Flames, fatality at Venezuela demo over leader’s crisis maneuver

Flames, fatality at Venezuela demo over leader’s crisis maneuver

Venezuelan police fired tear gas and hooded protesters hurled Molotov cocktails as thousands rallied in anger at President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to rewrite the constitution.

Flames erupted in the latest of more than a month of clashes that prosecutors say have killed 32 people in the oil-rich nation, stricken by food shortages.

Government forces used tear gas against demonstrators in las Mercedes, on Caracas’ east end, the prosecutor’s office said.

At least one protester caught fire and two opposition lawmakers were among various ...  

This is why American tourists don’t want to travel to Cuba

This is why American tourists don’t want to travel to Cuba

A flash of excitement about travel to Cuba after the country opened its borders to the U.S. in 2016 for the first time in decades may have lost some of its shine.

Americans are less interested in travel to Cuba this year than they were in 2016, a survey from insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance found. Some 76% of the 1,514 respondents said they were not likely to plan a trip to Cuba in 2017 compared to 70% in 2016. Only ...  

Why Venezuela’s struggling president just called for a new constitution

Why Venezuela’s struggling president just called for a new constitution

CARACAS, Venezuela — In 1999, the year Hugo Chávez took office, Venezuelan voters overwhelmingly backed his push to rewrite the constitution. Chávez was so pleased with the new version that he ordered millions of pocket-size editions to be handed out across the country. He liked to whip out a copy in the middle of his speeches and political sermons, like a preacher with a Bible.

Its cover was blue, but it became the Little Red Book of Chávez’s socialist “revolution.” Which ...  

New Mexico drug cartel bust shows law enforcement feels more empowered

New Mexico drug cartel bust shows law enforcement feels more empowered

The recent arrest of 23 Mexican cartel operatives in New Mexico and West Texas is prime example of newly empowered local and federal law enforcement officials whose attitude reflects that of the Trump administration, some lawmen say.

The 16-month investigation targeted members of the Sinaloa Cartel, once headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is currently in jail awaiting trial in Brooklyn Federal Court. Guzman once ran a major heroin and methamphetamine operation throughout the southwest.

Five additional suspects were also charged ...  

Exclusive: U.S. senators seek sanctions, other ways to address Venezuela crisis

Exclusive: U.S. senators seek sanctions, other ways to address Venezuela crisis

An influential group of Republican and Democratic U.S. senators will file sweeping legislation on Wednesday to address the crisis in Venezuela, including sanctioning individuals responsible for undermining democracy or involved in corruption, Senate aides said.

The bill would provide $10 million in humanitarian aid to the struggling country, require the State Department to coordinate a regional effort to ease the crisis, and ask U.S. intelligence to report on the involvement of Venezuelan government officials in corruption and the drug trade, according ...  

U.S. May Consider New Sanctions on Venezuela as Crisis Deepens

U.S. May Consider New Sanctions on Venezuela as Crisis Deepens

The U.S. may consider new sanctions against Venezuela in response to President Nicolas Maduro’s announcement that he will seek to rewrite his country’s constitution.

The Venezuelan government has “decided once again to change the rules of the game in mid-play,” Michael Fitzpatrick, U.S. deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said Tuesday on a reporter call. “The actions that were taken yesterday may well give us new reasons for considering additional individualized sanctions under the Venezuela Democracy Act of 2014.”

Maduro on ...  

Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela President, Calls for a Rewrite of the Constitution

Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela President, Calls for a Rewrite of the Constitution

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela said Monday that he would convene an assembly to rewrite the country’s Constitution, which he said would quell mounting protests against him.

But the plan was quickly rejected by his opponents as an attempt to avoid elections.

In a televised address on International Workers’ Day — on which both the president and his opponents held demonstrations — Mr. Maduro said he would call together what he described as a “citizens’ constitutional assembly of the ...  

China’s Great Leap Into Latin America

China’s Great Leap Into Latin America

By José R. Cárdenas

05/02/2017

U.S. President Donald Trump’s opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement and his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership have led some critics to claim that the United States is turning its back to regional trading partners, and that Trump is thus freeing up China to make inroads into Latin America. But China’s presence in the Western Hemisphere is already well-established, having predated Trump’s election by almost 20 years. Beijing’s involvement ...  

How Brazil’s political class came undone

How Brazil’s political class came undone

BRASILIA — The messy business of governing Brazil, a country with 35 active political parties, has long taken place far from the symmetrical towers and domes of Congress that dominate the capital’s skyline.

Instead, backroom deals have been the norm, with the country’s most powerful politicians and business leaders deciding the affairs of government over boozy lunches, steak dinners or drinks in dimly lit hotel bars. The daily scheming and bribing would kick off early, one participant told investigators, often at ...  

Maduro Calls for New Venezuelan Constitution Amid Protests

Maduro Calls for New Venezuelan Constitution Amid Protests

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro called for a popular assembly to write a new constitution, a fresh attempt to consolidate his hold on the nation and an escalation of a crisis that has brought hundreds of thousands into the streets.

The opposition decried Monday’s move as an illegal power grab. They said that Venezuela, whose economy and society are frayed to the breaking point, was slipping further into authoritarian rule.

Maduro said he was relying on a provision in the current constitution that ...  

