Venezuela’s President Says Citibank Will Close Government Accounts Amid Financial Crisis

Venezuela’s President Says Citibank Will Close Government Accounts Amid Financial Crisis

Nicolás Maduro called the move a “financial blockade”. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said the global financial institution Citibank is about to close his government’s foreign currency accounts amid a financial crisis sparked by the slump in global oil prices.

Reuters reports that the New York-headquartered bank has not itself confirmed the closures. But Maduro said in a speech Monday that his government had been warned accounts belonging to the Central Bank and the Bank of Venezuela — which the government uses ...  

Venezuela seizes Kimberly-Clark plant as country plunges deeper into crisis

Venezuela seizes Kimberly-Clark plant as country plunges deeper into crisis

Venezuela’s government has declared it will seize a factory belonging to Kimberly-Clark Corp after the US personal care company said it was no longer possible to manufacture due to the country’s economic crisis.

President Nicolás Maduro accused Kimberly-Clark of participating in an international plot to damage Venezuela’s economy and said his socialist government would provide public funds to the workers at the plant.

Kimberley-Clark announced on Saturday that it was suspending production in Venezuela because of a lack of primary materials, currency ...  

Will Venezuela’s Impotent Supreme Court Lead to Civil War?

Will Venezuela’s Impotent Supreme Court Lead to Civil War?

The sense of abandonment in the streets of Venezuela these days is hard to describe. It goes far beyond the queues outside every single supermarket, the pharmacies stocked with trinkets and toys instead of medicines, the streets made dark and lonely by the self-imposed curfew of fear. Hardworking people wander about, aimless and hopeless, simply asking for help from anyone who can spare, at least, the time to listen to their laments.

There’s a feeling that anything could happen at any ...  

Neighbors Stand Up to Venezuela

Neighbors Stand Up to Venezuela

This summer, Venezuela was poised to assume the rotating presidency of Mercosur, a trade bloc that includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. But at the urging of Paraguay, Mercosur heads of state are considering blocking Venezuela, at least temporarily, citing the erosion of democracy there.

This shows that neighboring countries are starting to take a harder line against Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, whose authoritarian and reckless policies have plunged his country into economic and political crisis. It follows a hearing last ...  

The Unraveling of a Narco-Terror Non-Deal

The Unraveling of a Narco-Terror Non-Deal

A key unit of the terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has announced that it opposes the agreement its leaders are negotiating in Havana with the Colombian government.

The Armando Rios First Front operates in the country’s southeastern jungle, is active in the drug trade and took former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt hostage in 2002. One of its commanders, Gentil Duarte, used to be on the FARC negotiating team.

But last week the unit said that it will “continue to fight ...  

The Venezuela ‘Death-Watch’ Continues

The Venezuela ‘Death-Watch’ Continues

In the markets, the Venezuela “death-watch” goes into a new phase. It’s dire straits time now.

Looting is on the rise. Inflation is on the rise. Venezuelans are crossing into Colombia to buy groceries. President Nicolas Maduro and his entire government will need a miracle to turn things around.

Social and economic indicators are all terrible. The monthly (if not weekly) events of looting has become a leading indicator for monthly food inflation as well as an indicator for monthly food production. ...  

US: No More Financial Help to Conclude Haiti Elections

US: No More Financial Help to Conclude Haiti Elections

The United States has suspended financial assistance to Haiti’s electoral authorities as they plan to redo a presidential vote that a special commission found was marred by widespread fraud.

At a Washington press briefing Thursday, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the decision to stop funding a Haitian electoral cycle that began in 2015 did not “signal a reduction in U.S. support for the people or development of Haiti.”

He framed the decision as a simple budgeting matter by the U.S., ...  

Venezuela’s leader sidelines opposition-controlled congress

Venezuela’s leader sidelines opposition-controlled congress

When Venezuela’s opposition lawmakers took over the congress in January, they vowed it was the beginning of the end for President Nicolas Maduro.

But Maduro has since managed to almost completely sideline the legislature with the help of the Supreme Court, and now the ruling socialist party is talking about shutting congress down altogether.

“What has congress done these past six months? Wreak destruction. Prepare to say goodbye to history, because your time is coming,” Maduro said in a televised address last ...  

Brazil says it will shoot down any aircraft violating airspace of Olympic Games

Brazil says it will shoot down any aircraft violating airspace of Olympic Games

Brazil’s government warned Wednesday that it will shoot down any unidentified aircraft that violates the protected airspace around facilities of the Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro this August. “We are not playing,” said Defense Minister Raul Jungmann while introducing the security plan for the Olympics Games at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro.

The plan involves the use of 41,000 soldiers during the event, 21,000 of them in Rio de Janeiro and the rest in the other five cities ...  

Colombia: Final Struggle Underway between Santos and Uribe

Colombia: Final Struggle Underway between Santos and Uribe

The young men in pastel-colored Polo shirts pulled up to the square in this war-battered town and jumped out, armed only with pens and clipboards.

Their leader and political idol, former president Álvaro Uribe, had called for a signature-collecting campaign of “civil resistance” to the government of President Juan Manuel Santos, who is nearing a peace accord with leftist rebels that would end 52 years of fighting.

The preppy activists didn’t mince words. “Do you support Santos’s deal with FARC?” shouted Jaime ...  

