SOUTH/CENTRAL AMERICA | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

SOUTH/CENTRAL AMERICA

Jul 22 12:10

Colombians to Resume Protests Against President Duque

Defense Ministry will deploy 6,000 police officers and 2,700 troops over Bogota city.

Colombia's National Strike Committee (NSC) called on citizens to take to the streets on Tuesday to protest against President Ivan Duque and support ten bills aimed at fighting the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The July 20 protest, which coincides with the celebrations of the Independence Day, will encompass 35 peaceful sit-ins, marches, and cultural activities.

NSC called on Colombians to demonstrate with helmets, masks, and shields to protect themselves from the Mobile Anti-Riots Squadron (ESMAD), which has been blamed for serious human rights violations.

Jul 22 06:19

New Self-Defense Militia Appears in Chiapas, Mexico to Fight Organized Crime

Just like the Zapatista rebels before them, the indigenous people of Chiapas state in southern Mexico have taken up arms, though this time they said it was to beat back the organized crime gangs plaguing their communities.

Dozens of armed, hooded people belonging to a group called 'El Machete' marched over the weekend in the streets of Pantelho in the mountains of Chiapas - a first public act.

In appearance, the group resembles the hooded Zapatistas, who sparked world headlines when they emerged from the jungle in 1994, seizing towns and clashing with security forces to demand indigenous rights.

Jul 21 05:32

Mexico Puts Military in Charge of Customs Operations

Mexico’s president said Friday he is putting the army in charge of customs at border crossings and seaports to combat corruption and the massive smuggling of drugs and precursor chemicals.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador made the announcement during a visit to the Pacific coast port of Manzanillo, where some of the biggest multi-ton shipments of drug and illicit chemicals have been seized over the last decade.

It was the latest in a series of new roles that López Obrador has entrusted to the nation’s armed forces, which are now involved in everything from construction of government projects to running tree nurseries.

Jul 20 06:28

'You weren't paranoid': Mexico at heart of spyware scandal

Journalist Marcela Turati always suspected the Mexican authorities were spying on her. Now she's almost certain, after appearing in a leaked list at the center of a global spyware scandal.

"People have written to me saying: 'Look, you weren't crazy, you weren't paranoid,'" she told AFP on Monday.

Some 15,000 Mexican smartphone numbers were among more than 50,000 believed to have been selected by clients of Israeli firm NSO Group for potential surveillance, according to an international media investigation.

They include numbers linked to 25 journalists and even President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's inner circle before he took office.

Although the Mexican license for Pegasus software acquired under former president Enrique Pena Nieto expired in 2017, Turati believes that monitoring continues in other ways.

Jul 20 06:02

Colombia, Cuba, and the defiant hypocrisy of Marco Rubio

In Cuba, recent weeks have seen thousands of people join the largest protests in decades to voice their displeasure at the government's handling of the economy and the pandemic.

Months earlier, thousands of people did the same in Colombia.

One is governed by an elected, center-right government that is a staunch ally of the United States; the other is a one-party state subject to an array of sanctions from Washington. While the grievances might be similar, to some it is the relationship with America that makes all the difference.

Take Sen. Marco Rubio. When it comes to Cuba, the Florida Republican has been eager to show that he is the "human rights champion" that USA Today dubbed him in 2017. On Twitter, he has shared video after video of protesters and changed his avatar to a raised fist reminiscent of the one used by Black Lives Matter activists.

Jul 20 05:46

UK Reaffirms Backing for Guaido Who as Venezuela President Ahead of $1bn Gold Heist Case

The British government reiterated on Monday that it recognises opposition figure Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s president, a move aimed at quashing a bid by the Nicolas Maduro-backed Venezuelan central bank to repatriate nearly $1 billion of its gold stored in London.

Legal teams representing Maduro and Guaido will be at the UK Supreme Court on Monday in the latest stage of a long-running tug-of-war over what amounts to about 15% of Venezuela’s foreign currency reserves.

Lawyers representing the central bank say selling the gold would fund the response to the coronavirus pandemic and bolster a health system gutted by more than six years of economic crisis.

The Bank of England, whose vaults house the gold, has refused to release it, however, after the British government in early 2019 joined dozens of others countries in backing Guaido on the basis that Maduro’s presidential election victory the previous year was rigged.

Jul 20 04:58

Socialist Pedro Castillo confirmed as Peru's president after weeks-long vote count

Socialist Pedro Castillo has been named Peru's next president, having narrowly defeated right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori in a tense runoff election, marred by allegations of fraud, protests, and an extremely long vote count.

The official result of the June 6 election was declared by Peru's electoral authority late on Monday. The left-wing candidate defeated Fujimori by just 44,000 votes, according to official figures.

“I proclaim Pedro Castillo as president of the republic and Dina Boluarte as first vice president,” elections chief Jorge Salas said during a televised ceremony.

The 51-year-old socialist politician has become the first president of the country with no ties to elites, having come from a peasant family. Castillo was a rural teacher and union organizer for years before getting into big league politics.

Jul 19 07:01

Mexico's Drug Cartels Are Stealing Oil Again

Fueled by copious sums of drug money, large cartels have taken control of large swathes of Mexico and for over a decade have been challenging the rule of law and the state.

The systemic theft of crude oil and derivative products, most notably the theft of gasoline, has long plagued Mexico’s hydrocarbon sector with it estimated that organized crime groups are earning up to $400 million annually from the theft of petroleum and refined products. The scale of the problem was highlighted by Mexico’s national oil company Pemex, estimating in early 2018 that oil theft was costing it more than $1.6 billion annually. Petroleum theft, including refined products, in the violence-driven Latin American country typically is performed using illegal pipeline taps. Dwindling petroleum output and heavy indebtedness along with rampant fuel theft was severely impacting the national oil company’s performance.

Jul 16 06:45

Jews Enlist US Government to Intervene In Chilean Politics As Palestinian-Descendant Rises to Frontrunner In Presidential Election Polls

Jews in America are demanding the United States intervene in Chile’s internal politics in the run up to their presidential election next November.

Daniel Jadue, a descendant of Palestinian refugees and member of the Chilean Communist Party, is currently the frontrunner in polls. Jadue is an unapologetic anti-Zionist who has in the past directly confronted the Jewish power structure of his country.

Gerardo Gorodischer, president of Chilean Jewish lobby, has successfully recruited Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress to call on Secretary of State Antony Blinken — a Jew himself — to meddle in Chile’s internal affairs and prevent Jadue from becoming president.

Jul 15 07:12

Is the CIA Preparing a False Flag Operation from Colombia?

Colombia’s role in the already permanent regime change operation against Venezuela is broad and eloquent. Some recent events in that country may be worthy of attention and analysis, however, all that would go through a series of questions that help to clarify what is behind these events and where they are headed.

Perhaps the most curious event is the visit of the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States, William J. Burns, to that country to participate in a “sensitive” security mission, as part of the cooperation between both countries. The visit follows a telephone conversation between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Colombian counterpart Iván Duque.

Colombia’s ambassador in Washington, Francisco Santos, declined to give further details about Burns’ visit to Bogota. When questioned about the mission, Santos said, “I prefer not to tell you that it is a delicate mission, an important intelligence mission that we managed to coordinate.”

Jul 14 13:20

Colombia used 'excessive force' against protesters, says human rights report

An international human rights body has accused Colombia's security forces of applying "disproportionate and excessive force," in dealing with street protesters, more than two months since demonstrations began in Bogota, which left dozens dead.

The report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), released on Wednesday, adds to criticisms of the government of Colombian President Ivan Duque, who has faced accusations of a heavy-handed crackdown since protests erupted on April 28.

The protests were sparked by a controversial tax overhaul Duque proposed as part of the country's recovery from the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. Critics argued the changes would hurt the middle class.

The tax reform has since been abandoned. But marches and demonstrations have only increased in scale and pace over a series of issues, including the country's chronic income inequality and allegations of police brutality.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Funny how the corporate media isn't giving this the attention they are giving to Cuba and Haiti.

Jul 13 09:04

Venezuela Forces Raid Juan Guaido's Apartment Building, "Threaten" Arrest

Since the tail-end of the Trump administration the intensity of Washington efforts to prop up the Venezuelan opposition has waned, and at the same time external supporters of Caracas like Russia appear to have stepped up efforts at maintaining the international legitimacy of the Nicolas Maduro government - even as Biden has quietly continued the Trump policy (since 2019) of deeming Juan Guaido 'interim' or de facto president (despite him not actually ruling anything).

