Content from IASW Contributors

Central American insecurity fuels U.S. border crisis

By Roger Noriega The surge of illegal immigrants at the U.S. southwest border
should sound the alarm for the President and Congress to lead an
international rescue mission to confront murderous narco-traffickers
and street gangsters who threaten U.S. security along with the lives and
livelihood of millions of Central Americans.

La inseguridad de Centro América intensifica la crisis en la frontera sur de Estados Unidos

By Roger NoriegaLa oleada de inmigrantes ilegales en la frontera suroeste de los Estados Unidos,  hizo sonar la alarma para el Presidente y el Congreso e impulsar una misión de rescate internacional para enfrentar a criminales, narcotraficantes y pandilleros que amenazan la seguridad de EE.UU., junto con las vidas y sustento de millones de centroamericanos. Read More-->

Peru Cut Coca Plantings by 17.5% Last Year

| June 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


Peru reduced the size of its coca plantings, the crop used to make cocaine, by 17.5% last year, the second straight annual decline as the Andean country stepped up its coca-eradication efforts, according to a report from the United Nations and the Peruvian government released on Wednesday.

Across the Andes, the epicenter of coca-leaf production, the size of coca crops has been reduced: Colombia is using fumigation, Bolivia is working with coca farmers, and Peru is relying mainly on forced manual eradication by brigades supervised by the police.

The efforts haven’t dented drug smuggling to key markets in Brazil, the U.S. and Europe, experts say, in part because coca growers are becoming more efficient in boosting crop productivity.

Peru’s government plans to eradicate even more crops this year, seeking to enhance programs that wean farmers off coca and urge them to cultivate legal crops. Peru is the world’s second-largest coca-leaf producer after ... Read More

Fracking: Could Mexico’s Water Scarcity Render It’s Energy Sector Reforms Self-Defeating?

| June 12th, 2014 | No Comments »

In many countries, including the U.S., France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands and Australia, fracking has been partially banned or delayed on environmental concerns. Also known as hydraulic fracturing, fracking is a controversial oil and gas producing method that relies on injecting massive amounts of water, chemicals and sand into the earth to break up rocks to free up oil and gas reserves buried deep underground.

Cities in California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado, Hawaii and New Mexico, have temporarily or permanently banned fracking. Last week, the city of Canandaigua in New York State, voted 8-0 to permanently ban it. In May, Santa Cruz became the first California County to ban fracking, and in November Colorado could become the first state to put fracking on the ballot.

Yet the government of Mexico, which has largely suppressed national debate on a highly unpopular energy reform that will end the state’s 75-year old control of the oil industry, has fully embraced ... Read More

Why Did El Salvador Army Block Arms Trafficking Probe?

| June 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
From In Sight


An apparent attempt to hinder an investigation into arms trafficking in El Salvador‘s army has sparked a harsh exchange of words between government officials and raises questions about what the military may have to hide.

On May 30, military personnel barred members of the Attorney General’s Office from seizing documents as part of a probe into the illegal theft and sale of arms by high-ranking military officials between 2009 and 2013.

El Salvador’s Attorney General Luis Martinez responded angrily to the event, telling Canal 12, “I have never met a more lying and false minister than [Defense Minister] General [David] Munguia Payes,” reported La Prensa Grafica.

Munguia Payes dismissed the comments as “bad manners,” citing a lack of coordination or warning on the part of the prosecutors as the reason for the military blocking their entry.

The investigators had arrived at the military base with a search warrant signed by a San Salvador court, ... Read More

En El Salvador FGR investiga a Munguía Payés por comercio ilegal de armas y “tregua”

| June 11th, 2014 | No Comments »


El Fiscal General, Luis Martínez, declaró que investiga al ministro de la Defensa, general David Munguía Payés, por “el tema de comercio ilícito de armas, actos arbitrarios, falsificaciones, también esta en investigación él y otros altos oficiales de la Fuerza Armada”.

Martínez reveló ayer que durante los allanamientos a cinco guarniciones militares, el pasado 30 de mayo, descubrieron “una oficina ilegal” donde encontraron documentación relacionada a un supuesto comercio ilegal de armas que tuvieron que haber sido destruidas.

El Fiscal aseguró que ese día se produjeron roces entre fiscales y militares porque estos últimos trataron de impedir que los agentes del Ministerio Público decomisaran algunos documentos que podrían comprometer al ministro de la Defensa, general David Munguía Payés, y a otros altos oficiales de la Fuerza Armada.

