Archive for the ‘Bolivia’ Category
WASHINGTON, DC — The Iran-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah is among the terrorist organizations that are benefiting from the illegal drug trade in Latin America, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Tovo, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command (Southcom), told lawmakers.
Illegal drug trafficking in Latin American generates at least “tens of millions” for Hezbollah, which uses the funds to fuel its operations in the Middle East, explained the Southcom general.
During a hearing this afternoon held by the Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee, Ron Johnson (R-WI), the panel’s chairman, asked the general to comment on the nexus between drug traffickers and terrorist organizations in Latin America.
“Mr. Chairman certainly in a classified setting we can give you a lot more detail. Suffice it to say from open source, I think we know that in at least several occasions over the past decade and a half, terrorists have attempted ... Read More
During the multitudinous demonstration against Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, in São Paulo on March 15th, a lunatic fringe chanted for a return to military rule. That was sad more than worrying. The rightists were shouted down. Their isolation served to underline how routine democracy has become in many Latin American countries in the third of a century or so since the generals returned to barracks.
That outcome was not inevitable. Compared with Europe or North America, democracy in Latin America must struggle against big obstacles, including poverty, gaping income inequality and corruption. Another is poor institutional design. Latin America combines directly elected presidents, as in the United States, with multiparty legislatures chosen by proportional representation, in the manner of many European parliamentary systems. The result has often been gridlock: weak governments have lacked majorities in legislatures unthreatened by dissolution, which induces consensus in parliamentary regimes.
Bolivia’s former top policeman who had previously been in charge of its counter-narcotics force is being held on suspicion of illicit enrichment and links to the drugs trade.Gen Oscar Nina led Bolivia’s national police force from 2010 until 2011.
His wife, daughter and son were also arrested and have been charged with illicit enrichment.
Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of cocaine after Peru and Colombia.
His arrest comes less than four years after a US court sentenced another former Bolivian drug czar, Rene Sanabria, to 15 years in jail for drug trafficking.
Gen Nina was sacked as police chief just over two weeks after Sanabria was arrested, although it is not clear whether the two events were linked.
President Evo Morales said at the time that Bolivia had to eradicate the “cancer of corruption” from the police force.
Bolivian police seized 27 tons of ground coca leaves concealed in packets of yerba mate tea that were about to be shipped to Lebanon for processing into cocaine, the government said Monday.
This is the first time Bolivian authorities have discovered an attempt to export coca with the intention of producing cocaine in another country, Interior Minister Hugo Moldiz told reporters in the eastern city of Santa Cruz.
Once transformed into cocaine, the roughly $350,000 in shredded coca leaves would have been worth up to $90 million, he said, describing the trade in illegal drugs as “a highly capitalist business.”
Police have arrested two people who were involved in the bid to ship the coca via a Chilean port, according to the deputy minister of Social Defense and Controlled Substances, Felipe Caceres.
Expatriates’ remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean increased 4 percent in 2014 to $62.3 billion, the biggest jump since the global economic crisis in 2009, the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think-tank, said Tuesday.
The largest gains went to Mexico and Central America, while several South American countries saw a decrease in remittances, due largely to the persistent economic crisis in Spain.
The overall advance in remittances to Latin America reflects improvements in the U.S. labor market, new migration patterns and the proliferation of new ways to transfer money, according to the report.
Remittances to Mexico increased 8.8 percent over 2013, while funds sent to Honduras increased 12.5 percent, and to Guatemala, 9 percent.
The Spanish economic crisis, with high levels of unemployment and falling pay, is largely responsible for decreases in remittances to Bolivia, 2.4 percent; Peru, 2.3 percent, and Colombia, which saw ... Read More
By Jerry Brewer
It is astonishing that with so much focus and dialogue on demands for world freedom, self-expression and human rights, many tend to ignore or simply fail to do their homework on repressive dictatorial-like regimes floundering throughout Latin America and oppressing their citizens.
It was certainly no secret that the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s 14 years in office was a tired precursor to a near failed state in Venezuela today. Chavez spent his entire rule in office working to recruit and support leftist presidential candidates throughout the hemisphere, touting his Bolivarian Revolution – that is quite simply the more exhausted Cuban Revolution that remains in Venezuelan to this very day.
Chavez demolished independence in Venezuela’s institutions, seized control of the economy, militarized the government, and virtually destroyed private enterprise. Death, destruction and insufficiencies in Venezuela remain rampant.
