Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Russia to send bombers on Gulf of Mexico ‘reconnaissance missions

| November 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times

By Douglas Ernst

A top Russian official said Wednesday the country plans on conducting patrols with its bombers that extend into the Gulf of Mexico.

“In the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday in Moscow, The Associated Press reported.

Mr. Shoigu’s remarks were in response to accusations by NATO that Russia was once again sending military personnel into Ukraine.

The Russian official did not provide specifics on the patrols, but said planes will conduct “reconnaissance missions to monitor foreign powers’ military activities and maritime communications,” AP reported.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told AP he would not characterize Russia’s actions as a provocation, as the nation has a right to operate in international airspace.

Large-scale Russian maneuvers along European airspace forced NATO members to scramble jets in ... Read More

Analysts sceptical Opec will halt fall in oil prices

| November 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

BY ED CROOKS

Oil prices will continue to fall even if Opec countries agree to cut production later this month, according to one of the market’s most influential analysts.

Gary Ross, chief executive of Pira Energy Group, said there was an “imbalance” between supply and demand that would force prices down next year regardless of any output cuts that could be announced by the oil exporters’ group at its meeting in Vienna on November 27.

“Opec cannot and will not take the pain necessary to correct the imbalance,” he said.

Other market watchers are also predicting further falls in prices, including Philip Verleger, an energy economist who wrote at the weekend that he expected the cash price of internationally-traded Brent crude to drop to about $70 a barrel or lower.

Brent crude for delivery in the following month was trading at about $81.01 a barrel on Wednesday, down more ... Read More

Who’s to blame for El Salvador’s gang violence?

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
PBS News Hour

During El Salvador’s brutal civil war 30 years ago, hundreds of thousands of people fled to the United States, where some joined dangerous Latino gangs for protection and a livelihood. Soon after, many of these gang members were deported back to El Salvador, establishing a new and threatening presence in their home country. NewsHour Special Correspondent John Carlos Frey reports from El Salvador.

TRANSCRIPT

JOHN CARLOS FREY: Miguel Angel Gomez, a 30-year-old taxi driver here in El Salvador spends a lot of time looking in his rear-view mirror, worried that he’ll be the next victim of a notoriously violent street gang that already murdered Miguel’s brother.

A local news report showed the scene of the crime.

MIGUEL ANGEL GOMEZ: First they shot him and then they beheaded him. Here if they don’t like you or for any little thing, they have you killed.

JOHN ... Read More

El Salvador’s Gangs Target Women and Girls

| November 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By ALBERTO ARCE

In a country terrorized by gangsters, it is left to the dead to break the silence on sexual violence.

Rather, to the bodies of women and girls pulled from clandestine graves, raped, battered and sometimes cut to pieces. They attest to the abuse committed by members of street gangs who take girlfriends, discard them when they know too much, then deliver them to group rape and murder.

Those who gather statistics say there are no reliable numbers on sexual violence in El Salvador. Threats prevent many from reporting attacks. Others who have grown up amid abuse may not recognize rape as a crime. Still others flee the country rather than seek justice from a system that more often delivers impunity.

U.S. immigration attorneys say there has been a dramatic increase in the number of women and girls from Central America seeking asylum in the United States after having been kidnapped and ... 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

Obama to allow 100,000 Haitians into America without a visa

| October 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
Breibart

Calling it “an irresponsible overreach of the executive branch’s authority,” Senator Charles Grassley, ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, is criticizing an executive order issued by the president that would allow at least 100,000 Haitian nationals into the United States to be “reunited with their families.”

Washington Times:

“Which countries are next on President Obama’s list?” Mr. Grassley said. “Will there by medical screenings before entry? Will work permits be granted automatically? How will this affect American workers?”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the branch of the Department of Homeland Security that handles immigration benefits cases, announced Friday the program to unite Haitians already living in the U.S. with family members abroad will ramp up in 2015.

