Posts tagged ‘Argentina’
LATIN AMERICA: Fallout from NSA Intel Revelations, Brazil-Argentina Cyber Pact, Colombian Drug Ring Busted
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.