Ibero-American News Digest
London and Banco Santander Put 'Bolha Brazil' on Steroids
March 1 (EIRNS)A 24% average rate of return on the Brazil "carry trade" is apparently not good enoughat least not when you're trying to keep the international financial Ponzi scheme going for another round based on it, as Lyndon LaRouche has warned is London's gameplan.
So, Grupo Santander Brasil joined the San Francisco buyout firm Paul Capital Partners in announcing that they are planning big new moves into Brazilian assets, including those involved in the recently discovered giant pre-salt oil basin. "The investment environment is probably the best in 20 years," an over-confident Geoffrey David Cleaver from the São Paulo unit of Santander gushed to a Bloomberg reporter. On the basis of last year's speculative capital flood into the country, the Bovespa stock exchange rose by 75% over 2009, while its price-earnings ratio (a measure of speculative leverage) increased from 12.06 a year ago, to 19.3 today.
So, on Feb. 24, the compliant Central Bank of Brazil announced new measures for speculators to register derivatives transactions with the central bank, which will "stimulate the market for derivatives and private sector bonds ... in line with investor appetite for higher-risk products," Brazil's Jornal DCI.com.br reports. And on Feb. 26, Bovespa's executive president Edemir Pinto announced that the São Paulo exchange had just struck a deal with the Chicago Mercantile Exchangethe world's largest derivatives marketto "open the local [Brazilian] stock market to players of international stature, to attract big global players, principally those who are high-frequency actors."
The plan, which will go operational on March 25, will allow foreign speculators to invest directly in Brazil through the Chicago Merc, Nasdaq, and some European exchanges, by creating a "common platform for various kinds of assets including derivatives," Bovespa's director for investor relations, Carlos Kawall, told Agencia Estado. Bovespa's euphoric expectation is to become the second-largest stock exchange in the world by 2011 or 2012.
Chile Hit by 8.8-Magnitude Earthquake
Feb. 28 (EIRNS)A month and a half after Haiti's devastating earthquake, measuring 7 on the Richter scale, Chile was struck by an 8.8-magnitude earthquake early on the morning of Feb. 27, one of the biggest temblors to occur anywhere in the world in more than a century. The death toll so far stands at 714, but is expected to rise.
Significant damage occurred in the epicenter region, near Concepción, about 200 miles south of Santiago, the capital. Thousands of people are sleeping outdoors, and looting of supermarkets has been such that the government deployed the military to maintain control.
An EIR contact in Santiago called in tonight, describing the earthquake as "terrorific" and reported that in parts of the city that sustained substantial damage, people are sleeping outdoors for fear of aftershocks. Electricity and phone lines were down in several sectors, and the international airport is shut down.
President Michelle Bachelet quickly set up an emergency operations team at the National Emergencies Office (ONEMI) and then flew to the Maule regionthe epicenterto get an on-the-ground view of damages. Declaring the region to be a "castrophe zone," she made clear that she is personally overseeing the emergency response.
The U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) in Golden, Colorado reported that the Chilean quake released 500 times more energy than the Jan. 12 quake that hit Haiti.
London Seeks Extinction of 'Fourth World' Haiti
March 1 (EIRNS)The sophists at the London Economist have discovered that the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12 had far more deadly consequences than the Feb. 27 8.8-magnitude quake in Chile. Why? Because Chile has been able to "invest in transport and health infrastructure that far surpasses Haiti's," which is "the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere."
On Feb. 29, Time magazine echoed the racist British imperialist line that it was the "incorrigible corruption" of the Haitian government that was responsible for the enormous devastation, and demanded that billions of dollars in aid to Haiti should be tied to its promise to improve its "abysmal governance."
What about the decades of free trade, globalization, and drug-promoting policies which have brought the Haitian nation to the edge of extinction, with over 80% of the population living under the poverty line, and levels of unemployment that over the last decade have ranged from a low of 50% to a high of 70%or more?
A review of basic physical economic parameters in Haiti from the mid-2000s, demonstrates that it is much more like a devastated Sub-Saharan African country, than the "merely" impoverished nations of Ibero-America. And, in many areas, Haiti is worse off than the average for Sub-Saharan Africa.
For example, Haiti consumes 251 kg of oil equivalent per capita annually; Sub-Saharan Africa 667; Ibero-America 1,156. And cereal yields in Haiti are 868 grams per hectarei.e., less than one kg/ha; Africa is 1,071, and Ibero-America 3,012. Small wonder that Haiti imports about 60% of its food, and its population suffers widespread malnutrition.
London's Dope, Inc. and Haiti
March 1 (EIRNS)One of the frequent lies one hears from British genocidalists and their U.S. followers, is that the Haitian government is so corrupt that international aid cannot be channeled through it, and instead has to be given directly to "non-corrupt" NGOssuch as those run by the world's leading drug-runner, British agent George Soros, or those controlled by Bill Gates, who is an ardent advocate of Malthusian genocide.
But the real corruption in Haiti is that of the British Empire's own Dope, Inc. apparatus, which has come to dominate areas of the deliberately devastated Haitian economy, and penetrated its political class. In a country with 50% official unemploymentand real unemployment likely 60-70%what do you expect?
The State Department's 2009 INCSR (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report) says that "Haiti remains a major transit country for cocaine and marijuana from South America and the Caribbean, respectively." Small aircraft do offshore drops to waiting boats, as well as land on at least 29 clandestine air strips, especially in the south of the country. "Suspect drug flights from Venezuela increased at least 15% in 2008 following on the 38% increase officially recorded in 2007. However, the actual rate of increase may be much higher." Go-fast boats are also used to offload drugs to Haitian fishing boats or cargo ships, which take it to the U.S. and, to a lesser degree, Europe.
A June 8, 2007 meeting at the U.S. Institute for Peace (USIP) on the Haiti drug problem, gave some useful specifics. While 90% of cocaine entering the U.S. does through Mexico and Central America, the remaining 10% goes through the Caribbean. There has been "sharply increased cocaine shipments from Venezuela through Haiti and the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola. U.S. government agencies estimate that 83 metric tons or about 8% of the cocaine entering the U.S. in 2006 transited either Haiti or the Dominican Republic." And recently there has been a shift away from the Dominican Republic towards Haiti.