One Day with President: 24 hrs with Bolivia's Evo Morales (RT Documentary)
RT May 4, 2014
Have you ever imagined the life of a president? The only way to understand it is to live every minute with him as closely as possible. Today RT gives you this unique opportunity: living one day with a president. Lawyer and author Eva Golinger is the presenter of the program 'One day with ... '. In the first episode she takes us into the life of Bolivian President Evo Morales, showing us his daily struggles, his dreams and the real Evo that we don't yet know.
Argentina environmentalists, farm workers protest Monsanto pesticides.
RT.com May 15, 2014 04:05
Agriculture workers and various environmental advocacy groups in Argentina are protesting the use of pesticides produced by biotech giant Monsanto as they seek to halt work on the company’s new chemical plant in Malvinas Argentina.
Residents, along with workers who regularly come into contact with Monsanto's products, are calling for the suspension of the use of the company's pesticides, claiming they cause adverse health effects. The protest comes amid mounting scientific evidence that the liberal and often unregulated use of Monsanto’s chemicals are linked to growing instances of various cancers and birth defects.
The collection of groups protesting construction of the new plant in Argentina’s province of Cordoba have halted progress for months now, while they seek a permanent injunction based on health and environmental concerns.
“Here we have the aberration that on one side of the fence is the fumigation (use of pesticides) and on the other side of the fence is the town, or the local school, which is subjected to aerial spraying. Teachers have to come outside and shelter their students indoors because these toxic chemicals are raining down,” said Antonio Riestra, a member of the Unidad Popular party, which has joined the cause.
Beyond halting work on the new plant, activists hope to gain support from the local and national government to eject Monsanto out of Argentina. That goal seems remote, though, considering the proliferation of Monsanto pesticides along with the company’s genetically modified crops.
Within the last few decades, Argentina has transformed itself into the world’s third-largest soy producer, almost all of which is genetically-modified seed. The crop is now the country’s most important export.
Along with the growth of soy crops has come the liberal use of pesticides – the most pervasive of which is Monsanto’s glyphosate, which singles out invasive weeds when applied to the crops. The use of glyphosate – more commonly known as RoundUp – has surged, evidently as a result of weeds' increasing resistance to the herbicide.
Though Monsanto maintains that glyphosate has not been conclusively linked to cancers or prenatal malformations, use of the biotech company’s products in Argentina often goes beyond the suggested guidelines.
A recent investigative report by the Associated Press found that use of the pesticide was, at best, lightly regulated.
"With soybeans selling for about US$500 a ton, growers plant wherever they can, often disregarding Monsanto's guidelines and provincial law by spraying with no advance warning, and even in windy conditions," AP reported.
Guidelines preventing the spraying of the pesticide close to residential areas are often disregarded. One study cited by AP found trace amounts of the pesticide in 80 percent of local children.
Post by TsarSamuil on May 18, 2014 16:31:25 GMT -5
Russia has no plans for military bases in Latin America – Lavrov.
RT.com May 18, 2014 01:05
Moscow has no plans of creating military bases in Latin America but might establish some sustainment centers for the Russian Navy there, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Rossiya TV channel after a trip to four countries in the region.
“There will be no bases – we don’t need them,” Lavrov said on Rossiya's news show ‘Sergey Brilev’s News on Saturday,’ noting that in order for the Russian Navy to sail worldwide, it needs sustainment centers for refueling, maintenance of the vessels, and recreation of the crews.
“We’re not after setting up such centers in every country,” the minister stressed. “We will consider the proposals and these centers will be set up wherever it would be best possible for our Navy to negotiate with the host countries,” Lavrov said.
Back in March, there were reports that Russia may open naval bases overseas, with Argentina, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela named as possible locations. Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov then elaborated that Moscow had no intentions of setting up any military bases in Latin America and is only considering sustainment centers for Russian military ships in various ports across the globe.
At the moment, Russia has military bases in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Abkhazia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Tajikistan, and South Ossetia.
Plot to kill Maduro: Venezuela demands US explain role in assassination plan.
RT.com June 04, 2014 07:51
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has alleged US involvement in a plot to oust his government and assassinate him. The South American leader said there are hundreds of emails that prove members of the State Department were part of the conspiracy.
Venezuela has opened an investigation into a supposed plot to overthrow the government and assassinate President Maduro, reports Venezuelan state news broadcaster TeleSur. Authorities have alleged the plot was hatched by members of the Venezuelan far right with the support of the US State Department.
“We will ask the State Department for an explanation of the evidence that implicates high-level functionaries in a plan to assassinate the president of the Bolivarian Republic,” said Maduro during his weekly radio show ‘En Contacto con Maduro’.
Maduro went on to say the investigation had revealed new information about the plan to oust the Venezuelan government. He alleged that the plot not only threatened his life, but also the foundations of the Venezuelan constitution.
“The evidence shows they were trying to find a way to assassinate the head of state and other leaders of the Bolivarian Revolution,” said Maduro.
As part of the investigation, the Venezuelan authorities gathered hundreds of emails from political figures. According to Maduro the emails are irrefutable proof of the conspiracy against Venezuela by the far right with the support of the State Department.
“All of the emails were gathered legally,” said Maduro, adding that more evidence would be revealed later this week.
Anti-government demonstrations erupted in Venezuela in February of this year, with many protesters frustrated at high inflation and a lack of basic foodstuffs. The massive streets protests spiraled into violence which saw over 40 dead in the most protracted unrest in the country in over a decade.
Harvard-educated opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who spearheaded many of the street protests, handed himself in to police at the end of February and is now awaiting trial. The Venezuelan government had put out a warrant for his arrest, accusing him of homicide and terrorism.
Throughout the course of the unrest, Maduro has maintained the violence was caused by right-wing groups who hijack peaceful protests with a view to triggering a coup d’etat. He has also alleged State Department involvement, something Washington has categorically denied.
At the end of May, the Venezuelan opposition broke off talks with Maduro’s government after it refused to release 200 prisoners. Washington has threatened to impose sanctions on the Latin American nation if negotiations are not resumed soon.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jun 18, 2014 19:12:17 GMT -5
Argentina faces debt default but won’t “submit to extortion” by US vulture fund.
RT.com June 17, 2014 15:11
Argentina could face a debt default by June 30, the country’s second in 13 years. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said her country will not be able to pay fines imposed by the US Supreme Court in connection with the previous default.
"What I cannot do as president is submit the country to such extortion," Kirchner said in a national address on Monday evening.
The US Supreme Court has ordered Argentina to pay $1.5 billion to NML Capital, a hedge fund and subsidiary of Elliot Capital Management. By June 30, Argentina must pay up to $907 million, or risk losing the ability to pay bond holders through Argentina’s bank in the United States, the Bank of New York Mellon.
The money in question is billions of dollars of bonds the country issued before its $95 billion default in 2001; the largest government default in history.
Argentina said it will not pay the court-ordered sum.
NML is just one bondholder that wants to seek damages, and if others go after Argentina, the final claims could total upwards of $15 billion.
US federal law cannot protect Argentina’s assets, and the judges ruled seven to one that if Argentina doesn’t pay, assets worldwide- from military equipment to embassy property- could be seized.
The ruling could open a new slew of financial claims against Argentina, because other bondholders could go after Argentinean assets, hoping to get back money lost.
"It's our obligation to take responsibility for paying our creditors, but not to become the victims of extortion by speculators," Kirchner said.
Another default by Argentina could make attracting foreign investment next to impossible. To avoid a default, Argentina can pay its investors and continue to service its restructured debt, which is unlikely as the country doesn’t have enough money to do both simultaneously. Another option is to negotiate with investors or to complete bypass the American ruling, which could be a legal gray area. The last option is to default on its debts.
