Christina L. Madden

Articles written by Christina L. Madden

Despite Peace Talks, Colombia’s Oil Industry Increasingly Under Attack

By Christina L. Madden
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With peace talks engaged for the first time in a decade, and the FARC at its weakest point in history, Colombia’s oil and mining sectors have taken off, with oil production reaching a record 1 million barrels per day last year. Yet the extractive industry has found itself increasingly targeted by the FARC and other rebels seeking concessions from the government, putting foreign investment at risk. more

Western Sahara: Forgotten Corner of the Arab Spring

By Christina L. Madden
, , Briefing

This week in Western Saharan, delegations are arriving for the 13th Conference of the Polisario Front, the U. N.-recognized group that has fought since the 1970s for Western Sahara's independence from Morocco. The gathering will draw some 1,500 people to discuss a topic that has otherwise gone largely overlooked in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings: Western Sahara's sovereignty and autonomous status. more

With U.S. Attention Elsewhere, Iran Extends Latin American Influence

LIMA, Peru -- Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim met last week with his Iranian counterpart in Tehran, where the two diplomats discussed expanding bilateral economic ties. Trade between Iran and Brazil quadrupled between 2002 and 2007, and if Iran gets its way, it will further increase as much as five-fold, from $2 billion to $10 billion annually. The move reflects the fact that while Washington's attention has been focused on Iraq and the War on Terror, Iran's influence in Latin America has quietly but steadily grown.
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Bilateral Free Trade Agreements Face Challenges in South America

Earlier this month, lawmakers in the United States passed a bill that would renew trade preferences to four countries in South America. With the failure of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas in 2005, the bilateral agreements have become Washington's only method of widening free trade in the continent. But the renewal comes amid heated debate in both the United States and South America, debate which reflects free trade's sometimes unequal impact, as well as South America's uneasiness with American influence.
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North Korean Black Market Goods Help Break Hermit Kingdom's Information Blockade

Nuclear weapons technology isn't all that's being bought and sold on the black market in North Korea. After the famine of the 1990s claimed more than a million lives, civilians set up farmers markets to trade food stuffs -- sometimes those donated by international aid agencies -- to stave off starvation. Now all manner of things are bought and sold on North Korean streets, and in some cases that includes cell phones, radios, and other devices that allow the outside world to penetrate the Hermit Kingdom. more