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10/11/08

Repost: Free E-book on Vulnerability Management

This is a re-post from yesterday to give new readers a chance to enjoy this free offer. Pick up you free e-book today!

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Considering how the market is, "free" seems like the best price worth offering.......

Otto loves you as if you were his own sister or brother, dear reader. Because of that IKN has dug out a neat free e-book offer for you. From the world famous and rightly popular "For Dummies" series, here's a new title; "Vulnerability Management For Dummies." This e-book will walk you through how to avoid network attacks and bolster your business or company's online security.

All this vital and useful information is yours for free! Beats paying a consultant, no? So Here's the link to click to get your free copy. Please note that the offer is available to residents of the USA and Canada only (sorry, I'd offer it to everyone but there are limitations slapped on me).

Here's the link again, just in case you missed it. And here underneath is the blurb from the book people themselves. I hope you take advantage of this offer, people.....you know it makes sense.

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Get all the Facts and See How to Implement a Successful Vulnerability Management Program.

As a business owner, or someone responsible for network security within your organization, you need to understand how to prevent attacks and eliminate network weaknesses that leave your business exposed and at risk.

Vulnerability Management for Dummies arms you with the facts and shows you how to implement a successful Vulnerability Management program. Whether your network consists of just a handful of computers or thousands of servers distributed around the world, this 5-part book will help:

  • Explain the critical need for Vulnerability Management (VM)
  • Detail the essential best-practice steps of a successful VM Program
  • Outline the various VM Solutions - including the pros & cons of each
  • Highlight the award-winning QualysGuard VM solution
  • Provide a 10-point checklist for removing vulnerabilities from your key resources

Geographic Eligibility: USA, Canada

Publisher: Qualys

Peru: Yehude Simon is new cabinet chief

Nice tie, Yehude

Yep, you did hear it here first, folks. As reported by Otto last night at 10:30pm, Yehude Simon has just confirmed at a press conference that he is the new Cabinet Chief in the Twobreakfasts administration.

Wanna know how Otto knew 12 hours before the rest of the English-speaking world? Not telling yas!

Free weekend reading stuff


Just look at all the goodies! All the following are yours for just a mouseclick;


So when you find yourself bored and stuck for something interesting to read this weekend, don't blame me, ok?

The gold:silver ratio: An update

Here's the latest chart in the ongoing series.

Click To Enlarge

I bought SLV late yesterday (link here), and it was very much seat-of-the-pants. So last night I looked in a bit more detail at the current silver state of play. As that chart above explains, this really is an excellent investment right now. Silver will at some point return (don't ask me exactly when, though) to at least 60:1 against gold, and that means that even if gold does the unthinkable and sinks to U$700/oz, silver will still gain from here. However, as gold got the same type of liquidation hammering as silver yesterday, it's much more likely that both move up. Add that to the overbought signal coming from the RSI (which has worked three times more than it hasn't, so odds looked stacked in our favour) and the timing looks right for silver, too. DYODD, dude.

South America World Cup futbol Qualifiers


So here we are with another round of South America's religion, as the ten teams slug it out for another three points. As some might remember, Otto once again proved just how much he sucks at betting in the last round and lost all his original $100 hypothetical bankroll. But I'm going to give myself a present and stump another C-note up; this means I have $100 to play with all of a sudden, which is good.

So let's check the pairings this weekend, with prices by UK bookmaker Skybet dot com. If you don't know how the UK oddsmaking system works, check previous posts from that link above:

Bolivia Evens........ draw 2/1 ............Peru 11/4
Argentina 4/11......... draw 3/1......... Uruguay 15/2
Colombia 11/10......... draw 2/1........ Paraguay 12/5
Venezuela 6/1........ draw 5/2............ Brazil 1/2
Ecuador 11/10........ draw 9/4............ Chile 11/5

Now my selections.
I have to say that it's a tough one this round. I'm going to make Ecuador to beat Chile my main bet, as the home advantage of playing in Quito at altitude is significant. However Chile have proved themselves to be a pretty good team this season and it's not my most confident bet, so just $30 there. My second bet is Argentina and Uruguay to draw. Argentina is not firing on all cylinders yet, Uruguay have a good team spirit going and the 3/1 offered is good value, so $15 there.

So to re-cap my hypothetical bets:

Ecuador to win, $30 at 11/10 (potential return $63)
Argentina/Uruguay to draw, $15 at 3/1 (potential return $60)
$55 held untouched in bank.

And let's see how we get on.

10/10/08

Peru's Cabinet Ministers: All gone, bye bye


Well, President Twobreakfasts has done it in style; instead of picking or choosing a few sacrificial lambs, he's "accepted the resignation of" (read 'sacked') all of his ministers. From the good (Antonio Brack) to the bad (MiniMe, Alva Castro) to the indifferent (Valdivieso, Pinilla), all of them have just been given more time to spend with their families.

No word yet on who will replace the motley crew, but all the buzz is now around Yehude Simon (as mentioned this morning). Maybe PPK for Finance Minister, too. It's also possible that some of the same faces are re-hired in different roles. And Brack should be re-instated at Environment immediately if there's any justice in this world. That's throwing the baby out with the bathwater if he loses his post. Vamos a ver...........

UPDATE:
Here's Bloomberg's version

UPDATE 2,
10:30pm EST: Otto's famous jungle drums can confirm that Yehude Simon will be given the job of Cabinet Chief. This is very good news imho. You heard it here first, folks.

