Argentina’s Mauricio Macri weathers storm as Peronists in disarray

Argentina’s Mauricio Macri weathers storm as Peronists in disarray

In recent weeks, Mauricio Macri, Argentina’s president, has faced a storm of criticism.

After failing to condemn an official who offended many when he played down the gravity of Argentina’s military dictatorship, he is now accused of favouritism towards his father’s company in negotiations over the repayment of a $300m debt to the state after a botched privatisation of the post office in the 1990s.

But however politically tone deaf Mr Macri may seem to his critics, the former businessman remains in a strong ...  

Ecuador former banker Lasso heads opinion poll for run-off presidential vote

Ecuador former banker Lasso heads opinion poll for run-off presidential vote

Ecuador’s right-wing politician Guillermo Lasso was leading his left-wing rival by little more than four points, according to the polling agency Cedatos on Sunday. The latest Cedatos poll of 2,862 people conducted from February 23-24 showed Lasso winning 52.1 percent of votes, against Moreno’s 47.9 percent in the run-off. The poll’s margin of error is 3.4 percent.

The ruling party’s candidate, Lenin Moreno, blew past Lasso and the rest of the field during the first round of voting earlier this month. ...  

A brave act in Cuba deserves American support

A brave act in Cuba deserves American support

BRINGING FREEDOM and democracy to totalitarian Cuba will be no easy task. Two indispensable ingredients, though, must be courage on the part of the country’s dissidents and democrats, and international solidarity with them.

Both were on display in Havana over the past week. At the center of events was Rosa María Payá Acevedo, daughter of the late Oswaldo Payá, a recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought who lost his life in a still-unexplained 2012 car crash. ...  

Mexico slams US immigration plan as Tillerson arrives

Mexico slams US immigration plan as Tillerson arrives

Mexico is pushing back against the Trump administration’s new immigration directives that could have dramatic implications for the United States’ southern neighbor, as top US officials come to visit the country.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said his country is worried about recent actions that could greatly expand US deportations of undocumented immigrants, including sending non-Mexicans to Mexico.

“I want to make it clear, in the most emphatic way, that the Mexican government and the people of Mexico do not have to ...  

How a Colombian murder led a Miami law firm to Mexican narco-cash in Texas

How a Colombian murder led a Miami law firm to Mexican narco-cash in Texas

When a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge in 2015 awarded Antonio Caballero $191.4 million for the kidnapping, torture and death of his father at the hands of Colombian guerrillas and drug-trafficking groups, few thought his legal team would be able to collect.

After all, how do you find the funds of rebels known to stash cash deep in the jungle?

But Caballero’s lawyers managed to follow a serpentine trail of drugs and money that went from Colombia’s heartland, through Mexican cartels, into a ...  

Cuba is stifling international dialogue on human rights

Cuba is stifling international dialogue on human rights

By Roger F. Noriega

Feb. 23, 2017

The Cuban government recently denied a visa request by the Secretary-General of Organization of American States Luis Almagro, blocking his planned trip to the island to receive an award from a Cuban human rights group. Over two years into President Obama’s normalization of relations with Cuba, the decision to block Almagro’s visit highlights Cuba’s continued refusal to meet or advance toward the hemisphere’s basic standards for human rights and political freedoms.

In a letter to Rosa ...  

Ecuador’s Lasso looks to overturn Correa’s revolution

Ecuador’s Lasso looks to overturn Correa’s revolution

The shelves of Guillermo Lasso’s office are lined with books that inform his politics: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations; The Denationalization of Money by Friedrich Hayek; a compendium of cases about free speech from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

“A government cannot regulate freedom of expression,” the Ecuadorean conservative opposition leader told the Financial Times before Sunday’s presidential election, in which he won more than 28 per cent of the vote. The result will likely force a run-off against ...  

Brazil Corruption Scandal Has Companies Rushing to Bulk Up Compliance Ranks

Brazil Corruption Scandal Has Companies Rushing to Bulk Up Compliance Ranks

SÃO PAULO—Companies in Brazil are racing to hire compliance officers to root out corruption, in a sign that the country’s investigation into graft at its state-run oil company is prompting a wider cleanup of Brazilian business.

Brazil’s three-year investigation into bribery and kickbacks at Petróleo Brasileiro SA, dubbed “Operation Car Wash,” has unearthed what is widely seen as the most sprawling graft scheme ever exposed in the…

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Official: Ecuador’s presidential election headed to runoff

Official: Ecuador’s presidential election headed to runoff

Ecuador’s nail-biter election is heading to a runoff after results showed ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno falling just shy of the votes needed to clench a first-round victory, officials said Tuesday.

With nearly 95 percent of all votes officially tallied, the outcome is irreversible, the National Electoral Council said.

The results ended two days of suspense as supporters of opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso took to the streets to protest what they said was an attempt at fraud to favor Moreno, President Rafael ...  

Venezuela Is a Ticking Time Bomb

Venezuela Is a Ticking Time Bomb

Over the last two decades, the now-deceased Hugo Chavez and his handpicked successor, President Nicolas Maduro, have wreaked havoc in Venezuela. Socialist economic policies and government corruption have destroyed a once-thriving economy sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves.

For the past 21 years, The Heritage Foundation has published its annual Index of Economic Freedom, which looks at the economic freedom of countries throughout the world. In that period of time, Venezuela’s score has declined the most out of any country, ...  

