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 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,…
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 February 13, 2012
Venezuela’s Presidential Primary: Capriles Radonski Ready to Challenge Chavez
FYI: Heritage WebMemos are now called Issue Briefs.
On February 12, nearly 3 million Venezuelans voted in the nation’s first genuine presidential primary. Voters selected a single candidate—Henrique Capriles Radonski—to face Venezuela’s authoritarian populist leader Hugo Chavez in a presidential contest on October 7.
Chavez, the bellicose anti-American…
WebMemo posted January 6, 2012
Iran Moves West: Ahmadinejad's 2012 Latin American Visit
On January 8, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lands in Venezuela to start a brief but highly symbolic Latin American visit. The Iranian leader aims to bolster ties with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and some of the region’s most strident anti-American leaders. For the Obama Administration, the Iranian visit reflects a continuing erosion of U.S. influence in the region and…
WebMemo posted July 1, 2011
Hugo Chávez’s Cancer, Authoritarianism, and the U.S.
On June 10, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez arrived in Havana for high-level meetings. Two days later, the press reported he underwent surgery to repair a pelvic abscess. Speculation regarding his health increased with each passing day. Possible diagnoses included acute peritonitis, prostate cancer, or liposuction gone wrong.
Two weeks later, Foreign Minister…
WebMemo posted March 18, 2011
President Obama in Latin America: Put Hugo Chavez on the Agenda
President Obama undertakes his March 19–23 trip to Latin America at a time when the international scene is in enormous flux. In three stops—Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador—the President will send an upbeat message of equal partnership and offer broader U.S. engagement in Latin America.
President Obama will meet with three leaders whose views count when it comes to…
WebMemo posted September 27, 2010
Venezuela’s Legislative Elections: Democratic Opposition Makes Major Gains
On September 26, Venezuelan voters selected 165 members for its single-chamber National Assembly. Approximately 66.45 percent of an estimated 17 million eligible voters cast ballots. As with every election since 1998 in Venezuela, these elections became a referendum about the rule of authoritarian populist President Hugo Chávez. Despite alarmist predictions of violence by…