Posts Tagged ‘Roger Noriega’

Remarks of Ambassador Roger F. Noriega on “Promoting Human Rights and Democratic Reforms in Cuba”

| January 23rd, 2015 | No Comments »
By Roger Noriega

Remarks of Ambassador Roger F. Noriega

Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Forum on “Promoting Human Rights and Democratic Reforms in Cuba”

At the Heritage Foundation, Friday, January 23, 2015

Those of us who are critics of President Obama’s new initiatives on Cuba do not oppose them because we hope he’s wrong, but because we know he’s wrong.

We know that the single biggest obstacle to economic and political freedom in Cuba for 55 years has been and still is the Castro regime. We know that a courageous, quiet, Christian, Oswaldo Payá, who sought a plebiscite under the rules of Castro’s own constitution, was killed when police ran his car off the road in southeastern Cuba in July 2012.

We know that an American aid worker, Alan Gross, who tried simply to offer Cuba’s small Jewish community Internet access on the island was held hostage for five years for his efforts. We know that while the Obama ... Read More

Obama should help Cubans, not Castro

| January 16th, 2015 | No Comments »

Touted as a historic shift in US-Cuba relations, ironically, the Obama administration’s latest initiatives serve to reinforce the status quo — legitimizing and benefiting a regime that has a 55-year track record of opposing change.

President Obama’s new Cuba policy is taking shape this week as his administration announced high-level talks on diplomatic recognition of the Castro regime and released new regulations to liberalize travel to and transactions with the island. Touted as a historic shift in US-Cuba relations, ironically, all of these initiatives serve to reinforce the status quo — legitimizing and benefiting a regime that has a 55-year track record of opposing change. Accepting that this is not what the president intended, he must get serious about engaging the 11 million people of Cuba rather than placating the regime that torments them.

The State Department has announced that Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson will travel ... Read More

“Obama debe ser muy agresivo aplicando las sanciones contra funcionarios de Venezuela”: Roger Noriega en NTN24

| December 12th, 2014 | No Comments »

El exembajador de Estados Unidos ante la OEA, Roger Noriega, dijo en El Informativo de NTN24 que Estados Unidos está “comprometido con el Estado de Derecho y la democracia” de América Latina, por lo que el Gobierno de Barack Obama deberá ser drástico con las sanciones a los funcionarios del régimen venezolano que violaron los derechos humanos de los ciudadanos de este país. 

De click aquí para ver la entrevista.

Read More

Colombian president doubles down on talks with narcoguerrillas

| December 4th, 2014 | No Comments »

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos is betting his presidency on unpopular peace talks with a guerrilla group notorious for terrorism and narcotrafficking. He moved quickly to renew the peace process with the Fuerzas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, after the group released of Brigadier General Rubén Darío Alzate and two other kidnap victims last Sunday.  Meanwhile, the incident appears to have galvanized negative attitudes toward the FARC, and the president and his peace initiative are losing popular support.

Santos was forced to suspend the Havana-based talks after Alzate and two companions were captured by guerrillas in the western province of Chocó on November 16th. Upon hearing of the kidnapping in mid-November, it was clear that Santos was concerned that the incident would undermine the FARC talks; he publicly questioned why Alzate violated military protocols while visiting a conflict zone.  In an emotional news conference after his release, Alzate offered his resignation, which ... Read More

Executive disorder

| November 21st, 2014 | 1 Comment »

If the president’s primary objective was fixing our broken immigration system, he should have been willing to wait until the Republican-led Congress takes power in a few weeks and challenged it to act on a series of practical reforms.

The executive order on immigration announced by President Obama on Thursday night has Republicans in Congress so mad they can’t think straight. But when they can, they will realize that the president cannot give effect to his words without their consent. Indeed, his speech will be remembered for making it harder to fix our immigration system so that it serves our economic interests, secures our borders, and offers recourse to millions of illegal aliens who are part of our communities.

The president has insisted more than a dozen times in the last several years that he has no legal authority to act unilaterally to suspend deportations. Last ... Read More

Republicans Should Signal Leadership, at Home and Abroad

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Roll Call

The 2014 midterm elections were a rejection of the policies of President Barack Obama. And the Republican takeover of the Senate is a repudiation of the gridlock in Congress symbolized by the bare-knuckles tactics of outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The new Republican Senate leadership should move swiftly to seize the high ground and signal it is ready to do the peoples’ business. Quick action on several international issues — the Keystone XL pipeline, trade promotion authority and long-delayed ambassadorial nominations — are bipartisan actions that Republicans should put on the table even before they take over in January.

