Bolivia’s Morales Goes Down an Ugly Road

Bolivia’s Morales Goes Down an Ugly Road

President Evo Morales is a Bolivarian success story. While Latin America’s marquee populist brand has lost its charm in much of the region, Bolivia’s caudillo soldiers on. He’s governed for 11 years, longer than any other leader in the small, landlocked Andean country’s troubled political history, surviving electoral challenges, constitutional assemblies, mass protests and the commodities slump.

Yet the region’s senior strongman is still angling for a grander prize. This week, Morales lifted the hands-off law for the Isiboro Secure National ...  

Canada Must Show Venezuela’s Criminal Regime What We Stand For

Canada Must Show Venezuela’s Criminal Regime What We Stand For

Civil war is a possibility in Venezuela. The South American country is suffering a social and economic crisis that some have classified as a “humanitarian crisis”, due to a severe lack of food and medicines and a rapid increase of those living in poverty. After four months of street protests that caused more than 120 dead, thousands of injured, hundreds tortured, over 4,000 prosecuted (many in military courts), and nearly 500 political prisoners, the Maduro dictatorship has not backed off.

But ...  

A Common-Sense Approach To Border Security

A Common-Sense Approach To Border Security

Last November the American people went to the polls and resoundingly rejected the “open borders” policies of the Obama administration. They made it very clear that in an age of high tech drug smuggling, heinous human trafficking, and international terrorism, securing our border was a national security priority. Unfortunately, President Obama chose to ignore this problem – putting politics before people, and failed us when we needed him to succeed.

As the twenty-first century repeatedly demonstrates, the United States continues to ...  

Venezuela Accuses 2 Political Dissidents of Extortion

Venezuela Accuses 2 Political Dissidents of Extortion

Venezuelan officials took action against two political dissidents on Wednesday, raiding the home of the country’s ousted attorney general and ordering the arrest of her husband, whom they accused of running an extortion ring.

The former attorney general, Luisa Ortega, was accused by her replacement, Tarek William Saab, of turning her office into “a center of blackmail and extortion.” Mr. Saab, who was appointed by Venezuela’s newly installed, all-powerful Constituent Assembly, also accused Ms. Ortega’s husband, Germán Ferrer, a lawmaker, of ...  

Police believe thieves steal Venezuela zoo animals to eat them

Police believe thieves steal Venezuela zoo animals to eat them

MARACAIBO, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuela authorities are investigating the theft of animals from a zoo in western state of Zulia that were likely snatched to be eaten, a further sign of hunger in a country struggling with chronic food shortages.

A police official said two collared peccaries, which are similar in appearance to boars, were stolen over the weekend from the Zulia Metropolitan Zoological Park in the sweltering city of Maracaibo near the Colombian border.

“What we presume is that they (were ...  

Targeting American Diplomats, Cuba Is Up to its Dirty Old Tricks

Targeting American Diplomats, Cuba Is Up to its Dirty Old Tricks

By José R. Cárdenas

8/16/2017

When President Barack Obama announced his intention to normalize relations with Cuba in 2014, critics scoffed that no accommodation was possible with the Castro regime and that it would be only a matter of time before Havana embarrassed the White House for even trying, as it had done before to previous administrations who sought détente.

We now know that last fall — in the middle of Obama’s final push to lock into place as much of his policy ...  

Cuban trade with Venezuela plunges over two years

Cuban trade with Venezuela plunges over two years

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban trade with socialist ally Venezuela has fallen 70 percent since 2014 due to the South American oil producer’s inability to meet delivery contracts and purchase goods as it struggles with low oil prices and a resulting economic meltdown.

A cash crunch and lower oil supplies from Venezuela have forced the Communist-run Caribbean island to slash imports and reduce the use of fuel and electricity, helping tip its centrally planned economy into recession in 2016 for the first ...  

U.S. to Bring ‘Full Weight’ of Economic Sanctions on Venezuela, Pence Says

U.S. to Bring ‘Full Weight’ of Economic Sanctions on Venezuela, Pence Says

The U.S. will bring the “full weight” of economic sanctions against Venezuela and hasn’t ruled out any options to push for new elections in the country, said Vice President Mike Pence.

Latin American nations must do more to pressure President Nicolas Maduro to hold elections and end the violence, Pence said in Buenos Aires province after meeting with Argentine President Mauricio Macri as part of visit to South America, that included a stop in Colombia.

“In Venezuela we are seeing the tragedy ...  

Maduro regime wants to arrest Venezuelans in Miami

Maduro regime wants to arrest Venezuelans in Miami

The Venezuelan government says it’s seeking to arrest 23 people – including several who live in South Florida – allegedly linked to an attack Aug. 6 on a military base in the northcentral state of Carabobo, a result of the continuing protests against the government of President Nicolás Maduro.

Gustavo González, head of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service, declared in a televised appearance Sunday that “arrest orders have been issued for everyone involved” and displayed a placard with the names of nine ...  

Pence expected to praise economic reforms in Argentina

Pence expected to praise economic reforms in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Vice President Mike Pence is in Argentina, where he’s expected to praise President Mauricio Macri’s economic reforms days after local primary elections that were seen as a boost for Macri’s pro-business agenda.

Pence is expected to meet with local officials, hold a joint press conference with Macri, and deliver a speech at the Buenos Aires stock exchange focused on economic ties between the two countries as part of a week-long visit to Latin America.

Investors have praised Macri’s ...  

