Jack Rasmus welcomes Pablo Vivanco, political commentator in Quito, Ecuador to provide a latest update on the right wing economic and political forces in ascendance in South America, focusing on the latest developments in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. As the economic crisis deepens throughout the region due to forces beyond the control of progressive governments in the region—i.e. falling oil and commodity prices, collapsing currencies, capital flight, slowing global economy—right wing forces (with assistance of US government and elite) have launched in the past year an intense attack throughout South America to reverse the tide of progressive governments that came to power since 2000. Vivanco describes the strategies and tactics, economic and political, currently being employed by the nascent Right Wing Offensive, including efforts to depose recently duly elected governments in Venezuela and Brazil and the launching of intense austerity measures, shutting down of independent media, mass layoffs, while rewarding of global bankers and investors by the new right wing government of billionaire, Mauricio Macri, in Argentina. New popular movements of resistance are described by Vivanco, as are efforts of the new right wing forces and governments to stifle independent journalists and media outlets throughout the region.
Pablo Vivanco is currently Director of the English Division of Telesur Media in Latin America, a consortium of progressive Latin American countries. A former radio host of ‘Voces Latinas’, he is a long time activist in movements for progressive change in Latin America, living and working in Quito. For timely reports in English on daily Latin American political events, go to: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/index.html
-Today we discuss cases where Gringos have been tapped for extortion and kidnapping.
It’s not a matter of bad luck but more a matter of location, location, location.
-“HOOTERS” closes its doors in El Salvador… you’ll never guess why
-What places in Mexico, South America and Central America are most safe for gringos and expats wishing to start up a “brick and mortar” business?
-Tips on how to scout out the best locations for your “brick and mortar” business.
-Going “off the grid” in Latin America. More and more gringos and expats are doing it!
-It can be difficult for gringos and expats to blend in and be accepted by the locals. But when it does happen, sometimes it can be downright unsettling… maybe even frightening.
-The amazing “pizza test” and the extent of Latin classism at every level
The World Heath Organization reports that worldwide, an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. According to the WHO, depression is the leading cause of disability around the globe and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. Ayahuasca, a psychotropic brew of two plants, the vine Banisteriopsis caapi and the leaves of the shrubPsychotria viridis, has been used for centuries in healing ceremonies in the Amazon. In the last few years ayahuasca has gained prominence on a global scale, with thousands traveling across the world to participate in indigenous ceremonies in South America, most notably in Peru. Concomitant with the growing popularity of ayahuasca as a tool for spiritual and physical healing is an increased scientific interest in understanding the biomedical underpinnings and treatment ramifications of this powerful medicine. Recently, one of the most prestigious scientific journals, Nature, highlighted research conducted by a team of Brazilian from the University of São Paulo on the antidepressant effects of a single dose of ayahuasca on a group of six individuals suffering from major depression. In that study, researchers demonstrated that ayahuasca was able to alleviate symptoms of depression within hours of intake and that the antidepressant effects persisted for weeks afterward. Read
- Today we have some more personal stores concerning the failed attempts of Latin governments trying to copy the Big Brother state apparatus in Latin America. It's NOT working.
Talk about “lag time”! When discussing places “off the Gringo tourist trail”, Latin culture is just not remotely ready for anything resembling what we know as intrusive first-world Big Brother culture. So as far as personal freedoms are concerned, the somewhat predictable Latin "chaos" can be a very good thing (wait…that’s an oxymoron, right?)
-How safe are Latin infrastructure projects? Considering the general Latin lack of detail and proper maintenance, especially with government projects, should Gringos and Expats be overly worried about driving the roads, bridges and overpasses?
-More details concerning Latin bank issued credit cards (VISA /MC).
Power Shift: The Radicalized Right and the Battle of ‘American Values’
Leid Stories discusses the rise of the radicalized right in America and the seismic shifts it has caused, and continues to cause, in our notions about governance, national identity, democracy, and even self.
-The “Gringo Advantage” strikes again... sparking yet another simple, inexpensive business idea. (one you’d never expect).
-Fresh gringos and new Expats can get awfully steamed up when they find they have to wait an interminable amount of time just to get waited on by a cashier or bank teller. Today we have a gringo “drive up AutoBanco” story that will get you thinking about how and why “manana” time is a part of Latin culture and why it will probably never change no matter how much Gringos and Expats kick and scream about it.
-Today we have a strange (but not for Latin America) car parking-lot story that takes place at a modern Latin Airport
-What does ”Off the Gringo Tourist Trail” really mean?
