Category: South America

As the year comes to a close, it’s a good time to look back at some Latin American startups that are geared up to make waves in 2014. After quietly gaining traction over the last few months and sometimes years, they are now ready to collect the fruits of their work and pop up on your radar more and more often.

It is important to note that we decided to focus on startups that are still exactly that: startups. In other words, you won’t find names such as Globant on our list, despite the fact that the company is expected to IPO early next year – which, on a side note, should be great news for Latin America. Nor will we highlight e-commerce giants such as Netshoes, Dafiti, Rocket Internet’s Linio and portfolio companies like real-estate site Lamudi, which are already beyond the early-stage phase. [Read the full article]



A 'nest' of surveillance cameras at the Gillet...NSA secretly accessed main Google, Yahoo data center links | Salon

Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks have not only revealed the vast reaches of the U.S. government’s surveillance operations, but in so doing they have revealed an ideology at the heart of the national security surveillance state: A megalomaniacal hoarding complex that de facto treats every and any individual as a potential threat. How many times will we hear that it’s about being able to “connect the dots”?

So again with the latest bombshell revelation: The NSA, the Washington Post reported Wednesday from documents leaked by Ed Snowden, has secretly intercepted the main links connecting Google and Yahoo data centers around the world. “By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot,” the Post reported. [Read the full article]

NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say | Washington Post

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.

By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.  [Read the full article]

Boris Johnson defends Guardian over NSA revelations | The Guardian

Boris Johnson has issued a staunch defence of the Guardian’s “salient and interesting” revelations showing the extent of mass surveillance by US and UK intelligence agencies.

The mayor of London told an audience at the World Islamic Economic Forum on Wednesday that it was important that governments and their spies were held to account by a “beady-eyed” media. [Read the full article]

Germany’s Merkel sends intelligence delegation to US | BBC

The chancellor’s foreign policy adviser and Germany’s intelligence co-ordinator will hold talks at the White House.

The head of US intelligence has defended the monitoring of foreign leaders as a key goal of operations. [Read the full article]

NSA director hints at scaling back some surveillance of foreign leaders | The Guardian

The director of the National Security Agency conceded on Wednesday that it may need to scale back some of its surveillance operations on foreign leaders, in the wake of an international outcry.

Launching a public defence of the NSA for the second time in as many days, Alexander acknowledged that limiting the program may be necessary in order to maintain diplomatic relations. “I think in some cases the partnerships are more important,” he told an audience in Washington. [Read the full article]

The NSA Spied on Angela Merkel—and the Rest of Us, Too | The Nation

Of all the spying activities conducted by the National Security Agency and disclosed by Edward Snowden, the one provoking the most alarm in Washington is the revelation that the agency monitored the communications of at least thirty-five world leaders, including Angela Merkel. Suddenly there is concern that the agency has overstepped its authority regarding foreign dignitaries—but not necessarily when it comes to American citizens.

After an outcry from Europe, the Obama administration indicated it may order the NSA to stop monitoring the heads of American allies. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a prominent defender of domestic surveillance, said in a statement that Congress was not “satisfactorily informed” about the program. “With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of US allies…I am totally opposed,” she declared. [Read the full article]

Obama, Congress Owe Snowden Thanks, and a Pardon | truthdig

Now we know that even the president needs leaks from Edward Snowden to be fully informed about the dastardly acts of his own top spy agency. It was Snowden’s recent revelations that led Obama to order an investigation into spying on private communications of 35 world leaders, including our closest allies, a clear betrayal of the trust needed to establish a more peaceful world.

According to a Wall Street Journal account from senior U.S. officials, the president had been kept in the dark as to the extent of the NSA spy program: “President Barack Obama went nearly five years without knowing his own spies were bugging the phones of world leaders. Officials said the NSA has so many eavesdropping operations under way that it wouldn’t have been practical to brief him on all of them. They added that the president was briefed on and approved of broader intelligence-collection ‘priorities,’ but that those below him make decisions about specific intelligence targets.” Huh? [Read the full article]

NSA chief defends agency amid U.S. spy rift with Europe | Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the National Security Agency defended his beleaguered organization on Tuesday, saying it acts within the law to stop militant attacks and calling reports that the NSA collected data on millions of phone calls in Europe false.

Army General Keith Alexander, testifying with other U.S. spy chiefs before the House of Representatives Intelligence committee, sought to defuse a growing controversy over reports of NSA snooping on citizens and leaders of major U.S. allies. [Read the full article]

NSA Scandal: Parliamentary Spying Inquiry Poses Challenges | Spiegel

The list is long: There have been 39 investigatory committees in the history of the German Federal Republic. Soon that number may rise to 40. The center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), the far-left Left Party and the Greens have insisted on a parliamentary inquiry into the activities of US intelligence agencies in Germany. The conservatives are committed, at the very least, not to hinder such a probe. That leaves the door wide open for one.

All participants know that such an investigatory committee would be unprecedented in that it would be dealing with the fundamental problems of the digital age. It would be different from prior committees. And because there is a desire to send a multi-party signal of protest to Washington, it is hard to get around it. [Read the full article]

Congress vs the President: Who Should Make the Calls on NSA? | DefenseOne

Watching the latest episode of NSA: The Reckoning, off the C-SPAN live-stream, I found myself asking this question: Do members of Congress believe that it’s a problem, really, that the National Security Agency managed to tap the cell phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2002?

Or was the problem simply that they’re members of Congress, and not members of the executive branch? [Read the full article]

White House offers tentative support for plans to rein in NSA surveillance | The Guardian

The White House indicated on Tuesday that it would support at least some of the congressional efforts to rein in the controversial surveillance practices of the National Security Agency, as political opinion in Washington hardened against the country’s embattled intelligence community.

