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).


Report on Inter-Agency Transformation of U.S. Southern Command

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Tue, 04/28/2009 - 11:55

House Armed Services Committee Report 110-652 on the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act included a requirement for the Secretary of Defense to submit a written response to eight concerns the Committee had on the efforts of SOUTHCOM to transform itself. This report was due by July 31, 2008, yet we were just able to get a copy of it (PDF).


Revisiting the U.S. - Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Thu, 04/23/2009 - 15:46

Discussion surrounding the U.S. - Colombia Free Trade Agreement resurfaced this week in the news and in Washington after President Obama asked U.S.