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Which will be worth more at end 2015?

4/25/09

Colombia: The Importance of Being Earnestly Idiotic


Jack: I don't actually know who I am by birth. I was... well, I was found.
Lady Bracknell: Found?
Jack: Yes. The late Mr. Thomas Cardew, an old gentlemen of a kindly disposition found me and gave me the name of Worthing because he happened to have a first class ticket to Worthing at the time. Worthing is a place in Sussex. It's a seaside resort.
Lady Bracknell: And where did this charitable gentlemen with the first class ticket to the seaside resort find you?
Jack: In a handbag.
Lady Bracknell: A handbag?
The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde, 1895


Just to show that the age of total inept Austin Powers dumbassery is alive and well in the British Secret Service, let's all shout "Yeah Baby!" at how an agent recently jeopardized very large anti-narcos operation by leaving a memory stick with names and details of all concerned in a handbag on a bus in Colombia. The UK Times has the story:

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British spy loses secrets in a handbag

A BRITISH agent has thrown the war against drug traffickers into chaos by leaving top secret information about covert operations on a bus in South America.

In a blunder that has cost taxpayers millions of pounds and put scores of lives at risk, the drugs liaison officer lost a computer memory stick said to contain a list of undercover agents’ names and details of more than five years of intelligence work.

It happened when the MI6-trained agent left her handbag on a transit coach at El Dorado airport in Bogota, Colombia. Intelligence chiefs were forced to wind up operations and relocate dozens of agents and informants amid fears the device could fall into the hands of drugs barons.

The incident, which was hushed up by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), the agent’s employer, is an embarrassment for the government. It is another blow for yada yada continues here

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Here's an extract from another report on the ballsup

"A source claims the memory stick contained details of anti-narcotics intelligence compiled over more than five years. The loss risked the lives of undercover agents and informants who have now had to be relocated. He said the total cost of aborted operations was £100m..."

Slowly but surely they're homing in on the Santa Cruz secret lodges

The Toborochi Tree of Santa Cruz flowers in May.
Masonic lodges are known to like symbolism. Just sayin'.

El Gaviero today picked up on reports from Bolivia that dead mercenary gang leader, Eduardo Rozsa Flores, was hired under a false name by the Santa Cruz COTAS telephone company. Why is this significant? Let me count the ways:

1) Why hire somebody under an assumed name if there's no skullduggery going on?

2) Note that arsenal of weapons found after the shootout and death/arrest of the gang of five? Yep, they were found hidden at a trade fair in the COTAS stand (the C-4 wisely in the fridge, considering the heat this time of year). Funny that, innit?

3) Remember those secret, unofficial and non-associated masonic lodges in Santa Cruz I wrote about last week? Well surprise surprise, it's well-known that COTAS is controlled by the very same people that head up those two "Toborochi" and "Caballeros del Oriente" lodges.

4) Some claim that COTAS is under one lodge's control, some claim the other. Some note that the two lodges split with each other after a spat in the early 1980's, other say they've mended relations and work in cahoots nowadays. Some say that Ruben Costas heads up Caballeros del Oriente, but nearly everyone says that Branko Marinkovic is the head guy at Toborochi.

So slowly but surely, the investigation is, unsurprisingly, homing in on the secret societies that run Santa Cruz and the fascists running those groups. The same secret societies that have been the subject of confessions from ex-members saying that they are actively trying to destabilize their country.

Nuff said. That poor sap Dwyer really had no idea of the trouble he was letting himself in for.

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Swine Flu Update

Mexico City yesterday

For your average Joe such as I, with recourse to wiki pages to get a layman's grip on all things H(number)N(number), history of the 1918 pandemic, the 1976 Prez Ford (probable) overkill etc etc, it seems there's no reason to panic but there's every reason for world health authorities and governments to move their contingency plans into operation. So this morning we have:

  • 68 confirmed deaths from swine flu in Mexico City
  • No deaths in Mexico City in the last day (the recent toll was one or two per day)
  • Confirmed outbreaks in Texas and California, USA
  • Confirmed case in Canada (who recently visited Mexico)
  • Mexico has cancelled all public meetings of all types for the next ten days
  • Countries such as Nicaragua, Colombia and Peru (amongst others) issuing health warnings and tightening health screens for incomings, especially from Mexico and the USA
UPDATE: Check out The Mex Files' take on all this. After all, the dude is on site and knows what he's talking about.

From the Dep't of 'Change We Can Believe In'

With a H/T to ten percent, we learn today from raw story that Gitmo detainees "are not persons" and so normal rules don't apply.

Orwell was right.

Anzac Day

Remembering all Australian and New Zealand heroes, for true heroes they are in a world that uses the word far too lightly.

I'm proud to say that my grandfather fought at Gallipoli. One day I'll write more about him as he was by all accounts a great man, but today is the day we remember the Anzacs. I will raise my glass to you later, gentlemen.

Lest we forget.
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4/24/09

"It was the tobacco that killed him"


News from Colombia. José Rosario Serrano Arencas (photo above), born March 5th 1881 and known as Colombia's (and quite possibly the world's) oldest man has died today aged 128.

The father of 24 children, including the youngest aged 57 who was born when José was 70, attributed his longevity to "being with God and not thinking bad thoughts" and also "spending long periods in the mountains to avoid the vagabonds of the city and not speaking with drunks".

