Nicolas Maduro’s still in power, but Venezuela is in flux

Nicolas Maduro’s still in power, but Venezuela is in flux

For a few hours early this week, Venezuelans awoke to the possibility the country had two legislative branches:

•One elected by Venezuelans in free, democratic and open elections last December with a veto-proof majority to protect it from a presidential veto.

•One appointed by President Nicolas Maduro in an effort to maintain control of power.

The duality lasted less than a day. Venezuela’s armed forces backed the freely elected General Assembly and Henry Ramos Allup, a long-time reputable Social Democrat politician, was chosen ...  

Chavismo Is More Dangerous in Defeat

Chavismo Is More Dangerous in Defeat

In March 2014 elections, El Salvador’s ruling left-wing party, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, or FMLN, fought the ascendant right-wing ARENA party to a draw, effectively maintaining their control in the Legislative Assembly but capturing the symbolically important mayor’s seat in the capital and largest city, San Salvador.

I wrote then that when Chavismo wins at the ballot box even by a narrow margin, radical change is never far away. (FMLN party headquarters features a portrait of Hugo Chavez set ...  

Leftists are wobbling in South America. Here’s why Bolivia’s Evo Morales may be the last socialist standing.

Leftists are wobbling in South America. Here’s why Bolivia’s Evo Morales may be the last socialist standing.

Voters in Bolivia next month will consider a constitutional change that would allow President Evo Morales to run for a fourth term in 2019 when his current one expires. The referendum comes at a time when voters across South America have been turning against the leftist incumbents who came to power in South America during the so-called “pink tide” of the past decade or so.

Lower prices for oil, minerals and other commodity exports have sapped their ability to finance popular ...  

Latin America to Stagnate on Venezuela, Brazil, World Bank Says

Latin America to Stagnate on Venezuela, Brazil, World Bank Says

Latin America’s economy will stagnate in 2016 as commodity-dependent countries such as Brazil and Venezuela drag down the entire region, offsetting a positive performance in Mexico, the World Bank forecast.

Output in Latin America and the Caribbean will be flat this year, down from a 2.1 percent growth forecast last June, according to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report released Wednesday. That’s due to a weaker outlook for South America, particularly Brazil and Venezuela. South America is forecast to contract ...  

Macri exige que se respete la voluntad popular en Venezuela

Macri exige que se respete la voluntad popular en Venezuela

El Gobierno argentino se expresó hoy a favor del respeto a la voluntad de los pueblos y de la plena vigencia de las instituciones como condición para afianzar las democracias en América Latina, en referencia a la asunción de los nuevos integrantes del Parlamento venezolano, con mayoría opositora. EFE.

“El Gobierno Argentino siguió con mucha atención las elecciones legislativas que se llevaron a cabo el 6 de diciembre pasado, para elegir los diputados que integrarán la Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela, y ...  

De la Calle pide a las FARC que cese la guerra verbal

De la Calle pide a las FARC que cese la guerra verbal

Humberto de la Calle hizo un llamado a los negociadores de las FARC para que traten de comprender que la demora en la salida de la cárcel de los guerrilleros indultados no se debe a la negligencia del Gobierno. Para él, ese grupo insurgente debe tratar de ponerse en los zapatos de la institucionalidad y entender lo dispendioso que es concretar gestos de paz bajo canales legales.

Así, de la Calle trató de hacerles ver a los jefes guerrilleros que no ...  

Monedas de América Latina se debilitan ante temores por China y Corea del Norte

Monedas de América Latina se debilitan ante temores por China y Corea del Norte

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Las monedas latinoamericanas retrocedían el miércoles debido a que los inversores estaban inquietos por la debilidad económica en China y por una prueba nuclear realizada por Corea del Norte.

El banco central chino permitió que el yuan caiga a un mínimo récord, avivando los temores de que la segunda economía del mundo pueda estar aún peor de lo percibido.

Datos mostraron el miércoles que la actividad del sector de servicios de China se expandió en diciembre a su ...  

