Archive for the ‘Bolivia’ Category

Gas boom in Bolivia brings new wealth — and regrets for a lost opportunity

| November 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

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.

The Guarani had recovered their land, but the huge deposits of natural gas beneath it belonged to the government of Morales and its main ... Read More

China’s tie with Latin America expands to security

| November 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
China Daily

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 now, the system has helped the crime rate of Ecuador decreased by 24 percent, ... Read More

Drug Cartels Find Argentina Attractive Transit Way

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

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 interception earlier this year called attention to a worrying trend in Argentina, the increasing use ... Read More

Republicans Should Signal Leadership, at Home and Abroad

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Roll Call

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

Las Naciones ‘Sumergidas’ de Latinoamérica

| November 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
Folha de Sao Paulo

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

Latin America’s ‘submerging nations’

| November 5th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
Folha de Sao Paulo

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.

Then came the Castro revolution. Although some may have been caught up ... Read More

Bolivia’s MAS Party Wins Legislative Assembly Vote

| October 31st, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

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.

The court said that MAS won 88 of the 130 seats in the chamber of deputies and 25 of the 36 seats in the senate ... Read More

Bolivia facing up to lower gas export prices

| October 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Andres Schipani

Bolivia, a key supplier of gas to the southern half of Latin America, is facing potentially harder times as falling international oil prices are piling downward pressure onto the price at which it sells its gas.

However, Carlos Villegas, the president of the state-run energy company, YPFB, is confident that if oil prices continue to hover around their current levels of $82 a barrel, Bolivia can avoid having to cut the prices of its exported natural gas.

“For Bolivia if the oil price lies in the range of between $80 and $100, the prices for [gas] exports will remain at their current level,” says Villegas.

Thanks to take-or-pay contracts, Bolivia currently ships about 30m cubic meters a day (mcm/d) of natural gas to Brazil at some $8.9 per million British thermal units (mmbtu), and 16mcm/d to Argentina at $10.2 per mmbtu.

The prices of such gas exports are set in relation to ... Read More

Why Bolivia could be the new hub for regional drug trafficking

| October 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor

By Jeremy McDermott

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

This new criminal dynamic centers on the changing patterns of drug consumption in the region. Mexico’s dominance in the regional drug trade owes much to its position alongside the world’s largest drug consumer, as well as its ability to produce drugs like heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine.

Bolivia now sits alongside the second biggest consumer of illegal drugs in the world: Brazil. Bolivia also borders the world’s principal producer of cocaine, Peru, and South America’s primary producer of marijuana, Paraguay. Meanwhile, Argentina is experiencing ballooning domestic drug consumption, particularly of “basuco” or “paco,” a form of crack cocaine which can be produced in Bolivia. Even the domestic drug markets in Chile and Peru are growing.

Bolivia is now literally at the heart of South America’s illegal narcotics trade. ... Read More

Latin America is a region plagued by incumbents

| October 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez

Six weeks after falling for Marina Silva, pro-market souls (and the markets themselves) have bounced back, developing a new infatuation with the man who defeated her in Brazil’s presidential election. Propounding sensible policies and polling strongly, Aécio Neves will face off next month against Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s formidable incumbent. He may yet prevail. Brazil’s anaemic projected growth, coupled with rising unemployment, should be fertile ground for any challenger. Yet if history is any guide there is only one thing Ms Rousseff needs to do for her re-election to be all but certain: run.

Incumbents have an advantage everywhere. They enjoy high visibility and voters tend to prefer the devil they know. Yet the record of sitting Latin American presidents is astonishing. No Brazilian president seeking immediate re-election has ever failed to attain it. As far back as the 19th century, only two governing presidents anywhere in Latin America – Nicaragua’s ... Read More

Rising Dragon? The Chinese Mafia Threat in Latin America

| October 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
From In Sight

By David Gagne

Chinese mafia operations in Latin America are little understood, but a recent report on these groups in Argentina illustrates how they make their presence felt via extortion, human smuggling rings, and the occasional murder. As China deepens its economic relationship with Latin America, it’s possible these mafias may become ever more prominent.