Although opinion polls show voters favor Republican positions on the economy, foreign policy and security, the party’s brand needs burnishing. As Obama hints at a more confrontational tone that could undermine any hope of making Washington work, Republicans can rise above Obama’s blame game by working with Democrats on tangible initiatives to bolster America’s ... Read More

Mexico’s missing students generate unwanted attention on security

| November 4th, 2014 | No Comments »


Mexican authorities are scrambling to quell the furor caused by the disappearance of 43 college students in late September from Iguala, a municipality in the southern state of Guerrero. Once again, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration has been caught off-guard by a scandal that shows that Mexico has not out-grown its history of insecurity and corruption.

Many suspect that the students are the victims of drug-related violence that continues unabated in various parts of the country. According to local published reports, the mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca, suspected that some of the missing students had ties to the narco-trafficking organization, Los Rojos, and ordered that they be detained and turned over to members of Guerreros Unidos, a rival drug gang allegedly managed by Abarca’s wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda.

The state of Guerrero has seen high levels of criminality ... Read More

Close vote in Brazil reveals a deeply divided nation

| October 27th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff won a second four-year term yesterday, defeating challenger Aécio Neves by a margin of 51.6% to 48.4%. Rousseff waged one of the most negative campaigns in memory, conjuring fears that Neves would cut government anti-poverty programs rather than explaining how she plans to pull the world’s seventh largest economy out of recession.

The close result paints a picture of a deeply divided nation—politically, socially, and geographically. Rousseff last night pledged to initiate a dialogue and to be “a much better president than I have been until now.” Although Rousseff pledged during the campaign to replace her finance minister, her stout defense of the status quo gives little reason to expect that she will abandon her interventionist economic policies in a second term.

Sunday’s results were greeted with skittishness in the private sector, which had hoped that Neves’ free-market programs might jumpstart a flagging economy. For example, Brazil’s currency the real dipped to a nine-year low.

During ... Read More

Challenger makes strong start in sprint to runoff in Brazil

| October 10th, 2014 | No Comments »

Good news this week for Aécio Neves, the Social Democrat who is challenging Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in the October 26th runoff election: Neves landed the endorsement of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) on Wednesday; and the first three polls published since the initial round of voting on October 5th show him leading Rousseff by two- to eight-point margins.

In the first round, Rousseff received 41.6% of the vote and Neves 33.5%; these top two candidates will square off in the second round. The PSB’s candidate, the former environmental minister and senator, Marina Silva, finished third, receiving about 21.3%. The 22 million votes cast for Silva is roughly the same number she received as the Green Party nominee in 2010—underscoring her personal appeal to a sizeable bloc of voters.

Silva’s support could be pivotal; according to pundits, in order to defeat Rousseff, Neves would have to capture the support of 70% of Silva’s voters. Although the ... Read More

In Brazil’s election, the surprises keep coming

| October 6th, 2014 | No Comments »

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff fell short of winning a majority in Sunday’s first round of voting and must face centrist, free-market candidate Aécio Neves in a run-off election on October 26. Rousseff won 41.6% of the votes cast, followed by Neves with 33.5% and environmentalist maverick Marina Silva with 21.3%.

Rousseff and her Workers’ Party focused their decidedly negative campaign on beating back a challenge by Silva, who had surged dramatically in the polls after assuming the Socialist Party nomination just six weeks ago. Neves had slipped badly in those same polls, so his strong second-place finish exceeded expectations and gives the Social Democrat some momentum heading into the three-week runoff campaign.

Silva took center stage in Brazil after a plane crash took the life of the Socialist Party nominee, Eduardo Campos. Silva’s humble roots and rejection of traditional political party politics rallied the support of millions of disaffected Brazilians. Reputable polls showed her ... Read More

Brazilians May Opt for Experience over Change in Election

| October 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

This week, Brazil’s stock index dipped sharply and the national currency, the real, slumped after polls showed incumbent Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff securing a lead in the run-up to Sunday’s first round of voting. This reaction by capital markets reflects misgivings about the continuation of statist policies that have dried up jobs, driven up debt and led the world’s seventh-largest economy into a recession.

Although Rousseff has recovered her lead over the 10 other candidates, she will likely fall short of obtaining an outright majority and will be forced into a run-off Oct. 26 against free-market maverick Marina Silva. And while most observers expect Rousseff to win re-election by challenging Silva’s lack of executive experience, the campaign has exposed profound popular doubts about the president’s own management of Brazil’s economy.

