Archive for the ‘Bolivia’ Category

Bolivia to Appeal Ruling Favoring India’s Jindal in El Mutún Dispute

| August 29th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By RYAN DUBE

Bolivia said Tuesday it would appeal a ruling from an international tribunal that gave India’s Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. 532286.BY -3.39% a multimillion-dollar award in a dispute over the development of the El Mutún iron ore project.

“We are going to appeal the decision in the corresponding tribunals in order to defend the interests of the Bolivian state,” Vice President Álvaro García told reporters Tuesday.

The Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce ruled earlier this month that Bolivia’s state-owned mining company Empresa Siderúrgica del Mutún should pay Jindal $22.5 million in compensation for the seizure of funds to guarantee the development of El Mutún.

Mines Minister César Navarro also criticized the judgment. “We don’t share these types of actions or decisions that think about private capital and don’t think about the well-being of the people and the state,” he said in a statement.

Empresa Siderúrgica del Mutun, or ESM, took Jindal’s $18 million guarantee in 2010, arguing ... Read More

Bolivia, Peru Aim to Set Up Radar for Drug Flights

| August 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

BY ROBERT KOZAK

Bolivia and Peru are working on a plan to install radar stations on their border, aiming to use the information to help authorities intercept airplanes smuggling drugs and to possibly shoot them down, if both governments move ahead to set up flight interdiction programs, an official said.

Bolivia’s Deputy Minister for Social Defense and Controlled Substances, Felipe Caceres, said on a ministry Web page Wednesday that the governments are studying a proposal for Peru to run five or six radar stations on the border, while Bolivia would run three or four radar stations.

“The radars provide accurate information on the flights that occur at the border and on their legal status,” Mr. Caceres said.

The chief of Peru’s Interior Ministry antidrug branch recently said half of the cocaine that leaves Peru now goes out on small airplanes, with 95% of that moving through Bolivia, mainly to Brazil. The U.S. State Department’s ... Read More

Menor demanda externa reduce crecimiento de América Latina

| August 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

AFP

SANTIAGO – La menor demanda externa de materias primas por parte de los socios de América Latina y el Caribe, principalmente China, llevó a Cepal a reducir su estimación del crecimiento de la región de 2.7% a 2.2% en el 2014.

A la menor demanda externa se suma “un bajo dinamismo de la demanda interna, insuficiente inversión y un limitado espacio para la implementación de políticas que impulsen la reactivación”, sostuvo la Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (Cepal) en un informe económico presentado este lunes.

El menor crecimiento de China es “el principal riesgo” en lo que queda de año para los países de la región exportadores de materias primas.

En tanto, el crecimiento de Europa y Japón, otros importantes socios comerciales de Latinoamérica, caerá de 0.5% a 0.2% y de 1.7% a 1.4% respectivamente, lo que también significará una menor demanda de las ... Read More

Bolivian president vows to expand coca crops

| July 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

Bolivian President Evo Morales has been re-elected head of the country’s largest union of coca growers and promises to expand crops if he wins a third term as the nation’s leader.

Morales told union members Sunday that Bolivia needs a new law regarding coca production.

Current law allows nearly 30,000 acres of coca leaf to be grown for traditional use. One proposal would expand the permitted acreage, including in the Chapare region that is Morales’ political base, to more than 49,000 acres.

The United Nations, however, has estimated Bolivia already grows more than that, with nearly 57,000 acres believed dedicated to the crop last year.

Traditionally, coca leaf is used in religious rituals or to fight off fatigue and altitude sickness. It also can be used to produce cocaine.

Click here for article. ... Read More

Bolivia: Morales officially candidate for 3rd term

| July 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
USA TODAY

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivian President Evo Morales’ candidacy for a third consecutive term is now official.

Bolivia’s electoral council announced Monday that the Andean nation’s first indigenous president will be on the Oct. 12 ballot.

The 54-year-old coca growers’ union leader is heavily favored to win.

Bolivia’s new constitution, ratified in 2009, sets a two-term limit for presidents, but the country’s Supreme Court ruled last year that Morales’ initial 2006-2009 term was exempt.

