RSS

Category Archives: South America

Mexico, Cuba, and Trump’s Increasing Preference for Punishment Over Diplomacy

In his approach to the carrot-versus-stick equation that is central to statecraft, Donald Trump always opts for the stick. Apparently unaware of, or unconcerned with, the advantages offered by the canny use of public diplomacy, coercive tactics have become a main feature of his Presidency. On the international stage, Trump has used rhetorical bluster, unleashed financial sanctions, and threatened military action against adversaries such as Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea, and has deployed withering tariffs to initiate an ongoing trade war with China. It is not only against nations with which the White House has ideological differences that Trump has chosen such an approach; he has also made rumblings about slapping tariffs on imports from long-standing American allies, including Canada, France, and Germany.

The weaker the country, the more bullying Trump’s behavior. In March, for instance, in a bid to pressure the nations from which much of the current surge of migrants is arriving, he announced cuts to U.S. humanitarian aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. On May 30th, he moved to punish Mexico over immigration, as well. He peremptorily announced, via a pair of tweets, that he had decided to tax all Mexican imports with a five-per-cent tariff, beginning June 10th, “until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed.” His idea was that the tariff would rise by five per cent at the beginning of every month until it reached twenty-five per cent—the same rate he has levied against China.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/mexico-cuba-and-trumps-increasing-preference-for-punishment-over-diplomacy

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 12, 2019 in South America

 

Tags: , ,

Argentina: el fracaso como salida

Los datos se amontonan, muy variados, y todos van en la misma dirección. Alcanza con mirar cifras oficiales: dicen, por ejemplo, que en los últimos doce meses la industria argentina bajó su actividad un 13,4 por ciento y la construcción un 12,3. O que la inflación fue del 51,3 por ciento, la más alta desde 1991. O que el dólar, que todo lo define, cuesta justo el doble que hace un año. O que más de la mitad de los chicos argentinos ahora son pobres, igual que un tercio de la población del país, y que el hambre crece sin parar.

Los números solo confirman lo que todos —o casi todos— perciben en la calle: que la Argentina se sigue degradando y que su gobierno no sabe impedirlo, aunque se anote triunfos épicos como el de la semana pasada, cuando logró que el dólar no aumentara durante cuatro días seguidos.

https://www.nytimes.com/es/2019/05/09/elecciones-argentina-mauricio-macri-cristina/?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fnyt-es&action=click&contentCollection=martin-caparros&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=undefined

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 20, 2019 in South America

 

Tags:

Orgullo gay vs. Represión en las calles de La Habana

Activistas y miembros de la comunidad LGBTIQ en Cuba marcharon este sábado de manera independiente por las calles de La Habana en defensa de sus derechos tras la cancelación de la llamada Conga por la Diversidad que anualmente organiza el Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual (CENESEX). La celebración pública del orgullo gay no solo fue vigilada de cerca por las autoridades, sino también interrumpida y reprimida violentamente.

https://www.revistaelestornudo.com/orgullo-gay-vs-represion-en-las-calles-de-la-habana/

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 20, 2019 in South America

 

Tags:

Los venezolanos estamos condenados a negociar

Los venezolanos creemos que la improvisación es un método. Tal vez eso pueda explicar lo inexplicable: la fallida rebelión contra un Estado fallido que se produjo el 30 de abril. A medida que pasan las horas, cada vez parece más difícil conocer realmente qué ocurrió. La ausencia de información y la falta de credibilidad en los diferentes actores implicados dejan al ciudadano común sin posibilidades de acercarse a la verdad. Más que datos ciertos, solo abundan las especulaciones. Como si, más que analizar la realidad, solo fuera posible imaginarla.

Quizás nunca se llegue a saber ciertamente ni qué pasó ni qué podría haber pasado esta semana con las fuerzas armadas en Venezuela. Esta opacidad, sin duda, es otro síntoma del enorme deterioro institucional del país. Pero lo ocurrido también demuestra, nuevamente, que ese vacío institucional no puede llenarse con violencia. Es otro recordatorio de que la democracia no se legitima con fusiles sino con votos.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 13, 2019 in South America

 

Tags:

The plot that failed: how Venezuela’s ‘uprising’ fizzled

The video that appeared on Tuesday morning had the appearance of history in the making. In the purple light of dawn, it showed a group of armed men and a military vehicle on a road leading to La Carlota airbase in eastern Caracas.

