Keeping Up With the Best Ally Ever
Fun Fact: Colombia has seen a 41 percent increase in internally displaced people this year, and now boasts the world's "second-highest number of internally displaced citizens after Sudan." Heck of a job, Uribe!
Fun Fact: Colombia has seen a 41 percent increase in internally displaced people this year, and now boasts the world's "second-highest number of internally displaced citizens after Sudan." Heck of a job, Uribe!
A reader found the above WaPo headline over at Google this morning, which pretty well accurately sums up the story, which is about how everybody from Venezuela to Brazil to freaking Colombia is torked at us for breaking the economy. Hilariously though somebody at the Post decided that an angry, united Latin America would be too scary for their delicate readers or the jittery markets, so they changed the headline, and now it says the opposite: voila.
If there's something the New York Times hates, it's term limits. Boy howdy, they'll follow term limits to the gates of hell, because term limits undermine the "voters' right to choose." And choosing forms "the bedrock of American democracy," which makes it is an inviolate democratic right, especially, for some reason, "at a time when the city's economy is under great stress."
Also: if there is anything the New York Times hates, it's eliminating term limits. You see getting rid of sensible term limits represents a "lunge for power," a shocking example of "breathtaking gall," and a level of power "unheard of in modern democracies."
Pretend, just for a moment, that you are a morbidly obese Italian-Venezuelan FBI informant, lamely attempting to entrap high ranking officials in the Chavez administration. Your "plan," such as it is, is to demand a $2 million dollar cash payment from the big C himself, in exchange for keeping quiet about some improprieties you claim to have witnessed. Only of course it's a set up, and your demand letter will be written by the FBI, and instead of keeping quiet, you plan to tell the whole story to the press and embarrass the Venezuelans. Only the Venezuelans don't bite, and not only do they not give you the money, they don't even bother responding to your dumb letter at all. Sad times, right?
But questions remain, such as who would be your go-to guy in the US press corps, the one you and the FBI trust enough to tell your side of the story, without questioning the sloppy, contorted, harebrained scheme behind it all? God Bless this Valijagate trial, because we now know the answer to that question. Meet Our Man in Miami: the Herald's own narcissist-retardist douchebag columnist extraordinaire, Andres Oppenheimer! Shocking, I know. (Link is in Spanish, sorry.)
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was in the United States last week, and she brought jokes! And, uh, balls. This is the actual thing she said in front of "a group of prominent U.S. investors":
"Why has there never been a coup in the United States?Bwaa haha! And: wow. Anyway, welcome to the "bad left," Michelle. Let me fix you some coca tea.
Because there is no U.S. embassy in the United States."
Hat Tip: commenter Peace Patriot
Fifty years ago, back before John McCain was a bomb-happy war Senator with deep seated anger issues, he was just a spoiled rich kid with a temper. But the young McCain quickly distinguished himself with his legendary hobbies: heavy drinking, crashing airplanes, and fucking Brazilian chicks. Recently, a former hoochie coochie girlfriend lady has come forward to tell her side of the story, and the shocking tale of their forbidden love threatens to
jeopardize his White House bid underscore his Latin American policy experience. As a McCain advisor explained to the Miami Herald:
''Talking a little about his personal experience, he was famously born in Panama and has traveled all over the hemisphere for many years.'' Fontaine said. ``In fact, I saw, I guess it was last week, that his old girlfriend in Brazil has been found from his early days when he was in the Navy and was interviewed. She's a somewhat older woman now than she was then, but it sorta speaks to the long experience he has had in the region -- in the most positive terms.''For real. And hoo boy, has this spicy tomato ever "been found." She's giving away enough details of their relationship to make you lose your lunch:
Ok, we get it lady! Jesus. For his part, McCain has promised that to expand his foreign policy portfolio by screwing old pensioner ladies from Paraguay, South Ossetia and perhaps one of the Emirates. But why won't Obama agree to do the same? The black man is just phoning it in.