After this period of relative quiet, opposition leader Juan Guaido says Maduro's security forces are now looking to detain him once again. He issued a statement Monday saying security forces had departed his apartment building after "threatening" him with arrest. His wife, Fabiana Rosales, had earlier said that security forces had entered their apartment building in an attempt to detain him.

Jul 13 09:02

Avocado farmers take up arms as Mexico violence spikes

A convoy of vigilantes snakes along a road in western Mexico, vowing to defend their avocado orchards from gangs sowing terror in a country reeling from a new wave of bloodshed.

Armed with assault rifles and other firearms, the masked men travel between plantations and maintain checkpoints in Ario de Rosales in Michoacan state, the scene of a bloody cartel turf war.

Before they began patrolling the area, residents lived in fear of kidnapping, extortion and theft of avocados, according to a member of the self-defense group Pueblos Unidos, which says it has 700 members.

"We need to be armed to defend ourselves," he told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity, wearing a badge reading "Down with injustice, no more dead."

Previously, criminals "came to do what they wanted to us, and that doesn't happen anymore," he added.

Jul 13 08:52

U.S. govt-linked PR firm ran fake news networks for right-wing Latin American regimes

A Washington, DC-based PR firm linked to the US government and Democratic Party, CLS Strategies, ran a fake news network on Facebook and Instagram, spreading propaganda for Bolivia’s coup regime and the right-wing opposition in Venezuela and Mexico.

Jul 06 08:37

Argentina approves law forcing gov’t to hire transgenders

Argentina has approved a law reserving one percent of government jobs for transgenders.

Argentina’s Senate passed the law last Thursday, after the country’s lower chamber also endorsed it last month. 55 senators voted for the legislation, one voted against it, and six abstained, MercoPress reported.

“It is established that, in the national public sector, personnel positions must be occupied by a proportion of not less than one percent of all of them by transvestites, transsexuals and transgender people who meet the conditions of suitability for the position,” the law reads.

Jul 03 23:17

Houston, We Have A Problem: The True Story Of Apollo 13

The Apollo 13 mission was supposed to be NASA's third lunar landing, but it was plagued with misfortune from the start. In fact, the crew that got injured, consisting of James Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, was not even the original crew. A few days before takeoff, it was revealed that many of the Apollo astronauts training had been exposed to measles due to an outbreak at their children's school, so Jack Swigert was hired only two days before Ken Mattingly as command module pilot. Had to change lift off.

Jul 03 05:20

Venezuela To Chop Off Six Zeros From Bolivar In 3rd Currency Redenomination In 13 Years

Prior attempts of the Venezuelan government to get a handle on several years of hyperinflation included the dramatic and unprecedented recent step of issuing 1 million bolívar bills. The high denomination bill issued in March of course did literally nothing to solve the underlying problems which started in earnest in 2016 under a collapsing system, but it only made ordinary Venezuelans' lives harder.

For example a single 1 million bolívar note would not currently be enough to buy a single cup of coffee, as a million bolivars is worth just over $0.32 US. The vast majority of working class people still need cash for daily transactions, including for public transit or local grocery and goods stores.

And now the next iteration of an attempted "solution" to the ongoing crisis is a fresh currency redenomination, which will mark no less than the third one in 13 years.

Jul 01 06:03

Venezuelan Tycoon Sues US to Lift Narcotics Sanctions

A top Venezuelan businessman close to President Nicolas Maduro's government has sued the U.S. Department of Treasury, alleging he's the victim of a false campaign identifying him as a international narcotics kingpin.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday by Samark López in Washington federal court said sanctions in 2017 designating him a “drug kingpin” had devastated his wealth, reputation and economic livelihood.

The lawsuit raises the stakes in one of the most far-reaching of dozens of sanctions cases brought against Venezuelan insiders in recent years and could undermine furtive attempts by the Biden administration to support a negotiated solution to the country's long running political impasse.

The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, in 2017 accused López of serving as a “frontman” for his friend and then Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who was sanctioned the same day.

Jun 29 07:00

Mexico high court mandates permits for personal pot use

Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered the government Monday to issue permits for the personal use of marijuana and for the growing of limited amounts of pot plants, after the country’s Congress took too long to approve a limited legalization law.

In 2019, the court ruled that prohibiting marijuana was unconstitutional, and gave lawmakers until this past April 30 to pass a law. In March, the lower house approved a marijuana legalization bill, but it bogged down in the Senate.

Under Monday’s court ruling, people who want to smoke marijuana or grow a few pot plants for their own use can ask for a government permit until some legislation is enacted. They would have to be adults, abstain from using marijuana around children and refrain from driving or engaging in other risky activities while under the influence.

Jun 29 05:21

Mexican President AMLO Avoids ‘Terrorism’ Label for Gulf Cartel Attack Killing 15 in Border City

Days after Gulf Cartel gunmen killed 15 innocent civilians last week, Tamaulipas state congressmen moved to call the attack terrorism while Mexico’s President is avoiding the term over expressed fears of international interference.

Last week, Gulf Cartel gunmen entered Reynosa, Tamaulipas, from the east and carried out attacks targeting civilians, killing 15. While Tamaulipas state police rushed to the scene for a clash, Mexico’s National Guard and Army did not respond until after to help secure the perimeter.

Since then, the border cities of Reynosa and Rio Bravo have seen daily shootouts as state police try to crack down on cartel activities in the area. Authorities have arrested nearly 20 gunmen and several key commanders all connected to the terrorist attack.

Jun 27 11:13

Entire U.S. Figure Skating Team Killed in 1961 Plane Crash

In 1961, 18 members of the American figure skating team, which included the nation's top figure skating talent, all died when their plane crashed for the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships in Prague. It was a world-shattering event in the sporting world, and figure skating was never quite the same in the United States.

We Are The Champions

Jun 25 09:49

Bolivia Moves Closer To Gold Confiscation With Latest Law Blocking Bullion Sales/Exports

What is Bolivia worried about?

Perhaps the 25,000% hyperinflationary evaporation of the peso in the '80s has left a deep scarring on the South American countries lawmakers.

In 2018, The Bolivian Central Bank (BCB) took the administrative measure to suspend the sale of dollars in order to maintain its peg to the dollar.

Jun 24 07:13

How many places does this have to happen before people will accept it’s real? Colombia is in the midst of a brutal third #Covid wave that began practically to the day when it started vaccinations.

Jun 23 07:37

China Seizes "Large Cache Of Drugs" Hidden In Soy Ship From Brazil

China's Brazilian soybean imports have skyrocketed in May after previously delayed cargo arrived. In one of the shipments, Chinese customs agents found hundreds of pounds of cocaine.

Qingdao Customs in east China's Shandong Province seized 474 pounds of cocaine, the largest bust this year by the customs office.

According to state-run media Xinhua, "authorities swung into action after receiving a tip-off that a foreign ship with a large cache of drugs was heading for Qingdao Port." The ship originated from Brazil, hauling 67,000 tons of soybeans, and had 21 crew on board.

Upon arriving at Qingdao, customs agents searched the vessel and found nine suspicious packages in seven cargo holds filled with soybean. Further laboratory tests confirmed the suspicious packages have a total of 474 pounds of cocaine.

Jun 23 05:31

US Doubles Down on Venezuela Sanctions as Guaido Tours Europe Touting Penalties as Leverage Tool

The Biden administration has rebuffed pressure from within and without to lower its destructive sanctions against Venezuela’s economy, saying that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro must first negotiate with Juan Guaido, a no-name Venezuelan former politician who has been championed by the US and its allies as the legitimate ruler of the country.

On Sunday, a US State Department spokesperson told Bloomberg that US sanctions would only be dropped against Venezuela after extensive reforms to end the “repression and corrupt practices” it claims Maduro’s government is engaged in. They also said Maduro would have to engage with Guaido to end the country’s political crisis, including agreeing to “free and fair elections” and the restoration of economic and political freedoms.

Jun 23 05:31

US Reportedly Monitoring Iranian Warships Suggested as Destined for Venezuela in ‘Provocative Move’

Iran and Venezuela, two nations that have been shackled by Washington’s sanctions, have sought to deepen their decades-long relationship, with Iran’s shipments of gasoline to the struggling South American nation hailed by President Nicolás Maduro last year as an example of “the brotherhood of free peoples”.

