Marco Rubio declines Nicolas Maduro’s invite to visit Venezuela

Marco Rubio declines Nicolas Maduro’s invite to visit Venezuela

Sen. Marco Rubio has a lot of reasons not to visit Venezuela.

The Florida senator successfully pushed the Trump administration to take a hard line on the Venezuelan government, managed to invite Venezuelan opposition leader Lillian Tintori to the White House, and is the target of a potential death threat from socialist party leader Diosdado Cabello.

But that didn’t stop Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from extending an invite to Rubio on Tuesday.

“We can walk the streets together,” Maduro said, according to Stephen ...  

Brazil’s Senate confronts court, returns suspended lawmaker

Brazil’s Senate confronts court, returns suspended lawmaker

The Senate rejected a decision of Brazil’s top court and returned a suspended lawmaker to his post Tuesday, in what critics said was the latest self-protection move by politicians accused of corruption.

Former presidential candidate Aecio Neves was returned to the Senate by a 44-to-26 vote. He had been suspended by Brazil’s Supreme Court, which ordered him put under house arrest. The conservative politician, who is a key ally of embattled President Michel Temer, was accused of obstruction of justice in ...  

Venezuela: Caracas after the chaos remains stressful

Venezuela: Caracas after the chaos remains stressful

This year more than most, life in Venezuela has been characterised by chaos. The recent turmoil has been well documented, from violent protests to tear gas and riot police. However, now that the demonstrations have ended, a semblance of normal life has begun to return to Caracas.

For many Venezuelan families, “normal life” includes an afternoon at the baseball. Before the first pitch in the game between Leones of Caracas and the Bravos of Margarita, the stadium rose as one for ...  

Venezuela vote dispute raises threat of more foreign sanctions

Venezuela vote dispute raises threat of more foreign sanctions

Venezuela’s opposition cried foul on Monday over the ruling socialists’ win in gubernatorial elections, raising the threat of more foreign sanctions following the vote in what the United States called “an authoritarian dictatorship.”

President Nicolas Maduro’s candidates took 17 governorships, versus five for the opposition, in Sunday’s nationwide poll, according to the pro-government electoral board.

The socialists’ strong showing came despite devastating food shortages, triple-digit inflation, and a collapsing currency. Polls had suggested the opposition would easily win a majority. …

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Lower House Chief Snubs Brazil’s President, Just a Little

Lower House Chief Snubs Brazil’s President, Just a Little

Brazil’s lower house speaker is stepping up criticism of Brazil’s unpopular President Michel Temer ahead of next year’s election but is unlikely to jump ship entirely, his closest aides say.

A series of verbal spats with Temer’s camp last week, including a promise to halt fast-track legislation, reflect lower house chief Rodrigo Maia’s attempts to steer his DEM party clear of Temer’s dismal popularity ratings, according to four people with direct knowledge of his thinking. Yet his party will continue to ...  

Mexico’s Attorney General Resigns Under Pressure

Mexico’s Attorney General Resigns Under Pressure

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s attorney general, a close ally of President Enrique Peña Nieto, resigned on Monday, handing victory to a broad coalition of social groups that have demanded an autonomous prosecutor.

From the moment he was appointed a year ago, Attorney General Raúl Cervantes was a lightning rod.

He leaves office as Mexico’s homicide rate has climbed to its highest level since officials began keeping comparable records 20 years ago. Seventeen former state governors are under investigation on corruption charges, but ...  

Key Maduro Ally in Venezuela Is Linked to Illegal Campaign Gifts

Key Maduro Ally in Venezuela Is Linked to Illegal Campaign Gifts

CARACAS, Venezuela — Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant that ran a vast bribery scheme in the Americas, made campaign contributions to numerous Venezuelan candidates, including Diosdado Cabello, one of the country’s most powerful politicians, according to a video released on Saturday by Venezuela’s ousted attorney general.

The video, showing an excerpt from a deposition by the former head of Odebrecht’s Venezuelan operations, widened allegations of the firm’s involvement in Venezuelan politics.

The former attorney general, Luisa Ortega, who fled the country in ...  

Russian Government Drafts Terms to Restructure Venezuelan Debt

Russian Government Drafts Terms to Restructure Venezuelan Debt

Russia and Venezuela may sign an agreement on restructuring Venezuelan debt by the end of the year if terms drafted by their finance ministries are approved, said Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

“In general, we worked out with the finance ministry such conditions,” Siluanov told reporters in Washington, where he attended the International Monetary Fund fall meeting. “If the Venezuelan side initials these agreements quickly, there are reasons to agree by the end of this year and to sign restructuring terms.” ...  

Venezuela socialists win governor seats amid fraud claims

Venezuela socialists win governor seats amid fraud claims

Electoral authorities in Venezuela say the governing Socialist Party has won 17 of 23 state governorships in a crushing victory. President Nicolás Maduro hailed it as a victory for Chavismo, his party’s brand of socialism named after former president Hugo Chávez. But opposition leaders alleged fraud.

The Democratic Union Roundtable coalition has refused to recognise the result and demanded a complete audit, campaign director Gerardo Blyde said. He said that “neither Venezuelans nor the world will swallow this fiction”. …

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Venezuela vote dispute risks rekindling unrest, sanctions

Venezuela vote dispute risks rekindling unrest, sanctions

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s opposition refused on Monday to recognize a surprise win for the ruling socialists in a weekend regional election, potentially rekindling protests and fresh foreign sanctions on the oil-rich country’s moribund economy.