Exclusive: We Leak Calderon's TV Speech to Mexico tonight

Calderón: On the quiet, a talented dude

After using U$6.4Bn in international currency reserves to prop up the Mexican Peso today (and a total of U$12Bn over the week), Incakola can reveal that President Felipe Calderón will appear in a 10 minute TV address to the Nation tonight. And as a further revelation, IKN has gotten its grubby little hands on the tapescript of the speech Calderón uses to explain this drastic financial move to his electorate.

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"My fellow citizens. Today I, along with the directors of the Central Bank, decided to screw up the future for your children...NOOOO!!! I DIDN'T SAY THAT!! CUT! Start again...."

"My fellow citizens. Today the gringos up North begged us to sell our hard-earned reserves in order to save their fractured economic model ...DAMN!!! CAN'T SAY THAT!! Trying again...."

"My fellow citizens. Because we have been stupid enough to rely on the USA as destination for 85% of our exports....OHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOO......AGAIN.... AGAIN......"

"My fellow citizens. Today the Central Bank intervened in the foreign exchange markets and sold U$6.4Bn in international reserves in a very short space of time. I'm not going to explain why because economics and finance are very difficult subjects, and as most of you are peasants you wouldn't understand anyway. All you need to do is believe me when I, your elected President, say, "It's for the best". ¡Que Viva Mexico!

Ok, cut...I think we can go with that.....what?....this isn't a recording...................?"

Mexican Peso to US Dollar forex, five day chart

Silver under $10.........

Paulson models the latest in fall fashion

..........but there's more chance of the hole in your tush healing up than there is of buying some actual physical silver at under $10/oz today. There's enormous strain on large players to raise cash right now, and to paraphrase John Lennon, whatever gets you through the weekend, it's alright, it's alright.

SLV could be the buy of the week right here....like a cork being forced underwater. I'm getting myself a few and taking the risk. DYODD dude.


UPDATE just after the bell: For the record, took profits on PBR and holding SLV through the weekend. A reader/e-mail swapper whose opinion I've come to respect wrote the following on the subject of silver/SLV and I fully agree. Today could turn out to be 'revenge of the little guy'... It'd be nice to win one against the big boys for once, no?

".....I guess there is some poetic justice here if, as some say, the massive sell-offs we are witnessing are being caused by forced selling by hedgies struggling to meet margin calls."

Gold Reserve (GRZ) faces reality

Looks like Doug Belanger has finally admitted to himself that it's all over. With this sale of assets, the illusion of setting up and running a gold mine in Venezuela fades away. It only remains to see how much Rusoro will offer for the rest of the company. All rather sad, really........

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Gold Reserve Announces Sale of Certain Equipment
Friday October 10, 12:55 pm ET

SPOKANE, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gold Reserve Inc. (TSX:GRZ - News) (AMEX:GRZNews) announced it has agreed to sell one SAG mill, two ball mills (35,000 tonne per day through-put) and related motors currently being manufactured for the Companys Brisas Project. The total value of this transaction is approximately $43 million. The Company will recover approximately $18 million of progress payments and the purchaser will assume the Companys remaining payment obligations related to the equipment of approximately $25 million.

The Companys decision is consistent with its intention to stay financially strong by recovering amounts already paid and reducing future obligations. The sale of this equipment is not expected yada yada etc etc continues here

Peru: The Petroperu corruption scandal gives Yehude Simon his chance

Yehude Simon (for it is he)

Last night the whole of the Peru ministerial cabinet offered their resignations to President Twobreakfasts. While this is not as unusual as it sounds (there's often a symbolic resignation offering), this time Alan will be forced to act. Likely losses include the Prime Minister Jorge MiniMe del Castillo along with other long-time Alan cronies and APRA stalwarts such as Alva Castro (MinInterior). This follows on from the scandal Del Castillo caused in Peru's Congress yesterday when he and his cabinet tried and failed to barge in on normal proceedings. The result was one of those scenes from foreign parliaments you get to see on the TV in your own country sometimes

Rumours are swirling about the replacements. One name mentioned for the role of PM is Pedro Pablo Kuczynsky, better know to the world as PPK. A respected figure and smart economist, PPK was PM in the Toledo gov't. Today he said that even though he wasn't considering a return to public office, he'd be willing to help etc etc yada yada.

But another name on the lips of those who know is more interesting. Yehude Simon has already been mentioned at this blog and is a rising star who was already tipped for the top before this Petroperu mess started. Now the centre-left governor of Lambayeque region (and ex prisoner under the Fujimori regime) is almost certainly going to land a ministerial role, and might even get to play number two to Twobreakfasts. Your optimistic Otto hopes Simon gets his chance; he's run his region well so far and has excellent social credentials...and by all accounts he's a nice guy. And while we're at it, how about a post for blogfriend Susana Villarán, as a steadier hand on the social tiller is difficult to imagine.

Times are indeed a-changing, and they certainly needed to change in Peru. The APRA government of Alan has been mediocre at best and downright bad most of the time. Alan's 19% approval rating isn't some fluke, and this corruption scandal was the proverbial straw for the proverbial camel. Peruvians want change at the top and a change in direction for the country. Hopefully this week's corruption scandal will provide the catalyst.

There's nothing like making the best of a trip, is there?


When you're out traveling, touring and visiting it's best to pack in as much as you can to make the most of your time, isn't it? Well, as you're about to read the paramilitary groups in Colombia (the ones that the USA insists are the good guys and also insists on funding) have the same attitude as any other holidaymaker.

Here's an extract from businessman-turned-paramilitary chief Raúl Hasbún's recent testimony. You can find the rest of the report (in English) right here, and it's pretty compelling stuff. Hat tip to Lillie at the wonderful Memory in Latin America blog for passing this one on.

