Latin American energy monopolies: Boom or bust?


At a time when several Latin American economies should be “firing on all cylinders” to sustain growth and development, their critical petroleum sectors are under performing  Despite hopeful projections, the biggest energy companies in Latin America are controlled by the state and are hampered by government interference and short-term political agendas. Although these companies should be the engines of growth for their national economies, resource nationalism and popular gasoline subsidies limit these companies’ abilities to evolve into more efficient, competitive, and profitable enterprises. Brazil’s Petrobras, Mexico’s Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), and Venezuela’s Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) are energy giants that are being consumed by mismanagement, corruption, and political agendas. For these companies to maximize their productivity and competitiveness and thereby deliver greater benefits to their countries, they should pursue professional management, transparency, and free competition with private companies and should open themselves to foreign capital and technology.

Key points in this Outlook:

  • Energy monopolies in Latin America have proven highly susceptible to politicization, mismanagement, and corruption.
  • Three energy companies in particular—Brazil’s Petrobras, Mexico’s Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), and Venezuela’s Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA)—are instructive examples of how government intervention can render oil companies uncompetitive and unsustainable.
  • Professional management, transparency, free competition with private companies, and openness to foreign capital and technology can help state-owned energy companies maximize their potential and deliver optimal long-term dividends for their nations.

Every energy company in Latin America is adversely impacted in some degree by government regulation, taxation, or interference. However, state-owned petroleum companies are particularly vulnerable to intervention, mismanagement, and corruption. If Western Hemisphere countries wish to achieve energy interdependence, it is important to judge whether state oil companies as they are managed today are the most effective means to achieving this important goal.

Throughout Latin America’s history, oil and its byproducts have been valued as sovereign patrimony. The involvement of foreign companies and investors in the resources industry has stirred significant nationalistic debate over many decades. Populist governments have likewise blamed foreign investment and capitalism in general for every economic ill in the region. However, these political arguments have fallen flat as state-run oil companies have failed to deliver bonanzas for their people despite historically high oil prices and the discovery of staggering oil deposits. It is clearer than ever that government interference and barriers to foreign capital and technology have inhibited the growth of a strategic industry. In short, government policies based on nationalism rather than on free market principles are a recipe for failure.

Even “innovative” hybrid solutions—in which some private capital, companies, and competition are welcomed alongside a state-run enterprise—have fallen short of the goal of producing a dynamic, healthy industry. As long as the state has a direct stake in a “national oil company,” clientelism, over-taxation, politicization, union influence, and corruption will hamstring the companies’ ability to compete. And government regulators and politicians would rather adopt policies that restrict the petroleum sector as a whole than see a state-run enterprise fall behind private (or, worse yet, foreign) competition.

Brazil’s Petrobras, Mexico’s Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), and Venezuela’s Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) are instructive examples of how government intervention can render oil companies uncompetitive and unsustainable. Petrobras has been considered a paradigm of a state-run energy company: a government-owned entity coexisting with private investment and competition. However, Petrobras’s production and profitability are falling far short of expectations. Ironically, Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company PEMEX is now looking to emulate Petrobras’s hybrid model just as that model has proven to be an inefficient means of obtaining investment and technology. Finally, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA has become a cautionary tale of how such a firm can be consumed by a government’s political agenda, mismanagement, and corruption.


Petrobras, the South American oil giant, has been making headlines for years as a model of how to effectively manage a state-run petroleum company. Not long ago, news articles reported Petrobras’s “exponential” growth and touted its hybrid model of government and private collaboration in the oil industry. Unfortunately, the company has fallen short of expectations and may face a risky future.

From 1954 to 1997, the Brazilian government managed the oil company as a monopoly and had absolute control over its oil exploration and production activities. Since its creation, Petrobras has been used as a significant source of revenue to fund social programs and to help balance Brazil’s government budget.

When the Brazilian government took the dramatic step in 1997 to allow private companies to begin competing with Petrobras, the prospects of a free oil market looked very promising. This historic step, coupled with the discovery of vast oil wealth in pre-salt deposits in Brazil’s territorial waters, contributed to Brazil’s surge as a global economic power.

