Contrary to what most headlines suggested, and to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s claim that it’s the most important thing to have happened in Latin America in the past 100 years, the new group of 33 Latin American and Caribbean states created at a Dec 3 summit in Venezuela will hardly make it into history books.
In sharp contrast to the gloom surrounding US and European economic news, a new United Nations report has good news for Latin America; it says that poverty levels in the region have dropped to their lowest levels in 20 years, and will continue falling in 2012.
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — While Mexico’s bloody war against the drug cartels is making headlines worldwide, there is a little-known fact that is sounding alarm bells among US and Latin American officials: Central America’s drug-related violence is far worse than Mexico’s.
What was most surprising about Nicaragua’s election last Sunday was not that President Daniel Ortega was re-elected after a highly questionable electoral process, but that his victory got a seemingly unconditional blessing from 34-country Organization of American States chief Jose Miguel Insulza.
If political biographies of recent US presidents and top foreign policy officials are any indication of what goes on in their mind — and I think they are — the new book by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks for itself: it’s about 98 per cent about the Middle East, Russia and Asia, and 2 per cent about Latin America.
When I interviewed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently, I was curious to hear what he would say about US congressional criticism that the United Nations has become hijacked by totalitarian regimes.
Colombia, Panama and South Korea are celebrating the long-delayed U.S. congressional approval of their free trade agreements with Washington, which Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called “the most important treaty in our history.” But — at least for the two Latin American countries — the hard part is just starting now.
A group of 46 high-profile Mexican politicians and academics from across the ideological spectrum shook this country earlier this week with a daring proposal to end Mexico’s political gridlock: forcing whomever is elected president in 2012 to form a coalition government.
A Tweet I received from a Spanish follower hours after the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs caught my attention.
BRASILIA — While waiting at the Miami airport for my flight to Brazil one day last week, I read a press report that Brazil’s tourism minister was illegally using a government driver as his wife’s private chauffeur.
Now that most Latin American and Caribbean countries have announced that they will join Islamic nations in voting for the creation of a Palestine state along the 1967 borders at the United Nations General Assembly later this month, the proposed motion is almost certain to pass by a comfortable majority of at least 120 votes.
After a decade of record Latin American exports to China, which helped the region grow significantly despite the recent global recession, there are signs that the honeymoon may be coming to an end.
SANTIAGO, Chile— Critics of Chile’s free-market democratic model had a feast in recent days with images of massive student strikes and a two-day general strike that made headlines across the world.
SANTIAGO, Chile — The student protests that paralyzed Chile this week have been widely depicted as a symptom of the failure of this country’s free-market-oriented education system.
Despite the avalanche of bad news for President Barack Obama, he remains the most likely winner of the 2012 elections.
While much has been written about the fact that Latin America’s rapidly growing economies are largely immune to US financial woes, President Obama’s deal with Congress to avoid a US debt default will have a negative impact throughout the region.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
What irony! Despite all their grandiose rhetoric about Latin American unity, Brazil, Argentina and Chile have not yet come out in support of Agustín Carstens, the Latin American candidate to head the International Monetary Fund.
It’s no secret that China’s trade with the Americas has soared in recent years, but we are likely to see a major new phenomenon in coming years — an avalanche of Chinese foreign investments.
PANAMA CITY — Latin America’s most strategically-located country is booming, and its current prosperity is expected to accelerate in coming years thanks to a windfall of profits from the Panama Canal’s expansion.
Ecuador’s populist President Rafael Correa has made big headlines with his decision to expel the US ambassador from his country.
One of the most interesting things President Obama told me in a wide-ranging interview last week was something he mentioned almost in passing — that Latin America “is a key to US success.” Was it a sign of a new era in US ties with Latin America?
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — For a man who prides himself on having taken “unprecedented steps” to try to ease five-decade-old US tensions with Cuba, President Barack Obama did not look eager to make new gestures toward the Cuban military regime when I interviewed him Tuesday.
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.
MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Venezuelan-backed President Daniel Ortega has only 36 per cent of the vote in the polls, and is facing growing accusations of abuse of power and corruption.
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.
Colombian Navy soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint after a rebel attack in Lopez de Micay, in the state of Cauca, Colombia, Monday Feb 28, 2011.
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.
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.
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.
“Will 2011 be the dawn of the Latin American decade?” asked the headline of a Standard & Poor’s webcast that piqued my curiosity last week.
After two years of gradually losing popular support at home and political influence abroad, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez could be one of the big winners of a major rise in world oil prices triggered by the Egyptian uprising.
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.
For the past two years, the Obama administration has managed to keep its Latin American policy largely out of the headlines, focusing its energies on Iraq, Afghanistan and other
There have been big headlines in recent weeks about projections that Brazil will become the world’s fifth-largest economy in five years, and that Latin America in general will become a new global economic star.
Now that 2010 is almost over, it’s time to look at some of the stories that should have made the front pages throughout the Americas, but didn’t.
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.
MEXICO CITY — More than 6,000 environmental officials from throughout the world started a new round of United Nations talks this week in Cancun, hoping to reduce global warming.
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.
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.
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.
A lot has been written in recent days about the well-deserved Nobel prize for Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa.
Venezuela’s opposition leaders are ecstatic about the results of Sun-day’s legislative elections, which dealt a heavy blow to President Hugo Chávez.
There is a consensus among foreign policy pundits that Brazil is the upcoming world emerging power.
A new World Bank study is likely to raise high hopes in Brazil, Argentina, Peru and other South American commodity exporters.