The United States is Losing the War on Drugs in the Americas

The United States is Losing the War on Drugs in the Americas

By José R. Cárdenas

9/18/2017

Last week, the Trump administration issued a stark warning to Colombia: Unless it improves efforts to reduce coca cultivation and cocaine production, it runs the risk of having “failed demonstrably” to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements.

It was an unprecedented admonishment of the strongest U.S. ally in Latin America.

Colombia’s commitment to eradicating and seizing illegal drugs has been nothing less than heroic for nearly two decades. Regrettably, however, the warning was unavoidable.

A month before the United States called out ...  

Trump says U.S. prepared to take further action in Venezuela

Trump says U.S. prepared to take further action in Venezuela

President Donald Trump said Monday that the “growing crisis” in Venezuela was unacceptable and that the U.S. was ready to take further action to ensure democracy was restored in the Latin American nation.

“The Venezuelan people are starving. … ” Trump said, speaking at a dinner with leaders from the region on the sideline of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. “The country is collapsing, their democratic institutions are being destroyed.”

Trump called the situation “totally unacceptable.” The president laid blame ...  

Venezuela opposition blames Maduro for detained activist’s death

Venezuela opposition blames Maduro for detained activist’s death

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s opposition blamed President Nicolas Maduro’s government on Monday for the death of a sick activist in detention, saying he was framed and then denied medical help.

Carlos Garcia, a local legislator in western Apure state, suffered a stroke in August after being arrested in late 2016 during protests and having money planted on him, his party said.

Two days before his death on Sunday, Garcia was granted house arrest but was never transported home, the Justice First party ...  

Kuczynski Appoints New Peru Cabinet After Clash With Congress

Kuczynski Appoints New Peru Cabinet After Clash With Congress

Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski reshuffled his cabinet and turned to his vice president, Mercedes Araoz, to lead the ministerial team after Araoz’s predecessor received a no-confidence vote from Congress.

Araoz, a governing-party lawmaker, was sworn in as cabinet chief during a ceremony Sunday at the presidential palace in Lima to replace Fernando Zavala. Deputy Economy Minister Claudia Cooper was named finance minister, a post Zavala had also held since June. Kuczynski also appointed new education, justice, health and housing ministers.

Peru’s ...  

Top U.S. security official targeted in Cuba embassy “health attacks”

Top U.S. security official targeted in Cuba embassy “health attacks”

The top official in charge of security for the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, is among at least 21 Americans affected by mysterious attacks that have triggered a range of injuries, according to two sources who are familiar with the incidents but were not authorized to speak publicly about them.

Identified as the Regional Security Officer, the position is responsible for serving as the embassy’s senior law enforcement and security adviser interfacing with foreign police. Regional Security Officers are key members ...  

Spy-Camera Allegation Sure to Heat Up Ecuador Presidents’ Feud

Spy-Camera Allegation Sure to Heat Up Ecuador Presidents’ Feud

The escalating public feud between between Ecuador’s president and his predecessor took an unexpected turn when Lenin Moreno accused Rafael Correa of spying on him through a camera planted in a wall of the presidential office. Correa denied the allegations.

“This is a criminal violation of privacy,” President Moreno told his cabinet Friday. “I’m extremely angry and will start a rather strong investigation” of why former President Correa failed to inform him about the camera that had been installed seven or ...  

Venezuela state oil firm’s credit woes spread to US unit Citgo

Venezuela state oil firm’s credit woes spread to US unit Citgo

Washington’s recent sanctions against Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA have started to ensnare its U.S. unit, Citgo Petroleum, making it harder for the refiner to obtain the credit it needs to purchase crude, according to six traders and banking sources.

Fewer oil providers are willing to sell cargoes to Citgo on open credit,instead requiring prepayment or bank letters of credit to supply its 749,000-barrel-per-day refining network, the sources said.

Two sources at Canadian oil suppliers said their companies are no longer allowed ...  

Attacked in bed, safe a few feet away: Cuba mystery deepens

Attacked in bed, safe a few feet away: Cuba mystery deepens

The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room.

Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 U.S. victims in an astonishing international mystery still ...  

Cuba’s Dig Out from Hurricane Irma Could Take a Generation

Cuba’s Dig Out from Hurricane Irma Could Take a Generation

It’s going to take a long time for Texas and Florida to fully recover from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma—years, more likely than not—even though the United States is one of the world’s richest and most capable countries. God only knows how long it’s going to take Cuba and its people to fully recover after Irma cut through the island like a buzz saw. Probably not until after the Communist Party is long out of power.

I visited Cuba a little more ...  

Trump delivers shock rebuke to Colombia over cocaine surge

Trump delivers shock rebuke to Colombia over cocaine surge

BOGOTA, Colombia — U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening that he may decertify Colombia as a partner in the war against drugs unless the South American nation reverses a record surge in cocaine production.

The shock rebuke for Washington’s staunchest ally in Latin America came Wednesday in the White House’s annual designation of nations it deems major drug-producing or drug-transit zones.

Colombia, the source of 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the U.S., has long been a fixture on the list, ...  

President of Guatemala Wins Vote to Preserve His Immunity

President of Guatemala Wins Vote to Preserve His Immunity

Guatemalan legislators on Monday overwhelmingly voted to keep President Jimmy Morales’s immunity from prosecution, a measure that protects him from a campaign finance investigation that has roiled the country’s politics.

