Author Archive

US Justices Seek Middle Ground in Argentina Case

| April 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By MARK SHERMAN

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared to be searching for a middle ground Monday in the decade-long battle between Argentina and holders of its defaulted bonds.

The justices heard arguments on a relatively narrow aspect of the issue, the question of whether a sovereign nation can be forced to reveal assets around the world so plaintiffs can collect on U.S. court judgments.

The court seemed inclined to narrow lower court orders in favor of the bondholders to exclude diplomatic, military and national security property owned by Argentina. At the same time, the justices indicated they might uphold the orders as they apply to commercial property outside the United States.

The court offered few clues about the larger case involving the same players: Argentina’s appeal of a $1.4 billion judgment that it says could destroy the country’s economy and also damage the U.S. financial system. So far, lower courts ... Read More

Brazil’s Two Biggest Cities Roiled by Violence

| April 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

By LUCIANA MAGALHAES in São Paulo and  PAUL KIERNAN in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil’s two biggest cities were shaken by unrest on Tuesday, as a professional dancer’s death sparked a violent protest in a Rio slum that overlooks popular beaches, and armed men torched nearly three dozen buses at a depot outside São Paulo.

The incidents come less than two months before Brazil hosts soccer’s World Cup tournament, and underscore concerns about security during the event.

In Rio, officials closed off major thoroughfares in the area, as smoke from fires set by rioters in the hillside slum hung in the air steps from oceanfront hotels.

The riot started as a protest after the body of a professional dancer from the Pavão-Pavãozinho slum, Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira, was found in a school Tuesday morning. Police said his injuries appeared consistent with a fall; protesters suspected that he had been murdered.

A police officer at the scene said suspected ... Read More

Venezuela’s Security Forces: A Killer Elite Beyond the Law

| April 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Daily Beast As violent protests return, the death toll is down, but families are struggling hopelessly to find justice for their loved ones killed in demonstrations earlier this year.

Longstanding tradition in Venezuela calls for “Judas burning” on Easter Sunday. People make giant dolls out of old clothes and set them ablaze, remembering the betrayal of Christ. Often, Judas is given the face of a contemporary politician, and this year effigies of President Nicolás Maduro went up in flames amid resounding cheers in the opposition bastions of Caracas, Carabobo, Táchira and Mérida.

After a few weeks of relative calm, once again those streets are filled with teargas and the police are blasting away at demonstrators with plastic and metal pellets. But, in truth, the crowds are small, injuries now are few and even the angriest have grown weary of a game that seems to be going nowhere.

For almost six weeks, from February 12 to ... Read More

Venezuela accuses 9 of financing violent protests

| April 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Venezuela’s interior minister reported Tuesday the arrest of nine people on charges of leading, financing and organizing violent anti-government protests in the Caracas municipality of Chacao.

Thanks to “previous intelligence operations,” Miguel Rodriguez said, 10 homes were raided before dawn Tuesday, surprising nine people including one who, “according to people detained several days before, were handing out money” to demonstrators.

Police have warrants for 15 other raids, seeking to catch those who are directing “these violent groups engaged in terrorist activities,” the minister said.

He said that those previously detained, whom they also identified as ringleaders, confessed they acted not just for the money but also in exchange for “genetically modified marijuana.”

“They give them that drug to get them high and keep them in permanent activity against security forces,” Rodriguez said.

Chacao Mayor Ramon Muchacho, a member of the opposition to President Nicolas Maduro, said this Monday that in the last few days “nobody ... Read More

Mexico To Buy $680 Million In Black Hawk Helicopters From U.S. To Combat Drug Trafficking

| April 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

The Obama administration notified Congress that it approved the possible sale of 18 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, equipment and logistical support to Mexico for $680 million, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, or DSCA, said.

The State Department approved the foreign military sale, which was requested by Mexico, and notified Congress last Thursday of its plans, the DSCA said in a statement.

Lawmakers have 30 days, as of April 17, to express objections or else the sale will be final.

“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner. Mexico has been a strong partner in combating organized crime and drug trafficking organizations,” the DSCA said.

The sale covers 18 UH-60M Black Hawks, 40 T700-GE-701D engines, navigation systems, 36 M134 7.62 mm machine guns and other gear.