Although Brazilian authorities were willing to open the country’s energy industry to the private sector, they never intended to liberalize the market in a way that would challenge Petrobras’s preeminence. Indeed, policymakers have adopted measures to protect Petrobras’s position in the market to ensure sufficient revenue to the government treasury. In return for these advantages, politicians imposed “domestic content” laws to favor Brazilian suppliers in the industry and meddled in the company’s dealings with powerful unions. Ironically, government decisions to preserve Petrobras’s competitiveness have made it less able to compete with the world’s private oil companies. This favoritism has in turn stiff-armed competitors and stunted the growth of the lucrative oil sector as a whole.

Recent reports about falling production, exchange-rate losses, and excessive government intervention have triggered a lack of confidence from investors who once believed that Petrobras had the potential to become one of the most profitable oil companies in the world. These optimistic investors had forgotten the most important lesson from government intervention in Latin America: politicians use the companies they control to advance their short-term political agendas and survivability, rather than to benefit the companies, their investors, or even national well-being. According to Adriano Pires, a renowned Brazilian energy consultant, “Petrobras is now a tool for short-term economic policy, used to protect domestic industry from competition, and to fight inflation. This disastrous process will intensify if it is not reversed.”[1]

After discovering pre-salt deposits in 2007, Petrobras started one of the largest corporate capital expenditure programs in the world (approximately $237 billion).[2] This ambitious expenditure was fueled by the populist agenda of former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, who viewed Petrobras as primarily a trust fund for social programs. Although such spending was in fact successful at reducing poverty in the short term, it undermined the long-term health of one of the most important sources of revenue for the Brazilian government.

Lula da Silva doubled down on the exploration and exploitation of pre-salt deposits, which require expensive and complicated methods to develop. For the most part, Petrobras’s exploration and extraction efforts have centered on these very-difficult-to-reach deposits. Lula da Silva’s media propaganda in favor of Petrobras not only gave investors a false impression of the financial status of the company. It also misled the Brazilian people into thinking that oil wealth could sustain excessive government spending indefinitely.

Petrobras will never be able to maximize its profitability as long as it has to deal with the Brazilian government’s intervention. For example, government policymakers have imposed “a nationalistic mandate to buy oil platforms and other equipment from Brazilian companies which has triggered a soaring debt, major project delays, and fields that are yielding less oil.”[3] This mandate was supposed to create jobs and bolster the country’s industrial capacity. As a result, Petrobras is required to favor domestic suppliers despite doubts about their ability to produce goods and services in accordance with deadlines and strict industry standards.

According to the Petroleum Economist, “the government requires around two-thirds of all goods and services provided to the oil industry to be produced in Brazil.”[4] To function efficiently and to meet its ambitious production targets, Petrobras should have been able to tap the best suppliers, even foreign companies. The CEO of Petrobras, Graça Foster, was recently forced to admit that “all production targets set by Petrobras have been reduced. . . . [T]he previous forecasts were unrealistic.”[5]

New challenges for Petrobras began to surface several years ago, and managers who are insulated from responsibility because of government interference have not stepped up to solve those challenges. Domestic fuel demand has increased significantly and Brazil currently has to import 271,000 barrels of gasoline a day to cover its internal consumption; this new demand should have been anticipated given that Brazil’s burgeoning middle class now accounts for a third of its population.[6]

Four years ago, Petrobras was a net exporter of oil and fuel; it now loses money buying gasoline at international prices and selling it domestically at subsidized prices. Compounding this problem is the fact that only one of the four planned refineries to be built in Brazil is on track for completion.

These gasoline subsidies, which are meant to contain inflation and placate voters, are sapping Petrobras’s finances. Ironically, when the Brazilian government tried to ameliorate this problem by allowing Petrobras to increase the price of gasoline by 6.5 percent, the Brazilian government also decided to subsidize electricity (and cut its price by 11 percent). As a result of yet another political miscalculation, the shares in Brazil’s biggest electricity provider, Electrobras, have dropped 62 percent in the last three years.[7]

Petrobras enjoyed high profit margins for several years.[8] Some deem the recent decline a result of speculation. But perhaps the abrupt decline in profit margins and in the value of Petrobras’s stock is the result and accumulation of several years of inefficiencies and mismanagement that was masked by the government’s political cheerleading about unrealistic and costly projects.