"...Without blinking, he confessed to the San José de Apartadó massacre of 1998. He said he ordered the massacre because the town was so secluded, and the logistics of getting there were so difficult, that it wasn’t worth it to make an incursion just to kill one or two people. Therefore, in order to make the most out of the trip, they killed the largest amount of people that could possibly be associated with the FARC ..."

Now go read the rest.

Free E-book on Vulnerability Management

Considering how the market is, "free" seems like the best price worth offering.......

Otto loves you as if you were his own sister or brother, dear reader. Because of that IKN has dug out a neat free e-book offer for you. From the world famous and rightly popular "For Dummies" series, here's a new title; "Vulnerability Management For Dummies." This e-book will walk you through how to avoid network attacks and bolster your business or company's online security.

All this vital and useful information is yours for free! Beats paying a consultant, no? So Here's the link to click to get your free copy. Please note that the offer is available to residents of the USA and Canada only (sorry, I'd offer it to everyone but there are limitations slapped on me).

Here's the link again, just in case you missed it. And here underneath is the blurb from the book people themselves. I hope you take advantage of this offer, people.....you know it makes sense.

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Get all the Facts and See How to Implement a Successful Vulnerability Management Program.

As a business owner, or someone responsible for network security within your organization, you need to understand how to prevent attacks and eliminate network weaknesses that leave your business exposed and at risk.

Vulnerability Management for Dummies arms you with the facts and shows you how to implement a successful Vulnerability Management program. Whether your network consists of just a handful of computers or thousands of servers distributed around the world, this 5-part book will help:

  • Explain the critical need for Vulnerability Management (VM)
  • Detail the essential best-practice steps of a successful VM Program
  • Outline the various VM Solutions - including the pros & cons of each
  • Highlight the award-winning QualysGuard VM solution
  • Provide a 10-point checklist for removing vulnerabilities from your key resources

Geographic Eligibility: USA, Canada

Publisher: Qualys

Click here to get your free e-book

Trading Post (Down South Edition)


Bovespa down 10% at the bell and immediately halted. Isn't this fun?

Petrobras (PBR) was down 13% at the bell...it's now down 5%. Oops, sorry...it's now down 7%. Yep, it's one of those days. Oh! Now it's down just 4%.........

I hate to say it and may be proved wrong as the day continues, but I suspected gold wouldn't be the one they all ran to. Spot gold is down under $900 as people liquidate to fill other holes in their portfolio. It's not PTB, goldbugs...it's everybody.

The Argentine stock market has come up with a smart plan to avoid losses today. It hasn't opened.

PCU down 14% at $10. This might mean those truck tires are about to get cheap again.......

As for the junior miners, plenty to choose from but CHECK OUT AQUILINE! (AQI.to). Errr...wrong time for a private placement, boys?

Oh looky! The Dow's now only 2.3% down......beats me why anyone was worrying. All is well....all is well......all is well.



UPDATE 11:30am: I couldn't resist. Bought some PBR at $25. Only a small position, and more for the fun than for the possible alpha.

Base Metals Wipeout

Wowsers. Very impressive charts coming right up:

Copper

Nickel

Zinc

Lead

No further comment needed, I reckon.

I may not be holding GLD and SLV any more, but i have plenty of cash waiting for the right moment. I feel there might be a trading chance around midday and may even risk a small smount on a broad market rebound somewhere, but today is basically a spectator sport...again.

10/9/08

Exclusive: Chávez Bankrupts USA in Vicious BigMac Attack

It is a little-known fact that before becoming President, Hugo Chávez
once screen tested for the role of Ronald McDonald

In a two-pronged attack on the Empire's main source of nutrition, Hugo Chávez has dealt a seemingly mortal blow to McDonald's (MCD) and the USA as a whole.

The first hit came yesterday, when a McDonald's restaurant in Cagua in the State of Aragua was closed for hygenic reasons. Part two of the major offensive came today, as the Venezuelan tax office closed all 115 restaurants in the country because of non-payment of taxes, as Reuters explains here (in English). Here's an extract:

CARACAS, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Venezuela's tax body has shut all branches of McDonald's in the South American nation for 48 hours as punishment for alleged tax irregularities, the government said on Thursday.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is a harsh critic of the U.S. "empire" and of global capitalism. Since first winning elections ten years ago, he has raised taxes and often temporarily closes companies accused of failing to pay.

We can clearly see the result in McDonald's share price chart over the last 48 hours.

click to enlarge

It is also thought that the Chávez induced run on McDonald's stock today was the prime cause of the late day selloff in the broad markets, with many traders fearing that they wouldn't be able to enjoy a Big Mac ever again and panicking about what to have for lunch tomorrow.

Fire and Ice by Robert Frost: Dedicated to the NYSE

You guys up there need to panic less, think more and learn a bit about your country's own history.

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Murder, rape, police brutality: Pando in Bolivia is still in the grip of fascists

This is the link to the English language report from Ukhampacha Bolivia. It fills me with disgust to see the way that both Bolivian national media and the wider international press corps ignore this story and try to bury it behind political ambitions.

Real people, real suffering, real fascism, real violence, real rapes, real murders. Where are you, Simon Romero? Where are you Andres Oppenheimer? Where are you, Jackson Diehl? How does this story not qualify as "Fit To Print", NYT?

Read the link. Click it and read it.

