Monday, November 30, 2015

Oil recovery will take 5 years: IEA

Energy watchdog warns of a return to 1970s style over-dependence on Middle East–and this time it’s Asia’s problem.

Prices for crude oil, the world economy’s most essential commodity, will need until 2020 to recover from the price war unleashed last year by Saudi Arabia, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.

But while that’s good for energy consumers across the world, it makes them more dependent on a small handful of politically volatile, mainly Middle Eastern, producer countries than at any time since the 1970s, the Paris-based watchdog warned in its closely-watched annual outlook for the world energy market.

Under its base case scenario, the IEA said it expects crude prices to recover to around $80 a barrel by 2020, as the market gradually rebalances by taking high-cost supply out of the market and encouraging higher demand growth. Thereafter, it expects only tepid demand growth for another 20 years, as alternative sources, especially renewables, expand their share in the energy mix.

 The promise of $80 oil is a comforting message to western oil companies that have been slashing jobs and investment this year in anticipation of much lower prices. BP Plc BP -0.83% recently outlined plans where it could continue to grow and pay dividends even at an oil price of $60/bbl, while Chevron Corp. CVX 0.27% and ConocoPhillips COP -0.81% last month also announced aggressive cost savings as spot prices headed back below $45/bbl.
U.S. shale producers too, will be happy if the IEA’s base case plays out. If prices recover as it expects, then U.S. tight oil output should rise by 1.5 million barrels a day by 2020 to over 5 million b/d, according to the IEA.

However, it warned that “a substantial decline in output” is likely in the near term if prices remain below $60. And it warned that prices could stay stuck in the $50-$60/bbl range if Middle Eastern producers, notably Iraq and Iran, can create a political climate stable enough to realise the potential of their low-cost reserves–always a big ‘if’, but one that has “a clear pathway” now that sanctions on Iran are set to be lifted.

Oil prices have fallen 10% in the last week as hopes for a quick end to the Saudi-led price war have faded. The benchmark U.S. crude oil future currently trades at just over $44/bbl. Media reports suggest that there is little chance of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreeing to cut its output this year, despite the increasing strain on their budgets. Saudi Arabia is going so far as to borrow on the international capital markets–an option not available to other OPEC members such as Iran and Venezuela.

But as low-cost Middle Eastern producers regain market share, the IEA warned, the risk of over-dependence on the region rises again. And with oil demand falling in developed economies as renewable energy sources gain ground (the IEA predicts combined U.S., Japanese and E.U. oil demand will fall by 10 million b/d by 2040), it’s the rising economies of Asia that will be most acutely exposed.

“A concentration of global supply would be accompanied by elevated concerns about energy security, with Asian consumers… particularly vulnerable,” the IEA said.

By 2040, it expects China’s oil imports to be five times those of the U.S., while India’s will “easily exceed” the European Union’s.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

10 major US cities that are embracing the cloud

1.- Boston, Massachusetts

Despite being known as a sector slow to adopt new tech, many city governments are embracing the cloud. Here are 10 of the most cloud-friendly cities.
In 2014, the city of Boston moved almost 80,000 employees the cloud. The city relies on Google Apps to support everyone from police officers to public school teachers.

2. New York, New York

New York City was early on the cloud trend, making the move to use a plethora of Microsoft cloud tools in 2010.

3. San Francisco, California

A city known for its willingness to embrace new technology, San Francisco began moving many of its employees to the Office 365 platform in early 2014.

4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia has a cloud-based 311 phone service for municipal services for residents, and its chief innovation officer eventually wants to move 50% of its IT assets to the cloud.

5. Miami, Florida

For its private cloud, Miami was awarded the Public Technology Institute’s Annual Solutions Award in 2013. Miami has also been developing cloud appsto help with public inspections.

6. Asheville, North Carolina

The city of Asheville won an award in 2015 for its cloud-based approach to data recovery.

7. Los Angeles, California

Another city using Microsoft Office 365, Los Angeles moved 100,000 employees to the platform starting in 2014.

8. Louisville, Kentucky

In addition to being named one of the top digital cities in the US, Louisville was also one of the winners of Amazon's City on a Cloud challenge for its work building open data sites on AWS.

9. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix not only uses a host of cloud tools, but it has also takes a comprehensive approach to the cloud as evidenced by its cloud computing audit report

10. San Jose, California

San Jose began the move to Microsoft's cloud suite in 2013 to save money and increase efficiency.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Paris, ISIS, Social Media & Encryption

How were the terrorists in Paris communicating? 
Shelly Palmer talks about it with Juliet Huddy and Teresa Priolo on Fox 5. Original Airdate: November 17, 2015

Watch this analysis at:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Comcast launches a $15 video streaming service ...

...that actually makes sense for cord cutters !

The company we all love to hate announced the launch of its new “Stream” service in an effort to win back cord cutters. Unlike the completely misguided attempt by Time Warner to win customers back by showing fewer commercials and pulling its programming from Netflix, Comcast’s idea actually makes sense for cord cutters.
The Stream plan is a $15 per month service (including taxes and fees) and it includes local networks, HBO and on-demand movies and television shows.
Two catches.
The first is you have to live in the Boston area — which includes all of eastern Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire — but the company plans to launch in Chicago and Seattle shortly after and nationwide by early 2016.
Secondly, you must be an Xfinity (Comcast Internet) customer.
On the plus side, it’s at least a working model that will force other ISPs to take notice. If it’s successful, you can bet that your ISP will begin offering a similar take on Comcast’s Stream.
This doesn’t solve every problem with cable, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Case for Buying a Home You Can't Afford (BusinessWeek)

Trulia crunched income data to identify cities where mortgages will soon look more affordable.
Image result for Real estate
Here’s a happy reminder if you're someone who finds escape by perusing real estate listings for unobtainable homes: A mortgage that strains your budget now will be a lighter burden a few years, and a couple of job promotions, down the line.
Young professionals willing to stretch their budgets now should consider Boston, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., among other cities, according to a new report from Trulia. In New Haven, Conn., the typical millennial (defined by Trulia as an adult between ages 25 and 34) can expect to spend 37 percent of her income on housing in the first year of her mortgage. Three years later, though, the same homebuyer’s monthly payments will fall below 31 percent of her income, according to Trulia’s estimates. By the last year of her 30-year mortgage, she’ll be spending 11 percent of her income on housing.
"There's a sweet spot of metros where a mortgage looks obtainable but unaffordable, but where it doesn't take long to become affordable," said Ralph McLaughlin, a housing economist at Trulia.  
Trulia built its model on the rough assumption that in three decades, today’s 25-year-olds will earn the same as today’s 55-year-olds. (It also baked in some inflation.) That seems like a reasonable basis for comparing local housing markets, but an overly broad one for making financial decisions.
Here are some other caveats: It wasn’t very long ago that U.S. homebuyers helped wreck the world economy by stretching their budgets to buy homes they couldn’t afford. Don’t do that. And even if you want to, it will be harder to find an enabling mortgage lender this time around. The average debt-to-income ratio that a borrower needs to close a loan has hovered around 25 percent in recent years, according to mortgage software company Ellie Mae, indicating that many buyers would struggle to convince a lender to let them stretch.
The other thing that stands out in the Trulia report is the low likelihood that young workers will ever be able to afford homes in California. In San Francisco, the typical millennial will still be spending 48 percent of her income on housing in the last year of her mortgage. In San Jose, the figure is 38 percent. In other words, the median home will still be unaffordable to the median millennial when that group is approaching retirement. It’s a grim picture up and down the coast.
California, to judge from the above, looks destined to become the land of the elderly.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

JPMorgan's 2014 Hack Tied to Largest Cyber Breach Ever (BusinessWeek)

  • Worldwide Hacking Ring Is Broken Up
  • Online gambling, bitcoin scam, money laundering among charges
  • Hackers took data on 100 million customers, U.S. alleges
Image result for JPMorgan's 2014 Hack Tied to Largest Cyber Breach Ever

The U.S. described a vast, multi-year criminal enterprise centering on hacks of at least nine big financial and publishing firms and the theft of information on 100 million of their customers that fueled a web of stock manipulation, credit-card fraud and illegal online casinos.

Two indictments, unsealed Tuesday, tied three of four suspects to previously reported hacks of JPMorgan Chase & Co., E*Trade Financial Corp., Scottrade Financial Services Inc. and Dow Jones & Co., a unit of News Corp.