The inescapable fact is that, despite the hype, Petrobras’s shares have lost 50 percent of their value in the last three years, and there is no sign of improvement.[9] In mid-May 2013, Petrobras—betting on bonds rather than stocks—sold $11 billion in bonds in an attempt to attract lost confidence from investors. Moody’s Investors Service warned investors that the company has a negative outlook and that investing in it continues to be risky.[10]

One might expect that any professional management team would move swiftly and boldly to address the slump affecting Petrobras. Unfortunately, managers who ultimately answer to government ministers are less accountable because they can blame politicians and bureaucrats for the company’s woes. Time will tell whether the industry that once seemed to be the solution to most of Brazil’s economic challenges will recover from this crisis if it remains under government management.


The management of Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned national petroleum company, might be an example of how not to run an oil company. Since Mexico’s nationalization of its oil industry in 1938, the state has held complete control over its subsurface resources and byproducts. Unfortunately for Mexico, nationalistic orthodoxy and political intrusion have done extensive and avoidable damage to one of the nation’s biggest sources of revenue.

Seven percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product is generated by Pemex, which has its profits diverted to support government spending. Compensating for an antiquated and inefficient system of tax collection, the national budget is balanced only by siphoning off 70 percent of Pemex’s revenues. This diversion of revenue leaves the oil company without resources to improve its infrastructure or to invest in exploration and extraction.

Pemex’s performance after the company is taxed is abysmal. Before 70 percent of Pemex’s revenue is taken by the government, the company is one of the most competitive in the world; after it is taxed, however, Mexico’s oil company is ranked 86th in the world in terms of productivity.[11]

It is no surprise, then, that Pemex is currently suffering from a significant decline in its production. The company’s problems are compounded by insufficient refining capacity to satisfy internal consumption and the impositions of a politically powerful and notoriously corrupt Sindicato de Trabajadores Petroleros de la República Mexicana union. Ironically, while production has dropped 6.6 percent in five years, Pemex’s workforce has increased by 5 percent. There is not a single productive energy company in the world that increases its workforce when its production is declining. Pemex’s union, however, ensures that while revenue is low, Pemex affiliates receive more benefits and the company hires more employees.[12]

Indeed, what was once Mexico’s money tree is now an underperforming company in serious need of capital and technology from private companies to unlock the potential of Mexico’s shale gas deposits and pre-salt oil wells. Statistics on Pemex’s performance corroborate this predicament. In March of this year, production reached its lowest level since March 2011, while exports dropped 10 percent in comparison to last year.[13] In the last 10 years, because of the resources that the government drains from Pemex, the company has only been able to invest 9.6 percent of its revenue to fund all of its essential exploratory and production activities.[14]

In 1993, Luis Rubio, a renowned Mexican political analyst, wrote that “Oil, a product in which Mexico has the greatest competitive advantage, is today one of its greatest hindrances to further development. The need for technology, investment, exploration, refinery upgrading and so forth constitutes an imperative for long term development.”[15] Twenty years later, the scenario has not changed, and Mexico continues to debate if it needs assistance from the private sector to try to recover lost ground and revive a company that is every day becoming less productive, more corrupt, and less efficient.

From the beginning of his administration in 2006, former Mexican president Felipe Calderón from the National Action Party (PAN) recognized the need for urgent measures to save Pemex from significant declines in its production and an uncertain future. In 2008, Calderón proposed an amendment to the Mexican constitution to reform Pemex by giving it the tools to increase its production and competitiveness and to make it transparent and profitable. Ironically, at the time, Calderón’s goal was to emulate Petrobras’s business model to allow private investments and the use of deep-drilling-technology to exploit new wells.

