Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Weekly Roundup from Across the Americas

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From the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online’s news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.

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What the U.S. Midterms Mean for Immigration, Hemispheric Policy

AQ’s Jason Marczak writes in the Americas Quarterly blog that Republican congressional victories in the November 2 U.S. mid-term vote could spell setbacks for progress on comprehensive immigration reform. “[I]f the Pledge to America—the Republicans’ legislative agenda unveiled in September—is any indication, the new House leadership’s immigration focus will be on issues of border enforcement, immigration law enforcement and strengthening visa security,” writes Marczak. “Plans do not include any focus on creating a path toward legalization of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the shadows.” In terms of foreign policy, COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth writes in the National Journal’s national security blog to expect a “harder line” with the Republican House, including a reversal on easing restrictions against Cuba, a stronger position against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and less efforts to stop the flow of illicit arms into Mexico.

How Did Latino Candidates Fare in U.S. Midterms?

Republican candidate Susana Martinez made election history when she became the first Latina elected to serve as a U.S. state governor. Meanwhile, Cuban-American Marco Rubio made waves as the Tea Party-backed candidate who snagged a Florida Senate seat.  What about other candidates? Hispanic Business compiled a list of election results in races where Latino candidates won and that were of importance to Hispanic voters.

Latin-Americanizing the U.S. Vote

Political scientist Patricio Navia argues in the Buenos Aires Herald that, in the case of the U.S. midterm elections, “those familiar with Latin American politics found a recognizable flavor of political polarization, anti-establishment rhetoric, and populist leaders who build support on the frustrations and dissatisfaction of a population that perceives tough times ahead.” He contends that, although Latin American populists call for nationalization while the Tea Party urges tax cuts, the end result is the same: “Fiscal deficits that undermine future economic growth.”

Man behind Spanish-language “Don’t Vote” Ad Admits to Voting

Politico reports that Robert de Posada, the president of Latinos for Reform and the force behind the Spanish-language “don’t vote” campaign, admitted to casting an absentee ballot for U.S. midterm elections in Virginia last week. Univision had opted to pull the controversial ad from airing in Nevada. De Posada said his decision to vote was not hypocritical as the ad called for Hispanics not to vote for members of Congress and that he himself did not cast a vote for a legislator.

Mexico Applauds Failure of CA’s Prop 19

With roughly 57 percent of Californians voting against Proposition 19, the state rejected marijuana legalization, leading to relief from the government of Mexican President Felipe Calderón, who was opposed to the measure. “This result goes in the direction Mexico has followed on the prevention and treatment of addictions,” said Mexican Health Minister José Ángel Córdova in reaction to the referendum result.

Victorious Dilma on the Move

Fresh off her October 31 election as Brazil’s first female head of state, President-elect Dilma Rousseff spoke with her counterparts from Argentina Mexico, Venezuela, and the United States on Monday. Dilma also announced a transition team composed of market friendly advisors to help her oversee Brazil’s booming economy when she takes the reins on New Year’s Day, reports Reuters.

The Economist’s Americas blog offers an interactive map of political north-south divisions in Brazil in the October 31 election, with the north voting heavily for Dilma compared to the southern states, which opted for her opponent José Serra.

Brazil Dramatically Ups Oil Reserve Estimates

Estimates for Brazil’s Libra oil field now suggest it may hold as much as 15 billion barrels, almost twice initial estimates. If confirmed, the field would be twice as big as the Tupi field, according to infosurhoy.

Argentina and LatAm Leaders Mourn Kirchner

Leaders from across the Americas traveled to Buenos Aires late last week for the wake of former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner, who died suddenly of a heart attack on October 27. Boston.com’s “The Big Picture” offers images from the wake, as well as the funeral procession through the streets of the capital that drew throngs of Argentine mourners.

Writing for the AQ blog, Juan Cruz Díaz reports on the political unknowns stemming from the death of the ex-president, who was expected to seek reelection in 2011 at the end of his wife’s term in office.

