Sanctions Against Venezuelan Vice-President: Great First Step Against Venezuela’s Rogue Regime

Sanctions Against Venezuelan Vice-President: Great First Step Against Venezuela’s Rogue Regime

Finally, we are seeing movement and leadership on the part of the U.S government to isolate a Venezuelan leadership that for almost two decades has led, within Latin America, an anti-democratic movement mixed with drug trafficking and alliances with rogue elements.

The Venezuelan Vice-President, Tareck El Aissami has been added to the list of those sanctioned by the U.S government on the grounds of international narcotics trafficking. El Aissami, as well as other associates who served as front men for him, ...  

Ambassador Pinzón: “US stands to gain from Colombia’s ongoing rise to prosperity”

Ambassador Pinzón: “US stands to gain from Colombia’s ongoing rise to prosperity”

The U.S.-Colombia relationship is the most important strategic partnership in the Western Hemisphere. It is a partnership that has grown in significance and strength over the past 20 years, and it is a partnership that stands to continue strengthening during the Trump administration and the 115th Congress.

Built on a solid foundation of shared values, our partnership has allowed us to promote security, peace and prosperity in both of our countries, throughout the hemisphere and around the world. No longer just ...  

Top diplomat to accept award from democracy group in Cuba

Top diplomat to accept award from democracy group in Cuba

WASHINGTON — A prominent diplomat is planning a politically sensitive trip to Cuba to accept an award from a pro-democracy group on the island.

Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States, will travel to Cuba next week to accept the Oswaldo Paya Prize from the Latin America Youth Network for Democracy, a spokesman for the regional organization said Wednesday.

Spokesman Gonzalo Ezpariz confirmed Almagro’s plans but declined to disclose details of a trip that could touch a nerve in ...  

Venezuela’s bad relationship with the United States just got worse

Venezuela’s bad relationship with the United States just got worse

Venezuela and the United States haven’t had the best relationship recently. This week, it got worse.

The Treasury Department blacklisted Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami on Monday, saying he oversaw or “partially owned” narcotics shipments of more than 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) from Venezuela, some of which ended up in Mexico and the U.S.

“On the one hand, it’s a drop in the ocean, because it won’t change what’s happening on the ground,” said Dany Bahar, fellow at Brookings. “On the ...  

Ecuador’s elections: Who are the contenders?

Ecuador’s elections: Who are the contenders?

On Feb. 19, Ecuadoreans head to the polls for general elections to choose the president and vice president, along with all 137 seats in the country’s unicameral legislature and five representatives to the Andean Congress. An expected presidential runoff is slated for April 2. The country’s National Electoral Council said about 12.8 million of the country’s 16 million citizens will be eligible to vote this year, including some 380,000 expat voters. Voting is mandatory in Ecuador; turnout in the last ...  

CNN Pulled in Venezuela; Trump Meets Opposition Leader’s Wife

CNN Pulled in Venezuela; Trump Meets Opposition Leader’s Wife

One by one, cable providers started dropping CNN Español’s signal off their air in Venezuela as millions flipped through the channels, bewildered. The decision to ax CNNE came swiftly in the form of an administrative order from CONATEL, the national telecommunications commission.

“The procedure is done in light of the content that the mentioned news station has systematically been broadcasting, which presents a clear aggression against the Venezuelan homeland,” said CONATEL, which also silenced a national TV broadcaster a decade ago.

This ...  

Exit the Dragon: Why China Should Stop Supporting Venezuela

Exit the Dragon: Why China Should Stop Supporting Venezuela

CHICAGO — Poor Venezuela, so far from God, so close to the People’s Republic of China. Having bid farewell to tumultuous 2016, President Nicolás Maduro’s embattled government, hit hard by low oil prices, has again bucked market expectations, muddling through without defaulting on sovereign bonds or those of the state-owned oil company PDVSA. Paying off $10 billion to Wall Street last year required many sacrifices from Venezuela: selling off or mortgaging international assets and slashing imports by nearly 50 percent ...  

Will Ecuador’s Voters Reject Failed Populism?

Will Ecuador’s Voters Reject Failed Populism?

It is a pity that Ecuador’s presidential election, which will be held this coming Sunday, is not attracting more international attention. It should, now that the world is witnessing the rise of populist nationalism.

For the past decade Ecuador has been governed by Rafael Correa. Like other Latin American populists, he won free elections but changed the constitutional rules so he could remain in power indefinitely through a combination of authoritarianism, fiscal profligacy, and demagoguery. However, the backlash against populism in ...  

Venezuela Prosecutors Raid Odebrecht Offices in Bribe Probe

Venezuela Prosecutors Raid Odebrecht Offices in Bribe Probe

Venezuelan authorities raided the Caracas offices of Odebrecht on Tuesday, as prosecutors deepened a probe into the Brazilian construction firm that has admitted paying some $98 million in bribes to obtain government contracts in Venezuela.

“The investigation is aimed at clarifying the situation and determining if the projects for which this company was contracted were completed,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Odebrecht and affiliated petrochemical company Braskem in December pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to violating American foreign bribery ...  

Reporter’s Notebook: How a look inside Venezuela’s crumbling health care system got me kicked out of the country

Reporter’s Notebook: How a look inside Venezuela’s crumbling health care system got me kicked out of the country

Our hospital source just kept repeating: “There are almost zero antibiotics, no surgical gowns, no internal sutures, no gauze, no hypertension meds, no chemotherapy. Hospitals don’t have bed sheets, food or water.”

There’s no soap. There’s no air conditioning. In short, he said, performing surgery is like practicing battlefield medicine.