Argentina sounds alarm, says close to 'technical default'
RT.com June 26, 2014 15:04
Argentina’s economy is on a collision course, and is headed for default following a US Supreme Court ruling that could send creditors demanding bond payments, Economic Minister Axel Kicillof warned UN diplomats.
By June 30, the country needs to pay out creditors for billions of dollars of bonds that were issued before its $95 billion default in 2001.
"Whichever way you look at it this ruling is forcing Argentina towards the risk of economic crisis,” Reuters quotes Kicillof talking at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday.
"… this is going to push us into a technical default," he added.
Argentina is asking for more time to negotiate a solution with the creditors that Kicilloff refers to as “vulture funds”. Argentina must pay $1.33 billion to NML Capital, a hedge fund and subsidiary of Elliot Capital Management.
The country only has $28.5 billion in foreign currency reserves, and will not be able to meet the enormous demand. If they don’t pay, the US can revoke its privilege to pay bond holders through Argentina’s bank in the United States, the Bank of New York Mellon. Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has called this ‘extortion’.
Last Edit: Jun 26, 2014 17:29:00 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Post by TsarSamuil on Jul 11, 2014 18:25:51 GMT -5
‘Cooperation with Latin America is key to Russia’s foreign policy’ – Putin.
RT.com July 10, 2014 21:21
Moscow's cooperation with Latin American states is a priority for Russia’s foreign policy, President Vladimir Putin told Cuba's Prensa Latina and Russia's Itar-Tass news agencies in an interview.
Question: Russian leaders do not visit Latin America as often as they visit other parts of the world. What do you think South America and Russia can offer to each other today, not only in terms of economic benefits, but speaking more broadly?
Vladimir Putin: Relationships between countries and, more importantly, between nations can hardly be evaluated by the quantity of top-level visits. Most important of all is the reciprocal benefit that our cooperation brings. This is the most solid foundation for Russia’s varied ties with the Latin American countries.
South or, if we speak more broadly, Latin America is a unique civilisation that is close to us in spirit and culture. Paintings by Mexican muralists and Argentine tango, the Peruvian song El Cóndor Pasa and poems by Pablo Neruda became the part of world heritage long ago. We are all inspired by the work of the great Colombian writer and philosopher Gabriel García Márquez, and we admire the work of the outstanding Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.
Latin America is a rich source of natural resources – oil and bauxites, fresh water and food. The countries of this region share the interesting experience of creating a fairly stable model of democratic development and economic growth with a considerable social component.
The history of Latin America's fight for independence, for the right to decide its own fate deserves great respect. In our country, people know well of the legendary Bolívar and Martí, Che Guevara and Salvador Allende. The Blazing Continent is not only a description of a certain period in Latin America's past. It is a symbol of striving for a better life, prosperity, progress and social justice.
Today, cooperation with Latin American states is one of the key and very promising lines of Russia’s foreign policy. We are united by our devotion to the principles of versatility in world affairs, respect for international law, strengthening the central role of the UN, and ensuring sustainable development. All this makes us natural partners on the international arena and allows us to enhance interaction on a wide range of issues. We are grateful to South Americans for the support of our international initiatives, including outer space demilitarisation, strengthening international information security, and combating the glorification of Nazism.
For us it is essential that irrespective of which political power is currently in power in a particular country in the region, there remains a continuity reflecting vital national interests in the development of relations with Russia.
If we speak about economic side of our cooperation, we try to expand trade and economic interaction, above all its investment constituent. We are interested in building fully functional projects, industrial, technological alliances with the participation of the region’s countries, in using the potential of the complementary economies to the full extent, in cooperation on such relevant fields as oil and gas, hydro- and nuclear power engineering, airplane and helicopter construction, infrastructure, and recently – biopharmaceuticals and information technologies.
We will continue to provide Latin Americans with practical assistance in tackling new challenges, including training law enforcement professionals at the regional anti-drug training courses in Managua and Lima. We will expand cooperation during relief efforts following natural disasters.
We believe it is important to expand humanitarian ties, exchanges of students, young people and tourists, and contacts between people. The mutual easing of the visa regime within the zone of our countries will undoubtedly contribute to addressing this task. The visa-free zone covers practically all South American states and a number of Central American and Caribbean countries, and the number of the zone’s member countries will increase.
Question: What do you think of new integration platforms in Latin America, such as the CELAC, UNASUR and ALBA? What relations could Russia develop with these associations?
Vladimir Putin: We are interested in strong, economically stable and politically independent, united Latin America that is becoming an important part of the emerging polycentric world order. In this region, the traditions of love of freedom and respect for other nations and cultures are strong, and there are practically no serious intergovernmental conflicts or the wish to pursue the divide and rule policy. On the contrary, nations in the region are ready for joint action to protect their shared Latin American home.
Integration processes in Latin America reflect to a large extent the worldwide regional integration tendencies and indicate the pursuit of political consolidation in the region and reinforcement of its influence on global affairs.
I would like to highlight the role of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). It is meant as a union of all the countries on the continent, and its aim is to become a major forum for dealing with regional issues without the participation and obtrusive interference of external forces. We welcome the CELAC’s readiness to establish connections outside the region, including with Russia. Last year, Moscow saw the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Russia and the CELAC's extended troika. Now it is important to define concrete areas of cooperation. We are ready for this work.
We think that establishing contacts between CELAC and the countries taking part in the Customs Union and Common Economic Space would open up many new opportunities. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are deepening the integration process. In May, we signed the Agreement on Establishing the Eurasian Economic Union, which will come into force on January 1, 2015. This will create one of the world’s biggest common markets with a population of almost 170 million and free movement of capital, goods, services, and labour. This market operates on the basis of universal principles and WTO norms and rules. This will make it a lot easier to do business in the Eurasian region and broaden opportunities for developing mutually advantageous business contacts with foreign partners.
We are open to substantive interaction with all integration formations in the Latin American region. That includes the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the Pacific Alliance, the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
It is vital that all these associations, as they develop their external relations, should work towards the unity of Latin American countries, and not for their separation, both politically and ideologically. We hope that consolidation of multilateral cooperation will be an additional factor in the successful development of our bilateral relations with Latin American partners.
Question: Russia and Cuba have a long tradition of bilateral relations and our countries seek to develop it in the spirit of strategic partnership. What is at the core of Russian-Cuban relations today? How do you see their future?
Vladimir Putin: At the heart of Russian-Cuban relations lies a long tradition of strong friendship, as well as rich – and in many ways unique – experience of fruitful cooperation. The Russian people have sincere affinity and respect for Cubans. I am convinced that these feelings are mutual.
Our bilateral trade slowed down somewhat in the 1990s and foreign partners from various countries gained a lead on us in a number of sectors. The Canadians, for example, offered Cuba promising joint projects in the mining sector, and the Europeans have been actively developing tourism. We are ready to make up this lost ground.
Today, Cuba is one of Russia's leading partners in the region. Our cooperation is strategic and long-term oriented. We closely coordinate our foreign policy, including within multilateral organisations. Our positions coincide on many global and regional issues.
The main objective of our bilateral agenda is to expand our economic relations on the basis of the intergovernmental Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Programme for 2012–2020. We are working on some major projects in industry and high technologies, energy, civil aviation, the peaceful use of outer space, medicine and biopharmaceuticals.
Increasing humanitarian exchanges is one of the most important areas of our cooperation. Hosting Russian music and theatre performances and large-scale exhibitions has become a good tradition in Cuba. We will continue to develop youth and scientific contacts, as well as cooperation in education and tourism.
In short, we are optimistic about the future of Russian-Cuban relations. There are excellent prospects in virtually all key areas of bilateral cooperation.
Question: The level of trade and investment between Moscow and Havana is not as high as that of political and diplomatic relations. What steps could Russia suggest to increase Russian investments in Cuba and to substantially boost trade between the two countries? Are there any major projects in Cuba that are going to involve Russian companies?