Venezuela Detains Activists Calling for Maduro’s Ouster

Venezuela Detains Activists Calling for Maduro’s Ouster

The Venezuelan intelligence service detained five opposition activists in what rights groups call another sign of a government crackdown on opponents trying to stage a referendum to remove embattled President Nicolás Maduro.

The detentions on Tuesday night came 10 days after the arrest of two other activists from the same opposition party, Popular Will, which has championed the push to oust Mr. Maduro. The arrests are likely to stoke tensions in a simmering political standoff that has rattled Latin America’s largest ...  

Cuba warns of energy problems, cuts some work hours

Cuba warns of energy problems, cuts some work hours

Cubans face tough times in the energy sector in the coming months, official media warned Tuesday amid orders from authorities to implement power-saving measures and some state-run entities reducing hours of operation.

Tourism Ministry official Yamila Rombaut said fuel allotments for the agency’s vehicles had been cut in half. “The outlook is tight,” Rombaut told The Associated Press. “These will be difficult months.”

Speaking to members of parliament, Marino Murillo, Cuba’s vice president in charge of economic matters, said Monday that the ...  

Rio Olympics shadowed by Brazil’s crisis moment

Rio Olympics shadowed by Brazil’s crisis moment

Rio de Janeiro still needs to prove its ready for the Olympic Games, which start in just one month. Still on the punch list: How to deal effectively with the Zika virus and city crime. Finish a key subway line. Oh, and manage the ongoing fallout from an unprecedented political and economic crisis.

Two Brazilian tourism officials told CNNMoney that Rio will be ready for the Games. They say that security will be beefed up and the number of Zika cases ...  

El Salvador FMLN Leader Investigated for Drug Trafficking

El Salvador FMLN Leader Investigated for Drug Trafficking

El Salvador’s attorney general has opened an investigation to determine whether José Luis Merino, one of the three chief leaders of the ruling FMLN party, is involved in drug and weapons trafficking.

Merino is a member of the political commission of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional – FMLN) and a congressman in the Central American Parliament. He has been one of the financial brains of the former guerrilla army turned political party since ...  

Venezuela Refuses to Default. Few People Seem to Understand Why.

Venezuela Refuses to Default. Few People Seem to Understand Why.

It’s been almost two years now since the renowned Harvard economist Ricardo Hausmann caused a stir in his native Venezuela by posing an uncomfortable question.

Why does a country that’s so starved for cash keep honoring its foreign debts? In other words, how does it justify shelling out precious hard currency to wealthy bondholders in New York when it can’t pay for basic food and medicine imports desperately needed by millions of impoverished citizens? “I find the moral choice odd,” Hausmann ...  

Marco Rubio acusa a dirigente del FMLN de lavado de dinero y tráfico de armas

Marco Rubio acusa a dirigente del FMLN de lavado de dinero y tráfico de armas

El influyente senador estadounidense, Marco Rubio acusó el jueves en una audiencia pública al dirigente del FMLN, José Luis Merino, de ser un lavador de dinero y traficante de armas de primera categoría y pidió sanciones para él.

El exprecandidato republicano cuestionó al Secretario de Estado Adjunto, Tom Malinowski, durante una audiencia del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado sobre el por qué no se sanciona a algunos políticos latinoamericanos que claramente están vinculados a la violación de derechos humanos y ...  

Óscar Biscet, a Cuban doctor who remains defiant

Óscar Biscet, a Cuban doctor who remains defiant

When awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush in 2007, Óscar Elías Biscet had a scheduling conflict, being in a Cuban prison. At the White House ceremony, Bush called him a “dangerous man . . . in the same way that Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi were dangerous.” It was not until three years later in a dark cell that another prisoner told him what the citation read that day had said.

Recently, unexpectedly, Biscet was allowed ...  

In Venezuela, ‘Chavista’ Says Maduro Must Go

In Venezuela, ‘Chavista’ Says Maduro Must Go

Wearing a Hugo Chavez-inspired black beret and a Palestinian Keffiyeh around his neck to show he supports the oppressed, socialist politician Juan Barreto says Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro’s time has come. And it is time for him to go.

In an interview last week on Union Radio, Barreto said of his friend Maduro that the embattled president was not yet willing to step down. But Barreto and other “Chavistas” are working on him.

“It looks like we have an alliance of social ...  

Police in Argentina search Kirchner properties

Police in Argentina search Kirchner properties

Argentine police searched a number of properties belonging to the family of the former president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The raids, in the province of Santa Cruz, were ordered by a judge during a probe into allegations of corruption and fraud relating to a company part-owned by the Kirchners.

The Argentine news agency Telam said police were looking for documents. This is the second time the family’s properties have been raided. Last year a hotel and other buildings were searched.

The judge, ...  

Brazil’s Olympic Catastrophe

Brazil’s Olympic Catastrophe

IT’S official: The Olympic Games in Rio are an unnatural disaster.

On June 17, fewer than 50 days before the start of the Games, the state of Rio de Janeiro declared a “state of public calamity.” A financial crisis is preventing the state from honoring its commitments to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the governor said. That crisis is so severe, he said, it could eventually bring about “a total collapse in public security, health, education, mobility and environmental management.” The ...  

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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.