Venezuela Is Falling Apart

Venezuela Is Falling Apart

When a Venezuelan entrepreneur we know launched a manufacturing company in western Venezuela two decades ago, he never imagined he’d one day find himself facing jail time over the toilet paper in the factory’s restrooms. But Venezuela has a way of turning yesterday’s unimaginable into today’s normal.

The entrepreneur’s ordeal started about a year ago, when the factory union began to insist on enforcing an obscure clause in its collective-bargaining agreement requiring the factory’s restrooms to be stocked with toilet paper ...  

Venezuela Opposition March in Caracas Broken Up by Tear Gas

Venezuela Opposition March in Caracas Broken Up by Tear Gas

Venezuelan security forces fired teargas and pepper spray at protesters Wednesday, injuring opposition leader Henrique Capriles and forcing a march to turn back from central Caracas.

The protesters were trying to reach the headquarters of the electoral board, or CNE, demanding that it verify a petition signed by almost 2 million people calling for a referendum to oust President Nicolas Maduro. Organizers told marchers to turn back after clashes broke out and two-time presidential candidate Capriles was pepper-sprayed and taken to ...  

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff suspended in push toward impeachment

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff suspended in push toward impeachment

BRASILIA —Brazilian senators voted overwhelmingly Thursday to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and put her on trial, an impeachment push driven by mounting frustration at economic woes and revelations of rampant corruption throughout the country’s political elite.

Following all-night debate, 55 of Brazil’s 81 senators voted to open an impeachment trial against Rousseff, the country’s first woman president, far more than the simple majority needed to oust her.

Rousseff will be forced to step aside during the trial — with only a remote ...  

Editorial: Latin America’s ‘pink tide’ is fading fast

Editorial: Latin America’s ‘pink tide’ is fading fast

It was around the time we were coping with Y2K paranoia that the swing to the left throughout Latin America began knocking down dominoes.

Hugo Chavez stampeded into power in Venezuela in 1999 and reassembled the oil-rich South American state into a leftist nightmare for America. Then came Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his brand of social welfare in Brazil in 2002, followed by the Kirchners — Nestor and Cristina — in Argentina, onetime coca farmer Evo Morales in Bolivia, ...  

A Cartel and a Briefcase: How Drug Cash Moves on a River of Gold

A Cartel and a Briefcase: How Drug Cash Moves on a River of Gold

Mexican drug cartels operating in the U.S. have a problem: getting the profits home. Sometimes they try sending cash through banks, but that’s grown difficult as the government forces financial institutions to beef up anti-money-laundering efforts. So at least one international organization moved its money on a river of molten gold.

The Sinaloa cartel, once led by serial prison escapee Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, used some of its proceeds from selling drugs in the U.S. to buy gold in pawn shops, ...  

El Salvador Govt Turns Blind Eye to Its Own Deals with Gangs

El Salvador Govt Turns Blind Eye to Its Own Deals with Gangs

El Salvador’s government is attempting to legally bury any remnant of an old, officially-mediated truce between the country’s two biggest gangs, seemingly oblivious to its own dealings with the MS13 and Barrio 18.

The truce, which resulted from negotiations sponsored by the previous government under President Mauricio Funes and led to a dramatic reduction in homicides in 2012, has been forcefully repudiated by current President Salvador Sánchez Cerén.

Last week authorities arrested 18 former public officials and one of the principal mediators ...  

Facing Headwinds, Referendum to Recall Venezuela’s President Moves Forward

Facing Headwinds, Referendum to Recall Venezuela’s President Moves Forward

Venezuela is a mess. Violence, inflation, and food scarcity have skyrocketed. Electricity and running water are, for many, distant memories. Even the once-proud and relatively coddled national military has seen its soldiers reduced to smuggling cocaine or stealing goats for sustenance. Meanwhile, President Nicolás Maduro has held to a strict regimen of bloviating inaction despite his country’s economic and social collapse.

Maduro’s term isn’t up until 2019, but the long-marginalized opposition — which finally scored a victory late last year when ...  

Killing of Venezuelan leader was ‘politically motivated,’ government critics claim

Killing of Venezuelan leader was ‘politically motivated,’ government critics claim

The killing of an opposition leader in Venezuela may have had political motives, fellow party members of the late German Mavare told Fox News Latino.

Mavare, a leader of Un Nuevo Tiempo (UNT) party in the western state of Lara, died Thursday night after being shot point-blank in the head as he was walking home with a friend in Barquisimeto, the state’s capital. All that was taken was his outdated cell phone.

Opposition leaders have called it an assassination of a vocal ...  

Brazil crisis: Rousseff impeachment process ‘back on track’

Brazil crisis: Rousseff impeachment process ‘back on track’

An impeachment process against Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff appears to be back on track after the acting speaker of the lower house revoked his surprise decision to suspend a crucial vote.

Speaker Waldir Maranhao did not give any reason for his U-turn, which came less than 24 hours after he had called for a new impeachment vote. The Senate is now expected to vote on Wednesday on an impeachment trial. If Ms Rousseff loses, she will be suspended for the trial’s ...  

Judge in Mexico Says El Chapo Can Be Extradited to U.S.

Judge in Mexico Says El Chapo Can Be Extradited to U.S.

MEXICO CITY — A Mexican judge has ruled that the country’s most notorious drug lord, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, can be extradited to the United States, where he would face federal charges of drug trafficking and far slimmer chances of escaping prison, as he has done twice in his home country.

