Andres Oppenheimer

Romney should heed Payá’s message

It’s very nice of US politicians to express their grief over the death of Cuban dissident leader Oswaldo Payá, but if they really want to honour his memory, they should stop making aggressive statements that play directly into the hands of the Castro brothers’ dictatorship.

Obama’s outsourcing ad is demagogic populism

President Barack Obama’s campaign ad slamming Gov Mitt Romney for allegedly heading companies that “were pioneers in outsourcing US jobs to low-wage countries,” and claiming that “President Obama believes in insourcing” is unfair, hypocritical and dangerously deceptive.

Obama, Romney should take up regional agenda

Outgoing World Bank President Robert B Zoellick, who is being mentioned as a possible candidate for US Secretary of the Treasury or State if Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wins in the November elections, is trying to resurrect an ambitious idea: a hemispheric free trade area.

UN Rio+20 summit misses the point

The 120 heads of state and some 50,000 environmentalists, social activists, and business leaders gathered this week in Brazil for the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development deserve credit for trying to save the planet, but they may be missing the point about the best way to do it.

New ‘Pacific Alliance’ bloc may have a chance

When I interviewed Chilean President Sebastian Piñera last week after the signing of an agreement to create the four-country ‘Pacific Alliance‘ trade bloc and he said it’s Latin America’s most ambitious economic integration project, my first reaction was of respectful scepticism.

Leaders lie blatantly about OAS rights group

All politicians lie, or sometimes play games with the truth, but the Presidents of Bolivia and Ecuador were so off the mark when they asked the Organization of American States to effectively kill its Human Rights Commission that one can only wonder whether they were being ignorant or blatant liars.

Uribe v Santos feud could cripple Colombia

It’s not unusual in Latin American politics for presidents to clash with their predecessors who once helped elect them, but the current feud between former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and President Juan Manuel Santos goes beyond anything I’ve seen in a long time.

Mexico’s boring election won’t be a bore

MEXICO CITY — Polls show that centre-left opposition leader Enrique Peña Nieto is likely to easily win the July 1 presidential elections and put an end to 12 years of centre-right governments, but after several days in this country I haven’t found anybody who is really excited about his widely expected victory.

Region’s one laptop per child plan has a future

- but has not improved maths, reading skills

Four years after Latin America made headlines by becoming a world leader in giving out free laptops to millions of schoolchildren — an idea that has since been embraced by more than 20 African, Asian and Eastern European countries — the first results are in, and they give some reasons for hope.

Central America is no Somalia, but close

When I asked Guatemala’s new President Otto Perez Molina whether Central America is rapidly becoming a lawless place run by armed bands, much like Somalia, he shook his head and responded that any comparison with the African country is “exaggerated.” Days earlier, on Feb 20, the Spanish daily El País had published an article by Salvadoran political analyst and former Marxist guerrilla leader Joaquin Villalobos, in which he has stated that Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras run a clear and present danger of becoming “a Latin American Somalia.” Among his arguments: Honduras and El Salvador are already the world’s two most violent countries, with a murder rate of 81 and 66 people per 100,000 inhabitants a year, respectively, according to United Nations figures.

Not a smart move

Bogota, Colombia— The US State Department wasn’t terribly smart when it rejected a demand by Latin American populist leaders that Cuba be invited to an April 14 summit of President Barack Obama with 33 hemispheric leaders in Colombia.