A young Venezuelan made his violin an instrument of resistance. The government hit back.

A young Venezuelan made his violin an instrument of resistance. The government hit back.

CARACAS, Venezuela — On the streets of this tense capital, protesters challenging government troops often throw rocks, bottles, even molotov cocktails. But Wuilly Arteaga battled riot police with the defiant strains of his violin.

A fixture in the front lines in recent months, playing on despite stinging volleys of tear gas, the 23-year-old became a symbol of the opposition to President Nicolás Maduro’s authoritarian government. Videos of Arteaga concentrating on his music amid scenes of chaos quickly went viral, and were ...  

Colombian government slams ‘ridiculous’ FARC list of assets

Colombian government slams ‘ridiculous’ FARC list of assets

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) defended its 135-page list Thursday in the face of fierce objections from a number of government officials.

The former rebels handed the inventory of their property and funds over to the United Nations earlier this month as part of a 2016 peace agreement. The list’s contents are to be used to pay reparation to victims of forced disappearance, rape, displacement, kidnapping and land mines.

The FARC is believed to have amassed vast wealth from various ...  

State Department: ‘At Least 16’ US Diplomatic Personnel Injured In Cuba Acoustic Attacks

State Department: ‘At Least 16’ US Diplomatic Personnel Injured In Cuba Acoustic Attacks

Many more U.S. diplomatic personnel were injured in a series of mysterious acoustic attacks in Cuba than previously reported, the State Department confirmed Thursday.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters that “at least 16” government employees stationed at the U.S. embassy in Havana were hurt in the incidents, which began in late 2016 and continued through the spring of this year. Previous reports indicated as many as 10 diplomatic staff had been affected.

Nauert said that all of the injured personnel ...  

The Agony of Venezuela

The Agony of Venezuela

Closing a speech that was as emotional as it was endless, the president invoked Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In the play’s opening scene, a boatswain dares to defy the wind as the storm gathers: “Blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough!” The charismatic leader then paraphrased the bard: “Blow, hard wind, blow, hard tempest, I have [a constitutional] assembly to withstand you!” The crowd was enraptured.

The year was 1999, and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, shortly after his election victory ...  

Don’t play down a sinister attack on diplomats in Cuba

Don’t play down a sinister attack on diplomats in Cuba

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S much-hyped restoration of relations with Cuba was a bet that diplomatic and economic engagement would, over time, accomplish what 50 years of boycott did not: a rebirth of political freedom on the island. So far, the results have been dismal. In the two years since the U.S. Embassy in Havana reopened, repression of Cubans — measured in detentions, beatings and political prisoners — has significantly increased, while the private sector has remained stagnant. U.S. exports to Cuba ...  

U.S. Plans to Unveil New Round of Sanctions on Venezuela, Sources Say

U.S. Plans to Unveil New Round of Sanctions on Venezuela, Sources Say

The Trump administration is planning to unveil another round of sanctions on Friday designed to punish the government of Venezuela, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The measures would be the latest in a U.S. campaign to pressure Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The people who described the move did so on condition of anonymity and declined to provide details on the sanctions that would be imposed.

One move that has been under consideration by the U.S. would block trades of ...  

Reporter killed in Mexico was at least 9th journalist slain this year

Reporter killed in Mexico was at least 9th journalist slain this year

A newspaper reporter in the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz who was enrolled in a government protection program for journalists was killed Tuesday along with two other men, one of his editors and a journalist advocacy group said.

Candido Rios Vazquez, a crime reporter for the newspaper Diario de Acayucan, was at least the ninth journalist slain this year in Mexico. More than 100 journalists have been killed in the past 25 years, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“Every ...  

As Venezuela melts down, uncomfortable introspection for Europe’s leftists

As Venezuela melts down, uncomfortable introspection for Europe’s leftists

An inspiration, a hero: these are the words leftists in Europe lavished on the late Hugo Chavez for his “Bolivarian revolution” in Venezuela.

For British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and left-wing parties like Syriza and Podemos in southern Europe, Chavez’s ascendance was long the clearest challenge to inequality in Latin America, neoliberalism in Washington, and austerity at home.

Today, it’s a decidedly foggier picture.

A humanitarian crisis is enveloping Venezuela. The country is turning increasingly dictatorial under President Nicolás Maduro. And that has ...  

Venezuela’s rebel prosecutor heads to Brazil as Maduro seeks her arrest

Venezuela’s rebel prosecutor heads to Brazil as Maduro seeks her arrest

Venezuela’s former chief prosecutor — who says she has proof of corruption at the highest levels of the socialist administration — traveled to Brazil on Tuesday amid fevered speculation that she would ultimately seek asylum in the United States.

Ortega’s exact whereabouts have been shrouded in mystery since she fled Venezuela with her husband on Friday — taking a boat to Aruba and then a charter flight to Bogotá.

On Monday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos offered her political asylum “if she ...  

Ditching coca for other crops, Colombia’s farmers ask: Where do we sell?

Ditching coca for other crops, Colombia’s farmers ask: Where do we sell?

By the time he made it to the final booth at the open-air community center in this small Amazonian town, Rafael Pardo, Colombia’s high commissioner for post-conflict, human rights, and security, was loaded up with more produce than he could carry.