Hackers and conspirators in more than a dozen countries generated hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit proceeds on pump-and-dump stock schemes and particularly lucrative online gambling, prosecutors said. 

From 2012 to mid-2015, the suspects and their co-conspirators successfully manipulated dozens of publicly traded stocks, sent misleading pitches to clients of banks and brokerages whose e-mail addresses they’d stolen, and profited by using trading accounts set up under fake names, prosecutors said.

Along the way, members of the ring tried to extract nonpublic information from financial corporations, processed payment information for fake pharmaceuticals and fake anti-virus software, falsified passports and took control of a New Jersey credit union, said prosecutors. They used 75 companies and bank and brokerage accounts around the world to launder money, prosecutors wrote. Other alleged offenses include hacking, securities fraud, wire fraud and identity theft.

The global network stretched from Israel to the U.S., with a dozen online casinos and payments that ran through Cyprus, Azerbaijan and Switzerland. 

The co-conspirators deceived financial institutions into processing and authorizing payments to and from the casino companies and others, prosecutors wrote in their latest indictment of Gery Shalon, Joshua Aaron and Ziv Orenstein, who they say are at the center of the scheme. Shalon and Orenstein were arrested in Israel in July. Aaron remains at large.

“They colluded with corrupt international bank officials who willfully ignored its criminal nature in order to profit from, as a co-conspirator described it to Shalon, their payment processing ‘casino/software/pharmaceutical cocktail’,” according to the indictment of the three. 

Anthony Murgio, who was arrested in Florida in July, was indicted separately for crimes related to a Bitcoin-exchange service and the takeover of a New Jersey credit union to further the business.

Shalon was the leader and self-described “founder” of the sprawling cybercriminal enterprise, which the indictment describes as having hundreds of employees and co-conspirators. In one case, according to the indictment, he boasted that a profitable stock sale was a “small step towards a large empire.”

“We buy them [i.e., stocks] very cheap, perform machinations, then play with them,” Shalon is cited as explaining to a co-conspirator. Responding to the co-conspirator’s rhetorical question about whether buying stocks was popular among Americans, he said: “It’s like drinking freaking vodka in Russia.”

Shalon -- an Israeli citizen who also went by the names Garri Shalelashvili, Phillipe Mousset and Christopher Engeham -- directed hacks to further his market-manipulation and Internet gambling schemes, the indictment said. Shalon concealed at least $100 million in Swiss and other bank accounts, it said.

The new allegations against the four broaden dramatically the scope of a wide-ranging criminal enterprise with hacking at its core. Outlines of the government’s case against the men emerged with their arrest in July, when Shalon, Orenstein and Aaron were implicated in a pump-and-dump scheme.

The three men were linked to hacks of JPMorgan, Fidelity Investments Ltd. and E*Trade, Bloomberg News reported at the time.

The hackers located some 10 million e-mail addresses of customers and stole millions of those from Dow Jones, identified as Victim 8 in the indictment. In October, the company disclosed that its computer systems had been hacked. As part of that disclosure, Dow Jones Chief Executive Officer William Lewis said that some customer payment information may have been compromised -- on no more than 3,500 accounts -- and that it was unknown whether other information had been taken.

A week earlier, Scottrade disclosed that it had been hacked and that information on 4.6 million customers had been taken.

According to the indictment, Shalom and a co-conspirator expanded their efforts to seek material non-public information from firms they were hacking. In one e-mail, they referred to seeking "interesting info" from top managers at Victim 5, a St. Louis brokerage firm now confirmed as Scottrade.

A spokeswoman for Dow Jones said in a statement: "The indictment unsealed today refers to the public disclosure we made on October 9. The government’s investigation is ongoing, and we continue to cooperate with law enforcement."

The hack of Fidelity has been previously reported. The company said it has no indication that any customer accounts, customer information or related systems were affected. E*Trade confirmed it was attacked in late 2013 but declined to provide more information.

