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NSA spying on Petrobras, if proven, is industrial espionage -Rousseff

By Anthony Boadle

(Reuters) – Reports that the United States spied on Brazilian oil company Petrobras, if proven, would be tantamount to industrial espionage and have no security justification, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said on Monday.

Brazil’s Globo television network reported on Sunday that the U.S. National Security Agency hacked into the computer networks of Petrobras and other companies, including Google Inc. , citing documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The report came as Brazil is preparing to auction rights to tap some of the largest oil finds in the world in recent decades, deposits trapped under a salt layer off its Atlantic coast. State-run Petrobras, Brazil’s largest company and a source of national pride, made the discoveries in recent years and will be a mandatory partner in developing all of the new deep-sea fields.

The Globo report added tension to relations between Washington and Brasilia already strained by previous disclosures of NSA spying on internet communications in Brazil, including email messages and phone calls of Rousseff herself.

An angry Rousseff has repeatedly demanded an explanation. At stake is a state visit by Rousseff to the White House on Oct. 23 to meet President Barack Obama and discuss a possible $4 billion jet fighter deal, cooperation on oil and biofuels technology, as well as other commercial agreements.

“If the facts reported by the press are confirmed, it will be evident that the motive for the spying attempts is not security or the war on terrorism but strategic economic interests,” Rousseff said in a statement.

The U.S. government has said the secret internet surveillance programs disclosed by Snowden in June are aimed at monitoring suspected terrorist activity and do look at the content of private messages or phone calls.

PETROBAS NOT A SECURITY THREAT

“Clearly, Petrobras is not a threat to the security of any country,” Rousseff said, adding that the company is one of the world’s largest oil assets and belongs to the Brazilian people.

Brazil will take steps to protect itself, its government and its companies, Rousseff said, without elaborating. She said such espionage and interception of data were illegal and had no place in the relations between two democratic nations.

On Friday, Obama met with Rousseff during a summit of leaders of the world’s largest economies in St. Petersburg, Russia, and pledged to look into the reports that the NSA had snooped on her personal communications and those of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto when he was still a candidate.

She said Obama had promised her a reply by Wednesday.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo is scheduled to meet in Washington on the same day with Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice, Brazilian officials said.

Globo did not say when the alleged spying took place, what data might have been gathered or what exactly the NSA may have been seeking. The television report showed slides from an NSA presentation, dated May 2012, that it said was used to show new agents how to spy on private computer networks.

In addition to Google and Petrobras the presentation suggested the NSA had tapped into systems operated by France’s foreign ministry and the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, an international bank cooperative known as Swift through which many cross-border financial transactions take place.

Brazilian officials said the spying report would not affect the upcoming auction of rights to extract oil from the giant Libra oil field, which will go ahead as scheduled on Oct. 21.

Some Brazilian politicians have suggested that U.S. companies should be excluded from the bidding, but experts said that is legally impossible according to the terms of the auction.

Libra has estimated reserves of between 8 and 12 billion barrels of oil, according to Brazilian oil regulator ANP.

Brazil is counting on the new oil production to consolidate its emergence as a world economic power and take the country’s development to a new level. Rousseff signed a law on Monday that designates the royalties from the new oil production contracts for health and education programs.

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Wrecking a Nation: Oil, Dependency, and Redistribution

Monday, 28 March 2011 01:00
Written by  Ralph R. Reiland

Here’s how the economic and political system of a nation is destroyed.

Every price increase of just a dime per gallon of gasoline at the pump extracts approximately $5 billion from the pockets of U.S. consumers over the course of a year.

On top of killing family budgets, with a dollar per gallon jump at the pumps picking our pockets of $50 billion per year, there is on the macro level an inverse relationship between the price of oil and the overall health of the economy — oil price hikes deliver less job growth, less demand for labor, more unemployment, more poverty, more inequality, more inflation, lower real income increases, and smaller advances in the standard of living.

Additionally, higher oil prices directly cause greater amounts of U.S. capital to be exported, both to pay the higher prices and to pay for the growing levels of imported oil.