The main opposition candidate is currently cement magnate Samuel Doria Medina, who got less than 10 percent of the votes in the last three presidential elections.

Click here for original ... Read More

Citizens’ security is Latin America’s biggest problem

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

PEDRO RODRÍGUEZ, head of Nicaragua’s youth-affairs police, grabs the shoulder of 17-year-old Axel Matus and gives it a shake. “He was one of our worst cases,” he says. In most of Latin America, a youth with Axel’s background—gangs, drugs, knife-fights, joblessness—would cringe at such attention from a burly police commander. But Axel stands bolt upright and admits: “My life was utter chaos.”

Not any more. Axel now attends the Juvenile Affairs police headquarters in Managua, where he is given free meals and tuition every day. Besides subjects like maths and English, he is learning how to be a barber (his blade skills now applied with scissors). Hundreds of troubled kids voluntarily study with him, and the police chief knows most of them by name. They are neatly dressed and ooze self-esteem.

Nicaragua’s police force is in danger of giving socialism a good name. The country is one of the poorest in the ... Read More

Bolivia rebels at rightist timepieces, flips clock

| June 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

BY CARLOS VALDEZ

Bolivia’s leftist government is turning back the clock. Or, more precisely, turning it backward.

The government this week flipped the clock atop the Congress building so that while it’s accurate, the hands now turn to the left, a direction known elsewhere as counterclockwise.

Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca announced the modification Tuesday. He said it was only logical that a clock in the Southern Hemisphere should turn in the opposite direction of a Northern Hemisphere clock.

The president of Congress, Marcelo Elio, on Wednesday called the reform “a clear expression of the de-colonization of the people” under President Evo Morales, who became the country’s first indigenous president when he won office in 2005 and is up for re-election in October.

Vice President Alvaro Garcia said the government is thinking about similarly modifying all clocks at public institutions.

He recalled that during an open-air Cabinet meeting, Choquehuanca placed a stick in the ground and showed ... Read More

Bolivia’s lower coca crop acreage doesn’t mean production down

| June 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

BY CARLOS VALDEZ

The area under coca cultivation in Bolivia last year dropped to its lowest in 12 years, down 9 per cent from 2012, the United Nations reported Monday.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean Bolivia is producing less cocaine.

The UN Office of Drugs and Crime does not measure potential cocaine production in Bolivia, the No. 3 coca producer, or in Peru, which the U.S. government says has been the world’s top cocaine producer since 2011.

The UN says Bolivia’s coca crop was down to 23,000 hectares last year, 3,000 hectares more than Bolivia’s government claims satisfy traditional demand.

Last week, the UN said Peru’s coca crop was down 17.5 per cent last year — to 49,800 hectares.

Both countries practice manual eradication, and Bolivia has powerful coca-growers unions, of which President Evo Morales is a leader, that help decide which crops are destroyed and which are legal.

Experts say less-productive fields tend to be destroyed, ... Read More

Pacific Alliance and Mercosur moving closer

| June 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

The members of the Pacific Alliance (PA) have agreed to hold a round of ministerial talks with the Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosur, the Southern Cone customs union), its associates and other countries in Latin America. The move comes amid increased interest from the Mercosur members in the potential of the PA and may open the way for intra-bloc trade liberalisation in the medium term. This in turn could provide a major boost to regional trade and export diversification. However given the significant differences in the two blocs’ trade policies (the PA is very open, whereas Mercosur is more protectionist), many obstacles would need to be overcome for this to happen.

The initiative was announced following a closed meeting of the foreign affairs ministers of Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru on May 30th to prepare the agenda for the next PA summit, to be held on June 19th-20th in Mexico. The ... Read More

In 2013 (FDI) flows to Latin America reached a new historical high

| June 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

According to a report released by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on May 29th, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Latin America in 2013 reached a new historical high of US$184.9bn. This is welcome news, given weakening growth rates and softening commodity prices, and is testament to the continued attractiveness of the region’s expanding domestic markets and copious natural resources. However, the outlook is not all positive. Growth in FDI inflows is slowing, the region’s share of global FDI remains relatively low, and there is still a long way to go for the region to diversify away from services and natural resources.