Vladimir Putin: Russian-Cuban trade and investment relations have a great potential. In order to realise it effectively and on a regular basis we have established an Intergovernmental Commission. Its twelfth meeting is scheduled to be held in autumn 2014 in Havana. We have established close cooperation between our business organisations – the Russian-Cuban and Cuban-Russian Business Councils. Our businesses traditionally take an active part in the annual Havana International Trade Fair: in 2013, 50 Russian companies presented their products.
We believe there are real opportunities to bring our cooperation to a totally new level, including by implementing major joint projects.
In particular, in August 2013, Zarubezhneft started drilling the first development well in the Boca de Jaruco oilfield.
Our short-term prospects include the development of new oilfields in the Cuban offshore area. To these ends, Zarubezhneft and Rosneft engage in active cooperation with Cupet, Cuba’s state oil company.
INTER RAO is planning to join the construction of power units for the Maximo Gomez and East Havana TPP. The supply of Russian electric power equipment to Cuba is well underway.
A substantial number of Russian companies – specialising, in particular, in the production of reinforced plastic goods, auto spare parts, tractor assembly and installation of heavy equipment for the railway industry –have shown interest in closer cooperation due to the development of the Mariel special economic zone in Cuba.
The construction of a major transport hub is another large-scale project currently under development with Russia’s and Cuba’s involvement, as well as the possibility of attracting investment from third countries. It involves upgrading the port of Mariel and building a modern international airport with a cargo terminal in San Antonio de los Banos.
We attach great importance to high technology cooperation. In particular, active work is underway to create GLONASS ground infrastructure on the island, to provide Cuba with products, services and technologies in remote sensing and satellite telecommunications.
Russia wrote off 90 percent of the Cuban debt on loans granted in the Soviet times. This unprecedented step also testifies to the strategic nature of our bilateral relations. The total debt is huge, amounting to more than $35 billion. A relevant Intergovernmental Agreement was signed in October 2013 and now it is in its final stage of ratification. In addition, the remaining 10 percent, or $3.5 billion, will be spent by Cuba itself on significant investment projects, which Russia is going to select and negotiate together with the Cuban side. These projects are aimed at social and economic development of the Republic. We expect that these investments will prove fruitful.
Question: What are the prospects for the traditional ties between our countries in the humanitarian sphere, culture and tourism?
Vladimir Putin: We consider it our priority to develop ties in these areas. Tens of thousands of Cubans have studied in Russia. Annually, we give Cuban students the opportunity to study at Russian universities with the expenses covered by the state budget. One hundred scholarships were allocated to Cuba for the 2014 2015 academic year.
Joint theatre and music projects have always been very successful. A striking example is the triumph of the Anna Karenina production by the Vakhtangov Theatre last October in Havana. It was recognised by Cubans as the best foreign performance of 2013.
Russia takes an active part in the annual Havana International Book Fair, including the 23rd fair, which was held in February. We value this opportunity to present Russian classical and modern literature to Cuban readers.
We are very pleased that after a long break Cuba has re-joined the International Association of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature. A group of Russian language experts was established at the Cuban Linguistic Association, and specialised courses were launched at the Havana University.
The Orthodox Church in Havana represents an authentic monument to Russian-Cuban friendship. Its construction was initiated in 2008 by Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution.
A delegation of Cuban youth visited our country less than a month ago in the framework of the New Generation Programme of study tours to Russia for young representatives of political, civil, academic and business circles from around the world. Such trips have already been organised for two years. We hope that they will continue on a regular basis.
We consider tourism cooperation to be mutually beneficial and promising. Some 70,000 Russians visited Cuba last year. Currently, we are taking steps to increase the number of carriers offering direct flights between the two countries. Thus, we are going to ensure sustainable growth of tourist flow from Russia to Cuba.
Question: What are the priority areas for developing relations between Russia and Argentina? What are your key expectations from the visit to this country? What goals do you need to achieve in order to call it a success?
Vladimir Putin: Russia and Argentina are bound together by more than a century-long history of close ties and strong mutual attraction. They say that there is some Russian blood in every sixth Argentinian. Many people from our country found their second home in Argentina. In 2015, we will celebrate the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our nations.
Today, Argentina is one of Russia's key strategic partners in Latin America, the UN and the G20. Our approaches to the key issues in global politics are either similar or identical. We share the belief that there is a need to create a new and more equitable polycentric world order based on international law with the central and coordinating role of the UN. In May 2014, the Russian Federation and the Argentine Republic signed a Joint Statement on Not Being the First to Place Arms in Outer Space, which is a good example of cooperation between our countries.
I appreciate our constructive and confidential dialogue with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. I view my visit to Buenos Aires as an opportunity to discuss the full range of pressing issues of the bilateral and international agenda, as well as to continue a fruitful exchange of views on ways to strengthen relations in various fields and to outline joint and mutually beneficial cooperation projects.
Question: The current level of trade between Russia and Argentina is relatively low. What steps do you consider necessary to make a breakthrough in economic relations between our two countries?
Vladimir Putin: In 2009, our countries signed an Action Plan for Strategic Partnership, which has been a basis for our fruitful cooperation over the last years. We have made significant progress on the goals outlined in it.
When dealing with numbers, it is important to compare the right things. Over the last decade, trade between Russia and Argentina has grown six-fold and reached a stable level of $1.8 billion, making Argentina one of Russia’s leading trade partners in Latin America.
Our cooperation is mutually advantageous. For example, we buy the necessary volumes of agricultural produce, which is in high demand in our country, while Russia-produced turbines account for a quarter of the total power generation in Argentina.
However, projects implemented by Russian and Argentinian businesses over the recent years in such areas as renewable energy, power generation, oil and gas, transport machinery and a number of others, have not yielded a substantial increase in bilateral trade. We have work to do in that area.
We are planning to pay particular attention to enhancing technology and investment cooperation, particularly in such areas as energy, peaceful nuclear energy and mechanical engineering. We also see good prospects for further collaboration in the Antarctic. I plan to discuss all these issues during the talks with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
Question: In March, there was information that Argentina may become the sixth BRICS member. This idea was supported by three of the five member countries – India, Brazil and South Africa. What is Russia's attitude to it? Is the expansion of BRICS advisable? What are the criteria for other countries’ possible accession to BRICS?
Vladimir Putin: Russia welcomes the Argentinean authorities' intention to work more closely with BRICS. It is quite possible for BRICS to enter into strategic partnership with Argentina, as with other big developing countries, in both politics and the economy.
However, the expansion of BRICS is not being considered in practice at the moment. First, we should work out the numerous cooperation formats already created within of our union.
There are no strict criteria for other states’ accession to BRICS. Each case is considered individually.
On the whole, today, more and more countries see the potential of this association. That is why, in the future, the issue of gradually expanding BRICS is likely to be raised.
Question: How do you assess the status and prospects of the strategic partnership between Russia and Brazil? What key issues and specific proposals are you planning to discuss in Brasilia?
Vladimir Putin: Our bilateral cooperation is of strategic importance, as Brazil is a responsible member of the international community whose political influence is steadily increasing; it is also the largest country in Latin America and one of the leading economies in the world.It is enough to mention its active participation in BRICS, the G20 and a number of Latin American regional organisations (CELAC, MERCOSUR, UNASUR).
We support Brazil as a deserving and strong candidate for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. I am sure that this powerful and fast-developing country is destined to play an important role in the emerging polycentric world order.
I want to emphasise that Brazil is one of Russia's key partners in Latin America. We have long-standing relations of friendship, mutual respect and trust. We are actively developing political dialogue, defence, scientific, technological and humanitarian cooperation, as well as economic and investment ties.