In 1985, the U.S. imported 25 percent of its oil usage. Today, it’s 61 percent. And still we are placing restrictions on increases in domestic production, both for oil and other sources of energy.

A few days back, President Obama, rather than sticking around a couple hours to explain to the American people or to the U.S. Congress why we were going to war in Libya, flew off to Brazil to hand out a permit to allow deep sea oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil’s state-run oil company, Petrobras. Capitalist companies in America need not apply.

This particular foreign deal was an especially snug and nostalgic fit for Obama. Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is somewhat of a Latin form of Obama’s old Weather Underground chum Bernardine Dohrn.

In earlier days, Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla, was charged with running with a gang of redistributionists who accumulated revolutionary capital by way of kidnapping foreign diplomats for ransom.

A top priority for Rousseff today mirrors the “spread the wealth around” objective that Obama stated to Joe the plumber.

Dohrn, just home from a trip to Cuba in 1969 where she hoped to pick up some pointers on how to impose a “classless” society on the United States, displayed her true psychopathic colors in a speech she made to the Weathermen’s “War Council.” Speaking elatedly of the murders by the Charlie Manson gang of actress Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, and three other people, Dohrn proclaimed, “First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the victims’ stomachs! Wild!”

That’s the fully hateful Bernardine on public display, seeing herself as a new George Washington, a revolutionary fighter for a new nation. It’s the same role, except this founding mother was in serious need of a super-sized bottle of antipsychotic drugs and a super-tight straight-jacket.

Of all the places for candidate Obama to kick off his political career in 1995 in his first run for the Illinois State Senate, he picked the living room of Bernardine Dohrn and husband Bill Ayers, co-founder of the Weather Underground and, more recently, the national vice president for curriculum studies at the American Educational Research Association.

I’d have kept up my guard when Bernardine sashayed out of the kitchen and began circulating around with the hor dourves and metal forks.

In any case, it’s no surprise that things are coming apart, especially on energy. “If somebody wants to build a coal-fired plant, they can,” pronounced Obama during the presidential campaign. “It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

What’s the end game?  “Suicide Mission Accomplished”?

Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.

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Exclusive: Brazil to cut electricity taxes to boost economy

https://i1.wp.com/www.bloomberg.com/image/i7JVkWocWv9M.jpg

By Brian Winter
SAO PAULO | Tue May 15, 2012 9:55am EDT

(Reuters) – President Dilma Rousseff plans to cut and simplify taxes for electricity producers and distributors, two senior officials told Reuters, as part of a strategy to reduce Brazil‘s high business costs and stimulate its struggling economy.

Brazil has been on the brink of recession since mid-2011 as high taxes, an overvalued exchange rate and other structural problems squeeze what had previously been one of the world’s most dynamic emerging economies.

Rousseff has in recent months announced targeted tax cuts for stagnant sectors such as the automotive industry, embracing an incremental approach to reform that has drawn criticism from investors who say more drastic changes are needed.

But the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the tax reductions for electricity companies would likely be the most far-reaching to date.

They said Rousseff will announce the plans in coming weeks. Brazil has the world’s third-highest power costs so Rousseff is aiming to give relief to consumers as well as companies in energy-intensive areas such as steel and petrochemicals.

Internal government studies suggest that, depending on which taxes are cut, electricity costs could fall by between 3 and 10 percent starting as early as 2013, the officials said.

That would have a measurable impact on inflation, and thus aid Rousseff’s quest to push Brazilian interest rates lower.

“We know that taxes in Brazil are crazy, and we’re trying to do something about it,” one senior official said. “(Electricity) seems like a case where we can make a big difference quickly.”

Rousseff probably will not pass the tax cuts by decree, so she will have to negotiate them with Congress and other groups.

She plans to use her record-high popularity ratings to push through cuts to taxes at both the federal and state level, with a special focus on eliminating levies that overlap or are difficult to calculate, the officials said.

Brazil’s tax code is so complex that an average company spends 2,600 hours a year calculating what it owes, according to the World Bank‘s annual Doing Business study, which compares business practices around the world. That is almost 14 times the time needed to do taxes in the United States, and by far the highest among the 183 countries in the bank’s survey.

