Entering a ‘world of economic chaos,’ Venezuela struggles with hyperinflation

Entering a ‘world of economic chaos,’ Venezuela struggles with hyperinflation

Venezuela’s struggling economy just passed another grim milestone: it’s the seventh country in Latin America to ever experience hyperinflation.

The term “hyperinflation” is often bandied about, but it’s actually quite rare, and only happens when monthly inflation exceeds 50 percent for more than 30 consecutive days. On Dec. 3, Venezuela did just that, becoming the 57th known case of hyperinflation since France suffered the malaise in 1795.

“Venezuela, welcome to the record books,” said researchers at Johns Hopkins University as they added ...  

Brazil’s former president Cardoso rules out return, paper says

Brazil’s former president Cardoso rules out return, paper says

Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso ruled out a return to the top job in an interview published on Monday, following speculation that he could lead an interim administration.

Cardoso told O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper that politicians needed to take action to address voters’ anger over corruption scandals and a struggling economy.

But in the interview carried out last week, he said any move to hold elections before current President Michel Temer’s term ends in Dec. 2018 “would do no ...  

FARC admits responsibility for 2nd ceasefire breach

FARC admits responsibility for 2nd ceasefire breach

Colombia’s rebel group FARC, currently demobilizing after a peace deal that ended 52 years of war, on Friday admitted responsibility for the second breach of a ceasefire in place ahead of the agreement.

According to the UN-led monitoring system of the peace talks and the preceding ceasefire, the guerrillas breached the ceasefire on November 12 when a FARC unit in the southwestern Nariño province convened the population of a rural township for a meeting over recent combat with a rival group.

During ...  

Venezuela pulls highest-value banknote ‘to strike against mafia’

Venezuela pulls highest-value banknote ‘to strike against mafia’

The Venezuelan government has announced it will remove the country’s highest-denomination banknote from circulation within 72 hours to combat contraband. Central bank data suggests there are more than six billion 100-bolivar notes in circulation, making up almost half of all currency.

Venezuelans will have 10 days from Wednesday to exchange the notes for coins and new, higher-value bills. President Nicolas Maduro said the move would stop gangs hoarding the notes. But in India, a similar move to scrap high-value bank notes ...  

100,000 dead, 30,000 missing: Mexico’s war on drugs turns 10

100,000 dead, 30,000 missing: Mexico’s war on drugs turns 10

Ten years after Mexico declared a war on drugs, the offensive has left some major drug cartels splintered and many old-line kingpins like Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in jail, but done little to reduce crime or violence in the nation’s roughest regions.

Some say the war has been a crucial, but flawed, effort. Others argue the offensive begun by then-President Felipe Calderon on Dec. 11, 2006, unleashed an unnecessary tragedy with more than 100,000 people dead and about 30,000 missing – ...  

U.S. Chamber Said to Tell Mexico It Will Defend Nafta Deal

U.S. Chamber Said to Tell Mexico It Will Defend Nafta Deal

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce told a closed-door gathering of Mexican and American corporate and government leaders that it is aiming to keep Donald Trump from fulfilling his campaign threat to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Tom Donohue, head of the biggest U.S. business lobbying organization, told members of the U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue in Mexico City on Wednesday not to panic and to wait and see what the ...  

Brazil’s Temer to Call Trump as Country Seeks Business Openings

Brazil’s Temer to Call Trump as Country Seeks Business Openings

Brazilian President Michel Temer plans to call U.S. President-elect Donald Trump next week as Brazil looks for business opportunities that could open up if Trump follows through on campaign promises to rewrite a trade deal with Mexico.

A senior Brazilian official said on Thursday that Temer would call Trump for their first conversation since the New York businessman was elected to the White House last month.

Temer sent a telegram of congratulations to Trump, instead of calling him soon after his election ...  

Venezuelan human rights activist: Time for action, not talk, as our citizens continue to starve

Venezuelan human rights activist: Time for action, not talk, as our citizens continue to starve

Dialogue in life should be a good thing. Dialogue should lead to compromise. Dialogue should be an equalizer; a moderator. So why is the current dialogue between the Venezuelan dictator Maduro and the democratically elected opposition right now so cynical and dangerous?

If the core tenet of the dialogue were the replacement of the illegitimate dictatorial Maduro regime and the peaceful transition to democracy, then we would of course concur. Anything else, however, is nothing short of a farce.

Let us not ...  

Trump isn’t even president yet and China is already moving in on Mexico

Trump isn’t even president yet and China is already moving in on Mexico

China and Mexico have been friends for a long time, but after Donald Trump’s win in the US presidential elections, both countries are looking for more in their relationship.

Over the weekend, Chinese ambassador to Mexico Qiu Xiaoqi promised Mexicans his country is standing by them through the uncertain times ahead. “We are very important strategic partners, and we are willing to increase our efforts together with our Mexican counterparts to inject new energy into these relations,” he said (link in ...  

Brazil’s political crisis is so intense that nobody knew who was running the Senate this week

Brazil’s political crisis is so intense that nobody knew who was running the Senate this week

For more than 24 hours this week, nobody knew who was the head of Brazil’s Senate. The Senate leader, Renan Calheiros, spent Tuesday avoiding a legal clerk who tried to serve him an order for his removal on embezzlement charges. That order, issued by a judge on Brazil’s highest court, was also rejected by Senate leaders. And the chamber’s vice president said that he wouldn’t assume the Senate presidency.

Although Brazilian politics have always been messy, this week’s showdown has taken ...  