“Mexico intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its ... Read More

El Salvador church leaders call for new gang truce

| April 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

BY NELSON RENTERIA

Church leaders in El Salvador on Tuesday said they want to revive a fragile truce between the country’s powerful street gangs in order to curb a resurgence of violent crime.

Catholic Bishop Fabio Colindres, who helped broker a 2012 deal between gang leaders, proposed that religious leaders establish new talks with gang leaders.

“This is about re-launching a pacification strategy based in the establishment of a formal mechanism of dialogue with the gangs,” Colindres told reporters.

The 2012 truce between the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and rival gang Barrio 18 helped cut the Central American country’s murder rate in mid-2013 to around five per day, a 10-year low, from around 12 a day.

But homicides have started climbing again and now number nearly 10 per day nationally. Murders rose 44 percent in the first three months of 2014 compared to a year ago, according to the Supreme Court’s forensic medical authority.

While the homicide ... Read More

An Odd Hostility in the Americas

| April 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

BY ROGER COHEN

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Two vast countries in the same hemisphere, with the same can-do appetite for the future, populated by far-flung immigrants subsuming their differences into the same powerful sense of nationhood, with the same commitment to democratic governance and free enterprise, drawn to each other by the same mutual attraction among their peoples, find their relations at or close to an all-time low.

There may be more perplexing international relationships in the world than the troubled one between the United States and Brazil, but there are not many. A natural friendship has fissured under unnatural strain. A perverse estrangement prevails.

Brazil, a kind of tropical United States, finds it difficult to connect to Washington, and vice versa. The nation that might have been America’s closest ally (even without a formal alliance) among the rising powers is now ... Read More

Obama Seeks To Delay Keystone Pipeline To Death

| April 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
IBD

Keystone XL: Does the president always invent some new excuse for putting off approval of the pipeline? His latest delay means it’s been in regulatory purgatory for four years and counting. Hey, no sense in rushing things.

Here is what President Obama said on Good Friday when he announced that he was delaying a decision until after the election:

“Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”

Thank God that Obama wasn’t president in the 1970s, or we would have never built the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. What’s next? Banning oil and gas drilling in the U.S. in order to stop the oceans from rising? They’re already busy at Obama’s EPA shutting down coal-burning electric-power plants.

Obama had earlier made the case that he would delay ... Read More

Will the court cry for Argentina?

| April 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

BY JONATHAN H. ADLER

Monday the Supreme Court hears oral argument in Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, in which Argentina seeks to avoid a lower court judgment enforcing the terms of contracts Argentina willingly entered.

As I discussed here and here, Argentina defaulted on its debt obligations in 2001. Most of the outstanding debt was restructured, but a few creditors refused to go along. They filed a lawsuit, seeking to enforce the terms upon which Argentina had originally issued its bonds, eventually obtaining an injunction that could effectively force Argentina to pay up by enjoining the payment of restructured debt without also making payments to holders of unrestructured debt. Argentina is now challenging a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upholding the injunction. Of note, the solicitor general is supporting Argentina, which has also suggested it might not comply should its legal efforts fail.

Yale’s Jonathan Macey discusses what is at stake in The ... Read More

What happened to Brazil?

| April 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
From CNN

By Global Public Square staff

The $32 million cable car in the video has not been used since 2012. There is a federally funded extraterrestrial museum, also abandoned. And there is a multi-billion dollar railroad. It was supposed to help farmers from impoverished remote areas transport soybeans. Construction began there eight years ago. Residents have been displaced, land wrecked, but the railroad will probably never be built.

What if we told you that these shuttered, big-ticket infrastructure projects are in the country that will host the world’s biggest sporting event in June? What in the world, right?

We’re talking about Brazil, of course, host of this year’s FIFA World Cup and the only major economic power in South America. There’s even speculation that bus and rail systems being built for the soccer tournament won’t be completed until after the games are over.

This is a big comedown for a country that was seen as an ... Read More

Bolivia and the Drug Cartels

| April 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Canada Free Press

BY SIERRA RAYNE

Since 2006, Evo Morales has been the president of Bolivia. As an active campaigner against the war on drugs, a coca grower himself, and an admirer of Che Guevara, controversy has swirled about his administration.

Morales promoted international decriminalization of the coca leaf and has expelled US counter-narcotic agents, leading senior international officials to express concern that the nation is vulnerable to drug cartels and could be becoming a narcostate.