Venezuela’s pro-government electoral board said President Nicolas Maduro’s candidates took 17 governorships, versus six for the opposition, in Sunday’s poll with turnout of more than 61 percent.

The socialists’ strong showing was unexpected after devastating food shortages and salary-destroying inflation fueled anger at Maduro. Polls had suggested ...  

Trump must deal knockout sanctions to Maduro regime

Trump must deal knockout sanctions to Maduro regime

When President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton inserted themselves into Honduras’ political black hole in 2009, the rule of law collapsed there. It quickly became the world leader in murder and is run by “narcotraficantes” — murderous drug runners.

Honduras is so bad that thousands of its mothers fled with their children on foot, bus and train to the Texas-Mexico border and surrendered to the first uniformed, badge-wearing Americans they saw, asking for asylum.

The Obama/Clinton ignorance of Honduras, ...  

Venezuela’s Battered Opposition Bets on Elections

Venezuela’s Battered Opposition Bets on Elections

As Venezuela prepares to elect 23 governors on Sunday in elections stalled for a year by the socialist regime, the opposition coalition has made inroads into vast slums and countryside once considered impenetrable.

President Nicolas Maduro’s administration called elections to release pressure after months of bloody protests, and to demonstrate that democracy is alive. But the economy’s crash and the spread of hunger across this oil-rich land has let his opponents go where they’ve rarely ventured.

Take Jose Manuel Olivares, a 32-year-old ...  

Brazil’s Privatization Push

Brazil’s Privatization Push

RIO DE JANEIRO — With the way Brazil’s economic crisis is going for many Brazilians, lining up to play the scratch-off lottery seems like a good bet – at least until even the lottery itself gets touched by fiscal woes. The Brazilian government recently announced that the state lottery may soon be sold.

It’s not just the lottery that is going the way of deregulation. In August, Brazilian President Michel Temer announced reforms that will privatize a vast number of sectors ...  

NAFTA’s future remains unclear as talks continue

NAFTA’s future remains unclear as talks continue

Few clues emerged from President Donald Trump’s meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday about the uncertain future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“We’re negotiating a NAFTA deal. It’s time after all of these years and we’ll see what happens. It’s possible we won’t be able to make a deal and it’s possible that we will,” Trump said.

Negotiations have struggled to gain momentum as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce cautioned that the Trump administration’s impractical requests ...  

Florida businessman admits to bribery scheme at Venezuela’s PDVSA

Florida businessman admits to bribery scheme at Venezuela’s PDVSA

The part owner of several Florida-based energy companies on Wednesday became the latest person to plead guilty as part of an ongoing U.S. investigation into bribery at Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA.

Fernando Ardila Rueda, 49, pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston to two counts, including that he violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in connection with a scheme to pay bribes to PDVSA employees, the U.S. Justice Department said.

He became the 10th person to plead guilty as part ...  

Trump winds up to hit Cuba’s economy – twice

Trump winds up to hit Cuba’s economy – twice

Cuba is bracing for the impact of a one-two punch from the Trump administration: stricter travel rules and an official warning about visiting the island.

The U.S. is expected to soon publish new regulations that will make it tougher for Americans to travel to Cuba. President Trump announced the rules over the summer, keeping with his campaign promise to crack down on the Communist government.

But the rules will also come in the wake of a new warning issued by the State ...  

Opposition Magistrates Holed up in Chile Residence Flee Venezuela: Source

Opposition Magistrates Holed up in Chile Residence Flee Venezuela: Source

CARACAS (Reuters) – Five magistrates named by the opposition-run congress who had been holed up in the Chilean ambassador’s residence to avoid arrest fled in the early hours of Monday and escaped over the border to Colombia, a source said on Tuesday.

The Chilean Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Elenis Rodriguez, Luis Marcano, Jose Nunez, Beatriz Ruiz, and Zuleima Del Valle had left the premises on Monday, but did not offer further details.

“Relatives came to get them at 5 ...  

IMF Says Venezuela’s Inflation Rate May Rise Beyond 2,300% in 2018

IMF Says Venezuela’s Inflation Rate May Rise Beyond 2,300% in 2018

Venezuela’s triple-digit annual inflation rate is set to jump to more than 2,300 percent in 2018, the highest estimate for any country tracked by the International Monetary Fund.

An intensifying political crisis that’s spiraled since 2014 has weighed heavily on economic activity. Gross domestic product is expected to contract 6 percent next year, after shrinking an estimated 12 percent in 2017, the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report published Tuesday.

While Venezuela’s central bank stopped publishing inflation data in ...  

UN ending 13-year military peacekeeping mission in Haiti

UN ending 13-year military peacekeeping mission in Haiti

A U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti that has helped maintain order through 13 years of political turmoil and catastrophe is coming to an end as the last of the blue-helmeted soldiers from around the world leave despite concerns that the police and justice system are still not adequate to ensure security in the country.

The U.N. lowered its flag at its headquarters in Port-au-Prince during a ceremony Thursday that was attended by President Jovenel Moise, who thanked the organization for helping ...  

Venezuela’s unrest, food scarcity take psychological toll on children

Venezuela’s unrest, food scarcity take psychological toll on children

LOS TEQUES, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuelan siblings Jeremias, 8, and Victoria, 3, were in their pajamas and preparing to go to bed when a tear gas canister smashed through their family’s kitchen window in early July.

National Guard soldiers were pelting the building in this highland town near Caracas with tear gas canisters as they searched for opposition activists who had been protesting against unpopular President Nicolas Maduro for over three months.

Amid screams and insults from neighbors, soldiers stormed the building ...  

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About

During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.