Catastrophe Is the New Normal for Venezuelans

Catastrophe Is the New Normal for Venezuelans

Making sense of the rolling political and economic disaster in Venezuela isn’t easy. But the bigger mystery may be why the whole country isn’t flooding into the streets to demand the end of the social revolution that’s left one of Latin America’s most resource-rich nations in a shambles.

Start with the riddle of why the country with the world’s largest crude oil reserves has suffered constant power outages. (Spoiler: instead of using oil to generate electricity, the government has relied on ...  

Venezuela’s Hunger Is No Game

Venezuela’s Hunger Is No Game

In his craving for power, the late Hugo Chávez pledged to redistribute Venezuela’s wealth to the poor masses. The god-father of “21st-century socialism” seems to have been unaware that the resources he promised to shower on his people had to first be produced.

Fifteen years into the Bolivarian revolution, Venezuela is facing dire food shortages. A crisis may still be averted—but only with a sharp reversal of the policies that have destroyed the country’s productive capacity. A nation either has to ...  

Mexico’s Vicente Fox: Why a Trump presidency should scare both Mexicans and Americans

Mexico’s Vicente Fox: Why a Trump presidency should scare both Mexicans and Americans

Mexico’s former president Vicente Fox isn’t the guy you would expect to see sporting a bright pink Donald Trump brand tie. Fox has had plenty to say about the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee — and none of it is complimentary. But then he has a point he wants to make:

“Look at the back, hidden here,” he says, pointing to the manufacturer’s label. “‘Made in China.’ So he’s really protecting workers in the United States, protecting jobs in the United ...  

Weaning Latin America Off Venezuelan Oil

Weaning Latin America Off Venezuelan Oil

The slow-motion economic collapse of Venezuela has been well documented in the media. The steep drop in global oil prices has exacerbated the impact of years of economic mismanagement by the socialist, anti-American regime of Hugo Chávez, and his successor Nicolas Maduro. Their populist, statist policies are no longer affordable for Venezuelans, nor for the nations in the region that have become reliant on Venezuela’s oil largesse.

Many countries in the Caribbean and Central America have enjoyed cheap oil under Venezuela’s ...  

This Is The Last Week For Brazil’s President Dilma

This Is The Last Week For Brazil’s President Dilma

Brazil is just three days away from becoming a nation without a leader. President Dilma Rousseff has proven that you get no brownie points for being a woman in Latin America’s biggest economy. The nation’s first female president was ousted April 16 by the lower house of congress for breaking fiscal responsibility laws and on May 11 a Senate committee will surely rule in favor of that vote. Their decision will force Dilma to step down to prepare for a ...  

US names prominent Panama family big money launderers

US names prominent Panama family big money launderers

The United States named Panama’s prominent Waked family, who run a large luxury goods, duty-free shops and real estate business, as a major drug money-laundering organization on Thursday.

The move placed top members of the Lebanese-origin family and their businesses, from the Grupo Wisa and La Riviera luxury goods and real estate groups to the Balboa Bank and Trust and two top newspapers, on the US sanctions blacklist, which locks them out of doing business with Americans and freezes their US ...  

Venezuela accuses U.S. of conspiring to topple Nicolás Maduro

Venezuela accuses U.S. of conspiring to topple Nicolás Maduro

WASHINGTON Venezuela’s foreign minister accused the United States on Thursday of plotting to topple the government of President Nicolás Maduro and using the secretary of the Organization of American States to try to engineer its suspension from the multinational organization.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said the OAS’s discussion of whether to invoke its Democratic Charter against Venezuela was part of a campaign against Maduro, orchestrated by the United States and Venezuela’s opposition.

“This is part of the ongoing and relentless aggression by ...  

Could Brazil’s Left Zig-Zag to a Comeback?

Could Brazil’s Left Zig-Zag to a Comeback?

Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, is responsible in three ways for her country’s predicament. She is responsible for her erratic economic policies, characterized by lavish public spending and mismanagement of public funds, which, along with an adverse world economic climate, have contributed to Brazil’s dismal performance in recent years. She is responsible, too, for her reckless oversight of the state-run Petrobras oil firm when she was Energy Minister and chair of the Petrobras board. That firm is at the center of ...  

Venezuela Desperation Roils Bonds After Output Plunge, GE Deal

Venezuela Desperation Roils Bonds After Output Plunge, GE Deal

Cash-strapped Venezuela’s plunging oil production is spooking bond investors. The state-owned oil company has seen its notes, with a face value of $12.5 billion, tumble 2.6 percent since energy consultant IPD Latin America said in a report Tuesday that the nation’s crude production fell across all regions for the first time since 2008. That day, Reuters said that Petroleos de Venezuela SA had to pay off its debt to some suppliers including Fairfield, Connecticut-based General Electric Co. with securities that ...  

Venezuela calls for extraordinary OAS meeting

Venezuela calls for extraordinary OAS meeting

The Venezuelan government, in a surprise move, has requested an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of American States as members discuss whether the socialist nation should be suspended from the group.

The move to have the OAS meet Thursday to discuss what is taking place in Venezuela, where the government recently cut its workweek to two days in the face of electricity shortages, marks a change in strategy by the government, which previously has accused the OAS of interfering in Venezuela’s ...  

Venezuela should be rich. Instead it’s becoming a failed state.

Venezuela should be rich. Instead it’s becoming a failed state.