Aquiline Resources (AQI.to) News

Elsztain (for it is he)

On the back of its recent and very good looking scoping study (link here) for its Navidad silver project in the Chubut region of Argentina that shows the site is good for a very chunky 15m oz of silver production per year, AQI.to has today announced a round of funding. The idea is to sell four million shares at $2.50 a pop, each with a whole warrant attached. This will bring the fully diluted number at AQI.to up to 79.1m (I think).

At least one person who reads this blog every day will be very interested to know that a single investor by the name of Ernesto Elsztain is picking up 2m of those shares, and along with the attached warrants is putting himself in line to own 5% of the company. For those who don't know the dude, Elsztain is the guy behind the perennially underperforming stocks Irsa (IRS) and Cresud (CRESY), two stocks so badly run that even George Soros noticed he was being diluted to merry hell after a while and broke off his business with them.

I wish AQI.to luck with its new minority partner; it's going to need it.

Don Coxe Basic Points October 2008

I like this

The new Don Coxe Basic Points for October 2008 is out, entitled "Homeicide: The Crime of the Century". Darned good reading as always.

I don't know whether you can get your hands on a copy, but if you click this link right here it might help.

Inca Pacific (IPR.v): The junior miners fight back

Today I received a mail from Inca Pacific (IPR.v) that had a PDF overview of the company and its very nice Peru copper/moly project attached. The email and the PDF pointed out just how far the company has sold off and how ridiculous the current share price is compared to the facts about the company (which include the minor detail that even cash at bank is more than its current PPS...yes, it's gone that stupidly cheap).

I've always liked this company, and even visited its Magistral project site about a year ago (and was suitably impressed). So I'm pleased to see the "little guys" fighting back against this ridiculous market and getting back on the honest to goodness "look we're cheap" promotion trail. Here's a link to download the PDF overview of the company I was sent. It's only two pages long and downloads quickly, but it is packed with information that we can all understand and appreciate, and outlines the strong management team, the project and the current position of the company on the exploration and mine construction track.

Here's the link again, so there's no excuse not to download your copy. You'll be glad you did one day. DYODD dude, and that DD starts right here.

disclosure: none

"The uberwealthy worry, too"

Click on this link right here to go see what Biiwii Gary has found, namely a whole article about the stress and worry of being extremely wealthy right now (and that title, "the uberwealthy worry too", is a direct quote from the report).

I 100% agree with Gary and would laugh my silly little head off about how the US rich are so worried about their future if it weren't for the pictures that follow. So Otto offers a fair choice to the nine million people officially counted as millionaires in the USA (year 2004):

1. Be DAMNED thankful for what you got, or..

2. Shut the F*** up one time.

Caracas, 2008

Peru, 2008

Paraguay, 2008

Argentina, 2008

Brazil, 2008

And there are thousands and thousands more where they came from. So the next time you're 'worried' about whether you can afford a swanky restaurant or not, get a bit of context in your life, yeah? Being well off is OK by me and by society and that's perfectly correct, but being a spoiled brat piece of shit most definitely isn't.

PS: I don't know about you, but that picture from Peru with the two boys posing so carefully for the photo damn near breaks my heart.

Mark Mobius and Brazil (and some Shakespeare)


Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1 LL91-94


On reviewing headlines over at Bloomberg a few minutes ago, this one jumped out at me:

By Daniela Silberstein and John Dawson

Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The global financial crisis won't last long and emerging-market stocks are a ``wonderful opportunity'' for investors after their record rout, said Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management Ltd yada yada CONTINUES


It didn't jump out due to happy thoughts, either. It was more a sense of deja vu. Another line from the same play as above came to mind; "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." So one quick search in the Bloomie system later, and we have the following (and there are more, believe me):

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On September 15th
Templeton's Mobius Says Merrill Deal Signals Bottom (Update2)

"....The decisions will ``go a long, long way to stabilize the situation,'' Mobius said. ``We're probably now at the bottom and it'll be a build up of confidence from here on in, if these decisions are made.''"

On August 20th
Emerging-Market Retreat Is `Overdone,' Mobius Says (Update2)

"...Mobius said he's buying as many consumer shares in emerging markets as he can."

On July 22nd
Mobius Sees `Good Bargains' in China, India Stocks (Update2)

Mobius added that he favors shares in Brazil and Russia because the two markets can still benefit from the demand for energy and other raw materials.

``Russia and Brazil are pretty much in the same position,'' Mobius said. ``Both of those areas are swimming in excess liquidity, which will drive consumer prices as well.''

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Otto sez: Frankly, Mobius can "add" anything he likes to all that. Otto adds that he's screwed and desperate. The next blood on the street you see may be his.

Correa lays it out

"You callin' my pint a poof?"

Sometimes things are calm and quiet down here. Sometimes events hit you so fast it's not even worth trying to keep up. An example of the second was yesterday's Ecuador, when five separate events hit in the space of an afternoon. Here's a brief summary and a bit of opinion on each one.

Ivanhoe (IVAN) a N.Am oil and gas, signed a contract to develop a very large heavy crude field in the country. IVAN seems to have been chosen for the job due to their technical abilities in extracting from this kind of field, but also thanks to some recent effective lobbying from the Canadian government.

Brazil's Odebrecht was told that its alternative offer to fix up the mess they made of the hydro complex construction wasn't good enough and they were confirmed as officially kicked out. On its own this shows Studmuffin laying down the law to foreigners, but taken in conjunction with the IVAN oil news it's even more symbolic. What I think Correa is saying to the world (with the timing as much as the events themselves), is "We'll work with foreign investment, but not at any old price". He's been consistent with this message, and so yesterday fits that plan.

