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.


International Narcotics Control Board Annual Report

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Thu, 02/19/2009 - 12:12

Today, Colombian and Bolivian newspapers covered the release of a new report by the International Narcotics Control Board of the United Nations.


President Chávez's Recent Victory

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 13:43

On Sunday, President Hugo Chávez bolstered his "mandate" in Venezuela when the "Yes" vote triumphed in a referendum to lift constitutional limits on presidential and political terms - despite the failure of a referendum that included the same question only a year ago.


Workers' Rights and Violence against Labor Union Leaders in Colombia

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Fri, 02/13/2009 - 11:16

In the middle of ongoing discussions about the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Colombia, the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing yesterday, February 12, 2009, on one of the pressing issues regarding the FTA: the rising violence against union labor leaders in Colombia. Although the topic of yesterday’s hearing was not specifically about the FTA, the issue was brought up on several occasions by Committee members.


"Drugs and Democracy: Toward a Paradigm Shift"

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Wed, 02/11/2009 - 12:30

Today, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy presented its main findings on the limits and unwanted effects of the 'war on drugs' in Latin America over the past 30 years. The Commission was headed by former Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil), César Gaviria (Colombia), and Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico) and includes 17 independent members.


Mexican Drug Cartels' Fear-Inducing Tactics

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Mon, 02/09/2009 - 12:26

Increasingly, major U.S. news sources are covering the rapidly spreading violence in Mexico's border towns and throughout the country. Today, it made the front page of the Washington Post after a Mexican general, along with his bodyguard and his driver, was tortured and killed in Cancun last week.


Growing Violence in Mexico and the Mérida Initiative

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 08:10

While last week we speculated about what would happen if the drug cartels in Mexico actually reached a truce, this week's news coverage on Mexico remains grim. According to El Universal, 508 people were killed in drug-related violence in January 2009 alone - more than double the amount of deaths in January 2008.