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On March 11th, 2009, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing to discuss U.S. policy in the region at the upcoming 5th annual Summit of Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. With the recent surge of violence in Mexico and the expulsion of additional U.S. officials from Bolivia, Latin America has become a focus of many hearings in Washington. The hearing was attended by many Committee members, all of whom had a lot to say. Below are a few of my favorite comments, paraphrased:

Summit of Americas must not be high point of relationship between Latin America and the United...

On Tuesday, the directors of two of the organizations participating in the "Just the Facts" project testified at a hearing about U.S. aid to Mexico, held by the House of Representatives' Appropriations Subcommittee for the State Department and Foreign Operations. Here is a statement put out by one of our witnesses, Latin America Working Group Education Fund Director Lisa Haugaard. This post also appears on the LAWGEF's new blog. Testimony from Ms. Haugaard, Washington Office on Latin America Director Joy...

Amid skyrocketing rates of drug-related violence in Mexico, President Felipe Calderón said the following on Monday, while meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy:

If the Mexican Army, the Federal Police, and local police are working and risking their lives for this fight [against narcotrafficking], in the name of the hundreds of Mexican police who have died, it is fundamental that the United States assume, through deeds, its part of the responsibility for this

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On March 3, 2009, the U.S. House Committee of Foreign Affairs held a hearing to discuss present and future relations with Bolivia. Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL-14) set the tone and focus of the hearing during his opening statement when he asked, “Is there still hope for a better relationship with Bolivia or is Evo Morales bound and determined in the stance that he is in?” Other members of the committee expressed their concern with the government of Morales; Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ-13) also posed a similar question, “Why would I [a foreign company] invest in a country with all the rhetoric coming...

Recent news stories such as "Mexican cartels plague Atlanta" and "Mexican cartels infiltrate Houston" bring home the idea that Mexican drug violence is having an effect on the United States. Coupled with the statements made by key Administration officials last week on increased cooperation with and aid for Mexico,...

Today, defense ministers from the 12 South American countries that make up UNASUR are meeting to mark the beginning of the South American Defense Council (CDS) - a body that becomes official tomorrow. Unlike NATO, the Council "does not aim to create a military force that operates internationally," Chilean Defense Minister José Goñi told EFE. Instead, it hopes to serve as a forum where the 12 nations can come together to improve confidence, communication and military cooperation in the region...

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