Galo Chiriboga, the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, resigned citing "strictly personal reasons". After hearing from certain people in certain places, I can confirm that Chiriboga resigned due to illness...namely he's sick to the stomach of being bossed and bullied by Correa. Chiriboga has already been replaced by Derlis Palacios.

Palacios worked with Correa in 2005 when Studmuffin was FinMin so they seem to have a decent working relationship, but the MEM top position will continue to be a figurehead...the real boss of MEM was, is and certainly will continue to be Correa, and anyone can remember back to the time Correa decreed the 99% windfall tax on oil companies and Chiriboga only found out about the move at the press conference will know what I'm talking about. As regards things inside the ministry, it's likely to delay the workings as the new boy works his new broom and then gets down to work. Plenty of papers to read on mining before he can open his mouth, that's for sure.....

Roberto Andrade, President of the BCE (Ecuador Central Bank) resigned "in deference to his President". This one is the most ominous, I think. It's either "lapdog in to control the BCE and do exactly what Correa says", or Andrade has just resigned in protest about that which Correa is ready to unleash on the world regarding the so-called "illegal debt". Whatever it is, it can't be good. Fear ye bond holders!

Ecuador's Chancellor announced that there was a concerted plan to undermine Correa's image abroad. This one is no big worldshaker on the surface, but it does show how Studmuffin has got his minions running around, getting busy and worried about keeping their jobs. This will go down very (repeat very) well amongst the rank and file in Ecuador, who applaud action from their politicos and are allergic to lazy fatcat donothings in the ministerial seats. They'll also like the man-of-action image that Correa is projecting on a general level.

All in all, yesterday was all about Correa standing up and saying "Hey! Who da man?" WHO DA MAN?", and the world shouts back "You da man!". Let's see where this new, strong Correa takes us.

10/8/08

Venezuela Taps its International Currency Reserves

Hugo prepares his speech for next Sunday's Alo Presidente

Hot damn, I was talking about this only yesterday with a smart person I know in Caracas. Smart person said that Chávez would tap several billion of Currency Reserves, and smart person even dug up an old story to show there was a U$29Bn roof on reserves not so long ago.

So sure enough, today the news hits (see the Bloomie newswire paste under the line). With $38Bn or $39Bn in the fund right now (depending on which way you slice), this brings things down to $31Bn tucked away and $7Bn extra play money for Chávez's social programs. Even though it'll give fuel to the Chávez haters (who would have criticized him later if he hadn't skimmed reserves) the move makes a lot of sense at this precise moment, clearing the way for the 2009 budget to be that much less onerous.

So Kudos to my smart friend, whoever s/he may be. You nailed that one. Applause.

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Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The Central Bank of Venezuela will probably transfer $7 billion in "excess'' reserves to the government's off-budget National Development Fund this year, President Hugo Chavez said.

Since the fund was started in 2005 to finance government projects, the central bank has transferred between $10 billion and $12 billion in reserves into it, Chavez said. Venezuela has also collected "almost $4 billion'' from a new windfall profits tax on the oil industry this year, he said.

For Related News:
Stories about Venezuela: NI VENZ
Top Latin American News on Bloomberg: TOP LAT

--Editor: Brendan Walsh

Argentina's Paris debt volte face

Randazzo practising arm movements for happy
hour at the Irish Pub Friday

Just a few weeks ago, Argentina was going to pay its 6.8Bn debt to the Paris Club group of nations, the world applauded, Klishtina trumpeted the strength of the local economy in the face of international adversity and blew fat razzberries at Lehman Brothers as it went belly-up.

Today, Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo admitted that the gov't was reconsidering the Paris Club payback, and the operation may be indefinitely delayed due to "unpredictable" nature of the financial crisis. In the words of Randazzo (translation Otto):

"At the moment it's something we are analyzing. We have made a commitment and commitment are to be fulfilled. In any case, we are negotiating with the Paris Club to determine exactly what is the debt and how it is to be paid."

If you're not aware, "negotiating" in LatAm politikspeak means "drag this sucker out as long as possible". So the very same gov't that was laughing at the North's predictament just days previous are now officially crapping themselves. And well they should, with country risk over 1200 basis points and BODEN dollar bonds under 40c to the dollar. Nobody but nobody wants to lend money to Argentina right now and with plenty of debt to roll over, they may well need every penny of the $50Bn tucked away in the Central Bank to get through this mess.

Venezuela Oil: Incakola leads, the rest follow

Fresh Juice Served Here


Still getting your LatAm news from the newswires? How very 1990's of you..........
Still waiting for overpaid analysts to speak before making your mind up? Oh, how passé......

It seems the LatAm movers, shakers and powers-that-be read this humble corner of cyberspace. On Sunday and Monday, your on-the-ball Otto explained why (contrary to popular opinion), Venezuela wasn't in any immediate trouble from the North's financial meltdown and oil prices where they are will suffice. Today, Reuters finally gets round to telling the world their own version of the story which is....well....it's the same.

Here's the link to Brian Ellworth's analysis report, and putting the silly snark aside I have to say he's done a good job, found the right people to quote and got it just about right imho (except getting that old chestnut about devaluation in there...that's nonsense). Some extracts:

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will likely emerge unscathed from the current global financial contagion even if tumbling crude prices force the oil-dependent OPEC nation to scale back spending in the coming months.......

"They're going to have to tone down the usual expenditure programs, but it's obviously not an emergency situation," said Enrique Alvarez, head of Latin American debt strategy with financial research group IDEAGlobal..........

