<a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/ecuador-fundamedios-media-watchdogs-impending-closure-creates-international-backlash-2095694">Ecuador Fundamedios Media Watchdog’s Impending Closure Creates International Backlash Over Free Speech</a>

Ecuador Fundamedios Media Watchdog’s Impending Closure Creates International Backlash Over Free Speech

Ecuador is drawing condemnation from human rights and free-speech advocacy groups around the world for its decision this month to initiate the closure of Fundamedios, the South American country’s last remaining independent media watchdog. But so far, the government of President Rafael Correa is not backing down. …


<a href="http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-09-14/by-jailing-leopoldo-lopez-venezuela-s-maduro-looks-desperate">Venezuela’s President Starts to Look Desperate</a>

Venezuela’s President Starts to Look Desperate

Deporting immigrants at rifle point, reigniting long-settled claims to a neighbor’s oil reserves, sending soldiers instead of groceries to depleted supermarkets — just when you’d think Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro could go no further to turn his country into an outlaw state, the leader of the Bolivarian Republic has trumped himself — criminalizing dissent. …


<a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/09/246884.htm">2015 Presidential Determination for Major Drug Producing and Transit Countries</a>

2015 Presidential Determination for Major Drug Producing and Transit Countries

Under the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (FRAA), the President is required each year to notify Congress of those countries he determines to be major illicit drug producing countries or major drug-transit countries that “significantly affect the United States.”  This year’s list consists of 22 countries: Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. …


<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/petrobras-chairman-taking-leave-of-absence-until-nov-30-1442241188">Petrobras Chairman Taking Leave of Absence Until Nov 30</a>

Petrobras Chairman Taking Leave of Absence Until Nov 30

RIO DE JANEIRO—The chairman of Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA, Murilo Ferreira, has taken a temporary leave of absence until Nov. 30, the company said Monday, without giving additional information. …


<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/kirchners-exit-revives-argentine-hope-1442183448">Kirchner’s Exit Revives Argentine Hope</a>

Kirchner’s Exit Revives Argentine Hope

When Argentines go to the polls on Oct. 25 to choose a new president, it will be the first time in more than 12 years that the Kirchner name does not appear on the ballot. That fact is generating cautious optimism here—even in the midst of a recession, capital flight, double-digit inflation and gathering economic storms in the country’s two big export markets, Brazil and China, that threaten to unleash even more. …


<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanielparishflannery/2015/09/14/how-does-venezuela-compare-to-the-worlds-worst-managed-economies/">How Does Venezuela Compare To The World’s Worst Managed Economies?</a>

How Does Venezuela Compare To The World’s Worst Managed Economies?

Outside of Venezuela, around the world, controlling inflation is seen as the primary concern of most central bankers. In the economic crises of the 1970s and 1980s inflation soared in as a series of economic shocks rocked Latin America. During a hyperinflation crisis in Peru in 1990 prices doubled every two weeks after the government embarked on a spending spree. …


<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-34195758">Guatemala sets pace in corruption fight</a>

Guatemala sets pace in corruption fight

Whether it was the shout repeatedly asking the president to: “Resign, now,” or the honking of the vuvuzelas in the crowds, their cries seem to have been heard. Earlier this month, President Otto Perez Molina stood down, after Congress voted to strip him of his immunity. …


<a href="http://www.dailynews.com/social-affairs/20150912/gang-leaders-in-el-salvador-testing-limits-of-their-power-in-la-rest-of-us">Gang leaders in El Salvador testing limits of their power in L.A., rest of U.S.</a>

Gang leaders in El Salvador testing limits of their power in L.A., rest of U.S.

Two were arrested by border agents in Texas. Another was found washing cars at a Santa Ana dealership. The Salvadoran gang members were responsible, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials alleged, for the March assassination of Andrés Ernesto Oliva Tejada, a prosecuting attorney in the homicide unit of the Salvadoran Attorney General’s Office in the southeastern city of Usulután. …


<a href="http://news.yahoo.com/venezuelan-warplanes-cross-colombian-airspace-020816516.html">Colombia to protest ‘Venezuelan warplane incursion’</a>

Colombia to protest ‘Venezuelan warplane incursion’

Colombia plans to launch a formal protest Monday against Venezuela for allowing warplanes to cross into Colombian airspace, amid a border crisis between the neighbors. …


<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/11/americas/venezuela-opposition-leopoldo-lopez-sentence/index.html">Leopoldo Lopez, imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader, remains defiant</a>

Leopoldo Lopez, imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader, remains defiant

A day after being sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez took to social media to say he has no regrets. …


<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-34241707">Cuban activists detained ahead of Pope Francis visit</a>

Cuban activists detained ahead of Pope Francis visit

Cuban police have detained more than 50 people who took part in a march calling on the island’s communist government to release political prisoners. The detentions come less than a week before a visit to Cuba by Pope Francis. 


