“All I Have Is Hunger” – Many Venezuelans Too Weak To Protest Despite Maduro Misery

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While tens of thousands of angry Venezuelans turned out for the ‘mother of all protests’ yesterday, facing an increasingly hostile military/police state, the numbers could have been significantly larger but for the fact that legions of poor Venezuelans are simply too frail from starvation to protest.

Some say they are intimidated by armed pro-government militias who scour the slums for signs of dissent. Others say they are afraid to lose the few food handouts the cash-strapped government still provides.

“We wear our protest on the inside for the fear of losing our bag of food,” said San Félix resident Luisa Gutiérrez, a single mother of three. Continue reading

Trump Administration Vows to ‘Devastate’ MS-13 Gang

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L–R: Homeland Security secretary John Kelly, President Donald Trump, ad Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Mark Wilson, Win McNamee, Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

 

President Donald Trump and two of his key cabinet chiefs addressed the growing problem of the violent transnational MS-13 gang on April 18, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions even saying the gang could qualify as a terrorist organization.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly called MS-13 one of the greatest hazards the nation faces.

And Trump sent out a tweet: “The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S. We are removing them fast!”

The MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, gang was formed in Los Angeles in the 1980s by mostly-illegal immigrants who were escaping the civil war in El Salvador. Continue reading

The Soviet Union fought the Cold War in Nicaragua. Now Putin’s Russia is back.

A view from the outside of the new Russian satellite station above a volcanic crater in Managua. Built alongside Laguna de Nejapa, on a hillside facing the U.S. Embassy, the base is intended to be a tracking site for GLONASS, Russia’s version of a GPS satellite navigation system. Some suspect the site could also be used for spying activities. (Joshua Partlow/The Washington Post)

 

On the rim of a volcano with a clear view of the U.S. Embassy, landscapers are applying the final touches to a mysterious new Russian compound.

Behind the concrete walls and barbed wire, a visitor can see red-and-blue buildings, manicured lawns, antennas and globe-shaped devices. The Nicaraguan government says it’s simply a tracking site of the Russian version of a GPS satellite system. But is it also an intelligence base intended to surveil the Americans?

“I have no idea,” said a woman who works for the Nicaraguan telecom agency stationed at the site. “They are Russian, and they speak Russian, and they carry around Russian apparatuses.” Continue reading

‘WE WILL RETURN’ Argentina vows to ‘NEVER STOP’ trying to take back the Falkland Islands

Anniversary of the Falklands conflict

The comments came at the 35th anniversary of the beginning of the 1982 conflict with the UK [Getty]

 

ARGENTINA “will never cease to claim” the Falklands and “will return to the Islands”, a government minister has claimed in the latest threat by the South American nation.

Recent reports suggest Argentina is looking to make a renewed bid to gain control of the Falkland Islands, as Britain pushes forward with its Brexit plans.

Rogelio Frigerio, the Minister of Interior Affairs, said: “We will never cease to claim what belongs to us. Not one single day of our lives are we going to let our arms down. Continue reading

Brexit talks turn ugly over Gibraltar

As previously discussed a few times, bitter over Brexit, the EU will now find ways to punish Great Britain and gun for Gibraltar and even the Falkland Islands. In regards to Gibralter, it will go on the offensive and support a separation, whereas with the Falkland Islands it will turn a blind eye.

 

Royal Gibraltar Regiment on parade outside Buckingham Palace in London (Photo: Defence Images)

 

Britain has said Spain can have no new powers over Gibraltar, as Brexit prompts hard talk on sovereignty, security, and borders.

“We will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes”, the British prime minister’s office said in a statement on Sunday (2 April).

The British defence minister, foreign minister, and the chief minister of Gibraltar issued similar comments in a debate prompted by the start of Brexit talks last week. Continue reading

Latin America: Front Line of Trade War

Caption: Demonstrators during a protest rally against Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto meeting with President Donald Trump, in Mexico City on September 15, 2016. (ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

 

America’s new protectionism is forcing Latin America to seek new partners.

America’s influence in Latin America is decreasing, while the influence of other world powers in the region is growing. If it continues, this trend could destroy America.