....And the nation's economy will not collapse overnight -- even if the credit crisis drastically reduces oil prices........

.....a fall in oil prices below $80 per barrel would give Chavez less money for social programs and trim down the nation's robust current account surplus. "But Chavez has ample financial public assets to draw from even in the event of a sustained oil price fall,"

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So go read the whole Reuters article and then check back at my posts from earlier this week; you'll see it's the same argument and then (almost certainly) marvel at how prescient Otto really is. Do IDEAGlobal and Eurasia Group read Incakola news? Maybe someone there writes Incakola news? YOU BE THE JUDGE!

Related Posts
Squirm
Venezuela, and why $70/bbl is enough in 2009

Trading Post (Stop it moving I wanna get off edition)


Profits taken on SLV and GLD. I wanted more for SLV (was aiming for a buck or so higher) but there's no reason to ignore a ST win these crazy days. Meanwhile..........

FCX up 2.6% and PCU down 5.3%. FCX is getting love from its gold revenue unit, and PCU is simply hurting. Copper at $2.45 is the reason, and it looks like there's more downside to come.

Breakwater (BWR.to) is now at $0.13. I feared the worst when Zn broke 75c to the downside, and it's coming to pass. Other heavily zinc and lead exposed producers in exactly the same boat, of course.

Vena Resources (VEM.to) at 20.5c. This is "baby with bathwater" stuff as Larry the Liquidator could buy this, split it into its various parts and make oodles in an asset garage sale. VEM has gold, silver, uranium, copper, coal. When the music stops, keep it on your list of possibles. It's just one of hundreds of small juniors in the same boat, but as I know the people at the company and know they're smart, honest and good at what they do, I can't help feeling for them. Happily they have cash to ride out the storm, which is more than can be said for many.

Dynasty (DMM.to) down 20% at $1.61. The news on Ecuador's Mining Chamber I posted yesterday has been a real downer for DMM. The hope/plan at the company is/was to begin production 90 days after the stop work order was lifted and the mining law published. Cesar Espinoza's words yesterday took a lot of wind out of sails at the worst possible macro moment. Remember this company has $0.73 in cash per share, and more than enough at bank to wait out the storm and then fund the final part of capex without needing a cent from any bank anywhere. And then they start mining gold. So if you have patience and let Ecuador get their apparently fair law on the books, this one is a stupidly cheap price right now.

As always, DYODD, dude.

The Ecuador oil dance continues

Correa: Surprisingly good at the yo-yo

In the last couple of years, President Studmuffin Correa has managed to tame nearly all the main foreign influences in Ecuador. From the ongoing threats of kicking out "illegal" debt paper to the actual kicking out of the US military at the Manta air base to taking none other than Carlos Slim to the brink before getting a better cellular phone deal for the state to the ongoing fear and nervousness he creates in the nascent mining sector.

All except for one. To say Ecuador depends on oil is a bit like saying there's a small problem with the world banking system. With ongoing revenues from oil Ecuador as a country would shut down in about a week, and the foreign oil players there sure do know that. Every time Studmuffin comes on as the tough guy and tries to play hardball with the oil companies, he gets the same reply:

Studmuffin:"We're going to raise the windfall tax to 99%"
Oil Companies: "Screw you."
Studmuffin: "Ok let's negotiate on the point."
Oil Companies: "Screw you."
Studmuffin: "If you don't like it, you can leave."
Oil Companies: "Screw you."
Studmuffin: "I'm not joking guys. Honest."
Oil Companies: "Screw you."
Studmuffin: "We must renegotiate contracts right now. There's no more time."
Oil Companies: "Screw you."
Studmuffin: "We'll slap fines on environmental damage starting now."
Oil Companies: "Screw you."
Studmuffin: "If you don't up investment and production, we're kicking you out."
Oil Companies: "Screw you."

That last one is the latest episode. Last weekend Correa came on all strong, surely feeling bolstered by the excellent win in the referendum on the 28th. He told oil companies that they must invest and get production up or risk being kicked out. Today, President Lula (supposedly from allied Brazil, but bizniz iz bizniz dudes) plays messenger boy to big Ecuador player Petrobras, saying that they might pull out of Ecuador.

The plain fact is that Ecuador can't kick the oil boys around like the other sectors. If it tried to take over or was handed the production from the private company fields, state coffers just could stretch far enough at the moment to cover the necessary capex, opex and investment needed to maintain the fields. And then there's the brain drain factor, as Ecuador just doesn't have enough beautiful oil minds to cover all bases. In short, the oil boyz leave and Ecuador goes down the toilet, go straight down toilet, do not pass go, do not collect even a couple of hundred dollars.

So eventually Correa has to climb down a bit. My best guess is that the two sides will come to some kind of longer term deal before the end of the year, but it's going to have to suit both sides. On the oil side, they'll demand and get continued excellent gross profits. On the Correa side he'll demand and get a deal that wins a bit more for Ecuador while bringing long-term stability and is a face-saver, as ongoing ego enlargement is vital in LatAm politics.

How the miners must wish they had the same muscle.....................

The Dow: excellent news


There's only another 19 days worth of 500 point drops before we bottom out.

In other news, I don't care what the goldbugs say, I'll be taking profits on GLD and SLV either today or very soon (depends how the day pans out).

Keep it safe, people.

10/7/08

THE NOURIEL ROUBINI HALLOWEEN FACEMASK (a free gift from IKN)

Have yourself a real 12-point meltdown of a halloween with this year's Incakola special free gift giveaway........