At that time the State Department’s National Visa Center will begin notifying families who may be eligible to take part in the program. Those immigrants will allowed to apply for work ... Read More

U.S.-Brazil cotton deal perpetuates an unhealthy status quo of subsidies

| October 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

WHEN IS a victory for the United States not exactly a victory for the American taxpayer? When it’s an international agreement like the one the Obama administration has just reached to settle a long-running dispute with Brazil over cotton subsidies.

The roots of that dispute lie in this country’s history of showering federal funds on crop producers, including cotton growers. That particular business received $32.9 billion from Washington between 1995 and 2012, according to the Environmental Working Group, largely through programs that had the effect of rewarding farmers for increasing production. The extra supply dampened prices on the world market, so, in 2002, Brazil complained to the World Trade Organization, which ruled that U.S. cotton subsidies were indeed “trade-distorting” and authorized Brazil to retaliate against U.S. exports. The United States avoided sanctions — not by reforming its programs but by agreeing in 2010 to pay Brazil’s cotton farmers $147.3 million per year.

In short, ... Read More

U.S. Confirms ISIL Planning Infiltration of U.S. Southern Border

| September 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon

BY ADAM KREDO

A senior Homeland Security (DHS) official confirmed to Congress on Wednesday that militants associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) are planning to enter the United States via the porous southern border.

Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, told senators during a hearing that ISIL supporters are known to be plotting ways to infiltrate the United States through the border.

“There have been Twitter, social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor told Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) in response to a question about “recent reports on Twitter and Facebook of messages that would urge infiltration into the U.S. across our southwestern border.”

“Certainly any infiltration across our border would be a threat,” Taylor said, explaining that border security agents are working to tighten measures that would prevent ... Read More

US, Mexico, CentAm to look at child migration

| September 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

The attorney generals from the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have agreed to form a high-level group to address the migration of unaccompanied children.

U.S. Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon says in a statement that Attorney General Eric Holder met with his counterparts in Mexico City on Tuesday.

The attorney generals will form the group with prosecutors from each country, and will work on a strategy to handle the flow of child migrants. The group is to meet in the coming weeks.

Since Oct. 1, the United States has detained more than 66,000 unaccompanied child immigrants, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. More than 66,000 additional immigrants traveling as families, mostly mothers and young children from Central America, have also been caught.

Click here for original ... Read More

Mexican drug cartels are expanding their reach in Peru

| September 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Global Post

LIMA, Peru — When police here unearthed nearly 8 tons of cocaine — a national record — hidden inside lumps of coal late last month, it was little surprise that two Mexican citizens were also arrested.

The brutal Mexican cartels that control the drug routes from remote Andean villages where raw coca plants grow to the world’s largest consumer market, the United States, are known to have been present in Peru since the 1990s.

Nevertheless, the haul found in a small seafront warehouse in Huanchaco, a fishing village known for its surfing on Peru’s northern coast, stood out for another reason: It was bound not for the US but, in two separate shipments, for Spain and Belgium.

“What is surprising is that this implies a change in the criminal map,” said Peru’s former anti-drug czar Ricardo Soberon. “For Mexicans to be running drugs from Peru to Europe, ... Read More

FBI: Cuban Intelligence Aggressively Recruiting Leftist American Academics as Spies, Influence Agents

| September 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon

BY BILL GETZ

Cuba’s communist-led intelligence services are aggressively recruiting leftist American academics and university professors as spies and influence agents, according to an internal FBI report published this week.

Cuban intelligence services “have perfected the work of placing agents, that includes aggressively targeting U.S. universities under the assumption that a percentage of students will eventually move on to positions within the U.S. government that can provide access to information of use to the [Cuban intelligence service],” the five-page unclassified FBI report says. It notes that the Cubans “devote a significant amount of resources to targeting and exploiting U.S. academia.”

“Academia has been and remains a key target of foreign intelligence services, including the [Cuban intelligence service],” the report concludes.