“The focus is as much on simplifying taxes as reducing them,” a second official said.

Brazil’s electricity industry includes state-run companies such as Eletrobras (LIPR3.SA) as well as multinationals like AES Corp. (AES.N) and GDF Suez (GSZ.PA). Hydroelectric power supplies about three-quarters of Brazil’s electricity needs, with nuclear, thermal and wind power accounting for the rest.

If the initiative is successful, Rousseff will use a similar blueprint to reduce taxes for other industries in coming months, possibly including telecoms, the officials said.

Specific details such as the size of the tax cuts, which taxes will be targeted, and the timing of the announcement are still being finalized by Rousseff’s team, the officials said. One said the plan would likely be unveiled in late June, before politicians nationwide turn their attention to municipal elections in October.

POWER COSTS A PROBLEM FOR INDUSTRIES

Electricity prices are a big component of the so-called “Brazil cost” – the mix of taxes, high interest rates, labor costs, infrastructure bottlenecks, and other issues that have caused the economy to become less competitive.

After a decade of strong performance, Brazil grew below the Latin American average in 2011 and so far this year.

Brazil’s average electricity cost of $180 per megawatt hour is exceeded only by Italy and Slovakia, the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a private think-tank, said in a 2011 study based on data from the International Energy Agency.

High electricity rates have contributed to stagnant investment and production in energy-intensive industries. Despite Brazil’s bauxite and alumina resources, no new aluminum factories have been built in Brazil since 1985 and two have closed, keeping production levels stagnant, the Getulio Vargas study said. It added that electricity accounts for 35 percent – “an insane proportion” – of the industry’s production costs.

Pittsburgh-based aluminum producer Alcoa (AA.N) said in April it was considering big production cuts at two of its Brazil factories in part because of high electricity costs.

One of the officials who spoke to Reuters said the situation at Alcoa had added urgency to Rousseff’s plan to cut taxes.

All told, taxes account for about half of the cost of electricity in Brazil, studies show. The taxes themselves are roughly evenly split between the federal and state level.

Cutting or simplifying taxes at the federal level will be relatively straightforward for Rousseff. However, she also believes she can push through tax cuts at the state level by using leverage from upcoming debt negotiations.

Several states are asking for lower interest rates on debt they owe the federal government. Rousseff will likely ask the states to simplify or cut their taxes on electricity in return, one of the sources said.

The left-leaning president will also ensure that any tax relief is fully passed along to consumers, the officials said.

Although the electricity sector is partly privately controlled, Rousseff believes she can use the pricing power of state-run companies to effectively push rates lower if needed, they said. An upcoming renegotiation of concessions in the industry could also be an opportunity to push for lower rates.

SHADOWS OF STRATEGY WITH BANKS

Rousseff’s tactics are similar to those she used to cut interest rates in recent months – another pillar of her strategy to reduce the “Brazil cost.”

Her government has frozen billions of dollars in spending, allowing the central bank to slash its benchmark interest rate by 3.5 percentage points since August. When some private-sector banks balked at lowering rates for consumers, Rousseff and senior officials publicly hectored them for having some of the world’s largest spreads.

State-run banks then announced lower interest rates for customers, and the private banks soon yielded and followed suit.

Such tactics have caused friction between Rousseff and some members of the business community, especially banking executives, who privately accuse her of trying to bully the private sector.

Yet the officials said Rousseff is using the best tools available to her to restore Brazil’s competitiveness. Congress blocked attempts at a comprehensive tax reform by her predecessor as president, and Rousseff, herself a former energy minister, believes the only politically viable alternative is to move one sector at a time, they said.

“I’m fully aware that Brazil needs to reduce its tax burden,” Rousseff told reporters while on a visit to India in March. “What I have done is take little measures that, in their totality, create greater tax breaks, which is fundamental for the country to grow.”