Brazil’s Foreign Policy Failures

Brazil’s Foreign Policy Failures

When Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff traveled to Cuba in 2012 to announce the biggest foreign investment in the island since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, a man in his mid-forties stood discreetly at her side. Marcelo Odebrecht, the head of Odebrecht­—the biggest construction company in Latin America, which was founded by his grandfather—had scored an almost $1 billion contract financed by a Brazilian public bank to modernize the Port of Mariel. In explaining the initiative after flying from Havana to Haiti ...  

Pacific Alliance trade bloc to liberalize trade after Chile approval

Pacific Alliance trade bloc to liberalize trade after Chile approval

Chile’s Senate approved the last major hurdle so that the Pacific Alliance trade bloc that it shares with members Colombia, Mexico and Peru can reduce tariffs to 0 percent on 92 percent of commerce.

“This decision by the Senate is important for the implementation of Chile’s commitments under the Pacific Alliance,” said Andres Rebolledo, head of the Chilean foreign ministry’s economic relations department (Direcon).

“There is a lot of room for intraregional trade to grow, but we also know this is a ...  

Venezuela: Opposition wants ‘change within six months’

Venezuela: Opposition wants ‘change within six months’

The newly elected speaker of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup, has said there will be a change of government within six months.

Mr Ramos Allup of the opposition MUD coalition was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of the new lawmakers. Following a landslide win, the Assembly is under the control of the opposition for the first time in almost 17 years. He did not say how the change would be brought about but ...  

Venezuela Swears In Opposition-Led Assembly, as Government Fumes

Venezuela Swears In Opposition-Led Assembly, as Government Fumes

CARACAS—Venezuela’s new opposition-controlled National Assembly was sworn in on Tuesday amid rising political tension as President Nicolás Maduro moved to curtail the body’s influence and block any attempts to overhaul the economically crippled country.

In a sign of the likely political gridlock ahead, lawmakers allied with Mr. Maduro stormed out of the assembly hall after being sworn in, protesting new protocols. “We came here to…

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This is not the time to go to Cuba, Mr. President

This is not the time to go to Cuba, Mr. President

President Obama wants to go to Cuba in the worst way. And it will be in the worst way if he visits Havana this spring before the Castro government has made substantial improvements on human rights. Which they show no willingness to do.

Nevertheless, Obama is planning a trip to Cuba in March, according to deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes. He says the president would like to see movement on human rights before he goes, but believes his presence there ...  

Why El Salvador became the hemisphere’s murder capital

Why El Salvador became the hemisphere’s murder capital

MEXICO CITY — With more than 6,600 homicides last year in a population of 6 million, El Salvador has surpassed its violent neighbors and seized the unfortunate title of the hemisphere’s murder capital, according to police statistics, a situation that has contributed to a mass migration to the United States.

After a truce between El Salvador’s two most powerful street gangs — Mara Salvatrucha and the 18th Street gang — crumbled in 2014, the death toll has spiked to the highest ...  

Argentina’s new president makes bold start

Argentina’s new president makes bold start

By Roger F. Noriega

Argentina’s new President Mauricio Macri hit the ground running after being elected on a center-right platform that promised to fix Argentina’s foundering economy.

Macri’s victory ended 15 years of the statist and authoritarian policies of the outgoing president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her successor and late husband, Nestor. “Kirchnerism” bred corruption, inflation, and economic uncertainty. With barely a week in office under his belt, Macri is making tough decisions that may cause short-term pain while jump-starting economic ...  

Brazil’s Supreme Court Clears Way for Impeachment of President

Brazil’s Supreme Court Clears Way for Impeachment of President

BRASÍLIA—Brazil’s Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the way for impeachment proceedings to move forward against President Dilma Rousseff, but under conditions that may increase her chances of surviving her adversaries’ efforts to oust her from office.

The high court ruled that a congressional special committee formed earlier this month to guide the impeachment process through Brazil’s lower house of congress must be disbanded and re-formed under new rules that likely will produce a committee more favorable to the president.

“The decision today ...  

Colombia’s Oil Dreams Fall Short

Colombia’s Oil Dreams Fall Short

Although its importance as an oil producer pales in comparison to other Latin American countries, Colombia has managed to significantly increase output over the past decade. That raised expectations, and Colombia aimed to build on its success.

