Mexico’s Scaled-Backed Gendarmerie Force No Security Panacea

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto entered office promising to introduce a new 40,000-member police force called the Gendarmeria. However, the force has since been downgraded to a less ambitious 5,000-member unit. Instead of working to build a new heavy-duty force, Mexico is now trying to recalibrate its existing security programs and improve security coordination between federal, state and local government.

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New Agenda Reflects Growing Energy Role for Lusophone Bloc

Last week, the 10th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, held in East Timor, accepted a new member: Equatorial Guinea, the third-largest oil exporter in sub-Saharan Africa. With Equatorial Guinea, the CPLP is collectively now the fourth-largest oil exporter in the world, demonstrating its shifting focus from political and cultural issues to economic ones.

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In Need of Investment, Peru Rolls Back Environmental Standards

By Paul Shortell
, , Briefing

President Ollanta Humala recently unveiled reforms intended to stabilize Peru’s slowing economy and shore up investor confidence. Controversially, the new laws will roll back pollution standards and fast-track environmental licensing for new energy and mining projects. Such deregulation threatens to reverse positive environmental protections and will not alleviate broader challenges facing Peru’s economy. more

Global Insights

Putin’s South American Trip Hides Russia’s Strategic Weaknesses

By Richard Weitz
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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to South America this month garnered considerable attention. In the U.S., some saw the trip as a tit-for-tat display of influence in Washington’s strategic backyard. However, it is best to keep Moscow’s machinations in perspective. Russia is presenting a number of challenges to important U.S. global interests, but its activities in South America are not among them. more

Global Insider

Argentina Looking to Cement Its Role as Nuclear Power

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Argentina signed a nuclear energy deal with Russia last week, the latest step in Argentina’s push to expand its nuclear industry. Irma Arguello, chair of the NPSGlobal Foundation, discussed Argentina’s nuclear energy policy in an email interview. more

Despite U.S. Efforts, Root Causes of Migration Crisis Prevail in Central America

By Michael Allison
, , Briefing

The United States, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are frantically trying to address the humanitarian crisis unfolding on both the U.S. border and in Central America. They have pursued several initiatives to combat violence, strengthen democracy and promote economic opportunity, to stem the sudden increase of young migrants heading north. But such efforts have not delivered their intended benefits. more

The Realist Prism

U.S. Watches From Sidelines as Global Leaders Gather in Brazil

By Nikolas Gvosdev
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The U.S. missed out on a rare geopolitical opportunity this past week. Vice President Joe Biden, who has emerged in Barack Obama’s second term as more of an alter ego for the president on the international stage, should have taken a short trip to Brazil for the World Cup final. Sure, the U.S. team had already been eliminated, but Biden still had good reasons to drop in at the close of the tournament. more

Migrant or Refugee? U.N. Joins Tense U.S. Immigration Debate

By Eric Auner
, , Trend Lines

The rapid influx of migrants from Central America, many of them children, into the United States from Mexico has created political and logistical turmoil in Washington. The United Nations and others have pushed for the United States to treat at least some of these children as refugees, given that many are fleeing violence and deprivation back home. That could have a major impact on U.S. immigration policy. more

In Latin America Tour, China’s Xi Shows Maturing Approach to Region

By Margaret Myers
, , Briefing

On July 14, Xi Jinping began his second official visit to Latin America as president of China. The visit corresponds with a new phase in China-Latin America relations. It is one that is still largely based on China’s interests in the region’s raw materials and markets, and in which Beijing retains the upper hand. But as China expands its global presence, its relationships have also matured considerably. more

Without Clear Goals, Venezuela Sanctions Likely to Be Counterproductive

By Michael McCarthy
, , Briefing

Congress is considering targeted sanctions against Venezuelan government officials for their handling of the country’s political unrest. Sanctions serve an important symbolic purpose: communicating universal support for human rights. But their utility needs to be assessed in terms of whether they can change the Venezuelan government’s relationship with the opposition and its heavy-handedness with protesters. more

World Citizen

In Venezuela, Party Divisions Are Maduro’s Greatest Challenge Yet

By Frida Ghitis
, , Column

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has struggled from the moment his mentor, Hugo Chavez, named him as his successor. Maduro faced countless crises: an economy circling the drain, crime rates skyrocketing and huge opposition protests. In recent weeks, the most dangerous of all Maduro’s problems has emerged: a fracturing of support among Chavista loyalists. If Maduro loses his party, he will lose power. more

The Evolving Role of Multilateral and Subregional Development Banks

By Johannes F. Linn
, , Feature

Multilateral development banks (MDBs) have long played an important role in international development finance. Subregional development banks (SRDBs) have had a more limited function, until the emergence of a few dynamic institutions in recent years. This paper explores the origins of MDBs and SRDBs; considers key issues and trends in their purpose, governance and financing; and explores challenges and opportunities that MDBs and SRDBs face in a changing global development environment. more