The ruling essentially creates the basis for the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Mexico to grant the final approval for the extradition of Mr. Guzmán, known as El Chapo, or Shorty, ...  

Judge in Mexico Says El Chapo Can Be Extradited to U.S.

Judge in Mexico Says El Chapo Can Be Extradited to U.S.

MEXICO CITY — A Mexican judge has ruled that the country’s most notorious drug lord, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, can be extradited to the United States, where he would face federal charges of drug trafficking and far slimmer chances of escaping prison, as he has done twice in his home country.

The ruling essentially creates the basis for the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Mexico to grant the final approval for the extradition of Mr. Guzmán, known as El Chapo, or Shorty, ...  

Catastrophe Is the New Normal for Venezuelans

Catastrophe Is the New Normal for Venezuelans

Making sense of the rolling political and economic disaster in Venezuela isn’t easy. But the bigger mystery may be why the whole country isn’t flooding into the streets to demand the end of the social revolution that’s left one of Latin America’s most resource-rich nations in a shambles.

Start with the riddle of why the country with the world’s largest crude oil reserves has suffered constant power outages. (Spoiler: instead of using oil to generate electricity, the government has relied on ...  

Venezuela’s Hunger Is No Game

Venezuela’s Hunger Is No Game

In his craving for power, the late Hugo Chávez pledged to redistribute Venezuela’s wealth to the poor masses. The god-father of “21st-century socialism” seems to have been unaware that the resources he promised to shower on his people had to first be produced.

Fifteen years into the Bolivarian revolution, Venezuela is facing dire food shortages. A crisis may still be averted—but only with a sharp reversal of the policies that have destroyed the country’s productive capacity. A nation either has to ...  

Mexico’s Vicente Fox: Why a Trump presidency should scare both Mexicans and Americans

Mexico’s Vicente Fox: Why a Trump presidency should scare both Mexicans and Americans

Mexico’s former president Vicente Fox isn’t the guy you would expect to see sporting a bright pink Donald Trump brand tie. Fox has had plenty to say about the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee — and none of it is complimentary. But then he has a point he wants to make:

“Look at the back, hidden here,” he says, pointing to the manufacturer’s label. “‘Made in China.’ So he’s really protecting workers in the United States, protecting jobs in the United ...  

Weaning Latin America Off Venezuelan Oil

Weaning Latin America Off Venezuelan Oil

The slow-motion economic collapse of Venezuela has been well documented in the media. The steep drop in global oil prices has exacerbated the impact of years of economic mismanagement by the socialist, anti-American regime of Hugo Chávez, and his successor Nicolas Maduro. Their populist, statist policies are no longer affordable for Venezuelans, nor for the nations in the region that have become reliant on Venezuela’s oil largesse.

Many countries in the Caribbean and Central America have enjoyed cheap oil under Venezuela’s ...  

This Is The Last Week For Brazil’s President Dilma

This Is The Last Week For Brazil’s President Dilma

Brazil is just three days away from becoming a nation without a leader. President Dilma Rousseff has proven that you get no brownie points for being a woman in Latin America’s biggest economy. The nation’s first female president was ousted April 16 by the lower house of congress for breaking fiscal responsibility laws and on May 11 a Senate committee will surely rule in favor of that vote. Their decision will force Dilma to step down to prepare for a ...  

US names prominent Panama family big money launderers

US names prominent Panama family big money launderers

The United States named Panama’s prominent Waked family, who run a large luxury goods, duty-free shops and real estate business, as a major drug money-laundering organization on Thursday.

The move placed top members of the Lebanese-origin family and their businesses, from the Grupo Wisa and La Riviera luxury goods and real estate groups to the Balboa Bank and Trust and two top newspapers, on the US sanctions blacklist, which locks them out of doing business with Americans and freezes their US ...  

Venezuela accuses U.S. of conspiring to topple Nicolás Maduro

Venezuela accuses U.S. of conspiring to topple Nicolás Maduro

WASHINGTON Venezuela’s foreign minister accused the United States on Thursday of plotting to topple the government of President Nicolás Maduro and using the secretary of the Organization of American States to try to engineer its suspension from the multinational organization.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said the OAS’s discussion of whether to invoke its Democratic Charter against Venezuela was part of a campaign against Maduro, orchestrated by the United States and Venezuela’s opposition.

“This is part of the ongoing and relentless aggression by ...  

Could Brazil’s Left Zig-Zag to a Comeback?

Could Brazil’s Left Zig-Zag to a Comeback?

Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, is responsible in three ways for her country’s predicament. She is responsible for her erratic economic policies, characterized by lavish public spending and mismanagement of public funds, which, along with an adverse world economic climate, have contributed to Brazil’s dismal performance in recent years. She is responsible, too, for her reckless oversight of the state-run Petrobras oil firm when she was Energy Minister and chair of the Petrobras board. That firm is at the center of ...  

Venezuela Desperation Roils Bonds After Output Plunge, GE Deal

Venezuela Desperation Roils Bonds After Output Plunge, GE Deal

Cash-strapped Venezuela’s plunging oil production is spooking bond investors. The state-owned oil company has seen its notes, with a face value of $12.5 billion, tumble 2.6 percent since energy consultant IPD Latin America said in a report Tuesday that the nation’s crude production fell across all regions for the first time since 2008. That day, Reuters said that Petroleos de Venezuela SA had to pay off its debt to some suppliers including Fairfield, Connecticut-based General Electric Co. with securities that ...  

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UNDERSTANDING AND ADDRESSING THE ROOT CAUSES OF CENTRAL AMERICAN MIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES

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.