Dominance of the Caribbean basin is integral to America’s safety and essential to its ability to project power globally. If a rival power were able to establish a significant presence in the Caribbean, it could threaten the American heartland. The Caribbean is also key to United States’ trade. The majority of all U.S. waterborne foreign trade travels to or from U.S. ports on the Gulf of Mexico. When you include goods traveling through the region from other ports, no other part of the world is more essential to America’s trade.

This is why more Americans ought to be concerned that foreign powers are rapidly moving into the Caribbean, as well into South America itself. Continue reading

China eyes global economic leadership as U.S. turns inward

In this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, Kenyan laborers and a Chinese foreman work to finish the construction of an existing bridge that goes across a corner of Nairobi National Park in Nairobi, Kenya. A controversial Chinese-built railway project involving an even larger 6km bridge that would go all the way over the beloved protected area in Kenya’s capital has divided conservationists in this East African country. (Photo: Ben Curtis, AP)

 

This year, a 300-mile railway will begin slicing through Kenya, cutting travel time between the capital, Nairobi, and one of East Africa’s largest ports, Mombasa, from 12 to four hours and breeding hopes of an economic and tourism revival in the region.

The country’s most significant transportation project since its independence in 1963 is being built courtesy of China.  China Road and Bridge, a state-owned enterprise, leads construction of the $13.8 billion project, which is financed nearly 100% by the Export-Import Bank of China.

The railroad is one of a host of infrastructure projects China spearheads around the world in an ambitious quest to reinforce its emergence as the world’s next economic superpower while President Trump turns his back on globalization. Continue reading

Driven into their Arms

MEXICO CITY/BERLIN (Own report) – The Mexican government is pushing to rapidly modernize its free trade agreement with the EU and has declared its “close affinity” to Germany, following US President Trump’s threats of massive reprisals by building a wall at the border and imposing punitive tariffs. Because of its extreme dependence on the USA, Mexico can only hold its ground by intensifying its relations with other countries, according to Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray. Mexico’s enticements are greeted with sympathy by German business circles. The majority of German firms active in Mexico had already decided on new investments and is planning to carry these out, despite expected disadvantages from the projected US trade policy. Experts assume that the US administration cannot afford excessive punitive tariffs or other exorbitant escalations. At an appearance last week in Mexico, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser ostentatiously announced investments worth US $200 million and signed an agreement of intent with Mexico’s Minster of Economics for infrastructure and industrial projects with a possible volume of up to US $36 billion. Continue reading

Drug bust in N.C. shows long reach of Mexico’s cartels, likely corruption of U.S. officials

Overdose deaths have surged as cheap heroin pours into the U.S. from Mexico. /Getty Images

 

Rowan County Sheriff’s Office authorities said they began targeting a large scale heroin distribution ring in 2013. The investigation found that a Mexican heroin trafficking ring based in the Charlotte-Matthews area had been supplying heroin to Rowan County for more than 10 years, with some transactions involving quantities of up to $10,000 worth at a time, WXII-12 News reported on Feb. 2.

“In the last few years Judicial Watch has reported extensively on the massive amounts of drugs — especially heroin — that get smuggled into the U.S. by Mexican traffickers who later use street, prison and outlaw motorcycle gangs to distribute them throughout the country,” the Judicial Watch blog said.

“Undoubtedly, these enterprises benefited tremendously from the Obama administration’s open border policies.” Continue reading

Report: Juarez Cartel Used Shell Companies to Finance Mexican President’s Election

AFP

 

An in-depth investigation has revealed that through the use of shell companies, members of the Juarez Cartel financed the political campaign of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. The cartel members appear to have also used government programs to launder money and profit form their networks of contacts.