One recruitment method used by the Cubans is to appeal to American leftists’ ideology. “For instance, someone who is allied with communist or leftist ideology may assist the ... Read More

Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers join forces in Guatemala, paper says

| September 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Drug cartels from Colombia and Mexico have formed an alliance to produce designer drugs and cocaine in Guatemala that will later be smuggled into the United States, the Prensa Libre newspaper reported Tuesday.

Drug traffickers are focusing on Guatemala because of its geographic location, the war being waged by the government on the cartels in Mexico and the increasingly global nature of the narcotics trade, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified source in the special drug enforcement prosecutor’s office.

Colombians supposedly trained in chemistry and biology have entered the Central American country to plan, design and build drug labs, as well as to teach people to produce synthetic drugs, Prensa Libre said.

The newspaper, however, did not identify the Colombian cartel involved in the Guatemalan venture.

The majority of the drug laboratories are run by Mexicans who belong to the Gulf, Sinaloa and Caballeros ... Read More

Mexico Turns to Army, Drones for Security

| September 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By MARK STEVENSON Associated Press

The Mexican government says it is increasingly turning to the use of the army and drones in security patrols, reducing the role of the once-successful Marine forces.

In an annual report on the state of the nation submitted to Congress Monday, the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto said army patrols had increased 52.2 percent between September and July as compared to the same period of the previous year.

The number of marine patrols decreased 28.3 percent in the same period. The marines have carried out some of the biggest take-downs of major drug lords.

The government also gave one of its first detailed accountings of the use of drones, saying it had flown 149 security drone missions with over 581 hours of flying time.

The report said homicides, especially those relating to organized crime, had dropped over the last year. It said Mexico’s homicide rate for all of 2013 ... Read More

Dozing U.S. Diplomats Let Venezuelan Narco-General Slip Away

| July 30th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Foreign Policy

BY ROGER F. NORIEGA

Although a retired Venezuelan general and confidante of President Nicolás Maduro just managed to evade U.S. extradition to face drug smuggling charges, the unsealed indictment in his case reveals that U.S. prosecutors have gathered compelling evidence of widespread criminality at the highest levels of the Maduro government. Dozing U.S. diplomats let Major General Hugo Carvajal slip away this past weekend, but the fact that Caracas pulled out the stops to keep him from facing U.S. justice has exposed a regime with a very guilty conscience.

U.S. diplomats were caught off-guard on Sunday when the Netherlands decided to recognize the dubious claims of “diplomatic immunity” by Carvajal, who was being held in Aruba since his arrest last Wednesday at the request of U.S. law enforcement authorities. In court proceedings last Friday, Aruban authorities dismissed Carvajal’s claims of immunity, arguing that he had never been accredited as Venezuela’s consul general ... Read More

Russia’s Ambitious Energy Diplomacy in Latin America

| July 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
Oil Price

By Nick Cunningham

Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeking to build alliances to counter Western influence, signed several energy deals in Latin America this past week.

The first stop on Putin’s six-day tour was Havana on July 11, where he met with Cuban President Raul Castro. The two sides reached an agreement that could see Russia exploring for oil in Caribbean waters, which would build up Cuba’s offshore oil industry. Putin also decided to wipe away 90 percent of the $32 billion worth of debt Cuba owes Russia, most of it dating back to the Soviet era.

The agreement was no doubt motivated by Putin’s desire to push back against what he views as U.S. meddling in Ukraine. Exploring for oil only a few dozen miles from the U.S. coast is a finger in Uncle Sam’s eye. “We will provide support to our Cuban friends to overcome the illegal blockade of Cuba,” Putin said on July ... Read More

Cómo Se Dice, “Lost in Translation”?

| July 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
Foreign Policy

On immigration, drugs, and virtually every other pressing policy issue, why can’t the United States and Mexico stop talking past each other?