The concerns appeared to be validated by reports emerging from this South American nation in late 2009. Rival drug factions were fighting over smuggling routes and the cartel-linked gangs were developing more advanced cocaine production facilities—including mobile labs. Even the Bolivian police acknowledged that removing the US-DEA may not have been the best choice. According to Colonel Oscar Nina, the director of the anti-narcotics police, “the withdrawal of the DEA has affected our work, they provided fast, direct access to a certain kind of information.” Nina ... Read More

Protesters Burn Effigies of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro

| April 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon

BY DANIEL WISER

Protests in Venezuela continued over the weekend following President Nicolas Maduro’s refusal to offer concessions in talks with the opposition.

Masked protesters burned effigies of Maduro and used petrol bombs as police sprayed them with tear gas and water cannons. Many of the protesters are peaceful but some have resorted to violence.

The unrest has resulted in about 40 deaths, which the opposition blames on state security forces and pro-government militias known as “colectivos.” Some U.S. lawmakers have pressed for sanctions against the government in response.

“There are many who have already died and it’s for them that we’re here,” one protester told the BBC. “They’re not going to have an Easter again, nor carnival.”

Recent talks between Maduro and the opposition yielded few concrete results. Opposition leaders say the mismanagement of Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, the late strongman who ruled Venezuela for 14 years, has culminated in soaring crime rates, rampant inflation, and shortages ... Read More

Sanchez Ceren continues his Cuban visit

| April 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
InterAmerican Security Watch

Salvadoran President-elect, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, and his wife Margarita Sanchez, still remain in Cuba, where they traveled the week before the Easter holidays. It is expected that upon his return, Sanchez Ceren will begin forming his cabinet and transitional government.

Sanchez Ceren and his wife met yesterday with two Cubans arrested in Miami in 1998, both of which were accused by the U.S. government of acting against national security. The Cuban government claims they are innocent and has branded them as “heroes”.

In total there were five Cubans arrested, three of who remain imprisoned in Miami.

According to an official statement from the FMLN, Cuban citizens Fernando Gonzalez Llort and René González ” thanked Sanchez Ceren for his full support to their cause. During the meeting, which took place in a fraternal and supportive environment, accompanied by their wives, they thanked the Salvadoran people through Sanchez Ceren for their support and fight for ... Read More

Brazil’s foreign policy stance leaves it in wings on global stage

| April 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Joe Leahy

This month, Brazil marks a particularly grim moment in its history. Fifty years ago, the country’s military took power in a coup that ushered in two decades of brutal dictatorship.

President Dilma Rousseff, who as a young leftist guerrilla fighting the generals was jailed and tortured, marked the occasion with a speech at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão airport earlier this month.

Shedding a quiet tear, she cited a song by the bossa nova artist Tom Jobim, “Samba do Avião”, that recalls the emotions of a Brazilian landing in Rio, saying the lyrics were about exiles returning home with the end of the military regime.

This was a gaffe – the song was written in 1962, before the coup. But the sentiment was clear: democracy may be messy, but it is far better than the horrors of dictatorship and authoritarianism.

How strange then that on the international stage, Brazil sometimes seems more at odds with ... Read More

Feds delay decision on Keystone XL making summer start more unlikely

| April 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
HoustonBusinessJournalLogo(1)

BY NICHOLAS SAKELARIS

The Keystone XL Pipeline hit a delay again Friday as the federal government announced it needs more time to study the controversial project, according to a statement by the Department of State.

TransCanada Corp. (NYSE: TRP), the company that proposes to build the pipeline from Alberta to Kansas, had hoped that a final decision would be reached this spring so construction could start this summer and the pipeline would be operating by 2016.

“We are extremely disappointed and frustrated with yet another delay,” TransCanada President and CEO Russell Girling said in a statement. “American men and women will miss out on another construction season where they could have worked to build Keystone XL and provided for their families. We feel for them.”

The biggest reason for the delay is the oil pipeline’s route through Nebraska is being challenged in the Nebraska Supreme Court. Also, the pipeline received about than 2.5 million new public comments ... Read More

How Argentina’s Default Could Be New York’s Loss

| April 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

The commercial capital depends on U.S. courts to hold governments to their promises.

BY JONATHAN MACEY

The Supreme Court on Monday hears arguments in Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital. It is a simple case. But the decision will have far-reaching implications for international finance, sovereign debt and even the position of New York City as the financial capital of the world.