US national security officials are reportedly closely monitoring the movements of two Iranian naval vessels which are believed to be heading for Venezuela, according to Politico.

A frigate and a former oil tanker, the Makran, converted to a floating forward staging base and commissioned this year, have been heading south along the east coast of Africa, the outlet cites sources as saying.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

US warships prowl the oceans of the world and nobody notices, yet Iran sends a few warships into the Atlantic and it's a big stink?

Jun 22 09:14

Foreign Ministers of Russia and Venezuela Hold Joint Press Conference

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Venezuelan counterpart Jorge Arreaza met in Moscow on 22 June to discuss bilateral relations and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sputnik is live from Moscow, Russia, where Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Minister of Venezuela Jorge Arreaza are holding a joint press conference following their meeting on 22 June.

The diplomats have discussed global and regional issues as well as cooperation within the United Nations.

On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed Moscow's support for Caracas during a consultation on the current situation in Venezuela, as the country has been mired in a political crisis since the then-head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Juan Guaido, proclaimed himself interim president in a bid to oust re-elected President Nicolas Maduro from power.

Jun 21 09:52

Mexico In Line To Make Bitcoin Legal Tender

After El Salvador made history by being the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender, other countries in Latin America are in hot pursuit with Mexico the latest, to show interest.

A senator of Mexico’s federal government, Eduardo Morat Hinojosa, revealed that he intends to submit a proposal in parliament to enable Mexico to shift to crypto.

In an open show of support for crypto, Hinojosa’s profile picture appeared to speak into a laser eyes microphone. He later wrote that he would promote and propose a legal framework for crypto coins in Mexico’s lower house.

There could be a few days left before legislation is moved in Mexico’s parliament because Hinojosa was not alone in leaning towards crypto adoption. Nuevo Leon senator Indira Kempis Martinez also swapped his profile to display laser eyes, an act that prompted Hinojasa to label her as a friend to the cause.

Jun 17 15:05

Iranian ships once believed to be headed toward Venezuela change course, U.S. officials say

The Iranian navy ships believed to be originally headed toward Venezuela changed course early this week and are now steaming north up the west coast of Africa, U.S. officials said.

The ships, which U.S. officials believe may have been preparing to conduct an arms transfer, have appeared to change course several times during their journey from Iran — and could do so again. But after the course change early this week, they are likely now headed either into the Mediterranean — potentially planning to sail off of Syria — or north toward Russia, according to a defense official briefed on the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject.

Jun 16 05:20

Covid-19 pandemic: Chile capital locks down despite mass vaccination

Chile has announced a lockdown in the capital Santiago amid rising Covid cases, despite nearly 60% of the country being fully vaccinated.

More than eight million residents living in and around the capital now must stay at home from Saturday.

On Thursday, Chile reported 7,716 new daily cases, with the vast majority of infections being among those who had not been fully vaccinated.

Intensive care beds are nearing full capacity, health officials warn.

Jose Luis Espinoza, the president of Chile's National Federation of Nursing Association, says his members are "on the verge of collapse", Reuters reports.

Jun 16 04:54

Left-Wing Wave Sweeps Latin America as Peru's Pedro Castillo Declares Victory (Ollie Vargas)

Jun 14 09:15

Litigation Without End: Chevron Battles On in 28-Year-old Ecuador Lawsuit

Chevron Corp. was fixated on roses.

The giant U.S. oil company objected last June when Washington proposed allowing duty-free rose imports from the world’s poorest countries, including Ecuador.

A decade earlier, an Ecuadorean court had blamed Chevron for oil pollution and told it to pay $9.5 billion in damages, one of the largest-ever penalties of its kind.

Chevron had since proved the verdict fraudulent, it told the U.S. Trade Representative. But Ecuador refused to render it unenforceable despite an order to do that from an international arbitration tribunal. Letting Ecuador save money on flowers after blatant “acts of defiance” would tell the world the U.S. rewards bad behavior, the oil company said.

Chevron lost the war of the roses. But it still hasn’t paid a cent of the Ecuadorean judgment, and says it won’t stop legally battling until it can ensure that it never has to.

Jun 11 08:58

El Salvador Plans To Use Electricity Generated From Volcanoes To Mine Bitcoin

The president of El Salvador announced Wednesday that the country's state-run geothermal energy utility would begin using power derived from volcanoes for Bitcoin mining.

The announcement on social media came just hours after the Central American nation's congress voted to make the cryptocurrency an acceptable legal tender.

"I've just instructed the president of @LaGeoSV (our state-owned geothermal electric company), to put up a plan to offer facilities for #Bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos," president Nayib Bukele tweeted. "This is going to evolve fast!"

Bitcoin mining has taken a lot of heat for being harmful to the environment, since it requires massive amounts of electricity to power the computers that generate the invisible currency.

Jun 11 08:45

Iran Issues Video Showing Missile-Laden Warships Steaming Across Atlantic For 1st Time

US officials this week have been calling on Iran to immediately halt and turn around two of its warships believed bound for Venezuela. A trade and defense relationship between Tehran and Caracas has grown especially under the prior Trump administration sanctions on both countries. This has in the past year included Iranian fuel tankers engaged in sanctions-busting by delivering badly needed gasoline to Venezuela (Venezuela has abundant crude but derelict refineries for meeting domestic fuel needs).

Two Iranian warships, the Sahand and Makran recently rounded the tip of Africa for the first time, which is considered the farthest west that Iranian warships have ever gone. For the past week the US Navy is said to be tracking their movements, but on Thursday Iranian state media released footage of the ships as they traverse the Atlantic Ocean, in a direct "message" to Washington that they remain undeterred.

Jun 10 08:22

Rural Teacher Pedro Castillo Poised to Write a New Chapter in Peru’s History

With his wide-brimmed peasant hat and oversized teacher’s pencil held high, Peru’s Pedro Castillo has been traveling the country exhorting voters to get behind a call that has been particularly urgent during this devastating pandemic: “No más pobres en un país rico” – No more poor people in a rich country. In a cliffhanger of an election with a huge urban-rural and class divide, it appears that the rural teacher, farmer and union leader is about to make history by defeating–by less than one percent–powerful far-right candidate Keiko Fujimori, scion of the country’s political “Fujimori dynasty.”

Jun 09 10:06

Socialist Candidate Who Vows To Nationalize Mineral Resources Pulls Ahead In Peru Presidential Election

In a continuing trend in Latin American politics of Left-wing political movements on the ascendancy which has seen successful attempts to roll back free market friendly policies in favor of "starting from scratch" toward erecting more interventionist socialist states, the next political and electoral earthquake is set to hit Peru, where socialist candidate Pedro Castillo is maintaining a narrow lead over right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori as votes are still being counted and increasingly contested from Sunday's run-off election.

As of early Tuesday it's still being deemed "too close to call", but with Castillo pulling away Fujimori is now alleging election "irregularities". Son of peasant famers and an outspoken union leader, Castillo has "vowed to nationalize Peru's vast mineral resources, to expel foreigners who commit crimes in the country, and to move towards reinstating the death penalty," according to one profile.

Jun 09 09:42

Colombian president vows police ‘modernization’ amid global censure of brutal tactics

The Colombian government has announced plans to “modernize” its police force in the face of persisting criticism of its brutal tactics against protesters, highlighted again during the recent anti-state rallies.

President Ivan Duque declared on Sunday that he had ordered the establishment of "a decree that will modernize the structure of the national police, especially to strengthen the policy... on human rights."

The announcement, however, came as an umbrella national strike committee, made up of unions, student groups and other civil society organizations, suspended negotiations with Bogota officials -- aimed at reaching a deal to end protest rallies -- since the government has so far refused to sign a pre-agreement reached late last month.

Jun 09 06:29

El Salvador Passes Bitcoin Law

The Latin American nation has passed the bill for its Bitcoin Law after a session in congress earlier today, shortly before 6AM UTC. According to a tweet by President Nayib Bukele, the law was backed by 62 out of 84 seats in the congress, making it a supermajority vote.

The new law assigns Bitcoin as legal tender within El Salvador’s economic jurisdiction. Bukele said that it would “[go] into effect immediately,” with the El Salvadorian government providing 90 days for the technological infrastructure to be built and implemented.

“The purpose of this law is to regulate Bitcoin as unrestricted legal tender with liberating power, unlimited in any transaction, and to any title that public or private natural or legal persons require carrying out,” the document states.

