<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/venezuela-ruling-party-games-twitter-political-gain-32876920#.VcD15rY_nhc.twitter">Venezuela Ruling Party Games Twitter for Political Gain</a>

Venezuela Ruling Party Games Twitter for Political Gain

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s approval ratings may be languishing below 30 percent, but on Twitter he’s as popular as Pope Francis — or so it would seem. …


Now Is the Time to Save Venezuela’s Elections

Now Is the Time to Save Venezuela’s Elections

By José Cárdenas

It is difficult to appreciate the level of socio-economic destruction that has befallen Venezuela through 18 years of chavismo, the socialist movement founded by the late President Hugo Chávez and continued under his hapless successor Nicolas Maduro. A good starting point, however, would be a new report by the International Crisis Group (ICG), Venezuela: Unnatural Disaster. The report describes “accelerating deterioration”:

A sharp fall in real incomes, major shortages of essential foods, medicines and other basic goods and breakdown of the health service ...  

<a href="http://panampost.com/fergus-hodgson/2015/08/04/venezuelan-inflation-soars-to-800/">Venezuelan Inflation Soars to 800%</a>

Venezuelan Inflation Soars to 800%

If Venezuelans thought their inflation woes couldn’t get any worse, they were wrong. While the regime has failed to report inflation beyond 2014,contravening the law, the Troubled Currencies Project estimates the annual rate now at 808 percent, as of July 25. …


<a href="http://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2015/07/31/pena-nieto-cae-al-nivel-de-aprobacion-mas-bajo-de-su-gobierno-segun-encuesta/">Peña Nieto cae al nivel de aprobación más bajo de su gobierno, según encuesta</a>

Peña Nieto cae al nivel de aprobación más bajo de su gobierno, según encuesta

(CNNMéxico) — La aprobación del presidente Enrique Peña Nieto cayó a su nivel más bajo desde que inició su mandato, pues una encuesta del diario Reforma mostró un desplome al 34% en la aceptación ciudadana, mientras que entre “líderes de opinión” descendió al 15%. …


<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-wests-failure-of-imagination-1438642772">The West’s Failure of Imagination</a>

The West’s Failure of Imagination

For the democracies to triumph in the long battle against Soviet communism enormous commitment was necessary. Both geopolitical and ideological, the struggle called for military investment, patience and resolve. As crucially, this challenge required a reserve of imagination for understanding and responding to the Soviet challenge with the ideas, media instruments and technology that were part of the democratic world’s natural competitive advantage. …


<a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article29894515.html">Trial lifts lid on world of Haiti’s drug-smuggling cops</a>

Trial lifts lid on world of Haiti’s drug-smuggling cops

When Haiti flourished as a “narco-state,” Colombian cocaine smugglers would pay off local cops to protect their precious loads flown in on planes that landed at night on dirt roads illuminated with the headlights of police cruisers, according to U.S. authorities. …


<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/03/world/americas/huge-rally-over-killing-of-mexican-journalist.html?_r=1">Huge Mexico City Rally Over Killing of Journalist</a>

Huge Mexico City Rally Over Killing of Journalist

MEXICO CITY — A crowd of several thousand people gathered Sunday in the capital to denounce the death of a Mexican photographer killed early Saturday morning, the seventh journalist killed in Mexico this year. …


<a href="https://www.stratfor.com/geopolitical-diary/russia-venezuela-hold-anarchy-bay">Russia, Venezuela Hold Anarchy at Bay</a>

Russia, Venezuela Hold Anarchy at Bay

As we scan the proverbial geopolitical horizon, there are two countries that stand out as high-risk targets for significant social unrest in the coming months. Not surprisingly, both are oil producers terrified at the sight of Brent crude falling below $50 per barrel on Monday. …


<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/04/venezuelas-first-lady-cilia-flores-to-run-for-congress-while-opposition-figure-barred">Venezuela’s first lady Cilia Flores to run for congress while opposition figure barred</a>

Venezuela’s first lady Cilia Flores to run for congress while opposition figure barred

Venezuela’s first lady will run for the country’s congress, while an opposition leader has been formally barred from the contest. …



Brazil’s ruling party rocked by another corruption arrest

Brazil’s ruling party rocked by another corruption arrest

By Roger Noriega

More bad news for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and the ruling Workers’ Party, as authorities arrested a powerful political chieftain early Monday morning. José Dirceu, former chief of staff to ex-president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, was arrested in connection with the Petrobras corruption scandal rocking the South American country.