(Hat Tip: the Latin Americanist)
The Post finally weighed in on Ecuador's constitutional referendum today, and I must admit that I'm pleasantly surprised by their rational stance, respecting the choice of the Ecuadorian electorate and recognizing that sometimes in a democracy your side doesn't always--Christ I can't even type that with a straight face. No, of course it was some hoo-ha about spheres of influence and Russia and terrorism and nukes. Nukes. Such a drama queen, that Jackson Diehl.
And then it just gets stupid, like the part where they say "the new constitution repeals a limit on presidential terms that had stood since the country returned to democracy in 1979..." Um, yeah. Here they are referring to those new-fangled "four-year" terms, limited at two, just like in some other country you may have heard of.
And then it just gets sinister. They conclude noting that although the "power to punish already-impoverished countries should not be employed lightly," the Bush Administration should consider directly sabotaging the economies of Ecuador and Venezuela and Bolivia and Nicaragua until the people learn to "chose democracy," by, honestly, not voting the wrong way. Nice little country you got there. Would be a shame if anything were to happen to it.
Hey internationalists! We've got good news and bad news about this John McCain fellow for you.
On the one hand it turns out that he may have more Latin America experience than previously disclosed. On the other, according to an AP report out today, it pretty much involves his ties to "an international organization linked to former Nazi collaborators and ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America."
Watch out America. Venezuelan immigrants are on the march, to Delaware! Literally tens of hot-blooded housewives have found their way to the "Pretty Loose" State in recent years, prompting a funny profile in yesterday's Wilmington News Journal. Marvel as the botoxed biddies reminisce about the "divine" old days in Caracas when their friends would "go grocery shopping in Miami -- for the weekend."
Sadly, those days are gone now that this Hugo Chavez fellow has "created divisions among the classes," through schemes like "raising literacy rates and the standard of living for people." There is, naturally, one Venezuelan policy that they support: "Chávez's program of providing heating oil," to Delaware. Hey, the winters get cold up there.
Reuters offers more evidence that God just doesn't like George W. Bush much:
"Venezuela has suffered little direct effect from the market chaos because Chavez nationalized the most important companies that once traded on the minuscule Caracas stock exchange and because its currency is fixed by exchange."Ha ha. Anyway Otto's got more on Venezuela & oil prices.
The ice caps are melting, the terrorisms are on the rise, and the global economy is in collapse, and so naturally our intelligence services are spending America's last nickel paying off Argentine jerk-rag models to embarrass Hugo Chavez with fake testimony. And even she won't go along with the scheme because our credit is that bad:
[María Luján Telpuk] asserted that agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made her an asylum and job offer in exchange for changing her attestation in a trial held in Miami in connection with the so-called "suitcase affair'Argentine Justice Minister Anibal Fernandez put it succinctly, "In Argentina, these agents would be in prison for coercion and bribery." Ha! Did you spot the cute reference to the rule of law there? Droll, Minister Fernandez, very droll.
Hey look, BoRev is up on the Twitter thing now, finally, like a whole year after everybody else started doing it. So now would be a good time for you to sign up for our "tweets," I guess, and explain to us exactly what WTF it all means.
After Colombia, the Bush Administration's only ally in South America is Peru, so naturally President Alan Garcia has roughly the lowest approval ratings on the planet. Last week they were holding steady at a comical 15 percent, but then a dumb scandal broke, which involved oil and bribery and no sex, and now Garcia has fired his entire cabinet and replaced it with Communism, so now everyone should be happy. The End.
PS: Oh shit the Shining Path is back.
Remember last month when Bolivia was freaking out and there was mass murder and armed insurrection and almost-Civil War going on? And how the Bolivian government expelled the US ambassador for stirring up the opposition movements in the first place? And how US was all like no we aren't and the Washington Post called the notion "spurious"? Well heh heh, funny thing...