Jun 09 06:19

"SHOT HEARD AROUND THE WORLD" - EL SALVADOR PRESIDENT PUSHES BILL TO ADOPT BITCOIN AS LEGAL TENDER

In a pre-recorded video, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele made a somewhat shocking announcement in the final hours of the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami on Saturday afternoon.

Jun 05 04:10

HOW USAID CREATED NICARAGUA’S ANTI-SANDINISTA MEDIA APPARATUS, NOW UNDER MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION

SOURCE: THE GRAYZONE
With tens of millions of dollars over years of work, CIA front USAID helped create and train Nicaragua’s anti-Sandinista opposition. At the center of its operations is the elite Chamorro Foundation, which stands accused of money laundering.

The US government has spent years cultivating a ring of right-wing media outlets in Nicaragua that played a central role in a violent 2018 coup attempt. This network is now being investigated by the Nicaraguan government on allegations of money laundering.

These publications are an integral part of a political opposition that Washington has carefully managed, trained, and funded with millions of dollars over the past decade. While relentlessly accusing Nicaragua’s leftist government of corruption, they have been suspiciously obscure with their own finances and record-keeping.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

One has to love the stench of the hipocrisy here.

Jun 04 10:06

Panama temporarily closes its borders with Colombia

The Government of Panama announced the closure of its land, sea and river borders with Colombia.

"The National Government has determined to temporarily suspend the entry into the national territory, by land, sea and river, of any person coming from the border with the Republic of Colombia, as of May 20, 2021," says a statement from the ministry of Foreign Relations of Panama published Wednesday night.

The measure is a response to Colombia's decision to open land, river and sea crossings along all its borders.

The Colombian government reopened from zero hours on Wednesday its borders with Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil, closed 14 months ago to prevent the spread of the covid-19 pandemic, which at that time was just beginning in the country.

Jun 03 06:58

New Investigation Reveals Role of Israeli Operatives in Colombia’s “Political Genocide”

On April 6, 1984, a group of men dressed in police uniforms arrived at the home of Milcíades Contento in the town of Viotá, Colombia. Contento was a peasant, communist and member of the Patriotic Union (UP), a newly-formed experimental political party born out of the 1985 peace negotiations between the conservative President Belansio Betancourt and the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The men seized Contento, tied him up and dragged him away. The next day, his corpse was found in a nearby village.

Jun 01 12:49

Drug cartels hunting down and killing cops — in front of their families — on their days off

Mexico’s Jalisco cartel is hunting down law enforcement officers and killing them in their homes, on their days off, in front of their families, according to reports.

The drug gangs have systematically tracked down members of the elite Tactical Group by using personal information extracted from a team of its officers recently captured and tortured in the state of Guanajuato.

The cartel declared war on law enforcement in May, despite President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s plans to avoid bloodshed in dealing with the crime syndicates.

“If you want war, you’ll get a war,” read a banner that was hung from a building in Guanajuato. “We have already shown that we know where you are. We are coming for all of you.”

The banner also warned that for every one of its members arrested, two Tactical Group police officers will be executed “wherever they are.”

Jun 01 08:13

US Warns Venezuela Against Welcoming Persian Warships in Venezuela

It may seem strange with the US parking warships off the Iranian coast as a matter of course, but US national security officials are watching with serious concern as a pair of Iranian warships have neared the African coast, sparking speculation that they conceivably might wind up in the Western Hemisphere.

The two ships – a frigate and an old oil tanker that was converted to a staging base, are still off Africa’s east coast. The supposition of them going south is that they’ll eventually loop around Africa and then maybe cross the Atlantic. From there, it’s possible they’d show up in Venezuela.

This leads to intense US monitoring of the two otherwise insignificant ships, and a formal warning to Venezuela that they’d better not welcome the Iranian ships that are currently nowhere near Venezuela, if at some point they come by.

Jun 01 06:55

Mexican Cartels Respond To AMLO's "Hugs, Not Bullets" By Hunting Down, Torturing, And Executing Cops At Their Homes

BY TYLER DURDEN
MONDAY, MAY 31, 2021 - 09:00 PM
After Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) attempted to combat cartels through peaceful means - namely his "hugs, not bullets" campaign to appease criminal organizations, the notoriously violent Jalisco cartel responded by kidnapping several members of an elite police force in the state of Guanajuato, torturing them to obtain the names and addresses of other cops, and is now hunting them down and killing them at their own homes, "on their days off, in front of their families," according to the Associated Press.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Unfortunately, what Obrador will not do, is break the financial backs of the cartels, by legalizing every drug upon which they depend to make their profit, and make them available through legal distribution units.

Yes, I do know that some poor souls will get horrifically hooked on some of that product; but is that really going to be worse than the situation going on in Mexico at this time?!?

I remember, many years ago, going down to the Mexican border for day trips; I would not go to ANY place in Mexico right now, because of the blatant, in- your -face, violence occuring at the moment, with no end in sight.

Jun 01 06:47

Iran Warns Against "Miscalculations" As US Military Monitors Pair Of Venezuela-Bound Warships

In a seeming repeat of the Trump admin attempt to impose a full naval blockade on Venezuela to prevent fuel and oil imports and exports, especially involving Iranian tankers, the US military is said to be actively monitoring two Iranian naval vessels which are believed headed toward Venezuela.

Washington has reportedly warned the Maduro government against receiving the warships, which likely have elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force members aboard. The two "rogue states" (as the US sees them) have become increasingly close especially under the prior four Trump years as they cooperated in circumventing US sanctions, and have grown militarily more cooperative.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I would like to hope that Team Biden, is not planning something unalterably idiotic here; the problem, is that just because something is the most ham-fistedly, pig-headedly stupid thing a US administration could possibly do, is utterly no guarantee that it won't do it.

May 29 09:16

Colombians “Save the Evidence” as They Denounce Social Media Censorship of Protests

By Isabella Barroso

Colombian protesters have denounced social media platforms’ censorship of their posts about the country’s “paro nacional” (“national strike”)—ongoing anti-government demonstrations. This includes internet disruption in Cali, one of the major sites of the protests. To strike back at this censorship, a number of initiatives have emerged that aim to preserve the memory of this historic moment; this is crucial as it guarantees the independence of the historical content from platforms’ servers and content moderation policies.

May 28 10:08

After Mexico City introduced ivermectin plan, COVID hospitalizations and deaths disappeared

A city-wide initiative in Mexico’s bustling capital to prescribe ivermectin to COVID-19 positive patients has resulted in a 52–76 percent reduction in hospitalizations, according to research by the Mexican Digital Agency for Public Innovation (DAPI), Mexico’s Ministry of Health, and the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).

Concerned about hospital capacity in the summer of 2020, the Mexican government devised an aggressive testing regime, ramping up from 3,000 tests per day in June to around 24,000 antigen tests every day by that November, according to TrialSiteNews. Mexico City Ministry of Health head Oliva López later announced that doctors will give ivermectin and azithromycin to treat COVID-19.

“The Ministry of Health has identified that there is enough evidence to use in people positive for SARS-CoV-2, even without symptoms, some drugs such as ivermectin and azithromycin,” López confirmed in a press conference.

May 28 06:39

Mexican election candidate SHOT DEAD shortly after going LIVE on Facebook to ask locals to join her at rally

A local elections candidate in Mexico has been gunned down in the middle of a campaign event and just after going live on Facebook, becoming the latest victim in a string of murders of politicians ahead of the June vote.
Electoral candidate Alma Barragán was shot to death on Tuesday afternoon in the Mexican town of Moroleón in the central state of Guanajuato as she was taking part in a campaign event. According to local media, a group of armed men arrived at the spot where Barragán was holding a rally and opened fire. Two others have been reported injured.

Shortly before the attack Barragán had gone live on her Facebook page telling the audience where she was and inviting local residents to join her: “Hello, how are you? I am here in La Manguita with Pedro Guzmán. If you want to accompany me, come and listen to my proposals and socialize. Thank you very much, I am waiting for you here.”

May 27 03:54

Mexico police chief is ambushed and shot dead in 'cowardly' attack just two weeks after surviving assassination attempt by El Chapo's Sinaloa Cartel

  • Joel Ernesto Soto, state police director in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, was assassinated Monday
  • The suspects fired more than 200 shots at Soto's vehicle, which veered off a highway in the municipality of La Angostura
  • Soto survived a May 6 assassination attempt when alleged Sinaloa Cartel gunmen opened attack a police convoy in Mazatlán
  • Authorities have not made any arrests in connection to Soto's murder as of Tuesday

The director of the state police in the cartel-plagued northern Mexico state of Sinaloa was killed during an ambush.