A lifelong smoker, one of his daughters said today that (and I kid you not, here's the link) "It was the tobacco that killed him."

José Rosario Serrano Arencas, que en paz descanse, señor.

Interpol Issues "Red Notice" for Manuel Rosales

Just so you know. Here's the link. Below also find the explanation as to what kind of notice has been issued, as there's some confusion in the press. Interpol has not issued an arrest warrant. However it's interesting that:

A Red Notice is only issued by INTERPOL if the request from the member country (Venezuela) meets the requirements of the Organization’s constitution which prohibits any actions of a political, racial, religious or military character. "

So unfortunately for Rosales, Peru and Fox News, even the world police recognize that Rosales is running from criminal charges and not political persecution.

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Wanted
ROSALES GUERRERO, Manuel Antonio
Legal Status

Present family name: ROSALES GUERRERO
Forename: MANUEL ANTONIO
Sex: MALE
Date of birth: 12 December 1952 (56 years old)
Place of birth: MERIDA, Venezuela
Nationality: Venezuela

Physical description

Weight: 78 kg <-> 172 pounds
Colour of eyes: BLACK
Colour of hair: GREYING

Offences

Arrest Warrant Issued by: TRIBUNAL DECIMO NOVENO DE CONTROL / Venezuela

IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION CONTACT

YOUR NATIONAL OR LOCAL POLICE



GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF INTERPOL



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LYON, France - Following a request from Venezuelan authorities, the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters has issued a Red Notice, or international wanted persons notice, for a former mayor wanted for corruption.

Manuel Antonio Rosales Guerrero is wanted by Venezuela in connection with charges relating to the time he held the position of Governor of Zulia between 2004 and 2008.

A Red Notice is only issued by INTERPOL if the request from the member country (Venezuela) meets the requirements of the Organization’s constitution which prohibits any actions of a political, racial, religious or military character.
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An Interpol Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant.

These Interpol 'Red Notices' represent only a tiny fraction of the number of red notices issued by Interpol.

The persons concerned are wanted by national jurisdictions (or the International Criminal Tribunals, where appropriate) and Interpol's role is to assist the national police forces in identifying or locating those persons with a view to their arrest and extradition.

These red notices allow the warrant to be circulated worldwide with the request that the wanted person be arrested with a view to extradition.

A distinction is drawn between two types of red notice: the first type is based on an arrest warrant and is issued for a person wanted for prosecution; the second type is based on a court decision for a person wanted to serve a sentence.


Warning

The person should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

If any member of the public has any information about one of the wanted persons, they should not contact the General Secretariat directly, but contact the police in the place where the person has been located or identified.

An official Interpol Wanted Fugitives list is maintained on the Interpol website. This information may be copied and distributed. However, it must be clearly stated that this list represents a very small proportion of the full list - only those notices approved for public dissemination appear on the web site. Any unauthorised alteration of any portion of Interpol Wanted Fugitives notices is considered as a violation and subject to legal prosecution.

The Friday OT: The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy; The Babel Fish and the Non-Existence of God

Two minutes of genius from the original TV series and the hand of the late and great Douglas Adams.



Enjoy.

News Roundup (we scour the region and bring you the dregs)

Pimp My Vote

Bolivia: Bina has the latest on the Santa Cruz mercenaries story; very interesting stuff, too. Also nice to se El Gaviero posting regularly again, as MG gives us more English language insight to the ongoing ruckus.

Ecuador: Sunday. Election. Studmuffin wins. Nuff said.

Mexico: Swine Flu! This is not funny at all and possibly a big big story in the making with 30 cases confirmed in Mexico City, at least 16 deaths, schools shuttered and now CNN reporting seven cases in Texas, USA. For the record I thoroughly recommend eating elderberries (esp in its yummy jam form) as a flu preventative. And get your flu shots too, people.

Paraguay: According to this report, 75% of Paraguayan children were fathered by Fernando Lugo. I'm still trying to decide whether there's a slight exaggeration going on here :-)

Peru: For the wonks among us. Farid Matuk writes an excellent but slightly technical (not too bad, though...none of those funny symbols) report in English that examines a theme looked at here recently, but in more detail; the interrelation of Peru and Chile economic data. Fascinating stuff for those of us that find this stuff fascinating.....errr....like....dude.

Trading Post (beautiful future edition)


Gold Hawk (CGK.v) UNCH at 5.5c and it's great to see the stock moving up and trading at 6c yesterday and today. Those who were courageous to buy at 2.5 and 3c (or even less) are sitting on pretty wins now. I spoke with the helpful and efficient IR man Mercier yesterday and the mood eminating from the company is very optimistic. A bit of working cap and these guys are off to the races. DYODD.

Minera Andes (MAI.to) up 11.5% at $0.68 with the ask now at 70c. And about time too! This kind of jump on a Friday with no other news smacks of a popular newsletter reco'ing to its flock. Whatever..I'll take it. If I see 70c I'll sell my small position and take the profit, as recent purchases have left me lower on cash than I'd like. Be clear that any sale would be purely personal housekeeping and in no way a reflection of this great little undervalued company.

Rusoro (RML.v) up 6% at $0.53 as people snap up some cheapie stock. I'm not bought in yet and still want to see RML come back to 50c before buying...like I said, ain't gonna chase it.

