Colombian Peace Plan Heads for Vote

Colombian Peace Plan Heads for Vote

BOGOTÁ, Colombia—Now that it has secured a peace deal with the FARC rebel group after 52 years of war and four years of arduous negotiations, Colombia’s government faces the difficult and delicate task of selling the deal to the Colombian public.

President Juan Manuel Santos, who staked his presidency on peace with a rebel group widely reviled by Colombians, presented Congress on Thursday with the 297-page accord that calls for the dismantlement of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as a ...  

Why Is Dilma Rousseff Being Impeached?

Why Is Dilma Rousseff Being Impeached?

President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment trial is only one of the major issues facing Brazil that the 2016 Rio Olympics provided a brief break from—there’s also the rampant poverty, widespread violence, a Zika outbreak, and government corruption.

All of these problems were briefly forgotten while 500,000 tourists and more than 11,000 athletes were in attendance for the 31st Olympiad. But just days after the end of the Games, Brazil will be forced to confront the fact that Rousseff is likely to be ...  

Venezuela’s oil imports slump on payment woes, economic meltdown

Venezuela’s oil imports slump on payment woes, economic meltdown

Venezuela has not been able to import all the crude and fuel it needs this year to cover shortfalls at oilfields and refineries as state-run PDVSA struggles to pay suppliers on time, according to trade sources and internal company data seen exclusively by Reuters.

The decline is the largest in five years as the worst economic crisis in decades undermines PDVSA’s ability to buy oil imports, which fell 21 percent in the first seven months of this year to 154,465 barrels ...  

Mexico Malaise Threatens to Tarnish Pena Nieto’s Ratings Legacy

Mexico Malaise Threatens to Tarnish Pena Nieto’s Ratings Legacy

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s track record of winning ratings upgrades is in serious jeopardy.

On Tuesday, S&P Global Ratings revised the country’s outlook to negative and said there’s at least a one-in-three chance of a downgrade in the next two years if Mexico’s debt increases more than forecast. It marked the second time in the past five months that a major ratings company lowered the nation’s outlook. The trend has been mirrored in the swaps market, where Mexico is seen ...  

Colombia peace deal: key points

Colombia peace deal: key points

Havana (AFP) – Here are key points of the peace deal announced Wednesday to end five decades of conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government.

The deal consists of six agreements:

- Ceasefire and disarmament -

The FARC and the government signed a ceasefire and disarmament agreement in June.

The FARC must now begin moving its estimated 7,000 fighters from their jungle and mountain hideouts into disarmament camps set up by the United Nations, which is helping monitor ...  

Impeachment Trial of President Dilma Rousseff Set to Start in Brazil Senate

Impeachment Trial of President Dilma Rousseff Set to Start in Brazil Senate

BRASÍLIA—The final phase of the Senate impeachment trial of Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff begins on Thursday morning, in a process that is widely expected to lead to the leftist leader’s ouster by next week.

The unpopular Ms. Rousseff has been dragged down by a deep recession, political chaos and a sprawling corruption scandal that has tainted a wide swath of Brazil’s ruling class, most notably her Workers’ Party, or PT. She is officially charged with violating budget laws by using ...  

Colombia’s President Rushing Vote on Deal With Rebels

Colombia’s President Rushing Vote on Deal With Rebels

BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia’s president is moving fast to hold a national referendum on a peace deal meant to end a half-century of bloody conflict with leftist rebels, saying he will give congress the text of the deal on Thursday.

“Today is the beginning of the end to the suffering, pain and tragedy of war,” President Juan Manuel Santos said Wednesday night in a televised address after the deal was announced in Havana, where talks went on for four years. He ...  

One explanation of how democracy died in Venezuela

One explanation of how democracy died in Venezuela

WASHINGTON – The head of the Organization of American States has declared the continued imprisonment of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez the end of democracy in Venezuela.

In an eight-page open letter to Lopez, a former mayor of Caracas, Secretary-General Luis Almagro said Lopez had been the victim of a lying and horrific political system.

“Clearly in Venezuela today there is no fundamental freedom and no civil or political rights,” Almagro wrote in the letter, which was posted to the OAS website ...  

Iranian envoy shoring up ties on US doorstep

Iranian envoy shoring up ties on US doorstep

By Roger F. Noriega

8/24/2016

On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, began a tour of Latin America with the stated objective of strengthening economic ties — in agriculture, petroleum, petrochemicals, mining, medicine, and engineering. His trip includes stops in Cuba, Chile, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Venezuela.

It is not surprising that Zarif will visit regimes that aid, abet, or engage in criminality and that share Iran’s anti-American sentiment. Chile is out of place among the rogue regimes that the Iranian envoy ...  

Northern Triangle nations to deploy joint anti-crime force in September

Northern Triangle nations to deploy joint anti-crime force in September

SAN SALVADOR – A joint anti-crime task force in Central America’s Northern Triangle will be deployed starting in September, the governments of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala announced here on Tuesday.

The Northern Triangle is one of the world’s most violent areas, with gangs, drug traffickers and organized crime as the key criminal actors. In 2015, a total of 16,527 murders were committed in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, where 31 million people live, most of them mired in poverty.

The so-called ...  

Colombia government and FARC rebels ready to announce peace deal

Colombia government and FARC rebels ready to announce peace deal

HAVANA — In a watershed moment for Colombia, the government and the country’s FARC rebel group will make the long-awaited announcement Wednesday that they have reached a deal to end their bloody 52-year war.

