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. Read More-->

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-->

Venezuela: The Protesters’ Power Is Rising

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

BY ALVARO VARGAS LLOSA

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

By WILLIAM NEUMAN

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

Pregunta:

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?

Question:

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

By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD

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

By MICHAEL WARREN

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

BY JO TUCKMAN

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

By SIMON ROMERO

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 »
Ozy

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.

By MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY

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

By ROBERT KOZAK

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

Ecuador Prepares to Return to Bond Market

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

Country to Meet Investors in London, Boston, Los Angeles and New York

By JOSIE COX And NEELABH CHATURVEDI

The Republic of Ecuador is preparing to return to the bond market for the first time since the country defaulted in 2008, taking advantage of robust demand for emerging-market debt in a low-yielding world.

The default-prone sovereign, rated Caa1 by Moody’s Investors Service and B by both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, is due to meet investors in London, Boston, Los Angeles and New York, via a three-day roadshow hosted by Credit Suisse CSGN.VX +1.74% and Citigroup C +0.49% that commences on Tuesday, bankers involved said.

A U.S. dollar bond is expected to follow, but no indication has been given of the timing.

A transaction would likely provide a severe test of investors’ appetite for risk, just five-and-a half years after the country defaulted on $3.2 billion in foreign debt that it argued was illegal and illegitimate.

Other emerging-market countries, however, such as Turkey, Hungary and Mexico, ... Read More

Venezuela Rally Supports Jailed Opposition Leader

| June 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

Thousands of Venezuelans who oppose their country’s socialist-led government rallied peacefully in the capital Sunday to protest the continued detention of an opposition leader and to call for an early presidential election.

Anti-government activists massed to voice support for hard-line opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who has been held in a military prison since being arrested in February on charges of fomenting violence as a result of the initial protests. A judge ordered last week that Lopez proceed to trial.

Those at Sunday’s protest also renewed their call for President Nicolas Maduro to leave office and for Venezuela to hold a new presidential election.

Venezuela’s constitution allows for an early presidential election if the president should resign. It also allows such a ballot if a leader is ruled physically or mentally incapacitated by the Supreme Court or dies in office, as happened last year with Hugo Chavez, who had anointed ... Read More

Venezuela Pays Price for Smuggling

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

President Loses Popularity Amid Protests as Cheap Goods Move Across Border to Colombian Consumers

By KEJAL VYAS

CÚCUTA, Colombia—Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s sliding popularity amid persistent street protests can be partly blamed on the humming smuggling market on this border, which shows how Colombia’s unbridled free-market capitalism is eclipsing Venezuela’s socialism and hurting ordinary Venezuelans.

When Norbis Berrocal, a homemaker on the Colombian side, buys baby formula in a bustling street market here in Cúcuta for a fraction of the usual retail price, Venezuela indirectly pays the rest.

“We’re lucky to have Venezuela so close by,” said Ms. Berrocal, as she bought a case of infant formula for shipment to relatives in Colombia’s interior.

She is one of many Colombian consumers who benefit from a massive smuggling trade involving subsidized and price-controlled goods from oil-rich Venezuela—including near-free gasoline, car parts, corn flour and deodorant, all bought cheap in Venezuela and marked up before being sold ... Read More

Illegal immigration: how ‘humanitarian crisis’ on border could hurt Obama

| June 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor

By Mark Sappenfield

Two weeks ago, the Obama administration was poised again to take executive action in an election year to ease deportations of undocumented immigrants. Today, that plan may be increasingly fraught with complications.

In recent weeks, a tide of young, unaccompanied minors crossing the Texas border illegally has pushed the US immigration system to its breaking point. Unable to cope with the volume of children crossing the border without their parents, immigration authorities have had to find emergency solutions, such as housing thousands in a San Antonio Air Force base, a California Navy base, and a makeshift detention center in Nogales, Ariz.

The Associated Press reported that the Nogales warehouse was running out of supplies.

The Obama administration has linked the trend to unrest in Central American countries, but Republican critics say an executive action that the president took in 2012 is to blame, calling the situation “an administration-made disaster.”

President Obama delayed rolling out new deportation reforms in ... Read More

Brazil’s World Cup security clampdown

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

By Javier Tovar

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Brazil is to deploy a 170,000-strong security force for the World Cup to deter hooligans from home and abroad.

Mass protests against the tournament and deadly fan violence have put authorities on alert ahead of the start of the tournament on June 12.

The threat of hardline fans from across the border in Argentina or flying in from England and other European nations has accentuated the sense of urgency.

Prresident Dilma Rousseff this week ordered the army to reinforce police guarding the hotels and training camps for the 32 countries taking part, the defence ministry said.

Thirty infantry troops were sent Wednesday to Brazil’s base camp in Teresopolis, outside Rio de Janeiro. Brazil play the opening match against Croatia on June 12.

Some 1,800 private security guards have been assigned to each of the 12 World Cup stadiums. About 700 federal agents will also ... Read More

Última Gran Encuesta: Zuluaga 49% Santos 41%

| June 6th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Semana

La última encuesta de RCN Radio, RCN TV, La FM y SEMANA antes de la segunda vuelta refleja que Zuluaga llega con ventaja al tramo final.Ocho puntos. Esa es la ventaja que hoy le lleva el candidato Óscar Iván Zuluaga al presidente Juan Manuel Santos según los resultados de la Gran Encuesta de RCN Radio, RCN TV, La FM y la revista SEMANA. El aspirante del Centro Democrático, quien ganó la primera vuelta presidencial del pasado 25 de mayo, lidera la contienda por la Casa de Nariño con el 49 % frente al 41 % registrado por Santos. Esta diferencia entre la carta uribista y el primer mandatario es mayor a los 3,5 puntos porcentuales que separaron a ambos candidatos en la primera vuelta.El panorama para la reelección presidencial se complica en esta última medición antes de la segunda vuelta del próximo 15 de junio. Santos no sólo se rezaga en ... Read More

El Salvador Gangs Call on New Government to Revive Truce

| June 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
From In Sight

BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY

El Salvador‘s principal gangs — among them the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 – have called on the new administration to maintain the country’s gang truce, in what appears to be a last ditch effort to save both the pact and the benefits it has brought them.

“The historic opportunity to recover peace that began on March 9, 2012 remains open; taking advantage of this to the country’s benefit depends on everyone,” gang leaders announced in a June 3 statement (see attached document). They highlighted their early and consistent support for the government of recently instated President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, and asked the administration, the church, civil society and businessmen to join them in this cause.

The gang spokespeople blamed rising violence in the past year on poor government policy — likely an implicit reference to the policies of Security Minister Ricardo Perdomo, a major truce critic.

Additionally, the gangs asked the new ... Read More

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