Over the last ten years, bilateral trade has grown almost three-fold and reached $5.5 billion in 2013. Our companies maintain close contacts through the Brazil-Russia Business Council. The citizens of our countries no longer need visas to travel. Dozens of Russia's best universities that joined Brazilian educational programme Science without Borders are ready to welcome students from Brazil. Cultural exchanges have become a regular practice.
During the visit, we want to discuss areas for further developing cooperation and to outline new joint projects in energy, investment, innovation, agriculture, science and technology. We plan to sign a large package of documents relating to a variety of industries, including between specialised agencies, public and private companies, and research and educational institutions.
Question: The current level of economic and trade relations between Russia and Brazil is far below the potential that has been proclaimed by the countries' leaders. What steps do you consider necessary to accelerate the realisation of this potential? What are the obstacles that slow us down and prevent us from taking bilateral trade to a completely new level?
Vladimir Putin: Indeed, despite the good results achieved, there is still an untapped potential in trade and economic cooperation with Brazil. Moreover, there was a decrease in bilateral trade (3.3% in 2013), caused by global economic instability. In order to address the situation we need to diversify our trade ties by increasing the share of high-tech products and engineering goods, as well as by developing cooperation in aviation, energy and agriculture.
Russian companies are interested in the Brazilian market. Our countries' businesses have launched a number of successful investment projects in energy, engineering and pharmaceutical industries. For example, Russia’s Rosneft and the Brazilian HRT oil and gas company are jointly exploring and producing hydrocarbons in the Solimões river basin. In the state of Santa Catarina, the Power Machines corporation is setting up production of hydro turbines of up to 100 MW for their subsequent delivery to the markets of Brazil and other MERCOSUR countries. BIOCAD is developing a research, education and training centre in Brazil, designed to produce modern innovative medicines for the treatment of cancer.
I am sure that such projects will help bring our bilateral trade and economic cooperation to a more mature level, which meets the current and future capabilities of our developing countries.
Question: Brazil will pass the baton of hosting a world football championship to Russia. Are you following the FIFA World Cup? Which part of Brazil's experience in preparing and hosting the event has attracted your attention and can be taken on board while organising the 2018 World Cup?
Vladimir Putin: I try to follow the World Cup as far as my work schedule allows. The Latin American countries’ teams have put on a display of football that has real flare and talent. Unfortunately, our team did not leave the group, but, in my opinion, they tried their best.
At the invitation of Brazil and FIFA Presidents, I am going to visit the final match of the Championship to attend the ceremony of passing the baton from Brazil to Russia. In 2018, Russia will host this most popular global sporting event for the first time in its history.
In February-March, we successfully hosted the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi and know exactly what a challenge it is to organise such a huge event. We are analysing Brazil’s experience very carefully. Your country is yet to host the Olympic Games in 2016. Representatives of several ministries and organisations, including the Ministry of Sports and the Russia-2018 Organising Committee, are in constant contact with Brazilian colleagues. They have already visited Brazil and I am sure they will go there again more than once.
It is worth noting that Russia plans to take the FIFA World Cup a step further in some areas. For example, we passed a federal law establishing a special visa regime for foreigners who help organise the 2018 Championship, and enabling not only the official participants, such as the athletes, referees, coaches and others, but also the fans to visit Russia without visas right before and during the competition. The history of football championships has never seen anything like this before.
I am sure that the World Cup in Brazil will be a bright page in the history of football. I wish the Brazilian organisers every success in completing it. As for us, in 2018, we will do everything possible to give the world an unforgettable football celebration and show genuine Russian hospitality.
Question: How much attention will be paid during the talks in Latin America to the issues of the modern world order, which enables some players on the international arena to unilaterally claim significantly more extensive rights, including to spy even on those leaders that they call partners and to hack their phones?
Vladimir Putin: The 21st century world is globalised and interdependent. Therefore, no state or group of countries can unilaterally tackle major international problems and any attempts to build a separate “oasis of stability and security” are doomed to failure.
In order to meet numerous challenges and threats we have to stop trying to impose development models on other countries. This approach has repeatedly proven its ineffectiveness. It does not just fail to facilitate conflict resolution, but leads to instability and chaos in international affairs.
Today, it is especially important to consolidate the international community’s efforts to ensure equal and indivisible security, as well as to resolve disputes trough the application of international law and with the central coordinating role of the UN.
As for the facts of cyber espionage that you mentioned, it not only amounts to overt hypocrisy in relationships between allies and partners, but also a direct violation of the state's sovereignty, an infringement on human rights and an invasion of privacy. We are looking forward to jointly developing an international information security system.
Last Edit: Jul 14, 2014 18:10:41 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Russia writes off 90% of Cuba's debt ahead of Putin's 'big tour' to L. America.
RT.com July 11, 2014 08:51
Russia has written down $32 billion of Cuba’s Soviet era debt. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law ahead of his official visit to Latin America, with Havana as his first stop.
The agreement was first signed in October 2013 and draws a line under a twenty-year dispute.
Cuba is now required to pay back $3.2 billion over the next 10 years.
The first payment from Cuba is expected in October, and the money will be transferred to an account of the Russian lender Vnesheconombank opened at the National Bank of Cuba.
The agreement was signed into a law on Friday ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to Latin America, where Cuba comes the first.
Cash-strapped Cuba has been feverishly trying to restructure its debt to jump start its economy and attract investment. Three years ago it restructured $6 billion it owes to China, and in 2012 Japan forgave about $1.4 billion.
Mexico recently forgave $478 million of Cuban debt, and Havana agreed to pay back $146 million over 10 years.
Cuba’s total debt was officially estimated at $13.6 billion in 2012 which is described as “active”. Other debt collected prior to its default in 1980s is referred to as “passive”.
Cuba remains a strong ally of Russia, with trade between the two countries at about $200 million last year.
After the Soviet Union broke up Russia became the legal successor to Cuba’s loans. Cuba in turn rejected this, saying that the debt was in a currency that no longer existed, and was to a country that had vanished.
Putin’s 'big tour'
The next stop following Havana will be Buenos Aires. Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been very supportive of Moscow in its stand-off with the West, and regrets that trade with Russia hasn’t been better. The two leaders aim to increase the annual $1.8 billion turnover, but its energy deals where both hope to gain a lot. A fifth of Argentina's power is provided using Russian technology, and a new multibillion dollar nuclear power plant which is expected to be built by Russia’s state-owned energy firm Rosatom will certainly increase that.
Last, but certainly not least, is Brazil. Not only will Putin be lucky enough to witness the World Cup final from the stands - and go through a symbolic handover of the Mundial from Brazil to Russia - he has a lot to discuss with Dilma Rouseff.
Brazil is Russia's key trading partner in Latin America and the two leaders share a common view on US wiretapping scandals - President Rouseff was one of the world leaders whose phone was hacked by the NSA. So a joint information security project will be on the agenda.
Here Putin will also meet a dozen Latin America presidents in hope of striking new partnerships.
The tour will culminate with the BRICS summit, where the final bricks of a joint development bank will be laid. The new financial body that’ll focus on infrastructure projects will have a $100 billion budget, and could represent a solid attempt by developing economies to become less dependent on loans from such international organizations as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The BRICS countries are also expected to sign an additional $100 billion fund to steady the currency markets, a buffer that’ll provide for quick currency to compensate for massive capital outflows. Russia’s finance minister has already dubbed the body as a “mini –IMF.”
Russia will also propose to set up a BRICS energy association that will include a fuel reserve, as well as an institute for energy policy.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jul 14, 2014 18:20:16 GMT -5
Argentina not negotiating multimillion debt, say holdout creditors.
RT.com July 12, 2014 02:26
A key holdout creditor in dispute with Argentina over a massive, decade-old sovereign debt dispute said the country is not committed to negotiating following five hours of meetings in New York.
The Latin American nation defaulted on some US$100 billion worth of sovereign debt in 2002 – an event which triggered what most economists would consider a worst case scenario, with a run on banks, GDP contraction for years, and political turbulence which saw the country’s president, Fernando de la Rua, ousted from power.