Fortuna Silver (FVI.v) up 6% at $0.88 on a very healthy "no sellers" lull after three days of high volumes. I've just got off the phone with FVI and from what they are allowed to tell me (they're reporting mid May and by law cannot give too much away) I can easily deduce that they are going to report a strong 1q09. Also, the new copper circuit is now up and in the testing phase, with copper already having been recovered and full commissioning bang on schedule for May.

So what with the quick FVI.v rebound from the sheep sell off, readers of this humble corner availing themselves of the discount and strong news for Fortuna in the pipeline, it's now time to award this week's coveted award. No surprises that Doug Casey is this week's recipient. All yours, dumbass:


UPDATE:
Took the profits on MAI.to @ 70c. DYODD

UPDATE 2: FVI just dropped and is trading $0.82! Gotta laugh. I'm bidding at 8oc and may get lucky and add some more.


Venezuela Parallel Exchange Rate Update

It's been a while and a lot has happened. First the charts, with this one......

....showing the long view of the parallel exchange rate of Venezuela's currency (VEF) against the US dollar and this one......


....showing what has happened so far this year. And the news is that the VEF is going ape, touching 7.1 against the greenback for the first time ever yesterday. This is due to a combo of the lack of liquidity after the US Feds closed down a big VEF moneychanger in Miami on drugs laundering charges (see Devilcaca at end March for more details on that one), the recent nerves about deval (again) and rumblings about a new dollar bonds issuance that may (or may not) fall flat on its face (more about that another day, but the name 'Beracha has suddenly become a popular search keyword, it seems).

All the above is, of course, underlined by continuing country inflation and an M2 level that indicates a theoretical equilibrium price for the parallel VEf of no less than 6.6 vs the U$ (see previous posts for a fuller explanation on that one).

Institutionalized Racism in Peru: The Case of Hilaria Supa

Any of you out there speak a 2nd language? I do, and as a matter of fact even if I say so myself my autodidact Spanish, after all these years, isn't bad at all. However I'm the first to recognize that when it comes down to writing in Spanish I still make a whole heap of grammatical errors. This is pretty normal stuff, I'd guess, for the majority of second-language speakers that haven't rigorously studied the language in question.

However, it doesn't make me the object of ridicule. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the case of national congresswoman, indigenous rights defender and all round impressive person Hilaria Supa. This week Supa has been subjected to a humiliating and disgusting racist attack by a Peruvian national daily newspaper. Here's the offending front page of El Correo (truly offending)....


....that throws sarcastic remarks at Supa because after the El Correo photographer took a candid shot of the notes she was making in parliament the newspaper took gleeful delight in pointing out all her spelling and grammatical errors as written. Among the barbs in the cowardly and un-bylined report, Correo told her to go take spelling lessons, said she wasn't fit to be a congresswoman and compared her unfavourably to an eight year old girl.

So let's make this perfectly clear from now on: El Correo is a right wing rag that has a long history of racist attacks, but this one is worse than most. And be 100% crystal clear that this front page would never have happened if this congresswoman representing Cusco wasn't indigenous, whatever El Correo and its readership might say otherwise. No matter that Spanish is Supa's second language, in the screwed up racist world of the white criollo Peru establishment the woman is dumb if she can't write clean Spanish script (she speaks Spanish perfectly, by the way). Also, check out the extract from her wikipedia page to get an idea of the quality of this person. This is just the English language page I'm pasting here, the Spanish one being far more detailed:

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Hilaria Supa Huamán (born in the community of Wayllaqocha, Anta, Cusco region, in 1957), is a human rights activist, an active member of several indigenous women organizations and a Peruvian politician. She is currently a Congresswoman representing Cusco for the period 2006-2011, and belongs to the Union for Peru party.

Hilaria Supa was raised by the parents of her mother, Helena Huamán, who were peasants in a hacienda.

In her childhood she saw the hacendado mistreat her grandfather and violate women, which had a crucial impact on her life. Her grandfather, who fought for peasants' rights, was murdered in 1965. She had to go to Arequipa, and when she returned she found that her grandmother had also died.

Her partner, the father of her children, died in an accident when she was 22.

Afterwards she worked as a house maid in Cusco, Arequipa, and Lima.

In the 1960s she became involved in organizing regular meals for children, together with other women. She became leader of the Micaela Bastidas Committee in Anta, Cusco and took part in the fights for land rights, which finally resulted in the agricultural reform under Juan Velasco Alvarado.

In 1991 she became organization secretary of the new founded Women's Federation of Anta (Federación de Mujeres de Anta FEMCA), where she was responsible for alphabetization, traditional medicine and pesticide issues.

Hilaria Supa has taken part in numerous international women's meetings, where she has actively used and promoted her native Quechua language. She has been resolutely lobbying against sterilization of women, accusing the former health minister under Alberto Fujimori, Alejandro Aguinaga, of carrying out a population policy resulting in enforced sterilization of 363.000 Peruvian women.

She was elected to the Peruvian Congress in 2006, where she was the first parliamentarian in Peruvian history to take the oath in an indigenous language, Quechua, followed by her fellow congresswoman María Sumire, for which both were sharply criticized by Martha Hildebrandt and some other members of congress.