“We continue to cooperate with law enforcement in fighting cybercrime,” JPMorgan spokeswoman Trish Wexler said in a statement.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday to explain the charges.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


La nueva versión de de The Atlantic le brindará al público de habla hispana cobertura de temas e ideas que se generan en distintas ciudades del mundo

CityLab Latino se lanzará a principios de 2016 en

WASHINGTON, D.C. Y MIAMI - 10 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2015 – The Atlantic y Univision Digital, la división digital de Univision Communications Inc. (UCI), la principal empresa de medios de comunicación al servicio de la comunidad hispana en los Estados Unidos, están construyendo una versión en español del galardonado sitio web de The Atlantic, El nuevo destino digital, que se llamará CityLab Latino, presentará periodismo original en español y reportajes de, adaptado y traducido para la nueva plataforma. CityLab Latino está pautado para debutar a principios de 2016 en, la propiedad digital multiplataforma No.1 entre los hispanos en Estados Unidos.

CityLab Latino le brindará a la comunidad hispana cobertura de los temas, ideas e innovaciones más candentes que están emergiendo de los centros urbanos del mundo. La publicación incluirá reportajes originales en español y traducciones de artículos de, cubriendo temas que abarcan desde crimen, política e inmigración hasta el medioambiente, cultura, diseño y tecnología. El equipo editorial de CityLab Latino tendrá sede en Miami y Washington, D.C., con periodistas en ciudades clave del país.

“Esta alianza nos permite ampliar el alcance de CityLab y llevar su periodismo de ideas a una audiencia nueva”, dijo James Bennet, director y copresidente de The Atlantic. “En nuestras conversaciones con el equipo de Univision, hemos descubierto una armonía poco común entre  valores y ambiciones, y nos entusiasma tener la oportunidad de trabajar junto con ellos”.

“Estamos encantados de asociarnos con The Atlantic para seguir aumentando la cantidad y la calidad del contenido digital dirigido a los hispanohablantes en Estados Unidos”, dijo Isaac Lee, presidente de Noticias y Digital de Univision Communications Inc. y director ejecutivo de Fusion. “La singular perspectiva de CityLab, con su enfoque exclusivo en ciudades del mundo, y su periodismo de primera, combinados con reportajes originales de Univision Noticias hechos a la medida de nuestras audiencias, sin duda tendrá como resultado una publicación verdaderamente interesante que realzará nuestra ya exitosísima página web,”.

“Estamos ansiosos de empezar a trabajar con y aprender del equipo de Univision, el cual ha mostrado tanta ambición e innovación en los medios digitales,” añadió Bob Cohn, copresidente y director ejecutivo de Operaciones para The Atlantic. “También vemos una gran oportunidad para aprovechar la experiencia y el éxito de The Atlantic en el ámbito de los eventos y llevar la cobertura de temas urbanos a audiencias en vivo en mercados claves del país”.

El enfoque y la sensibilidad editoriales de CityLab Latino tendrán una fuerte influencia de, una publicación única en su cobertura de las ciudades del futuro y de la gente y los eventos que les dan forma. es lectura obligada para residentes urbanos y es la fuente principal para aquéllos que crean e influyen en las ciudades de hoy – reconocida por sus análisis agudos, sus reportajes originales y sus narraciones visuales. Entre sus secciones están Navigator, una guía para la vida urbana, y CityFixer, que presenta impactantes historias, centradas en las soluciones, dentro de una docena de temas distintos que abarcan desde las calles y los cambios climáticos hasta el envejecimiento y el tránsito masivo. La editora de es Sommer Mathis.

CityLab Latino es la segunda colaboración con enfoque temático que realiza Univision Digital. A principios de 2014, Univision lanzó la marca de noticias del entretenimiento Variety Latino, la cual le brinda a la comunidad hispana de Estados Unidos una cobertura insuperable de todos los aspectos de la industria global del entretenimiento.

CONTACTOS:         Jose Zamora
(305) 925-8835

Anna Bross
(202) 266-7714

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Few California Farmers Have Lots of Water. Can They Keep It? (BusinessWeek)

Irrigation canals still flow full in the Imperial Valley, and the farmers know California’s thirsty cities will someday come to claim that treasure

“You’ve been to the Grand Canyon, right?” Craig Elmore asks as he pulls his Chevrolet Tahoe to the edge of a field plowed into tidy, straight-as-an-arrow furrows, a section of the 6,000 acres that he farms—land his father and grandfather farmed before him. “Basically, right now, you’re driving over the Grand Canyon.”

