Brazil prosecutor plans to investigate ministers, senators for graft

Brazil prosecutor plans to investigate ministers, senators for graft

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO, March 5 (Reuters) – Brazil’s top prosecutor will seek authorization from the Supreme Court as soon as this week to investigate senior ministers in President Michel Temer’s Cabinet and senators from his PMDB party for corruption, a source familiar with the situation said on Sunday.

Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported on Sunday that the request by Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot will include Presidential Chief of Staff Eliseu Padilha and Wellington Moreira Franco, the minister in charge of a ...  

Peru’s president recalls envoy over attacks by Venezuela

Peru’s president recalls envoy over attacks by Venezuela

LIMA, Peru — Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is calling his ambassador to Venezuela back home for consultations to protest a barrage of attacks by Venezuela’s socialist government.

Monday’s move statements by Venezuela Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez in which she called Kuczynski a “coward” and “friendly dog” working in the interests of the United States.

Kuczynski has been an outspoken critic of Venezuela’s government and he discussed the need for joint action to contain the country’s economic and political problems during a ...  

Correa’s ‘economic miracle’ in Ecuador was actually a monumental sham

Correa’s ‘economic miracle’ in Ecuador was actually a monumental sham

If Ecuador’s opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso wins the April 2 runoff election and becomes his country’s next president, most Ecuadoreans will soon realize that outgoing President Rafael Correa’s alleged “economic miracle” of the past 10 years was a monumental sham.

In fact, Correa’s government should become a textbook case of economic mismanagement that should be taught in business schools across Latin America. Students should be asked to look at Ecuador’s economic performance and its success in reducing poverty under Correa’s populist ...  

As Lasso takes lead in Ecuador’s presidential race, he seeks votes from Miami exiles

As Lasso takes lead in Ecuador’s presidential race, he seeks votes from Miami exiles

Guillermo Lasso barely survived the first round of Ecuador’s presidential race on Feb. 19, as ruling party candidate Lenín Moreno came within a hair of winning the election outright.

But now that the opposition has rallied around Lasso, a one-time banker and politician, the April 2 runoff looks like Moreno’s to lose.

Quito-based Cedatos, which produces one of the more closely watched polls, has Lasso winning 52 percent of the vote versus Moreno’s 48 percent.

As he kicked off a new cycle of ...  

With Carnival Over, Brazil Braces for the ‘End of the World’

With Carnival Over, Brazil Braces for the ‘End of the World’

Brazil’s unpopular and unelected president, Michel Temer, has done much to pave the way for recovery in Latin America’s largest economy. Yet with his inner circle crumbling and support in Congress wavering, an ambitious reform agenda now looks like a tall order.

After losing half a dozen cabinet members in his first six months in office, Temer’s foreign minister has departed and his chief of staff’s future in government remains uncertain. At the same time, part of his party in Congress ...  

Venezuela’s epileptic patients struggle with seizures amid drug shortage

Venezuela’s epileptic patients struggle with seizures amid drug shortage

Venezuelan plumber Marcos Heredia scoured 20 pharmacies in one day but could not find crucial medicines to stop his epileptic 8-year-old from convulsions that caused irreparable brain damage late last year.

The once giggly and alert boy, also called Marcos, could no longer sit on his own and began to shut off from the outside world.

“I called people in the cities of San Cristobal, Valencia, Puerto La Cruz, Barquisimeto, and no one could find the medicine,” Heredia, 43, said in the ...  

MS-13 gang members indicted in 7 murders including killings of NY teens

MS-13 gang members indicted in 7 murders including killings of NY teens

Thirteen members of the notorious Salvadoran gang MS-13 were charged Thursday in connection with seven murders including the 2016 killings of high school teenagers on New York’s Long Island.

The gang members were charged with 41 counts which also include racketeering, attempted murder, assault and obstruction of justice, U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers said Thursday afternoon.

Four of the suspects were charged directly with the murders of Kayla Cuevas, 16 and Nisa Mickens, 15, close friends who were beaten to death on ...  

Venezuelan oil production may tumble 20% by the end of 2017

Venezuelan oil production may tumble 20% by the end of 2017

Venezuela’s oil production is poised for a significant decline in the months ahead—and that has nothing to do with its pledge to cut output as an OPEC member.

As the country with the world’s largest proven oil reserves, Venezuela has the potential to influence the oil markets in a big way.

“While Venezuela has a ton of oil underneath it, unfortunately for them, they have one of the highest costs [a] barrel to lift and process it,” among the Organization of the ...  

Brazil names former leftist guerrilla as foreign minister

Brazil names former leftist guerrilla as foreign minister

Brazil’s president on Thursday named Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, a onetime leftist guerrilla who took part in a train robbery and was exiled to France, as foreign minister.

Nunes, 71, replaces Jose Serra who stepped down in February, citing health concerns.

Despite being Latin America’s biggest country and economy, Brazil has a relatively lowkey foreign policy, with few international disputes and no involvement in armed conflicts.

However, the position is important at a time when Brazil is trying to lure back foreign investors in ...  

Bolivia’s Desperate Miners Are Doing Desperate Things—Like Murder

Bolivia’s Desperate Miners Are Doing Desperate Things—Like Murder

Rodolfo Illanes, the vice minister in charge of domestic affairs in Bolivia, held his cell phone to his left ear and struggled to hear the voice on the line. Dozens of angry men crowded around him, some holding heavy wooden sticks, some shouting insults. They were miners, and for a week they’d been blocking several strategic highways throughout the country, demanding changes to a new national mining law.

“They’ve taken me hostage, minister,” Illanes said, speaking on the phone to Carlos ...  