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That, I'm sure you'll agree, is one remarkable woman. Did you see that last line, by the way? Worth reflecting on the racism that's institutionalized at even the highest, lawmaking level in Peru because if they do it in congress everyone else will think they can get away with it. Read it again, as it says that Supa was criticized for taking her oath in Quechua by white-skinned Lima politicos, even though it's her first language (and will mean more to her and the people of Cusco she represents) and even though Quechua is one of the two official languages of Peru.

Stomach-churning racism happens all the time in Peru. This is the country where indigenous get jeered at for proudly wearing their traditional garb. This is the country where doormen at swanky clubs and restaurants will not let dark-skinned people in because they don't want to "lower the tone". Even well-meaning people are profoundly racist. More than once on trips to Lima I've found myself talking about my 100% indigenous blood wife and our two kids and heard the question, "But are they white like you?". I shit thee not.

But my favourite recent story that highlights just how discriminatory Peru really is concerns letting maids into restaurants at lunchtime. In Lima it's typical for the middle class family to have a (often indigenous blood) nanny to help out with the young kids, but recently there have been protests from some quarters about how the maids are not let into restaurants with the rest of the family. So rather than order restaurants etc to serve one and all whatever their position, the Peruvian gov't made it illegal for maids to be seen in public wearing their in-house uniforms. Y'see, in the warped view of Peru's legislature, if these people are suddenly invisible they're not so likely to clutter up the place. Who gives a damn if you're wearing a uniform or not!!??!!? What kind of mad government thinks you can hide racism behind a set of clothes?

Fortunately, there are pockets of enlightened people in the country trying to do something about the all-pervading racist attitudes in Peru, for example the blog Choledad Privada (great blog name by the way...smart play on words) is a beacon of sanity and there are others of the same ilk. But to repeat, if racism is part of daily life and indigenous heroes such as Sula are attacked in the most disgusting ways by Peru's mainstream media and government, the intelligent Peruvian is swimming against a very strong tide.

Deserved hat tips to Sheput and Reportaje al Peru, two Peruvian bloggers that care enough to shout "racist Correo" at the tops of their voices. Kudos.

More thoughts about Rusoro (RML.v)

Rusoro workforce seen as they take a
mid-morning cigarette break and leisurely stroll

Very interesting mailbag Chez Otto between yesterday and this morning, as it seems there are plenty others out there looking at RML.v right now and I had plenty of received comments (thank you) about the Trading Post section of yesterday. So let's just sum up here what I think on the stock right now.

  • Check out the latest inside trades. Interesting, no?
Apr 23/09 Apr 13/09 Salamis, George Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 5,000 $0.470
Apr 23/09 Apr 15/09 Agapov, Andre Vladimir Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 50,000 $0.480
Apr 23/09 Apr 14/09 Agapov, Andre Vladimir Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 23,000 $0.485
Apr 23/09 Apr 14/09 Agapov, Andre Vladimir Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 27,000 $0.470


  • As for the results to come we're about to get the YE'08 filing but what we'll need to zoom in on are the 4q08 numbers and not the whole year. This because the 4q08 quarter's production was stronger, costs lower and also RML wasn't benefitting from the elevated parallel rate for dollars over Bolivares Fuertes (VEF) in earlier quarters.
  • I think 4q08 is going to look pretty good, but maybe the real deal will be shown in the company's 1q09 quarterly that we'll get in maybe a month's time (an estimate based on typical filing times). Jungledrums tell me that the company has been working full tilt and costs are down, too. That VEF rate is really helping the company now, too.
  • Even without the GRZ buyout, RML is expanding quickly as its own generic projects are on track, it seems. This of course means that the net revenues won't make it to the bottom line as yet, because they're busy investing what they make. Therefore I personally will be far more interested in the company's EBIT number than the final bottom line or EPS number. You should be, too.

So there you have it; the reasons why I like RML.v right now. You MUST DYODD on this one, dudettes and dudes, because we're talking about a stock in Venezuela, we're talking owners generally unloved by the Canadians (which is reflected in warranted or unwarranted press..you be the judge) and we're talking the recent court case where the beaky guy went against RML and gave his reasons loudly and clearly. In other words, this is by no means a risk free trade. For the record I do not own right now but may pick up a few shares in the next couple of days and will inform in the Trading Post series if I do. It's certainly very high on my shopping list but on the other hand I won't be chasing any prices. Here's the RML 12 month chart.


Chart of the day is...

......30 day copper and a deserved shout-out for Monty High at www.worldofwallst.us

Here comes a classic example of why timing is vitally important. As most regulars know,I've been bearish copper from quite some time and sure enough, in recent days Cu spot has dropped 10% from its highs. However that doesn't mean to say my call is good because at best it was a zero sum game (however it's turning out better than the dumbasses at Desjardins).

Not so Monty High, owner of the worldofwallst website. On April 16th he went short a copper futures contract and has totally nailed the trade. I know the date as a fact because he mailed me a little afterwards to tell me he'd gone short, so it couldn't be more legit. So a deserved shout out and w00t in your direction, Monty.

Thus ends this mutual love session (Monty liked my MFN report). Here's the link again to his website. He doesn't approach miners and metals in the same way as here (more power to him) and seeing a different but quality viewpoint on these things is good for us all as investors. You'd do well to go visit and have a look.