Joel Ernesto Soto was traveling on a road that connects the cities of Los Mochis and Culiacán when gunmen unleashed an attack Monday morning, forcing the official to drive off the road in the municipality of La Angostura.

May 24 09:37

Mass grave filled with dead women found in ex-cop’s backyard

A mass grave filled with dozens of female corpses — believed to be victims of a violent sex and murder ring — was found in an ex-cop’s backyard in El Salvador, reports said Friday.

Police made the grisly discovery this week while investigating former police officer Hugo Ernesto Osorio Chavez for the double homicide of a 57-year-old woman and her 26-year-old daughter — a crime the ex-cop has apparently admitted to, the Daily Beast reported.

When cops went into Chavez’s backyard in Chalchuapa, about 50 miles from the capital San Salvador, they noticed the ground appeared to be uneven and soft.

Investigators soon discovered eight pits filled with what they believe could be at least a dozen bodies each, the outlet reported.

May 24 08:33

CHILE:What Happens When the Government Becomes Your Worst Enemy :In the U.S we need to defend our Second Amendment rights.

Chile has struggled to become a thriving democracy. Once a dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet, the country has gone through considerable turmoil since his death. Capitalism has not treated everyone fairly in this country, even though Pinochet was once lauded for the dynamic free-market economy he created, once cited as the “model for the developing world.”

By no means has Chile been the only country which has struggled to become a free-market democracy. Russia is still struggling, decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Iraq really hasn’t accepted democracy as a political model, even after enormous amounts of investment by the US government. Other countries have struggled as well, but not with the same results.

May 21 12:18

A Victory for Democracy in Chile

Over the weekend, the people of Chile voted in a historic election to select the members of a body tasked with drafting a new Constitution to replace the one written in 1980 under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

The final tally dealt a severe blow to the followers of General Pinochet, many of whom make up the center-right and right-wing coalition Chile Vamos, backed by the current president, Sebastián Piñera, which won just 37 of the 155 seats for the Constitutional Convention. Chileans, especially the young, also rejected the traditional center-left parties as insufficiently responsive to people’s craving for a more egalitarian society and overly compromised with the status quo.

May 12 07:08

BAYER-MONSANTO FAILS (AT FIRST ATTEMPT) TO BLOCK MEXICO’S PHASEOUT OF GLYPHOSATE AND BAN ON GMO CORN

Mexico has already gone mano a mano with Monsanto before, and it came out on top. But this time it’s on direct collision course with the U.S. government.

Life used to be a whole lot easier for German pharmaceutical and crop science company Bayer. But that was before it bought the scandal-tarnished US GMO giant Monsanto for $66 billion. And it has paid a heck of a price. Now worth just $53 billion — $13 billion less than what it paid for Monsanto in 2018 — Bayer has faced tens of thousands of lawsuits claiming that Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The German company has agreed to pay as much as $11.5 billion to resolve existing US litigation.

May 11 07:22

Aid to Venezuela Aimed to Unseat Maduro – US Government Watchdog

The Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Agency for International Development concluded that the U.S. aid to Venezuela in 2019 was not fully allocated to the country, and it was part of a mechanism to unseat democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro. The findings, known on Thursday, belong to a report published by this office on April 16.

Titled “Enhanced Processes and Implementer Requirements Are Needed To Address Challenges and Fraud Risks in USAID’s Venezuela Response,” the report highlights that “the shipment of U.S. supplies responded in part to the Trump administration’s campaign to put pressure on Maduro rather than simply provide aid to Venezuelans in need.”

Moreover, the Inspector General Office remarked that only eight out of 386 tons of U.S. humanitarian aid reached Venezuela, with some of those goods ending up in Colombia and Somalia. This, as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), allocated $2 million for this particular operation.

May 10 07:04

Copper price hits record high as Chile gives bulls another reason to cheer

The world’s top copper producer Chile is giving bulls another reason to cheer while prices soared to an all-time high on Friday as optimism about a global rebound from the pandemic spurs a surge across commodities markets.

Copper for delivery in July ended the day up 3.2%, with futures trading at $4.7490 per pound ($10,470 a tonne) on the Comex market in New York.

Chile’s lower house on Thursday approved a measure that would introduce progressive taxes on copper sales, potentially creating a total burden of more than 80% — or almost double that of other major copper-producing nations.

The measure, which would go into effect in 2024, still needs to be approved by the senate and could be blocked by the government in court. But if it succeeds, it could stall investments in a country where mature low-grade deposits need plenty of expenditure just to maintain output levels of about 5.7 million tonnes a year.

May 08 07:23

US Special Forces trained Mexican drug cartels linked to decapitation, torture, rape

The Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) has established itself as one of the most feared paramilitaries in Mexico over the last decade. Images of the group have become the standard depiction of the Mexican cartels writ large. Their propaganda videos often feature groups of masked men bristling with enough small arms to make them formidable against even conventional armies.

In an interview aired on Mexico’s Telemundo network in May 2019, a former CJNG soldier described his experience at a training camp and claimed that the cartel employed U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) to train their recruits.

According to the former sicario (assassin), there was “a group of elite Marines, there were [members] of the United States Navy, there were Delta Forces, there was everything there.”

The cartel dropout’s account is consistent with years of reports which show that U.S. Special Forces training is diffusing into the service of paramilitaries in Mexico.

May 07 06:48

Bloodbath in Mexico: Another gift of US drug and drone wars

Written by
Ted Galen Carpenter

Washington’s bankrupt drug-war and drone-war initiatives have both come home to roost on America’s own southern border. Decades of U.S. policy ineptitude have empowered Mexico’s drug cartels to the point that they now pose an alarming threat to the country’s basic social order.

Now the violence in Mexico is beginning to exhibit a greater high-tech sophistication. In late April, the Jalisco cartel attacked police in the western state of Michoacan with explosive-laden drones, wounding two officers. It was merely the latest development in just one theater of the country’s ongoing chaos.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The American Comedian Ron White, has one line in his stand-up routine, which seems to very much apply here: "You can't fix stupid!!"

And this has been very much a stupid policy with regard to drugs, on the part of the US government.

Were I in government, I would advocate legalizing EVERYTHING, to take the profit motive away from the cartels. Of course, the private and public prison systems would collectively yell, scream, and holler; they love high recidivism rates, and those high rates are, unfortunately, a result, of how the US incarcerates.

May 07 06:04

HOW THE US GOV'T CULTIVATED ENVIRONMENTAL AND INDIGENOUS GROUPS TO DEFEAT ECUADOR'S LEFTIST CORREÍSTA MOVEMENT

SOURCE: THE GRAYZONE
The people of Ecuador were hit by a surprise in the April 2021 presidential election: Hard-right banker Guillermo Lasso, one of the richest and most corrupt oligarchs in the country, who had unsuccessfully run in two previous races, scored a narrow victory over leftist Andrés Arauz.

Arauz, a progressive young economist, had served as a minister in the government of Ecuador’s socialist President Rafael Correa, who had declared a “Citizens’ Revolution” that transformed the country during his term from 2007 to 2017.

What was not conveyed in most media reports on Lasso’s surprising victory, however, was that Lasso only won thanks to the support he received, both directly and indirectly, from environmental and Indigenous groups that have been co-opted over that last 15 years by the US government and its soft-power networks.

May 05 06:41

Monsanto Challenges Mexico Glyphosate Ban: IATP Defends Mexico’s Right to Regulate in the Public Interest

Since the Mexican government published its much-awaited presidential decree on New Year’s Eve to restrict the use of the herbicide glyphosate and genetically modified corn, IATP has actively worked to defend the government against threats from U.S. agribusiness using the revised North American Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

I covered the decree and the looming threats in a February article. Now agribusiness interests have filed for an injunction in Mexican courts to stop the government phaseout of glyphosate.

On April 16, IATP joined the National Family Farm Coalition and the Rural Coalition on a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack calling for respect for Mexico’s right to regulate in the public interest.

May 05 05:31

U.S. Vows to Work With Partners to Keep Pressure on Venezuela's Maduro

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed on Tuesday that Washington would work with partners in the region to maintain pressure on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for a peaceful return to democracy.

In pre-recorded remarks to a conference on Latin America, Blinken also said the Biden administration would continue criticism of the "repression of human rights" in Cuba.

