President Obama's meeting with President Lula

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Mon, 03/16/2009 - 13:59

On Saturday, Brazilian President Lula da Silva met with President Obama at the White House. He was the first Latin American head of state to be received in Washington since Obama's inauguration.


Summit of Americas Hearing

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Fri, 03/13/2009 - 14:44

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:


The U.S. Debates Drug Cartel Violence in Mexico

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Thu, 03/12/2009 - 09:51

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.


Helping Mexico

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Thu, 03/12/2009 - 09:36

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


U.S.-Bolivia Relations: Looking Ahead

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Tue, 03/10/2009 - 15:07

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.


Mexico's Violence Packs Capitol Hill's Agenda

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Mon, 03/09/2009 - 13:40

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.


The South American Defense Council

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Mon, 03/09/2009 - 12:01

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.


Increasing Aid to Mexico?

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 05:19

On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press. In addition to talking about Iraq and the difference between President Obama and President Bush, Gates spoke about the current security concerns in Mexico and the potential for more U.S. – Mexico cooperation in the fight against the drug cartels (watch the video here). Gates mentioned that the current climate of U.S.


2009 aid nears approval in Congress

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 09:56

The U.S. Congress is nearing completion of the 2009 federal budget. On Wednesday, the House passed the "omnibus" spending bill, which combines ten sections of the budget, with a recorded vote of 398 - 24. The Senate will take it up next week.


The Rumors: Appointments for Latin America-focused positions

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 11:18

The Obama Administration has not announced its appointments for important Latin America-focused posts, including assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere affairs, or National Security Council senior director on Latin America. However, that does not stop the speculation. Foreign Policy magazine's The Cable blog has been a frequent source of the latest rumors. Here are their speculations about who might get these top Latin America jobs.