Twelve years after that historic default, one holdout creditor firm, Elliott Management Corp, has continued a legal fight to compel Argentina's government to substantially improve its payout to investors. The terms offered to the bulk of investors for repayment are considered the worst in recent history, according to Reuters. Those investors received between 25 cents and 29 cents on the dollar.
Argentina was able to offer large-scale debt swaps by 2005, thanks to a surprising economic recovery, reducing bonds in default to 76 percent, and by 93 percent in 2010. The terms of those debt exchanges were not accepted by all bondholders, however, including hedge funds Elliott Management Corp and Aurelius Capital Management.
Creditors which rejected the country’s debt restructuring became known as holdouts, or as “vulture funds,” as their bonds were purchased on the secondary market rather than directly from Argentina for cents on the dollar following the 2002 sovereign default. Both Elliott and Aurelius specialize in acquiring discounted or distressed debt, and later negotiating favorable settlements through courts.
Holdout creditors have won a judgement of $1.33 billion, plus accrued interest. Those investors met with Argentine government officials on Friday – not in the same room, but rather separately through a court-appointed mediator. Apparently the sides failed to make up any ground.
“No resolution has been reached. It is my hope that there will be future dialogue," Daniel Pollack, the court’s special master and mediator, said in a statement.
The stakes for the country could scarcely be higher, as the third-largest Latin American economy faces another default amid an economic recession, one of the world’s highest inflation rates, and tight foreign reserves. Argentina has insisted that US District Judge Thomas Griesa, who has overseen the proceedings in New York, reinstate a suspension on his judgements before negotiations continue. The holdout creditors have countered that the country refuses to negotiate without preconditions.
"Argentina is still refusing to negotiate with its creditors, either directly or indirectly, about any aspect of this dispute, and we have not heard that it has any plans to change course," according to Jay Newman, portfolio manager at Elliott Management Corp's NML Capital Ltd.
"Simply put, we have not seen any indication that Argentina is serious about even beginning a negotiation," Newman said.
If Argentina seems to be dragging its heels on negotiations, that is because the country has been compelled to either pay holdout debt holders at the same time it repays those who have already agreed to the debt restructuring, or not pay at all.
A new stay would allow Argentina more breathing room beyond a July 30 deadline for a $539 payment currently in limbo with Bank of New York Mellon, which cannot be disbursed to bondholders following Griesa’s order. The situation has left Mellon in the unusual situation of asking the court what, precisely, it should do with Argentina’s deposit.
The latest legal wranglings are a result of the US Supreme Court declining to take up the case on June 16, setting into motion the current impasse.
Holdout creditors have indicated that they would be willing to discuss allowing Buenos Aires to repay bondholders who previously agreed to the debt restructuring if progress is made prior to the July deadline, suggesting that the ongoing negotiations may yet produce a settlement that avoids another default by Argentina.
Russia’s Rosneft to help Cuba explore offshore oil reserves.
RT.com July 12, 2014 02:10
Russian oil company Rosneft will help Cuban State oil company Cupet explore the country's offshore oil reserves, according to one of the cooperation documents signed between Russia and Cuba during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Havana.
Putin concluded his first stop on his six-day tour to Latin America in Havana, Cuba, where he met the nation’s President Raul Castro.
Speaking at a press conference, Putin confirmed that many major cooperation deals have been signed between the two nations.
One of the most significant agreements allows the Russian oil company Rosneft to help explore and drill on an offshore oil platform on Cuba’s northeast coast. The area potentially has up to 20 billion barrels of oil, according to Cupet.
"Developing new blocks on Cuba's offshore shelf is (expected) in the very near future," Putin said.
During the discussions, Putin was joined by Rosneft head Igor Sechin in order to finalize the deal.
Cuba has limited onshore production and relies heavily on imports from Venezuela for its oil consumption needs.
Putin also confirmed that Russia is writing off 90 percent of Cuba’s debt, which amounts to $32 billion. The remaining 10 percent will be reinvested into the Cuban economy, the president added.
"We will provide support to our Cuban friends to overcome the illegal blockade of Cuba," Putin said.
Meanwhile, Russian company Inter RAO Export and Cuba's Union Electrica signed a contract for the construction of four 200 megawatt units for the Maximo Gomez power plant.
Other documents signed on Friday include a bilateral statement on the non-placement of weapons in outer space and an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the area of international information security.
During the visit to Cuba, Putin also met with former President Fidel Castro, who stepped down due to health concerns in 2008, after 49 years in power.
Putin and Fidel Castro discussed international affairs, the global economy, and Russia-Cuba relations, the Kremlin stated.
Later on Friday, Putin made a surprise stop in Nicaragua on his way to Argentina. He will then go to Brazil.
Putin: RT Spanish to be broadcast in Argentina 24/7.
RT.com July 12, 2014 19:01
RT Spanish will start broadcasting 24/7 in Argentina, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a stop in Buenos Aires as part of his Latin American tour. RT has become the first foreign channel that will broadcast alongside Argentinian state channels.
"We are grateful to the Argentinian side for the opportunity to broadcast RT TV channel,” Putin said at a media conference in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires in the framework of his Latin American tour.
"We will be developing cooperation in the sphere of information. This is the aim of the agreement on cooperation in the field of mass communications. It will help the leading news agencies of Russia and Argentina expand contacts and promptly exchange information,” the Russian president said following talks with Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
For the first time in Argentina, RT Spanish will be available 24/7 via a separate “button” alongside state channels, said Putin.The agreement in the mass communications sphere comes into effect on Saturday.
Russian President met with his Argentine counterpart during his official tour of Latin America following his first stop at Cuba’s Havana.
Following the meeting, Kirchner stressed that the two countries share approaches to the policies of double standards espoused by certain forces in the international arena. Kirchner said she believes there should be “multi-sided, multipolar relations, as there is a need for countries of the world to drop double standards and to arrive at a solution that would be fair.”
Putin believes that Russian companies will take an active part in the modernizing of Argentinian electric power stations, as well as in building new power plants.
He added that Russia’s Inter RAO group is planning to help in the construction of Chihuido-1 hydropower plant on the Neuquen River – a project worth US$2 billion. Another Russian company – Silovye Mashiny (Power Machinery) – is supplying hydrogenerator equipment for the Punta Negra hydropower plant, Putin said.
Rosatom corporation is also ready to participate in the construction of new blocs for Atucha nuclear power plant in Buenos Aires province, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said earlier.
“As for the construction of the fourth and fifth blocs of the atomic electric station, Rosatom is currently actively working here. A technical commercial offer has already been handed over to [Argentinian] colleagues,” Novak said.
Speaking on the results of the talks, Putin said the two nations are also planning to strengthen cooperation in other hi-tech fields, including space. In particular, Russia expects Argentina to allow on its territory the installment of ground-based stations for Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS).
As for military-technological ties, the two presidents discussed the shipment of Russian helicopters and military cargo aircraft to the Latin American country for joint work in Antarctica.
“Despite complicated processes in the world economy, we’ve managed to maintain a positive trend in goods turnover. Last year it increased by over 16 percent,” the Russian president said.
Special attention will be paid to the development of cultural relations, Putin added.
The Russian president has called for holding the Russia-Argentina Bilateral Culture Year in 2015, as the two countries will also mark the 130th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year.
“This is a landmark event," Putin said, adding that it would bring the people of both countries closer, proving the depth of relations in culture and international affairs.
"Russia and Argentina are bound together by more than a century-long history of close ties and strong mutual attraction. They say that there is some Russian blood in every sixth Argentinean. Many people from our country found their second home in Argentina," Putin said in an exclusive interview to Latin American news agency Prensa Latina ahead of his South American tour.