4/23/09

Trading Post (copper dropper edition)


Vena Resources (VEM.to) down 5% at $0.28. VEM has been consolidating nicely at the 27c to 30c trading range and if weaker hands sell into a lowball bid it gets snapped right back up immediately. Once again it's important to note that the real action in this stock is happening in Lima and Germany, not Toronto. For example, of the 200,000+ shares traded today, only 33k have been done in Canada. All it needs is a nice PR or two to go higher and Otto's spideysenses are tingling on that score already. DYODD.

Chariot Resources (CHD.to) up 3.5% at $0.30 but was up way higher (35.5c) before spot copper finally broke down thru $2/lb. CHD.to finally..FINALLY published its 43-101 compliant feasibility study today. I wasn't surprised to see very robust numbers and it looks good. Capex is higher than I expected, but it's still low compared to peers thanks to the local infrastructure already in place. IRR at $2/lb is 20%, the company didn't cut corners on discount to NPV, break even calculated at Cu $1.52/lb, etc etc. I'll be doing a NOBS report update on this stock soon (but currently have other reports to get finished) but in the meanwhile, watch out for word from Tom Meyer of Raymond James, as he knows CHD.to better than most anyone and is a good analyst.

Fortuna Silver (FVI.v) up a penny at $0.84. I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never going to keep me down. Good looking volume and the lowest price of the last 72 hours, $0.79, lasted about a minute. I'm also happy to note that the dude who bought that 79c is a reader of the blog (he mailed me). Let's be clear here; any price under 90c is a bargain. Buy now, sell 'em over a loonie, bag yourself an easy 20%. Better that you get the profit than Duggieboy, that's for sure.

Rusoro (RML.v) up 4% at $0.50. Yes, there's all the hoohah over the courtroom battle lost. Yes there's the Venezuela factor. Yes the Canadian miners' chattering class (if that's not an oxymoron) has got it in for the ooga booga Russkies. But when all is said and done, money talks and BS walks. Otto thinks that the next quarterly report, due out next week or so (date unconfirmed) will show RML.v to be a profitable and growing gold miner that's trading way below its true value. I think this thing is a buy right here with a three or four week holding period for those who would take the quicker profit. DYODD, dude.

Colossus Minerals (CSI.to) up 6% at $2.60. There ain't nothing like sitting back and watching the Canadian House hype machine move into high gear. Yet again reminded of that saying "Ahh, retail..the crop that never fails." Seriously, you guys are impressive. Crooked, but impressive.

Capella Resources (KPS.v): The fun never stops with these scam artists


Capella (KPS.v) today announced that it had started drilling at its Nevada property in Chile today, but we don't care much about that. It doesn't matter if they find the lost city of El Dorado with that diamond drillhead, quite frankly, as the company behind the drilling is the thing that matters here and as we've already noted they're the kind of people that would sell their mothers to work as Osama Bin Liden's bottom wiper if the price were right.

No, far more fun is the news from (what Otto considers to be) totally reliable sources that Capella has had the brass neck to apply for one of those fancy International Finance Corporation (IFC) loans. As a quick aside for those who don't know, the IFC is the financing arm of the World Bank and often buys into resource companies, giving them preferential rates on working capital. A recent example is the money loaned to Greystar (GSL.to) for its Angostura gold project in Colombia.

Anyway, the frauds at Capella want some of the IFC slush, probably because their recent placement at $0.73 has fallen flat on its face and they're getting desperate. Still, Otto predicts that hell will freeze over before the IFC lends this band of crooks cash, but if by some miracle they do manage to land some moolah it will speak volumes about just how inept the World Bank is with its money and just how little DD it does before writing out cheques.

Related Posts
Capella Resources (KPS.v): A fraudulent scam for the ages
More on Capella Reources (KPS.v) and the scum behind the scam

Aquiline (AQI.to): No cash = No Control

This time last week, Aquiline (AQI.to) announced a 40% rise in its resource (M+I) at its Navidad Silver/Lead/Zinc project in Argentina. All very nice and prospective for sure, and one fine day this resource will surely become one of the biggest silver mines out there, especially as the jungledrums are positive about the local Argentine bigwigs relaxing their mining ban in the region shortly.

So why has the stock sold off so sharply since then?


Answer: Got no cash.

At YE2008, AQI reported total assets of C$140m, but only C$8.5m of that was in the current asset column. Or in other words they're short of readies and therefore at the mercy of the sharks-in-suits that populate the Toronto exchange. Those sharks know that AQI.to from here has two options....

1) Find a buyer
2) Raise more capital via placement

...and as everyone's most likely buyer of the project, Pan American Silver (PAAS) isn't flush with cash itself right now and having its own (not desperate but significant) version of cash flow issues, the buying option has faded into the distance. For the time being, at least.

So what we're witnessing right now is a bunch of sharks operating in cahoots. they want to push AQI.to stock down so that when the placement happens, it happens at a significant discount to the stock's "true worth" (whatever that may mean...it still confuses me after all these years). The sharks want to scoop up as many cheapo shares as they can, y'see. It's nothing more than attacking weakness..sharky is as sharky does.

