Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Québec and the Workings of Canadian Federalism

With the election of a pro-sovereignty party in Québec last September, the questions about Québec’s future within the Canadian federation have once again surfaced.  While there is no referendum about Québec’s future on the horizon—in part because the ruling Parti Québécois made only a vague commitment in last year’s election campaign to conduct such an … Read more


Monday Memo: Raúl Castro to Retire in 2018 – Venezuela Awaits News on Chávez – Bolivian Soldiers Face Hearing in Chile – Oscar Arias visits Paraguay – Mining Strike Continues in Colombia

Top stories this week are likely to include: Cuba prepares for political successors in 2018; Venezuela’s opposition protests lack of information on Chávez; Tensions between Chile and Bolivia rise over Bolivian soldiers’ arrest; Oscar Arias visits Paraguay for OAS elections observations; and Cerrejón strike continues after explosives destroy trucks. Raúl Castro Says he’ll Step Down … Read more


Yoani Sanchez Goes to Brazil…and Oddly, It Feels Like Home

Raúl Castro’s government faces a number of critical issues, including the deteriorating health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, the potential loss of his oil and Cubans’ impatience with the government’s timid economic reforms.  Who would have thought that a slight, humble woman of 37 years figured among them? Yet the actions of the Cuban government and … Read more


The Future of the Inter-American Human Rights System

Neither uncertainty about the continuity of chavismo in Venezuela nor the campaign of newly re-elected Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa have distracted the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) countries in their crusade against the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Just over a year ago, they launched a campaign to weaken the … Read more


Cuban Blogger Yoani Sánchez Begins International Tour

Renowned Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez began an 80-day international tour on Monday, after receiving her passport with the relaxation of travel restrictions that eliminated exit visas for Cuban citizens. Sánchez arrived in  the Brazilian coastal city of Recife for a screening of Conexión Cuba Honduras (Cuba-Honduras Connection), a documentary featuring her life and work directed … Read more


Reporters Without Borders asks Raúl Castro to Release Journalists

No sooner had Cuban President Raúl Castro returned to Havana from Chile, where he was sworn in as the new president of the Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States—CELAC), than Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders—RSF) repeated his own words back to him.  The French-based NGO released a letter Monday urging the … Read more


Las Reformas Estructurales Que Urgen en México

En los últimos sexenios los políticos mexicanos han hablado constantemente de las “reformas estructurales” que el país necesita para modernizarse y progresar y que, por supuesto, casi nunca concretan. Hablan de la reforma política, la reforma educativa, la reforma laboral, la reforma electoral, la reforma energética y otras más igual de importantes. Y en efecto, … Read more


Monday Memo: Obama’s State of the Union Speech – Ecuadorian Elections – Venezuelan Currency Devaluation – and more

Top stories this week are likely to include: President Obama discusses immigration reform in the State of the Union; Ecuador prepares for presidential and congressional elections; Colombia and FARC make progress in peace negotiations, Venezuela’s currency devaluation goes into effect; and Mexican farmers begin to release suspected criminals in negotiations with Guerrero state. President Obama … Read more


Monday Memo: Parliamentary Elections in Cuba – Argentina’s IMF Censure – Mexico Investigates Pemex Explosion – and more

Top stories this week are likely to include: Cubans re-elect President Raúl Castro in one-party elections; Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman travels to London; Paraguay investigates the death of Lino Oviedo; Argentina reacts to the IMF after being censured; Mexican authorities conclude rescue efforts after PEMEX explosion. Parliamentary Elections Begin in Cuba: Cuba’s nearly 8.5 … Read more


Chávez Supporters and Opposition Take to the Streets of Caracas

  Thousands of members of both Hugo Chávez’ Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) and the opposition are marching in Caracas today in simultaneous demonstrations since January 23 marks the end of Venezuela’s 1945-1958 military dictatorship. However, this year the date has acquired a new meaning for each side of the political spectrum. For members of the PSUV, today’s demonstration is an opportunity to show their solidarity with Chávez, who is recovering from cancer surgery in Cuba. Meanwhile, the opposition plans to protest  the Venezuelan Supreme Court’s January 8 resolution to … Read more

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Civic Innovator: Álvaro Herrero, Argentina

Álvaro Herrero could have pursued any career of his choice. His impressive academic credentials include a law degree from the Universidad Nacional de la Plata in his native Argentina, an MA in Latin American studies from Georgetown and a PhD in political science from Oxford. But in 2005, he opted instead for a job as … Read more



In October 1988, a national plebiscite to extend the military rule of then-Chilean President Augusto Pinochet was voted down by 56 percent of the electorate. This transformational event has been re-imagined 24 years later in a film named after the “No” coalition of 16 political parties that led the opposition campaign.No is the third and … Read more

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Chile’s Pragmatic Middle-Class Voter

Chile’s middle class has always played a key role in the country’s politics. In the first four presidential elections after the 1989 democratic transition, middle-class voters were a decisive factor in the victories of center-left Concertación candidates Patricio Aylwin, Eduardo Frei, Ricardo Lagos, and Michelle Bachelet. By 2009, however, Chile’s middle class turned away from … Read more


Will Canada’s Liberal Voice Rebound in 2013?

The prevailing narrative since Barack Obama’s decisive re-election victory last November is that America is changing. His most reliable voting blocs included progressives, minorities, single women, and youths, and his campaign was supported by an impressive, technologically-inspired ground game. Even many Republican talking heads acknowledged America’s changing demographics in their post-election ruminations. Canada may be … Read more


The Economic Reality Facing Nicolás Maduro

Hugo Chávez engineered an electoral budget boom on steroids to win the 2012 presidential election. His economic strategy resulted in a significant appreciation of the real exchange rate, an increase in imports to a historical peak, and a considerable increase in public wages. Facing a strong contender in Henrique Capriles—and the limits to his campaign … Read more

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