(Reporting by Brian Winter; Editing by Kieran Murray and Sofina Mirza-Reid)

Brazil: Oil Leak Found at Petrobras’ Roncador Field

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Brazil’s state controlled oil company, Petrobras, announces that on Sunday afternoon, April 8, a subsea inspection discovered seepage of oil coming from its Roncador oil field’s seabed in Campos basin.

The inspection was carried out using a Remotely Operate Vehicle (ROV), at the field located approximately 120 km off the coast of from the coast of São Tomé Cape, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, near the Chevron operated Frade field where two seeps – one in November, 2011 and the second in early March, 2012, occurred.

According to the Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP), the ROV was submerged approximately 500 meters to the East from the Frade field border line, where it collected oil samples which should help with identifying the source of the leak.

So far, no oil slick can be seen on the surface of the sea.

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Criminal charges and $22 Billion in Lawsuits Raise Questions About Brazil

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Dilma Rousseff, Image: Agência Brasil

 

By John Lyons, Wall Street Journal

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Dow Jones)–U.S. President Barack Obama is set to meet with Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff in Washington on Monday amid optimism for closer ties with South America’s rising economic power.

The issues in play reflect Brazil’s growing economic reach. Brazil’s biggest trade partner these days is China, not the U.S., and U.S. officials want Brazil as an ally in nudging China to let its currency rise. Brazil’s bigger economic presence in regional neighbors such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Cuba could allow Brazil to act as a moderating force in a region that has become more anti-U.S. in recent years.

Mostly, U.S. interests in Brazil are fueled by a growing consensus that the commodity-rich nation has put its history of periodic economic meltdowns behind it and will play a bigger role in world affairs as its economy grows. Brazil passed the U.K. as the world’s sixth-largest economy recently and is seeking a bigger voice in global forums such as the United Nations and the G-20 grouping of big economies.

Indeed, Rousseff’s U.S. trip comes a year after Obama traveled to Brasilia to meet her, a diplomatic overture that, observers say, underscored the Obama administration’s desire to hit the reset button on relations that became strained under Rousseff’s predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

(This story and related background material will be available on The Wall Street Journal website, WSJ.com.)

Under da Silva, U.S. officials complained, Brazil’s attempts to flex growing economic weight on the global stage often created headaches for U.S. diplomats seeking to resolve regional and global issues. Brazil refused to recognize U.S.-backed elections to resolve a Honduran coup; Brazil opposed U.S.-backed sanctions to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Though Rousseff is da Silva’s protege and hails from his left-wing Workers Party, she introduced a more pragmatic foreign-policy agenda tuned to providing direct economic benefits to Brazil, rather than carving out a protagonist role for the nation in the Middle East and elsewhere. The result, observers say, may be fewer distractions as the countries tackle increasingly important economic issues.

Rousseff’s “priority is the domestic economy,” said Tovar Nunes, a senior Brazilian diplomat who acts as a foreign-policy spokesman, in a recent interview.

At their White House meeting, the leaders are expected to discuss a range of issues, from global economics to regional security and the environment.

The U.S. is likely to seek Brazil’s support on regional issues ahead of a summit of hemispheric leaders later this month in Colombia. Some analysts say Brazil will urge Obama to add star power to a major U.N. environmental conference planned for Rio de Janeiro this year. Obama hasn’t yet committed to attend.

All the same, the potential for tense moments remains. Rousseff is expected to criticize an expansive U.S. monetary policy that many in the emerging economies blame for creating imbalances such as overvalued currencies and asset bubbles. Rousseff made a similar complaint to Germany’s Angela Merkel last month. Europe, like the U.S., has interest rates near zero to spur growth.

Not much is expected to be accomplished on long-standing bilateral trade issues. Brazil wants to sell more of its beef, orange juice, steel and sugar to the U.S., but those politically sensitive industries are mostly protected by U.S. policies that are unlikely to budge. The U.S. wants more access to Brazil’s growing economy for manufactured goods, but Brazilian factory owners are already complaining of foreign competition and clamoring for more protections.

One chance for goodwill: The U.S. let its tariffs on ethanol, an important Brazilian industry, expire last year.

