Articles by Alex Sánchez:
January 18, 2013 by Alex Sánchez
In March 2013, Falkland Islanders will vote on a territorial referendum concerning their relationship with London. The question that will be posed to the islands’ nearly 3,000 residents is straightforward: “Do you wish to remain a self-governing British Overseas Territory?”
Although only about a third of Falkanders identify as British, it is expected that the majority will vote to remain under British rule (since the islands never had an indigenous population, most of the inhabitants are of British descent). After the votes are tallied, London plans to send the results to the United Nations to demonstrate that the islanders are content with their current status. London’s goal is to gain support from the international community by insisting that the self-determination of the Falklanders is being respected.
This development has not pleased the government of Argentina, which claims the islands and fought a war in 1982 against the United Kingdom over them. In recent years, current Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has made a plethora of declarations that the islands rightfully belong to Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires accuses London of promoting neo-colonialism and militarizing the South Atlantic to control the disputed territories, known as Islas Malvinas by the Argentines. The Argentine government claims that the islands’ current inhabitants are “colonizers” who expelled the original Argentinian inhabitants in 1883. Hence, Buenos Aires argues that the referendum is invalid and has asked states not to send observers.
August 19, 2012 by Alex Sánchez
On August 2nd, I wrote a brief commentary for International Policy Digest with my thoughts about Ecuador’s foreign policy which I argued that, while Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa is not necessarily as ambitious as his Venezuelan friend and counterpart, Hugo Chavez (nor does he have the same amount of resources) Quito has carried out several interesting foreign policy initiatives in the past few years.
August 2, 2012 by Alex Sánchez
A July 31st guest post in Latin America’s Moment, a blog of the Council on Foreign Relations handled by Shannon O’Neil (a Senior Fellow for Latin American Studies at CFR), discusses the differences between Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa and his eccentric Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez.
To summarize, the blog post compares and differentiates the two leaders, arguing that the “left-leaning presidents share a common rhetoric (frequently labeling opponents as oligarchs or imperialists), charismatic personalities, a disdain for (and often exaggeration of) U.S. influence in the region, and a taste for forging relationships with some of the world’s most notorious pariah states (Iran and Belarus).”
May 4, 2012 by Alex Sánchez
In mid-February, Peruvian security forces scored a major victory against the notorious Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) terrorist group with the capture of the movement’s last major leader known as Artemio (real name Florindo Eleuterio Flores). The Shining Path has waged war on the Peruvian government since the 1980s, a persistent thorn in Peru’s side.
After Artemio’s capture I wrote a report for my organization, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), analyzing the significance of this victory and questioning whether Shining Path should still be labeled as a terrorist organization.
January 5, 2012 by Alex Sánchez
The creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC – Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños) has attracted a fair amount of international attention, both by the international media and by Latin Americanist researchers and academics. For example, Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, argued in a Journal of Foreign Relations article that “CELAC will continue to advance… positive changes [such as recent successful financial policies], including regional economic integration, co-ordination around foreign policy, and conflict resolution.”
Meanwhile, my own organization, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), recently took a more cautious stance on CELAC’s future, arguing that “if CELAC wants to productively implement policies to solve major regional issues and eventually be a major player in the making of Latin American and Caribbean policy, it must first work on its fundamental structure.”
July 28, 2011 by Alex Sánchez
During his attendance at a recent African Union summit, former Brazilian president Lula da Silva critiqued the structure of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC): “it isn’t possible that Latin America, with its 400 million inhabitants, does not have permanent representation. Five countries decide what to do and how to do it, regardless of the rest of the humans living on this planet.”
Such statements are nothing new. The UNSC’s structure has come under heavy criticism in recent years, with repeated calls for its expansion. Countries like India, South Africa, and Brazil have become the usual suspects as possible new permanent members. And the Portuguese-speaking giant has emerged as the de facto representative for Latin America and the Caribbean to the UNSC. If the United States backs Brazil’s bid, it will gain considerable political capital in Latin America.