‘Man-made crisis’: Venezuelan hell destabilizes region

Venezuelan refugees line up for food donations at Simon Bolivar Square in Boa Vista, Brazil. / Andre Coelho / Bloomberg

 

UNITED NATIONS — It didn’t have to be this way. An oil rich, economically prosperous middle class country, once a stable Latin American democracy, is disintegrating into a socialist dystopia plagued by hunger, corruption, hyper-inflation and churning political unrest.

While petroleum remains Venezuela’s major export, now tragically it’s the people too who are fleeing this twice California sized country. Continue reading

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff ousted in impeachment vote

President Dilma Rousseff was stripped of her office Wednesday in the culmination of a political crisis that has left Latin America’s largest nation adrift, with an economy in deep recession and a public sharply divided over the country’s future.

Rousseff was impeached on arcane charges having to do with violating budget laws. But she was swept up in a tide of revulsion against Brazil’s political class as the once-flourishing economy contracted and political parties were tarred by a massive corruption scandal.

Wednesday’s 61-to-20 Senate vote closed out an extraordinary 13-year rule by the leftist Workers’ Party, which boasted of lifting tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty before the economy began to nosedive and its political fortunes soured. Continue reading

Has the Pope Abandoned Europe to Islam?

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In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI (left) said what no Pope had ever dared to say — that there is a link between violence and Islam. Ten years later, Pope Francis (right) never calls those responsible for anti-Christian violence by name and never mentions the word “Islam.” (Image source: Benedict: Flickr/Catholic Church of England | Francis: Wikimedia Commons/korea.net)

 

 

  • In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI said what no Pope had ever dared to say — that there is a link between violence and Islam. Ten years later, Pope Francis never calls those responsible for anti-Christian violence by name and never mentions the word “Islam.”
  • Pope Francis does not even try to re-evangeize or reconquer Europe. He seems deeply to believe that the future of Christianity is in the Philippines, in Brazil and in Africa. Probably for the same reason, the Pope is spending less time and effort in denouncing the terrible fate of Christians in the Middle East.
  • “Multiculturalism” in Europe is the mosque standing on the ruins of the church. It is not the synthesis requested by Pope Francis. It is the road to becoming extinct.
  • Asking Europe to be “multicultural” while it experiences a dramatic de-Christianization is extremely risky. In Germany, a new report found that “Germany has become demographically a multi-religious country.” In the UK, a major inquiry recently declared that “Britain is no longer a Christian country.” In France, Islam is also overtaking Christianity as the dominant religion.

To scroll the list of Pope Francis’s apostolic trips — Brazil, South Korea, Albania, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Cuba, United States, Mexico, Kenya, Uganda, Philippines — one could say that Europe is not exactly at the top of his agenda.

Continue reading

China Just Took a Giant Step in Its Takeover of Global Oil Markets

The energy news headlines these days are all about the failure of the Doha summit and the upcoming June OPEC meeting in the face of a historic, intractable global supply glut.

But there’s a takeover underway that’s flying totally beneath the radar…

In fact, the early stages are already complete – it started right in the United States’ geopolitical “backyard,” in the OPEC member-state of Ecuador. Continue reading

Russian Naval Expansion Threatens U.S. Influence in the Western Hemisphere

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On Wednesday, April 20, 2016, the New York Times reported that the most Russian attack submarines, in two decades, are patrolling the coastlines of “Scandinavia and Scotland, along with the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic.” This increased area of patrols and the Russian’s build up of arms is approaching Cold War levels, and signals the increasingly competitive and uneasy relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Russia’s activity within the Western Hemisphere has increased since the beginning of he Obama Administration. Russian activity in the Western Hemisphere first began with the sale of military equipment to Venezuela that soon transitioned into the two nations participating in joint naval exercises. It was believed that the Russia decision to launch the exercise came after the U.S. announced it would be reforming the 4th fleet to patrol the Caribbean. Continue reading

Repatriation of Gold from Fed Suggests Historic Vote of No Confidence

Since 2012, there’s been an unprecedented call from foreign nations to repatriate their gold from Federal Reserve vaults in the U.S. This is an incredible development given many countries’ 71-year reliance on the Fed as a custodian for their bullion. Over the last few years, countries including, but not limited to, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Austria, Poland, Ecuador, Finland, Switzerland, Venezuela, and Romania have either formally requested repatriation of their gold or are in discussions with the Fed about it. Some of these nations, mind you, have held more than 50% of their entire reserves of bullion in the U.S. since 1944, when the Dollar became the world’s reserve currency.