Appeals Court Sends Mixed Message on SB1070

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments about Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB1070 on Monday. The three-judge panel seemed likely to uphold a U.S. district judge’s July 28 ruling against criminalizing illegal presence in the United States. However, the panel indicated it would likely lift the ban on allowing state law enforcement to check the immigration status of those suspected of illegal presence in the country.

Latinas Lead in Entrepreneurship

The Miami Herald’s Business section takes a look at why Latina entrepreneurs excel, noting that Hispanic businesswomen “are starting businesses at a rate six times the national average.”

OAS Holds Meeting on Costa Rican-Nicaraguan Conflict

In response to a request from Costa Rica, the Organization of American States agreed to hold an urgent meeting on November 3 to discuss the border conflict between Nicaragua and its southern neighbor over the dredging of the San Juan River. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega responded by announcing plans to bring an appeal of the dispute to the International Court of Justice.

Curious about where the dispute is taking place? Check out Bloggings by boz, who says “You want maps, I’ve got maps.”

Haiti’s Battle against Cholera

In a CFR.org interview, Pulitzer Prize winner and global health expert Laurie Garrett offers her insights into the Haitian cholera outbreak. She says the strain is stronger than “classic cholera” and may well have been transmitted by Nepalese aid workers. Asked about whether the outbreak will impact upcoming elections, Garrett says: “I don’t see any reason why this should affect the elections more than any five or six hundred other things going on in Haiti at the moment.”

Read AS/COA Online analysis of the outbreak’s impact on elections.

Cuba to Free Longest-held Political Prisoner

Havana announced the release of Adrian Alvarez, who has been imprisoned since 1985, making him the country’s longest-held political prisoner. He will be the fortieth released of the 52 prisoners that Cuban officials said they would free in a July announcement.

Dutch F16s Delivered to Chile

This week the Netherlands will ship the first six of 18 F16 fighter jets purchased by Chile in 2006 at a total price tag of between $170 and $180 million.

Chávez and Santos Meet to Improve Ties

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos met with his Venezuelan counterpart on November 2 in Caracas. The two heads of state discussed the need to work together despite differences, as well as commercial, energy, and security coordination.

Chilean Communist Accused of FARC Ties

Colombia’s district attorney requested the detention and extradition of Chilean Communist Party Member Manuel Olate Céspedes, accused of connections with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (otherwise known as the FARC). According to a series of emails found after the death of FARC leader Raúl Reyes at the hands of the Colombia military in September, Olate is in charge of the FARC’s political chapter in Chile.

Change Coming to Peru via Interoceanic Highway

A multimedia presentation by The Los Angeles Times offers interviews and images focused on how Peru’s Amazon region will change because of the Interoceanic Highway that will stretch coast-to-coast across Brazil and Peru. “Many Peruvians are wary of the road that will connect them with the Brazilian colossus, fearing job losses and an economic takeover,” reports the piece. “Others are more optimistic at the prospect of new opportunities and trade.”

Uruguayan Exports Soar

A report by the Uruguayan Exporters’ Union says that exports from Uruguay totaled $5.5 billion in the first ten months of 2010, a 21.76 percent increase over the previous year, reports MercoPress.

Court Ends Uruguay’s Dictatorship Amnesty

The Uruguayan Supreme Court put an end to amnesty for human rights crimes committed by the country’s dictatorship between 1973 and 1985 and ruled the 1986 Expiry Law unconstitutional. JURIST reports that the court’s decision will allow investigators to move ahead with 20 murder cases against Juan Maria Bordaberry. The former dictator received a 30-year prison term in February for participating in Uruguay’s 1973 coup.

Flying with Guatemalan Deportees

The Orange County Register’s Cindy Carcamo rode with 117 Guatemalan deportees on their flight from an Arizona detention center to Guatemala City. The report examines the repatriation process and offers a slide show of scenes from the journey.

Tags: Brazil, Cholera, Democrats, Dilma, Haiti, Immigration, Mid-term Elections, OAS, Republicans, SB1070
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