The administration revealed that an internal government review in the wake of revelations by the whistleblower Edward Snowden had already led to changes in US intelligence-gathering activities – thought to be a ban on eavesdropping on the leaders of friendly governments and a curb on surveillance at the United Nations. [Read the full article]

NSA chief says NATO allies shared phone records with the U.S. spy agency | Washington Post

The director of the National Security Agency on Tuesday dismissed as “completely false” reports that his agency swept up millions of phone records of European citizens, and he revealed that data collected by NATO allies were shared with the United States.

Gen. Keith Alexander said foreign intelligence services collected phone records in war zones and other areas outside their borders and provided them to the spy agency — an operation that was misunderstood by French and Spanish newspapers that reported that the NSA was conducting surveillance in their countries. [Read the full article]

Robinson: The NSA is out of control | Salt Lake Tribune

WASHINGTON — Let’s get this straight: The National Security Agency snooped on the cellphone conversations of German Chancellor Angela Merkel? Perhaps for as long as a decade? And President Obama didn’t know a thing about it?

Either somebody’s lying or Obama needs to acknowledge that the NSA, in its quest for omniscience beyond anything Orwell could have imagined, is simply out of control. [Read the full article]

Germany and Brazil want UN vote on NSA spying | Deutsche Welle

Germany and Brazil have started an initiative to pass a resolution against spying on electronic communications. Diplomats confirmed to German news agencies on Tuesday (29.10.2013) that the German and Brazilian delegations had already started work on formulating a text, and it was possible they would be able to send the draft resolution to the UN Human Rights Committee by the end of this week.

Political scientist Günther Maihold told DW that the two states had chosen this path because they “didn’t want to get into a constellation that would give the US the option of a veto.” Maihold explained that “Brazil’s main interest is that this should result in international regulation by the UN.” [Read the full article]

Spying Scandal Makes Clear That Europe Must Declare Independence | truthdig

The crisis caused in Europe by American intelligence interceptions of its allies’ electronic communications derives from a problem Europeans have known and put up with since the Second World War. The time has come to call a halt.

It can only be solved with drastic actions that assert European sovereignty and a salutary shock of defiance to longstanding American presumptions of international impunity and repeated acts in disregard of international law, as well as of commercial and diplomatic convention and tradition. [Read the full article]

Spying tests trust between Obama, Merkel | AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Barack Obama visited Berlin in June, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a point of showing him a balcony in her office overlooking train tracks that crossed the border of her once-divided country — a symbol of her upbringing on the east side of the divide, where eavesdropping by secret police was rampant during the Cold War.

The private moment between the two leaders underscores the degree to which Merkel’s personal history has influenced her outrage over revelations that the National Security Agency was monitoring her communications. The secret spying threatens to damage the close relationship between Obama and Merkel, which, until now, has been defined by candor and trust. [Read the full article]

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Ministros de Cristina de Kirchner.


A controversial Argentine law forcing the break-up of media conglomerates was on Tuesday approved by the country’s Supreme Court, a crushing victory for the government of Cristina Kirchner in its long battle with her most vocal press critic.

After four years of legal wrangling, judges ruled that the government can force private media to surrender broadcasting licenses if they exceed strict ownership and audience limits, paving the way for the dismantling of the Clarin empire with which Mrs Kirchner has long sparred. The verdict was hailed as victory for free expression by Kirchner supporters but decried as the death knell for independent journalism by her opponents. [Read the full article]


This image is taken from the Presidency of the...

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentines voted Sunday in nationwide congressional elections that marked the beginning of the end of a government led by Cristina Fernandez and her late husband Nestor Kirchner since 2003.

And after a decade of increasing presidential power, the new Congress could be in a position to reassert itself during the final two years of her second term.

Fernandez remains Argentina’s most popular politician nationwide, and has kept rivals in check by having allies float the idea of a “re-re-election” to a third term. But Sunday’s vote was expected to bury that idea by denying her the two-thirds super-majorities needed in both houses of congress to change the constitution. [Read the full article]

The Coat of arms of Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Three Venezuelan diplomats were ordered out of the United States on Tuesday in response to their government’s decision to boot three U.S. officials from Venezuela, including the highest-ranking U.S. envoy in the country.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the expulsion of U.S. charge d’affaires Kelly Keiderling and two other diplomats Monday, accusing them of conspiring with “the extreme right” to sabotage the South American country’s economy and power grid. [Read the full article]

Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, announced yesterday that he will propose UNASUR to bring the US before an international tribunal for human rights violations after his plane was denied airspace in Europe in the beginning of July.

Speaking yesterday to local newspaper La Razón, Morales announced that “I’m going to propose in the next UNASUR meeting with all the other presidents to bring the United States before an international court in respect to human rights and international diplomacy treaties. This action is fundamental so that other presidents in the world will not have to go through what I went.” [Read the full article]


The police move came as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that foreign-led conspirators he alleges are behind the anti-government movement in his country also are fomenting the recent unrest in Brazil.

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The people in Brazil and Turkey alike have been fooled by their respective government for far too long. You might wonder why it actually errupted. I am very confident that there are no conspiracies going on in Turkey and Brazil. I would call it “too many people have been fooled for far too long and now they stand up to give some feedback”. You might call it conspiracies, Tayyip. At the end of the day is what happens in both countries somehow part of what one would call “freedom of speech” where people express their opinion.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. (Abraham Lincoln)

The time where the government communicated what people had to think and to believe is over. The people will stand up sooner or later to claim their rights. And there is nothing you can do about it.

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