>– Rousseff Surrounds Herself with Marxist Advisers: Personal Ally and Lula’s Finance Minister Antonio Palocci FARC’s Unofficial Brazilian Contact
– No “Dreadlock Holiday” in Mexico: More Bullet-Riddled Bodies Turn Up in Acapulco as Hotel Occupancy Plummets
Pictured here: Arturo Valenzuela, US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, speaks with Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega before a meeting in Managua, on October 28, 2010.
Daniel Ortega is fighting old battles in Central America. Harsh words from Managua reveal that Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator has not changed his warmongering ways, first exposed in the 1980s when the Sandinista Popular Army used Soviet arms and helicopter gunships to eradicate a US-backed counter-insurgency. This past Tuesday, President Ortega predicted bloodshed if Costa Rica does not cease its alleged provocations across the disputed San Juan River, which separates the two countries along their common eastern frontier.
Since October 24, each country has accused the other of illegal incursions by armed troops, in the case of Nicaragua its regular military and in the case of Costa Rica its national police. Costa Rica has no standing army, a fact that Sandinista propaganda conveniently overlooks. Both governments have fired off angry diplomatic protests, including, in the case of San Jose, to the Organization of American States.
Now Ortega is ratcheting up the rhetoric by denouncing peaceful Costa Rica’s “expansionist” intention to “steal” the San Juan. Appealing to the July 2009 resolution from the International Court of Justice at The Hague, which awarded ownership of the river to Nicaragua and navigation rights to Costa Rica, Ortega ranted:
Costa Rica is bellicosely threatening Nicaragua with elite troops dressed like “Rambo.” Who has any doubt that it’s part of the geopolitical vision of Costa Rica to claim ownership of the San Juan River?
In the 1600s and 1700s, the river covered an enormous amount of territory at its delta. And as the zone has dried, the river has moved and [Costa Rica] has continued to advance and take possession of terrain that doesn’t belong to it. The way things are going, if the San Juan River continues to move north and join with the Río Grande of Matagalpa [in the northern zone], that’s how far [Costa Rica] would claim its territory extended.
Nicaragua has the right to dredge the San Juan River to recover the flow of waters that existed in 1858, even if that affects the flow of water of other current recipients, such as the Colorado River.
Costa Rica cannot impede such an operation in Nicaraguan territory.
“We don’t want the blood of brothers to spill,” Ortega concluded ominously.
Following last Sunday’s run-off vote for the Brazilian presidency, South America’s largest country remains firmly in the camp of the Latin American Red Axis. Former urban guerrilla Dilma Rousseff won the election against her opponent Jose Serra, past governor of Sao Paulo state. Rousseff is a cadre of the ruling center-left Workers’ Party (PT) and outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s anointed successor. The daughter of a Bulgarian communist who found exile in Brazil between the two world wars, Rousseff enjoys the glowing endorsement of Venezuela’s red tyrant, Hugo Chavez. The PT governs in coalition with several other parties, including the Communist Party of Brazil.
Following her victory, Brazil’s next leader conferred by telephone with Chavez, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and US President Barack Hussein Obama. Rousseff also met with personal allies like former finance minister Antonio Palocci to discuss her transition to power, Rousseff’s foreign policy adviser Marco Aurelio Garcia told reporters in Brasilia on Monday.
The country’s first female president vowed her main goal is to eradicate poverty in Brazil while controlling spending. “We’ll care for our economy with complete responsibility,” the 62-year-old Rousseff told supporters in Brasilia. “The Brazilian people don’t accept governments that spend at unsustainable levels and for that reason we will make every effort to improve public spending.”
Brazil’s president-elect will benefit from a majority in Congress. The PT scooped up five additional Senate seats in last month’s preliminary elections, bringing to 14 the number of lawmakers the party has in the 81-seat chamber. Parties backing the government will control another 35. In Congress’ lower house Rousseff’s coalition obtained 311 of 513 seats.
Rousseff joins a shortlist of female presidents in Latin America, including Argentina’s Kirchner and Costa Rica’s Laura Chinchilla. Chile’s Michelle Bachelet stepped down earlier this year to make way for center-right opponent Sebastian Pinera. However, Rousseff joins a somewhat longer list of over-the-hill ex-guerrillas who occupy presidential and vice-presidential posts in the Western Hemisphere.
Investors will eyeball Rousseff’s cabinet picks for clues to how serious she is about controlling spending, explained Marcela Meirelles, an emerging-market analyst with TCW Group Inc. Returning campaign adviser Palocci to his former post as finance minister, she predicted, would trigger a “huge rally,” especially in fixed-income assets.
This would be an intriguing development because in 2005 Brazil’s Media without Mask website exposed Palocci, Lula’s 2002 campaign manager, as the unofficial Brazilian contact for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. For his part, Garcia, mentioned above, is a “hard-line Marxist” and past executive secretary of the subversive Sao Paulo Forum. Marxist Rousseff has surrounded herself with ideological kin who have thus far successfully disguised their true color.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s drug war rages in the tourist haven of Acapulco, where more than 30 people have been murdered over the past 10 days. On Tuesday, police found the bullet-riddled bodies of four young men on a road in the Pacific resort city. Last week, a Canadian businessman vacationing in Acapulco disappeared and is feared dead. A month ago, 20 Mexican tourists were allegedly abducted from the city. The Reforma daily reports that hotel occupancy in Acapulco has dropped to around 60 percent, compared to previous years, suggesting the narco-insurgency has in fact deterred tourists.
Across Mexico over the last few days more than 22 people have succumbed to drug violence. In eastern Veracruz state, six male bodies were thrown from a moving vehicle, acknowledged state attorney general Salvador Mikel Rivera, citing witnesses. Four others died in a shootout between the army and gunmen in northern Durango state, the attorney general’s office related. Six other violent deaths were reported overnight in Mexico’s “murder capital,” Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. Mexican and US authorities are probing the killings of four US citizens, two with criminal records, who were shot in Ciudad Juarez over the weekend.
In the same city, Mexican police have arrested a suspect in the March 13 killing of a US consular employee and her husband. Miguel Angel Nevarez Escajeda, alias “El Lentes” (Glasses), was detained last weekend on the basis of an anonymous tip. In early July, another suspect, Jesus Ernesto Chavez Castillo, the purported boss of a gang of gunmen enforcing for the Juarez cartel, was arrested in connection with those slayings.
Incidentally, in view of the latest bloodshed in Acapulco, communist guerrillas such as the Popular Revolutionary Army couldn’t do a better job in attacking Mexico’s “bourgeois” structures.