Carnival Party Over, Brazil Returns to Reality of Political Crisis

Carnival Party Over, Brazil Returns to Reality of Political Crisis

BRASILIA — Carnival revelers were still dancing in the streets of Brazilian cities on Wednesday but for President Michel Temer’s government it was back to the reality of mounting corruption allegations that threaten its survival.

“Out with Temer” was a frequent chant against the unpopular president during the annual celebrations across a country hit by record unemployment and fed up with its political leaders.

On Wednesday afternoon the jailed former CEO of Brazil’s biggest engineering group, Marcelo Odebrecht, was questioned by a ...  

FBI’s Comey: Mexican drug cartels fueling US heroin epidemic

FBI’s Comey: Mexican drug cartels fueling US heroin epidemic

GLEN ALLEN, Va. – Mexican drug cartels are fueling the heroin epidemic that is sweeping the United States, according to the director of the FBI.

Addressing an audience of local residents and public safety officials at an opioid summit in suburban Virginia on Wednesday, James Comey said cartels are continuing to saturate the country with waves of “highly, highly pure” heroin.

The FBI chief, speaking alongside Drug Enforcement Administration acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg, painted the picture of a nationwide drug crisis that’s ...  

Argentina Ready To Fire Up Natural Gas Opportunity Years In The Making

Argentina Ready To Fire Up Natural Gas Opportunity Years In The Making

Last week I was in beautiful Argentina with a diverse team of investors and mining executives, including my good friend Frank Giustra; Ian Telfer, founder of Silver Wheaton and current chairman of Goldcorp, which has sizeable investments in Argentina; and Serafino Iacono, chairman of Pacific Exploration and Production (formerly Pacific Rubiales), which is active throughout South America.

Together we toured various natural gas and crude oil mining projects in Tierra del Fuego, Mendoza and Santa Cruz, where we had the opportunity ...  

Police went on strike in a Brazilian state. The result was near-anarchy.

Police went on strike in a Brazilian state. The result was near-anarchy.

BRASILIA — The boardwalk along the beach in Vila Velha, a coastal town in northeastern Brazil, is normally swarming with tourists. But in early February it was deserted save for a few soldiers who marched down the road, guns held ready.

Shots punctured the eerie silence as thieves held up pedestrians for their cars and purses, local media reported. In commercial centers throughout the area, packs of looters drove trucks into shop windows and carried whole racks of clothes and appliances ...  

US Senate Adopts Resolution on Crisis in Venezuela

US Senate Adopts Resolution on Crisis in Venezuela

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved a resolution expressing “profound concern” about the crisis in Venezuela and calling for the immediate release of political prisoners.

The resolution adopted Tuesday also calls for the South American country to respect the democratic process and urges the Organization of American States to adopt additional measures to deal with the crisis in Venezuela, which is suffering through recession, skyrocketing inflation and shortages of food and medicine.

U.S. President Donald Trump and opponents of Venezuelan ...  

The latest poll numbers in Ecuador are a bad sign for Julian Assange

The latest poll numbers in Ecuador are a bad sign for Julian Assange

Ecuador will elect a new president April 2, and poll results are not looking good for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

According to a Feb. 23-24 survey of 2,834 Ecuadorans by the Cedatos polling agency, right-wing challenger Guillermo Lasso is leading the ruling party candidate, Lenin Moreno, by a margin of 52 to 48 percent.

Lasso has pledged to evict Assange from Ecuador’s embassy in London within 30 days if he is elected.

Assange has lived at the embassy since 2012 under the protection ...  

Colombia’s ELN guerrillas take responsibility for deadly blast in Bogotá

Colombia’s ELN guerrillas take responsibility for deadly blast in Bogotá

Colombia’s second-largest guerrilla group has claimed responsibility for an explosion last week that injured dozens of policemen and left one dead in the heart of this capital city, casting a shadow over ongoing peace talks with the group.

In a statement posted on one of its social media accounts, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, said its “urban commandos” had placed the explosive on Feb. 19 near Bogotá’s iconic bullring that injured almost 30 people and killed one security officer.

Last week, ...  

Bolivia coca cultivation to grow if Morales signs law

Bolivia coca cultivation to grow if Morales signs law

Bolivia’s Senate has voted to nearly double the amount of land allotted to legal coca cultivation. That could bring the South American nation’s expected production to up to 30,000 tons of leaves.

On Friday, Bolivia’s Senate passed a bill to increase the land area allotted to legal cultivation of the coca crop from 12,000 hectares (29,650 acres) to 22,000.

For centuries, people in Latin America’s Andes mountain range have chewed coca leaves to ward off the effects of high altitude or brewed ...  

A Good Neighbor Policy for Trump

A Good Neighbor Policy for Trump

By José R. Cárdenas

2/27/2017

Every incoming U.S. president begins his tenure by seeking out opportunities to establish a foreign policy legacy; Donald Trump doesn’t have to look far to find them. In the United States’ own neighborhood, he has a chance to realign relations with two of most important and influential countries in the Western Hemisphere: Brazil and Argentina.

Besides being the largest and third-largest economies in Latin America, the two countries carry great political weight in the region. After years of ...  

How to turn off the Latin refugee flood at the source

How to turn off the Latin refugee flood at the source

By Roger F. Noriega

2/24/2017

President Trump has tapped into Americans’ anxiety about illegal immigration by promising to build a wall on our 2,000-mile border with Mexico. However, the vast majority of illegal migrants pouring over our southwest border are from Central America.

The Obama administration’s prescription was pledging billions of dollars in new US assistance, and Congress is considering this. But unless we insist that these nations make their economies more competitive and their institutions less corrupt, we will be pouring good ...  

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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.