Elmore speaks of the Imperial Valley with obvious pride, right down to the origins of the dirt, carried here over millions of years by the Colorado River as it carved the Grand Canyon ever deeper. These fields turn lush green every fall with the lettuce, broccoli, carrots, melons, and other fruits and vegetables that fill U.S. supermarkets all winter. It’s a scorching 109 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) outside his air-conditioned SUV on this August day, but from November through March, temperatures moderate, and this small section of the Sonoran Desert in California’s southeast corner becomes a perfect spot to grow food.
Craig Elmore
Dates are among the crops Craig Elmore grows.

Perfect, if you have water. And the farmers of the Imperial Valley have a wealth of water. A handful of landowners—about 500 farms in all—control the rights to 3.1 million acre-feet a year from the Colorado River. That’s equal to about a third of the water used by California’s cities, with 37 million people, where a four-year drought means neighbors report you if your lawn is green. Or, to measure another way, it’s half again as much water as Governor Jerry Brown aims to save under his April executive order, which set a February 2016 deadline for a 25 percent reduction in urban use. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons (1.2 million liters) and can supply the household needs of about 10 people for a year, though actual water use rates vary widely.

Imperial Valley farmers know their water is precious and understand that to preserve a way of life that runs back a century they have to grapple with the needs of a drought-stricken state. Politicians, regulators, and lawyers have squeezed the valley before to get at its water. In 2003, the Imperial Irrigation District, under pressure from Senator Dianne Feinstein and other federal and state officials, controversially agreed to sell as much as 280,000 acre-feet a year to San Diego. Farmers here still discuss that episode at length, and emotions are still raw, because they believe similar water transfers are likely in the valley’s future.

With so much water controlled by so few people, the farmers are a target for criticism. “The Imperial Valley belongs to a plutocracy of corporate agricultural and real estate interests that hoard water,” says Carolee Krieger, president of the California Water Impact Network, a nonprofit group in Santa Barbara. “They’re fighting to control water that California needs to preserve its environment.”

Bennett Raley, who was the U.S. Department of the Interior’s top water official when the San Diego agreement was negotiated, bluntly warned the farmers not to fool themselves into thinking they could block such transfers. “The economic pressures associated with urban growth in the West are extremely strong,” he said at a community forum in the valley in 2002, according to press accounts. Since that time, the pressures have only ratcheted up, as severe drought has drained the state’s reservoirs. And the issues California faces are being seen worldwide as the climate warms and population rises. From São Paulo to Shanghai, politicians and citizens alike worry and fight over who will get limited water resources.

Levee on Salton Sea
The levee on Craig Elmore's land was built by his grandfather 
and used to mark the edge of the Salton Sea.

In the Imperial Valley, some farmers are getting used to the idea, central to the 2003 agreement, that they can sell water and use the proceeds to pay for conservation measures that free up more water to sell—potentially a virtuous cycle. Some remain defiant.

Elmore, whose grandfather John arrived in the valley from Missouri in 1908, says he spends about $600 an acre to level his fields and dig ditches for maximum irrigation efficiency. “People think transferring water out of the valley is a great sin,” he says. “Wasting water can be an even greater sin.” The neatly prepared field he’s inspecting is perfectly level—he uses lasers to make sure—and slightly lower than adjacent sections so water moves by gravity at an optimal speed. He uses electronic sensors that measure the flow of moisture in the soil and says he has cut his water use by at least 10 percent.

Another Imperial Valley farmer, Ronnie Leimgruber, whose grandfather immigrated here from Switzerland in 1918, is skeptical that anyone else deserves his water. “Do we really need 127 golf courses in Palm Springs for Obama and the Hollywood elite?” He raises alfalfa, the most water-intensive crop that’s grown in California, but has taken steps to cut his irrigation use.

Jack Vessey, whose ancestors arrived during the Depression, joined a lawsuit that tried to block the 2003 San Diego agreement and failed in the end. He touts the importance of the fresh winter produce the valley’s water makes possible. “We serve 1.2 billion salads a year from my farm,” he says. “What are we going to do, take this away and feed our kids candy bars?”

