How Insecurity Shapes Daily Life in Central America

The Inter-American Dialogue and the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) released a report today documenting the behavioral impact on crime across Central America, especially in the Northern Triangle. One in three adults has considered emigrating because of insecurity, according to the report. The Dialogue invited me to join the panel and provide a policy perspective on the findings. You can find the full report here.

(NTN24) El mundo 16 años después del 11 de septiembre


El lunes 11 de septiembre se cumplieron 16 años desde el ataque a las Torres Gemelas, y el viernes 15 detonó una bomba en un tren en Londres. El terrorismo es hoy una amenaza para todo occidente ¿Cómo se preparan los países para enfrentarlo? Haga clic aquí para ver el video en NTN24.

Top 5 on Latin America this week

Busy week on Latin America:

  1. VENEZUELA: Just back from his week-long visit to Latin America, Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech Wednesday on Venezuela at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Doral, Florida – home to a large Venezuelan Diaspora – where he previewed the sanctions announced yesterday by the White House prohibiting U.S. persons from trading in Venezuelan debt and bond issuances by state-owned oil company PDVSA.
  2. NAFTA: Sara Schaefer Munoz and Bob Davis, U.S., Canada and Mexico Wrap up NAFTA First Round. Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2017. WSJ’s coverage of the NAFTA re-negotiation provides an insight into the industry perspective, which is at odds with the Administration’s plans to modify rules of origin and eliminate dispute resolution mechanisms. Also recommend Joel Trachtman’s piece in The Hill last week analyzing whether President Trump has the authority to withdraw from NAFTA without congressional action.  You also can never go wrong with anything on Mexico by Shannon O’Neill.
  3. GUATEMALA: Parker Asmann, Is Another Presidential Crisis Unfolding in Guatemala? InSight Crime, August 24, 2017. President Jimmy Morales was to meet with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres today in New York and there are reports speculating that Morales may seek the removal of Ivan Velazquez as head of the UN-backed International Commission against impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) to protect himself against a corruption investigation and potential ties to international drug trafficking. Former Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina resigned and was jailed in 2015 after CICIG and the Guatemalan Attorney General broke a massive corruption scandal. If true, this development could not come at a worse time with the impending departure of U.S. Ambassador Todd Robinson, who’s been a staunch supporter of human rights and anti-corruption efforts.
  4. BRAZIL: Ernesto Londono. A Judge’s Bid to Clean Up Brazil From the Bench. New York Times, August 25, 2017. It has been three months since Ernesto left the NY Times Editorial for the beaches of Rio, where let’s admit we’d all rather be. He made The NY Times Editorial page into an important platform on Latin American issues and a refreshing change of pace from the predictably ideological Friday columns in the Wall Street Journal by Mary O’Grady. Ernesto is doing the same as Brazil Bureau Chief by providing Latin America experts and non-experts alike with important insights into defining issues in the region, like the efforts of Brazilian Judge Sergio Moro to combat rampant corruption in Brazil.
  5. IMMIGRATION: Where to start – President Trump delivered a political speech in Arizona on Wednesday, where he reiterated his willingness to shut down the federal government if Congress did not fund his border wall. And, oh yeah, he  pardoned Joe Arpaio, who was serving six months for his oppressive tactics in rounding up undocumented migrants. The Phoenix Time has been following him for 20 years, so worth reading some of their articles on him hereherehere, and here.

Top Five on Latin America this Week 

My good bud, Mike Derham at Novam Portam does a weekly “What we’re reading this week” post that I really like. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I’m starting a similar weekly post of the top five “things” on Latin America – posts, articles, events, developments, etc. Here’s the first one – thoughts and comments welcomed.

  1. Ana Swanson, Trump and U.S. car companies are fighting over what it means to be made in America. Washington Post, August 16, 2017. In addition to Chapter 19 on dispute resolution, the debate over Rules of Origin is shaping up to be a central issue in the NAFTA talks that started this week in Washington. Swanson does a good job of outlining the areas of contention.
  2. Ximena Cassab, Oath to Focus on Latin America Mobile Users., August 17, 2017. Portada spoke with Armando Rodriguez, VP & Managing Director, LATAM & U.S. Hispanic Region at Oath – the Yahoo! re-name following the Verizon acquisition – about how the new brand will position itself in the Latin American and U.S. Hispanic market.
  3. James Bossworth, Five Points on Argentina’s PASO. Bloggings by boz, August 14, 2017. Boz, as he known by his readers, is the founder of Hxagon and has one of the best Latin America blogs out there. He was a must-read for anyone working on LatAm in the Obama Administration. I especially like his poll analysis. In this post, he explains the primary process in Argentina and what it means for the Administration of President Mauricio Macri.
  4. J. Weston Phippen, What to Do With Venezuela?, August 16, 2017. Phippen does a good job in this piece explaining the dynamics between the United States and regional governments following President Donald Trump’s mention of a possible “military option,” even going back to the failed coup attempt against Hugo Chavez, the late President of Venezuela.
  5. Investors seem confident that an economic recovery is underway. The Economist Print edition, August 17, 2017. When will Brazil’s future arrive? Despite expected GDP growth rate of 0.3% this year, 13% unemployment, fiscal deficit equal to 9% of GDP, and political corruption scandals galore, some investors think Brazil might be coming out of the longest recession in its history.

Podcast: Can Anyone Save Venezuela?

An economic and humanitarian crisis, precipitated by the Maduro regime, has brought Venezuela to the brink of collapse.

I sat down with good friends Ben Pauker, Foreign Policy Executive Editor and Michael Camilleri, director of the Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program at the Inter-American Dialogue to discuss the crisis in Venezuela for FP’s Editor’s Roundtable podcast.