The bombshell revelation was made this week by the independent news outlet Aristegui Noticias who claim that top officials of the Juarez Cartel financed thousands of cash cards that were handed out by Mexico’s Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) during the 2012 political campaign that resulted in the victory of Enrique Pena Nieto. According to the Mexican journalists, the cash cards were provided by a company called Monex. They were reported to be financed through a series of shell corporations by key players with the Juarez Cartel. Continue reading

A Preview Of Trump’s Seven Imminent Executive Orders

 

Having already signed a (mostly symbolic) executive order on Obamacare on Friday night, urging US agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation” of provisions deemed to impose fiscal burdens on states, companies or individuals, Trump is preparing to unload a volley of many more executive orders. Courtesy of Axios, which quotes “one of the best-wired Republican lobbyists in town”, here is a preview of the initial round of Trump executive actions, some of which may hit as soon as Sunday afternoon:

  • Look for a possible hiring freeze at executive branch
  • 5-year lobbying ban on transition and administration officials
  • Mexico City policy, which prevents foreign NGOs from getting U.S. family planning money if they provide abortions with non-U.S. funds. (It’s already illegal to use U.S dollars on abortions.)
  • Task the Defense Secretary and joint chiefs to come up with plan to eviscerate ISIS
  • Report on readiness, and something cyber security related
  • Border/immigration: Something on sanctuary cities, expand E-Verify, an extreme vetting proposal
  • Trade: Withdraw from TPP and a thorough review of NAFTA

Continue reading

Mexico’s perspective on Donald Trump has changed now that he is actually president

Luis Videgaray, who arranged the fateful meeting between President Enrique Peña Nieto (left) and then candidate Donald Trump in Mexico City on Aug. 31, is back as Mexico’s foreign minister. / Yuri Cortez / AFP / Getty

 

Well, it’s finally come to pass.  Donald Trump is President of the United States, having been installed in the traditional inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20, in Washington, D.C.

Of course, the campaign and election of Donald Trump was fraught with controversy.  After all, the candidate was a real outsider who shook up the establishment of his own Republican party.

Bernie Sanders, a Democratic party senator and candidate in the Democratic primary, summed it up this way: “Trump took on the Republican establishment, he took on the Democratic establishment, took on the media establishment, and he ended up winning the election to become President of the United States. And that is an extraordinary accomplishment. And it talks about perseverance, it talks about very strong political instincts, it talks about a way to connect with people.”

Now Trump is president, and the real test begins as a man who has never held public office before starts at the top. Continue reading

Venezuela Orders Largest Bills Turned in Ahead of New Bank Notes

Take cash away from the citizens and, in theory, they can’t make a run on the banks and spark a full economic collapse.

Take cash away from the citizens and they can’t have full economic control over their own lives.

 

  • Maduro says move to fight smuggling, currency attacks
  • 100-bolivar bills must be out of circulation in 72 hours

Venezuela’s government ordered all 100-bolivar bank notes out of circulation within 72 hours, amid a hard cash shortage and the scheduled release this week of bigger bank notes. Continue reading

EU signs goodwill treaty with Cuba

Cuba and the European Union signed a historic treaty over the weekend, ending an era of shunning the socialist state.

  • Cuba was previously the only Latin American country to lack an agreement with the EU.
  • Parrilla on deal: It “demonstrates that with good will and respect it is possible to make progress and resolve differences.”
  • Deal now needs ratification from European Parliament, member state national parliaments, and the Cuban National Assembly.
  • EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini: EU-Cuba relations will remain unaffected by the presidency of Donald Trump.
  • Mogherini: “Through the new agreement, the EU is ready to support Cuba’s process of economic and social modernization,”
  • Cuban and EU officials signed a normalization deal in March, but still lack ratification from member states.
  • Latest deal made possible after the EU repealed a 1996 policy which stated Cuba must first improve its human rights conditions before a full normalization of ties could happen.

Continue reading

Overwhelmed Border Patrol Agents Stuck Serving Burritos to Illegal Immigrants

Border Patrol agents look over the primary fence separating Tijuana, Mexico, right, and San Diego / AP

Agents spending great amount of time taking care of kids, families

Border agents have expressed shock at the menial tasks they’ve been required to perform following a massive flow of illegal immigrant children across the U.S. southern border, according to Morgan, who warned that the force is being strained as a result of this influx.

During one recent trip to a border patrol outpost, “the supervisor in charge said, ‘Chief, we’re going to do whatever this country asks us to do, but I never thought in my 20 years that I would be, as part of procurement, ordering baby powder and baby wipes,’” Morgan recalled during Wednesday testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Continue reading