Posts Tagged ‘United States’

US pressures Cuba to turn over fugitives

| February 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
Sun Sentinel

By William E. Gibson

U.S. officials will continue this week to pressure Cuba to turn over fugitives wanted for Medicare fraud and other crimes in the United States.

Closer cooperation between the two old adversaries could disrupt a criminal pipeline that has funneled ill-gotten gains from Florida to Cuba, an organized crime network disclosed last month by the Sun Sentinel after a year-long investigation.

Some members of Congress are demanding the return of fugitives, hoping to halt Cuban crime rings and discourage scams.

“I would hope that if those who wish to violate American law understand that they can’t hide from prosecution in Cuba, it would help to deter people from ripping off American taxpayers,” said U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat who represents parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties.

The issue will be raised Thursday when Cuba’s alleged links to terrorist groups are discussed at a House subcommittee hearing.

Chairman Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., said Cuban spying ... Read More

Dissidents Say as Many as 200 Arrested in Cuba

| February 24th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

Cuban dissidents say that more than 100 anti-government activists have been arrested and they are awaiting word Monday on how many have been released.

Berta Soler, leaders of the group Ladies in White, said that 53 members of her group and 36 other dissidents were arrested Sunday during the group’s traditional march through Havana after Sunday Mass.

Elizardo Sanchez, head Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, one of the country’s largest human rights groups, said that between 150 and 200 dissidents had been arrested across the country Sunday.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson said on Twitter that the U.S. is “concerned about violent silencing of peaceful voices for change.” She meets with Cuban officials Friday for the second round of talks on re-establishing diplomatic relations.

Click here for original ... Read More

Brazil Aims to Boost Economic Ties with U.S.

| February 19th, 2015 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

By Tim Ridout

WASHINGTON – Fresh off a narrow victory in a contentious election, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has signaled an interest in restoring momentum in Brazil’s ties with the United States as well as a renewed focus on the European Union. Brazil’s growth is collapsing due to continuing infrastructure, regulatory, and fiscal problems, as well as tightening external credit and low global commodity prices. The cumulative impact of these factors is encouraging tighter fiscal and monetary policies at home, and a trade agenda that focuses on a Mercosur-EU free trade agreement with Brussels and trade facilitation and regulatory convergence with Washington.

These initiatives are being pursued in the context of negotiations over a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and EU, a mega-trade deal that Brazil worries will leave it outside global value chains. Given its similar fears regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership, stagnant domestic economic ... Read More

US-Funded News Station Wants to Bring Free Press to Cuba. But Raúl Castro Wants to Shut It Down.

| February 10th, 2015 | No Comments »
Daily Signal-01

By Josh Siegel

MIAMI—Carlos García-Pérez, who heads the U.S. government’s Office of Cuba Broadcasting, is used to his news station being a target.

The Miami headquarters of Radio and TV Martí is protected as if it is one. Located randomly off the side of an expressway, the building is guarded by a barbed-wire gate.

Signage outside confirms the news station as U.S. government property, and visitors are asked by a uniformed guard to not bring their cell phones into the building.

The federal government launched Radio Martí in 1983 and TV Martí in 1990 with the hope to combat communism by exposing Cubans to freedom and democracy, providing uncensored information from Miami to Cuba.

Since the beginning, the Castro regime, notorious suppressors of free press, has worked hard to block the station’s programs.

Today, the Cuban government sometimes successfully jams its transmissions, especially in ... Read More

Why Castro’s demand for reparations from US could backfire

| January 30th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor

By Howard LaFranchi

WASHINGTON — Cuban President Raúl Castro had a surprise for the Obama administration when he issued a new and considerably tougher set of demands this week for reaching normalized relations with the United States.

Return of the Guantánamo Bay naval base to Cuban sovereignty was perhaps the most stop-and-take-notice condition Mr. Castro set in a speech Wednesday. But it was the brother of Fidel Castro’s demand concerning reparations that could end up stirring the bitterest pot and posing the highest obstacle to normalization.

Castro said United States payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic reparations for damages caused by the five-decade-old embargo, and indeed a lifting of the embargo Cuba considers a “blockade,” would also have to take place before the two adversaries can renew relations that were severed soon after the Cuban revolution of 1959.

But Castro’s reparation demands also carry a risk. That’s because ... Read More

Mexico AG: Captured drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman won’t be extradited to US anytime soon

| January 28th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

By MARIA VERZA, Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Captured Sinaloa drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman will not be extradited to the United States anytime soon, Mexico’s top prosecutor said Tuesday.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said he was expecting to receive a formal request later in the day from Washington, which also wants to prosecute Guzman on drug trafficking charges. But U.S. authorities will have a long wait.