It turns out that the asshats at the US AID office in La Paz actually put some of their dumb plans in writing. A number of internal Emails from last year were obtained by investigative journalist Jeremy Bigwood using the high-tech counterespionage tool known as "FOIA," and he's disseminating the documents via the space-age communication technology called "the intertubes."
So now you get to read all about how AID officials worked "to fortify the base against the MAS," which is the acronym for Evo Morales' political party. And how they sent gratuitously incriminating messages to each other like, "hey if people are opposed to the MAS then that makes them our allies." All of which poses the obvious question: "how is it that we are a superpower again?"
Of course now all of the clowns inside the US embassy are refusing to respond to any more FOIA requests at all, on account of their internal communications make them look like scheming little race-baiting coup-tards.
Hey weird headline in the Post today! It reminds me of last August when Banco de Venezuela was nationalized. Of course, the difference then was that Venezuela actually purchased a functional, profitable bank that was already for sale. In our case, the US has "forcibly" taken over nine banks to distribute their crappy debt to the rest of us.
Anywho, we thought it would be fun to look at how the Venezuelan deal was covered at the time. What a difference two months makes!
Now that it's us doing it, the Washington Post says the deal is just, you know, part of "a coordinated program of injecting cash into the world's banks and guaranteeing their debt," and then whathisname, Bush, said it was "not intended to take over the free market, but to preserve it," so there you go.
Cross your fingers, people! I just got this great job opportunity in my inbox today:
If you are not familiar with Greenberg Quinlan & Rosner, we are talking about these savory characters. Anyway, I just sent an inquiry to this firstname.lastname@example.org person and I strongly suggest you do, too. Competition is healthy! Don't forget to BCC us. My dumb letter is after the jump.
What a crappy year to be a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia. These adorable optimists had barely stepped off the tarmac in La Paz before the State Department started briefing them on how to be secret spies for the US. And in seven months time they'd already been yanked from their service in order to send a political message to Evo Morales.
Anyway the PCVs weren't too happy being, as one of them put it, "another weapon in the US diplomatic arsenal," and so last week 70 of them quit the Peace Corps en masse, vowing to return to Bolivia and continue the volunteer work free from government control. And now Otto reveals that the CIA has been monitoring the most outspoken of the crew, on her blog, because this actually is some sort of priority for the Bush Administration, which is scary as hell.
I'll admit I was pretty drunk during the debate last night because, really, you sort of have to be. But as far as I could make out it was mostly about some millionaire plumber guy. Also discussed: crazy-ass Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Obama was like "Stop killing all the union people" and McCain was all "eye-roll tariff cocaine terror." Naturally this morning the Washington Post finds Obama's pro-not-killing-people position "disappointing," because it would disrupt the duty free cocaine trade or something. Anyway, watch John McCain look like a dick in this video.
I don't know if you people read, but in the last few days we've seen a metric shitload of economic policy experts, in outlets like Reuters, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and, you know, elsewhere, say that Venezuela is better protected than most countries from the market craziness, what with their "policies" and "oil" and "foreign reserves" and such. So of course today the FBI's go-to columnist Andres Oppenheimer published this:
"Most international economists agree that Venezuela will be the Latin American country hardest hit by the coming world recession."Because it's the Miami Herald, and hey who cares, right?
Hey it turns out we're not the only one out there using this Twitter thingy. In fact, hundreds of zillions of people seem to be on it, and many of them watched the debates last night and were confused by the cranky and erratic way crazy old John McCain brought up Colombia and that Hugo Chavez fella, and then they "tweeted" their funny thoughts to the world, by the gallonload! And then Senior BoRev Twitter Analyst "Cochina" compiled all eleventy-thousand of them for you. LOLs a'plenty:
Fraize: McCain: RAISE TAXES! NO PRECONDITIONS! HUGO CHAVEZ! GET OFF MY LAWN!Ha ha! Funny right? There are many, many, many more, after the jump!
softjunebreeze: Oh Lawd. Now they done brought Hugo Chavez into this.
lailaemir: Hugo Chavez?!?! Oh - here we go!
cmanspeaker: I'm sorry, did McCain just say that Hugo Chavez is the guy that is helping fart the terrorist organization?