-A visit to a typically decrepit, “free” Nation Health Care Latin Hospital.
There are 101 reasons why public hospitals are NEVER recommended for Expats and Gringos.
-We also have an email defending Mexico as a top place for Expat living
-An analysis of how the two-faced Latin media, and criminal Latin celebrity hypocrites, portray Donald Trump as the evil one.
Jack Rasmus takes a look at this past week’s major event in the collapse of the China stock market, as well as the resurgence of Neoliberal policies in South America and the US pivot to that continent and destabilization of economies in Venezuela, Brazil and Argentine now underway. What’s behind the most recent stock decline in China? Jack explains its relationship to the slowing real economy there, and the pressure to devalue its currency, the Yuan, that is growing. Devaluation coming in China is reflected in investors attempting to take their money and run, thus the stock decline now underway. China government efforts to slow it via ‘circuit breakers’ is not working as well as before. The real economy-currency-stock nexus will continue. How this all has contagion effects on the rest of the global economy is explained. Jack then looks at the US ‘pivot’ to South America, and specifically how the US destabilizes economies by wrecking its currency. Global oil and commodity crash, slowing China, and US interest rate hikes are all having major negative effects on South American economies. In this scenario, the US is now attempting to exacerbate Venezuela’s currency collapse even further, while attacking it politically and legally. Venezuela is a model of how the US destabilizes a country’s currency and therefore economy, as a prelude to re-establishing more friendly Neoliberal governments and policies.
-Some Expat auto owners weigh in with amusing stories describing what happens when Latin cops tried to shake them down for dough.
BTW: the car/vehicle paperwork shakedown situation is common around Christmas time (when most Latins are beyond dead broke).
-Latin cops love bribes (mordida). But they love free gifts too. That why long term Expats sometimes tuck certain special cheap giveaway items in their cars just to hand to cops pressuring for handouts. In the event you get pulled over, some key cheap items can work like a charm!
-In every Latin country there is a small group of 20 to 50 very wealthy “old money” families that own huge tracts of land along with many of the basic industries. Their last names and are well known to the rest of the working population- who generally revere them like minor royals. Often their snotty kids are unruly, abusive jerks. Even so, cops try to maintain a “hands off” policy. It’s sort of their Latin version of our “Gringo Advantage”…. though thankfully, few of us gringos come off like them in the pretentious jerk department.
-The parking situation in Latin America can be complicated. Today we compare Latin parking options to what you are used to up in Hartford and Cleveland. Some of what you are about to hear will sound a bit nutty, but that’s life in Latin America.
-More stories of failed charitable freebee attempts by first-world “do gooders” to save the poor…
-How “do gooders” team up with corporate monsters like Mcdonalds to use so-called acts of charity. The secondary effect is simply to program poor kids into becoming future “Happy Meals” consumers.
-More unique traditions that show up during Latin holiday season (most of these totally unknown by first-world people)
-Reports on two criminal Latin Ex-Presidents: one (from El Salvador) under house arrest for stealing $15 million plus and the other (from Panama) now holed up in Mijami awaiting extradition from the USA.
-Today we discuss the root causes of the massive Latin real estate bubble and why deceptive advertising looks as if it’s keeping parts of it somewhat afloat (but not for long)
-Latins celebrate the Christmas holidays for virtually months and months at a time. That said, if you yourself are obsessed about the Christmas season you’ll be in great company down here.
-Because Latins go all out for Christmas, most of them are dead broke before the big event even arrives which, oddly enough, is why the local cops are ever so vigilant as the day approaches. Cops love the holidays. “Tis the season” for the cops to squeeze extra cash out of unsuspecting drivers who are perpetually late and in a hurry to get somewhere (it’s a manana society you know). Today we talk about what to do if you get stopped or pulled over. Right off the bat there will be definite signs that indicate a bribe request is forthcoming. We’ll also explain a few tricks you can use to try to get out of it.
-Today I’ll describe my own very recent traffic stop- Christmas bribe/extortion story. Not to worry, it does have a somewhat happy ending. Listen now to hear how it took me a half hour to wiggle my way out of a sticky situation, when confronted with some crooked cops.
-In a late breaking email, a gringo listener (with a Colombian wife) describes some of the more common and clever new neighborhood extortion schemes that have been popping up in working class residential areas in Colombia, specifically in and around Barranquilla. Could it happen to me, you, or other Expats to? Should we be worried?
Listen and find out…