In a press conference today, Federal police investigator Carlos Fernando dos Santos Lima said Dirceu played a key role “in the Petrobras scheme even as he was chief of ...  

<a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2015/0803/Mexico-City-Why-didn-t-slain-journalist-Ruben-Espinosa-seek-protection">Mexico City: Why didn’t slain journalist Ruben Espinosa seek protection?</a>

Mexico City: Why didn’t slain journalist Ruben Espinosa seek protection?

MEXICO CITY — Under threat, Mexican photojournalist Ruben Espinosa fled the state of Veracruz, where he worked. His murder last week underscores not only the dangers journalists face in Mexico, but how little faith reporters here have in promises of government protection. …


<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/03/us-usa-humantrafficking-disputes-special-idUSKCN0Q821Y20150803">Special Report: State Department watered down human trafficking report</a>

Special Report: State Department watered down human trafficking report

In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba. And in China, they found, things had grown worse. …


<a href="http://colombiareports.com/bogota-mayor-candidate-who-got-high-during-interview-seeks-marijuana-ban/">Bogota mayor candidate who got high during interview seeks marijuana ban</a>

Bogota mayor candidate who got high during interview seeks marijuana ban

A Bogota mayor candidate who once declared to be a marijuana aficionado now wants to ban the drug in Colombia’s capital. …


<a href="http://fusion.net/story/176401/media-investigation-claims-chapo-was-on-the-run-for-43-minutes-before-prison-alarm-sounded/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialshare&utm_content=desktop+top">Media investigation claims El Chapo was on the run for 43 minutes before prison alarm sounded</a>

Media investigation claims El Chapo was on the run for 43 minutes before prison alarm sounded

Prison guards first arrived at drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s empty prison cell a full 28 minutes after he escaped through a secret tunnel, and they didn’t sound the alarm until he had been on the run for 43 minutes, according to an investigation by Mexican journalist Anabel Hernández. …


<a href="http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/08/03/venezuelan-president-blames-us-for-supermarket-riot-that-left-one-dead/">VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT BLAMES US FOR SUPERMARKET RIOT THAT LEFT ONE DEAD</a>


Socialist Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is blaming a United States conspiracy for a supermarket riot over the weekend that left one 21-year-old man dead–a man witnesses say was shot to death by Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard. …


<a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/08/03/uk-chile-politics-idUKKCN0Q81KJ20150803">Disapproval of Chile’s President Bachelet hits record high – poll</a>

Disapproval of Chile’s President Bachelet hits record high – poll

Disapproval of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet reached an historic high of 70 percent in July, as her government scaled back its reform programme and struggled with a sluggish economy, an opinion poll showed Monday. …


<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/brazils-federal-police-charge-jose-dirceu-in-petrobras-probe-1438612314">Brazil’s Federal Police Charge José Dirceu in Petrobras Probe</a>

Brazil’s Federal Police Charge José Dirceu in Petrobras Probe

SÃO PAULO—Brazilian federal police arrested the former chief of staff of ex-PresidentLuiz Inácio Lula da Silva early Monday as part of a widening investigation into an alleged corruption scheme at state-run oil giant Petróleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras. …


<a href="http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/entrada-de-opinion/columna/hector-de-mauleon/nacion/2015/08/3/infiltraron-el-altiplano-para-liberar">Infiltraron el Altiplano para liberar a ‘El Chapo’</a>

Infiltraron el Altiplano para liberar a ‘El Chapo’

Por Hector De Mauleón

En el boquete abierto en la celda número 20 del penal de máxima seguridad del Altiplano, por el que el narcotraficante Joaquín Guzmán Loera se fugó el pasado 11 de julio, no hay residuos de ácido ni huellas de calor, según señalan los dictámenes que los peritos encargados del caso han entregado a la Procuraduría General de la República. …


<a href="http://www.eltiempo.com/politica/gobierno/imagen-del-presidente-juan-manuel-santos/16185136">Imagen positiva de Santos está en 29 %: encuesta</a>

Imagen positiva de Santos está en 29 %: encuesta

A punto de cumplirse el primer año del segundo mandato del presidente Juan Manuel Santos se conocieron nuevas encuestas sobre la imagen y la aprobación del Jefe de Estado. …


<a href="http://colombiareports.com/santos-low-approval-rating-recovers-but-only-slightly/">Santos’ low approval rating recovers, but only slightly</a>

Santos’ low approval rating recovers, but only slightly

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos continues to suffer abysmal approval ratings in the country’s cities due to ongoing dissatisfaction over unemployment, crime and a lack of progress in ongoing peace talks with rebel group FARC. …


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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.