OAS is a basket case – but a needed one

The 34-country Organization of American States is better known for its cocktail parties than for its contributions to mankind, but congressional Republicans may have been drunk the week before last when they voted to end all US funding to the regional institution.

South Korea’s school tablets — a test for all

South Korea’s announcement that it will ban all school paper textbooks and replace them with electronic tablets by 2014 should ring alarm bells in the United States, Europe and Latin America — many of our children run the risk of being left even farther behind their digital-savvy Asian counterparts.

Three Venezuelan scenarios – none of them good

Now that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has publicly conceded that he has cancer — after his regime had accused independent media of being “agents of imperialism” for speculating that his prolonged stay in Cuba was due to a serious illness — here are three scenarios of what may happen in Venezuela.

Chávez should get credit for economic miracle

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s critics have taken advantage of his three-week absence for treatment of what was at first an undisclosed illness in Cuba to blame him for all kinds of misdeeds, but it’s time to give him credit for having performed a true economic miracle in his country.

Plan to expel illegal immigrants will backfire

Republicans in Congress have launched a major offensive to force several million undocumented immigrants to leave the United States with a bill that would make it mandatory for US employers to electronically verify workers’ legal status.

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.