Melon, yucca, sugar cane, black pepper, pineapple, cacao, ground corn, squishy white campesino (peasant farmer) cheese – a healthy sampling of the rich agrarian potential the government hopes to foster in the impoverished, war-torn countryside. For years, the economy in ...  

State Department issues travel warning for Mexico

State Department issues travel warning for Mexico

The U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning Tuesday for Americans traveling to certain parts of Mexico.

The advisory cautions citizens to avoid traveling to certain locations due to increased criminal activity.

Areas such as Baja California Sur, where the popular tourist destination Cabo San Lucas is, and Quintana Roo, where Cancun and Riviera Maya are located, have seen a spike in homicide rates this year.

“U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in ...  

Video offers rare glimpse of hardline ideology from presumed next leader of Cuba

Video offers rare glimpse of hardline ideology from presumed next leader of Cuba

In a videotaped private meeting with Communist Party members, Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel — often portrayed as a moderate politician with a quiet disposition — took on an all too familiar hardline tone that offered a rare glimpse into his ideology.

In the video, which has quickly spread across social media platforms, Díaz-Canel lashed out against Cuban dissidents, independent media and embassies of several European countries, accusing them all of supporting subversive projects.

For the United States, he had this message: ...  

Venezuela’s Maduro Warns of Action Against Price Gouging

Venezuela’s Maduro Warns of Action Against Price Gouging

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro says new measures will be rolled out this week to combat economic speculation in the crisis-ridden country. In an interview distributed via state-run media Sunday, Maduro said he was working with a “special commission” of the new, pro-government Constituent Assembly to clamp down on price gouging.

The commission is “going to announce a set of actions so that the maximum price of the products is respected,” Maduro said, without providing details. He also warned that “very severe ...  

The Deadliest Assignment: Reporting in Mexico

The Deadliest Assignment: Reporting in Mexico

Sirens blared as a Ciudad Juarez State Police Officer raced down the street en route to the day’s latest murder. Someone had been shot and the suspect was still at large. The officer arrived at an empty field on the outskirts of “La Valle de Juarez,” an area notoriously violent and under control of the cartels. It doesn’t take long for them to discover the body.

It’s a typical Saturday night in the city of 1.3 million people, located just steps ...  

Washington Will Impose Greater Sanctions On Venezuela

Washington Will Impose Greater Sanctions On Venezuela

Wait for it: Washington will impose greater sanctions on the embattled government of Venezuela. President Trump has already announced more names to Treasury’s individual sanctions list, including Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. But more sanctions are right around the corner, especially if October elections look rigged.

In the war of words battle, Washington has been much more explosive of late.

On Aug. 14, vice president Mike Pence called Venezuela a “failed state” and that its downfall “threatened the security of the hemisphere and ...  

Brazil’s Lost Decade: The Invisible Costs of an Epic Recession

Brazil’s Lost Decade: The Invisible Costs of an Epic Recession

The rise in street beggars and decaying infrastructure are perhaps the most obvious symptoms of Brazil’s economic and political meltdown. But it’s the less visible fallout — like the cancellation of school lunches and the cuts to life-saving medical research — that may leave its most devastating legacy.

Years of belt-tightening following the end of the commodities boom have squeezed government funding of education, health, research and policing. Fewer cops on the beat have led to more crime and more deforestation ...  

Venezuela congress rejects what it denounces as government takeover

Venezuela congress rejects what it denounces as government takeover

Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress on Saturday rejected a government bid to usurp many of its powers, vowing to continue its legislative agenda and denouncing the move against it as a power grab by President Nicolas Maduro.

“This is a parliament in resistance against an armed military dictatorship,” declared congressional Vice President Freddy Guevara.

But there were no new street protests on Saturday. Months of antigovernment demonstrations have stalled in recent days amid a sense of weariness and rifts within opposition ranks. …

CLICK HERE ...  

Sonic attacks in Cuba hit more diplomats than earlier reported, officials say

Sonic attacks in Cuba hit more diplomats than earlier reported, officials say

A higher number of US and Canadian diplomats and their families are believed to have been attacked by a mystery sonic weapon in Havana than was initially reported, CNN has learned from two senior US government officials.

More than 10 US diplomats and family members received treatment after the months of harassing attacks, which began in mid-November 2016 and stopped this spring, said the US officials, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the attacks ...  

In Venezuela power grab, Maduro’s ruling party takes remaining congressional functions

In Venezuela power grab, Maduro’s ruling party takes remaining congressional functions

Venezuela’s embattled opposition took another direct hit Friday, when the government-controlled National Constituent Assembly effectively usurped congress.

The assembly, or ANC, said it would be assuming legislative functions to “preserve peace, security and sovereignty.”

Although it didn’t outright dissolve congress — one of the last bastions of the opposition — it effectively left the already weak institution powerless.

Organization of American States Secretary General Luís Almagro said the “fraudulent dissolution” of the congress represented a “deepening of coup” by President Nicolás Maduro and ...  

Venezuela intensifies crackdown on government critics

Venezuela intensifies crackdown on government critics

CARACAS — The government of President Nicolás Maduro is intensifying its crackdown on opponents, raising fears of a broader campaign to silence and punish dissent.

Maduro loyalists issued a new arrest warrant for one prominent legislator and vowed to remove his immunity from prosecution in a case that could become a model for targeting other critics. A proposed measure that could imprison opponents for up to 25 years, observers say, could soon make that task easier.

“In its zeal to consolidate authoritarian ...  

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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.