THE NOURIEL ROUBINI HALLOWEEN FACEMASK

  • GUARANTEED TO SCARE THE HELL OUT OF YOUR MACMANSION NEIGHBORS
  • MORTAL ECONOMISTS WILL CRINGE WITH FEAR AS THEY REMEMBER THEIR WORDS AT DAVOS 2007
  • SURE TO BE IN HIGH DEMAND AT MASOCHISTIC BANKING PARTIES
  • IT NEVER SMILES
  • IT'S NEVER WRONG
  • IT STILL WON'T SMILE
Instructions: Click to enlarge your mask, print out and cut out with scissors. Then do what Larry Krudblow has wanted to do for a long time and poke his eyes out with a stick. You're now ready to be the spookiest academic on the block.

Confirmed: George W Bush Lefty Commie Socialist Liberal Bedwetter

Bush entertains the press corps with his cat's cradle abilities



The sun'll come out, Tomorrow, Bet your bottom dollar, That tomorrow, There'll be sun!
Annie (1977)

The old saying in Cuba is, "If there were no future tense in the Spanish language, Fidel would have nothing to say." So after the enormous nationalization program being undertaken by the Bush administration at the moment, what more evidence do you need for Dubya's conversion to the Axis of Evo than his press conference in Chantilly today?

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"I know that the days are dim right now for a lot of folks. But I firmly believe tomorrow is going to be brighter."

"We have faced tough times, after the terrorist attack of 9/11, and we came through strongly, and we're going to come through this."

"No question that times are tough. But no question America will emerge."

"...I am -- I am -- I am confident in the long term for this country."

"This isn't the first time the American economy has faced challenges, and it's not going to be the first time that we haven't recovered and come out better either."

"I'm confident we'll succeed. I really am."

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You may as well start forming queues at the bakery right now to beat the rush, people. Borscht served.

Peru: The country of extrajudicial killings and media silencing they don't tell you about


"What? Peru's army goes around shooting innocent people? What? Peru closes down opposition radio stations? Isn't that supposed to be the hated Chávez and Venezuela? I thought that Peru was our friend and a true democracy?"


Dear friend (probably) sitting up North, prepare to be confused by the truth. What follows under the line is my translation of this quite magnificent post at Susana Villarán's blog today called "When Impunity Reigns" (Spanish language). With all the financial woes going on right now, it's easy (for me at least) to get immersed in the world of stocks and bonds. But this blog is also about LatAm political and social issues and what follows is about as important as it gets.

Peru cannot be allowed to slip back into a state of military terror and authoritarian dictates. Neither from insurgent terrorist groups nor its government who (although Peruvians still have a hard time in admitting it) were also responsible for thousands of extrajudicial murders not so very long ago. Although it's a long post that follows, please take time out and read. Otto

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What happens in our regions and provinces doesn't make headlines. The efforts of websites and alternative forms of communication allows us to know what happens at first hand. In this post I want to highlight two acts that should make all Peruvians react:

  • The executions and disappearances under the guise of a military operation against Sendero in VRAE (Ottonote; the Shining Path terrorist organization operating in VRAE, the coca/cocaine producing region of Peru) on September 14th which has been shrouded in disinformation by the Ministry of Defence to avoid punishment. Reports of the killings have been made from the zone by human rights organizations such as 'Paz y Esperanza' (in English, "Peace and Hope") via its base in Ayacocho, and APRODEH (Ottonote: Peruvian human rights group). These disappearances and extrajudicial killings must be investigated and their authors severely sanctioned.
  • The other issue concerns the closure of Radio Mercurio Huancavelica, a radio station that serves the people of the Huancavelica region and its demands. A few days ago I was told about the threats from the Ministry of Transport and Communication to close 'Radio Uno' in Tacna (South Peru), a station with by far the highest audience ratings in its region and a station that we should feel proud about for its unstoppable fight for people's rights and its excellent information. Does it bother Mrs Aljovín, close ally of Minister Zavala, that Radio Uno easily beats RPP's audience in Tacna?
But its not just Radio Mercurio and Radio Uno: Radio Marañon is also under threat. Father Francisco Muguiro, director of this radio station in the North of the country, has recently been accused by police of inciting indigenous rebellion.

We defend freedom of speech and stand up to be counted against those who wish to silence the voice of the people. Regional, local and community radios are open spaces for public and organizations, and are being clamped down upon by the authorities.



From the INFOREGION network:
Huamanga - Ayacucho (6 October 2008 - 18:09)

The Dead were Not Terrorists; They were Locals that Disappeared After the VRAE Military Incursion

This morning, after waiting several hours, the families of the campesinos (Ottonote: rural dwellers. Literally 'peasants', but the Spanish word does not carry the stigma of the direct translation) that disappeared on September 14th at the annex to Rio Seco, located 1km from the village of Mayobamba, were finally allowed to identify the four bodies recently brought from VRAE and which had been in the installations of the Institute of Legal Medicine of the Minister of Public.

Family members and their lawyers, along with the member of parliament for Ayacucho Elizabeth León Minaya, entered the installations of the Huamanga Institute of Legal Medicine to begin the indentification process of the dead who had been labeled as terrorists in an offical Defence Ministry communique.

Outside the building, Frank Canchanya Rimachi, brother of José Félix Canchaya Rimachi emotionally said that he had indentified his brother even though the body showed signs of decomposure. He asked for human rights organizations to speak out and demanded severe sanctions for those responsible.

Another family member that went into the building was Marcelino Pichardo, who identified his son Maximiliano, his daughter-in-law who was five months pregnant and his young son Alejandro.