We were sitting at a hotel in a country that sits atop more oil than Saudi Arabia — Venezuela. By all rights, Venezuela should be one of the world’s wealthiest nations. But ...  

Anti-Castro Cuban-American lawmakers see a champion in Trump

Anti-Castro Cuban-American lawmakers see a champion in Trump

Cuban-American lawmakers from Florida helped shape U.S. relations with the island for years until they found themselves on the outside during a historic thaw in relations.

But they could be getting the upper hand on Cuba policy again under President Donald Trump with a possible return to an earlier, more hard-line U.S. stance toward relations with Cuba’s government.

“We have had more conversations with high-level Trump officials than we had in eight years of the Obama administration,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, one ...  

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Venezuela’s Vice President, Calling Him a Drug ‘Kingpin’

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Venezuela’s Vice President, Calling Him a Drug ‘Kingpin’

CARACAS, Venezuela — The Trump administration announced sanctions against Venezuela’s vice president on Monday, calling him a drug “kingpin” in its first moves against the country’s leftist government that President Trump railed against during his campaign.

Vice President Tareck El Aissami, according to a Treasury Department statement, was being sanctioned for “playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking.” The sanctions mean that Mr. El Aissami, 42, will be blocked from financial dealings with Americans and will have any American assets ...  

Venezuelan president says he wants CNN out of country after report on passport sales

Venezuelan president says he wants CNN out of country after report on passport sales

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday he wanted CNN out of the country, alleging it misrepresents the truth and meddles in issues that are not of its concern.

“CNN, do not get into the affairs of Venezuelans. I want CNN well away from here. Outside of Venezuela. Do not put your nose in Venezuela,” said Maduro during a political act.

He made the comment after blaming the U.S. network of distorting the facts when reporting on irregularities at a Caracas public ...  

Secretary of State Tillerson planning trip to Mexico amid tense relations

Secretary of State Tillerson planning trip to Mexico amid tense relations

In what could be his first official trip abroad since becoming secretary of state, the State Department announced on Wednesday that Rex Tillerson will travel to Mexico sometime in the next few weeks.

What would normally be a fairly routine visit for the United States’ top diplomat looks to be anything but as the trip comes at a time of newly strained relations between Washington and one of its closest allies. President Trump’s executive order on immigration and the border wall ...  

Panama seeks arrest of 2 sons of ex-president in graft case

Panama seeks arrest of 2 sons of ex-president in graft case

PANAMA CITY — Prosecutors in Panama are seeking international help in detaining two sons of former President Ricardo Martinelli in relation to an alleged scheme to launder bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

The Associated Press obtained on Monday a copy of a request filed by anti-corruption prosecutor Tania Sterling asking for an Interpol red alert against Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli.

Prosecutors claim the sons helped deposit part of $22 million that Odebrecht allegedly paid in bribes to win contracts ...  

Venezuelan Vice President Said to Be Targeted for U.S. Sanctions

Venezuelan Vice President Said to Be Targeted for U.S. Sanctions

The Trump administration is preparing sanctions against Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who’s been under investigation for years by U.S. authorities for alleged participation in drug trafficking and money laundering, according to two people familiar with the matter.

El Aissami would be the highest-ranking Venezuelan official hit by U.S. sanctions. The penalties are still in the works but could be issued by the Treasury Department early this week, according to one person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of ...  

El Miedo de los Eurocratas a Donald Trump

El Miedo de los Eurocratas a Donald Trump

Por Sebastián Martínez Ferrate’

Es bastante habitual que los que consumen dogmas en abundancia para fundamentar sus posiciones, tengan miedo a un hombre como Donald Trump, ya que esto de ser librepensador como la mayoría de políticos europeos tiene sus riesgos tal y como nos demuestra la historia de la humanidad.

Pero que ha dicho el Presidente de los EEUU para que se le tenga miedo en Bruselas? y no solamente en la capital europea, sino fíjense en lo que dice sin ningún ...  

Mexico is gearing up for a wave of deportations from the US

Mexico is gearing up for a wave of deportations from the US

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers deported Guadalupe García de Rayos from Phoenix to Nogales, Mexico, on Thursday.

Rayos had lived in the US for 21 years, after crossing the border when she was 14. Her lawyer said the removal was a “direct result” of Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

Her family and others tried to block the deportation, with one man going so far as to wrap himself around the front wheel of the van transporting her out of an ICE ...  

Founders of law firm at center of Panama Papers scandal arrested

Founders of law firm at center of Panama Papers scandal arrested

Police in Panama arrested the founders of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of the Panama Papers scandal, on money-laundering charges Thursday after authorities raided the firm’s headquarters as part of investigations into Brazil’s largest-ever bribery scandal.

The firm’s founding partners, Ramón Fonseca and Jürgen Mossack, spent Thursday night in police cells, according to the men’s lawyer. Kenia Porcell, Panama’s attorney general, released a statement that said evidence gathered by her office indicated that the law firm was a ...  

Brazil’s huge corruption scandal is spreading to the rest of Latin America

Brazil’s huge corruption scandal is spreading to the rest of Latin America

LIMA, Peru — For more than two years the “Car Wash” corruption mega-scandal engulfing Odebrecht, Latin America’s largest construction company, has roiled Brazil.

It contributed to the drive to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, landed numerous powerful people behind bars, helped stall the world’s ninth-largest economy, and led to a $3.5 billion corporate fine — a world record in a graft case.

Now the scandal is metastasizing across Latin America, where Odebrecht had numerous contracts to build huge public infrastructure projects in 10 ...  

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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.