Venezuela security forces battle anti-Maduro protesters

Venezuela security forces battle anti-Maduro protesters

Venezuelan security forces quelled masked protesters with tear gas, water cannons and pepper spray in Caracas on Tuesday after blocking an opposition rally against socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The clashes began after authorities closed subway stations, set up checkpoints and cordoned off a square where opponents had planned their latest protest against autocratic government and a crippling economic crisis.

In cat-and-mouse skirmishes on backstreets and highways around the capital, youths built barricades, burned trash and hurled rocks and bottles at soldiers and ...  

Argentina Is Hot Again: The Impact On Cross-Border Commerce

Argentina Is Hot Again: The Impact On Cross-Border Commerce

Argentina has traditionally been the most sophisticated Latin American country in terms of internet usage. Its consumers are tech-savvy, and years of instability have trained them to get what they want. Argentina is also an amazing producer of entrepreneurs, with a disproportionately large amount of Latin America’s startups coming out of that country. Just to mention a few cases, MercadoLibre (the largest e-commerce company in Latin America), Despegar.com (the largest online travel agency in the region), Globant (software) and Satellogic ...  

U.S. Appetite for Mexico’s Drugs Fuels Illegal Immigration

U.S. Appetite for Mexico’s Drugs Fuels Illegal Immigration

Each year, Mexican drug cartels rake in billions of dollars in profits from the sale of heroin, methamphetamines and other drugs in the United States. The money has to make its way south somehow.

Though the cartels sometimes hire legitimate companies to buy goods like silk and ink cartridges and export them to Mexico, where they are sold for pesos, a more common method is to simply pay someone to drive the cash over the border.

President Trump has talked frequently about ...  

Venezuelan president’s latest blunder may be ‘the beginning of the end’ for ‘Chavismo’

Venezuelan president’s latest blunder may be ‘the beginning of the end’ for ‘Chavismo’

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro may have finally gone too far, and now even some allies are turning against him.

Maduro and Venezuela’s top court on Saturday walked back an earlier attempt to strip Venezuela’s legislature of its powers, after the moved sparked massive outrage both at home and abroad.

“The ruling — and the reaction it generated — underlined the fragmentations within the ruling party. These fragmentations are also seen within Chavismo and within the armed forces,” said Diego Moya-Ocampos, principal political ...  

Regional group rebukes Venezuelan government

Regional group rebukes Venezuelan government

The Organization of American States on Monday took its strongest measure yet rebuking Venezuela’s slide toward authoritarianism.

Member countries of the regional body said that last week’s Supreme Court ruling nullifying the opposition-controlled Congress was “incompatible with democratic practice.”

That Venezuelan court ruling was overturned after three days following strong international and domestic criticism.

The Organization of American States pledged in a statement to continue making diplomatic efforts to address the situation in the economically embattled South American country.

“There is no denying that ...  

Protests rattle Ecuador following election fraud claims

Protests rattle Ecuador following election fraud claims

QUITO, Ecuador – Supporters of Ecuadorean opposition leader Guillermo Lasso gathered in the streets for a second night Monday to protest what they consider fraud at the ballot box that tilted a presidential runoff in favor of his leftist rival.

Sunday’s razor-thin election win by ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno bucked the trend of right-wing electoral victories in South America following 15 years of leftist domination. Even as calls from Latin American governments congratulating Moreno poured in, Lasso, a conservative banker, ...  

Venezuela Representative Storms From Regional Meeting

Venezuela Representative Storms From Regional Meeting

Venezuela’s representative to the Organization of American States stormed out of a session of the 34-nation bloc on Monday, calling the meeting a “coup d’etat,” as regional pressure grew for President Nicolas Maduro to fully restore democratic rule in the country.

The meeting of the OAS Permanent Council was called at the weekend by 20 countries, including the United States, concerned about democratic erosion in Venezuela under Maduro.

In a controversial move last week, Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled that it was assuming ...  

Death toll rises to 254 as aid begins to arrive in disaster-struck Colombia

Death toll rises to 254 as aid begins to arrive in disaster-struck Colombia

Colombian authorities scrambled to deliver aid and return basic services like electricity and water to the wreckage of Mocoa, a city of 40,000 people devastated by floodwaters and landslides on Friday.

Authorities rushed to take in critical supplies even as families and rescue workers scrambled through debris in search of victims and survivors.

The death toll rose to 254 on Sunday, President Juan Manuel Santos announced on his Twitter account, even as some 1,300 search and rescue workers accompanied by trained dogs ...  

Ecuador election: Fraud alleged as protesters scuffle

Ecuador election: Fraud alleged as protesters scuffle

A row has erupted over Ecuador’s presidential elections after early results indicate a victory for the incumbent party’s candidate. With more than 98% of the votes counted, Lenin Moreno of the Socialist Party had won 51.15% and his challenger Guillermo Lasso 48.85% of the votes.

Mr Lasso has demanded a recount, arguing electoral fraud was used to grant victory to his rival. He has also called on his supporters to take to the streets in protest. Three exit polls had earlier ...  

A distracted world at last pays attention as Venezuela flirts with outright dictatorship

A distracted world at last pays attention as Venezuela flirts with outright dictatorship

Quiz time: when is a democracy in danger of ceasing to be a democracy? One possible answer might be, when its supreme court usurps all the functions of its elected congress to shut down the last vestiges of political opposition and concentrate power in the hands of an already authoritarian leader, then three days later apparently reverses course.

Next question: when should the rest of the world care? Let’s see. Maybe when said leader is already scorned by a large majority ...  