Taking over the Socialist Party nomination after the death of governor Eduardo Campos in an August plane crash, Silva appealed ... Read More

Mexico’s Energy Reform: So Far, So Good

| September 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Inside Sources

By Roger F. Noriega and Felipe Trigos

The enactment of the “secondary legislation” to implement Mexico’s energy reform is an impressive step forward.  That country’s economic future could be fundamentally transformed, if Mexico’s leaders follow through on a transparent, sustained effort to modernize the oil, gas, and electricity sectors and keep government spending and interference from undermining prosperity.

For the first time in 80 years, Mexico has opened the door to private investment in the energy sector, leaving behind years of anachronistic resource nationalism that has contributed to the decline of the state-owned oil company, Pemex, and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).

Insufficient investment in exploration and infrastructure, over-taxation, political interference, union influence, and corruption all have contributed to the decline of Pemex.  From 2001 to 2013, oil production in Mexico fell more than 30 percent. Meanwhile, the CFE has lost almost a billion dollars in 2012 and 2013 for similar ... Read More

NORIEGA: La inseguridad de Centro América intensifica la crisis en la frontera sur de Estados Unidos

| July 25th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times

La oleada de inmigrantes ilegales en la frontera suroeste de los Estados Unidos,  hizo sonar la alarma para el Presidente y el Congreso e impulsar una misión de rescate internacional para enfrentar a criminales, narcotraficantes y pandilleros que amenazan la seguridad de EE.UU., junto con las vidas y sustento de millones de centroamericanos.

El presidente Obama ha solicitado $3.7 mil millones en fondos de emergencia para hacer frente a la afluencia de inmigrantes ilegales a lo largo de la frontera de Estados Unidos con México. A pesar de que la suma es considerable, es evidente que los programas que están siendo ejecutados y planificados por la administración son medidas provisionales. Estas medidas no hacen nada para hacer frente al causante del problema a largo plazo: la creciente criminalidad  y la corrupción en Centroamérica, que en su mayoría son alimentadas por el tráfico ilegal de drogas provocado por la demanda de los ... Read More

NORIEGA: Central American insecurity fuels U.S. border crisis

| July 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article Appeared in The Washington Times

The surge of illegal immigrants at the U.S. southwest border
should sound the alarm for the President and Congress to lead an
international rescue mission to confront murderous narco-traffickers
and street gangsters who threaten U.S. security along with the lives and
livelihood of millions of Central Americans.

President Obama has requested $3.7 billion in emergency
funding to cope with the influx of illegal immigrants along the
 US-Mexico border. Notwithstanding that considerable sum, it is clear
that the programs currently being implemented and planned by the
administration are primarily stopgap measures. They do nothing to
address the long-term driver of the problem: the escalating
criminality and corruption in Central America—most of it fueled by
illegal drug trafficking driven by U.S. demand—that undermines
democratic institutions, rule of law, economic opportunity, and public

The immediate task is to staunch the current explosion of
illegal crossings, including thousands of unaccompanied minors.
Although the uptick in violence in their homelands contributes to
economic dislocation and fear, loose talk about a more permissive ... Read More

Why isn’t Mexico’s security strategy working?

| June 12th, 2014 | No Comments »


Key Points:

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto must recognize that security is not a distraction from his economic agenda and that confronting criminal enterprises is indispensable to the nation’s stability and prosperity. Peña Nieto has not implemented an effective security strategy, and his response to drug violence is uncalibrated and improvised. Mexico should respond more effectively to innovative, globalized cartels and be more receptive to US collaboration so that it can counter criminality fueled by US demand for illicit drugs.

President Enrique Peña Nieto came to power in Mexico 18 months ago promising to reform Mexico’s economy to make it more competitive and prosperous. He also stressed the need to change the controversial antidrug strategy pursued by his predecessor, Felipe Calderón.

