Friday, April 13, 2018

Mexico: Declaring Peace


Declaring Peace

As the Trump administration reinvigorates the US war on drugs, Mexican leaders are increasingly looking at other ways to reduce gang-related violence south of the border – including legalization.
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox on Wednesday proposedlegalizing the farming of opium poppies as a strategy to curtail profits for the drug cartels and reduce violence, while tourism minister Enrique de la Madrid said Mexican states should move toward legalizing marijuana to match similar measures in the US, Reuters reported.
Outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto has said Mexico and the United States should not pursue diverging policies on marijuana, the agency noted. Fox, who was president from 2000-2006, has also advocated for the legalization of that drug in the past.
Drug policy is a major campaign issue in Mexico’s July 1presidential election, with the front-runner, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, suggesting an amnesty program for gang members to break the cycle of violence.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Latin America-Summit Snubs


Summit Subs

Neither US President Donald Trump nor Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will attend the Summit of the Americas in Lima this week – in a development that pundits say speaks volumes about Trump’s frustration with the region and the rudderless nature of the event.
Trump cited more pressing concerns in Syria for his absence and Maduro was disinvited. Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Vice President Mike Pence will step in to fill the void April 13-14.
But Trump’s absence means the meeting is less likely to overcome differences related to trade and immigration, or to come up with a coherent strategy for dealing with Venezuela, Peter Hakim and Michael Shifter opined in the New York Times.
Interestingly, Trump becomes the first US president to skip the summit at a time when attending might well suit his deal-making agenda, Alvaro Vargas Llosa argues in the Hill. The decline of the Latin American left offers an opportunity to bring the meeting back to its original focus – creating the so-called Free Trade Area of the Americas, he writes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Brasil Soy Bean Growers Are In For A Chinese Boom[UNIQID]

An Email To My Son About Ex-President Lula and Brasilian Politics

Dear Pedro:

     You talked about the complexity of the Lula situation in particular and Brasilian politics in general.

       Today I had lunch with a man from Goiania. He started life in a favela. He now has an MBA from San Jose State University. On the face of things, you would see him as a Lula supporter.

        Here is a recap of what he told me over lunch as follows:

1) Judge Moro has six more criminal cases against Lula including one where he got a luxury fazenda as a gift from a constituent.

2) As Lula made cosmetic efforts to uplift the poor, he was helping the rich lavishly.

3) Lula played "a shell game" to make it appear that Brasil was experiencing an unprecedented economic boom. International investors believed this and poured massive sums of money into Brasil.

4) He briefed me on the political parties and the political structure. It would appear that the only president in recent history with honesty was Cardoso.

    In the US, there is a saying about lawyers as follows: "A law license is a license to steal." In Brasil, one could say: "Election to public office is a license to steal."

    Most sad is that very little is being done to help the truly poor.

With kindest regards,

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Chile And Argentina Start Projects To Find Oil and Gas Off the Southern Tip of South America

Chile and Argentina open offshore project to increase gas, oil production

SANTIAGO – The state-run energy firms of Chile and Argentina have inaugurated a US$ 354 million project to increase production of natural gas off the southern tip of South America.
The project, east of Magellan Strait, operated by Chile’s state-run ENAP in partnership with YPF, will boost production of natural gas to 4 million cubic meters daily from the current 2.4 million, while increasing petroleum production by nearly 25% at the site, the firms said in a statement.
“This ambitious project contributes to the supply of energy in Argentina and bolsters regional integration,” ENAP General Manager Marcelo Tokman said in the statement.
YPF’s Pablo Bizzotto said the project is part of the company’s strategic project “providing funds, technology and innovations with the purpose of achieving the maximum energy development for Argentina”
The project, which includes five oil platforms, is at the Faro Virgenes zone, in the mouth of the eastern end of the Strait of Magellan in Argentina’s Santa Cruz province.
Chile’s Hydrocarbons secretary Marcos Pourteau was present at the inauguration ceremony together with Santa Cruz province governor, Alicia Kirchner, YPF Upstream Operations chief Pablo Bizzotto, ENAP’s General manager Marcelo Tokman and the General Manager of ENAP Argentina, Eduardo Tapia.
As part of the ceremony officials from both countries were flown by helicopter to one of the oil rigs, 18 kilometers offshore, for a tour of the facilities. Precisely one of the rigs is connected to land deposits in Faro de Virgenes via an 18km pipeline at the bottom of the sea.

Former President Lula Is Resisting Arrest In Brasil. Get Ready For Violence!!!

Lula has taken shelter in a union hall outside of Sao Paulo and refused to be taken to prison.
The Brasilian Federal Police are intimidated by the crowd that has assembled to protest his imprisonment. Many of the people in the crowd sincerely believe that the criminal case against Lula is a fabrication just to get him out of the political arena.

          I am a man with experience in war and social unrest all over the world. What is going to happen is that the Brasilian Army will appear with full battle dress, automatic weapons, and heavy vehicles. This will not intimidate the crowd. It will enrage them. Many of the soldiers will have sympathy with the protesters. A riot will break out. People will be seriously injured and die. Lula will either be taken into custody or die as a martyr.

          That will only be the beginning of the problem. Riots will break out all over Brasil. The social unrest will get unpleasant. Who knows what kind of extremists will win the presidential election

           This is a vision of what will happen when Trump is removed from office. Elena says that it will spark a right-wing revolt. I see the same sort of confrontation and violent social unrest happening in the United States. You're fortunate to be in Canada.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Brasil: Do Not Pass Go


Do Not Pass Go

Brazil’s Supreme Court rejected former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s plea to avoid jail while he appeals against a 12-year sentence on corruption charges, setting the stage for the popular politician to spend the rest of the ongoing presidential election behind bars.
The court rejected by 6-5 Lula’s lawyers’ request for a preventative habeas corpus, Bloomberg reported. It’s now up to Sergio Moro, the judge who prosecuted Lula, to decide whether to jail him immediately or follow standard procedure and delay for one or two weeks.
Lula was already banned from running in the ongoing election due to the corruption conviction. But Brazil has allowed exceptions to that rule in the past, and Lula was nevertheless polling ahead of all the other candidates. Some analysts expect stocks to get a bump when the market reopens today due to the easing of fears he’d undo recent pro-market reforms.
It remains to be seen whether putting him behind bars rallies his supporters or hurts the fortunes of his Workers’ Party, which said it would continue to push for his candidacy in the October polls.