BY SILVIO CASCIONE
(Reuters) – Latin America has embarked on a painfully long period of greater austerity, and lower commodity prices and economic growth will barely pick up speed this year, a Reuters poll found Thursday.
With nose-diving oil and metal prices weighing on government finances and jeopardizing investments, economists in the quarterly poll chopped 2015 growth forecasts again for the region’s seven largest countries, from Mexico to Argentina.
Brazil is now expected to grow a meager 0.5 percent in 2015, down from an estimate of 1.1 percent in the prior survey and barely up from an expected 0.2 percent growth in 2014.
Mexico will probably expand by 3.4 percent, compared to 3.7 percent in the last poll, while oil producer Venezuela, flirting with a debt default, will probably contract 2.0 percent, according to the poll of about 50 economists.
But that gambit was soon eclipsed by another: In a meeting that could herald a significant shift in the Western Hemisphere’s balance of power, China hosted a high-profile summit earlier this month with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or Celac.
Celac is a relatively recent invention. Conceived in 2010 at a meeting in Caracas hosted by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez , it is designed to deepen integration among Central and South American states—while excluding the U.S. and Canada. The 33-member bloc explicitly styles itself as an alternative to the U.S.-led Organization of ... Read More
By CARLOS VALDEZ, Associated Press
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivian President Evo Morales is beginning a new term that will make him the Andean nation’s longest-serving leader, riding high on a wave of unprecedented growth and stability.
But after he takes the oath before foreign dignitaries Thursday, Morales and his compatriots will face economic challenges that could quickly erode those gains and test the 55-year-old leader’s popularity.
Morales’ fortunes will depend on how he copes with an imminent plunge in natural gas prices, the main source of Bolivia’s export revenue. Owing in part to his exacting of a bigger share of natural gas profits, Bolivia’s gross domestic product tripled, reaching $30.6 billion in 2014. With oil prices testing multi-year lows, gas revenues are expected to shrivel.
By Perry Chiaramonte
Latin America’s drug cartels are leaving the U.S. Coast Guard in their wake, with new and faster speedboats law enforcement officials say are virtually undetectable by radar.
The new boats, nicknamed “Picudas,” after a tropical fish whose long, thin bodies they resemble, are made of fiberglass, making them invisible to radar and efficient with fuel. While older smuggling vessels took as long as three days to make the trip from Costa Rica to Jamaica, the Picuda can make the trip in two.
Dialogo, a newspaper published by the Pentagon’s Southern Command, quoted one Coast Guard source that called the craft “a wave-breaking go-fast wonder that defies radar detection.” The boats give the bad guys a leg up on authorities trying to cut off the flow of South American drugs, according to the article.
By Daniel Zovatto
Latin America is starting off 2015 with a clear economic slowdown. The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) projects a modest recovery (2.2 per cent) with respect to last year (in 2014 growth was only 1.1 per cent, the lowest since the 2009 crisis), though these calculations may vary due to several factors.
The world economy is not helping. The downward trend in raw materials prices, scant dynamism in global demand, and the appreciation of the dollar are three factors that work against the region today.
Venezuela and Argentina, are facing very complex economic contexts. Venezuela is in the midst of stagflation (aggravated by plummeting oil prices); and Argentina is experiencing negative growth, high inflation, and the unresolved conflict with the “vulture funds.”
The organization, known as Eclac, said Tuesday that Central America, including the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Haiti, will post the best expansion in gross domestic product in the region next year, rising by 4.1%. The English-speaking Caribbean will lag with an expansion of 2.2%. South America will expand 1.8% next year, it added. Overall the area will expand 2.2% in 2015, it said.
A slump in demand in developed economies and the slowing of growth in emerging economies, especially China, hit Latin America and the Caribbean nations hard this year. China has become an important trading partner, especially for raw materials, for many countries in the region.
By Nick Miroff
CARAPARICITO, Bolivia — For most of his life, Oscar Robles worked for an American landowner as a lowly ranch hand, “a peon,” he says, tending cattle and corn for a light-skinned patrón as generations of Guarani laborers did before him.
Then Bolivia elected its first indigenous president, Evo Morales, who took office in 2006 pledging to right the historic wrongs committed against the country’s ethnic minorities. Morales seized the American’s land and other nearby properties, giving the Guarani their ancestral home back.
The American rancher fled. Robles became capitán, the new leader of Caraparicito.
Then he watched from the roadside as the drilling crews and construction equipment came roaring in, part of Morales’s all-out push to develop Bolivia’s gas fields and cash in on soaring energy demands in South America.