Last Edit: Jul 14, 2014 19:10:12 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Post by TsarSamuil on Jul 14, 2014 18:23:37 GMT -5
Putin Signs Nuclear Energy Deal With Argentina.
The Associated Press Jul. 13 2014 12:58
President Vladimir Putin signed agreements on nuclear energy generation with Argentina on Saturday as part of a Latin American tour aimed at building Russia's influence in the region.
Argentina has been building nuclear-powered electricity plants to revive its nuclear program and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels amid an energy crunch. Putin and President Cristina Fernandez said the Russian atomic energy corporation, Rosatom, would be involved with the construction of units in Argentina's Atucha III nuclear power plant.
"These are very important agreements," said Fernandez, who had been out of the public eye for a week due to a throat infection.
"Argentina is a leader in Latin America in terms of nuclear energy generation," Fernandez said at a joint news conference at the presidential palace. "They reaffirm our bonds of friendship and strategic links."
Argentina has one of the world's largest deposits of shale oil and gas, but only a few companies have made commitments to develop the fields as many fear the government's interventionist energy policies.
Although a deal on the shale deposits was not announced Saturday, Fernandez said members of the Russian delegation traveling with Putin will visit Argentina's Vaca Muerta (Dead Cow) deposit in Neuquen province.
"We're talking about Russia — one of the world's top producers of gas and oil in the world. But we Argentines also have our own and it seems like others have noticed," Fernandez said.
After a dinner, the Russian leader was heading to Brazil for a summit of leaders from the BRICS nations: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
"Argentina is one of Russia's top strategic partners in Latin America. We cooperate in vast sectors and I'm in constant contact with the president," Putin said. "We also have similar positions in the international arena."
Post by TsarSamuil on Jul 14, 2014 18:33:28 GMT -5
Russia and Latin America: Partners for years to come.
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011).
RT.com July 14, 2014 11:25
The current visit of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to Latin America will become a milestone in Russian-Latin American relations.
The visit is aimed at achieving ambitious agreements on further cooperation in various fields, including energy, health care and military affairs. Russia is interested in developing strategic relations with an independent, united and economically stable Latin America based on mutual benefits and equality.
Latin America is steadily strengthening as an independent center in today's multipolar world. Its weight in the world economy and politics is increasing. In recent years the economic potential of Latin America has reached $3.15 trillion. Its combined GDP growth rate (about 4%) is second only to China and India. In the current turbulent world Latin America appears to be an island of relative stability. This makes the region attractive for partners in terms of trade and investment cooperation.
We believe that all this requires a break with old-fashioned paternalistic approaches to Latin America, which is now offering its own model of democracy, prudent macroeconomic management and increased social responsibility. Against this background, Russia's relations with Latin America have gained a strong positive trend. We were able to overcome the ideological narrow-mindedness of the Soviet era and are now building strategic relations based on an impartial approach and national interests.
Today, cooperation with Latin American states is one of the key lines of Russia’s foreign policy, and a very promising one. We are united by our devotion to the principles of multipolarity in world affairs, respect for international law, strengthening the central role of the United Nations, and ensuring sustainable development. All this makes us natural partners on the international arena and allows us to enhance interaction on a wide range of issues. We are grateful to South Americans for the support of our international initiatives, including outer space demilitarization, strengthening international information security, and combating the glorification of Nazism.
In recent years our countries have reached an unprecedented level of economic cooperation. We are interested in expanding trade and economic interaction, building fully functional projects, industrial, technological alliances with the participation of the region’s countries. The potential of the complementarity of our economies should be used to the full extent, in cooperation on oil and gas, hydro- and nuclear power engineering, airplane and helicopter construction, infrastructure. Good prospects exist in building up cooperation in peaceful use of nuclear energy and space cooperation, including on GLONASS, biopharmaceuticals and information technologies.
Our agenda includes the establishment of a dialogue mechanism between Russia and integration projects in the region, such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). A memorandum of cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) is under preparation. That also includes the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the Pacific Alliance, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). However, bilateral ties are to remain the focus of our efforts, in particular with regional leaders and our traditional friends, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, and Venezuela.
Most important of all is the reciprocal benefit that our cooperation brings not only to our governments and businesses, but the peoples, as well as to a stable and prosperous world. This is the most solid foundation for Russia’s varied ties with the Latin American countries.
Russia should give Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia a privileged treatment. The rest of South America is rather unreliable.
Yeah, like Colombia.
BRICS establish $100bn bank and currency reserves to cut out Western dominance.
RT.com July 15, 2014 18:14
The group of emerging economies signed the long-anticipated document to create the $100 bn BRICS Development Bank and a reserve currency pool worth over another $100 bn. Both will counter the influence of Western-based lending institutions and the dollar.
The new bank will provide money for infrastructure and development projects in BRICS countries, and unlike the IMF or World Bank, each nation has equal say, regardless of GDP size.
“BRICS Bank will be one of the major multilateral development finance institutions in this world,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday at the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil.
The big launch of the BRICS bank is seen as a first step to break the dominance of the US dollar in global trade, as well as dollar-backed institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, both US-based institutions BRICS countries have little influence within.
“In terms of escalating international competition the task of activating the trade and investment cooperation between BRICS member states becomes important,” Putin said.
Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa account for 11 percent of global capital investment, and trade turnover almost doubled in the last 5 years, the president reminded.
Each BRICS member is expected to put an equal share into establishing the startup capital of $50 billion with a goal to reach $100 billion. The BRICS bank will be headquartered in Shanghai, India will preside as president the first year, and Russia will be the chairman of the representatives. Each country will send either their finance minister or Central Bank chair to the bank’s representative board.
Membership may not just be limited to just BRICS nations, either. Future members could include countries in other emerging markets blocs, such as Mexico, Indonesia, or Argentina, once it sorts out its debt burden.
BRICS represents 42 percent of the world’s population and roughly 20 percent of the world’s economy based on GDP, and 30 percent of the world’s GDP based on PPP, a more accurate reading of the real economy. Total trade between the countries is $6.14 trillion, or nearly 17 percent of the world’s total.
The $100 billion crisis lending fund, called the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), was also established. China will contribute the lion’s share, about $41 billion, Russia, Brazil and India will chip in $18 billion, and South Africa, the newest member of the economic bloc, will contribute $5 billion.
The idea is that the creation of the bank will lessen dependence on the West and create a more multi-polar world, at least financially.
“This mechanism creates the foundation for an effective protection of our national economies from a crisis in financial markets," Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
The group has already created the BRICS Stock Alliance an initiative to cross list derivatives to smooth the path for international investors interested in emerging markets.
Russia has also proposed the countries come together under an energy alliance that will include a fuel reserve, as well as an institute for energy policy
"We propose the establishment of the Energy Association of BRICS. Under this ‘umbrella’, a Fuel Reserve Bank and BRICS Energy Policy Institute could be set up,” Putin said.
Documents on cooperation between BRICS export credit agencies and an agreement of cooperation on innovation were also inked.
Bringing emerging economies closer has become vital at a time when the world is guttered by the financial crisis and BRICS countries can’t remain above international problems, said Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff.
She cautioned the world not to see BRICS deals as a desire to dominate.
“We want justice and equal rights,” she said.
“The IMF should urgently revise distribution of voting rights to reflect the importance of emerging economies globally,” Rousseff said.
(L to R) Russia's President Vladimir Putin, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, China's President Xi Jinping and South Africa's President Jacob Zuma join their hands during the official photograph of the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15, 2014 (AFP Photo)
Post by TsarSamuil on Jul 16, 2014 16:05:14 GMT -5
Russia to reopen Cuban mega-base to spy on America – report.
RT.com July 16, 2014 07:51
Moscow and Havana have reportedly reached an agreement on reopening the SIGINT facility in Lourdes, Cuba - once Russia’s largest foreign base of this kind - which was shut down in 2001 due to financial problems and under US pressure.
