Ex-leaders can play a big role in Venezuela

The recent visit by three former Latin American leaders to Venezuela has not only helped draw attention to their assertion that the region’s democracies have “abandoned” Venezuela, but has shown that former presidents can play a larger-than-expected role in pushing for democracy in Latin America.

Prosecutor tied Iran’s leader to 1994 bombing

Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman made headlines before his mysterious death last weekend by accusing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of trying to cover up Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, but there was another — more important — leader who was at the centre of the deceased prosecutor’s probe: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

Many Latin leaders reacted weakly to Paris terror

The official reaction of Venezuela, Argentina, Ecua-dor and several other Latin American countries to the Islamic radicals terrorist attack against the French magazine Charlie Hebdo was not only weak, but shameful; they condemned the bloodshed but not its intention to silence the press.

Latin America’s innovation tasks for 2015

Here are a few little-noticed actions that experts agree Latin American countries should take in 2015 to improve their innovation, science, technology and education systems, which are rated very poorly in international rankings and are key to their economic future.

Latin America 2015: A leaderless region

The start of 2015 finds Latin America turned into a leaderless region, in which the countries with the biggest political clout in recent years — Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico — have been significantly weakened by domestic troubles.

US-Cuba thaw may rock Caribbean tourism

One of the big questions following President Barack Obama’s decision to significantly expand US tourism to Cuba will be how much it will affect other Caribbean tourism destinations such as the Dominican Republic, Jamaica or Cancun.

Probably too soon to call Cuba policy change ‘historic’

While President Barack Obama’s announcement Wednesday that he will normalize relations with Cuba is the biggest diplomatic breakthrough with the island after six decades of hostilities, his speech may have been less “historic” than he portrayed it, according to numerous US congressional sources and Cuba experts.

Canal calamity looms in Nicaragua

Forget about the Deepwater Horizon. If Nicaragua’s $50 billion transoceanic canal scheduled to start construction on December 22 becomes a reality, it could be the world’s biggest environmental disaster in recent memory.

US colleges seeing more Latin Americans

Latin American programmes to send more students to US universities are beginning to bear fruit, even if the number of Latin American students in US higher education institutions remains way behind those of China, India, South Korea and even Vietnam.

DC marijuana vote will test ‘war on drugs’

Here’s the biggest irony of Tuesday’s mid-term elections: the US government will continue demanding that Mexico, Colombia and other countries fight the marijuana trade as part of its “war on drugs,” while Washington voters have just approved making pot legal in the US capital.

Brazil, US relations unlikely to warm

WASHINGTON – The big question among Brazil watchers in this capital is whether newly re-elected President Dilma Rousseff will improve her government’s ailing ties with the United States during her second term.

Challenger would change Brazil’s ties with region’s left

If opposition candidate Aecio Neves wins Brazil’s October 26 runoff election — a possibility that virtually no pollster is ruling out — South America’s biggest country would “de-politicize” its foreign policy and end 12 years of preferential ties with Venezuela, Argentina and other leftist governments, top aides to Neves say.

US wrong on Venezuela’s Security Council seat

When Democrats and Republicans in the ultra-polarized US Congress put out a joint foreign policy statement, as they did when they urged the Obama administration to oppose Venezuela’s admission to the United Nations Security Council, it’s sometimes worth reading.

Brazilian election could help end country’s ‘paralysis’

By Andres Oppenheimer aoppenheimer@MiamiHerald.com   Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso confirmed last week something that many of us have suspected: If the opposition wins the October 5 presidential election, there will be changes in Brazilian foreign policy that might affect all of Latin America.

Obama should go to summit – and challenge Cuba

President Barack Obama’s biggest upcoming diplomatic challenge in Latin America will be whether to attend the 34-country Summit of the Americas alongside Cuban leader Raúl Castro, who has been invited by the host country — Panama — over US objections.

Brazil’s vote could change region’s political map

New polls showing that opposition candidate Marina Silva is likely to win Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections are leading growing numbers of analysts to predict that Latin America’s biggest country may soon shift toward more business-friendly policies, and rock the whole region’s political scene.

Obama: Yes to Africa, No to Latin America?

Watching President Barack Obama at his mega-summit with nearly 50 African heads of state in Washington, D.C., in which he announced $33 billion in investments and vowed to increase access to electricity to 60 million African households, many of us asked ourselves the same question — why doesn’t he do the same with Latin America?

Argentina’s default could hurt the world

I hate to agree with Argentina’s government, a bunch of mostly corrupt pseudo-progressives who have ruined the country despite benefiting from the biggest world commodity price windfall in recent history, but it is mostly right in its dispute with bondholders that led to Argentina’s default.