Calderón may have been mistaken to emulate the Petrobras model, but with a Mexican congress controlled by the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), his chances of reforming the constitution were minuscule. Interestingly, the PRI’s unwillingness to allow private companies to be involved with the sovereign resource of the Mexican people changed abruptly after the PRI returned to power.

Calderón’s proposed reforms were thwarted by corrupt interests and the nationalistic zeal of opposition parties. What remained of the original draft of the reform was so diluted that after congressional debate, it has had an insignificant impact on the long-term health of Pemex.

Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI, promised during his campaign to reform Pemex and model the company after Petrobras, just as his predecessor had intended. The opposition (primarily the PAN) seems willing to consider allowing private investment in exploration and extraction of natural resources. However, thus far, the reforms are unclear, the language has not been drafted, and the way forward has not been defined. Furthermore, the economic and political power of Pemex’s union undermines the prospects for a reformed or more transparent Pemex.

The Peña Nieto administration has suggested that the energy reform would look to open exploration, refinement, and storage to private investors, but production would remain under state control. The government expects to use this sort of arrangement in the exploration and production of oil and in the construction of three new refineries over the next 12 years. Another specific proposal suggests adding 4 independent directors to the current 11, giving greater budgetary autonomy, and improving transparency. Pemex would also issue bonds whose performance would be linked to earnings and sold only to Mexican citizens; these bonds, however, could eventually enter the public market. Pemex’s tax system would gradually be adjusted to introduce varying rates for different activities in the areas of oil and gas.

El Pacto por Mexico (the Pact for Mexico)—a consensus agreement reached among the leaders of the PRI, PAN, PRD, and the presidency—includes a commitment to reform Mexico’s fiscal system and energy sector. If the Mexican congress passes these reforms, it might make the government less dependent on Pemex’s revenue and increase productivity. However, it will not insulate Pemex from the political agenda of the PRI or the interests of Pemex’s union.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, former presidential candidate and founder of the populist National Regeneration Movement, has threatened the Peña Nieto administration and called for mobilizations throughout the country in September to oppose the reform or any attempt to allow private investments in Pemex. In 1996, López Obrador led 40,000 workers and took over 500 installations of Pemex (wells, reservoirs, offices) to wage a political protest. Pemex’s oil production was paralyzed and its revenues decreased considerably.

When President Peña Nieto took the oath of office on December 1, 2012, López Obrador was behind violent mobilizations that caused unrest and the destruction of several establishments in Mexico City. In an attempt to appease the radical left, neither the local authorities nor the federal government upheld the rule of law or punished the perpetrators.

It remains to be seen if the Peña Nieto administration and the mainstream opposition will allow this sort of blackmail to derail one of the most transcendent reforms in Mexico’s modern history. If Peña Nieto waters down reforms to avoid confrontations, such concessions could have dangerous long-term consequences for Mexico’s economy and governability.

Today, Mexico is the third largest source of foreign oil for the United States. If Pemex is not allowed to modernize through private or foreign involvement, some predict that Mexico will become a net importer of oil by 2020.[16]


PDVSA, which has been abused and debilitated by the state for political ends, represents the worst-case scenario of a state-run oil company. Although it was considered a relatively stable and productive institution before the election of populist firebrand Hugo Chávez in 1998, the company has been decimated by its political masters. Rather than being able to maximize revenues for the Venezuelan people at a time of record oil prices, PDVSA is struggling to maintain even a modest cash flow today.

Venezuela has been producing oil for a century, but the industry began to flourish in the mid-1940s. It was nationalized in 1974, with PDVSA serving as the state’s umbrella company and coexisting, cooperating, or competing with private companies. PDVSA thrived under this arrangement, which afforded access to foreign capital and world-class technology. The company leveraged these assets in the effective exploration and production of heavy crude oil as well as the development of a domestic petrochemical industry. It also competed successfully in the international market, with holdings in refineries in Europe and the United States and with oil representing 95 percent of Venezuela’s exports at the time of Chávez’s election.[17]

After taking power, Chávez set out to tame the powerful corporation—which was the nation’s economic engine—by bringing the company under the control of political loyalists. He then used this management team to capture PDVSA’s revenues to fund (and, in some cases, manage) his ambitious domestic spending and grandiose international agenda. A PDVSA employee strike in 2002 forced a showdown with the regime and Chávez used the crisis to purge the company of 20,000 highly skilled technicians and managers whose experience, professionalism, and independence were the key ingredients to the company’s success.