A formal announcement will be made tomorrow afternoon here in Havana, where negotiations began nearly four years ago, but the two sides are still ironing out a minor details of their final accord, Colombian officials said late Tuesday.

“A deal is imminent to close the negotiations,” an official ...  

The FARC’s Political Roadmap: From Insurgency to Criminalized Political Party?

The FARC’s Political Roadmap: From Insurgency to Criminalized Political Party?

The chances the Colombian government’s ongoing peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) will end with the guerrillas morphing into a political party willing and able to participate in the democratic process of Colombia and play by the rules of participatory democracy are iffy at best.

This is because the FARC, a Marxist insurgency that endured more than 50 years by developing thriving clandestine structures that became highly criminalized and enormously profitable, is not required to dismantle those ...  

What’s Next For Brazil, Post-Olympics? A Cheat Sheet

What’s Next For Brazil, Post-Olympics? A Cheat Sheet

Residents of Rio de Janeiro awoke today to cold, rainy weather, and lots of questions. What’s next after the firework smoke of the Closing Ceremony has cleared in what turned out to be a largely successful Olympics? Below, the key questions, and some quick answers.

What’s next for Rio de Janeiro, now that the Olympics are done?

The city of Rio de Janeiro is about to be launched into high gear with mayoral campaigns. If you’ll note, the current mayor, Eduardo Paes, ...  

Mexico’s economy shrinks for 1st time in 3 years

Mexico’s economy shrinks for 1st time in 3 years

Mexico’s economy took a turn for the worse at a time when the entire country is closely watching the U.S. elections. The economy shrank for the first time in three years in the second quarter. Even though Mexico’s economy only contracted 0.2% from the previous quarter, any drop is a shock for a country that many experts consider a success in a troubled region.

Latin America has hit hard times in recent years. Brazil is in the midst of a historic ...  

Venezuela president orders public worker sackings over referendum call

Venezuela president orders public worker sackings over referendum call

CARACAS (Reuters) – President Nicolas Maduro has set a 48-hour deadline for ministers to dismiss some public workers who requested a recall referendum against him, a Socialist Party spokesman said Monday. Hundreds of public workers have already said they were dismissed for signing a petition for a referendum against the unpopular president, according to testimony seen by Reuters, human rights groups and local media.

“Today, by order of the party president Nicolas Maduro, five ministries … cannot have people that are ...  

Do Cuban lives matter to Obama?

Do Cuban lives matter to Obama?

Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas has met with President Barack Obama at least twice. Together they discussed the lack of personal freedom in Cuba.

That was before President Obama went on a well-deserved golfing vacation while Fariñas was in the fourth week of a hunger strike in Cuba. By the time this column is printed, Obama will be visiting the destruction caused by the floods in Louisiana —and Fariñas may be dead.

In December 2014, Obama decided he wanted his legacy to show ...  

Iran’s foreign minister begins Latin America tour with Cuba visit

Iran’s foreign minister begins Latin America tour with Cuba visit

Iran’s foreign minister kicked off a Latin American tour Sunday in Havana, saying the Iran nuclear deal has “removed obstacles” for closer ties between his country and the region. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will visit Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela, reported the Tasnim News Agency.

Zarif said he plans to sign oil, energy and maritime transport agreements during his tour. But the visit is raising concerns with a key Republican lawmaker.

“The timing of Zarif’s trip is significant as Iran ...  

US monitors shady dealings in Florida of aspiring president of El Salvador

US monitors shady dealings in Florida of aspiring president of El Salvador

By Antonio María Delgado

(Translation by IASW)

He is a presidential candidate who draws much attention, but not necessarily from the voters.

Businessman Enrique José Rais, who announced his intention to run for president of El Salvador, is a person of interest to US authorities currently investigating his links with drug trafficking and a large money laundering network, allegedly headed by the mysterious Comandante Ramiro, one of the main leaders of the ruling FMLN.

Rais appeared on the radar screen of the US Drug ...  

Who’s in charge? Venezuela’s military emerges stronger amid crisis

Who’s in charge? Venezuela’s military emerges stronger amid crisis

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA On Sept. 1, Venezuela’s opposition has promised to hold a massive demonstration in the capital demanding a presidential recall in the midst of a deep political and economic crisis that has many going hungry and emotions on edge.

But there’s one looming question: Will the military allow the protest?

“We’re betting that it will be the largest gathering in the country’s history, and the armed forces are going to have to choose,” said opposition deputy Armando Armas. “Are they really ...  

EEUU vigila manejos turbios en Florida de aspirante a presidencia de El Salvador

EEUU vigila manejos turbios en Florida de aspirante a presidencia de El Salvador

Es un aspirante a la presidencia que llama mucho la atención, pero no necesariamente la de los electores.

El empresario Enrique José Rais, quien anunció sus intenciones de competir por la presidencia de El Salvador, es una persona de interés para las autoridades estadounidenses, que evalúan sus nexos con el narcotráfico y una importante red de lavado de dinero, presuntamente encabezada por el misterioso Comandante Ramiro, uno de los principales jefes del gobernante FMLN.

Rais cayó en el radar de la Agencia ...  

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Jose Cardenas discusses Cuba's problematic ties abroad at the Center for Security Policy’s 4th Annual Latin America Symposium

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.