” the State Department said yesterday.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is receiving treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer in Cuba, has angered the U.S. by building close ties with Iran and Syria. Chavez has visited Iran nine times during his 14 years in power and signed more than 100 accords with ... Read More

Ecuador: An Election Primer

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
From CSIS

BY GUSTAVO PALACIO

According to official statements, the outcome of Ecuador’s February 17 general election is already determined and there is little that competing candidates can do to stop Rafael Correa from serving another four-year term, thereby following the footsteps of role model Hugo Chávez who has stayed in office for 14 years in Venezuela. The president’s supporters are also convinced that Correa’s lead will ensure their candidates a place in the 124-seat National Assembly. However, not all of those polls show the president with a lead strong enough to have at least 40 percent of the vote and a 10-point advantage over the closest rival, which is what Correa must obtain to avoid a runoff on April 7. Correa supporters base their anticipated victory on a group of polls from October to January that show a 50-60 percent preference for the president, followed by candidates Guillermo Lasso and Lucio Gutiérrez with ... Read More

Argentina’s Iranian Tango

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Project Syndicate

BY DANTE CAPUTO

BUENOS AIRES – A controversial agreement between Iran and Argentina to investigate jointly a terrorist attack against a Jewish organization in Buenos Aires in 1994, which killed 85 people, has opened an intense debate about Iranian influence in Latin America. This is unusual, because Latin American leaders often ignore events that fuel global tensions, regardless of their repercussions on the continent’s politics.

For decades, Cuban and Soviet support for guerrilla movements – and backing by the United States for Latin America’s anticommunist military regimes – was rarely part of regional explanations for the insurgent violence and state terrorism that plagued the continent even after the Cold War’s end. Today, the growing strength of the region’s democracies is helping to heal the wounds of that violence, but the difficulty of incorporating global factors into national political analysis continues. Links with Iran – and their costs – are no exception.

... Read More

The Venezuelan Train Crash

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Investor's Business Daily

Economics: Venezuela has devalued its currency, joining Iran, Argentina and others whose wars on math brought the same result. Some call this a “restorative.” It’s not. It’s what happens when big government hits a wall.

Venezuela’s monster 47% devaluation from 4.3 to 6.3 bolivars to the dollar, reportedly ordered by President Hugo Chavez from his hospital bed in Cuba, marks the reckoning for his regime’s big-spending ways in Venezuela’s low-growth economy.

It was about as predictable as a crash from a runaway train, given his mad-lunatic war on economics — his lethal combination of welfare spending, destruction of the private sector and capital controls to cover up the disaster. And as in any train wreck, it wasn’t something he could control.

Venezuelan banker Miguel Octavio noted on his blog “The Devil’s Excrement,” that “in the end devaluation is not a policy, it is the result of bad policy.”

This devaluation is characteristic of all tyrannies, ... Read More

Argentine leader hints AMIA president linked to ‘foreign espionage agency’

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Tehran Times

TEHRAN – Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner publicly attacked the head of Buenos Aires’ Jewish community, hinting he was in contact with a foreign espionage agency that knows of a new terror attack planned against Argentina, Haaretz reported on Sunday.

The Argentine president was responding to Guillermo Borger, president of the AMIA Buenos Aires Jewish center, who said the Argentina-Iran agreement to set up a committee to investigate the 1994 bombing of the center, which killed 85 people, “will allow a third bombing in Argentina.” The pact signed with Tehran has been criticized by Israel and Jewish groups, who fear it could end up weakening the case against Iranian officials. They also see it as a diplomatic victory for Iran. According to Reuters, the Argentine president defended the decision to sign a pact with Iran to set up a “truth commission” to investigate the bombing and asked the Argentine Congress on Thursday to approve ... Read More

Colombia ELN rebels want proof seized Germans are not spies

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
BBC

Members of Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, say they want proof that two elderly German brothers they are holding are not spies.

The rebels demanded to see documents showing the men worked for private companies and letters from their relatives backing up their identities.

Uwe and Gunther Breuer, who are 69 and 72 years old, were seized in November.

They had been touring South America in a jeep when they were taken in a remote area near the border with Venezuela.

In a statement published on their website, ELN (National Liberation Army) rebels asked the families of Gunther and Uwe Breuer to “send us truthful evidence that clarifies their ties with the captured men”.

‘Friendly Colombians’

They also demanded that “the German company, which these gentlemen said they work or worked for, show proof of their employment ties”.

The rebels also asked the German government to nominate an official to negotiate the release of ... Read More

CELAC PRESIDENCY MEANS CUBA MUST GUARANTEE BASIC FREEDOMS

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Reporters Without Borders

President Raúl Castro Ruz Head of Cuba’s Council of State Chairman of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)

Dear President Castro,

When you were sworn in as chairman of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) for one year at the end of the recent CELAC summit in the Chilean capital of Santiago, you undertook to act “with total respect for international law, the United Nations charter and the fundamental principles governing relations between countries.” In your 28 January speech, you also declared your intention to reject “interference, aggression, threats and use of force” and to promote “dialogue.”