Although Peña Nieto has made considerable progress on an ambitious economic agenda thus far, he has been slow to articulate, let alone implement, an alternative strategy for dealing ... Read More

¿Cuba ofrece oportunidades a empresas estadounidenses?

| June 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Inter-American Dialogue

Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin American Advisor

Preguntas y Respuestas Destacadas


El presidente de la Cámara de Comercio de EE.UU., Thomas Donohue, encabezó una delegación a finales de mayo durante una visita a Cuba para evaluar los cambios económicos bajo el régimen de Raúl Castro. Esta fue la primera visita de la cámara a la isla comunista desde 1999. El viaje fue criticado por legisladores, incluyendo a el presidente del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores, senador Robert Menéndez (demócrata por Nueva Jersey). El senador Menéndez comentó que  el encarcelamiento de líderes empresariales extranjeros, la violación de las normas internacionales de trabajo y la negación de derechos básicos a los ciudadanos “difícilmente parecen una oportunidad atractiva para cualquier hombre de negocios”. ¿Qué logró el viaje de Donahue? ¿Qué oportunidades ofrece Cuba para las empresas de los Estados Unidos? ¿Qué importancia y éxito han tenido las reformas económicas de Castro?

Respuesta de Roger Noriega, director ejecutivo de Vision ... Read More

Does Cuba Offer Opportunities for U.S. Businesses?

| June 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Inter-American Dialogue

Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin American Advisor

Featured Q&A

Does Cuba Offer Opportunities for U.S. Businesses?


U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Thomas Donohue led a delegation in late May to Cuba for a three-day visit to assess economic changes happening under President Raúl Castro. It was the chamber’s first visit to the communist island since 1999. The trip drew criticism from lawmakers including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) who said Cuba’s jailing of foreign business leaders, violation of international labor standards and denial of basic rights to citizens “hardly seem an attractive opportunity for any business leader.” What did Donahue’s trip accomplish? What opportunities does Cuba offer for U.S. businesses? How significant and successful have Castro’s economic reforms been?

Response from Roger Noriega, managing director of Vision Americas LLC, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs:

“Tragically, five decades of absolutist rule have demonstrated that there is very little ... Read More

Bipartisan Venezuela sanctions legislation builds momentum

| May 9th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
By Roger Noriega

An extraordinary bipartisan coalition of US Senators used a hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee Thursday to pummel the Obama administration’s passive Venezuela policy. The State Department witness made little headway in discouraging legislation that prescribes targeted sanctions on Venezuelan officials who have been killing, arresting, and abusing street protestors for more than two months.

What has become abundantly clear over the past weeks—though perhaps not at Foggy Bottom—is that approval of that legislation is needed to put the United States squarely on the side of the Venezuelan people who are confronting the criminal, incompetent, and illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded the late despot Hugo Chávez just over a year ago.

Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, defended US policy supporting an ongoing “dialogue” between the Maduro government and elements of the democratic opposition. Led by Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ), senators on the panel challenged the effectiveness of the dialogue strategy, ... Read More

Favoreciendo la ‘estabilidad’ sobre la libertad en Venezuela

| May 7th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
The American

Roger F. Noriega

La política de EE.UU. hacia Venezuela no es sólo injusta, sino tonta.

La Habana y Washington están en lados opuestos de prácticamente todas las cuestiones de política exterior – ya sea Irán, Siria, Ucrania, Corea del Norte, el terrorismo, o incluso el destino de Sahara Occidental. El único lugar en el planeta en el que Estados Unidos y Cuba parecen haber encontrado un terreno común es en Venezuela, donde los dos favorecen un ridículo “diálogo nacional” para poner fin a  un levantamiento popular contra el régimen incompetente y criminal de Nicolás Maduro.

Cuando los miembros de la Comisión de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado cuestionen a la encargada de políticas latinoamericanas del gobierno de Obama, la secretaria adjunta de Estado Roberta Jacobson, el jueves por la mañana, puede ser que pregunten por qué está en el interés de EE.UU. el ayudar a un régimen izquierdista hostil a aplastar las protestas democráticas, ... Read More

Protesters Burn Effigies of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro

| April 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon


Protests in Venezuela continued over the weekend following President Nicolas Maduro’s refusal to offer concessions in talks with the opposition.

Masked protesters burned effigies of Maduro and used petrol bombs as police sprayed them with tear gas and water cannons. Many of the protesters are peaceful but some have resorted to violence.

The unrest has resulted in about 40 deaths, which the opposition blames on state security forces and pro-government militias known as “colectivos.” Some U.S. lawmakers have pressed for sanctions against the government in response.

“There are many who have already died and it’s for them that we’re here,” one protester told the BBC. “They’re not going to have an Easter again, nor carnival.”

Recent talks between Maduro and the opposition yielded few concrete results. Opposition leaders say the mismanagement of Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, the late strongman who ruled Venezuela for 14 years, has culminated in soaring crime rates, rampant inflation, and shortages ... Read More

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