Today, PDVSA is more than the traditional cash-cow for the state. Its various entities have become thoroughly politicized on behalf of the Chavista regime. For example, PDVSA entities run a government food distribution network, take over expropriated properties, assume debts with proceeds going to political slush funds, and even carry out suspicious transactions on behalf of foreign governments and criminal organizations.

According to PDVSA veteran manager Antonio de la Cruz, the company has been the cornerstone of Chávez’s international aid program that he has used to mobilize political support for his government throughout the Americas. Productive and lucrative ventures by a host of US and European oil companies were either expropriated outright or halted when these private firms rejected new terms imposed by the government in 2006. For example, US companies ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips had their fields nationalized.[18]

In contrast, PDVSA has formed extensive partnerships with companies controlled by China, Russia, and Iran—partnerships that have given these allies a toehold in Venezuela’s rich oil and gas fields. In the case of China, PDVSA borrowed approximately $32 billion under oil-for-loan contracts in the 18 months leading up to Chávez’s October 2012 reelection, with much of the money paid into a discretionary fund managed by Chávez’s cronies to further his electoral prospects.

Although new reserves of heavy crude oil have been discovered that would make Venezuela one of the world’s top three oil producers, the country is losing ground because of policies that have discouraged international investment in its oil sector.[19] As a result, contrary to official numbers, Venezuela’s actual oil production is 2.4 million barrels per day, far below the pre-Chávez peak of 3.3 million. According to the US Energy Information Administration, overall production levels have declined by roughly one-quarter since 2001; in that same period, net oil exports have also declined.[20]

Sweetheart deals with China, Russia, and Iran and giveaways to Cuba and other client states in the Caribbean and Central America have bled PDVSA dry. Because of this gross mismanagement, there are reports that Venezuela is actually importing gasoline to satisfy domestic demand. In short, Chávez politicized the state-run oil company and treated its revenue as his petty cash fund; now the company is ruined and the till is empty.

PDVSA’s condition is very dire today. Gustavo Coronel, former chief operations officer and former member of the PDVSA’s board of directors, recently stated: “This company cannot be saved; I think it’s very deeply damaged. It’s not going to be politically easy because Venezuelans are very much in favor of state ownership and will fight tooth and nail to keep a national oil company.”[21] Coronel also mentioned that “[PDVSA’s] refineries are at about 60% of capacity, and its debt has grown from $2 billion in 1998 to $85 billion now.”[22]

Though production has decreased and the company is unable to pay its bills, PDVSA has doubled its workforce since 2003 to 110,000 employees.[23] According to the annual report for fiscal year 2012, presented by Venezuela’s ministry of petroleum and mining, PDVSA’s accounts payable to suppliers soared to 41 percent last year.[24]

Where To Go from Here?

PDVSA’s future is shackled to the corrupt regime headed by Chávez successor Nicolás Maduro, who seems ill-equipped to manage the broad economic crisis brought on by 14 years of mismanagement. It is unlikely that Maduro will consider any significant reforms to salvage PDVSA, particularly in light of the fact that he has reappointed company leaders that have conspired to politicize and loot the company. But this unwise course of action makes it virtually inevitable that Maduro will fall under the weight of his own corruption and incompetence. At that time, the reconstruction of PDVSA will have to be the singular priority of any successor. If this is done in a way that is open to private and foreign cooperation, Venezuela may be able to recover in a relatively short period of time from its current woeful condition.

Fortunately, Brazil’s Petrobras seems to recognize the problems affecting its ambitious agenda. Under the leadership of its new CEO, the company now seems more willing to make tough decisions and focus on realistic and viable projects. To that end, government demand for oil revenue and protectionist measures must be tempered with a view to the long term.

