Risk with Great Reward in South America

April 12, 2012 by

For hundreds of years, South America has provided much of the world with essential natural resources. The global nature of the world economy, coupled with the development of South American countries and turbulence in the Middle East presents South America as an alternative to dependency on oil from far flung, sometimes adversarial areas of the world.

The Promise of Colombia

April 10, 2012 by

While much of the globe has been mired in an economic malaise, the simultaneous growth of Latin America has been well chronicled. Most of the attention given to Latin America’s rise has focused on Brazil, which recently surpassed Great Britain to become the world’s sixth largest economy. The attention has been justified given Brazil’s remarkable turnaround, its economic growth, potential growth, and forthcoming global spotlight by way of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

A (Real) Turning Point in US-Latin American Relations?

March 8, 2012 by

Will November be the beginning of a turning point in US-Latin American relations? For that to happen, it is essential for Washington, both Democrats and Republicans alike, to accept a new reality in order to start the very complex process of avoiding the frustrated superpower syndrome vis-à-vis Latin America.

Revisiting Helms-Burton

March 6, 2012 by

In 1996, the US government enacted the Helms-Burton Act in an effort to tighten the embargo on Cuba and bring about the regime change that the Americans have long wanted. Sixteen years later, while Fidel Castro has stepped aside from his official role as Cuban president, the desired regime change has not taken place. Raul Castro has made some changes in the government-controlled economy, but no changes have been forthcoming regarding democracy or human rights.

Why is Iran interested in Latin America?

February 20, 2012 by

In January of 2012, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad conducted a four nation tour of Latin America, with stops in Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Cuba. From the time that this trip became public, US government officials began asking “Why Latin America?”

International Redistribution of Wealth

February 8, 2012 by

The past year of stops and starts by the United States on the international stage highlights that the Obama Administration has yet to establish a comprehensive foreign policy. The administration has seemingly decided how to handle matters abroad like a shortstop fielding ground balls: single-gloving them one time, two handed catching another, and letting the ball into the outfield yet another. There is no consistency nor rhyme or reason.

Placing CELAC in the proper Latin American Context

January 5, 2012 by

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.

New Regional Organization is a Big Step Forward for the Hemisphere

December 27, 2011 by

Although most Americans have not heard about it, a historic step toward changing this hemisphere was taken three weeks ago. A new organization for the region was formed, and everyone was invited except the U.S. and Canada. The new organization is called the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

Mitt Romney and Latin America

October 14, 2011 by

If Mitt Romney becomes president of the United States, he apparently has big plans for Latin America. “Neither the Bush administration or the Obama administration really focused on Latin America,” a Romney aide apparently told a conference call of reporters late last week, according to this article in Politico. The article quoted an aide who said President Mitt Romney would envision “larger campaigns for economic opportunity in Latin America.”

China Gets a Lesson in Realpolitik

October 5, 2011 by

Consistent with so much about China’s thrust on to the global stage over the past decade, its outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) has grown far faster than OFDI from other transitional economies. Chinese OFDI is largely politically driven, aimed at achieving specific national objectives, such as securing natural resources, acquiring strategic assets in key technologies and service industries, or creating national champion companies.

An Easy Way to Improve U.S.-Latin American Relations

July 28, 2011 by

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.”

Obama’s Latin America Policy Not Too Different from Bush’s

July 1, 2011 by

This week is the second anniversary of the military coup in Honduras, an occasion to review the Obama Administration’s disappointing approach toward Latin America. On June 28, 2009, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was forcibly dispatched on a plane to Costa Rica. Over the past two years, the junta and its successor regime (elected in dubious circumstances) have engaged in harsh repression.

OPEC Ministers in Vienna at an Impasse

June 10, 2011 by

Amid the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa and rising global oil prices, OPEC ministers in Vienna failed to arrive at a consensus about crude production levels. This was the first time in 20 years that an OPEC meeting failed to produce an agreement. “It was one of the worst meetings we’ve ever had,’’ said Ali al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister. “We were unable to reach an agreement.’’

Venezuela’s Oil Sword

May 26, 2011 by

This week, the U.S. slammed Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA with sanctions in an attempt to deter its trade with Iran. “Sanctions against the Fatherland of Bolivia? Imposed by the Gringo imperialist? Well, welcome Mr. Obama, don’t forget we are the children of Bolivar!” responded Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez via his Twitter account.