Posts tagged ‘Argentina’

LATIN AMERICA: On the Border, Gaza Fallout, Argentina Bonds, Venezuela Spy Chief

National Guard, Immigration Bill.

Border Patrol agents observe an Arizona National Guardsman training in the desert. (U.S. Army photo by

Border Patrol agents observe an Arizona National Guardsman training in 2010.
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill)

Texas Governor Rick Perry has ordered up to 1,000 National Guardsmen to the border with Mexico to help deal with the crisis of thousands of children crossing over from Mexico.

More than 57,000 unaccompanied minors — mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — have crossed illegally since October, reports USA Today, noting the influx of children has overwhelmed federal detention centers and Border Patrol offices.

The state acion is estimated to cost Texas taxpayers $12 million a month once it gets underway. No starting date has been set yet. Most of the children are reportedly fleeing  drug trafficking and gang violence in their home countries.

Meanwhile, at immigration bill meant to deal with the illegal child immigrant issue is on life suport on Capitol Hill. On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner  called off a vote on a border assistance bill until Friday (August 1). The day Congress was supposed to take off for a month-long recess, according  to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. And a vote on the Senate version of the bill was blocked until after August.

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Gaza Fallout in Latin America

The fighting in Gaza beween the Israel Defense Force and Hamas may be a world away, but it is starting to have diplomatic repercussions in Latin America.

This week El Salvador became the fifth Latin American country to recall its ambassador from Tel Aviv and not because of safety and security fears. San Salvador recaled its envoy to protest the  IDF’s continued operations in Gaza and the disastrous effect it is having on civilians.

Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru have previously called their ambassadors, according to the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz. Israel’s Foreign Ministry expressed deep disappointment with what it called  with their “hasty decision” to call diplomats hom for consultation. Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the ministry, told Haaretz that such actions “constitutes encouragement for  Hamas, a group recognized as a terrorist organization by many countries around the world.”

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Bond Battle

Argentina’s rocky economy may be in for another shock as the country is on the verge of defaulting on billions of dollars of government bonds. If Buenos Aires doesn’t  pay up, it will be country’s second default in 13 years.

Argentina has been battling a group of hedge funds since it defaulted on its bond obligations in 2001. Argentina offered new bonds worth much less than the orginal ones  but has been its obligations on them. A small group of bondholders want to be paid in full and the Argentine government has resisted. But a judge in New York has ruled  that banks using Argentina’s money to pay the holders of the lesser bonds would be in violation of a previous court order.

The dispute, which weighs heavilly on the Argentine economy, has most likely “pushed up borrowing costs for Argentine companies and depleted economic confidence in a country  that is already facing high inflation and sagging growth,” the New York Times explains.

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Venezuelan Official Faces Drug Charges

Colombia and Venezuela: Wikipedia image

Aruba, Colombia and Venezuela: Wikipedia

The former head of Venezuela’s military intelligence is accused of corruption and drug dealing by the United States. Hugo Carvajal was arrested on request
of the U.S. State Department when he got off a plane in Aruba last week.

But officials in the Caribbean Island nation had to let him go — because he had diplomatic immunity — and sent him back to Venezuela even though the U.S. wanted to extradite him. Indictments unsealed after his arrest accused him of being on the payroll of drug traffickers and coordinating massive cocaine shipments, the New York Times reported.

The indictments “open a window onto accusations of ties between Venezuelan military and law enforcement officers and Colombian drug traffickers, a connection that officials in Washington  have long warned about and that has been roundly dismissed by authorities” in Venezuela, according to the Times.

Carvajal was traveling on a diplomatic passport as Venezuela’s new consul in Aruba. He was a long-time confidant of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, according to the Latin American Herald Tribune.

August 1, 2014 at 1:14 am Leave a comment

LATIN AMERICA: Fallout from NSA Intel Revelations, Brazil-Argentina Cyber Pact, Colombian Drug Ring Busted

Brazil’s Steamed

Brazil (CIA World Fact book)

Brazil (CIA World Fact book)

Relations have been strained between the United States and Brazil since disclosures by a rogue contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA) revealed widespread spying by the U.S. on Brazil.

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, was said to be furious over the revelations that the NSA had been conducting widespread spying on her, her top advisers and Brazil’s largest oil company — Petrobras. . Brasilia has demanded a full explanation from Washington and Rousseff has postponed her planned state visit to Washington, scheduled for late October, according to the New York Times, which called the decision a “sharp rebuke to the Obama administration.

