Highlights from the Foreign Relations Authorization Act

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Tue, 05/26/2009 - 08:52

The House of Representatives sent its "Foreign Relations Authorization Act" for FY2010 and FY2011 to the Committee on Foreign Affairs last week (H.R. 2410). The point of the authorization bill is to make changes to the underlying laws governing the operations of the State Department and foreign aid, creating new programs, eliminating others, and altering others.


House and Senate versions of 2009 supplemental differ widely for Latin America

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Wed, 05/20/2009 - 08:41

The House has approved, and Senate is nearing approval, on versions of a "Supplemental Appropriation," an addition to the federal budget for 2009. The bill responds to a request (PDF) from the Obama administration to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other priorities. While supplemental appropriations to Latin America and the Caribbean make up only a small portion of the funds allocated in the bill, aid to Mexico skyrockets in the House version and therefore warrants special attention.


The Obama Administration's Latin America Team

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Mon, 05/18/2009 - 07:35

The Obama administration announced last week its third appointment of an official with responsibility for U.S. policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean. Arturo Valenzuela was nominated to be assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs.


El Salvador's Increasing Violence

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Wed, 05/13/2009 - 12:12

The Los Angeles Times published an article today, titled "El Salvador grapples with rising bloodshed." The news story highlights the increasing level of violence in El Salvador, a country which suffers "one of the highest [homicide rates] in the world." El Salvador's per capita homicide rate is 5 times that of Mexico and 10 times that of the United States, with an average of 12 people killed each day in the first three months of 2009, in a country of 7 mil


Department of Defense's FY2010 Budget Request

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Tue, 05/12/2009 - 15:07

The Obama administration's Defense Department released a "Special Topics report" (PDF) offering some information about how the Pentagon's 2010 budget request might affect assistance to Latin America. This report is far less detailed than the State Department report, on which we reported in the previous blog post.


Aid to Latin America increases 12% in State Department FY2010 request

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Tue, 05/12/2009 - 10:13

The Obama administration’s State Department released its Fiscal Year 2010 budget request to Congress last week, offering clues about what U.S. economic and military aid to Latin America might look like in a year.


The State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism 2008

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Wed, 05/06/2009 - 13:20

On April 30, the U.S. Department of State released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism for 2008. Of all Western Hemisphere countries, Cuba remained on the list of "State Sponsors of Terrorism" while Venezuela was singled out as having been "re-certified as 'not cooperating fully' with U.S.


Rep. Engel's Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission v. Sen. Webb's Criminal Justice Commission

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Wed, 05/06/2009 - 10:14

Over the past month, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) have introduced separate bills in their respective chambers that attempt to address U.S. public security and drug policy. Each bill aims to set up a bi-partisan commission to address failed U.S. policies and provide recommendations for improvement. While Representative Engel's bill (H.R.


A spotlight turns onto Chevron lawsuit in Ecuador

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Mon, 05/04/2009 - 13:30

Over the past week, a spotlight has turned onto an ongoing lawsuit against U.S. oil company Chevron-Texaco before a court in Ecuador.


Secretary Clinton on Latin America at the House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Thu, 04/30/2009 - 04:36

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing on April 22, 2009 to discuss the foreign policy priorities of the Obama administration (watch the webcast here).