<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/brazilian-police-seek-to-question-former-president-in-petrobras-probe-1442008371">Brazilian Police Seek to Question Former President in Petrobras Probe</a>

Brazilian Police Seek to Question Former President in Petrobras Probe

SÃO PAULO—Brazilian authorities are seeking to question former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in connection with a massive corruption scandal at Petróleo Brasileiro SA, deepening a political crisis that threatens to engulf the government of President Dilma Rousseff. …


<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/guatemala-outsources-a-corruption-crackdown-1442001944">Guatemala Outsources a Corruption Crackdown</a>

Guatemala Outsources a Corruption Crackdown

GUATEMALA CITY—Eight years ago, when Guatemala outsourced part of its corrupt judicial system to a U.N.-sponsored agency, few would have given the experiment much of a chance. After all, this is a country where tens of thousands of civilians died at the hands of death squads during a 36-year civil war, and almost no one was held accountable. …


<a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/article34860789.html">Lawmakers urge additional Venezuela sanctions after harsh verdict</a>

Lawmakers urge additional Venezuela sanctions after harsh verdict

Florida lawmakers are calling for a fresh round of sanctions against Venezuela, after opposition leader Leopoldo López was sentenced to 13 years, nine months and 12 days in prison for his role in last year’s national protests. Civil rights groups and legal experts said the case was marred by irregularities. …



<a href="http://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2015/09/10/sentencian-a-leopoldo-lopez-a-13-anos-de-prision/">Sentencian a Leopoldo López a 13 años de prisión</a>

Sentencian a Leopoldo López a 13 años de prisión

El dirigente opositor venezolano Leopoldo López fue hallado culpable y sentenciado a 13 años, 9 meses 7 días 12 horas años de prisión. López es acusado en relación a los hechos de violencia desatados tras una manifestación opositora en febrero de 2014. …


<a href="http://www.lapatilla.com/site/2015/09/11/felipe-gonzalez-dice-que-venezuela-se-ha-convertido-en-una-dictadura-de-facto/">Felipe González dice que Venezuela se ha convertido en una dictadura de facto</a>

Felipe González dice que Venezuela se ha convertido en una dictadura de facto

El ex presidente del Gobierno español Felipe González afirmó hoy que “Venezuela se ha convertido en una dictadura de facto” con la sentencia al líder opositor Leopoldo López, a quien consideró un “preso político de (Nicolás) Maduro”. …


<a href="http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/f972e87c-57e5-11e5-a28b-50226830d644.html#axzz3lQYqeF5N">Brazil downgrade triggers prospect of further turmoil for EMs</a>

Brazil downgrade triggers prospect of further turmoil for EMs

Brazil’s downgrade to junk status this week by Standard & Poor’s, the credit rating agency, is not only a severe blow to investors, policymakers and citizens in Brazil, but it also opens the prospect of a wave of further downgrades across emerging markets, as credit spreads widen and investors become increasingly gloomy about a global economic slowdown. …


<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/11/world/americas/venezuelan-opposition-leader-is-sentenced-to-prison-over-a-protest.html?_r=1">Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo López Sentenced to Prison Over Protest</a>

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo López Sentenced to Prison Over Protest

CARACAS, Venezuela — A judge on Thursday found the Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López guilty of inciting violence and other charges stemming from his leading role in a large antigovernment protest, according to government television reports. Mr. López, a Harvard-educated former mayor of a wealthy section of Caracas, was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison, the television reports said. …


<a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/sep/10/george-phillips-advancing-human-rights-in-cuba/">Advancing human rights in Cuba</a>

Advancing human rights in Cuba

In the 1980s when Lech Walesa boldly stood up to his oppressive Communist government in Poland, he was embraced by Pope John Paul II, the news media and opponents of communism everywhere. Mr. Walesa was named Time Man of the Year in 1981 and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 as he went about building the movement that began in Poland and ended up leading to the downfall of the entire Soviet Communist system in Eastern Europe. …


<a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brazils-economy-will-likely-get-worse-before-it-gets-better-2015-09-10">Brazil’s economy will likely get worse before it gets better</a>

Brazil’s economy will likely get worse before it gets better

Brazil is experiencing its worst economic downturn in 25 years. And, analysts say, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services suggested as much when they downgraded the country’s foreign-currency sovereign debt by a notch to “BB+,” leaving it in junk territory for the first time since 2008. …


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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.