Almagro: How Venezuela can avoid suspension from the OAS

Almagro: How Venezuela can avoid suspension from the OAS

The history of Latin America and the Caribbean is plagued with dictators. That is why in 2001, the 34 countries of the OAS agreed to and signed the Inter-American Democratic Charter. They decided that they would never again suffer dictatorships and declared that democracy is a right of the people, one that governments must ensure.

Today, while you read these lines, in a South American country of more than 30 million people there is a dictatorship. That country is Venezuela.

Its government ...  

Inside the devastating plight of epileptics in Venezuela due to drug shortages

Inside the devastating plight of epileptics in Venezuela due to drug shortages

In the midst of the deep recession that continues to afflict Venezuela, people have become embroiled in bread wars, resorted to toilet paper theft and even given away their children.

One of the most heartbreaking problems that has arisen is the shortage of medication. Eighty-five percent of all drugs have disappeared from the country, from common over-the-counter medications to antiretroviral drugs used to manage HIV. Drug shortages have resulted in cancers metastasizing or even deaths, according to the Miami Herald.

Reuters photographer ...  

Frozen Beef Stranded at Sea After China Shuts Out Brazil’s Meat

Frozen Beef Stranded at Sea After China Shuts Out Brazil’s Meat

Zhang Lian has 270 tons of frozen Brazilian beef on a ship steaming toward Shanghai that he may not be able to get through customs when the vessel arrives next month.

Zhang’s Shanghai Yadongsheng Import-Export Ltd. trades $200 million of meat annually, part of the global supply chain that keeps China fed. China’s decision to halt imports of Brazil’s meat until authorities are sure it’s safe has left Zhang with some worried customers.

“It’s a bad situation,” said Zhang, an import manager ...  

Cuban dissident leader to Trump: ‘Treat Cuba like a dictatorship’

Cuban dissident leader to Trump: ‘Treat Cuba like a dictatorship’

Frustrated by what they see as “indolence” from the previous administration, some Cuban government opponents are urging President Donald Trump to backtrack current Cuba policy and speak out about increased government repression on the island.

Antonio G. Rodiles and his partner Ailer González — both members of the Forum for Rights and Freedoms — are calling on the new administration to reset U.S.-Cuba relations and “recognize that they are dealing with a dictatorship.”

“The main thing would be for those of us ...  

Why is Venezuela’s Maduro treating President Trump with kid gloves?

Why is Venezuela’s Maduro treating President Trump with kid gloves?

CARACAS, VENEZUELA – Even though United States continues to be Chavismo’s favorite enemy, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is treating Trump’s White House with kid gloves — not even responding to some pretty mighty jabs.

When back in January the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned his handpicked vice president Tareck El Aissami for ties with drug trafficking, Maduro pledged to Trump “that he not perpetuate the errors of the old administration.”

Two days later, a second punch came via Twitter when the U.S. president ...  

U.S.-Mexico security cooperation is at a historic high. Will that change under Trump?

U.S.-Mexico security cooperation is at a historic high. Will that change under Trump?

MEXICO CITY — Every airplane passenger who arrives in Mexico is vetted against U.S. criminal and national security databases, a ­daily dose of intelligence sharing aimed at finding fugitives and suspected terrorists.

In the Mexico City airport, plainclothes U.S. border officers work alongside their Mexican counterparts to investigate suspicious travelers bound for the United States. In Brownsville, Tex., U.S. customs agents remotely watch X-ray scans of train cargo from the Mexican side of the border.

For much of their history, the United ...  

Argentina warns Trump: ‘Nationalism will not make your economy richer’

Argentina warns Trump: ‘Nationalism will not make your economy richer’

Argentina, which is poised to take over the leadership of the G20 group of developed and developing nations later this year, has warned Donald Trump that protectionist trade strategies do not work.

Nicolás Dujovne, the country’s finance minister, said that Argentina’s own recent anti-free trade policies showed that closing borders did more harm than good.

“We’ve been there”, Dujovne told the Guardian . “Protectionism and nationalism will not make your economy richer and will not accelerate growth. It will increase stagnation and ...  

Carwash at Three Years Moves From Brazil Ground Zero to Diaspora

Carwash at Three Years Moves From Brazil Ground Zero to Diaspora

One floor above the jail cell that’s been holding Brazilian construction magnate Marcelo Odebrecht for the past 21 months, Marcio Anselmo, the man who put him there, is about to pack up his office and move on.

It’s been three years now since the so-called Carwash investigation exploded onto the Brazilian scene and screens, its fuse lit in the southern city of Curitiba by Anselmo and his colleagues.

“Carwash is far from over, but my job here is almost done,” Anselmo, 39, ...  

Venezuelan VP Tareck El Aissami Is Bad News

Venezuelan VP Tareck El Aissami Is Bad News

At the end of February, the Trump Administration took the brave move to sanction Venezuela’s Vice President Tareck El Aissami. Just who is Tareck El-Aissami?

The newly appointed vice president of Lebanese-Syrian origins has been a controversial figure for years. Linked to a major cocaine-trafficking outlet and to the Jihadi Shia terror organization, Hezbollah, he has been under the careful eye of the DEA, FBI and other intelligence agencies, which were just waiting for him to slip up. President Nicolas Maduro ...  

Relatives of Venezuelan Political Prisoners Beg OAS for Help

Relatives of Venezuelan Political Prisoners Beg OAS for Help

Relatives of three prominent Venezuelan political prisoners Monday joined the leader of the Organization of American States in pleading for action to free the country from what they described as the repressive regime of President Nicolas Maduro.