But other economic issues have become tricky. Vast new Brazilian oil finds mean the country may become an important source of regional crude as production in Mexico and Venezuela declines. But criminal charges and some $22 billion in lawsuits against Chevron Corp. following a deep-water oil leak last year raise questions about Brazil as an operating environment for U.S. firms.

Meantime, Boeing Co. is competing with manufacturers in France and Sweden for a contract to sell some $30 billion in fighter jets to the Brazilian military. A recent U.S. decision to cancel an order of Brazilian-made military training planes is a strike against the American effort in deeply nationalistic Brazil.

Rousseff’s economic focus may foster deeper ties in unexpected ways. Consider one program, called Science Without Borders, which provides scholarships for thousands of Brazilians a year at top U.S. graduate schools. The immediate goal is to make Brazil more productive. But such exchange programs also pay diplomatic dividends as top-educated Brazilians forge bonds in the U.S.

On Tuesday, Rousseff travels to Boston, where she will visit Massachusetts Institute of Technology and meet with Brazilian scholarship students already studying at Harvard University.

More than any single agreement, Rousseff may be seeking something that was a scarce commodity for the volatile nation in past decades: Respect. The country’s leaders have sought to be treated as a partner with the U.S. to be consulted on important regional issues since U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower visited Brazil in 1960. Brazil has sought a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council essentially since the council came into existence.

Such demands used to draw mostly laughs. But that has begun to change amid Brazil’s economic growth. Obama is speeding up Brazilian travel-visa applications, in part because Brazilians are starting to outspend Europeans in key U.S. tourist destinations such as New York and Florida.

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

By gCaptain Staff On April 8, 2012

China gets jump on U.S. for Brazil’s oil

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Two export pacts a coup for Beijing

By Kelly Hearn – Special to The Washington Times

BUENOS AIRES — Off the coast of Rio de Janeiro — below a mile of water and two miles of shifting rock, sand and salt — is an ultradeep sea of oil that could turn Brazil into the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, behind Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The country’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, expects to pump 4.9 million barrels a day from the country’s oil fields by 2020, with 40 percent of that coming from the seabed. One and a half million barrels will be bound for export markets.

The United States wants it, but China is getting it.

Less than a month after President Obama visited Brazil in March to make a pitch for oil, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was off to Beijing to sign oil contracts with two huge state-owned Chinese companies.

The deals are part of a growing oil relationship between the two countries that, thanks to a series of billion-dollar agreements, is giving China greater influence over Brazil’s oil frontier.

Chinese oil companies are pushing to meet mandatory expansion targets by inking deals across Africa and Latin America, but they are especially interested in Brazil.

“With the Lula and Carioca discoveries alone, Brazil added a possible 38 billion barrels of estimated recoverable oil,” said Luis Giusti, a former president of Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA, referring to the new Brazilian oil fields.

“That immediately changed the picture,” he said, adding that Brazil is on track to become “an oil giant.”

During Mrs. Rousseff’s visit to China, Brazil’s Petrobras signed a technology cooperation deal with the China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec.

Petrobras also signed a memorandum of understanding with Sinochem, a massive state-owned company with interests in energy, real estate and agrichemicals.

The Sinochem deal aims to identify and build “business opportunities in the fields of exploration and production, oil commercialization and mature oil-field recovery,” according to Petrobras.

The relationship with China goes back to at least two years before Mr. Obama came to Brazil to applaud the oil discovery and tell Mrs. Rouseff:

“We want to work with you. We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and, when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers.”

China rescued Petrobras in 2009, when the oil company was looking at tight credit markets to finance a record-setting $224 billion investment plan. China’s national development bank offered a $10 billion loan on the condition that Petrobras ship oil to China for 10 years.

A chunk of Brazil’s oil real estate appeared on China’s portfolio in 2010, when Sinopec agreed to pay $7.1 billion for 40 percent of Repsol-YPF of Brazil, which has stakes in the now internationally famous Santos Basin, and the Sapinhoa field, which has an estimated recoverable volume of 2.1 billion barrels. Statoil of Norway also agreed that year to sell 40 percent of the offshore Peregrino field to Sinochem.

