Could the next step in Venezuela’s crisis be a regionally brokered solution?

Amid the massive anti-government protests that have left at least 29 dead and more than 400 wounded, Venezuela’s National Assembly president, Julio Borges — one of the country’s top opposition leaders — told me in an interview that there are behind-the-scenes talks with Latin American presidents to create a “group of friendly countries” that would seek a negotiated solution to the political crisis.

Japan’s robot revolution will impact US jobs

TOKYO — While visiting Japan and interviewing officials on the robotics revolution that is sweeping much of Asia, it became clearer than ever to me that President Donald Trump’s plans to bring back low-skilled manufacturing jobs to America are a political illusion.

Odebrecht scandal in Latin America shows need for new technology

The biggest bribery scandal in Latin America’s recent memory — the Odebrecht construction giant’s nearly $800 million in illegal payments to government officials in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela and several other countries — should become a turning point in the region’s fight against corruption.

After helping Trump, will Russia meddle in other elections?

A little-noticed paragraph in the recent US intelligence community report about Russia’s hacking of the US elections makes me wonder whether Moscow’s next step will be to conduct cyber-espionage campaigns to help elect authoritarian populist leaders in Germany and France’s elections this year, and in Mexico’s 2018 elections.

Latin America, US perform lousy on student math tests

The results of the new international PISA tests of 15-year-old students should be ringing alarm bells throughout Latin America: they show that 63 per cent of Latin American students lack basic skills in math, and in some countries that figure is as high as 91 per cent.

Rio Games are an Olympic economic disaster

Judging from the disastrous news surrounding the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the best thing that could happen to Latin American countries—or perhaps to all countries that apply to be hosts of future Olympic Games—is to lose their bids, and save themselves from a monumental waste of money.

Mexico may veer to the left in 2018

While most of Latin America is shifting to the right, there is a potential exception that may soon keep US policymakers awake at night: the possibility of a populist leftist victory in Mexico’s 2018 elections.

Peru’s president-elect demands freedoms in Venezuela

Peru’s pro-business President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski won his country’s elections by a hair with the last-minute help of a leftist party, but — judging from what he told me in an interview — he won’t budge on his criticism of Venezuela and other repressive regimes.

Venezuela needs OAS action right now

What a shame. The historic decision by Organization of American States chief Luis Almagro to call for an official regional discussion on Venezuela’s break with democratic rule may be derailed by a group of countries that say they support democracy, but are really buying time for the Venezuelan regime.

Mexican flags hurt anti-Trump camp

Donald Trump might be a xenophobic and racist demagogue, but the people who chant “Viva Mexico!” and wave Mexican flags at anti-Trump rallies across the United States are doing him a big favour.

A Latin American woman for UN secretary general?

When Argentine President Mauricio Macri recently blessed his foreign minister Susana Malcorra’s candidacy for secretary general of the United Nations, the joke in Argentina was that the country already has a Pope (Francis) and the world’s best soccer player (Lionel Messi) so it was only natural that it should seek the top UN job.

Brazil’s new foreign policy is promising

Judging from what Brazil Foreign Minister Jose Serra suggested in an interview, Latin America’s biggest country will make a major change in its foreign policy: It will no longer be an unconditional supporter and ideological ally of Cuba, Venezuela, and other authoritarian regimes.

Peru deals new blow to Latin America’s left

Here’s what’s most remarkable about Peru’s April 10 first-round election, which will result in a June 5 runoff vote between Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski: Nearly 80 per cent of the people voted against a Venezuelan-like leftist-populist model.

Are most Latin American elections rigged?

The Panama Papers, a massive leak of 11.5 million documents from a Panamanian law firm that expose the ultimate owners of thousands of shell companies, have drawn a lot of public attention in recent weeks, but I’m just as intrigued by the lesser-known Bogota Papers.

Brazil’s crisis shows new regional reality

There’s a little-noticed development that says a lot about the rapid demise of Latin America’s leftist populist bloc: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s government is falling apart, and none of the region’s major diplomatic groups is coming to its rescue.

Obama’s tango with Latin America

President Obama charmed Argentines by dancing the tango during his visit to the South American country recently, but his trip may be remembered for something much more important: It may mark the start of a new cycle of much closer US-Latin American ties.

Obama’s impact in Cuba will be limited

  People will assess the impact of President Barack Obama’s historic trip to Cuba for years to come, but a long conversation with Cuba’s oldest and best-known human-rights leader shortly before the US president’s visit left me skeptical that there will be significant changes on the island anytime soon.