Something huge must have happened in the last few years to prompt such action. That something may be a break in foreign gold holders’ trust in the Fed as a custodian of their precious metals. Continue reading

Mercosur Wants to Expand Cooperation With Eurasian Economic Union

Argentine Ambassador to Russia Pablo Anselmo Tettamanti says the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) is an important partner for Argentina, and Mercosur wants to continue developing cooperation with their Eurasian partners. He also added that Russia is discussing new investment opportunities with Argentina.

According to the ambassador, Argentina facilitated significant progress in reaching an agreement between Mercosur and the Eurasian Economic Union in the last six months of 2014. A number of meetings held in Moscow and Buenos Aires have led to the creation of a draft cooperation agreement in the economic and trade spheres between the two regional trading blocs. Continue reading

Ecuador and China to strengthen military cooperation

During a press conference held in Beijing on Sept. 15, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, the defense minister of Ecuador, told the Madrid-based Agencia EFE that China and Ecuador had agreed to strengthen military cooperation. Continue reading

Ten more countries that may default on debt after Argentina

Ecuador, Egypt, Pakistan, Venezuela, Belize, Cuba, Cyprus, Greece, Jamaica and Ukraine are all on the verge of a default, according to Moody’s ratings.

Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after hopes for a midnight deal with holdout creditors were dashed, setting up stock and bond prices for declines on Thursday and raising chances a recession could worsen this year.

After a long legal battle with hedge funds that rejected Argentina’s debt restructuring following its 2002 default, Latin America’s third-biggest economy failed to strike a deal in time to meet a midnight deadline for a coupon payment on exchange bonds.

Continue reading

The Strategy of the Pacific Alliance

BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin is intensifying its relations to the new Latin American “Pacific Alliance” and, thereby, heightening tension on the subcontinent. The Pacific Alliance, a network of four Pacific bordering Latin American nations, has a neo-liberal orientation and is closely allied with the EU and the USA through free trade agreements. It is currently growing rapidly stronger and could, possibly also threaten Brazil’s standing as the subcontinent’s most powerful economic power. However, it is mainly aimed at Latin America’s Venezuela-inspired ALBA alliance, struggling for autonomous development, which includes strong socially oriented policies. “The strategy of the Pacific Alliance” is “not just commercial,” it is more “a political and military strategy [seeking] to reinstall the Washington Consensus,” according to a minister of ALBA member Bolivia. At the beginning of the month, Germany obtained observer status at the Pacific Alliance, with which the German industry is expanding its trade relations. Alongside its increasing tensions on the Latin American continent, the alliance is helping the West prepare for the conflict of the century – between China and the USA. Continue reading

Rising Red tide: China encircles U.S. by sailing warships in American waters, arming neighbors

This is far from a reaction to Washington’s “pivot” as the CCP running China would say. Fact of the matter is, China’s threatening rise is what lead to the pivot in the first place. This is something that they would’ve done, regardless of the situation, yet more of now since they have a weak administration in the White House that doesn’t want its credit card cut off from Beijing.

China has been quietly taking steps to encircle the United States by arming western hemisphere states, seeking closer military, economic, and diplomatic ties to U.S. neighbors, and sailing warships into U.S. maritime zones.

The strategy is a Chinese version of what Beijing has charged is a U.S. strategy designed to encircle and “contain” China. It is also directed at countering the Obama administration’s new strategy called the pivot to Asia. The pivot calls for closer economic, diplomatic, and military ties to Asian states that are increasingly concerned about Chinese encroachment throughout that region.

“The Chinese are deftly parrying our ‘Pivot to the Pacific’ with their own elegant countermoves,” said John Tkacik, a former State Department Asia hand. Continue reading

Hugo Chavez says Venezuelan troops would fight with Argentina over Falklands

The eight member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance bloc, or ALBA, met to approve an agreement barring any boats flying Falkland Islands flags from docking in their ports.

“The issue of the Malvinas Islands is an issue that concerns us, especially with the strong language that has emerged from the British government, accusing Argentina of being colonialist,” Mr Chavez, the Venezuelan president, said, calling it “the world in reverse”.

Tensions have increased to their highest level since the end of the conflict 30 years ago as the Duke of Cambridge, a Royal Air Force helicopter pilot, began a six week tour of duty in the islands. The Royal Navy also announced last week it was sending its most powerful warship, HMS Dauntless, to the South Pacific.

“I’m speaking only for Venezuela, but if it occurs to the British Empire to attack Argentina, Argentina won’t be alone this time,” Mr Chavez said.

At a regional meeting, Ecuadorean president, Rafael Correa, suggested the countries take stronger measures. “We have to talk about sanctions,” Mr Correa said.

Full article: Hugo Chavez says Venezuelan troops would fight with Argentina over Falklands (The Telegraph)