Issue Brief posted March 4, 2014
Venezuela: U.S. Leadership Needed
For the past few weeks, Venezuela has been rocked by anti-government protests. What started as small-scale demonstrations in the capital city of Caracas has escalated to mobilizations throughout the country.
In response, the Venezuelan government has ordered security forces from the national guard to armed motorcycle gangs to brutally crack down on the democratic…
Issue Brief posted January 15, 2014
Latin America and the Caribbean: Congressional Priorities for 2014
In 2013, the Obama Administration seemed to take for granted U.S. relationships with our many friendly neighbors in Latin America and the Caribbean—nations that share our democratic and economic values—while ignoring growing threats to our national security from some countries in the region that are openly hostile to America’s core principles.
In 2014, Congress should…
Lecture posted October 15, 2013
Chile’s Path to Development: Key Reforms to Become the First Developed Country in Latin America
Finding the best path to lead Chile toward economic development has been a continuous task of Chilean governments and leaders during the last century. The mission of building a society of opportunities—where each person has the chance to reach personal fulfillment, and can live with dignity and without poverty—seems now closer than ever before.
After a period of economic…
Issue Brief posted August 30, 2013
Nicaragua’s Canal Push and Concerns for the U.S.
President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua is pushing for a proposed canal project despite lingering questions and growing skepticism from Nicaraguan citizens and politicians. With no public debate, a deficit of hard facts, and a proposal rushed through the Nicaraguan National Assembly, the canal would be a massive undertaking with many unforeseen consequences and still…
Issue Brief posted April 15, 2013
Venezuela: U.S. Should Push President Maduro Toward Economic Freedom
Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor, former trade union boss Nicolás Maduro, appears to have defeated Governor Henrique Capriles by a narrow margin in a contentious and hard-fought special election on April 14. Venezuela is in such shambles after 14 years of seat-of-the-pants mismanagement that Maduro—assuming his victory is confirmed—may ultimately be forced to pursue…
Issue Brief posted March 6, 2013
Venezuela After Chavez: U.S. Should Rally to Democracy
On Tuesday, cancer claimed the life of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, silencing one of Latin America’s most controversial leaders in the 21st century. Chavez’s death opens the way to an uncertain succession process, continued polarization, and potential instability in oil-rich Venezuela.
Dealing with a post-Chavez Venezuela will require an ongoing U.S. commitment to…
Issue Brief posted January 18, 2013
The Hagel, Kerry, and Brennan Senate Confirmation Hearings: U.S. Policy for the Western Hemisphere
The United States Senate will soon begin the confirmation process for three key Administration positions: Senator John Kerry (D–MA) for Secretary of State, former Senator Chuck Hagel (R–NE) for Secretary of Defense, and White House Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan for Director of the CIA. Each must defend his qualifications for higher office and present a…
Issue Brief posted January 7, 2013
Latin America and the Caribbean: A Wish List for 2013
Too often Latin America and the Caribbean fall off political radar screens in Washington. Nonetheless, geography, robust trade and investment ties, strong demographic links, and shared democratic and economic values connect Americans deeply with the region.
In 2013 and beyond, the second Obama Administration and Washington policymakers of all stripes should work to…
Issue Brief posted October 19, 2012
CARICOM: U.S. Should Push Back Against Chavez in the Caribbean
The historically pro-American multilateral organization known as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has been struggling for decades to form a regional “Single Market and Economy” (CSME) to integrate the disparate islands and sub-continental economies of the Caribbean Basin into a common market based on sound democratic institutions and pro-market policies. The obstacles to…
Issue Brief posted September 24, 2012
Time Is Ripe for U.S. Policy to Address Anti-Americanism in Latin America
While the murder of American diplomats and violent anti-American riots across the Islamic world dominate the news cycle, it is easy to overlook the slow burn of anti-Americanism closer to home. In the Western Hemisphere, Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela, the Castro brothers’ Cuba, and the other members of the Bolivarian ALBA movement continue to advance a hostile, if less violent,…
Special Report posted September 20, 2012
Brazil: Restoring Economic Growth Through Economic Freedom
Abstract: Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest country, Latin America’s largest economy, and an important trading partner for the U.S. The Brazilian government dominates many areas of the country’s economy, undercutting development of a more vibrant private sector, and Brazil’s four-year growth average of 4 percent has recently weakened. Government expenditures consume…
Backgrounder posted September 19, 2012
The Chávez Plan to Steal Venezuela's Presidential Election: What Obama Should Do
Abstract: On October 7, 2012, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez will stand for re-election against opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. The Venezuelan presidential election matters to the U.S.: Venezuela is a major oil supplier to the U.S.; Chávez’s anti-American worldview has led to alliances with Iran, Syria, and Cuba; and Chávez offers safe havens to FARC and Hezbollah.…
Issue Brief posted August 7, 2012
Ecuador Should Forfeit U.S. Trade Preferences
Recently, Ecuador opened a new chapter in its long-running legal campaign against U.S.-based Chevron Corporation. Government-backed lawyers purporting to represent residents of Ecuador’s Amazon rain forest filed a lawsuit to seize Chevron’s assets in Brazil in an attempt to collect a multi-billion-dollar award won last year in an Ecuadorian court. Regrettably, the…
Issue Brief posted July 12, 2012
No New Property Waiver for Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega
If the Obama Administration is serious about promoting democracy in Nicaragua, it can emphatically do so later this month when it decides whether to grant a property waiver to President Daniel Ortega’s corrupt and authoritarian government.
If it opts to withhold the waiver, it will compel the U.S. to oppose Nicaragua’s loan applications at the Inter-American…