On Venezuela, a surprise stand from Trump

On Venezuela, a surprise stand from Trump

PRESIDENT TRUMP so far has exhibited a deep disinterest in — and even some contempt for — U.S. human rights advocacy. His secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, pointedly declined to acknowledge major offenses by U.S. allies such as the Philippines and Saudi Arabia during his confirmation hearing, or even the well-documented war crimes committed by Russia and Syria in Aleppo. So it was encouraging that the president and the State Department acted last week in support of political prisoners and ...  

Top U.S. diplomat, security chief to visit Mexico Wednesday

Top U.S. diplomat, security chief to visit Mexico Wednesday

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Mexico this week along with the Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to discuss issues including border security with the southern neighbor amid frayed relations under new U.S. President Donald Trump.

Tillerson and Kelly will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and other top Mexican officials during the two-day visit on Wednesday and Thursday, the State Department said in a statement.

They will discuss border security, law enforcement and trade, the State Department said.

The Feb. ...  

Colombia FARC rebels to start disarmament process

Colombia FARC rebels to start disarmament process

Colombia’s Marxist FARC rebels can begin surrendering their weapons to the United Nations now that almost 7,000 of them have reached designated demobilization zones around the country, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Monday.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace agreement with the government late last year to put an end Latin America’s longest-running armed conflict, which killed more than 220,000 people.

The rebels will have turned in all their arms by June, Santos said.

“This weekend the process ...  

Ecuador Vote Count Delayed Until Wednesday as Protests Mount

Ecuador Vote Count Delayed Until Wednesday as Protests Mount

Ecuador’s top electoral authority will wait until Wednesday to announce whether the South American country faces a runoff presidential election, the organization’s President Juan Pablo Pozo said in a press conference.

As crowds of demonstrators gathered outside the offices of the National Electoral Council, or CNE, in Quito and other cities to demand the immediate publication of the results, Pozo told reporters “there is absolutely nothing to hide”. He said that the count has slowed down because the body needs to ...  

Venezuelan food crisis reflected in skipped meals and weight loss

Venezuelan food crisis reflected in skipped meals and weight loss

A mother contemplates how she does her food shopping amid shortages and high inflation in Venezuela: Whatever is cheapest in the season is what her children eat, substituting one thing for another and in much smaller portions than before.

“What I have at home is enough to give them a plain arepa, and it’s very little for each one,” the woman, Grecia Gonzalez, told CNN en Español, referring to the traditional white corn cakes. “And for me, I don’t care about ...  

What to expect from Ecuador’s elections

What to expect from Ecuador’s elections

WHEN Rafael Correa first ran for Ecuador’s presidency in 2006, supporters at his rallies brandished belts in homage to their candidate, whose surname means “belt” or “strap”. “Dale correa,” or “give them a whipping,” the crowds roared. It was a demand to punish what they regarded as the corrupt elites who had governed Ecuador since the return of democracy in 1979. Mr Correa promised he would. He won that election and then two more. His presidency brought a ...  

Now That Cuba Is Open, Americans Aren’t Going

Now That Cuba Is Open, Americans Aren’t Going

America, did you miss the travel industry’s memo declaring Cuba the hottest new destination?

Apparently. Service to the long-time U.S. foe began in September, but after just five months the largest carrier to the island, American Airlines Group Inc., cut daily flights by 25 percent and switched to smaller jets on some routes. Meanwhile, Silver Airways Corp. reduced weekly flights to six Cuban cities and JetBlue Airways Corp. downsized its planes so as to match lower-than-expected demand.

“It’s going to take ...  

Leopoldo Lopez: Venezuela court upholds 14-year prison sentence

Leopoldo Lopez: Venezuela court upholds 14-year prison sentence

Venezuela’s Supreme Court has upheld the 14-year jail sentence of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, a day after Donald Trump called for his release.

Mr Lopez was found guilty of inciting violence during protests in 2014 in which 43 people – from both sides of the political divide – were killed.

He has repeatedly said that his sentence was politically motivated.

Thursday’s ruling on an appeal by Mr Lopez’s defence makes the conviction final, officials said.

“Under ...  

Crime Accusations Have Long Dogged Tareck El Aissami, Venezuela’s No. 2

Crime Accusations Have Long Dogged Tareck El Aissami, Venezuela’s No. 2

By NICHOLAS CASEY and ANA VANESSA HERRERO

The drug trafficker was sitting in a Colombian prison cell, but he claimed to have a very valuable connection — the interior and justice minister of Venezuela.

The trafficker did not make that boast quietly. In 2010, he told a Colombian television network that the minister, Tareck El Aissami, was a “friend,” and that one of Mr. El Aissami’s brothers would do “whatever favor I needed.”

More accusations ...  

The blacklisting of Venezuela’s vice-president

The blacklisting of Venezuela’s vice-president

THE statement by the United States Treasury Department was blunt. It alleges that Tareck El Aissami, Venezuela’s vice-president, is a “prominent” drug trafficker, who amassed great wealth through his connections to gangs across Latin America, including Mexico’s vicious Zetas. Among the now-frozen American assets linked to him are three lavish apartments in the Four Seasons complex in Miami and a Gulfstream jet. If the allegations are true, Mr El Aissami’s carefully cultivated image as a true believer in ...  

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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.