Christopher Sabatini, Editor-in-Chief of Americas Quarterly and Senior Director of Policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, says that the U.S. will need to expand its working relationship with Latin American governments during re-elected President Obama's second term in an article for CNN World published on November 8.
by Christopher Sabatini
Despite its importance for U.S. exports and the counter-narcotics, Latin America will not be a high priority for the new administration – perhaps understandable given the other demands and crises across the globe. That said, there are a number of countries and issues that certainly deserve high level attention.
First among them is Brazil. The world’s sixth-largest economy, Brazil aims to be a regional and global power, an ambition that has made for a prickly partnership with the U.S., including over the humanitarian intervention in Libya and its goal to gain a permanent seat on an expanded U.N. Security Council. The administration should try to foster Brazil’s promotion into multilateral forums and agreements to leverage a closer working relationship.
Second, the drug trade and the violence and corruption that have come with it are threatening state collapse in Central America and have cost over 50,000 lives in Mexico. The U.S. needs to dramatically expand its assistance and cooperation with countries in the region while also attacking drug consumption and arms sales within its own borders.
Last, for domestic political reasons, Cuba has always – unfortunately – always commanded outsize attention in U.S. domestic politics and policy toward the region, with support for the U.S. embargo often serving as a litmus test for presidential appointees before congress. The next four years, it will deserve the attention – but of a different sort. With Fidel Castro 86 years-old and his successor brother Raul 83, there will almost certainly be a leadership transition in Cuba’s 60-year-old revolution. The embargo law currently ties the ability of the U.S. government in its relations with Cuba and the Cuban people until a democratic transition is nearly completed, and has isolated U.S.-Cuba policy from the rest of the world. The U.S. will need to refine its policy to play a constructive, multilateral role if it wants to shape the process – which, being just 90 miles from Florida, it must.
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In anticipation of the upcoming peace talks in Havana between the Colombian government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—FARC), the U.S. Institute for Peace will hold a panel discussion entitled Women, War and Peacebuilding in Colombia next Monday. The panel will address the role of Colombian women in the peacebuilding process and question why they have been left out of official peace negotiations.
The sixth joint report by AQ and Efecto Naím aired this Sunday, October 28, examining Brazilian corporations that are exerting increasing influence in the country’s foreign policy.
Brazil's rise on the world stage has brought with it the rise of some of Brazil's largest corporations. The interests of these corporations may play a role in a variety of policy decisions by the Brazilian government, ranging from their bid for the World Cup and the Olympic Games to the way they interact with their neighbors and the rest of the world.
Americas Quarterly is proud to congratulate Nicolas Villaume, a frequent contributing photographer to AQ, for his selection by American Illustration and American Photography (AI-AP) as a chosen winner of the 2012 Latin American Fotografía and Ilustración competition.
More than 30 prominent international law centers will convene on Monday, October 15 at American University’s Washington College of Law to debate the future of the Inter-American Human Rights System. The day-long conference is intended to address the needs and challenges of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) in light of increased criticism that the institutions, both autonomous branches of the Organization of American States (OAS), are in dire need of reform.
In early September, the Venezuelan government officially informed OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza that it was renouncing the American Convention on Human Rights and would begin the process of pulling out of the regional human rights pact. Within a year, Venezuela will no longer be part of the regional human rights bodies. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who was re-elected for a fourth term on Sunday, has recently accused the international bodies of campaigning against his government and “supporting terrorism.” Amnesty International criticized the Venezuelan government’s decision to withdraw from the Inter-American Human Rights System, a decision that critics have said would violate the country’s constitution and weaken human rights protections in the region.
In an article for CNN published on October 9, Christopher Sabatini, Editor-in-Chief of Americas Quarterly and Senior Director of Policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, analyzes the road ahead for the Venezuelan opposition following President Hugo Chávez' re-election.
Jason Marczak, Senior Editor of Americas Quarterly and Director of Policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, and Andreina Seijas, a regular contributor to Americas Quarterly who works in the policy department at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, examine the results of the Venezuelan presidential elections in an article for El Diario published on October 9.
Jason Marczak and Andreina Seijas
Con el 55.0% de los votos, este domingo Hugo Chávez ganó su cuarta reelección, extendiendo su plazo presidencial hasta el 2019 si su salud lo permite. El candidato de la Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, Henrique Capriles, recibió el 44.4% del apoyo popular.
Pero esta vez la reelección del mandatario no significa una derrota total para la oposición. Chávez ganó con una ventaja de 20% o más en elecciones anteriores. Esta vez la oposición estuvo tan solo a casi 10% de alcanzar la victoria, una diferencia de aproximadamente un millón y medio de votos.
Esta elección presentó dos visiones distintas para el país: Chávez prometió la expansión de su revolución bolivariana; y Capriles prometió una dirección diferente y más parecida al modelo brasileño de inversión social a la par de crecimiento económico y reinserción en la economía mundial.
La elevada participation en esta elección (81%) muestra que los venezolanos aún creen en la posibilidad de un cambio. Sí, Chávez ganó, pero lo hizo usando todos los recursos del estado-el aparato mediático para divulgar su mensaje, la renta petrolera para financiar sus programas sociales, y la amenaza del despido para todo aquel empleado público que no apoye su gestión. Los 6.4 millones de personas que votaron por Capriles, lo hicieron por una visión y un proyecto ajenos al abuso de los poderes del Estado.
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On the eve of Venezuela's highly-contested presidential elections, Christopher Sabatini, Editor-in-Chief of Americas Quarterly and Senior Director of Policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, and Ryan Berger, Associate Editor of Americas Quarterly and Policy Associate at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, discuss in an article published on October 6 in O Estado de São Paulo how the results of Sunday's elections will impact Venezuela's relations with other countries.
Christopher Sabatini and Ryan Berger
Prominent dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez was freed at 10:45 am (local) on Saturday morning after being arrested by authorities in the eastern city of Bayamo at 6:00 pm (local) on Thursday. Sánchez was in Bayamo from Havana to attend the trial of Angel Carromero, the Spanish activist accused of vehicular manslaughter against longtime Cuban dissenter and Varela Project founder Oswaldo Payá in July. Many critics of the Cuban regime question the government’s official account of Payá’s death, including Payá’s daughter.
Sánchez, author of the Generación Y blog, filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights last week against Cuba for denying her and her husband’s repeated requests to leave the country—and presented evidence that they had been harangued by Cuban authorities, according to Sánchez’ lawyer. While detained, she refused to eat or drink.
Yohandry, a pro-government blog, was one of the first to report Sánchez’ arrest, adding that “she had traveled [to Bayamo] with the intention of creating a provocation and a media show.”
The arbitrary detention follows a similar incident from July when Guillermo Fariñas, a Cuban dissident and 2010 Sakharov Prize recipient, was detained with six other dissenters at Payá’s funeral at the San Salvador Catholic Church in Havana.
In an article published on October 4 in Venezuela's El Nacional, Christopher Sabatini, Editor-in-Chief of Americas Quarterly and Senior Director of Policy at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, and Ryan Berger, Associate Editor of Americas Quarterly and Policy Associate at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, discuss the unwillingness of the international community—particularly through South American alliances—to seriously monitor the Venezuelan election in the face of a lopsided campaign that saw the incumbent abuse state resources and public services to curry electoral favor.