Martínez explicó que ese día los registros a los recintos militares se iniciaron sin ningún problema y hasta hubo colaboración de los oficiales que ... Read More

Colombia split over peace talks in election battle

| June 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters


(Reuters) – Two camouflaged military helicopters dot the sky as Silvio Mora sweeps up remains of a freshly killed chicken at his backyard slaughter house in Colombia’s southern conflict zone of Putumayo.

“At least peace may end that,” he says, pointing toward the troop carriers as vultures pick at the bloody slop he brushed into the jungle behind his concrete shack. “Look at how we live. The war has brought only misery, we need peace talks to work.”

Mora, 45, turned to subsistence farming in the regional capital Puerto Asis after his 20 hectares (49 acres) of coca were fumigated during former President Alvaro Uribe’s hardline rule to stop Marxist rebels using the crop to produce cocaine.

The father-of-four is among hundreds of thousands of Colombians in frontline areas who want President Juan Manuel Santos re-elected on Sunday so he can continue negotiating an end to five decades of war with guerrilla leaders ... Read More

Shipping Company Charged For Cuba-To-North-Korea Weapons Intercepted By Panama

| June 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

SINGAPORE (AP) –  Singapore filed criminal charges Tuesday against a shipping company implicated in a shipment of weapons to North Korea that was seized by Panamanian authorities last year.

Locally registered Chinpo Shipping Company Ltd. was charged with transferring $72,000 to a Panama shipping agent knowing that the funds could be used to contribute to the “nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related, or other weapons of mass destruction-related programs or activities” of North Korea. A Chinpo executive, Tan Hui Tin, was also charged for withholding potential electronic evidence.

The charges stem from an incident that unfolded during the second half of 2013. In July, Panama seized a ship, the Chong Chon Gang, in the Panama Canal which was headed from Cuba to North Korea. Panamanian authorities suspected that it was transporting drugs, but when they searched the vessel they found two Cuban fighter jets, missiles and live munitions hidden in a cargo of sugar.

After the seizure, Cuba ... Read More

Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2013 still not back to pre-global-crisis levels

| June 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Mimi Whitefield

A study released Tuesday shows that the money sent home by migrants from Latin American and the Caribbean reached $61.3 billion last year, with three-quarters of those remittances coming from the United States.

The report by the Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, found that remittances to the Caribbean and Central America increased, but money flows to Mexico, which received $21.6 billion in remittances, and South America were down.

Overall, remittances — considered an economic lifeline for many families in the region — still haven’t recovered to the levels before the 2008-2009 global economic crisis. Remittances reached a high of $64.9 billion in 2008 before plummeting by more than 10 percent the next year.

Remittances began to grow again in 2011 but have remained fairly flat since then. There was virtually no growth between 2012 and 2013

The strengthening of the economies of European nations and the ... Read More

Venezuela: The Protesters’ Power Is Rising

| June 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
The National Interest


CARACAS—Venezuela’s fifteen-year socialist dictatorship may be collapsing. Credit goes to Venezuela’s students and new political leaders.

The economic damage and cruelty that the Venezuelan people have suffered (first, under the late President Hugo Chavez, and more recently, under the regime of Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded Chavez in 2013) is palpable. One only needs to strike up a conversation at one of the student coffeehouses or visit the offices of Cedice, the thirty-year-old free-market think tank that has refused to bend or bow to the regime, to realize that the government has failed to extinguish the flame of liberty.

Yet, dozens of students are in jail and more than a thousand have been indicted. Reports of torture are common. The government has tried to co-opt them, intimidate them and even lure them into a farcical “dialogue.” But they have stood their ground.

As Juan Requesens, leader of the youth revolution, told me on ... Read More

Colombia Says It Has Begun Peace Talks With Rebels

| June 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times


The government of Colombia announced on Tuesday that it had begun exploratory peace talks with a second rebel group, just days ahead of a hotly contested presidential election that could hinge on how voters perceive the efforts of President Juan Manuel Santos to end decades of guerrilla warfare.

Backers of Mr. Santos’s opponent, Óscar Iván Zuluaga, immediately criticized the announcement as a political maneuver.

Mr. Santos started negotiations with the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in late 2012. Government negotiators have said they have reached agreements on several central issues with the FARC, including programs to alleviate rural poverty and ways for the group to take part in the political process. A final agreement, however, remains elusive.