Blinken's stern words came just a day after a senior White House official made clear in an interview with Reuters that the administration was in no rush to ease sanctions on Maduro's Socialist government or make major gestures toward Communist-ruled Havana.

May 05 05:16

Violence in Colombia protests escalates amid allegations of police excess

Hundreds of protesters had gathered in the southwestern Colombian city of Cali late Monday, pushing for economic justice on the sixth day of anti-government demonstrations. Then, Ana Maria Burgos said, police suddenly opened fire, moving in on the crowd with riot shields and batons.

The 43-year-old teacher said she saw blood pouring from the heads of protesters.

“The gunfire was indiscriminate,” said Burgos, who had volunteered as a human rights observer during the protests. “They beat us and threw people to the ground. I heard bullets being fired wherever I went.”

May 04 12:34

Mexico apologises to Mayan people for historic abuses

Mexico's president has apologised to the indigenous Mayan people for abuses committed against them over the five centuries since the Spanish conquest.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador spoke at an event also attended by Guatemalan leader Alejandro Giammattei in the south-east state of Quintana Roo.

He focused on the 1847-1901 Caste War revolt in which around 250,000 people are believed to have lost their lives.

Mexico is due to hold legislative and municipal elections shortly.

May 04 12:00

Watchdog groups call out Biden regime for interfering with Mexico’s decision to ban glyphosate, GMO corn

For years, Mexico has been fighting to preserve its native corn varieties from being eliminated by the chemical lobby and replaced with genetically modified (GMO) impostors. Things were going well until the Biden regime started interfering with the process, prompting more than 80 watchdog groups to issue an open letter in opposition to the Biden agenda.

Several dozen agricultural, consumer, environmental, public health and worker groups are trying to get the attention of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who also worked under Barack Obama, along with Trade Secretary Katherine Tai, urging them to stop harassing Mexico.

“It is completely unacceptable for U.S. public agencies to be doing the bidding of pesticide corporations like Bayer, [which] are solely concerned with maintaining their bottom-line profits,” announced Kristin Schafer, executive director of the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA).

May 04 06:27

Mexico worries about scorn if another drug lord is released

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador worried Monday that yet another shadowy release of a drug lord is about to make Mexico a target of international ridicule.

Almost eight years ago, drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero walked out of a Mexican prison late at night with an improperly ordered release. He has since returned to drug trafficking and unleashed bloody turf battles in northern Mexico border state of Sonora.

On Saturday, another top capo of the Sinaloa cartel was about to walk in similar circumstances.

May 04 05:37

80 GROUPS BLAST US INTERFERENCE IN MEXICO'S PHASEOUT OF GLYPHOSATE AND GM CORN

A coalition of 80 U.S. agricultural, consumer, environmental, public health, and worker groups sent a letter Thursday to key figures in the Biden administration calling for them to “respect Mexico’s sovereignty and refrain from interfering with its right to enact health-protective policies”—specifically, the phaseout of the herbicide glyphosate and the cultivation of genetically modified corn.

“Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador quietly rocked the agribusiness world with his New Year’s Eve decree,” Timothy A. Wise of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (ITAP) noted earlier this year. “His administration sent an even stronger aftershock two weeks later, clarifying that the government would also phase out GM corn imports in three years and the ban would include not just corn for human consumption but yellow corn destined primarily for livestock.”

May 04 05:01

Live Updates: 23 Killed, 70 Injured as Mexico City Rail Overpass Collapses - Photos, Videos

According to preliminary reports, medics and emergency services have already been dispatched to the site of the incident, while the head of the Mexico City government Claudia Sheinbaum has arrived at the scene.

A metro train bridge has collapsed in the Mexican capital, killing and injuring dozens of people, according to the local authorities. The incident occurred on Tuesday on Line 12 of the metro, near the stations of Tezonco and Olivos in the southeastern part of the city.

Videos and photos from the scene of the accident are circulating on social media, showing the scale of destruction:

May 03 13:50

The Fall of Chile

I moved to Santiago, Chile during the Obama years: 2012, to be exact. I believed, as did many others, that the real financial reckoning was still to come, that race relations would worsen (bullseye there and then some!!), and that other countries were better prospects as havens for individual freedoms than a U.S. in decline. While we looked at several places (New Zealand, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama), we kept returning to Chile because of the first world infrastructure of its major cities, its gringo-friendliness, its strong economy, and its political stability. I promoted Chile as such. (Go here and here; be amused.)

May 03 08:13

Mexico’s Supreme Court Changes Provide A Warning For America

Left-leaning judicial activists in America now have an example from Mexico to learn from when considering the expansion of the Supreme Court.

Apr 30 15:39

Narco-sub packed to the rafters with record-breaking 5,500 pounds of cocaine worth $72 MILLION is seized off Puerto Rico's coast By Adry Torres For Dailymail.com

  • Arturo González-Quiñones, Freiman Yepes-Ospina, and José Álvaro Córdoba-Rentería were arrested in a sub with 2,500 kilos of cocaine April 8
  • A federal grand jury indicted the three suspects on four counts, including conspiracy to traffic large quantities of cocaine
  • W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney District of Puerto Rico, said the seizure is the largest in the history of the U.S. territory
  • More than 17,000 kilos of cocaine, worth $500 million, have been confiscated by the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force during fiscal year 2021


Federal agents from Puerto Rico seized a record 2,500 kilos of cocaine off a man-made submarine from Colombia earlier this month.

The vessel is the first of its kind to be intercepted off the U.S. territory island's Caribbean Sea, W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney District of Puerto Rico, said in a press conference Monday.

Apr 30 08:01

Tens of millions of dollars' worth of meth is found in bottles of cooking oil shipped from Mexico

  • About $80million of liquid meth has been seized by Australian authorities
  • The 540kg haul from Mexico is the second largest bust of its kind in Victoria
  • Investigations are now underway to track down those linked with the syndicate


A huge haul of liquid meth has been seized by federal police after customs agents uncovered about $80.7 million dollars of the drug hidden inside a shipment of cooking oil bottles sent from Mexico.

The slick drug-smuggling operation concealed the about 540kg of Mexican meth in a consignment of 9,360 canola oil bottles, which arrived in Melbourne on March 31.

Investigations are now underway to track down members of the illicit drug syndicate.

Apr 27 08:51

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Mexican Cartels Weaponize Drones to Drop IEDs

Drug cartels fighting a fierce turf war in western Mexico began weaponizing commercial drones by turning them into delivery systems for improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Breitbart Texas obtained exclusive photographs of the explosives devices and the methods used by cartel operators.

This week, Mexican authorities confirmed that two police officers in Michoacán were injured by an attack from cartel gunmen who used commercial drones to drop IEDs, Breitbart Texas reported. The attack came after state police officers removed a series of roadblocks aimed at keeping rival cartels from using armored SUVs to carry out attacks in their attempts to take control.

Apr 27 06:48

Exclusive: Secret cables reveal Britain interfered with elections in Chile

Almost 50 years after the September 1973 coup that overthrew the democratically-elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, declassified Foreign Office documents reveal Britain’s role in destabilising the country.

Under the Labour government of Harold Wilson (1964-1970), a secret Foreign Office unit initiated a propaganda offensive in Chile aiming to prevent Allende, Chile’s leading socialist figure, winning power in two presidential elections, in 1964 and 1970.

The unit – the Information Research Department (IRD) – gathered information designed to damage Allende and lend legitimacy to his political opponents, and distributed material to influential figures within Chilean society.

The IRD also shared intelligence about left-wing activity in the country with the US government. British officials in Santiago assisted a CIA-funded media organisation which was part of extensive US covert action to overthrow Allende, culminating in the 1973 coup.

Apr 27 06:11

US sanctions Guatemala officials ahead of Harris meeting

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on a member of Guatemala’s Congress and a former presidential chief of staff in the country over alleged corruption, as Washington presses a number of Central American governments to crack down on graft.

The move was announced hours before US Vice President Kamala Harris was due to meet with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to discuss an increase in Central American migration that has led to a crisis at the US-Mexico border.

Apr 27 06:07

Brazil rejects Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, citing ‘uncertain’ data – creator says decision is political & driven by US

The maker of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine believes the US has pressured Brazil into refusing approval of its formula for political reasons. Brazil’s health regulator says there are “inherent risks” and defects with the jab.