Moral of the story: Junior miners are still suffering from the lack of credit available in the market, despite the bounce back from Oct/Nov'08 lows that we've seen. It's still impotant for you, the retail investor, to make sure that any potential investment isn't exposed to the whims of the Toronto crooks-in-suits. That means you want to buy companies with a decent cash position.

Death in LatAm: A noteworthy article by Mexfiles

There are two common sayings about skulls in Spanish; "Calavera no chilla" (skull don't scream)
and "Calavera no llora" (skull don't cry). Worth your time trying to work out
what they mean if you want to know how LatAm operates culturally.


In the light of the rejection, disgust etc of (mainly) Irish citizens to seeing pictures of Michael Dywer's dead, bulletholed body plastered all over news media, RG over at The Mex Files has written an excellent article about the Latino attitude towards death and why photos such as the one of Dwyer are pretty normal fare here in LatAm.

I thoroughly recommend RG's post as it gives concise but deep insight into the region. After all, showing non-locals a bit about the way LatAm ticks and people's cultural attitudes is one of the reasons a blog such as this humble corner of cyberspace serves any sort of purpose. The old truism of "racism doesn't travel well" applies to cybervoyages, too.

So anyway, go see RG's superlative article, it's on this link. I've added a comment on the bottom of his note and it'd be great to see some more reflections from other people there, too.

Chile's Presidential race: Getting hotter by the minute


Pamela Jiles is a well-known journalist and TV personality in Chile. She spoke out against Pinochet back when it was dangerous to do so and these days she's often found on TV chat shows railing against the showbiz gossip circuit, so just those two things get her approval Chez Otto. However, she's also taken it upon herself to run in this year's presidential elections as an outside, independent candidate and even though she's polling very low she managed to get her face on every front page in Chile today with the photoshoot she staged for the cameras.

Dressed in military garb and smoking a far cigar, she posed for the cameras outside Chile's presidential palace with a blonde topless girl draped around her "suggestively". Check out one of the shots for yourself at this report in Chile's La Cuarta or here's a page with a video of the whole thing (by the way, I made a decision early on not to have nekkid photos on IKN, not cos I'm a prude but cos there are a zillion other interwebnetpipes pages to choose from...so why bother?).

Before the election campaign/successful publicity stunt/soft porn shoot was broken up by police, Jiles explained to the crowd (that assembled very quickly) that it was all to draw attention to the marginalized people of Chile, which is 95% of the population according to her. It was also to draw particular attention to the sexual minorities of Chile, as the photoshoot was baptized "ambiguities" by the snapper.

So congrats for making it to IKN, Jiles. Yet another sexed-up presidential candidate hits South America.

Crystallex winning hearts and minds in Venezuela


In Venezuela, the government estimates that one in every three women suffers violence against their person. This report mentions that stat as part of the wider story of the latest initiative to widen women's access to help centres and support groups against this violence.

As a topical example of this violence and the way women are now less afraid to report their beatings, here's a report from Venezuela's Correo del Caroní about a woman named Andrea Franco, a graduate mining technician who suffered severe bruising from a beating she got from a man that also threatened her with a firearm. The agressor's name is Claudio Turchetti, who apart from being a sicko with a history of violence is, strangely enough, the chief of security for Crystallex (KRY) at its KM88 'Las Cristinas' property.

Yep, those KRY people really care about community relations.....

Chart of the day is...

....the latest round of total guesswork from the IMF.

The green bars show the IMF's 2009 GDP forecast for the countries shown. The red bars are the newly revised forecasts as published yesterday. They were totally wrong then, so what makes the world so eager to believe the IMF this time?

IMF: The quintessential home of dumbasses in suits.

Lugo: Six More kids to come?????

Lugo meets his family-in-law

Sorry 'bout this mini-obsession over Lugo's ever-growing family. I know I should be covering serious and deep matters like Obama's handshake with Chávez, or dead mercenaries in Bolivia. Maybe getting all Lugo-ness out the way in one day will help things going forward.

So anyway, according to the latest stepper-forwarder, Damiana Morán, there are maybe another six woman with kids by Rasputin. In this report she mentions that she has unofficial information that says the other women will be joining the queue in the days to come.

Ever noticed how the word 'chaste' is a homophone of 'chased'?


4/22/09

Lugo and his family: The Song!

It didn't take long to get President Fernando Rasputin Lugo's fatherhood exploits set to music. Here we go with Paraguayan cumbia group Angeles and their tribute to the priestly stud.



You'll get the most out of it if you speak Spanish, but at least watch out for the chorus:

"Lugaucho tiene corazón, pero no usó el condon"

Translation (with "Lugaucho" a friendly mix of the word "gaucho" with "Lugo")

"Lugo has (a good) heart, but he didn't use condoms."


UPDATE: On the prompting of sketch I checked out the song again. Yep it's 'usó' and not 'usa'..so I've changed the translation. Thanks Sketch. FWIW I'm no good with lyrics in English, either. By the way the phrase "Lugo tiene corazón" isn't one chosen by chance by the group; it was Lugo's campaign slogan last year.

BREAKING! Manuel Rosales escaped from Venezuela and entered Peru disguised as saxophonist Kenny G

I'm not ruining this one by blogging a ton of words here. Go to the link and find out for yourself. Phenomenal photo.