Last year, Sinopec announced it would buy 30 percent of GALP of Brazil, a Portuguese company, for $3.5 billion. GALP has interests in the Santos Basin and a 10 percent stake in the massive Lula field.

“The $5.2 billion cash-in we will get from Sinopec is paramount for our strategy in Brazil,” GALP CEO Manuel Ferreira de Oliveira told Bloomberg News.

“It will give us a rock-solid capital base as we enter a decisive investment period at the Santos Basin. This operation values our existing Brazilian assets at $12.5 billion and is really a landmark for the company and for our shareholders.”

News reports in December said Sinopec is the current favorite to buy stakes in Brazilian oil owned by Britain’s BG Group, which also has interests in the massive fields of Carioca, Guara, Lula and Lara.

On Jan 8., the French company Perenco announced it was selling Sinochem a 10 percent stake in five offshore blocks located in the Espirito Santos Basin. Some of the transactions still await approval by Brazil’s government.

In December, Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez publicly reiterated his government’s commitment to an oil refinery joint venture with Petrobras.

That project reportedly is set to be funded by China’s national development bank. Some news reports have quoted the head of China’s development bank saying that new deals with Brazil are under consideration.

James Williams, an energy economist with the U.S. consulting group WTRG Economics, said the Chinese are taking on big risks with ultra-deep-water investments.

“But for them, the benefits are greater, as they become partners with companies that have better technology and expertise,” he said.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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Iranian president to tour Latin America

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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad heads to Caracas looking to expand ties and lessen impact of sanctions

Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro and Virginia Lopez in Caracas

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is due to touch down in Venezuela on Sunday on the first leg of a Latin American tour aimed at lifting his regime out of international isolation and bolstering its sanctions-hit economy.

Ahmadinejad, who is facing growing economic discontent at home and pressure from the west over Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, will also visit Nicaragua, Cuba, Ecuador and possibly Guatemala in a search for new and improved economic partnerships to reduce the impact of sanctions. The five-day Latin America visit is scheduled to start in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, with meetings with president Hugo Chávez, a long-time ally.

Ahmadinejad is then expected to travel to Managua for the swearing-in of the Nicaraguan president, Daniel Ortega, before travelling to Cuba and Ecuador. Reports suggest he may also visit Guatemala.

The president’s entourage is expected to include the energy minister, Majid Namjoo, who has said the tour is aimed at promoting commercial ties with Latin American countries. Analysts view Ahmadinejad’s excursion as a reaction to growing economic difficulties at home and political isolation abroad.

Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based thinktank Inter-American Dialogue, said Iran had economic and geopolitical agendas in Latin America.

“Iran has real economic difficulties and is isolated, so the trip makes sense in that context,” he said. “Latin America, in contrast, is in pretty good economic shape and is increasingly active in global, diplomatic affairs.”

Maria Teresa Romero, professor of international studies at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, said the trip was also intended as a warning signal to Washington.

“That Iran’s president has chosen to visit the region – and only the more staunch political opponents to the US – at a moment when tensions between the US and Iran are escalating is a challenge, a threat, from the Iranian government to the US that sends a clear message: ‘We can go to your backyard when we want to,'” she said.

Iran is grappling with a range of domestic and international problems.Its currency, the rial, has plunged to a record low in recent weeks, causing mayhem at the Iranian stock market and prompting fears over the future effects of the sanctions on the economy.

High unemployment, political power struggles and fears of unrest before the parliamentary elections in March have made the domestic political atmosphere increasingly tense.

At an international level, Iran has resorted to sabre-rattling and threatening countries involved in a campaign to bring sanctions against its central bank and impose a ban on the import of its oil.

Iran raised the stakes, warningthe west it might close the strait of Hormuz, a strategically important passageway in the Gulf through which one fifth of the world’s oil is transported, should greater sanctions on its oil be imposed.

Latin America has become an increasing priority for Ahmadinejad since his election in 2005. New embassies have opened in six countries, while state-run Press TV has also been beefing up its presence in the region, with correspondents in Caracas and more recently Sao Paulo.