“We come here to ask the OAS … to end the dictatorship of Maduro,” activist Patricia de Ceballos said at a news conference with two other activists and OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro. Her husband, a former mayor in Venezuela, has been confined first ...  

More airlines cut service to Cuba

More airlines cut service to Cuba

Only six months after U.S. carriers began operating regular commercial flights to Cuba, Frontier Airlines and Silver Airways have become the latest airlines to cut service to the island nation.

The news comes after JetBlue and American Airlines both announced plans in the last two months to reduce their service to Cuba, either by scaling back on the number of flights or flying smaller planes to Cuba.

The cutbacks suggest that the nation’s airlines may have overestimated the demand for flights to ...  

More Than 250 Bodies Found In Mass Grave In Mexico

More Than 250 Bodies Found In Mass Grave In Mexico

Authorities in Mexico say they have found more than 250 bodies in what may be the largest mass grave site in the country. It’s located in a dusty abandoned lot just outside the port city of Veracruz.

Authorities were led to the graves by a group of mothers who’ve spent months digging there in search of their loved ones.

Of the 252 bodies found in the mass grave, only two have been identified: Pedro Huesca, a young state investigator, and his personal ...  

Editorial Board: Trump has a chance to correct Obama’s mistake on Venezuela

Editorial Board: Trump has a chance to correct Obama’s mistake on Venezuela

AS VENEZUELA has plunged deeper and deeper into a economic, political and humanitarian crisis, its regional neighbors and the United States have stood back, refusing to adopt meaningful collective measures to pressure the authoritarian regime of Nicolás Maduro and instead hiding behind appeals for “dialogue” with the democratic opposition. Now the region’s leaders are being bluntly called out by the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, who says the strategy has been a feckless failure and ...  

‘From now on you have no name. You are prisoner 217′: life in a Cuban jail

‘From now on you have no name. You are prisoner 217′: life in a Cuban jail

If you happened to go to a British embassy reception in Havana in the early 2000s, you would likely have met Stephen Purvis. You could not miss him. Six foot four, cropped grey hair, rum in hand, a broad smile and no shortage of good stories.

Purvis loved Cuba. Escaping what he saw as the risk of a “pre-ordained suburban middle-class life” in Wimbledon, the architect and his wife seized the opportunity to move to the island 17 years ago. He ...  

Down But Not Out, Brazil’s Lula Mulls an Unlikely Return

Down But Not Out, Brazil’s Lula Mulls an Unlikely Return

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva remains such a towering figure in Brazilian politics that even his absence casts a shadow.

When President Michel Temer last week inaugurated a long-awaited irrigation project in Monteiro, a dusty town in Brazil’s arid northeast, much of the praise from locals and visiting dignitaries went to Lula for launching the much-needed infrastructure over a decade ago.

“I thank God for the works,” said Joao Bezerra, a grizzled 51-year old farmer. “But I also thank the man who ...  

It took 12 years and 10 attempts to arrest ex-Haiti rebel leader Philippe, feds say

It took 12 years and 10 attempts to arrest ex-Haiti rebel leader Philippe, feds say

Just months after a U.S. grand jury indicted ex-Haitian rebel leader Guy Philippe on drug-trafficking charges, federal authorities attempted to trick him into accepting travel documents that would bring him to South Florida — and into the arms of the law.

But Philippe, a roguish former Haiti National Police commander who two years earlier had led the insurgency against then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, didn’t take the bait.

The ploy was only one of more than 10 attempts by U.S. law enforcement — with ...  

Venezuela’s cash-strapped PDVSA offers Rosneft oil stake – sources

Venezuela’s cash-strapped PDVSA offers Rosneft oil stake – sources

CARACAS/HOUSTON (Reuters) – Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has offered Russian counterpart Rosneft a stake in a joint venture in the country’s Orinoco Belt extra-heavy crude area, five industry sources said, in a sign of the Latin American nation’s dire economic situation and Moscow’s growing muscle there.

Rosneft (ROSN.MM), Russia’s top oil producer, has been offered a 10 percent stake in the Petropiar joint venture.

PDVSA [PDVSA.UL], as Petróleos de Venezuela SA is known, has a 70 percent share, and U.S. oil ...  

Venezuela has a bread shortage. The government has decided bakers are the problem.

Venezuela has a bread shortage. The government has decided bakers are the problem.

Facing a bread shortage that is spawning massive lines and souring the national mood, the Venezuelan government is responding this week by detaining bakers and seizing establishments.

In a press release, the National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights said it had charged four people and temporarily seized two bakeries as the socialist administration accused bakers of being part of a broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.

In a statement, the government said the bakers had been selling underweight ...  

Venezuela threatens to expropriate bakers that don’t obey new bread regulations

Venezuela threatens to expropriate bakers that don’t obey new bread regulations

According to Roman poet Juvenal, people hope for just two things: bread and circuses.

While there is no word on the circus, Venezuela’s beleaguered government is demanding that bakers at least give the people bread.

The socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro threatened earlier this week to expropriate bakeries in Caracas that fail to adhere to new regulations aimed at tackling widespread bread shortages.

Industry spokespersons, though, said it is physically impossible to abide by the new rules and that if the government ...  

Brazil warns of the perils of a closed economy ahead of G20 talks

Brazil warns of the perils of a closed economy ahead of G20 talks

Brazil’s finance minister has said that he is ready to listen to the U.S.’s policies on trade at this weekend’s G20 meeting but speaks from experience when he says he believes a free economy is better for everyone.

“Brazil actually has experience of closing down its economy,” Henrique Meirelles told CNBC Thursday.

“The productivity rate of the Brazilian economy came down as a result, growth in the longer-term came down, and the bottom line was actually less growth, more inflation.”

Once one of ...  

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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.