Mike Morgan, Craig Elmore’s cousin, who farms another section of the property their grandfather assembled decades ago, led the landowners’ court fight against the San Diego water sale. After his long, losing legal battle, he’s convinced that powerful forces are arrayed against the valley’s landowners and determined to take more water. “The only defense is to wake up every day recognizing that this threat exists and do everything you can to justify your use of water.”

For much more about this important issue of our times, go to:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

La FTC anuncia una importante iniciativa de cumplimiento de la ley que involucra al sector de cobranza de deudas

La Comisión Federal de Comercio

Hoy a las 12:30 p.m., la Comisión Federal de Comercio (FTC, por sus siglas en inglés) copatrocinará una conferencia de prensa en Washington, DC para anunciar una importante iniciativa de cumplimiento de la ley que involucra al sector de cobranza de deudas. Durante el evento, la Chairwoman de la FTC Edith Ramirez, la Fiscal General de Illinois Lisa Madigan y el Comisionado del Departamento de Comercio de Minnesota Mike Rothman presentarán sus comentarios y estarán a disposición de los periodistas para responder a sus preguntas.

El evento se transmitirá en vivo por internet.

Chairwoman de la FTC Edith Ramirez
Fiscal General de Illinois Lisa Madigan

Comisionado del Departamento de Comercio de Minnesota Mike Rothman

Miércoles 4 de noviembre de 2015 a las 12:30 p.m..

Sede central de la FTC
600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Room 432
Washington, DC

Los periodistas que no puedan concurrir al evento de prensa pueden utilizar el sistema call in. Número de teléfono: 800-288-8967, número de confirmación: 372900. Las líneas, que son para uso exclusivo de los medios informativos, se habilitarán a las 12:15 p.m. (hora del Este). La persona a cargo de la conferencia telefónica es Bruce Jennings.

El evento se transmitirá en vivo por internet.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Comisión Federal de Comercio: Cobro de Deudas...

La Comisión Federal de Comercio

Mañana a las 12:30 p.m., la Comisión Federal de Comercio (FTC, por su sigla en inglés) copatrocinará una conferencia de prensa en Washington, DC para anunciar una importante iniciativa de cumplimiento de la ley que involucra al sector de cobranza de deudas. Durante el evento, la Chairwoman de la FTC Edith Ramirez, la Fiscal General de Illinois Lisa Madigan y el Comisionado del Departamento de Comercio de Minnesota Mike Rothman presentarán sus comentarios y estarán a disposición de los periodistas para responder a sus preguntas.
El evento se transmitirá en vivo por internet. El enlace electrónico con la transmisión por internet estará disponible el miércoles en
Chairwoman de la Edith Ramirez
Fiscal General de Illinois Lisa Madigan
Comisionado del Departamento de Comercio de Minnesota Mike Rothman
Miércoles 4 de noviembre de 2015 a las 12:30 p.m.
Sede central de la FTC
600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW,
Room 432
Washington, DC
Los periodistas que no puedan concurrir al evento de prensa pueden utilizar el sistema call in. Número de teléfono: 800-288-8967, número de confirmación: 372900. Las líneas, que son para uso exclusivo de los medios informativos, se habilitarán a las 12:15 p.m. (hora del Este). La persona a cargo de la conferencia telefónica es Bruce Jennings.
Transmisión por internet:
El evento se transmitirá en vivo por internet. El enlace electrónico con la transmisión por internet estará disponible el miércoles en

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Alcalde Regalado apoya Declaración Universal de los Derechos de los Usuarios de Servicios Bancarios y Financieros

El alcalde de Miami se adhiere a la Declaración Universal de los Derechos de los Usuarios de Servicios Bancarios y Financieros

El alcalde de Miami se adhiere a la Declaración Universal de los Derechos de los Usuarios de Servicios Bancarios y Financieros.

La Declaración, promovida por Ausbanc Internacional y depositada en el Archivo de Indias desde 2006, cobra plena actualidad tras el respaldo de la Comisión Europea a la eliminación de la cláusula suelo y la devolución íntegra de las cantidades cobradas indebidamente a los clientes.