By ZHANG FAN
China’s tie with Latin American countries have exceeded from trade to security cooperation as China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC) is helping Local countries to build their national security control centers.
“We can say now, very proudly, that Ecuador is one of the most security countries in Latin America,”said Ecuadorian President Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado this September.
CEIEC, the state-owned company specialised in engineering and defence electronics, built an ECU-911 system for the Latin American country including two national centres, five regional centres and eight provincial command and control centres.
The project, initiated from 2011, aims to unify seven security departments of Ecuador including police system, transportation, fire control and medical treatment in order to better arrange rescue operations in limited reacting time.
By ALMUDENA CALATRAVA and DEBORA REY
The large electrical transformers bound for Mexico were the perfect place to hide cocaine. It was a matter of chemistry to dilute the drug into an oil mixture that could be concealed as coolant, a job handled by a Mexican engineer working discretely in a suburban warehouse near Buenos Aires.
The transformers carrying 2 tons of liquefied cocaine from Bolivia were loaded onto a cargo vessel at a Buenos Aires port and shipped out to sea. But investigators had been watching the operation and when the shipment arrived, an Argentine judge was on hand to insist on a test that, to the astonishment of authorities at one of Mexico’s most secure ports, revealed the drug.
The traffickers, Judge Sandra Arroyo said, had used “an ingenious and logistically novel method for the deception.”
The 2014 midterm elections were a rejection of the policies of President Barack Obama. And the Republican takeover of the Senate is a repudiation of the gridlock in Congress symbolized by the bare-knuckles tactics of outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The new Republican Senate leadership should move swiftly to seize the high ground and signal it is ready to do the peoples’ business. Quick action on several international issues — the Keystone XL pipeline, trade promotion authority and long-delayed ambassadorial nominations — are bipartisan actions that Republicans should put on the table even before they take over in January.
Although opinion polls show voters favor Republican positions on the economy, foreign policy and security, the party’s brand needs burnishing. As Obama hints at a more confrontational tone that could undermine any hope of making Washington work, Republicans can rise above Obama’s blame game by working with Democrats on tangible initiatives to bolster America’s ... Read More
Líderes políticos y diplomáticos de América Latina y el Caribe saben más sobre Cuba y Venezuela que incluso los observadores más astutos en Washington. Por lo tanto, deberían saber lo que le conviene más a su región ¿no?
Entonces, ¿por qué el Grupo de América Latina y el Caribe en la ONU le dio su apoyo a Venezuela para ser el próximo representante de la región ante el Consejo de Seguridad? Y, ¿por qué están determinados en invitar a el déspota cubano Raúl Castro a la Cumbre de las Américas en Panamá en la primavera?; haciendo caso omiso de las objeciones por parte de sus socios comerciales más importantes, como Estados Unidos y Canadá.
Para muchas generaciones de latinoamericanos, Cuba fue el hogar de algunas de las mejores editoriales de lengua española en el mundo, cientos de periódicos y estaciones de radio de calidad, derechos laborales progresistas, altos niveles de alfabetización y ... Read More
The political leaders and diplomats of Latin America and the Caribbean know more about Cuba and Venezuela than even the keenest observers in Washington. So, they should know better, right?
Then why did the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean at the UN designate Venezuela to take the region’s non-permanent Security Council seat?
And, why are they determined to invite Cuban despot Raúl Castro to the Summit of the Americas in Panama next spring, ignoring the objections of the leaders of the consequential trade partners in the United States and Canada?
For generations of Latin Americans, Cuba was home to some of the world’s best Spanish-language publishing houses, hundreds of quality newspapers and radio stations, progressive labor rights, the region’s highest rates of literacy and nutrition, and a robust middle class.
By RYAN DUBE
Bolivian President Evo Morales ’s ruling Movement Toward Socialism party won a two-thirds supermajority in the legislative assembly in an election earlier this month, according to final results released late Wednesday, solidifying his political control in the Andean nation.
More than two weeks after Bolivians went to the polls, the country’s electoral court announced the final results of the vote count, showing that Mr. Morales’s party, known as MAS, won 113 of the 166 seats in the assembly.
While Mr. Morales’s re-election to a third term was confirmed shortly after the Oct. 12 election, the results for the legislative assembly weren’t immediately clear.
Analysts say the two-thirds result could open the door for Mr. Morales to change the constitution, which would be necessary to remove presidential term limits.