It’s come to this: The country with the largest oil reserves in the world can’t afford to brew its own beer, stay in its own time zone, or even have its own people show up to work more than two times a week.

Venezuela, in other words, is well past the point of worrying that its economy might collapse. It already has. That’s the only way to describe an economy that the International Monetary Fund thinks is going to shrink 8 ...  

Panama’s president defends his country’s financial institutions

Panama’s president defends his country’s financial institutions

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela defended his country’s financial reputation and reiterated Panama’s commitment to greater transparency Tuesday in the wake of the leak of millions of documents that show ties between world leaders and a Panamanian law firm that specializes in setting up shell corporations.

Speaking at the 46th annual Washington Conference on the Americas, an event hosted by the Council for the Americas at the U.S. State Department, Varela said the leaks, known as the Panama Papers, revealed a ...  

Populist Policies Let Brazil’s Tomorrow Slip Away

Populist Policies Let Brazil’s Tomorrow Slip Away

Not too long ago, Brazilians might have been counted as the most optimistic people in the world. From 2008 to 2013, as the United States and Europe grappled with the aftermath of a crisis wrought by blind trust in unfettered finance, Brazil’s income per person grew 12 percent after inflation. Wages soared. The poverty rate plummeted. Even income inequality narrowed.

Brazil remained only a high-middle-income country, in the technospeak of the International Monetary Fund. But for the first time in forever, ...  

Venezuelans in long lines: ‘We need food and medicine’

Venezuelans in long lines: ‘We need food and medicine’

Caracas, Venezuela (CNN)It should have been a day to celebrate. Nearly everyone in Venezuela had the day off Sunday for Workers’ Day — and to sweeten it, the government gave workers a 30% increase in the minimum wage. Venezuelan state television broadcast images of people marching in Caracas, waving signs supporting President Nicolas Maduro in their emblematic red garb.

But the pay hike isn’t as good as it sounds. According to the International Monetary Fund, inflation in Venezuela is projected to ...  

Venezuela Opposition Delivers Petitions to Remove President

Venezuela Opposition Delivers Petitions to Remove President

The opposition turned in petitions to Venezuelan electoral authorities Monday that it said carried signatures of 1.8 million voters seeking President Nicolas Maduro’s removal in a nationwide referendum.

An opposition statement said leaders decided to deliver the petitions in 80 sealed boxes early Monday without notifying news media to avoid potential clashes with Maduro’s supporters. It said it collected more than nine times the required 200,000 signatures in under a week.

Maduro’s approval rating has plummeted amid triple-digit inflation, widespread food shortages ...  

Argentine Witness Claims Role Laundering Money for Kirchner Associate

Argentine Witness Claims Role Laundering Money for Kirchner Associate

BUENOS AIRES—A witness who testified against former Argentine presidents Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Kirchner said he helped launder millions of dollars on behalf of a leading government contractor and business associate of the Kirchner family.

In his first interview since being released from prison in April, Leonardo Fariña said Monday that the late Mr. Kirchner had masterminded a plan to enrich himself and Lázaro Báez by allowing Mr. Báez’s construction company to overcharge billions of dollars in public-works contracts by an ...  

Militares le habrían dicho a Maduro que no reprimirán a la oposición, según Ramos Allup

Militares le habrían dicho a Maduro que no reprimirán a la oposición, según Ramos Allup

El presidente del Parlamento de Venezuela, el opositor Henry Ramos Allup, reveló este lunes que los generales y almirantes del alto mando le dijeron al presidente, Nicolás Maduro, que no reprimirán a los opositores en caso de estallidos populares.

En una “reunión de emergencia” celebrada la semana pasada, le advirtieron de “que no asumirían el costo de la represión contra el pueblo en caso de estallidos, reventones o disturbios por saqueos, y mucho menos en manifestaciones políticas, porque para eso estaban ...  

Brazil judge orders WhatsApp blocked, affecting 100 mln users

Brazil judge orders WhatsApp blocked, affecting 100 mln users

A Brazilian judge ordered wireless phone carriers to block access to Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) WhatsApp for 72 hours throughout Latin America’s largest country on Monday, the second such move against the popular messaging application in five months.

The decision by the judge in the northeastern state of Sergipe applies to the five main wireless operators in Brazil and affects WhatsApp’s more than 100 million users in the country. The reason for the order is not known due to legal secrecy in ...  

U.S. Senate Can Help Ward Off Venezuela Implosion

U.S. Senate Can Help Ward Off Venezuela Implosion

BY JOSÉ R. CÁRDENAS

MAY 2, 2016

Last week, the Senate approved the nomination of career officer Roberta Jacobson to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. The vote came after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) lifted his hold in exchange for an extension of sanctions against human rights violators in Venezuela.

It was a good deal. We will have a senior representative in Mexico as that important bilateral relationship is coming under tremendous pressure due to the ravings of presidential candidate Donald Trump, ...  

Venezuela’s Maduro calls for ‘rebellion’ if opposition recall suceeds

Venezuela’s Maduro calls for ‘rebellion’ if opposition recall suceeds

Caracas (AFP) – A defiant Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro urged supporters to launch a general strike and “rebellion” if the opposition succeeds in ousting him from office in a referendum.

Maduro’s fiery May Day speech came as Venezuela’s emboldened opposition prepared on Tuesday to present more than 10 times the roughly 200,000 signatures needed to begin organizing a referendum to remove the unpopular president, blamed by many for the country’s deep economic crisis.

Maduro vowed to fight for his job, despite a ...  

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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.