The South American country is in desperate need of Covid-19 vaccine doses, and has been one of the hardest-hit nations throughout the pandemic. However, despite requests from Brazilian politicians, regulator Anvisa believes there is a lack of documentation to guarantee its safety, and data about its efficacy is “uncertain.”

Apr 24 06:42

China providing vaccines to South America isn’t ‘aggression’ or ‘bullying’, they're just stepping up where Washington failed

Americans moaning about China making a play in what they patronisingly call ‘their own backyard’ don't have a leg to stand on having left Latin America to fend for themselves throughout the pandemic.

Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin is bemoaning China’s “vaccine diplomacy” in Latin America. Whilst the United States has suffered from large scale mismanagement of Covid-19, hoarding vaccines and taking a robust ‘America First’ policy to overcome the pandemic which has left close to 600,000 dead, China has taken a leading role in providing assistance to Latin America. Beijing has sent units of Sinovac to both Central and South America, exporting and donating millions of vaccines to almost every major country in this region excluding Paraguay, who choose to maintain ties with Taiwan.

Apr 22 07:46

Mexico cartel attacks police with exploding drones; wounds 2

The battle for a key town in western Mexico has become both more medieval, and more high-tech, after two police officers were injured by drones apparently carrying explosive devices.

Two cartels are battling for control of El Aguaje, a hamlet in the Aguililla township in Michoacán state: Jalisco New Generation and the rival New Michoacán Family, or the Viagras.

The Jalisco cartel has recently staged attacks in the area. And in October 2019, Jalisco gunmen ambushed and killed 14 state police officers in El Aguaje.

State police were sent in to restore order earlier this month, and the cartels responded by parking hijacked trucks across roads and even adopted ancient techniques like digging deep trenches across roadways to keep police convoys out.

On Tuesday, authorities announced they had used backhoes to fill in many of the trenches.

Now, the Jalisco cartel is accused of targeting police with more modern attacks: explosive-laden drones.

Apr 21 06:16

Violence erupts as Mexico’s deadly gangs aim to cement power in largest ever elections

Violent clashes between rival Mexican criminal groups – and their alleged allies in the security forces – are escalating ahead of mid-term elections in June, triggering a string of political assassinations and the forced displacement of thousands.

State and federal security forces have actively colluded with – and even fought alongside – the warring factions, according to local civilians, civil society activists and gunmen from various factions.

But as well as engaging in pitched gun battles, criminal factions are also confronting each other on the electoral field.

“All the [criminal] groups are trying to make gains right now,” said a Michoacán political consultant with first-hand knowledge of how arrangements are brokered between organized crime and political candidates.

Apr 17 06:01

Venezuelans try to beat hyperinflation with cryptocurrency revolution

Returning to his home country of Venezuela would be dangerous for Gabriel Jimenez. The 31-year-old programmer has been living in exile in the United States for two years now, from where he is striving to push a cryptocurrency revolution in his country with a digital coin called Reserve.

The cryptocoin is intended to circumvent Venezuela's notoriously high inflation and has been in circulation since March this year. The socialist politicians ruling Venezuela "have no solutions for our country" and its depreciating legal tender, the bolivar, he told DW.

Officially charged with designing Venezuela's first cryptocurrency three years ago, Jimenez — then a youthful startup founder at the age of 27 — saw a chance for both beating hyperinflation and taking clandestine revenge on the country's detested socialist government.

Apr 17 04:58

Watch: Powerful Blast Rocks Latin America's Largest Explosive-Grade Ammonium Nitrate Plant

A powerful explosion has rocked the Enaex acid plant, which is located south of Calama, Chile, on Friday afternoon, according to Chilean news Meganoticias.

Enaex is the largest producer of explosive-grade ammonium nitrate in Latin America. The incident occurred within the acid plant where nitroglycerin is stored.

At the moment, the official number of injured is unknown. The mayor of Calama, Daniel Agusto, told CNN Chile that the powerful explosion "was felt in almost the entire city" and even "traffic was cut off."

'"There are about 25 injured who are being transferred to the Carlos Cisternas y del Cobre Hospital. Various gravity. The explosion was felt throughout Calama. It destroyed the Enaex acid plant. That plant that works with explosives is three kilometers from the houses in the city," according to one Twitter user who also posted a stunning picture of the explosion.

Apr 12 05:53

Ecuador’s New Socialist Party Set to Win Elections Despite U.S. Intervention and Deceptive Identity Politics

Ever since the former President Rafael Correa-backed presidential candidate, Andrés Arauz, won first place with 32.7% of the national election vote on February 7 (first round), the U.S.-backed Pachakutik candidate, indigenous eco-activist Yaku Pérez has been trying to defame Arauz and prevent him from participating in the April 11th runoff election.

The National Electoral Council (CNE) initial conclusion for second place was 20.1% for Pérez and 19.5% for banker Guillermo Lasso, former head of Coca Cola in Ecuador. This changed after four days of meticulous counting: Lasso ended in second place with 19.74% and Pérez in third place with 19.38%.

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), founded in 1986 to represent indigenous land rights, their culture and language, is the largest indigenous organization in the country. Its political wing, Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement – New Country (MUPP or Pachakutik), backed Pérez.

Apr 12 05:44

Colombia mobilizes forces to Venezuela border

Tensions are rising on Friday between Venezuela and Colombia after Venezuelan socialist party leader Diosdado Cabello said any possible confrontation with the US would take place in Colombian territory.

Colombia reinforced its border, said Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano.

"We have reinforced the border with a unit of 90 marines," said Molano, who confirmed that there is a dispute between the Venezuelan military and criminal groups regarding control of drug trafficking along the border.

“We will protect Colombians and we will stay there [at the border] guaranteeing Colombian sovereignty," he said.

His remarks came after Cabello said earlier this week that Colombia is “paving the way” for the US to “attack” Venezuela.

"Colombia has declared internally that they are going to pave the way to US imperialism to attack Venezuela,” he said on a television program. “They are making a mistake because if we are going to war … with Colombia, it will be in their territory."

Apr 12 05:14

‘Tragic combination’: Millions go hungry amid Brazil COVID crisis

Ana Maria Nogueira adds one bacon-flavoured seasoning cube to the pot of rice simmering on the stove.

In the wooden shack that she and her husband, Eraldo, who is disabled, call home in Jardim Keralux, a poor neighbourhood in Sao Paulo’s sprawling eastern zone, the coronavirus that has killed more than 351,000 Brazilians seems like a faraway problem.

The couple has more pressing priorities. “This year, we’re going hungry,” Ana, 56, told Al Jazeera.

Apr 10 10:28

Chile’s mass vaccination campaign fails to save it from recent coronavirus surge

Chile’s government was praised throughout the world for its “model rollout” of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines. But the South American nation is now being hammered by a massive coronavirus outbreak that has threatened to overwhelm the country’s health systems.

Apr 10 06:16

Enabled By Biden, Mexican Meddlers Denounce “Supremacism” In U.S.; Mexico Struggles To Contain Biden Rush; ETC.

Tight on cue, now that Joe Biden is president, the Mexican government has resumed meddling in U.S. politics. Mexico’s Foreign Ministry has just set up something called Instituto Digital César Chávez para el Español en Norteamérica (the “Digital Cesar Chavez Institute for the Spanish Language in North America.“)

This is obviously disingenuous. Whatever one thinks of Chavez, he was an American opposed to illegal immigration from Mexico—as a Hispanic labor activist he fought hard against what he described as “wetback labor.” [Cesar Chavez, Minuteman, by Steve Sailer, American Conservative, February 27, 2006]

Of course, the Mexican Foreign Ministry doesn’t talk about that; it just shamelessly appropriates Chavez for its own purposes, much as an African country might appropriate Martin Luther King, Jr.

Apr 08 08:11

Pop-up mass vaccination clinic in Colorado is shut down after 11 people suffer adverse reactions to Johnson & Johnson shot and two are hospitalized

A pop-up mass vaccination clinic in Colorado was shut down after 11 people suffered adverse reactions to Johnson & Johnson shots administered there.

More than 600 people's appointments at a 'Vaccines for All' event at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City were cancelled on Wednesday when the clinic was forced to close at around 3.30pm.

Centura Health, which sponsored the event, said 11 people had adverse reactions such as nausea and dizziness in the on-site observation area minutes after receiving their Johnson & Johnson shot.