Bolivia: Remember the Moneda Declaration


Thank you to the many readers who have sent on the link of the interview given by now dead terrorist cell leader Eduardo Rozsa-Flores (ERF) in which he states that he was in Bolivia to organize a militia in order to force the separation of Santa Cruz (and/or the rest of the 'medialuna' region) from the rest of Bolivia.

In the interview (here in full on youtube, thanks MH) ERF claims his actions to be legal. Fortunately, we can point to a clearly defined document that shows he is wrong. The Moneda Declaration of September 15th 2008 came in the wake of the attempted coup and violence in perpetrated by the authorities in East Bolivia. Here's the link to the whole thing in English, but here are points one and two of the nine point declaration:

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1. Their fullest and decided support for the constitutional government of President Evo Morales, whose mandate was ratified by a wide margin in the recent referendum.

2. They warn that its respective governments energetically reject and do not recognize any situation that implies an intent of civil coup d'etat, the rupture of institutional order, or that compromises the territorial integrity of the Republic of Bolivia
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

This makes it abundantly clear that the whole of the continent of South America and other guest states such as Mexico categorically reject the separatist movement of East Bolivia, headed up by the people who funded ERF and his gang of now dead or arrested insurgents. ERF's interview makes it abundantly clear that he was working to illegally divide Bolivia with the full knowledge of people such as Prefect Costas and Branco Marinkovic. There is now plenty of evidence for arrest of these people and I'm quite sure there's more evidence to come.

As I mentioned before, I'm quite sure that foolish wannabe Dwyer had no idea what the hell he was getting involved in.

MEANWHILE, I received the following text and photo this morning as forwarded by a friend. Very interesting. so much for all that crap about them being unarmed in the hotel.


There is a photo Bolivian media today that has not yet been covered in
the international media. The photo can be found in the archives of
Eduardo Rozsa Flores blog from December 2008. It shows Rozsa Flores
sleeping almost naked with two automatic weapons in his bed.

The Bolivia right wing newspaper El Deber claims the photo is a fake
and not on the blog, but indeed it is on his blog, its just buried in
the archives. I found it there and the link is below. The text in
Hungarian seems to indicated that he published the photo to show his
friends what life in hiding is like. The news media in Bolivia has
confirmed the the furniture and walls match the Hotel Buganvilla in
Santa Cruz, a location not previously identified.

Regardless of why Rozsa Flores posted this photo, it does seem to lend
credence to the idea of a shootout rather than a cold blooded killing
of Rozsa Flore and companions in their underwear in the Las Americas
Hotel room.

Here is the link on the blog you need to scroll down:
http://eduardorozsa flores.blogspot. com/search? q=nov-dec+ 2008

Gold Reserve (GRZ) and the definition of the word "never"


I had to laugh.

Yesterday, Doug Belanger of Gold Reserve (GRZ) and his managerial team sent out this PR that informed its shareholders that it is now "in dispute" with the government of Venezuela and made clear noises to the effect that if they weren't allowed to move forward with their 'Brisas' gold project they'd take Venezuela to court and claim U$5Bn (yep, with a B) in damages. GRZ stock rose this morning on the news, which can only mean that people holding shares in this company are among the top echelons of stupid in the world of stock market investment. Really and truly stupid, stupid, stupid.

The word to understand here is "never". Be clear of its meaning and definition as used in the English language, as you can now be assured, once and for all, that GRZ will never mine or even get close to mining Brisas. GRZ shareholders are quick to point out the (dwindling) cash pile at the company. Well what's the point of having a whole bunch of money when you will never...repeat never...use it? Belanger understood this last year and decided to cancel the ordered equipment. He knows he'll never ever get to use it, so it's better to have a whole stack of money to pay his own salary and benefits for the next five years until he retires.

As for threatening Venezuela with court action...over a concession sitting in the middle of Venezuela? LOL!!!! To begin with any case would take forever to be heard. For seconds Venezuela would never (repeat never) recognize any ruling and for desserts all they need to do is take an army unit down there with one guy holding a piece of paper with "expropriate" wriiten on it and it's all over anyway. Ask Freeport about its claims on Cuba's nickel concessions to get some context about the chances you'd have of ever seeing any of the money.

In the weird world of Belanger, GRZ is currently worth far less than even the cash it has at bank as it's already clear as a bell that the only publicly listed company in the world in a position to buy it out will be blocked at everyturn by the self-serving management at GRZ. There is no point in holding stock in this company. None whatsoever. Why hold a speculative and high risk stock such as a junior gold miner in Venezuela when there is no reward possible? Truly a stock for the stupid.

Congratulations Mr. President, It's Triplets!!

Yes indeedy, a third woman steps up and says that Paraguay's version of Rasputin, President Fernando Lugo, fathered her child.


Damiana Morán, 39, today revealed that her boy Juan Pablo (yes, as in Pope JP2) is fruit of a loving relationship with Rasputin.

Oh how I love South America! Wouldn't live anywhere else. Look upon us from your boring worlds up there and despair, blue-eyed-whiteys.

Freeport (FCX) Reports its quarter

Freeport (FCX) has just reported its 1q09 and you too can pore over the press release by clicking this link.