When operational, the facility was manned by thousands of military and intelligence personnel, whose task was to intercept signals coming from and to the US territory and to provide communication for the Russian vessels in the western hemisphere.
Russia considered reopening the Lourdes base since 2004 and has sealed a deal with Cuba last week during the visit of the Russian President Vladimir Putin to the island nation, reports Kommersant business daily citing multiple sources.
“I can say one thing: at last!” one of the sources commented on the news to the paper, adding that the significance of the move is hard to overestimate.
The facility in Lourdes, a suburb of Havana located just 250km from continental USA, was opened in 1967. At the peak of the cold war it was the largest signal intelligence center Moscow operated in a foreign nation, with 3,000 personnel manning it.
From the base Russia could intercept communications in most part of the US including the classified exchanges between space facilities in Florida and American spacecraft. Raoul Castro, then-Defense Minister of Cuba, bragged in 1993 that Russia received 75 percent of signal intelligence on America through Lourdes, with was probably an overstatement, but not by a large amount.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union the base was downscaled, but continued operation. After Russia was hit the 1998 economic crisis, it found it difficult to maintain many of its old assets, including the Lourdes facility. In Soviet times Cuba hosted it rent-free, but starting 1992 Moscow had to pay Havana hundreds of millions dollars each year in addition to operational costs to keep the facility open.
An additional blow came in July 2000, when the US House passed the Russian-American Trust and Cooperation Act, a bill that would ban Washington from rescheduling or forgiving any Russian debt to the US, unless the facility in Lourdes is shut down.
Moscow did so in 2001 and also closed its military base in Vietnam’s Cam Ranh, with both moves reported as major steps to address Americans’ concerns. But, in the words of a military source cited by Kommersant, the US “did not appreciate our gesture of goodwill.”
No detail of schedule for the reopening the facility, which currently hosts a branch of Cuba’s University of Information Science, was immediately available. One of the principle news during Putin’s visit to Havana was Moscow’s writing off of the majority of the old Cuban debt to Russia. The facility is expected to require fewer personnel than it used to, because modern surveillance equipment can do many functions now automatically.
With the Lourdes facility operational again, Russia would have a much better signal intelligence capability in the western hemisphere.
“Returning to Lourdes now is more than justified," military expert Viktor Murakhovsky, a retired colonel, told Kommersant. “The capability of the Russian military signal intelligence satellite constellation has significantly downgraded. With an outpost this close to the US will allow the military to do their job with little consideration for the space-based SIGINT echelon.”
Raising the BRICS roof.
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011).
RT.com July 16, 2014 15:17
With the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa coming together for the 6th BRICS Summit, it is worth touching once again upon the significant role these countries and other emerging markets play in the global economy.
As the modern world is naturally becoming more multi-polar and complex, it is clear that a model of international relations with a single decision-making “centre of gravity” is prone to malfunction and is ultimately ineffective. The BRICS format, actively supported by Russia, is helping to enhance predictability and sustainability of international relations.
There are no plans to create any military-political alliance on the basis of the format, but a certain political element of cooperation is necessary. It is high time the BRICS’ role is raised to a new level to make it an integral part of the global system, which is truly geared for achieving sustainable growth. In our view, that can be done, among other things, by cooperating closer with the UN and its institutions, creating mechanisms for consultations between foreign ministries on conflict resolution (for example, on such topical issues as Syria, Iraq and Ukraine), coordinating our approaches and actions in areas like counter-terrorism and drug control.
An important topic is international information security in terms of agreeing a set of rules for responsible behavior in the global information space, and a possible joint information policy which could help present a more unbiased picture of the world. Other key subjects that are discussed within the BRICS format are the necessary, but unreasonably delayed, IMF reform, as well as the use by some countries of unilateral sanctions.
Apart from the search for common ground in relation to other global forces and trends, mutual cooperation between our economies remains a key item on our agenda. Development of trade and economic ties between member states is both an intention and a fact. BRICS’ mutual trade is now well over $300 billion and has a strong prospect for further growth, considering almost 3 billion consumers, unique natural resources, substantial technological, financial and industrial opportunities, as well as the need for new infrastructure. Established and planned instruments, such as the BRICS Economic Co-operation Strategy, the BRICS Business Council, a development bank and a foreign currency reserve pool will help realize this potential.
It is clear that the BRICS is a unique and modern format. Most of its member-states do not have a common border, it is transcontinental, but we have strategic interests and challenges in common. By working together and coordinating approaches the BRICS countries can better deal with modern challenges and achieve sustainable and long-term growth.
Last Edit: Mar 2, 2015 14:16:18 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Post by TsarSamuil on Jul 18, 2014 11:26:41 GMT -5
Listen to the sound of the Global South.
Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.
RT.com July 17, 2014 11:02
The BRICS summit in northeast Brazil has already made history for one key reason; the creation of the New Development Bank.
Call it the Global South antidote to that structural adjustment racket, the IMF. Over and over again, BRICS member nations and others have insisted on an institutional IMF reform that would recognize the economic weight of the Global South. Reform packages have been languishing in the US Congress since 2010. And once again they were blocked last April.
The New Development Bank will be way more democratic than the US/EU-controlled IMF. Look at the funding; a flat $10 billion contribution by each member country. This means, sooner or later, that other developing nations will also join. I have called it casino capitalism versus a productive capitalism model.
The summit agenda was humongous; the BRICS discussed trade, sustainable development strategies, macroeconomic policy, energy, finance, terrorism, climate change, regional security, drug smuggling, transnational crime, the industrialization of Africa. The BRICS are already advancing a slew of strategic multilateral projects in terms of setting up an alternative network infrastructure; for instance, the BRICS cable, currently being laid from Vladivostok to Shantou, Chennai, Cape Town and Fortaleza (where the summit took place). The BRICS cable is all about IT security, technology transfer, commodity turnover – and facilitating financial operations. Crucially, the cable bypasses the US.
On the second day of the summit, the five BRICS leaders spent four and a half hours at a round table with leaders of Unasur, the Union of South American Nations. There they were - Argentina’s Kirchner, Chile’s Bachelet, Colombia’s Santos, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Ecuador’s Correa, Uruguay’s Pepe Mujica, Venezuela’s Maduro, Peru’s Umala, among others. That was the Global South in action; a substantial chunk of the real “international community” discussing production, investment, integration – not sanctions and bombs.
They talked myriad possibilities of BRICS investment in infrastructure – and integration - projects all across Latin America. For instance, as Chinese President Xi Jinping suggested, the perennially dreamed railway from the Pacific Ocean in Peru to the Atlantic in Brazil. A trilateral Brazil-Peru-China working group was set to plan, design, build and operate the transcontinental rail.
Russia shared its experience on dealing with money laundering and transnational cross-border crime. On security, Russia and China shared the synergy between the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which binds Russia and China into a common security policy with Central Asia.
They talked about multiple strategies to bypass the Orwellian/Panopticon complex. And they talked about slowly implementing a multilateral, multipolar world.
From Brasilia to Brussels
In a nutshell, Putin and Xi played chess in Obama’s “backyard”, while the Yes We Can cipher was too busy playing with – what else - more sanctions.
Here is the common BRICS voice on sanctions; “We condemn unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions in violation of international law and universally recognized norms of international relations. Bearing this in mind, we emphasize the unique importance of the indivisible nature of security, and that no State should strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others.”
As the BRICS and Unasur talked cooperation and integration in Brasilia, in Brussels, France, Germany and Italy were the key EU members who refused to follow Washington and impose “sectorial trade and economic sanctions” on Russia. Still, the divided EU could not but end up singing to His Master’s Voice (US sanctions do wonders to promote the Transatlantic Trade Partnership, the multibillion dollar “free” trade still resisted by many within the EU.)
