Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Al-Jazeera to Open Offices in Latin America

Brazil-Arab news agency (ANBA) informs that Al-Jazeera is planning to open a newsroom in Caracas, Venezuela this coming July and before year end a branch of Doha-Al-Jazeera, a television channel, in Brazil with reporters posted in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Al-Jazeera network has 54 million spectators worldwide. It plans to launch an English speaking TV channel and a documentary channel next year.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

UN Data: Andean Coca Output Increases by 3%

CNN reports a 3% growth in the cultivation of coca plants. This is the first time since the year 2000 that a production increase is reported. The figures come from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Other findings include: a 50% reduction in coca cultivation in Colombia and higher production in Bolivia and Peru. This contradicts Washington claims denying a regional "balloon effect".

Venezuelan Communications Minister Admits Army Discontent

Andres Izarra, Venezuelan Communications and Information Minister, is quoted in El Nacional newspaper admitting army discontent: "If there is discontent, it is due to organizational changes; this happens when anything changes, when for instance there is a transfer. This is always the case after the reorganization of the National Armed Forces; perhaps these changes cause frictions and misunderstandings, but there is no unrest. And if there were any unrest, it is normal because of the arrival of new commands."

Only two days ago Minister Izarra had denied allegations of army discontent.

Izarra is also quoted rejecting allegations that army members committed abuses against members of the National Guard (GN). Citing defense Minister Jorge Luis Garcia Carneiro, he affirmed that "the Armed Forces are united and firm." He noted that the presence of the GN, as well as the Air Force, the Army and the Navy, will continue in the new TO-5. Thus, operational capability will be increased to counter illegal and destructive mining. They will operate with 20 piranha boats, helicopters and soldiers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Venezuela Military Parade Cancelled Over Fears of Assassination Plot

Army Day parade, which takes place every 24 June to mark the Battle of Carabobo , was called off for security reasons said Defense Minister General Jorge Luis Garcia Carneiro. General Carneiro specifically mentioned intelligence reports on the possibility of an assassination attempt.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Brazil: Navy Admiral Talks of Internal Discontent

Navy Admiral Roberto Guimaraes Carvalho is quoted by the news agency Estado taking about "dissatisfaction among the troops" due to low salaries. He also says that commanders are managing to restrain subordinates. "There is a dispute; it is just and recognized by the president himself. We are awaiting a solution," said the Admiral.
"The minister of defense (Jose Alencar) has said several times that the current figure (the gap in military pay) is 36 per cent. That is the amount needed to bring pay up to date; it is not an increase. But it is also necessary to double the navy's modernization budget. But that does not mean doubling it for this year or next year. It means doubling it for a reasonable period."
(Translation by BBC monitoring services).

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Ecuador: The Gutierrez Conspiracy

Since deposed President Lucio Gutierrez announced his return to Ecuador the government is singing conspiracy.

Secretary of Government Luis Herreri­­a launched a pre-emptive strike in national television linking Venezuela President Hugo Chavez with Mr. Gutierrez and calling Mr. Chavez' Bolivarian movement, in all American fashion"evil".

In a similar move Former Foreign Minister Edgar Teran accused Gutierrez of a conspiracy involving Ecuador creditors and US financial interests. Deposed President Gutierrez is now in the United States.

The Ecuadorian Government is so nervous that sees enemies in both Hugo Chavez and the United States.

Don't be surprised if you see current Ecuadorian President Alfredo Palacio applying for asylum two months from now.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Pro Chavez Website Promotes Revolution in Bolivia

Aporrea.org, a pro-Chavez website used by the Venezuelan government for media campaigns, displays a banner calling for a revolution in Bolivia. It says: "BOLIVIA, No elections, No succession but a revolution."

The banner links to a story in which the Bolivian National Association of Miners calls for a revolution:
"The only solution for the current crisis is that workers ,farmers and the impoverished middle class take over the government"..."The current power vacuum is an opportunity to debate and impose a revolutionary government"..."The elections are an excuse to avoid the nationalization of our natural resources demanded by the population".

No wonder they want to avoid the electoral way. Evo Morales, an indigenous leader and the most popular figure from the radical left, only counts with a popularity rating of 15%. However, popularity doesn't mean much in today's Bolivia. The last President, Carlos Mesa, enjoyed an approval rating of 68% just a month ago.

The radical left movements are highly organized and will try to seize the opportunity.

The US government has accused Hugo Chavez of founding this movements, however no evidence has been produced linking the Venezuelan government with the Bolivian left.

BOLIVIA: Civil war "would be better" says Indian leader

Radio Programas del Peru website quotes Indian leader Quispe saying "We are reaching the point of a racial struggle between the whites and the indigenous peoples of this country"..."Either they continue to govern us or we will govern them. It is about time, it is about time that we take over the political power. We want the invaders to return the land to us"...""We are reaching the point of a racial struggle between the whites and the indigenous peoples of this country"... "There has always been war; there must be a war no matter what; there has to be; and in this manner we are going to see who will rule the country."

Quispe, convicted in the 1980s, is a federal deputy from La Paz department and head of the Pachacuti Indigenous Movement and the Sole Sindical Confederation of Campesino Workers of Bolivia (CSUTCB), an organization close to Evo Morale's party MAS. They have been both related to Hugo Chavez by the US government.

BRAZIL: Number of millonaires rises 7%

A Merrill Lynch study reports that the number of Brazilian millionaires increased by 7.1% in 2004. The total number of millonaires is estimated at 98K, up from 92K last year. This represents 0.05% of the 2004 population.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


The final declaration of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly did not include Condoleezza Rice's proposal to "monitor democracies". Analysts interpret this as a big US failure. On the other hand US officials have rushed to declare the meeting a success. Beyond the PR war the actual winner of the meeting will be defined by the current Bolivian crisis. If there is an intervention and democracy is restored then we can talk of a US victory. That scenario, however, is very unlikely.


Group of People's Combatants or GCP claimed responsibility for bombing of a building housing a Citibank branch in Guayaquil city early Wednesday AP reports. The GSP oposes free trade talks between Ecuador, Peru and Colombia with the US aimed at opening tariff-free access to U.S. markets.