Last week a newspaper editor threatened on national Venezuelan television to kill Chavez "like Mussolini." And so today the government board that oversees TV content says the station might, you know, "face fines" for it, although no decision has been made. Worst. Dictatorship. Ever.
Bolivia's trade preference dealie has been suspended, you know, because Bolivia has "failed to cooperate with the United States on important efforts to fight drug trafficking." It's got nothing to do with politics, so just shut up, ok? Anyway the Washington Post did a funny story on all this today. It turns out that not only does Bolivia export far less cocaine than big-time US allies Peru and Colombia, but also "Under Morales, cocaine seizures have risen each year; nearly 20 tons has been confiscated this year."
I know, I know. The Bush Administration is staffed by a bunch of dumb lying sociopaths, stop the presses or whatever. No, the funny part was when they talked to the Bolivian official about the sanctions, which will primarily affect the Bolivian textile industry. Quote:
"Washington pretends they are going to confront the national government through this textiles sector. If Washington was aware of some basic facts, they would know this sector was always in opposition to the national government."Ha ha, snap. Also:
"I believe this is the worst moment for the relations between the United States and the entire world. The worst moment."So there you go. Bring it, bitches, is what.
First it was US AID Director "randy" Randy Tobias and his Central American hookers. Then it Was World Bank President/Iraq War douche Paul Wolfowitz and his high-priced Arab mistress lady. Now today we've got the IMF "probing" (haha) its managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, for paying off a former staffer he was banging. Anyway, gross.
Oh and of course both parties are otherwise betrothed to other relatively well-known-for-that-line-of work people. Good luck to all involved!
Hey, do you people like polls? Of course you do! You are conditioned by The Man to gravitate toward meaningless nonsense, which explains the mind boggling success of Truck Nutz and that Alaska governor lady. Anyway this particular poll has to do with Venezuela, so you will enjoy it doubly. Here's one fun fact:
"74.8 % of Venezuelans think that Hugo Chavez has done a good job as President"Hey that's funny, I read lots of newspapers every day and they never mention that. Anyway if you understand this language, "Spanish," you can check out the full IVAD survey results in flashy full-color PDF. Otherwise we've got the insipid, colorless, text-heavy English translation, after the jump. Your call!
The governor of Mexico's Federal District Enrique Peña Nieto visited Colombian President Álvaro Uribe in Bogotá and hopes Colombia will share its knowledge on how to battle drug trafficking. "It's very important for us we know the experience of Colombia," the governor said. Peña praised Colombia and President Uribe for the advances in the fight against insecurity and drug trafficking.What a great idea, considering that Uribe's "advances" involve a bloody counter-insurgency that pushes the bulk of the brutality to its border regions. How's that fence thingy coming?
Remember way back to last month when Bolivia was burning and the skinhead groups were threatening to secede and all we were reading about was how the country was on the brink of civil war and Evo was in his last days? Then of course Bolivia banished the US ambassador and the violence miraculously stopped.
And today while the US is busy bitching and moaning about bogus drug charges and pushing trade sanctions, and as the Washington Post blames Indigenous Bolivians for bringing race hatred on themselves, Evo goes off and makes a reasonable deal with the opposition and everybody gets to vote on a new Constitution in January. Anyway, meet the best political strategist Bolivia has ever seen. Even the fucking Associated Press couldn't find anything dumb to say about it. Congratulations Evo, may your legend burn as bright as this Blingee here.
Only, heh, funny thing. Its being operated out of Colombia, not Venezuela. And instead of being a left wing guerilla outfit, its all run by the right-wing paramilitaries that
are backed by the President "no longer exist," but other than that all the early rumors were totally true. Why does Alvaro Uribe hate Israel?
Your own US Drug Czar, John Walters, just totally slammed Bolivian cocaine over the weekend, saying that "many people" consider Bolivian blow to be "very low quality." Now the Colombian shit, on the other hand. . .