Rousseff’s move was seen as a stunning diplomatic setback for the United States which has been trying to improve relations with South America’s largest country and biggest economy after a shaky relationship with her predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, according to AFP. The Brazilian president has called the spying “an illegal act” and a violation of Brazilian sovereignty.

Brazil-Argentina Cyber Defense Pact

How bad are relations between Brazil and the United States over disclosures that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has collected data on billions of phone and email conversations in Brazil — including President Dilma Rousseff’s personal communications? Pretty bad.

Not only has Rousseff postponed a long-planned state visit to Washington, but Brazil has agreed to a cyber defense pact with Argentina, according to Press TV reports.

The agreement was reached following Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim’s recent meeting with his Argentine counterpart, Agustin Rossi in Buenos as Aires. The military agreement commits Brazil to train Argentina’s military in cyber defense starting in 2014.

Colombia Drugs

Police in Colombia have captured 16 drug dealers that were paert of a ring that grows and distributes marijuana through small convenience in the country’s major cities, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

Colombia and Venezuela: Wikipedia image

Colombia and Venezuela: Wikipedia image

Four of the suspects were caught ransporting 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of marijuana by truck” in  Bogota,” according to the national police.

The police said the drug ring paid a “gram tax” on marijuana to the country’s largest armed rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The Colombian government has accused the FASRC of involvement in drug trafficking  — as has the United States. The rebels deny the charge. The FARC and the government are currently holding peace talks in Havana, Cuba, to put an end to five decades of fighting.

Both sides ended their 14th round of negotiations Thursday (September 19), issuing a joint statement saying they had made progress, according to Reuters.

The statement said the parties “continue advancing in developing and writing up accords … around the second point of the agenda on political participation,” including rights and guarantees for the exercise of political opposition, Reuters said. But the FARC accused the government of trying to impose unilaterally the conditions on any future peace agreement.

The government in Bogota wants a peace accord by November when the national electoral cycle starts. But both sides say that deadline won’t be met and may complicate the presidential vote in May 2014.

September 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

LATIN AMERICA: Argentina Gets Rowdy

Don’t Mess With Me, Argentina

Argentina, South America’s second-largest country, has been making a lot of headlines lately: saber-rattling over the Falkland Islands as the 30th anniversary of that war with Britain nears … getting back into the arms business … and threatening to pick a fight with another European nation over a giant energy company.

You Say Falklands, I Say Malvinas

Falklands Campaign, U.S. Military Academy

Thirty years ago this month, a Britsh battle group led by the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, sailed for the South Atlantic to reclaim the Falkland Islands, which Argentina had invaded a few days earlier and claimed as its own as Las Islas Mavinas – not Falkland Islands.

The Brits drove Argentina’s military junta to the peace table within a few months of fighting. The embarassing loss also drove the junta from office.

Now Argentina’s government is making noise about the windswept islands in the middle of almost nowhere, even threatening to invade them again. Most of Latin America is siding with Argentina, calling the UK’s position there since 1833 an occupation.

At a summit of Western Hemisphere leaders in Colombia over the weekend, the U.S. and Canada declined to join a declaration supporting Argentina’s rights to the islands.

The Planes of Argentina Are Called Pampas

Argentina is hoping to revive its defense manufacturing industry with the production of Pampa combat and training aircraft. According to UPI via Defense Industry Daily, Buenos Aires was inspired by Brazil’s resurgent arms industry.

For a start, production will be for the demands of the Argentine Air Force and Navy but analysts say government planners are looking to enter the export market.

Fadea, the government-controlled aircraft factory in Cordoba plans to build 100 Pampa II in association with German aerospace company Grob Aircraft AG, according to press reports. Grob Aircraft won a contract last year to build turbo prop-powered trainers for the Indonesian Air Force.

Dangerous Tactics

CIA World Factbook

In addition to yanking the British Lion’s tail over the Falklands/Malvinas, Argentina is picking a fight with Spain over a huge energy company. The Argentine company, YPF, was privatized and sold to Spain’s Repsol  in the 1990s. But Argentine President Cristina Fernandez  decreed the seizure of Repsol’s 51 percent stake in the company, claiming that Argentina needed to reclaim sovereignty of its natural resources.

The move outraged the Spanish government, which vowed retaliation — both legal and economic, Reuters reported. Fernandez’s decision cheered voters who have grown disenchanted with her government in recent months. It also spooked international investors, according to the Associated Press.

Fernandez had been dropping in popularity polls before the saber-rattling and nationalization tactics, which reminds us of the moves taken by the military junta in 1982 when its popularity was waning. Stay tuned.

April 18, 2012 at 1:07 am Leave a comment


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