Venezuela is becoming a failed state

Venezuela is becoming a failed state

Venezuela’s Supreme Court last week unseated the country’s legislature, the National Assembly — then took the ruling back on Saturday, under orders from President Nicolas Maduro. But this still leaves the nation spiraling down into chaos.

Food is increasingly scarce, with the government attempting to draft citizens into forced labor on farms. Criminal gangs range the countryside. Hospitals lack not just medicines, but sufficient water to clean bloody operating tables.

Yet Maduro is focused only on keeping power. And he holds lots ...  

Protests as Leftist Moreno Heads for a Disputed Win in Ecuador’s Election

Protests as Leftist Moreno Heads for a Disputed Win in Ecuador’s Election

(QUITO, Ecuador) — Leftist candidate Lenin Moreno appeared on the verge of victory in Ecuador’s presidential election but his opposition rival refused to recognize the results, calling on his supporters to take to the streets to guard against “fraud.”

Sunday’s second-round runoff in the Andean nation of 16 million was being watched closely as a barometer of whether the left, which had dominated South American politics for the past 15 years, could stop a string of right-wing victories across the region.

With ...  

Top Venezuela official breaks with government, protests mount

Top Venezuela official breaks with government, protests mount

Venezuela’s powerful attorney general on Friday broke ranks with President Nicolas Maduro’s government after the judiciary annulled congress, a rare show of internal dissent as protests and international condemnation grew.

Luisa Ortega, appointed attorney general in 2007 and a staunch ally of the Socialists who have ruled for the last 18 years, rebuked the Supreme Court’s controversial move to take over the opposition-led National Assembly’s functions.

“It constitutes a rupture of the constitutional order,” the 59-year-old said in a speech. “It’s my ...  

Ecuador’s election may end region’s leftward lurch

Ecuador’s election may end region’s leftward lurch

By Roger F. Noriega & Andrés Martínez-Fernández

3/31/2017

This Sunday, Ecuador’s voters will go to the polls to elect a new president and their choice may become the latest repudiation of Latin America’s failed anti-democratic socialist caudillos (strongmen). On one side is opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso, a center-right free-market leader in the vein of Argentina’s Mauricio Macri and Peru’s Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. He has promised to end the government’s stifling restrictions on freedom of speech and strengthen the economy through job creation, ...  

Venezuela Lurches Toward Dictatorship as Top Court Seizes Power

Venezuela Lurches Toward Dictatorship as Top Court Seizes Power

Venezuela slid closer toward dictatorship after the country’s Supreme Court gutted the only opposition-run institution — the Congress — seizing its powers and declaring the elected body invalid.

The court’s ruling late on Wednesday night was, in the words of lawmakers, nothing short of a coup. Several opposition leaders called for street demonstrations and other forms of “democratic resistance.”

As the once-wealthy oil power descends into a chaos of hunger and crime, however, it remained far from clear whether the increasingly despondent ...  

Maduro’s Favorite Economist Says Venezuela Is a ‘Real Mess’

Maduro’s Favorite Economist Says Venezuela Is a ‘Real Mess’

Last week, Nicolas Maduro, the embattled president of crisis-torn Venezuela, veered a bit off course during a rambling, hour-and-a-half speech to business leaders in Caracas to heap praise on a somewhat obscure U.S. economist.

“I don’t know if you know him, but I recommend his writings,” Maduro said of Michael Hudson , a professor at the University of Missouri who specializes in subjects including international finance and debt. “He’s one of the greatest U.S. economists.”

Yet, Hudson, it turns out, appears to ...  

Chilean president says troops will withdraw from Haiti but commitment remains strong

Chilean president says troops will withdraw from Haiti but commitment remains strong

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet ended a visit to Haiti Monday by reaffirming her South American nation’s commitment to the country and telling her troops in the United Nations peacekeeping mission that it’s time to wrap up.

Bachelet is the first foreign head of state to visit the country since Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was sworn in on Feb. 7 as his nation’s new president. She began the visit by meeting with Moïse at the National Palace before heading north to Cap-Haitien ...  

Venezuela court shuts down congress and grants itself legislative powers

Venezuela court shuts down congress and grants itself legislative powers

Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress is being effectively shut down after the country’s Supreme Court said it would assume all legislative responsibilities amid its contention that legislators are operating outside of the law.

The decision is likely to increase tensions in the South American nation at a time when the international community has been pressing the socialist administration to hold elections and give the opposition a voice.

In a ruling published late Wednesday, the Supreme Court said that while the National Assembly continued to ...  

Chilean president says troops will withdraw from Haiti but commitment remains strong

Chilean president says troops will withdraw from Haiti but commitment remains strong

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet ended a visit to Haiti Monday by reaffirming her South American nation’s commitment to the country and telling her troops in the United Nations peacekeeping mission that it’s time to wrap up.

Bachelet is the first foreign head of state to visit the country since Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was sworn in on Feb. 7 as his nation’s new president. She began the visit by meeting with Moïse at the National Palace before heading north to Cap-Haitien ...  

Mexico: Ex-gov. flees to Texas to evade graft allegations

Mexico: Ex-gov. flees to Texas to evade graft allegations

MEXICO CITY – The former governor of a northern Mexico state has fled to Texas to evade accusations of corruption, his successor said Tuesday.

Chihuahua Gov. Javier Corral said during a news conference that ex-Gov. Cesar Duarte has gone to the border city of El Paso and is considered “a fugitive from justice.”

Corral said officials would seek an international arrest and extradition order. He added that three former officials from Duarte’s inner circle had been detained.

“He who steals from the government ...  

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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.