Seriously this is our foreign policy.
[Sorry the link is Spanish only. But here's a funny-crappy translation]
More horrifying fun from the World's Greatest Democracy™. Apparently Colombian police have been opening fire on Indigenous Colombians at marches, and then lying about it. President Uribe even went on the teevee to say that the Indians were probably just shooting themselves, because he is that much of a dick. Then CNN produces the footage of the cops shooting. Point, journalism.
Hat Tip: The Latin Americanist
Former Peace Corps Volunteer Aaron York, who was shuttled out of Bolivia last month for, uh, his own safety or something. The Washington Post has a front page story about the 78 Bolivia-based Peace Corps Volunteers who quit en masse last month saying they'd been used as "another weapon in the US diplomatic arsenal." There's even a photo slideshow of the adorable kids in their exotic locale. Knock yourselves out.
Candidates for local office in Brazil can either register under their own names or make them up, and in the October election this year, three candidates chose "Barack Obama" (none won), and others registered under "Bill Clinton," "Jorge Bushi" and "Chico Bin Laden," but more than 200 offered themselves under the name of the country's popular president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.Chico Bin Laden!
Well of course...Newly declassified diplomatic cables describe a secret meeting in 1985 between John McCain and Chilean strongman/torture fetishist Augusto Pinochet.
At that point, the whole world was buzzing about the thousands of "disappeared" Chileans, and just twelve days later, Ted Kennedy would show up in Santiago in a huge show of support for human rights activists. But not our boy. McCain "made no public or private statements critical of the dictatorship, nor did he meet with members of the democratic opposition." McCain described the meeting with Pinochet 'as friendly and at times warm, but noted that Pinochet does seem obsessed with the threat of communism'"
"Obsessed." Yeah that's the word. Three thousand dead and 30,000 tortured. Obsessed.
Anyone who is, uh, privileged? enough to visit Washington and attend anything remotely Latin America-related has probably run into this grumpy old Gustavo Coronel person. He's the self-described "Senior Venezuelan" in the audience interrupting presentations & hijacking the mic during the Q&A. Sort of an annoying but harmless right-wing grandpa figure, and you can like stretch your legs or go pee while he yammers on.
Anyway today he's written a letter! To Sean Penn! And it's terrific! He starts off on just the right note, something about not having gone to movies since they put the talking into them, and ends with "We do not like you in Venezuela. Stay in your own country and do not bring your political poisons to our country." Ha ha, Get Off My Lawn! But really, as with all of these sorts of websites, most of the entertainment is in the comments section. Happy Friday!
Can it be? This strange Miami suitcase trial has come to its last stage. The prosecution and the defense have made their closing arguments, and Friday the jury began deliberations on whether to send Franklin Duran to prison for "acting as an unregistered agent" of the government of Venezuela. Weeks of headlines, and still nobody knows what that means. Here are the different version of events, as told to the jury:
US Government (DOJ): Duran was sent by Chavez himself to threaten and/or bribe Guido Antonini to lie about the cash-filled suitcase he was caught with in the Buenos Aires airport. Don't believe what Argentine customs officers say, the money was not Guido's. It was a gift from Chavez for Cristina Kirchner's campaign. This prosecution is totally not politically motivated, but let's spend the case talking about unrelated corruption in Venezuela for some reason.
Frank Duran: I came to Miami to convince Antonini to return to Argentina and face charges because he was my business partner and, supposedly, my friend. He was being sketchy and was all like, "So I really want to get this Chavez guy involved in this. I'm gonna send him a letter asking for millions." It's clear that I was set up by the FBI and the fat man as part of some scheme to embarrass Chavez. "This is unprecedented, incredible. The sheer chutzpah of the FBI.'' Did I mention that Guido's a lying piece of shit who was trying to rip me off of millions everywhere from Florida to Uruguay?
So there you go. We've got a look at the latest, after the jump.