The newly announced talks are with a different and much smaller group, the National Liberation ... Read More

¿Cuba ofrece oportunidades a empresas estadounidenses?

| June 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Inter-American Dialogue

Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin American Advisor

Preguntas y Respuestas Destacadas


El presidente de la Cámara de Comercio de EE.UU., Thomas Donohue, encabezó una delegación a finales de mayo durante una visita a Cuba para evaluar los cambios económicos bajo el régimen de Raúl Castro. Esta fue la primera visita de la cámara a la isla comunista desde 1999. El viaje fue criticado por legisladores, incluyendo a el presidente del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores, senador Robert Menéndez (demócrata por Nueva Jersey). El senador Menéndez comentó que  el encarcelamiento de líderes empresariales extranjeros, la violación de las normas internacionales de trabajo y la negación de derechos básicos a los ciudadanos “difícilmente parecen una oportunidad atractiva para cualquier hombre de negocios”. ¿Qué logró el viaje de Donahue? ¿Qué oportunidades ofrece Cuba para las empresas de los Estados Unidos? ¿Qué importancia y éxito han tenido las reformas económicas de Castro?

Respuesta de Roger Noriega, director ejecutivo de Vision ... Read More

Does Cuba Offer Opportunities for U.S. Businesses?

| June 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Inter-American Dialogue

Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin American Advisor

Featured Q&A

Does Cuba Offer Opportunities for U.S. Businesses?


U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Thomas Donohue led a delegation in late May to Cuba for a three-day visit to assess economic changes happening under President Raúl Castro. It was the chamber’s first visit to the communist island since 1999. The trip drew criticism from lawmakers including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) who said Cuba’s jailing of foreign business leaders, violation of international labor standards and denial of basic rights to citizens “hardly seem an attractive opportunity for any business leader.” What did Donahue’s trip accomplish? What opportunities does Cuba offer for U.S. businesses? How significant and successful have Castro’s economic reforms been?

Response from Roger Noriega, managing director of Vision Americas LLC, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs:

“Tragically, five decades of absolutist rule have demonstrated that there is very little ... Read More

Haiti Elections in Doubt as Ex-Presidents Stir Pot

| June 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — When he returned to Haiti from exile three years ago, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the former priest turned president turned deposed president, promised to stay out of politics. Yet the political party he founded and continues to inspire has routinely sent thousands of people into the streets to protest the current government, demanding the resignation of the prime minister.

When the former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier returned from exile a few months before Mr. Aristide, he kept largely to night spots and defending himself against an investigation into human rights atrocities during his rule. Yet not long ago he showed up in a seaside village to inaugurate a new political party that, however small, got a lot of people talking.

And the current president, Michel Martelly, remains locked in a standoff with political opponents over long-overdue elections, attracting waves of ... Read More

VP’s corruption case tests Argentina’s courts

| June 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


Argentina’s vice president spent more than nine hours in a judge’s chambers Monday, emerging to announce that he had clarified every point of a criminal corruption investigation and would post his testimony on Facebook.

Amado Boudou is accused of using shell companies and secret middlemen to gain control of the company that was given contracts to print the nation’s currency and campaign material for the ticket he shared with President Cristina Fernandez.

Boudou has always denied involvement despite ample evidence linking him to other defendants that was made public through investigative reports by Argentina’s newspapers.

The government tried to use its influence in the judiciary to derail the case. The original prosecutor and judge were removed, and an attorney general who approved a search warrant for Boudou’s apartment was forced to resign.

But federal judge Ariel Lijo finally resolved to question Boudou in a closed-door hearing — the first time since Argentina ... Read More

Mexico drug kingpin Juan José ‘el Azul’ Esparragoza believed to have died

| June 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Guardian UK


Juan José Esparragoza, one of the architects of Mexico‘s global drug trafficking empire – and a key figure in the Sinaloa cartel – has reportedly died of a heart attack at 65.

The investigative weekly Río Doce, based in the northern state of Sinaloa,reported the death late on Sunday on its website, citing anonymous police sources and people close to the family of the trafficker known as “el Azul”, or the Blue One.

Radio Formula reported on Monday that the attorney general’s Office had started an investigation into “rumours” of El Azul’s death. The FBI’s website retained the crime boss on its most wanted list, alongside a five million dollar reward for information leading to his capture.

The death of Esparragoza would be the second blow to the Sinaloa cartel this year, following the February arrest of its most famous kingpin, Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán. It would leave Ismael “el Mayo” Zambada, as the only ... Read More

Brazil on Edge as World Cup Exposes Rifts

| June 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times


RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s list of feats since ending authoritarian rule in the 1980s is as long as it is varied, including antipoverty programs pulling millions into the middle class, the democratic election of presidents who suffered indignities under the dictatorship and the surging growth of tropical agriculture to helpfeed the world.

But instead of coming together to extol such triumphs on the global stage as the host of the World Cup, the soccer tournament starting on Thursday with teams from 32 countries, Brazil is marked by rifts, with some people genuinely excited about the event while others are simmering with resentment over its ballooning costs and a sluggish post-boom economy.