Reporters Without Borders, an international organization that defends freedom of information, hopes that these undertakings will quickly be given concrete expression in your own country. Cuba’s legitimate desire to participate in the process of regional integration and the desire for openness seen in certain reforms currently under way need to be accompanied ... Read More

Venezuela Devaluation Hits US, European Companies

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

Venezuela’s latest currency devaluation will hurt a range of U.S. and European companies that sell to consumers in the country, as state-imposed price controls make it more difficult for those companies to protect their profits.

On Friday, Venezuela devalued the bolivar by 32 percent, its fifth such move in a decade. For U.S. companies that do substantial business in the country, such as Colgate-Palmolive, Avon Products, Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark, that means their earnings in bolivars are now worth less when converted back to dollars.

Colgate-Palmolive warned on Monday it would take a one-time charge of $120 million in the first quarter to re-measure its balance sheet at the new rate. Its shares were flat on Monday after falling 1.5 percent on Friday.

Irish packaging group Smurfit Kappa, which just last week reported its second-best profit in the last five years, said it would lower its net asset value to 142 million euros as a result of ... Read More

Iran’s Global Business Is Murder Inc.

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

BY MICHAEL OREN

A bomb explodes in Burgas, Bulgaria, leaving five Israeli tourists and a local driver dead. Mysteriously marked ammunition kills countless Africans in civil wars. Conspirators plot to blow up a crowded cafe and an embassy in Washington, D.C. A popular prime minister is assassinated, and a despised dictator stays in power by massacring his people by the tens of thousands.

Apart from their ruthlessness, these events might appear unrelated. And yet the dots are inextricably linked. The connection is Iran.

In 25 cities across five continents, community centers, consulates, army barracks and houses of worship have been targeted for destruction. Thousands have been killed. The perpetrators are agents of Hezbollah and the Quds Force, sometimes operating separately and occasionally in unison. All take their orders from Tehran.

Hezbollah’s relationship with Tehran is “a partnership arrangement with Iran as the senior partner,” says America’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper. The Lebanon-based ... Read More

Waiting for Hugo Chavez: Theatrics and a Languishing Economy

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Heritage Foundation

BY RAY WALSER

It has now been two months since Venezuela President Hugo Chavez departed Miraflores Palace (Venezuela’s White House) to undergo cancer surgery in Havana, Cuba.

Very little is known about Chavez’s health. So far the only proof of life presented by senior officials are reported visits to the hospital where Chavez is being treated and the appearance of documents said to be signed by the president. Chavez has not spoken to or been seen by the public. The government says that Chavez is making progress, but they are unable to overcome a growing presumption he will never again exercise real executive power.

Nevertheless, the show goes on in Venezuela. On February 4 (4F), Chavistas—led by heir-apparent Nicolas Maduro and Assembly President Diosdado Cabello— celebrated the “heroism” of Chavez’s failed 1992 coup d’état. Like Fidel Castro’s failed 1953 uprising against the Batista regime, political mythology has converted a day of violence—over 100 died in Chavez’s aborted coup—into ... Read More

EEUU sanciona a Cavim por venta de armamento y tecnología militar a Irán

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Globovision

El Gobierno estadounidense sancionó a la Compañía Anónima Venezolana de Industrias Militares (Cavim) entre un conjunto de doce empresas extranjeras, incluidas cuatro chinas, por venta de armamento y tecnología militar a Irán, Corea del Norte o Siria.

Según el Departamento de Estado, las compañías violaron la Ley de No Proliferación en Irán de 2000, a la que posteriormente se añadieron Corea del Norte (2006) y Siria (2005), que tiene como objeto impedir que alguno de estos países pueda hacerse con armas de destrucción masiva.

Las sanciones fueron impuestas por un periodo de dos años y expirarán en febrero de 2015.

Junto con la compañía venezolana fueron sancionadas la entidad siria, Army Supply Bureau (ASB), y las sudanesas Al-Zargaa Engineering Complex (ZEC) y SMT Engineering.

La lista incluye a las bielorrusas TM Services Limited (TMS) y la Empresa Científica Industrial de la República (Radar); a las iraníes Iran Electronics Industries (IEI), Marine Industries Organization (MIO), ... Read More

The Castros’ Captive: Why Appeasing Havana Won’t Free Alan Gross

| February 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Foreign Affairs

BY FRANK CALZON

In “Our Man in Havana,” R. M. Schneiderman suggests that Alan Gross will not be freed from his Cuban prison unless the U.S. State Department shuts down its programs supporting democracy and human rights in Cuba. This conclusion is faulty, if not utterly ridiculous. Gross, who worked for a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contractor, is serving a 15-year jail sentence for trying to help Havana’s Jewish community connect to the Internet, an act most of the world does not recognize as a crime. In 2009, Gross was seized just before he was scheduled to fly home to the United States and held for 14 months before any charges were filed against him. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson has aptly described him as a “hostage.”

What seems to gall Schneiderman is not Gross’ imprisonment, but rather that Congress mandated the democracy-promotion program in Cuba in the ... Read More