The controversy began in 2001 when, amid a severe domestic economic crisis, Argentina defaulted on $80 billion in debt. The government tried to make a deal with its bondholders twice, in 2005 and again in 2010, offering them new debt worth 25 cents to 29 cents for each dollar of the bonds in default.

Many bondholders took the deal but others declined. Argentina tried to coerce the holdouts by enacting its so-called Lock Law, which prohibits the Argentine government from making any better offer to the non-tendering bondholders or complying with any U.S. court ... Read More

Central American Criminal and Terrorism Nexuses are Maturing

| April 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Mexi Data

By Jerry Brewer

As Central America’s northern cone nations set records for willful deaths, Honduras leads the world with a murder rate of 90.4 per 100,000. El Salvador, Guatemala and Belize’s homicide rates are averaging, collectively, 42 percent per 100,000, as people literally fight for their lives.

These seemingly unabated rates of murder, plus the kidnappings and assassinations of public figures, police, members of the armed forces and journalists, are the continuing and expanding product — and chosen role — of transnational organized criminals (TOC). And much of their achieved movement would not have been possible without facilitation and nurturing by rogue leftist political regimes, and paramilitary and guerilla-like forces, within this hemisphere.

Each of the countries in the northern cone of Central America, as well as Mexico and the United States, have shared borders within the regions of hostile operational activities that witness fluid and seemingly unstoppable encroachment by the criminal insurgent-like actors. These ... Read More

The Drug Cartels Long March on El Salvador

| April 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Canada Free Press

By Sierra Rayne

More than two decades after the civil war in El Salvador ended, the nation remains fractured—a situation being worsened by increasing drug cartel presence and influence. In its recent presidential election, Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the governing left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) barely defeated Norman Quijano of the right-wing National Republican Alliance (Arena). With more than three million votes cast, the margin of Ceren’s victory was only 6,364 votes, or 51.1 to 49.9 percent.

Despite fraud allegations and a subsequent legal challenge by Quijano, an electoral court upheld the narrow victory for Ceren and the UN monitors certified the election results as valid. There are concerns that El Salvador could become another Venezuela, with American support for Arena over the past decade potentially leading to fresh political instability in light of their close loss in the latest election. The memories of paramilitary groups and death squads are ever-present.

While it has dropped significantly over the past ... Read More

Easter No. 3 for a Prisoner of Castro

| April 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

Bearing witness to Cuba’s political persecution costs Sonia Garro her freedom.

BY MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY

Christians the world over celebrated the resurrection of their savior on Sunday with worship services and family gatherings. Thirty-eight-year-old Sonia Garro shares the faith too, but she spent the holiday in a Cuban dungeon as a prisoner of conscience, just as she has for the past two years.

Ms. Garro is a member of the Christian dissident group Ladies in White, started in Havana in 2003 by sisters, wives and mothers of political prisoners to peacefully protest the unjust incarceration of their loved ones. It has since expanded to other parts of the country and added many recruits. The group’s growing popularity has worried the Castros, and they have responded with increasing brutality.

Cuba’s military government wants us to believe that the Brothers Fidel and Raul Castro are “reforming.” To buy that line you have to pretend that Ms. ... Read More

Protesters fight police, burn Maduro puppets in Venezuela

| April 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
msn

By Andrew Cawthorne

CARACAS (Reuters) – Masked youths battled police, protesters burned and hung from lamp-posts effigies of President Nicolas Maduro and marchers demanded the “resurrection” of democracy on a volatile Easter Sunday in Venezuela.

Though millions of Venezuelans have headed for Caribbean beaches and family gatherings over the Easter period, student demonstrators have sought to keep a nearly three-month protest movement going with religious-themed demonstrations.

After a barefoot walk and a “Via Crucis” march in the style of Jesus’ tortured walk towards crucifixion earlier in the week, hundreds of demonstrators began Sunday with a rally denominated “Resurrection of Democracy.”

Easter marks the day Christians believe Jesus was resurrected from the dead after being crucified.

“We’re staying in the street until we get our country back,” student leader Djamil Jassir, 22, told Reuters in a square where protesters displayed dozens of used gas canisters and bullets as symbols of repression. “This is the time ... Read More

Page 1 of 34312345»102030...Last »