En su reciente gira por España, organizada por Ausbanc Abogados, el regidor de la ciudad de Miami tuvo ocasión de visitar el Archivo General de Indias de Sevilla, donde fue recibido por Pilar Lázaro de la Escosura, que ejerció de cicerone de Tomás Regalado.

Uno de los objetivos de la visita, aparte de conocer el lugar donde reposa gran parte de la memoria histórica y documental del Reino de España desde el siglo XVI, era suscribir la Declaración Universal de los Derechos de los Usuarios de Servicios Bancarios y Financieros, cuya copia manuscrita se encuentra allí depositada, para su guarda y custodia, desde el año 2006.

Esta Declaración Universal, también conocida como ‘La Española’ o ‘La Declaración de Salamanca’, es un documento declarativo, con vocación ecuménica, elaborado en 2005, cuyo objetivo es servir como garante de equidad en las relaciones entre los prestadores de servicios bancarios y financieros y sus usuarios. En su elaboración participaron durante un año magistrados, académicos, catedráticos, banqueros y representantes de Ausbanc Internacional, junto a un buen número de servicios jurídicos de asociaciones y organizaciones internacionales, y en ella se recogen los derechos básicos, bancarios y financieros, que todos los usuarios deberían tener en cualquier país del mundo.

Entre los derechos reconocidos por la misma están el acceso al crédito sin discriminación, la libertad de contratación, la mejora de las condiciones de los contratos, la necesidad de una legislación financiera, el derecho a la mejora de las condiciones crediticias según las circunstancias del mercado y el derecho a no ser privado de libertad en ningún caso por razón de deudas bancarias.

Tras el acto de la firma, en el que el alcalde de Miami estuvo acompañado por Luis Pineda, presidente de Ausbanc Internacional, la organización impulsora de este documento, Tomás Regalado subrayó la importancia que tienen este tipo de documentos para la protección de los consumidores. Por su parte, Luis Pineda describió la Declaración como una base fundamental para la sociedad: “todos los días se violan los derechos de los niños y aun así existe una declaración que los protege; ocurre igual con los clientes de los bancos, por lo que es vital que un decálogo establezca la normativa para que no se incrementen los abusos”.

Vocación internacional

La Declaración está dividida en 29 considerandos iniciales, 2 títulos, 5 capítulos y 54 artículos, y ofrece un marco básico de derechos a los usuarios de los servicios bancarios y financieros. Ha sido traducida al inglés, francés, alemán, italiano, portugués, árabe y chino, lenguas que abarcan, todas ellas, alrededor del 70% de la población mundial.

El documento cuenta con el apoyo de numerosas organizaciones públicas y privadas de defensa de los derechos de los consumidores bancarios, así como instituciones bancarias, gubernamentales y económicas de uno y otro lado del Atlántico (Europa y América). Además, ha sido suscrita por un buen número de entidades financieras, entre las que se encuentran el Banco Santander, La Caixa, o e lBanco Sabadell, entre otras.

Tras su presentación, el 29 de septiembre de 2005 en el Ayuntamiento de Salamanca, en un acto complementario a la XV Cumbre Iberoamericana de Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno, el texto fue leído por primera vez en el Paraninfo de la Universidad de Salamanca y depositado para su guarda y custodia, en el Arca de las Cinco Llaves, situada en el Sancta Sanctorum de la Biblioteca de la Universidad de Salamanca, una de las más antiguas de Occidente.

Además de la Universidad de Salamanca y el Archivo General de Indias, la Declaración ha sido objeto de difusión por parte de Ausbanc Internacional, y entregada, entre otros, al director gerente del Fondo Monetario Internacional.

La rúbrica estampada en la misma por el alcalde de Miami, Tomás Regalado, supone un nuevo refrendo a un documento que se adelantó a su tiempo, y en el que se establecen las normas para una nueva relación entre los clientes y los bancos.
Sobre el Archivo General de Indias

Fundado en 1785 a petición de Carlos III para reunir toda la documentación relativa a la administración de las colonias españolas, el Archivo General de Indias contiene piezas de incalculable valor histórico, como manuscritos de Cristóbal Colón, Hernán Cortés o Fernando de Magallanes, entre otros. En 1987, el Archivo fue declarado Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco. Su actual director es Manuel Ravina Martín.