Monthly Archives: May 2012

Goodbye, Fly Aruba

Fly Aruba N407BV returns to USA

This is the way Fly Aruba ends, not with a bang but a roar down the jetway.

Thanks again to readers JS and T for keeping me updated on this. Look up the history of this plane and others at FlightAware.

UPDATING: it looks like the flight plan was filed a day early. The plane will go to Brownsville today, according to a newly filed flight plan.

Responding to the comment that “why” is the important issue here, all I can say is yes, of course. But the real “why” may never be known. Starting an airline is an odd thing to do with one’s money. I am starting to think it’s an apt coincidence that Arevenca is in the old Stanford Bank offices in Oranjestad.

Arevenca: Scam continues to unravel

According to our trusty correspondents, a labour case against fake oil company Arevenca began on Friday. The court may seize the company’s furniture and such within a couple months to help pay debts to workers at Fly Aruba, a fake airline that Arevenca started (for reasons that I’m sure will someday become clear — NOT). The workers sued for back wages after not being fully paid for two months, which is apparently a violation of some law or another in Aruba.

Now this, from today’s 24ora:

Pa incumplimento di pago avion di Fly Aruba ta bai bek

Which is to say, Fly Aruba’s one jet is being repossessed for non-payment. The registered owner, according to the FAA database, is “Wells Fargo Bank Northwest NA Trustee.” So Wells, or their client, is doing an international repo.

Up next, I hear another Arevenca victim is in the wings waiting to sue, but then, I’ve been hearing that since February. So we’ll see.

Fascinating AP story on Cuba oil hunt, US sanctions

AP-Cuba doing their job. Look at this:

Experts say it is not unusual that a 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) deep exploratory well drilled at a cost of more than $100 million by Spanish oil giant Repsol was a bust. Four out of five such wells find nothing in the high-stakes oil game, and petroleum companies are built to handle the losses.

But Cuba has more at stake, and only a few more spins left of the roulette wheel. The enormous Scarabeo-9 platform being used in the hunt is the only one in the world that can drill in Cuban waters without incurring sanctions under the U.S. economic embargo, and it is under contract for only one to four more exploratory wells before it heads off to Brazil.

Go check it out.

Support Tom Tomorrow

On the rare occasions that I say something funny, I am usually plagiarizing Tom Tomorrow, author of the comic strip This Modern World. He is one of the sharpest minds in political commentary, always grabbing just the right analogy and turning it into something that makes me laugh aloud. (That’s quite different from LOL, which apparently stands for “acknowledge that something is intended as a joke without tiring out my precious facial muscles with the most minimal reaction”).

Mr Tomorrow is raising money these days with a clever new initiative, Sparky’s List. Please go read his comics, read his pitch, and give him all your money. Actually it’s not “all your money” at all, it’s an incredibly cheap and easy way for readers like us to support quality work. Why, I may imitate his system one of these days…

Here’s an example of his sharp observations — a strip written in the 1990s that could have been written in the 1910s or the 2010s. We love timeless messages, especially when they are really frickin funny. Continue reading

Arevenca’s big day in Aruba

A trusty correspondent in Aruba writes that Arevenca, the fake oil company, will go to trial today in the island nation over unpaid wages to workers at its Fly Aruba subsidiary.

Workers will request that the state seize Arevenca assets and auction them to pay workers at the airline, which has yet to receive an operating license, writes reader JS. He said the workers were called in last night at 5:30 pm to get their pay and call off the suit. But, he says, the daughter of the owner gave them a pay slip for less money than they were supposed to receive. They got mad and left.

As far as I know, Arevenca has never been successfully served with a lawsuit. So this should be interesting.

PDVSA Pension Ponzi: Venezuelan justice says ‘yawn’

Francisco Illarramendi has admitted to taking almost a half-billion dollars from the pension fund of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and dumping it into a Ponzi scheme. One might expect the Venezuelan justice system to be interested in the case.

César Batiz writes in El Mundo Economia y Negocios today that this isn’t the case. My translation.

Venezuelan court dismisses case of Francisco Illaramendi

The financier Francisco Illaramendi, whose US trial for a Ponzi scheme fraud is ongoing, hasn’t committed any crime in Venezuela, according to the Venezuelan justice system. Continue reading

Chart o the day: Prices for dead Chilean pigs

Pork, ham, loin: name your corpse, it’s dead pig. And in Chile, more than half of it comes from AgroSuper, whose world’s biggest pork plant is now in the news. The pitch for these big industrial agricultural facilities is always that they’ll keep consumer prices down. Let’s see how that’s going, looking at prices in Santiago, according to the government’s Agricultural Studies and Policy Office.

All prices are in Chilean pesos. To get a sense of what these prices mean, minimum wage has climbed from 159,000 pesos a month to 182,000 pesos a month during this period. Let’s assume that people work 22 days a month. Take the most extreme case, that of costillar at the supermarket. A worker could get it for 3,000 pesos at the end of 2008, or 2.4 kilos for a day’s basic wages. This year, it’s averaging 5,000 pesos a kilo, or 1.65 kilos for a day’s work. That’s a big change. Continue reading

Chilean hog facility turns into health & environment “catastrophe” (Updated)

SuperCerdo, producer of more than half of Chile’s pig meat, is having a problem at its hog facility in Freirina, in the copper-producing Coquimbo Region north of Santiago. SuperCerdo’s parent, AgroSuper, got permission to build the facility in 2005, and opened last year after USD$200 million in investment, according to AgroSuper’s Dec. 2 investor presentation. The company said in that presentation it was doubling capacity to 3.8 million hogs a year — better than 1 hog for every 5 humans in the entire country. Total investment at the site was to be USD$800 million.

But the locals around the plant started agitating because of foul odors, which by some reports are noticeable as much as 5 km (3 miles) away. No one paid any attention to these complaints until locals started to block roads. The roadblocks turned into battles of kids with stones vs. national police with water cannons, and AgroSuper staff abandoned the plant several days ago. Last night, Health Minister Jaime Mañalich called the situation a “catastrophe.” Here’s what he told Radio BioBio (my translation): Continue reading