Let's see, in the past few days, America's Best Friend Alvaro Uribe has been forced to admit that his police shot and killed peaceful protesters, reversing his earlier televised denials. His Intelligence director resigned after the agency was caught illegally spying on political enemies. And three army colonels were fired for luring homeless men off the streets of Bogota with the promise of work, murdering them, and dressing the corpses as FARC rebels "in order to gain promotions." Lawd. Did we miss anything?
Devastating news from Venezuela this week! The world financial meltdown thingy has caused oil prices to plummet to $65 a barrel, down from a high of $140 dollars earlier this summer!!! This "dizzying collapse" may finally drive a stake through the heart of the Chavez regime, as it threatens to "send Venezuela's economy into a tailspin" and bring GDP... back to where it was one year ago at this time, when Venezuela was just the fastest growing economy in the Western Hemisphere, instead of than the super-double holy shit fastest growing economy. The Houston Chronicle reports:
"Oil is selling for about $64 a barrel, the same as last year when Venezuela's economy was humming. Just last Friday, the rating agency Standard & Poor's said that the outlook in Venezuela remains stable."Oh, right. They also note that the country's thirty-nine billion dollars in foreign reserves might be helpful, too. But whatevs. If you'd rather just shut up and panic, you've always got Bloomberg.
"Ford Venezuela Website Publishes Boob (With Nipple) for a Good Cause"
Ever since leaving the Bush Administration in 2002, cartoonishly paranoid anxiety-douche Peter Brookes has made a career of extracting panic from the strangest places. Whether it's the Kurdish menace, "a digital Pearl Harbor" from China, or Iranian mullahs watching you from outer space, Brookes has got foreign sources that will blow your mind, man.
Here on the home front we face terrible security threats from, let's see, environmentalists, "Defeatocrats," and, naturally, the New York Times. Turns out the only thing we don't need to be agitated about is Osama bin Laden. Because he's dead.
Anyway did you hear that Hugo Chavez is about to blow up the world with his communist nukes? It's true, maybe! I read it in a Peter Brookes column. Haha, wait'll this nut finds out Venezuela is about to launch a giant space satellite.
After four days of deliberation:
"The panel said in a note Wednesday it cannot reach a unanimous verdict in the case of Franklin Duran. There has been no decision yet on a mistrial or continued jury deliberations."Mistrial! Mistrial! How awesome would it be to see it tried all over again? I was almost missing the whole crazy cast: Guido, the fat goomba, all those corrupt mid-level bureaucrats, and sweet Lorena, the nudie model with the heart of gold. It could only happen in Miami. Carl Hiaasen, your next novel is writing itself as we speak.
You know all that awesome "progress" Colombia has been making in the war against insurgents? Turns out much of it has been faked through a government campaign of widespread civilian murder, paid for by U.S. tax dollars, and carried out by troops vetted by State Department human rights "contractors". Ugh. We can barely get through this New York Times profile of the whole awfulness.
Today we learn that the Colombian Attorney General is investigating more than one thousand murders of civilians, committed to make it look like the government has...how did John McCain put it?... "beaten back the FARC," so that they can keep receiving $500 million a year from the Bush Administration. The stories are insane:
After months of denials, President Uribe went on Colombian TV yesterday to explain that he had "fired" two dozen officers and soldiers, including three generals, for their roles in the murders. Fired. See who says there is impunity down there? Kill hundreds / Lose your job. The Colombians are practically popping with punity. Give these assholes a trade deal.
Popular British 3rd-world porn magazine, The Economist, figures the whole planet should be able to vote for the U.S. president, because why not, so they spent thousands of intern-hours developing an electoral college for every country and making this interactive map and look, Barack Obama is winning! It's a huge step forward for global democracy, particularly the kind that allows only English speakers and internet-havers to vote, which is why we find such McCain strongholds as Iraq, Algeria and The Congo. Oh and it's a tossup in Venezuela, which makes tons of sense. Come to think of it, I think all Economist polls are like this.