Authorities in Argentina have attributed 31 murders over the last five years, and four in 2014 alone, to seven Chinese mafias operating in the country, reported La Nacion. These mafias reportedly earn revenue by extorting businesses within the Chinese community, and resort to violence when owners do not comply with their demands.

In at least three of the 2014 cases, the victim did not appear to have been robbed, leading authorities to believe they were killed after running afoul of criminal groups in the Chinese community. According to La Nacion, the Chinese mafias (also known ... Read More

Beware a Leftist Landslide in Bolivia

| October 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By Mac Margolis

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has gone on record saying he aims to win reelection this Sunday with 74 percent of the popular vote. Whether that was a prediction or an order, he didn’t say. Yet even Morales’s harshest detractors allow that the only doubt about the Oct. 12 election is the size of his landslide.

Whatever else can be said about the charismatic Andean leader — he’s authoritarian, obsessively anti-American and brooks no criticism — his skills as a political operator are unmatched among the region’s accident-prone populists. He has ruled Bolivia since 2006, longer than any president since the 19th-century caudillo Andres de Santa Cruz, who was in office from 1829 to 1839. In a country known better for coups d’etats than elections, and which saw six presidents in the decade before Morales, that’s all the more remarkable.

Leave aside that another four years of Morales might be the ... Read More

Happily Evo after

| October 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

A TRIP on the new cable car that links La Paz, the Bolivian capital, to El Alto, a satellite city perched 400 metres up the cliffs, takes eight scenic minutes. Zig-zagging up the mountains in a bus normally takes 40. The cable car wins plaudits for President Evo Morales. “Evo is actually investing in the country,” says Juan Diaz Crespin Quispe, who sells natural remedies concocted from plants and lizard parts in El Alto’s twice-weekly market. “He’s developing and redistributing, not just lining his own pockets like past governments.”

Such sentiment is common. That, and the smothering of the opposition, will help Mr Morales get a third term in presidential elections on October 12th. Bolivian presidents are technically limited to two consecutive terms, but after pushing through a new charter in 2009, Mr Morales persuaded pliant courts to ignore his first term, which was under the old dispensation.

Bolivians don’t seem worried ... Read More

Bolivia’s Perennial President

| October 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Harvard

By Julio Mendez Cabrera

It is often expected that democracies impose term limits on presidential candidates. Such is the case in Bolivia, where the current term limit is set at two terms and general elections are set for October 12, 2014. So why is the incumbent, Juan “Evo” Morales, running for the third time?

The simple answer is that he is doing so because he can. Following a spurt of political instability in 2008, a January 2009 referendum instituted a new constitution, which reestablished the country as the Plurinational State of Bolivia and set new presidential term limits. A provision of the constitution states that terms prior to enactment do not count toward these limits. As such, despite promising before the constitutional referendum that he would not seek reelection following its enactment, Morales will run for president again.

And he will surely win. Though there are numerous ... Read More

El legado de Insulza y el futuro de la OEA

| October 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Pais

POR EZEQUIEL VÁZQUEZ-GER

Corría Febrero del año 2011. Un grupo de estudiantes en Venezuela había decidido iniciar una huelga de hambre en protesta contra el gobierno de Hugo Chávez. En Washington, junto con un grupo de estudiantes venezolanos, decidimos apoyar la protesta pidiendo un pronunciamiento de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA). Lo hicimos a través de decenas de cartas dirigidas a cada uno de los embajadores, notas de prensa, y una protesta frente al Edificio principal del organismo, previo a una sesión de su consejo Perrmanente.

Terminada esta sesión, el secretario general José Miguel Insulza nos otorgó una audiencia privada, en la que nos dijo: “Me compadezco con ustedes, yo también sufrí una dictadura en carne propia y tuve que refugiarme en el exterior. Pero tienen que entender, a Chávez no lo van a vencer con cartas, Chávez es un dictador, y en Venezuela hay una dictadura militar”.