The vote in Congress rejected a request from Guatemala’s attorney general and the head of a United Nations anticorruption panel, which last month described a series of violations by Mr. Morales’s party and two other parties during the 2015 election campaign.

With so many legislators embroiled in questions over campaign finance, the ...  

State Department reports more incidents of diplomats harmed in Cuba

State Department reports more incidents of diplomats harmed in Cuba

The State Department reported Tuesday that it has catalogued additional recent incidents involving harm to American diplomats in Cuba, but said the cause remains unknown.

There are now 21 reported cases, up from 19 on Sept. 1, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

A U.S. investigation is ongoing, Nauert said.

The Trump administration has not blamed the Cuban government for what the union representing Foreign Service officers called “sonic harassment attacks” dating to late 2016.

Cuba has denied wrongdoing in the mysterious events. Victims ...  

US official: No Venezuela solution while trafficking rampant

US official: No Venezuela solution while trafficking rampant

A senior U.S. State Department official said Tuesday there will be no long-term solution to Venezuela’s political and economic upheaval as long as drug trafficking organizations infiltrate the nation’s highest institutions.

William Brownfield told the U.S. Senate’s international drug caucus that trafficking organizations in Venezuela have “completely penetrated virtually every security, law enforcement and justice-related institution.”

“There will be no long-term, democratic, prosperous and secure solution in Venezuela until there is a solution to the drug trafficking organization presence,” he said. …

CLICK ...  

U.N. rights boss sees possible ‘crimes against humanity’ in Venezuela

U.N. rights boss sees possible ‘crimes against humanity’ in Venezuela

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations human rights chief said on Monday that Venezuelan security forces may have committed crimes against humanity against protesters and called for an international investigation.

But Venezuela’s foreign minister defended the record of the government of President Nicolas Maduro, rejecting the allegations as “baseless”.

Venezuela has been convulsed by months of demonstrations against the leftist president who critics say has plunged the oil-rich country into the worst economic crisis in its history and is turning it into ...  

Venezuela Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better

Venezuela Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better

So much for the idea of better angels prevailing withing the ruling Socialist United Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Despite not having enough seats to control congress, President and PSUV strongman Nicolas Maduro pulled the plug on the National Assembly, their legislative body, and turned it into a George Bush-esque Coalition of the Willing: a Constituent Assembly of left wing like minds. Maduro’s “my way or the highway” system of governing has proven to be no match for the opposition parties ...  

Brazil’s top politicians are getting busted with literal suitcases full of cash

Brazil’s top politicians are getting busted with literal suitcases full of cash

SAO PAULO, Brazil — It was the most cinematic moment in Brazil’s recent political drama. When investigators followed an anonymous tip to an apartment in northern Brazil this week, they stumbled upon a dozen suitcases and boxes stuffed with $16 million in cash — the largest seizure in the history of the country.

“We expected documents, and it was a huge surprise when we found the empty apartment and just the suitcases and boxes covered by a sheet,” Daniel Madruga, who ...  

Mexico Earthquake, Strongest in a Century, Kills Dozens

Mexico Earthquake, Strongest in a Century, Kills Dozens

MEXICO CITY — The most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in 100 years struck off the nation’s Pacific Coast late Thursday, rattling millions of residents in Mexico City with its violent tremors, killing at least 32 people and leveling some areas in the southern part of the country, closer to the quake’s epicenter.

About 50 million people across Mexico felt the earthquake, which had a magnitude of 8.2, the government said. In the capital, the force of the temblor sent residents ...  

Pope heads to former Colombia war zone to preach forgiveness

Pope heads to former Colombia war zone to preach forgiveness

Pope Francis heads Friday into an area once besieged by leftist rebels to pray with victims of Colombia’s long conflict and urge them to overcome their grief by forgiving their former assailants.

The highlight of his visit to the central city of Villavicencio is what the Vatican has termed a “great prayer meeting for national reconciliation.” It’s bound to be a deeply emotional gathering for Francis, who has made reconciliation the central theme of his five-day visit to Colombia after promising ...  

Venezuelan bishops tell pope of ‘truly desperate’ situation

Venezuelan bishops tell pope of ‘truly desperate’ situation

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Venezuela’s Roman Catholic Church leaders said on Thursday they would tell Pope Francis of the “truly desperate” humanitarian crisis in their country at a meeting they hoped would throw a spotlight on problems caused by political deadlock.

The Argentine pontiff is visiting Colombia and had asked bishops from neighboring Venezuela to meet with him and brief him on the situation. The short meeting took place after the pope’s Mass on Thursday night.

Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, the archbishop of ...  

Pope kicks off visit to Colombia aimed at building bridges

Pope kicks off visit to Colombia aimed at building bridges

BOGOTA, Colombia — Pope Francis opens the first full day in his Colombia visit on Thursday with messages to political leaders and citizens alike encouraging all to rally behind a peace process seeking an end for Latin America’s longest-running conflict and to address the inequalities that fueled it.

Francis will kick off the day with a meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos at the presidential palace, where he is likely to call for a building of bridges among elites bitterly divided ...  

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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.