In Mexico, the road ahead for Pemex is more uncertain given the political constraints attached to possible reforms that would allow for private investment, technology, and transparency. The 1930s nationalization of the industry continues to be viewed positively by the Mexican people and political elite. Still, the political parties must overcome short-term political rivalries or narrow nationalist sentiments on behalf of a reform agenda that allows the introduction of private investment and technology from other countries and companies to boost the long-term productivity of Pemex.

For Petrobras, Pemex, and PDVSA to become more productive and competitive and thereby deliver greater benefits for their countries, government leaders must remove the burden imposed on these companies by state intervention. Although privatization of this sector as a whole is unimaginable for the foreseeable future, professional management, transparency, free competition with private companies, and openness to foreign capital and technology are required to allow state-owned companies to maximize their potential and deliver optimal long-term dividends for their nations. This transition will not be easy, but is a necessary measure to ensure the long-term prosperity of the most powerful energy companies in Latin America.

Roger F. Noriega (, a former senior US Department of State official, is a visiting fellow at AEI and managing director of Vision Americas LLC, which represents foreign and domestic clients. Felipe Trigos ( is a research analyst at Vision Americas LLC and a contributor to

1. Simon Romero, “Petrobras, Once Symbol of Brazil’s Oil Hopes, Strives to Regain lost Swagger,” New York Times, March 26, 2013.
2. Joe Leahy, “Brazil: The Creaking Champions,” Financial Times, April 21, 2013.
3. Ibid.
4. “Brazil’s Reality Check,” Petroleum Economist, July 6, 2012,
5. Carlos Alberto Sardenberg, “The ‘Lula Cost’: Petrobras Underperforms Due To Ex-President Lula’s Intervention and Populism,” Brazilian Bubble, July 6, 2012,
6. “In Brazil, an Emergent Middle Class Takes Off,” World Bank, November 13, 2012,
7. Evaldo Albuquerque, “Obama Could Learn a Few Things from Petrobras,” Sovereign Investor, February 19, 2013,
8. See Seeking Alpha, “A History of Profit in Petroleo Brasileiro Petrobras,” September 3, 2012,
9. Kenneth Rapoza, “For Barclays, Petrobras Still Not Great,” Forbes, April 30, 2013,
10. Ben Levinson, “It’s Still Bonds over Stocks,” Barron’s, May 18, 2013,
11. Carlos Huerta Durán and Fluvio Ruíz Alarcón, “Los Dilemas de Pemex” [Pemex’s Dilemmas], Petroleo & Energia, January 11, 2013,
12. Alejandro Lopez, “Baja en PEMEX Productividad” [Productivity in Pemex Goes Down], Reforma, June 11, 2013, www
13. “Producción de Pemex Cae a Mínimo en 18 Meses” [Production in Pemex at Its Lowest in Last 18 Months],
El Financiero, April 26, 2013,
14. “Los Dilemas de Pemex.”
15. Luis Rubio, “Mexico’s Economic Reform: Energy and the Constitution,” Energy Journal 14, no. 3 (1993).
16. Rice University, “Baker Institute Researchers Conclude Mexico Could Become Oil Importer by 2020 without New Investment,” April 29, 2011,
17. “The History of PDVSA and Venezuela,” Energy Tribune, January 17, 2007,
18. Anatoly Kurmanaev, “Chavez Oil Decline Leaves Prospects for Biggest Reserves,” Bloomberg News, March 6, 2013,
19. Clifford Krauss, “Dwindling Production Has Led to Lesser Role for Venezuela as Major Oil Power,”New York Times, March 8, 2013.
20. US Energy Information Administration, Venezuela (October 3, 2012),
21. Nick Snow, “Badly Damaged PDVSA Should Be Replaced, Founding Board Member Says,” Oil & Gas Journal, March 13, 2013,—founding-board-member-sa.html.
22. Ibid.
23. Christopher Helman, “What Does Chavez’s Death Mean For Venezuelan Oil Giant Pdvsa?,” Forbes, March 5, 2013,
24. Ernesto J. Tovar, “Venezuelan Oil Firm Pdvsa’s Debt to Suppliers Jumps 41% in a Year,” El Universal, March 22, 2013,

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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.