Cuba’s Surge in Tourism Keeps Food Off Residents’ Plates

Cuba’s Surge in Tourism Keeps Food Off Residents’ Plates

HAVANA — For Lisset Felipe, privation is a standard facet of Cuban life, a struggle shared by nearly all, whether they’re enduring blackouts or hunting for toilet paper.

But this year has been different, in an even more fundamental way, she said. She has not bought a single onion this year, nor a green pepper, both staples of the Cuban diet. Garlic, she said, is a rarity, while avocado, a treat she enjoyed once in a while, is all but absent ...  

Venezuela Opposition Withdraws from Meeting with Government Officials

Venezuela Opposition Withdraws from Meeting with Government Officials

Venezuela’s opposition says it will not attend a meeting Tuesday with government officials, putting a halt to on ongoing talks intended to defuse the country’s political crisis.

Opposition spokesman Jesus Torrealba said authorities have yet to make compromises more than a month into the mediation effort, but he said opposition leaders are staying in the dialogue system.

Opposition leaders want to revive a suspended recall referendum that could lead to the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro and are demanding the release of ...  

Brazil’s Economic Problems Remain Intractable for Temer

Brazil’s Economic Problems Remain Intractable for Temer

When Michel Temer took over Brazil’s presidency in May, many hoped he could overcome the political gridlock, corruption scandals and economic obstacles that have hobbled Latin America’s biggest country.

But seven months into the job, Brazil’s problems look just as intractable as they did when Temer and his congressional allies orchestrated the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, his predecessor.

Like a sequel to her administration, Temer’s is already beset by scandal, an unwieldy legislature and an economy that risks entering a third year ...  

Supreme Court Justice Removes Brazil’s Senate Leader Amid Graft Case

Supreme Court Justice Removes Brazil’s Senate Leader Amid Graft Case

RIO DE JANEIRO — A justice on Brazil’s Supreme Court on Monday night removed the powerful head of the Senate from his post, as tensions have escalated between Congress and the judiciary over efforts by legislators to curb the power of prosecutors and judges overseeing corruption investigations.

The justice, Marco Aurélio Mello, based his ruling on the fact that the Senate leader, Renan Calheiros, is going to stand trial in a graft case in which a lobbyist paid for the child ...  

Trump faces decision on letting Americans sue over Cuba property

Trump faces decision on letting Americans sue over Cuba property

Supporters of improved relations with Cuba say President-elect Donald Trump will have a hard time reversing the two years of momentum created by his predecessor.

But they acknowledge that Trump, who has signaled that he wants a better deal from Cuba, has at least one potent legal card at his disposal that could stifle relations. And the ripples could extend from the Tampa Bay area.

In his first two weeks in office, under a clause in the travel and trade embargo that ...  

US Central America Policy Should Address Corrupt Nicaragua Regime

US Central America Policy Should Address Corrupt Nicaragua Regime

Two days before U.S. voters flocked to the polls, Nicaragua held its own elections. But the results there surprised no one.

For the fourth time, leftist strongman Daniel Ortega was re-elected president. Back in the 1980s, he led the Marxist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) during Nicaragua’s bloody civil war. And his victory in this latest sham election ensures that Nicaragua will remain an authoritarian regime allied with every enemy of the U.S. from Caracas to Moscow.

And let there be no ...  

Panama Struggles to Shed Its Image as a Magnet for Shady Deals

Panama Struggles to Shed Its Image as a Magnet for Shady Deals

In August of last year, Panama sought to shed its image as a magnet for shady deals and narco traffickers by paying at least $2 million to host the world’s largest anticorruption conference, now taking place in Panama City.

At the time, it seemed like good idea.

Now, some prominent Panamanians aren’t so sure. Eight months after agreeing to host the conference, the nation was deeply embarrassed when confidential records leaked to journalists revealed that a single Panamanian law firm had created ...  

Venezuela to Issue Bigger Bills This Month as Currency Plunges

Venezuela to Issue Bigger Bills This Month as Currency Plunges

With the value of Venezuela’s largest banknotes reduced to a few U.S. cents by triple-digit inflation and the currency’s collapse on the black market, the country’s central bank said it will begin circulating higher-denomination notes this month.

New denominations including bills of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 bolivars will start appearing at banks from Dec. 15, according to a Central Bank statement, adding that coins of 10, 50, and 100 bolivars would also be released. Bloomberg News first reported ...  

American Airlines trims Cuba schedule, cites weak demand

American Airlines trims Cuba schedule, cites weak demand

American Airlines is reducing capacity to Cuba, a cutback that comes just months after U.S. carriers rushed to start regular service there amid loosening travel restrictions between the nations.

American will not drop any of its recently launched routes to Cuba, but will instead drop one of the two daily flights that it currently flies between Miami and each of the Cuban cities of Holguin, Santa Clara and Varadero.

American’s schedule to Havana – which launched just this week – is not ...  

Thousands in Brazil Protest Gutting of Anticorruption Measures

Thousands in Brazil Protest Gutting of Anticorruption Measures

RIO DE JANEIRO — Thousands of protesters fanned out on the streets of Brazilian cities on Sunday to voice indignation with political leaders who are trying to stymie anticorruption investigations.

The protesters focused much of their ire on the politicians at the helm of Brazil’s scandal-ridden Congress, including Rodrigo Maia, the speaker of the lower house, and Renan Calheiros, the powerful head of the Senate, after lawmakers gutted an anticorruption bill last week.

That move touched a nerve among many people in ...  

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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.