On the eve of Ahmadinejad’s visit, one Press TV report said: “The promotion of all-out co-operation with Latin American countries is among the top priorities of the Islamic republic’s foreign policy.

But Shifter said Iran’s president should not hope for big advances during his tour. Ahmadinejad will not visit Brazil, the regional economic powerhouse, as he did during his previous visit in 2009 – an indication that relations have cooled since Dilma Rousseff took over as president.

“Iran should probably keep its expectations in check. If Iran’s goal is to extend its influence, Latin America does not offer a hospitable environment. It is telling that the larger, more significant countries are not part of Ahmadinejad’s itinerary. These countries may want greater independence from Washington, and may be flexing their muscles a bit on the global stage, but they are not keen to be aligned strategically with Tehran,” he said.

Romero said that in the case of Hugo Chávez, who faces a tricky presidential election in October, the visit could even backfire.

“This is an electoral year in both the US and Venezuela, and I would be surprised if the Republicans don’t use this kind of event to exert more pressure on the Obama administration. I think sanctions against Iran are likely to strengthen, but I also think they could be extended to Venezuela.”

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Obama-Soros Promote “Open Government”

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Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
9/22/2011

The Obama State Department and a George Soros-funded organization calling itself Global Integrity have launched an “Open Government” international initiative that should be a subject of late-night jokes.

“Here in the United States, we’ve worked to make government more open and responsive than ever before,” Obama said, as his administration fights congressional requests for information about the Solyndra bankruptcy and the U.S.-Brazil alliance to help the socialist and pro-Castro Latin American country develop its own oil resources.

Interestingly, the new “Open Government Partnership” project was announced on Tuesday at the United Nations by President Obama and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist terrorist…

…“Since the first day of his Administration, President Barack Obama has made Open Government a high priority,” declares the “Open Government Partnership National Action Plan.

This would be laughable were it not for the fact that the initiative and its cheerleaders, including those at the Soros-funded Center for American Progress, are apparently taking it seriously.

But the conservative legal group Judicial Watch has filed a number of lawsuits, complaints and Freedom of Information Act legal actions against President Barack Obama and his administration “in pursuit of the president’s repeated violations of the law and his contempt for the public’s right to know.”

Obama used his U.N. speech on Wednesday to urge the world to “harness the power of open societies” in order to fight corruption.  [emphasis CAJ] This sounded very much like George Soros, a funder of this new project who has been spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year promoting “open societies” in the U.S. and around the world. Soros, one of the richest men in the U.S., named one of his foundations the “Open Society Institute” but runs a secretive off-shore hedge fund, the Quantum Group of Funds, based in the Caribbean country of Curaçao, a tax haven…

…The Soros role in the U.S. housing market collapse continues to be a subject of much controversy, stemming from a meeting he had with John A. Paulson, a Wall Street trader who made billions of dollars on the decline in housing prices.

A possible Soros role in the Obama Administration’s dealings with Brazil continues to generate controversy…

…The Global Integrity group is managing the project and says that it is “supported by a diverse mix of charitable foundations, governments, multilateral institutions, and the private sector.”

The list includes:

Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Inter-American Development Bank
National Endowment for Democracy
Open Society Institute (Soros-funded)
Open Society Justice Fund (also Soros-funded)
Sunrise Foundation
U.S. Department of State
Wallace Global Fund
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The World Bank
Google is listed separately as having provided $350,000…

The complete article is at Accuracy in Media.

H/T Gulag Bound

Related: War Drums Beating: Anti-American George Soros Promoting Anti-Americanism in Central Asia

Richard Miniter has a very interesting article in Forbes about the damage anti-American millionaire George Soros is causing to both Central Asia and the foreign policy of the United States.

Soros is an interesting if risible figure. For good reason his name is a boogieman name for we on the right. Truthfully, though, most on the right don’t really have a full grasp on what it is he does to make his name worthy of being put in the pantheon of history’s worst haters of America…

Original Article

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