Obama’s biggest challenge – Central America

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — The country that will receive the most attention during President Barack Obama’s ongoing visit to Latin America — other than Libya — will be Brazil, but the place where he will probably have the biggest, and most needed, impact will be Central America.

Egypt, Tunisia could learn from Chile’s transition

Latin View

WASHINGTON — Here is an interesting idea that is drawing attention in US foreign policy circles — help Egypt, Tunisia and other countries in the Arab world learn some valuable lessons from Latin America’s most successful transitions to democracy.

US should cut waste in immigration budget

Latin View

As the Obama administration and Congress battle on how to reduce the $1.6 trillion US budget deficit, here’s a politically incorrect idea that could save billions of dollars — cut the waste in the government’s spending on immigration enforcement.

South American stock exchange: the way to go

Latin View

The merger of the New York and Frankfurt stock exchanges to create the world’s biggest stock market made big headlines last week, but there is a lesser-known process in South America that should also draw our attention – the union of the Chilean, Peruvian and Colombian stock exchanges.

US aid cuts could be ‘diplomatic suicide’

On the occasion of the recent anniversary of the earthquake that shook Haiti last year, killing about 300,000 people and destroying thousands of schools and hospitals, I read a statistic that blew my mind – Venezuela has pledged more funds for Haiti’s reconstruction than the United States.

Obama’s trip may lead to US-Brazil honeymoon

Latin View

President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will visit Brazil, Chile and El Salvador in March – in what will be his first trip to South America – could result in an improvement in Brazil-US ties following a significant downturn over the past two years.

WikiLeaks may end up helping America

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have spoken too fast when she denounced the release of about 250,000 confidential diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks as “an attack on America.” In the short run, the disclosures will hurt US diplomacy, but in the long run they may help restore the US image abroad.

Bachelet faces uphill battle at UN Women

Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is a smart, highly-educated politician, and a skilful negotiator, but I wonder whether she did the right thing in agreeing to head the United Nations’ new agency for women’s rights, scheduled to start operating Jan 1.

Region ignoring Venezuela coup threats

What a sham! While the Venezuelan military announces it will not accept an opposition victory in the 2012 elections, thousands of people are dying in Mexico’s drug wars and Haiti is suffering from a deadly cholera epidemic, the Organization of American States – supposedly in charge of addressing the region’s biggest problems – is nowhere to be seen.

Kirchner’s death may mark end of an era

The death of former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner will most likely make it difficult for current President Cristina Fernández – his widow – to govern, and may speed up Argentina’s reluctant insertion into the global economy.