However, thus far, Colombia has fallen short.

Colombia’s main oil company, Ecopetrol SA, has lost more than $120 billion in market value since its peak in 2012. The company’s market cap is down 90 percent to about $14.5 billion today, according to Bloomberg. Back in ...  

Argentina’s new president is already changing everything

Argentina’s new president is already changing everything

MEXICO CITY — After he named two Supreme Court justices, slashed export taxes, ended a controversial agreement with Iran, called the pope to wish him a happy birthday and caused the Argentine peso to lose nearly a third of its value against the dollar, Mauricio Macri now faces this question: What’s he going to do in his second week?

Macri was sworn in as Argentina’s president on Dec. 10 in a ceremony that was boycotted by the outgoing leader, Cristina Fernández ...  

Relatives of Venezuelan president plead not guilty to drug trafficking charges

Relatives of Venezuelan president plead not guilty to drug trafficking charges

The man raised as a son by the president of Venezuela’s wife broke down in floods of tears and prayed on Thursday as he pleaded not guilty to plotting the import of 800kg of cocaine in to the United States.

Efrain Campo Flores, 29, spent his childhood with Cillia Flores, the wife of President Nicolas Maduro, after his mother died.

Dressed in a navy prison tracksuit, he composed himself and wiped his eyes before he entered his plea, speaking in a quiet, ...  

Mexico Plans Deep-Water Oil Auction Next Year

Mexico Plans Deep-Water Oil Auction Next Year

MEXICO CITY—On the heels on this week’s successful auction of 25 onshore blocks with modest oil and gas resources, Mexico’s Energy Ministry on Wednesday announced plans for a highly anticipated tender of deep-water exploration blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, not far from the U.S. side of the waterway.

The ministry said the government’s fourth oil auction since a 2013 energy reform opened up the sector to foreign and private companies will be announced by the third quarter of 2016 and ...  

One year after rapprochement, Cuba is no freer

One year after rapprochement, Cuba is no freer

Much has changed in Cuba since President Obama and the island’s dictator, Ra úl Castro, announced their rapprochement a year ago.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have flowed into Cuban government coffers, due to more U.S. tourism and remittances. Havana has negotiated a generous U.S.-tolerated debt restructuring with Western creditors. You can’t walk down the street in Havana, it seems, without bumping into a would-be U.S. investor. And, of course, the stars and stripes wave over a reopened U.S. E mbassy ...  

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Videos Featuring Our Experts

Ambassador Noriega Analyzes President Obama’s visit to Cuba on PBS’ ‘Newshour’

Ambassador Roger Noriega discusses the implications and impact of the president’s visit to Cuba on PBS News Hour

Felipe Trigos habló sobre la visita del presidente Obama a Cuba

Testimony by Ambassador Roger Noriega before House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on Latin America in 2015: A Year in Review

Jose Cardenas discusses Cuba's problematic ties abroad at the Center for Security Policy’s 4th Annual Latin America Symposium

Roger Noriega discute las elecciones en Venezuela con Andrés Oppenheimer

Felipe Trigos participa en un debate sobre la posible extradición de Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán

Felipe Trigos habla sobre la fuga de Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán

U.S. & Cuba reach historic deal: Noriega on Fox News’ ‘Happening Now’

Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Opening Statement at Hearing on Colombia and FARC

Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Questions Witnesses at Hearing on Colombia and FARC

Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Questions Witnesses at Hearing on Future of Property Rights in Cuba

Rosa María Payá encara al Secretario General de la OEA

Roger Noriega: "EE.UU. tiene "pruebas" contra funcionarios venezolanos por lavado de dinero y narcotráfico"

Senator Menendez Asks Administration Witness Questions About Cuba Policy

The Future of US Defense Cooperation in Latin America

Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Questions Witnesses at Hearing on Central America Migration Crisis

Felipe Trigos participa en un debate sobre los 2 años de gobierno de Nicolás Maduro

UNDERSTANDING AND ADDRESSING THE ROOT CAUSES OF CENTRAL AMERICAN MIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES

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.