“This is the strangest atmosphere I’ve ever witnessed in Brazil before a World Cup, as apprehension and apathy threaten the normal excitement,” said Antonio Risério, a historian who explores soccer’s role in shaping Brazil’s national ... Read More

Colombia’s Security Export

| June 9th, 2014 | No Comments »

Mexican, Brazilian and even Chilean students pull up seats in Mr. Carlos Ardila Castro’s classroom in the Escuela Superior de Guerra in Bogotá, Colombia. Lesson for the day? How to stop arms trafficking.

At 46 years old and with 23 years of military and intelligence experience under his belt as an officer in Colombia’s military, Mr. Ardila Castro is now a consultant for the United Nations. Colombia is known for exporting coffee and bananas. But Ardila Castro is a provider of Colombia’s new export to the world: war and security know-how.

“There are a substantial number of people who worked in the (Colombian) armed forces, the police … that got a ‘second life’ when they retired,” said Jorge Restrepo, Director of CERAC, a security and conflict think tank.

Colombian military and police officers are in high demand, according to Restrepo, because Colombians have faced decades of internal conflict. They’re seasoned. And they’ve got U.S. ... Read More

Brazil finds bumpy path on way to becoming world oil power

| June 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

By Vinod Sreeharsha

Brazil’s efforts to become one of the world’s major oil producers have attracted businesses such as U.S. drilling giants Halliburton and Baker Hughes, gained it partnerships with oil companies from India and China, lured immigrants from idyllic Norway and drawn investment dollars from American pension funds in Florida, South Carolina and California.

But the prospects for success have darkened in the seven years since Brazil first identified massive oil deposits in deep water off its coast. Many fear that Brazil’s chance to become one of the world’s major energy producers is fading as the global energy landscape changes dramatically.

Signs of disarray are many. Development of the prized deep-sea pre-salt fields, so called because they lie below thousands of feet of salt deposits, faces delays, with the next auction of drilling rights not expected till next year.

Brazil’s giant state-owned oil company, Petrobras, is in tough financial shape, with profits down 30 ... Read More

Colombia’s Peace Talks Backfire on Santos

| June 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

FARC bombings of pipelines and electricity towers increase while negotiations drag on.


About a year after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos took office in August 2010, he launched secret peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Had he succeeded in getting the narco-trafficking terrorists to put down their weapons, do time for their crimes and go straight, he would by now be a national hero.

But after 34 months of talking—mostly in Havana—Mr. Santos has no agreement, and security in the country is deteriorating. Colombians are increasingly dissatisfied with him as commander in chief and ever more wary of his talks with criminals. The combination could cost him re-election.

To avoid a runoff, Mr. Santos needed more than 50% of the vote in the May 25 presidential balloting. He came up short with 25.7%, behind former Colombian Finance Minister Óscar Iván Zuluaga, who won 29.3%. The latest polls ... Read More

Peru Steps Up Cocaine Production Crackdown

| June 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

Interior Minister Outlines Increased Efforts


LIMA, Peru—Police have sharply increased the amount of cocaine and cocaine paste seized this year as part of a wider crackdown on narcotics production in Peru.

Interior Minister Walter Alban said in a meeting with the foreign press that Peru has seized 5.3 tons of cocaine paste and 4.7 tons of processed cocaine in the first six months of this year, up 27% compared with the first half of last year.

Peru is the world’s largest exporter of cocaine, Peru’s antidrug agency has said. Colombia and Bolivia are also large scale producers of coca leaf, used to make cocaine.

In one highly-publicized case on Friday, police said they had broken up a ring of smugglers who switched ordinary suitcases that had already cleared security at Peru’s main airport for suitcases full of cocaine that were set to be placed inside an airplane destined for Mexico.

Police detained a number ... Read More

Polls show cliffhanger presidential election in Colombia

| June 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

By Peter Murphy

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Three polls showed on Friday that Colombia’s presidential race is too close to call as opposition challenger Ivan Oscar Zuluaga seeks to unseat President Juan Manuel Santos in a June 15 runoff focused on how to end the country’s half-century guerilla war.

A Gallup poll showed the two candidates neck-and-neck, but two other surveys gave solid leads to one or the other.

The uncertainty intensifies the suspense in the final days of a bitter election battle in which Santos began as a comfortable favorite before Zuluaga surged with the backing of still-popular former president Alvaro Uribe.

Santos, 62, a U.S.-trained economist and scion of one of Colombia’s most powerful families, has appealed to the electorate to give him another four-year mandate to complete peace negotiations he began with FARC rebels in 2012.

He is staking his reputation that the talks, being held in Cuba, will end ... Read More

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