BY CARLOS PUIG

By now, the number is well known: From October 2013 to June 15 of this year, 52,000 unaccompanied children and teenagers were caught at the American border with Mexico, twice the number for the same period in the previous year. Responding to the influx of young migrants and the public outcry they’ve provoked, President Barack Obama has asked Congress to provide nearly $4 billion to establish new detention facilities, increase aerial surveillance capacity, and hire more immigration judges to speed up the processing of the detained. The proposal has been met with skepticism, not only from Obama’s political opponents, but also from immigration activists who argue that it is yet another example of the U.S. effort to stem the flow of migrants withoutaddressing systemic problems in Central America — gang violence, weak rule ... Read More

Russia ‘agrees to reopen Cuba spy base’

| July 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

Moscow (AFP) – Russia has provisionally agreed to reopen a major Cold War listening post on Cuba that was used to spy on the United States, a Russian daily reported Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin visited the island last week.

Kommersant reported that Russia and Cuba had agreed “in principle” to reopen the Lourdes base, mothballed since 2001, citing several sources within Russian authorities.

“The agreements were finalised while President Vladimir Putin visited Havana last Friday,” the respected daily wrote.

Russia had closed the Lourdes spy base south of Havana on Putin’s orders to save money and due to a rapprochement with the United States after the September 11 attacks.

But Moscow has since shown a new interest in Latin America and its Cold War ally Cuba and relations with the West have deteriorated amid the Ukraine crisis.

The base was set up in 1964 after the Cuban missile crisis ... Read More

Poverty, violence fuel exodus of youths from Honduras to U.S.

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
Dallas News

By ALFREDO CORCHADO

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Twelve-year-old Maynor Serrano points to the rows of houses where his friends and neighbors used to live. All are gone — many fleeing to the U.S.

Two of his friends were killed as 10-year-olds, their bodies chopped to pieces in a suspected gang vendetta.

He saw homes reduced to crumbling wrecks, their walls pockmarked with bullet holes. Entire neighborhoods were abandoned in hours — the result of monstrous gang violence.

Some houses became casas locas, crazy homes, for torturing families in this macabre city, which has the highest homicide rate in the world. Daily newspapers are filled with graphic photographs of bodies.

Like many, Maynor Serrano yearns to escape to the U.S., where he has relatives.

“It’s tough to live without hope,” he said. “If it’s not there, you go look for it.”

He spoke as he pulled weeds in one of the most violent barrios, Chamelecón, under the watchful ... Read More

CARDENAS: To secure Southern Border, U.S. must also help secure Central America

| July 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times

President Obama has requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding to cope with the humanitarian crisis along our southern border, which has been besieged by a surge in unaccompanied minors and thousands more trying to enter the United States from Central America through Mexico.

Clearly, the administration is scrambling to undo the damage caused in part by its own rhetoric and unilateral actions on immigration that, whether intentional or not, sent the calamitous message to desperate families across the region that if you want to get to the United States, then now is the time to come, because some sort of legal status awaits them.

Yet, notwithstanding the considerable sum of money requested from Congress, the administration’s current plan is merely stop-gap. It does nothing to address the primary driver of the problem: the escalating criminality in the region — most of it fueled by drug trafficking to the United States — that ... Read More

Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2013 still not back to pre-global-crisis levels

| June 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Mimi Whitefield

A study released Tuesday shows that the money sent home by migrants from Latin American and the Caribbean reached $61.3 billion last year, with three-quarters of those remittances coming from the United States.

The report by the Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, found that remittances to the Caribbean and Central America increased, but money flows to Mexico, which received $21.6 billion in remittances, and South America were down.

Overall, remittances — considered an economic lifeline for many families in the region — still haven’t recovered to the levels before the 2008-2009 global economic crisis. Remittances reached a high of $64.9 billion in 2008 before plummeting by more than 10 percent the next year.

Remittances began to grow again in 2011 but have remained fairly flat since then. There was virtually no growth between 2012 and 2013

The strengthening of the economies of European nations and the ... Read More

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