AUTHOR

Greg Weeks

Ecuador Goes More Into Debt With China

For many years, the United States and then U.S. banks were deep in the loan business in Latin America. It's a great setup. You loan money to less developed countries and they often have a difficult time repaying on time. To ensure repayment, you loan them more money. As long as you keep friendly governments in power, you make a ton of money even if their economy falls apart. 
Now it's China. Rafael Correa borrowed about $6.5 billion from China between 2007 and 2017. Just as Mexico...

I've Got Big Walls

The Department of Homeland Security issued a press release today about the border wall.


Direct quote: "DHS is committed to building wall and building wall quickly. We are not replacing short, outdated and ineffective wall with similar wall." Odd use of the English language, to say the least.

This tweet came right around the same time.

It's not clear who is saving in the deal. To pay for the wall, the money would need to be coming to the federal government. But free trade deals...

Baseball and Politics in Venezuela

I am an avid listener of baseball podcasts, which I listen to while exercising and while in the car. A great one is Effectively Wild, which focuses on baseball analytics. For the very first time, a recent episode actually touched both on Latin American politics and U.S.-Latin American relations. It is about the tragedy of Venezuela, focusing on deaths of MLB baseball players (huge stars in Venezuela) José Castillo and Luis Valbuena, who were just killed in a car crash because...

New Documents on the 1965 Dominican Republic Invasion

The State Department just published a new Foreign Relations of the United States volume: Public Diplomacy, 1964-1968. Another word for "public diplomacy" is actually "propaganda." So, for example, in May 1965 the Director of the United States Information Agency wrote a memo to LBJ about the invasion of the Dominican Republic. He noted how difficult it was to get support in the region. We need to convince non-Communist governments of our good intentions.

If we are to...

Turnout Was Low in Venezuelan Municipal Elections. Why?

There was low turnout for the Venezuelan municipal election. Why?

Al Jazeera: "record low turnout, citing mistrust in the electoral process, the banning of opposition parties and widespread exhaustion amid the ongoing socioeconomic crisis."

Reuters: "Venezuelans said they preferred to use the day to shop for scarce food and medicine."

Associated Press: "not wishing to legitimize what they consider a corrupt process."

Deutsche Welle: "widespread apathy."

El Nacional:...

Will Bolsonaro Invade Venezuela?

Far right Venezuelan exiles see hope in Jair Bolsonaro and the possibility that he will either invade Venezuela or provide diplomatic cover for a U.S. invasion.
It is unclear how much support Rumbo Libertad enjoys in Venezuela. Henrique Capriles, one of the key leaders of its mainstream opposition, recently dismissed it as part of “a small extremist sect” that was intent on replacing Venezuela’s red dictatorship with one of another hue. Such groups were noisy on social...

Rejecting Immigration in Latin America

The right in Latin America is diverse but one commonality is suspicion of migration. Sebastián Piñera joined Jair Bolsonaro in refusing to sign the United Nations pact on migration. From the Interior Ministry:
"Our position is clear," he said. "We have said that migration is not a human right. Countries have a right to determine the entry requirements for foreign citizens."
This is disingenuous because the pact (full text here) explicitly stipulates that states have that...

Russia's Bombers in Venezuela

Russia sent two bombers to Venezuela, which prompted a public (i.e. Twitter) rebuke from Mike Pompeo and then counter-rebukes. As with Cuba in the early Cold War, Venezuela is just a convenient place for Russia and the U.S. to push at each other.

As always, Russia wants to show that it can mess around in the United States' "backyard," which constitutes a warning to stay out of Russia's.

It can also serve as a warning not to invade Venezuela. Russia has a lot of money tied up in the country,...

Senate Hearing on Immigration Enforcement

The Senate Committe on the Judiciary is meeting to discuss oversight of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Washington Post reporter Nick Miroff tweeted the following:
Grassley opens Judiciary hearing referring to "ongoing conflict" at the Mexico border, as if describing a war zone, and falsely claims "hundreds of people" were "throwing Molotov cocktails"
This sort of misinformation is disheartening, though of course not surprising. So I clicked through to read...

Race 14: Kiawah Island Marathon

For the 14th and final race of this year (here is my first post about my running year) today I did the Kiawah Island Marathon. I have not seen the official results but it looks like I was about 8-10 minutes faster than the Charleston Marathon, which was my first race this year back in January. Kiawah Island is not big so the course loops and twists around.



The course is known for being flat, and that helps a lot. The weather was good--about 50 degrees and dry. A bit of a breeze at times but...
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