“I could accept extradition, but at the time that I choose. ‘El Chapo’ must stay here to complete his sentence, and then I will extradite him,” Murillo Karam told The Associated Press in an interview. “So about 300 or 400 years later — it will be a while.”

Murillo Karam later clarified that he was referring to the time that it would take for Guzman to complete his sentences, “given all the crimes ... Read More

US Caribbean energy summit seeks ways to ease region away from shaky Venezuela oil program

| January 26th, 2015 | No Comments »
FoxNews.com

A decade-long addiction to oil subsidized by Venezuela may be coming to an end for several Caribbean nations, with a nudge from the United States.

Fears that falling oil prices could knock the wheels off the already wobbly economy of oil-dependent Venezuela have sparked apparent interest in alternatives to Petrocaribe, a trade program created by the late President Hugo Chavez that has kept the region dependent on the South American country for energy.

Evidence of that interest will be on display Monday as Caribbean leaders converge in Washington for the first Caribbean Energy Security Summit, hosted by Vice President Joe Biden. Plans for the event have been in the works for months, but with oil recently falling to below $50 a barrel, a sense of urgency has emerged given Venezuela’s increasingly precarious situation.

“It’s absolutely the case that the economic situation has deteriorated for Venezuela ... Read More

Confirmed: U.S. Will Request That Mexico Extradite Drug Lord Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán

| January 22nd, 2015 | No Comments »
Forbes

BY DOLIA ESTEVEZ

Washington has decided to request the extradition of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, who is now in a maximum-security prison outside Mexico City. Mexico’s Attorney General José Murillo Karam said he expects the U.S. government will ask for Guzmán’s extradition in the “next hours.” During a press conference in Mexico City on Tuesday, Murillo Karam said there will be “no problem to process the request to decide, at the right time, what would be most appropriate.”

The “right time,” according to Mexican sources, would be after Guzmán is fully prosecuted and sentenced in Mexico, where he faces eight active criminal cases. Guzmán, who topped the list of most wanted drug criminals in the world and was captured last year, would not need to finish serving his sentence in Mexico in order to be sent to the U.S., according to Mexican diplomatic sources. Therefore, if the prosecutions proceed as ... Read More

Cuba wants off U.S. terrorism list before restoring normal ties

| January 21st, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

BY DANIEL TROTTA

(Reuters) - Cuba will tell the United States in face-to-face talks this week it wants to be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism before restoring diplomatic relations, a senior foreign ministry official said on Tuesday.

The two adversaries will meet in Havana on Wednesday and Thursday in an attempt to restore ties that the United States severed in 1961.

They are the first talks since U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on Dec. 17 they would resume diplomatic ties and swap prisoners in a historic shift after five decades of hostilities.

The Cuban official said it was “unfair” to put Cuba on the U.S. State Department’s list, which also includes Iran, Syria and Sudan.

While saying removal from the list was not necessarily a condition for restoring ties, the official said the Cubans would press the issue with the U.S. delegation.

“We cannot conceive of re-establishing diplomatic relations while Cuba continues to be included on ... Read More

Is Ecuador’s president using U.S. law to censor critics?

| January 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
USA TODAY

By Simeon Tegel

LIMA, Peru — You might think that using United States laws to shut up social media opponents would be the last thing Rafael Correa would do.

A vocal adversary of Washington, Ecuador’s leftist president has also made a name for sheltering WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange in his country’s London Embassy, and briefly offering asylum to U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

So, it might come as a surprise to learn that Ecuadoreans who dare to post content critical of Correa and his government on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook say they are finding their images and videos systematically targeted and taken down.

Even more unexpected is the justification being given time and again: the supposed violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed by Congress in 1998.

The law, intended to combat online piracy, holds Internet companies liable for copyright violations they host, however unwittingly. It also establishes a fast track “notice and takedown” process ... Read More

Debt Dispute Between Hedge Funds and Argentina at Impasse

| January 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
The New York Times

BUENOS AIRES — The hopes of easing a debt dispute between Argentina and a group of New York hedge funds seemed to be dashed on Monday after the country’s economy minister made an offer that appeared to fall well short of what the investors were seeking.

Argentina made the informal offer after a potentially onerous legal clause in its bonds ceased to apply on Dec. 31. The hedge funds, known as holdouts, had sued Argentina in the United States to get full payments on bonds that the country defaulted on in 2001.

The provision that expired on Dec. 31, known as the rights-upon-future-offers clause, had prohibited Argentina from paying out better terms to the holdouts than it had to investors who had accepted less money in debt restructuring deals in 2005 and 2010. Now, the country can, in theory, strike a ... Read More

Jackson Diehl: Obama is overlooking deep trouble in Venezuela

| January 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Jackson Diehl

An enduring characteristic of Barack Obama’s presidency has been his determination to implement the ideological agenda with which he arrived in office without regard for conditions in the real world. He imposed timetables for “ending the wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq unlinked to military progress. He insisted on pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, even though the leaders of both sides were manifestly unwilling. He began his second term by seeking a new nuclear arms deal with Vladi­mir Putin, despite abundant evidence that Putin was preparing for confrontation with the West.