Esta anécdota sirve para describir el ... Read More

Latin American Growth to Slow, World Bank Says

| October 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By RYAN DUBE LIMA, Peru—Latin America is on track this year to post its slowest rate of annual growth since 2009, when the global financial crisis began to be felt in the region, the World Bank said Tuesday.

The bank cut its growth forecast for the region by nearly half to 1.2%, following expansions of 2.4% and 3% in the previous two years. In its semiannual report on Latin America and the Caribbean, the World Bank said the region could grow 2.2% next year, but cautioned that it was still unclear whether the current downward cycle has bottomed out.

“We do not know if this deceleration has hit bottom, or if there is further deceleration to come,” said Augusto de la Torre, the World Bank’s chief economist for Latin America, in a telephone interview. But growth, he said, “is not going to be what it used to be in the past decade, partially because ... Read More

Evo Morales, Bolivia’s powerful incumbent, plays politics at high altitude

| October 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Nick Miroff

LA PAZ, Bolivia — There was a time when Evo Morales so alienated his opponents that Bolivia nearly broke in two.

But those were the days of the old Evo. On Sunday, when Bolivians vote for president, Morales is expected to breeze to a third term behind a broad coalition of longtime supporters and one-time enemies. The latest polls show him trouncing a scattered field of opponents by a margin of 40 points or more.

After nearly a decade in power, Morales has buried the old political order in Bolivia, one of South America’s poorest nations, and consolidated control over nearly every facet of government. Much of the country’s economy is in state hands. Morales’s political party, the Movement Toward Socialism, dominates Bolivia’s legislature. Last year, supreme court judges said he could run for president again, despite term limits, because his first term had been interrupted when he had the constitution rewritten.

“We have ... Read More

Brazil heads into white-knuckle presidential race — Bolivia, Uruguay follow

| September 30th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Mimi Whitefield and Jim Wyss

With less than a week to go before Sunday’s Brazilian presidential election, the only thing that seems certain is that it’s too close to call and is likely to be determined in a runoff.

Recent polls show President Dilma Rousseff in a virtual dead heat if the election goes to the second round with environmental activist Marina Silva. Silva wasn’t even in the running a few weeks ago, but she moved to the top of the Brazilian Socialist Party ticket after her running mate, Eduardo Campos, died in an Aug. 13 plane crash.

A third candidate, Social Democrat Aécio Neves — the former governor of Minas Gerais, could squeak into an Oct. 26 runoff but it will probably be a contest between the two women if neither gets more than 50 percent of Sunday’s vote.

While the Brazil race is the closest and, perhaps most heated, it’s ... Read More

Bolivia Rejects U.S. Claim It Hasn’t Done Enough to Cut Drug Production

| September 19th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

By Robert Kozak

Bolivian President Evo Morales rejected a U.S. government assertion that his country has failed to do enough to cut down on narcotics production.

Late last week the White House designated Bolivia, alongside Burma and Venezuela, as countries that have failed over the last year to do enough to comply with international counter narcotics agreements. Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of coca and cocaine, according to the U.S. government.

“Whatever they do and whatever they say, or yell from the United States, the people won’t be confused by this type of information,” Mr. Morales said Wednesday in a speech ahead of general elections in October.

Mr. Morales, who remains leader of a regional coca growers group, is running for a third term as president, and opinion polls show him with a wide lead. Some coca leaf is grown legally in ... Read More

A Nuclear Bolivia? Why Not?

| September 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
Forbes

By James Conca

The renaissance in nuclear power is in full swing around the world, just not so much in the West.

Last month, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera declared his country will go nuclear as part of a “platform for his nation’s technological development for the next 400 to 500 years” (TELESUR).

In a speech closing the 7th International Congress on Oil and Gas in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Linera stated that humanity can, and must, master this “sacred fire.”

This may shock Americans, who have trouble pointing to Bolivia on a map, but the country’s President, Evo Morales, had already announced Bolivia’s plan to go nuclear last year, and is establishing a nuclear advisory council to implement this technological future.

Russian President Vladimir Putin practically tore his shirt off to offer Bolivia help in achieving “their rightful role as a Promethean nation.”

The push to expand nuclear energy around the world is coming from a league ... Read More

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