The Victims Were from the Village Defence Committee

Alexis Avilés, lawyer of the families, stated that "humble people have been assassinated and they have tried to cover up the crime. First they denied their existence and later they accused them of being terrorists."

The lawyer said that fortunately they could prove the victims' identity, who were mainly members of the Autodefence Committe of Mayobamba, "a fact that proves false any association with terrorist groups."

The mortal remains that were identified belonged to Maximiliano Pichardo Fernández, vicepresident of the Autodefence Committe of Mayobamba, his wife Rosa Chávez, 22 and five months pregnant, José Félix Canchanya Rimachi, husband of Lucy Pichardo, the woman who reported the attack in Huanta, and Alejandro Pichardo Fernández, just 16 years old.

Up to now Moisés Pichardo Pariona and Rosalinda Pichardo Chávez, just one year old, are still missing. To accelerate the investigations, Public Ministry authorities have asked for the use of X-ray equipment.

Huamanga - Ayacucho, 6 October 2008 The Mayobamba Dead Received Weapons from the Army the Help Fight Against Terrorism. Documents Prove that the Missing People in VRAE were Members of the Autodefence Committee

Family members and lawyers showed a community agreement that demostrates that the people who disappeared during the VRAE military operations against terrorism were members of the Autodefence Committee of Mayobamba and had been recognized as such by the army, an entity that had given various weapons to the group to help fight against the remnants of Sendero Luminoso.

This confirms the existence of the people and proves they they not part of any terrorist group. On September 14th, according to testimoies from locals at the Rio Seco annex, approximately 125 were at the National Pavilion when about shots and explosions were heard coming from one kilometre away.

Immediately members of the Autodefence Committee of Mayobamba sent their leader Carlos Gutarra Ayala to find out what had happened. However he was detained by army troops and tortured.

Gutarra Ayala was released several hours later and found by locals in the community of Jésus María with evident signs of mistreatment. Because of this, dozens of Mayobamba locals decided to leave their land and go to other communities in VRAE.

According to the head of the Myobamba locals, the following people are still missing: José Félix Canchanya Rimachi, Maximiliano Pichardo Fernández, Moisés Pichardo Pariona, Alejandro Pichardo Fernández, Rosalinda Pichardo Chávez y Rosa Chávez, 22 years old and five months pregnant.

The multisectoral committee visited the zone

Last weekend representatives of public institutions traveled to VRAE to investigate the occurances. The Commission for Peace and Development of Ayacucho, representatives of PRONAA and FONCODES were part of the group along with lawyers and human rights defence organizations such as the Peace and Hope Association and APRODEH.

This working party collected testimonies and confirmed that the army troops violated human rights. Alexis Avilés, one of the defence lawyers of local woman Lucy Pichardo Fernández who managed to survive the armed forces attack, stated that there was sufficient evidence to demonstrate presumed forced disappearances, as there are testimonial declarations from a person who was witness to the occurances.

"General EP Raymundo Flores has admitted the existence of a military operaton in the zone by orders of his command and we therefore request that the State hand over the bodies of the people still missing", he said.






In Huancavelica, the Closure of Radio Mercurio

Press Release

Faced with the arbitrary intervention and confiscation of the transmission equipment of Radio "Majestad SAC" by the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the city of Lima, Fiscal for the Prevention of Crimes and the Peruvian National Police last Tuesday September 30th 2008, the following needs to be said:

First: That freedom of expression and freedom of the press are inalienable rights recognized by the Political Constitution of Peru, the Convention of Human Rights and other national and international laws, as well as their full use in any form such as free opinion, reporting of injustice and irregularities, the demand for change etc. They also constitute a basic element for a country's democratic life.

Second: Part of the work of the Centre for Andean Development (SISAY) is the strengthening of citizens' organizations in Huancavelica, allowing room to govern and promoting the exercise, defence and compliance of respective human rights. Therefore the radio programs directed by our institution as well as other organizations (Frente de Defensa de Huancavelica, Bio Ritmo Periodismo Escolar directed by the student of the Francisca Diez Canseco College in Castilla, amongst others) have been using this to report the actions of regional governors and reporting irregularies including the control in the use of natural resources, which has obviously become a problem to the current authorities.
Third: Because of this it is easy to deduce that said authorities have asked the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the city of Lima to interrupt this station's broadcasts under the pretext that it is a "pirate" radio station with the name "Maxima", that is to say without licence to operate. This is not true, as the radio station was broadcasting at frequency 95.5FM under the name Radio Majestad, something that can be verified by the authors of the intervention, and that this frequency and radio station is correctly authorized via a contractual agreement. Therefore the station is clearly compliant with the law.

Fourth: Accordingly, the behaviour of the functionaries of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Lima is both abusive and arbitrary, because even though they had a resolution with the authorization of closure, this was against Radio Máxima and not against Radio Mercurio that at the time of closure was broadcasting at frequency 95.5FM; respective legal action will therefore proceed.

Fifth: The right to free speech is generally violated in dictatorial and oppressive states, and in the present context we have been witness to an APRA government that has used this mechanism to silence the voice of the people. Apparently the regional government are supporting these acts in order to be able to govern without any type of opposition or accountability from social organizations.

BECAUSE OF THESE CONSIDERATIONS

1. We reject the arbitrary acts of the funactionaries of the Ministry of Transport and Communication
2. We reject the non-transparent attitude of local authorities.
3. We reaffirm our service to organizations and the people by broadcasting true and objective information in our information spaces

Down with Authoritarianism! Long Live Freedom of Speech!
For a free and independent press