I'll be checking out the real-deal filings later, but things that stand out so far include:

  • FCX is holding back gold sales, with a touch under 10% left unsold. This is a hedge-that-isn't-a-hedge tactic from companies expecting better spot prices.
  • On the other hand, 30% of produced moly remained unsold and it's unlikely they're holding back for better prices. This again points to the Chinese iron ore imports being stockpiled and not used. I wouldn't like to be long Mo, even at its current $8/lb.
  • Cash costs (with byproduct credits) of $0.66/lb Cu, with the company forecasting $0.70/lb for the rest of the year. A good number and lear evidence that FCX is in good position to ride out the slowdown.
  • On the downside, cash flows were negative for the quarter despite to the Feb '09 stock sale that raised $740. Debt position stands at $7.2Bn.

The market has greeted these numbers with a shrug of "yep, expecting this more or less" and the stock is trading down just 0.3% at the bell. The CC will illuminate further.

And while we're on the subject of large-scale state abuse


Borev got the story, ten percent got the story but it's still getting full airtime here and not just a link.

Ask Chileans, ask Argentines, ask Peruvians. They'll all tell you that you can't cover up large scale, state run human rights abuses, state terrorism, extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and all their cohorts forever. Sooner or later the word begins to get out. So add this communique from a working party of UK members of parliament and US/Canada/UK trade unionss to the 1,000 army personnel being investigated for 'false positives' and the 22,000 (yes, twenty-two thousand) cases of disappeared. And unlike their partners in torture and crime, these British MPs don't mince words and directly imply Alvaro Uribe.

All in the name of freedom and democracy.......as usual.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

PRESS STATEMENT: JUSTICE FOR COLOMBIA DELEGATION

We are a delegation of British Parliamentarians and British, American and Canadian trade unionists, and have spent seven days here in Colombia gathering information on human and labour rights abuses. We have met a wide range of individuals and groups across Colombian society, covering civil, political, legal and military interests, including trade unions, students and teachers, indigenous peoples, peasant farmers, trade union lawyers, human rights defenders, and former FARC hostages. We have travelled to Arauca province to hear the testimonials of communities and individuals caught up in the conflict in that part of the country. We visited Buon Pastor prison in Bogota and spoke to the women political prisoners incarcerated there; we also met with Martin Sandoval, imprisoned unjustly in Arauca. We had the opportunity in speaking also with senior members of Alvaro Uribe's government and the President himself. We are grateful to all those individuals and groups who have generously given us their time.

We are shocked at what we have heard, and have no doubts on the evidence given that the Colombian government of Alvaro Uribe, and the security forces, are complicit in human rights crimes. We are convinced also that the murderous activities of the paramilitary forces are condoned and actively supported by the government and army. These crimes are aggravated by the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators and the failure of the legal system to prosecute the criminals and those who issue the orders.

Instead of imprisoning the real criminals, the Government has locked up trade unionists, members of the political opposition and human rights defenders like Martin Sandoval. We call for his immediate release and that of other political prisoners and trade unionists.

On our return to the United Kingdom and North America we will be calling for:

  • an immediate end to all military aid and support to the Colombian Government;
  • no Free Trade Agreements until human and labour rights are respected in an internationally
  • verifiable way;
  • the public exposure of multinational companies, such as for their complicity in human and
  • labour rights violations in Colombia;
  • an immediate end to the criminalisation of legitimate and democratic opposition, including
  • Senator Piedad Cordoba, Senator Gloria Ramirez, Congressman Wilson Borja and Dr. Carlos
  • Lozano and others;
  • support for dialogue, a peace process and a humanitarian exchange;
  • An end to extrajudicial executions and 'false positives' carried out by the Colombian army.
  • A full account of our findings and recommendations will be published in the near future.

    Signatures Appended, Wednesday, 8 April 2009

    List of Delegates

    Ian Davidson MP: Member of Parliament for Glasgow;

    David Drever: President of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS);

    Simon Dubbins: Director of International Relations of Unite the Union and member of the Executive of the European TUC;

    Sam Gurney: International Policy Officer for the TUC and member of the ILO Governing Body

    Sally Hunt: General Secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), also a member of the Justice for Colombia National Committee and of both the TUC Executive and TUC General Council where she is spokesperson on international relations;

    Peter Kilfoyle MP: Member of Parliament for Liverpool, former Government Minister;

    Adam Lee: International Officer of the United Steelworkers (USW);

    Andy Love MP: Member of Parliament for Edmonton, Parliamentary Private Secretary;

    James McGovern MP: Member of Parliament for Dundee;

    John O'Neill: Partner at Thompsons Solicitors;

    Sandra Osborne MP: Member of Parliament for Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock, Member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee;

    Stephanie Peacock: Member of the Labour Party National Executive Committee;

    Frederick Redmond: International Vice President of the United Steelworkers (USW) and a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council;

    Mark Rowlinson: Legal Officer of the United Steelworkers (USW);

    Mick Shaw: President of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU);

    James Sheridan MP: Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North;

    Tony Woodhouse: Chair of the National Executive Committee of Unite the Union.

    Chart of the day is.....

    .......a shame on your country, US citizens.


    So not only does the USA break the Geneva conventions, but it breaks it with the official, written approval of its Commander in Chief. You think this is defensible? Think again.

    Two choices:

    1) Impeach former President Bush
    2) Never but never think you have claim to the moral high ground again.

    UPDATE: Krugman sums it up nicely:

    "Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

    There’s a word for this: it’s evil."