Now, six years into his presidency, Obama has launched, as his first significant initiative in Latin America, detente with Cuba. It’s a torch that many liberals have carried for decades. Once again, however, the president has acted with willful disregard for current events.

In particular, two salient facts were ignored. The first is that the regime of Raúl Castro was desperate ... Read More

Venezuela’s Maduro says he hasn’t broken relations with U.S. only out of ‘Chavista wisdom’

| December 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said in a recorded television interview aired Sunday that he had wanted to break “all” relations with the United States and close Washington’s embassies and consulates, but he decided not to out of “Chavista wisdom.”

In a TV interview taped, evidently, on Saturday evening and aired while he was speaking on Sunday in Cuba at the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, or ALBA, presidential summit, Maduro confirmed that on Monday a march to repudiate U.S. policies against him will be held in Caracas.

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in recent days have approved measures awaiting signature by President Barack Obama to deny visas and freeze assets of Venezuelan officials accused of violating the rights of Maduro opponents.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced last Friday that Obama approves of the initiative, although he offered no ... Read More

Obama Favors Sanctions for Abuse of Venezuela Protesters

| December 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By WILLIAM NEUMAN

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Obama plans to sign into law a bill that would impose sanctions on Venezuelan government officials responsible for human rights violations or violence against protesters who took part in antigovernment demonstrations here this year, a White House spokesman said in Washington on Thursday.

Venezuela is a major oil supplier to the United States, but the two countries have had rocky relations during the governments of two leftist presidents, Nicolás Maduro and his predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chávez, who died last year.

Mr. Maduro has condemned the proposed sanctions and hinted at possible reprisals.

“The gringos now say that they are going to impose sanctions on Venezuela,” he said on Wednesday. “No one imposes sanctions on Venezuela, because our people decided to be free.”

The bill, which passed the Senate and the House ... Read More

Central America ready to commit $5 billion to migration plan – Guatemala

| December 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

BY ALEXANDRA ALPER

(Reuters) – Three Central American nations that have sent a flood of migrants to the United States are ready to provide $5 billion (£3.2 billion) between them to match a sum Washington says may be needed to help solve the problem, Guatemala’s president said on Tuesday.

Struggling to stop the migrant exodus that sparked a crisis in the summer, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador presented U.S. officials with a plan in September to boost their economic growth with infrastructure investment.

Addressing the problem on Nov. 18, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America Roberta Jacobson told Congress it could take $5 billion over five years to implement a plan for Central America that the United States has backed.

“It would fall to us to at a minimum put up the same amount, if not more,” Guatemalan President Otto Perez told Reuters in an interview in the Mexican ... Read More

Obama: US Offers Mexico Help on Missing Students

| December 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. has offered to help Mexico figure out what happened to 43 college students who have been missing since September, but he stopped short of saying that aid to the U.S. ally and neighbor should be reconsidered on the basis of the country’s human rights record.

“We’ve offered assistance in tracking down exactly what happened, our forensic capabilities, our capacity to get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” Obama told Telemundo, the Spanish-language television network, in an interview.

On the question of aid, which was posed by the interviewer, the president said what’s more important is helping Mexico build on the progress it has made.

“We’ve got to make sure that we strengthen the criminal justice system, the investigative capacities,” he said. “Mexico is our friend and our neighbor. We want them to thrive.”

Obama said the crime against the missing students has “no ... Read More

Al Qaeda Terrorist Wanted by FBI Crossed Back and Forth Into U.S. From Mexico

| December 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
Judicial Watch

An Al Qaeda terrorist on the FBI’s most wanted list for years crossed back and forth into the United States from Mexico to meet fellow militant Islamists in Texas and piloted an aircraft into the Cielo Dorado airfield in Anthony, New Mexico, law enforcement sources tell Judicial Watch.

The same Al Qaeda operative helped plan the 2009 bombing of talk-show superstar Oprah Winfrey’s Chicago studios and the iconic Sears Tower (renamed Willis Tower), a story that Judicial Watch broke just last week. His name is Adnan G. El Shukrijumah (also known as “Javier Robles”) and over the weekend he was killed in Pakistan, according to military officials in the Islamic republic.

In 2010 Shukrijumah was indicted in the Eastern District of New York for his role in a terrorist plot to attack targets in the United States—including New York City’s subway system—and the United Kingdom, according the FBI. The plot ... Read More

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

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