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At 1:00 p.m. today, President Bush will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, along with two former prime ministers: Tony Blair of the UK and John Howard of Australia. Many NGOs, including the Center for International Policy, Latin America Working Group, and the Washington Office on Latin America, have taken the opportunity to criticize Bush's decision to grant this award to President Uribe, describing it as "a disturbing example of the Bush administration's disregard...

During the past few weeks, we noticed a significant increase in discussion of defense budgets throughout the hemisphere. In most countries, defense spending is on the increase. Here is an overview of recent media coverage from CIP Intern Matthew Mcclellan. The combined defense budgets of South American states increased from US$39 billion in 2007 to US$50 billion in 2008. Most countries have become buyers in...

Yesterday National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he looked back on the "core convictions that have formed the basis of President Bush's foreign policy - what this administration has accomplished in key regions of the world - and what opportunities and challenges await the next administration." While his reminiscence spanned everything from the war in Iraq, to Russia, to relations with Europe, Hadley also revisited President Bush's policies...

Yesterday, the National Security Archive posted four declassified documents on its website showing that the U.S. government was aware since 1994 of allegations that members of the Colombian military frequently collaborated with paramilitary groups, and killed civilians to present the bodies as dead guerrillas. The documents describe the Colombian military's use of "death squad tactics in their counterinsurgency campaign," and the persistence of "body count mentalities, especially among Colombian army officers...

Violence in Mexico increased substantially during 2008 and it appears that the rise may continue well into 2009, as the Mexican government combats the country's powerful drug cartels. However, as pressure on narcotraffickers increases in both Mexico and Colombia, drug-related violence has seeped into many of the countries' neighbors, a topic that emerged in various media articles across the region this week. According to one article in La Nacion, one of Argentina's top newspapers, the spread of...

Here is our list of the most significant news stories in 2008 relating to U.S. policy and security in Latin America.

March: Colombia bombs a Farc encampment in Ecuador, killing Raul Reyes...

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