Thus the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will block new projects in Russia, and the European Commission will also suspend most of the grants and loans it set aside for Russia.
The White House, of course, remains in a mean and vindictive class all by itself. So here are more sanctions on Rosneft, Gazprombank, Novatek, and state economic development bank VEB, plus a rash of others on eight state-owned defense firms, Russian government officials, an oil shipping facility in Crimea, and federalists in Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine. The proverbially anonymous “US officials” were on hand to pronounce these sanctions would “restrict” Russia’s access to “US debt markets.”
Now compare it to the BRICS’s unified voice on Ukraine, pushing for “a comprehensive dialogue, the de-escalation of the conflict and restraint from all the actors involved, with a view to finding a peaceful political solution, in full compliance with the UN Charter.”
Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs, had pretty well defined, even before the summit, what the BRICS are for; “When it is said in the West that there is a kind of world community, which condemns us, they mean 28 NATO member states and the EU. However, this is not the world, but the West, the Euro-Atlantic community. And it is, with all its weight, not all of the world community, but only part of it.”
So not only this is the BRICS against the Washington consensus; it’s also the BRICS against the Western sanctions “model”. And the superimposed messages coming out from Fortaleza are crystal clear; the West’s monopoly on setting the global agenda is over.
Take also the BRICS’s unified voice on Israel/Palestine; they support “a contiguous and economically viable Palestinian State existing side by side in peace with Israel, within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders based on the 4 June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital”. They also “oppose the continuous construction and expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the Israeli Government, which violates international law, gravely undermines peace efforts and threatens the viability of the two-State solution.”
Israel, of course, is not listening. They’d rather go on with their slow motion ethnic cleansing of Gaza.
After all, former bouncer turned truculent Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Knesset, “the operation must end with the IDF controlling the entire Gaza strip.”
The BRICS, at the insistence of Russia and China, even introduced an updated draft treaty on the need to prevent the weaponization of outer space – as in Star Wars, an essential part of the Pentagon’s Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine. Guess who has always voted against it at the UN; Tel Aviv and Washington.
So the choice presented to the Global South is very simple, really. Pick your model; one is characterized by integration, cooperation, mutual respect. The other orders you to bow to His Master’s Voice; if you disobey, the model sanctions you to death, targets your energy industry, your access to financial markets, your wellbeing and, pushed to the limit, bombs you back to medieval times.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (R) makes a speach during the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15, 2014. (AFP Photo / Yasuyoshi Chiba)
A six-day tour by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Latin America ended with a long anticipated creation of the BRICS bank and the signing of energy agreements, as Russia looks to build alliances to counter Western influence.
The Latin America tour started with the visit to Cuba, where Putin signed a new agreement on oil exploration in Caribbean waters which contain most of the estimated 124 million barrels of the Island’s crude. The exploration will take place a few dozen miles from the US coast.
“We will provide support to our Cuban friends to overcome the illegal blockade of Cuba,” Putin said on July 11, referring to the US ban on trade with the island nation.
Earlier on July 12 Russia wrote off 90 percent of Cuba’s $32 billion soviet era debt putting the remaining 10 percent in investment of joint infrastructure projects in the island.
It was expected that after Cuba the Russian president will go directly to Argentina. However Putin changed the plan of the tour and went to Nicaragua for an unannounced visit. Putin and the president of the country Daniel Ortega met at Managua airport.
The leaders discussed a number of questions, concerning the deliveries of agricultural machinery, the subject of placement of the GLONASS land stations on the territories of Nicaragua, and also interaction in some other areas, in particular pharmacology.
The next country the Russia’s president visited was Argentina. There Vladimir Putin and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner signed a peaceful nuclear power deal. Russia will help in areas such as design, operation and decommissioning of old nuclear power plants.
The series of agreements will also see Russian atomic energy corporation Rosatom tender for the construction of two nuclear power plants in Argentina. Taking into account the standoff in relations between Argentina and the US caused by the requirement of the American hedge funds to satisfy all debts, Rosatom the state-owned nuclear company – would offer “comfortable” financial terms to Argentina for their construction, according to Reuters.
The last country Putin visited was Brazil, where at BRICS summit in Fortaleza on July 15 the group of 5 emerging economies - Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa - signed the long-anticipated document to create the $100 billion BRICS Development Bank and a reserve currency pool worth another $100 billion. Both will counter the influence of Western-based lending institutions and the dollar.
Russian President Vladimir Putin together with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff alsosigned a memorandum of understanding between Rosatom and Brazil’s Camargo Correa, which envisions the construction of a nuclear power plant and a spent fuel storage facility in Brazil.
The tour may have taken less than a week, but President Vladimir Putin is no doubt hoping that his 'whistle-stop tour' will help cement Russia-Latin America ties.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jul 18, 2014 13:48:39 GMT -5
Nobel Prize winning economist praises $100 bn BRICS bank created to counter Western dominance.
RT.com July 18, 2014 16:38
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has praised the new development bank founded this week by the BRICS countries for creating a financial institution that could counter the Western-dominated IMF and World Bank.
Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University and former chief economist for the World Bank, said the New Development Bank marks a “fundamental change in global economic and political power.” He added that the effort by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) could revitalize the way funds are distributed to developing nations in a changing global economy that the “old institutions” like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have not adequately recognized.
“The existing institutions just don’t have enough resources,” Stiglitz told Democracy Now. “They have enough for 2, 3, 4 percent. So, this is adding to the flow of money that will go to finance infrastructure, adaptation to climate change—all the needs that are so evident in the poorest countries.”
On Tuesday, the group of emerging economies signed the long-anticipated document to create the $100 bn bank and a reserve currency pool worth over another $100 bn.
The new bank will provide money for infrastructure and development projects in BRICS countries, and unlike the IMF or World Bank, each nation has equal say, regardless of GDP size.
Each BRICS member is expected to put an equal share into establishing the startup capital of $50 billion with a goal to reach $100 billion. The BRICS bank will be headquartered in Shanghai, India will preside as president the first year, and Russia will be the chairman of the representatives.
Stiglitz said the BRICS bank has the potential to “get more resources to the developing countries in ways that are consistent with their interests and needs” while forcing American-controlled institutions to recognize monetary and economic contributions of the BRICS nations that deserve a say in global investment decisions now dominated by the West.
“What I hear now is the developing countries, emerging markets, China and the other countries, saying, ‘We’re paying the tune. We’re the big players now. We have the resources. We’re where the reserves are. And yet, you don’t want to let us play even a fair share in the role, reflecting the size of our contributions in the economy, in trade,’” Stiglitz said.
“And so, that’s one of the real grievances—I think valid grievances. And it’s hard for an institution where the governance is so out of tune with current economic and political realities to be as effective as it could be.”
Stiglitz pointed out that governance rules for the IMF and the World Bank have not changed adequately enough since their creation in 1944, as the United States has refused to substantially modify its hold over the institutions’ functions.
“So, this new institution reflects the disparity and the democratic deficiency in the global governance and is trying to restart, to rethink that,” he said.
Despite the potential for the BRICS bank to revitalize the methods in which developing nations receive investment capital, Stiglitz said it’s too early to tell whether the five emerging-market nations’ effort will be considerably different from the older institutions. Nevertheless, the negotiations to this point signal a willingness from the nations to work together, he said.
“What it is really saying is that in spite of all of the differences, the emerging markets can work together, in a way more effectively than some of the advanced countries can work together.”
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Nov 28, 2019 11:30:45 GMT -5
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Jan 10, 2020 14:27:01 GMT -5
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Mar 15, 2020 10:48:19 GMT -5
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Apr 19, 2020 4:29:09 GMT -5
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May 18, 2020 9:10:02 GMT -5
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Jun 5, 2020 14:56:11 GMT -5
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Jul 24, 2020 2:37:47 GMT -5
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