In the foreground, stood Juan Guaidó – the head of the national assembly recognised by most western countries as the rightful leader of Venezuela – declaring the “final phase of Operation Freedom” with oratory seemingly destined for legend.

“Today, brave soldiers, brave patriots, brave men loyal to the constitution have heard our call. We have finally met on the streets of Venezuela,” Guaidó said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/03/venezuela-protests-news-latest-maduro-uprising-that-fizzled-

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 13, 2019 in South America

 

Tags:

En Jamaïque, des « inspecteurs des impôts sans frontières » pour contrer l’évasion fiscale

C’est une maison bleue adossée à la colline de Kingston. D’un bleu céruléen, couleur du fisc jamaïcain. A l’étage, une salle de réunion. Une équipe d’inspecteurs des impôts fait le bilan des contrôles lancés sur des hôtels de luxe à Montego Bay, dans le nord de l’île, et quelques grands noms de l’agroalimentaire. Ces groupes brassent des millions de dollars. Mais la Jamaïque n’en profite pas. L’argent s’évapore dans les paradis fiscaux voisins : Sainte-Lucie, les Caïmans, les Bahamas, les Bermudes… Les nouveaux pirates des Caraïbes.

« Ils nous avaient envoyé leurs meilleurs conseillers. Mais ils n’ont rien dit. Rien. Ils n’avaient plus d’argument à nous opposer. Ils sont restés sans voix », déclare une jeune inspectrice, de retour du terrain. « C’était l’objectif, avoir des contrôles incontestables, que les entreprises nous prennent au sérieux. On y est », ajoute un collègue. « Avant, on était reçus par des employés. Maintenant, c’est aux PDG et aux Big Four [les cabinets d’audit anglo-saxons : EY, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG et Deloitte] qu’on a affaire », appuie une autre participante à la réunion.

Assis côte à côte, Donette Sommerville-Mills et Steffen W. Scholze écoutent. Laissent échapper un sourire. Après des mois à analyser les techniques des multinationales pour faire des profits sur l’île, sans y payer l’impôt sur les bénéfices à 25 %, à déchiffrer les déclarations fiscales et à déjouer pièges et stratagèmes pour distinguer le légal de l’illégal, ce succès, c’est le leur. Elle est jamaïcaine et dirige l’équipe des grands comptes du fisc de Kingston. Lui est allemand et travaille pour l’Office central fédéral des impôts de Bonn. Des missions internationales en Ukraine, en Autriche, en Italie, au Royaume-Uni… ont fait de lui un expert de la défiscalisation transfrontière.

https://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2019/02/26/en-jamaique-des-inspecteurs-des-impots-sans-frontieres-pour-contrer-l-evasion-fiscale_5428301_3234.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 9, 2019 in South America

 

El último año en la vida de Díaz-Canel

Hace un año ya que Raúl Castro, entre aplausos coreografiados, se levantó de su butaca de la Asamblea Nacional y caminó hacia el estrado del Palacio de las Convenciones de La Habana. Alina Balseiro, presidenta de la Comisión Electoral, acababa de hacer público que 603 de los 604 diputados habían elegido como presidente del Consejo de Estado y de Ministros de Cuba al ingeniero electrónico de 57 años Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, único pretendiente al cargo.

Doce años antes, en 2006, Raúl había llegado al poder de manera interina gracias a los designios de su hermano, Fidel Castro, quien, al borde de la muerte debido a una enfermedad intestinal, delegó todos sus poderes políticos a modo de herencia familiar. Raúl estuvo dos años cubriéndole los cargos públicos a su hermano mayor, hasta que en 2008 fue electo de manera oficial como presidente de la nación.