Argentine President Macri’s Coalition Gets Strong Support in Primary Election

Argentine President Macri’s Coalition Gets Strong Support in Primary Election

BUENOS AIRES—President Mauricio Macri got an unexpected show of support in a primary election Sunday, boosting the Argentine peso and local stocks on hopes that his government will push forward with plans to overhaul the country’s economy.

The nationwide primary, where voters cast a single ballot for their choice among a raft of candidates from each party, determines which parties are eligible to run for midterm congressional…

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Venezuela’s Maduro calls for military exercises after Trump threat

Venezuela’s Maduro calls for military exercises after Trump threat

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday called for military exercises after U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat of a possible armed intervention in the country, but Maduro insisted he still wanted to hold talks with the U.S. leader.

As Maduro told supporters in Caracas to prepare for an “imperialist” invasion, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence sought to calm concerns in the region about Trump’s talk, promising a peaceful solution to Venezuela’s “collapse into dictatorship.”

The unpopular Maduro, struggling with a ...  

Tourists, be careful: 10,000 gallons of tainted booze seized from Mexico resorts

Tourists, be careful: 10,000 gallons of tainted booze seized from Mexico resorts

Mexican authorities have seized 10,000 gallons of bad booze from 31 resorts and tourist hot spots in the country, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The crackdown on counterfeit, bootleg liquor follows the death in January of 20-year-old college student Abbey Conner from Wisconsin, whose family suspects she drank tainted alcohol at a Mexican resort where they were vacationing.

Conner blacked out in a swimming pool and drowned in shallow water.

The newspaper reports that Mexican authorities recently swept through restaurants and clubs in ...  

Inside Colombia’s efforts to stem cocaine production, one coca plant at a time

Inside Colombia’s efforts to stem cocaine production, one coca plant at a time

Vice President Mike Pence told the president of Colombia last night that he is very concerned by the “dramatic increase” in cocaine production. Coca is the raw ingredient for cocaine, and it’s being grown in record amounts. Production has surged more than 130 percent since 2013.

Colombia is the main supplier of cocaine to the United States, where overdose deaths increased 25 percent between 2014 and 2015.

From the air, flying aboard armed helicopters with the national police, it is easy to ...  

Special Report: Vladimir’s Venezuela – Leveraging loans to Caracas, Moscow snaps up oil assets

Special Report: Vladimir’s Venezuela – Leveraging loans to Caracas, Moscow snaps up oil assets

CARACAS/HOUSTON (Reuters) – Venezuela’s unraveling socialist government is increasingly turning to ally Russia for the cash and credit it needs to survive – and offering prized state-owned oil assets in return, sources familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.

As Caracas struggles to contain an economic meltdown and violent street protests, Moscow is using its position as Venezuela’s lender of last resort to gain more control over the OPEC nation’s crude reserves, the largest in the world.

Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm, Petroleos de ...  

Fernandez ties with rival in Argentina Senate primary

Fernandez ties with rival in Argentina Senate primary

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s former leader Cristina Fernandez was tied with President Mauricio Macri’s candidate as most results were in from a Senate primary seen as a gauge of Fernandez’ chances of staging a populist comeback and ending Macri’s reform agenda.

With 95.58 percent of votes in Buenos Aires province – home to nearly 40 percent of Argentina’s electorate – counted, the coalition led by Macri’s former education minister Esteban Bullrich had 34.19 percent while Fernandez’s list had 34.11 percent.

There ...  

Powerful Venezuelan lawmaker may have issued death order against Rubio

Powerful Venezuelan lawmaker may have issued death order against Rubio

One of Venezuela’s most powerful leaders may have put out an order to kill Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a fervent critic of the South American country’s government, according to intelligence obtained by the U.S. last month.

Though federal authorities couldn’t be sure at the time if the uncorroborated threat was real, they took it seriously enough that Rubio has been guarded by a security detail for several weeks in both Washington and Miami.

Believed to be behind the order: Diosdado Cabello, the ...  

In Latin America, VP Pence threads needle on Venezuela

In Latin America, VP Pence threads needle on Venezuela

Vice President Mike Pence is demonstrating the delicate balancing act that has thus far defined his term, walking a line during a trip to Latin America between the region’s opposition to possible U.S. military intervention in Venezuela, and President Donald Trump’s surprising refusal to rule out that option.

Speaking during a joint news conference with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos shortly after his arrival Sunday, Pence also declined to rule out possible military action against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, whose efforts ...  

Cocaine Is Booming in Colombia and the President Is Tanking

Cocaine Is Booming in Colombia and the President Is Tanking

 By José R. Cárdenas

8/11/2017

When Vice President Mike Pence arrives in Colombia next week, he will find a country no longer celebrating its widely touted success story of rising from a near-failed state under the thumb of narco-terrorists to a secure, confident, and vibrant democracy. Instead, he will find a nation unnerved by a controversial peace process initiated by an unpopular president and dispirited about its future ahead of elections next year.

Moreover, storm clouds are brewing on the U.S.-Colombia bilateral front, ...  

US oil industry challenges sanctions on Venezuela

US oil industry challenges sanctions on Venezuela

CARACAS, VENEZUELA—The Trump administration’s decision on Wednesday to slap sanctions on eight members of Venezuela’s all-powerful constitutional assembly brings to 30 the number of government loyalists targeted for human rights abuses and violations of democratic norms since anti-government protests began in April.

But even as the list of targeted individuals grows longer, promised economic sanctions have yet to materialize amid an outcry by the United States oil industry that a potential ban on petroleum imports from Venezuela – the third-largest supplier ...  

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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.