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.


Cartel truce in Mexico?

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Thu, 01/29/2009 - 04:52

The Los Angeles Times reports this morning that warring drug-trafficking gangs in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa may have declared a truce in December. The result is a sudden drop in the narco-fueled violence that claimed more than 5,000 lives across Mexico last year.


Robert Gates on the Growing Presence of Russia and Iran in Latin America

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Wed, 01/28/2009 - 14:27

Recently, the growing presence of Russia and Iran in Latin America - especially in left-wing governments such as Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia - has elicited some concern in the United States. Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gave his opinion on Russia and Iran's role in Latin America at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on challenges the Defense Department faces.


Speculation Continues on Relocation of Manta Air Base

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Thu, 01/22/2009 - 12:33

At the end of July 2008, Ecuador formally notified the United States that it will not renew the United States' ten-year agreement to use the Manta air base as a "Forward Operating Location" when it expires in November 2009. The United States has therefore "officially" known of the need to find a new location for the air base for six months and "unofficially" has been aware of its potential closing since Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa's election in 2006.


Looking Forward: Obama and Latin America

Submitted by SAM LatinAmerica on Wed, 01/21/2009 - 15:05

On the first full day of President Barack Obama's administration, newspapers throughout Latin America reported on the fanfare of the inauguration, the historical significance of the swearing in of the United States' first African-American president and the challenges that he must immediately confront. A few articles used the occasion to look at the future of U.S. policy toward the region and/or specific countries.