Cuando en la mañana del jueves 19 de abril de 2018 Raúl Castro dejó atrás su asiento para dirigirse a la tribuna, en medio de la consabida ovación de un Parlamento en pleno de pie, llegaban a su fin dos mandatos presidenciales de cinco años —límite que él mismo propuso instaurar— para que asumiera las riendas de la isla, por primera vez, un hombre nacido después del triunfo revolucionario del 1 de enero de 1959. Más tarde, Raúl tomaría con su mano izquierda el antebrazo derecho de su sucesor y lo elevaría hacia las luces del salón: un gesto que la prensa al servicio del Estado vendió al mundo como la imagen de la «continuidad revolucionaria».

https://www.revistaelestornudo.com/el-ultimo-ano-en-la-vida-de-diaz-canel/

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 9, 2019 in South America

 

Tags:

Jair Bolsonaro’s Southern Strategy

The authoritarian leaders taking power around the world share a vocabulary of intolerance, insult, and menace. Jair Bolsonaro, who was elected President of Brazil on promises to end crime, right the economy, and “make Brazil great,” has spent his career gleefully offending women, black people, environmentalists, and gays. “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son,” he has said. “I would prefer that my son die in an accident than show up with some guy with a mustache.” As a national legislator, he declared one political rival, Maria do Rosário, “not worth raping.” Immigrants are “scum.” The United Nations is “a bunch of communists.” He supports the torture of drug dealers, the use of firing squads, and the empowerment of a hyper-aggressive police force. “A policeman who doesn’t kill,” he has said, “isn’t a policeman.”

On New Year’s Day, Bolsonaro was inaugurated in the capital city of Brasília. Standing in the back of a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith convertible, he waved at crowds of supporters, and they shouted back, “The captain has arrived!” “The legend!” Bodyguards trotted alongside the car, flanked by uniformed cavalrymen on elegant white horses. Bolsonaro is sixty-four, tall and slim, with sharply parted dark hair and heroically bushy eyebrows. His third wife, Michelle, stood next to him, waving at the masses.

After the inaugural ceremony, Bolsonaro gave a speech outside Planalto, the Presidential palace; huge video screens magnified his image for tens of thousands of supporters. Many wore Brazilian flags draped over their shoulders and T-shirts featuring the outline of Bolsonaro’s face, in the style of the movie poster for “The Godfather.” At the ceremony, Bolsonaro had spoken broadly of the need to “unite the people.” Now, addressing his most fervent supporters, he could relax. He said that he had come to free them from the scourge of socialism—an allusion to his left-leaning predecessors Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, who had governed from 2003 to 2016. “Our flag will never be red,” he said. “It will be red only if we need to bleed over it.” The crowd took up a chant: “Never red!”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/04/01/jair-bolsonaros-southern-strategy

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 19, 2019 in Reportages, South America

 

Tags:

Julian Assange Suffered Severe Psychological and Physical Harm in Ecuadorian Embassy, Doctors Say

An American doctor who conducted several medical and mental health evaluations of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside Ecuador’s Embassy in London over the last two years says that she believes she was spied on and that the confidentiality of her doctor-patient relationship with Assange was violated.

Dr. Sondra Crosby, an associate professor of medicine and public health at Boston University and an expert on the physical and psychological impact of torture, has evaluated detainees held by the United States, including at its prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. She quietly began meeting with and evaluating Assange in 2017 inside the embassy where he had sought refuge.

During her last session with Assange on February 23, Crosby says that her confidential medical notes were removed when she briefly left the embassy to get food to bring back to Assange who, she wrote, “had not eaten.” The notes were taken from where she had been evaluating Assange and only later discovered in another space used by the embassy’s surveillance staff.

https://theintercept.com/2019/04/15/julian-assange-health-medical-care/

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 16, 2019 in Europe, South America

 

Tags: , , ,

Animals Keep Creating Mysteries by Sounding Weird

In late 2016, American diplomats living in Cuba started hearing a strange noise in their homes. It was high-pitched, deafening, and persistent—and no one could work out where it was coming from.

In the following years, the mystery ballooned into an international incident. Many of the diplomats experienced dizziness, insomnia, hearing loss, and other troubling symptoms. A team from the University of Pennsylvania examined 21 affected people and concluded that they had “sustained injury to widespread brain networks,” based on evidence that other neurologists said was “almost unbelievably flimsy.” Donald Trump, without evidence, accused Cuba of being responsible. Various parties argued that the strange noise was the result of a sonic weapon, a microwave attack, or malfunctioning eavesdropping equipment.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/sound-haunted-diplomats-cuba-crickets/579637/

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 2, 2019 in South America

 

Tags: , ,