FDI flows to Latin America have been increasing steadily since 2003, with the exception of 2006 and 2009, boosted by booming domestic demand (crucial for market-seeking investment) and high prices for commodities exports. In 2013 FDI to the region continued on an upward trend. ... Read More

Latin Americans are embracing globalization and their former colonial masters

| June 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Andy Baker

Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano recently renounced his 1971 classic, “Open Veins of Latin America,” one of a few books in the Latin American left’s pantheon. In the book, Galeano argued that colonial masters drained Latin America of natural resources for three centuries, Britain took advantage of the region’s underpriced labor and exports via unequal international trade, and the United States violated its southern neighbors’ sovereignty with military incursions and the economic impositions of its multinational corporations and the International Monetary Fund.

As reported in the New York Times, Galeano disavowed these arguments, saying reality has changed. In actuality, Latin American citizens already had disavowed such claims. All evidence shows them to be surprisingly enthusiastic about globalization and incredibly forgiving of their colonial and neo-colonial tormentors.

This is surely unexpected. After all, Latin America is the region that spawned dependency theory, which was the neo-Marxist body of scholarly thought that informed Galeano’s ... Read More

Iranian MPs Leave Tehran for Tour of Latin America

| May 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
FARS News Agency TEHRAN (FNA)- A delegation of Iranian parliament members headed to Ecuador’s capital on Monday to meet the country’s parliament speaker among other high-ranking officials on the first leg of their bi-nation tour which will also take them to Colombia.

The Iran-Ecuador parliamentary friendship group presided by Hamid Reza Fouladgar left Tehran for Quito Monday morning.

The MPs are scheduled to meet high-ranking Ecuadorian officials, including the parliament speaker.

After their visit to Quito, the lawmakers will travel to Colombia on a two-day visit.

Earlier this month, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujeri said Tehran lays emphasis on the deepening of relations with Latin nations, and called for holding a joint meeting of the parliamentary foreign policy commissions of ALBA members.

“Iran favors holding a joint meeting of the foreign policy commissions of the parliaments of ALBA members in Bolivia,” Boroujerdi said in a meeting with ALBA ambassadors to ... Read More

China’s Latin American Empire

| May 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
World Crunch-01

SANTIAGO – The recent tour of four Latin American states by China‘s Foreign Minister Wang Yi was hailed as a success in each place he visited: Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina. Back in Beijing, it was largely seen as a rehearsal for a planned visit by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is expected to watch the World Cup final in July in the legendary Maracaná stadium, as a guest of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.

That will be the Chinese President’s second trip to the region since he took office a little over a year ago, after a 2013 visit to Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad, where he met with half a dozen Caribbean leaders. After the World Cup, the Chinese President will attend a meeting of BRICS countries in Fortaleza in Brazil and next January, China’s first summit with CELAC, the grouping of all regional states bar the United States and Canada.

Xi is showing more interest in ... Read More

Bolivia’s rentier republic

| May 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

BOLIVIANS are good at protesting. Between 2000 and 2005, against the background of a weak economy, a discredited party system and pressure from the United States to eradicate coca, waves of marches and roadblocks prompted the fall of two governments and the election as president of Evo Morales, a socialist cocagrowers’ leader of Aymara descent. He pledged to “refound” Bolivia as a “plurinational” republic and end what he saw as five centuries of colonialism against Bolivia’s Amerindian peoples.

This week Bolivia has again seen daily protests. Imitating the radical tin miners of the 1960s and 1970s, demonstrators marched in three neat files through the streets of the capital, La Paz, blocking traffic and hurling firecrackers as they went. This time they were wearing uniforms: they were sergeants and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) angry at what they claim is racial and class-based discrimination in the armed forces. And this time Mr Morales is ... Read More

Bolivia to hold presidential election on Oct. 12

| May 1st, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Bolivia will hold its next presidential election on Oct. 12, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced Wednesday.

Incumbent Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of the majority-Indian nation, is seeking a third consecutive term.