Why Trump’s talk on NAFTA matters to the rest of Latin America

Why Trump’s talk on NAFTA matters to the rest of Latin America

Anything that President Donald Trump says about NAFTA draws extra scrutiny Latin America, whose countries account for half of the United States’ free trade agreements.

So when the president of the United States threatened to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, it wasn’t only those countries catching their breath.

“We’re watching what they’re going to do with Mexico,” said Javier Díaz Molina, executive president of Colombia’s National Association for Foreign Commerce, a trade group. “Because whatever dose ...  

As the poor join protests, Venezuela may be hitting a turning point

As the poor join protests, Venezuela may be hitting a turning point

CARACAS, Venezuela — In the cramped hillside slums where they once adored Hugo Chávez, hungry families now jeer and bang pots at the man struggling in his shadow, President Nicolás Maduro.

Chávez, a master showman who promised his country a socialist “revolution,” loved to wade through crowds of poor Venezuelans, blowing kisses and dispensing hugs. But when his successor has ventured out in public in recent months, he’s been pelted with eggs and chased by angry mobs.

“Maduro is so different,” said ...  

Pope Calls for Venezuelan Negotiated Solution to Violence

Pope Calls for Venezuelan Negotiated Solution to Violence

Pope Francis appealed to Venezuela’s government and opposition to end violence that he said is “exhausting the people,” after earlier encouraging the government to seek a negotiated solution.

“I appeal to the government and all the components of the Venezuelan society so that every further form of violence is avoided, human rights are respected and negotiated solutions are sought to the humanitarian, social, political and economic crises, which are exhausting the people,” he said at mass in Vatican City, according to ...  

What’s ahead for Venezuela? As the protests ramp up, here are 5 things to watch.

What’s ahead for Venezuela? As the protests ramp up, here are 5 things to watch.

For the second consecutive spring, Venezuela is a powder keg.

For weeks, demonstrators have been protesting the unpopular government of President Nicolás Maduro, and the country’s food shortages and foundering economy. The catalyst for this year’s demonstrations came in the form of the government shutdown of the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

Opposition leaders are pushing for early presidential elections, presenting the option as a means of avoiding further strife — and more deaths. But bans and threats against opposition politicians have sparked more ...  

Joint Statement from President Donald J. Trump and President Mauricio Macri

Joint Statement from President Donald J. Trump and President Mauricio Macri

President Donald J. Trump hosted President Mauricio Macri of Argentina today to discuss ways to deepen the close partnership between the United States and Argentina. President Trump welcomed Argentina’s growing leadership role on the world stage and the political and economic reforms recently implemented by the Argentine Government, which have improved the environment for investment, trade, and long term economic development. President Trump offered his support to President Macri as Argentina prepares to host the World Trade Organization Ministerial and ...  

Mexico’s president says opportunity to update NAFTA to benefit all 3 countries

Mexico’s president says opportunity to update NAFTA to benefit all 3 countries

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke on Thursday about the NAFTA trade deal and agreed there was an opportunity to update the accord to the mutual benefit of all signatories, the Mexican government said.

In a statement, Pena Nieto’s office said he and Trudeau had spoken on Thursday afternoon and were ready to begin the process of dialogue between Mexico, Canada and the United States, the members of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“Finally, ...  

FARC Dissidence Could Grow Amid Missteps in Peace Deal Implementation

FARC Dissidence Could Grow Amid Missteps in Peace Deal Implementation

A statement apparently authored by dissident fronts of Colombia’s FARC suggests some guerrillas remain committed to continuing the group’s armed political struggle in spite of a recent peace agreement with the government — or perhaps more accurately, because of issues with its implementation.

Dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC) appear to have issued a statement condemning the ongoing peace process with Colombia’s government, while asserting that they represent the real ideals at ...  

A top Venezuelan official’s son makes video plea for his dad to ‘end the injustice’

A top Venezuelan official’s son makes video plea for his dad to ‘end the injustice’

BOGOTA — Venezuelan protesters have been trying for weeks to march to the offices of Tarek Saab, the government’s human rights ombudsman, and each time, their path has been blocked by riot police and tear gas.

But a new messenger took up their cause this week: Saab’s son.

In a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday evening, law student Yibram Saab made a direct appeal to his father for the nation to see. “Dad, in this moment you have the power to ...  

Ecuador and the Case of the Liberal Losers

Ecuador and the Case of the Liberal Losers

The recent poison gas attack in Syria, America’s stepped up military activities in Afghanistan, a presidential power grab in Turkey and the clownish bellicosity of North Korea’s “leader” have overshadowed an important development closer to home: left-wing populism’s slow-but-steady decline in the Americas. Just a few years ago left-wing populism was on the rise, embraced in one form or another by Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Venezuela and even Chile. Today, even the People’s World, the “news” organ ...  

Trump agrees to renegotiate NAFTA with Canada, Mexico – for now

Trump agrees to renegotiate NAFTA with Canada, Mexico – for now

President Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Canada agreed Wednesday to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the White House said – though Trump warned Thursday he’d be willing to “terminate” the pact if they can’t strike a “fair deal.”

“It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation,” Trump said in a statement late Wednesday. “It is an honor to deal with both [Mexican] President [Enrique] Peña Nieto and [Canadian] Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau, ...  

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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.