Apr 07 07:38

How Mexico's Most Powerful Cartel Used EBay to Arm Themselves With Military Gear

It started with his mom's credit card, claimed Ismael Almada in March 2020, as he voluntarily spilled his guts to U.S. law enforcement officers during an interview in the Mexican city of Guadalajara. He'd originally used his mom's card to order weapons accessories and tactical gear off eBay for his security business that focused on anti-spyware and surveillance technology, before eventually moving to PayPal to make the trail of U.S. goods to Mexico a bit more clandestine.

He needed to. Most of the illegal imports went to the infamous Jalisco New Generation Cartel, known as the CJNG for its Spanish acronym.

Apr 02 04:49

Battery Race: Why Latin America's Lithium Triangle May Become a Bone of Contention for the US, China

In February 2016, the World Economic Forum announced that lithium batteries would be the core to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and transition to the "green economy". How could Latin American states sitting on the world's largest lithium reserves grab this unique opportunity?

Investors are observing "gold rush on steroids" for metals essential for building batteries as European and American governments are preparing to shift to electric vehicles and renewables within the framework of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Low-maintenance lithium-ion batteries are regarded as a key component of the "green" effort. According to the Financial Times, shares in the Global Lithium and Battery ETF have mounted about 170% over the past year, while producers of lithium have raised over $2 billion from investors during the past few months.

Mar 28 00:49

‘Concerned’ Washington demands Bolivia release former ‘interim’ President Anez and other officials accused of orchestrating a coup

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has demanded La Paz release a group of former Bolivian government officials, including ex-President Jeanine Anez, detained on sedition charges as he calls their arrests “anti-democratic.”

“The Bolivian government should release detained former officials,” Blinken said in a Twitter post on Saturday, demanding an “independent and transparent inquiry” into the human rights and due process issues related to the former interim president’s case.

Mar 28 00:45

Venezuelan President Maduro banned from posting on Facebook for talking about Covid-19 remedy – media

Facebook has made Nicolas Maduro’s social media account ‘read only’ for 30 days, after the Venezuelan president allegedly used the platform to promote a treatment he said could help deal with the coronavirus.
Maduro apparently posted a video on his Facebook page in which he talked about Carvativir, an herb-based remedy which he believes could neutralize the deadly virus, Reuters reported on Saturday. Facebook deleted the video and froze the president’s page, accusing Maduro of spreading misinformation.

“We follow guidance from the WHO [World Health Organization] that says there is currently no medication to cure the virus,” an unnamed spokesperson for the social media platform told Reuters. “Due to repeated violations of our rules, we are also freezing the page for 30 days, during which it will be read-only,” they added.

There has so far been no comment from the Venezuelan side.

Mar 25 10:47

Bolivia Says Elon Musk's Tweet Sparked A Coup

One tweet and all hell broke loose.

Tesla has to be the most controversial car manufacturer of the past few decades: its leader, the enigmatic Elon Musk continues to baffle the automotive world with innovations (Tesla now accepts bitcoin), and stories that are sometimes too good to be true. While the California-based company readies itself to launch some much-anticipated models such as the Cybertruck, a new scandal has reared its head, and this time it comes from the small South American nation of Bolivia. The president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, is accusing Elon Musk and Tesla of having a hand in the country's 2019 coup. Reality is stranger than fiction as they say.

Mar 25 08:11

Terrifying moment lightning strikes passenger plane right in front of the pilots as it prepares to land during a storm in Panama

The Boeing 737 MAX was coming in to land at Panama City during a heavy storm
A lightning bolt struck the plane's nose while 30,000 ft in the air
The plane landed safely with no injuries to any of the 140 passengers
This is the terrifying moment a plane carrying 140 passengers was struck by lightning as it prepared for landing.

The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft was flying at approximately 30,000 ft and was coming in to land at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City.

Dramatic footage captured from within the cockpit shows a powerful lightning bolt strike the nose of the plane as the pilots navigate a heavy storm.

Flying the aircraft in almost complete darkness, the pilots were stunned by the sudden lightning strike only yards outside their window.

Despite navigating tough circumstances and with 140 nervous passengers onboard, both pilots remained composed and were able to carry out their descent safely, with no passengers or crew harmed.

Mar 23 06:14

Railroad megamerger would create the first Mexico-US-Canada freight rail network

Two of North America's largest railroad companies announced a merger Sunday that would connect freight customers to Canada, the United States and Mexico on a single network for the first time in history.

Canadian Pacific (CP) agreed to purchase Kansas City Southern (KSU) in a deal worth about $25 billion after discounting $3.8 billion of KCS debt that Canadian Pacific will take on. It would combine two of the industry's fastest-growing rail companies at a time when online purchases have soared, overwhelming ports and delaying shipments.

The companies said in a statement that the deal would help them become more competitive. That could become increasingly important as the USMCA -- the revised NAFTA trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico -- takes hold. The combined company would operate 20,000 miles of rail, employing nearly 20,000 people and generating annual sales of about $8.7 billion.

Mar 22 07:15

Congress urged to probe whether Biden used vaccines as bargaining chip in immigration talks with Mexico

A government watchdog group has demanded that the US Congress investigate whether the Biden administration has used coronavirus vaccine deliveries to pressure the Mexican government to curb the stream of migrants crossing the border into the United States.

Jeff Hauser, executive director of the Revolving Door Project that scrutinizes executive branch appointees to ensure they use their office to serve the public interest, said he was “concerned about the possibility that President Biden may have bartered millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to achieve his anti-migration goals.”

“The Biden administration should not be in the business of trading Mexican lives for those of other Central and South Americans, for whom migration to the U.S. is often life-saving,” Hauser said in a statement on Friday.

Mar 21 08:09

Is Biden Using a Trump Card to Pressure Maduro Regime Change in Venezuela?

Six years of punishing economic sanctions have had a “devastating” humanitarian impact on Venezuela, the United Nations Special Rapporteur writes in a scathing report made public last month. It calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union to lift the economic sanctions that have strangled Venezuela’s economy in violation of international law.

The “Venezuelan government’s revenue shrunk by 99 percent, with the country currently living on 1 percent of its pre-sanctions income,” the report says, impeding “the ability of Venezuela to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.”

Mar 21 08:08

US Crimes against the People of Iraq, Vietnam, Nicaragua, … : Denial, Selective Perception and Military Atrocities.

When the horrors of the sadistic, near necrophile behaviour of U.S., personnel at Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad, first showed the tip-of-the-iceberg-lie of “liberation”: cruelty, depravity and bestiality on a scale which apparently dwarfed all that Saddam Hussein’s regime had been accused of, President George W. Bush said: ” This does not represent the America I know.”

He should have. It was under the watch of his father, George Bush, Snr., that in 1991, thousands of Iraqi conscripts were buried alive in southern Iraq, by US army tanks and bulldozers. “What you saw was a bunch of buried trenches, with peoples arms and things sticking out of them”, said Colonel Anthony Moreno who participated.(1)

Mar 19 09:29

US asks for life in prison for brother of Honduran president

A brother of Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez should be sentenced to life in prison for running a “state-sponsored drug trafficking conspiracy” with the nation’s current leader, US federal prosecutors say in documents filed before a sentencing hearing scheduled next week.

Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernandez, a former Honduran congressman, was convicted in October 2019 of participating in a conspiracy to traffic in cocaine to the United States that involved the use of machineguns.

Mar 17 06:04

Revealed: The UK Supported the Coup in Bolivia to Gain Access to Its ‘White Gold’

After a coup in the South American country of Bolivia in November 2019, democratically elected president Evo Morales was forced to flee. Foreign Office documents obtained by Declassified show Britain saw the new military-backed regime, which killed 18 protesters, as an opportunity to open up Bolivia’s lithium deposits to UK firms.

Mar 16 08:05

US health officials lobbied Brazil to REJECT Russian-made Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine despite 250k pandemic deaths, report confirms

American diplomats actively persuaded the Brazilian government not to approve a Russian-made coronavirus vaccine, as part of a campaign to counter the country’s “malign influence,” Washington has revealed in a bombshell admission.

On Monday, Russia’s Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which financed the development of the Sputnik V jab, published an excerpt that recently came to light from the annual report of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is responsible for healthcare and access to medicines.

As part of the self-appraisal of the department’s successes in 2020, it confirmed that its international team, the Office of Global Affairs (OGA), “used diplomatic relations in the Americas region to mitigate efforts by states, including Cuba, Venezuela, and Russia, who are working to increase their influence in the region to the detriment of US safety and security.”

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