The tribunal designated Dec. 7 as the date for a runoff, if no candidate secures a majority in the initial balloting.

Voters will elect the president, vice president, senators and members of the lower house in the balloting.

In addition, for the first time the public will select Bolivia’s representatives in regional bodies such as the Andean Parliament.

The vote is sure to be marked by controversy, as some say Morales’ bid for a third term is unconstitutional.

Bolivia’s 2009 constitution limits the head of state to two consecutive terms.

Morales came to power in January 2006.

However, a ruling by the Constitutional Court allowed Morales’ new candidacy, arguing that his first mandate does not count because it took place before the adoption of the ... Read More

Tensions Mount in Bolivia as Soldiers Protest Career Obstacles

| April 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By WILLIAM NEUMAN

CARACAS, Venezuela — Hundreds of soldiers continued street demonstrations as tensions mounted in Bolivia on Friday, a day after the military dismissed 702 low-ranking officers who were protesting to draw attention to the obstacles to advancement they face in the armed forces.

“If there is no discipline, there is no armed forces for Bolivia,” President Evo Morales said in a speech at a military college in La Paz, the capital, a short distance from the demonstrations.

When the protests began several days ago, the military command responded by dismissing a small number of protest leaders. But on Thursday, it discharged hundreds of officers, accusing them of sedition.

Each reprisal has led to new protests, with striking images of uniformed officers marching through the streets of La Paz. On Friday, some of the protesting soldiers were joined by their wives and children.

In Bolivia, ... Read More

Bolivia dismisses hundreds of protesting soldiers

| April 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
BBC

Bolivia’s military chiefs have ordered the dismissal of more than 700 troops who have been protesting to demand better working conditions.

The army, navy and air force accused the men of committing acts of sedition and rebellion, and attacking the honour of the armed forces.

The soldiers say the military discriminates against indigenous Bolivians, a claim the military denies.

Protesters are calling for a meeting with President Evo Morales.

The protest began on Tuesday with 500 soldiers, but grew to about 1,000 on Thursday.

Non-commissioned officers and sergeants dressed in camouflage uniforms marched through the capital, La Paz, together with some of their wives and Aymara indigenous leaders who support their demands.

The protesters are demanding reforms so that non-commissioned officers can study to become career officers.

They also want the release of four protest leaders who were dismissed on Monday and say they want more medical benefits on a par with officers.

“It cannot be that ... 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

Latin America the World’s Most Violent Region

| April 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon

BY DANIEL WISER

Latin America is now the world’s most violent region but is receiving less U.S. military and financial assistance, according to a recent report and other figures.

Latin America surpassed Africa as the region with the most murders per 100,000 people, according to the new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Several countries in the Western Hemisphere had murder rates that eclipsed 25 per 100,000 people in 2012, compared to the global average of about six.

The report said 30 percent of the homicides in the Americas could be attributed to a proliferation of organized crime and gang-related violence.

For example, Honduras had one of the world’s highest murder rates with 90.4 per 100,000 people. Mexican drug cartels and transnational criminal groups such as the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 18th Street gangs have infiltrated the country in recent years.

Some of the violence is fueled by those groups’ drug smuggling operations into the United States. ... Read More

Flexible friends

| April 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

China lends disproportionately to countries that lack other options

THE rise of China has changed every region. But it has reinforced patterns, too. China’s demand for commodities has entrenched Latin America’s position as a supplier of raw materials. The country guzzles oil from Venezuela and Ecuador, copper from Chile, soyabeans from Argentina, and iron ore from Brazil—with which it signed a corn-import deal on April 8th.

Chinese lending to the region also has a strong flavour of natural resources. Data are patchy, but according to new figures from the China-Latin America Finance Database, a joint effort between the Inter-American Dialogue, a think-tank, and Boston University, China committed almost $100 billion to Latin America between 2005 and 2013 (see chart). The biggest dollops by far have come from the China Development Bank (CDB). These sums are meaningful. Chinese lenders committed some $15 billion last year; the World Bank $5.2 billion in fiscal year ... Read More

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