Global Insider: To Succeed, Guatemala Drug Reforms First Require Strong Institutions

By The Editors

Early this month, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina announced he was considering a plan to legalize the production of marijuana and opium poppies in the country. In an email interview, Adriana Beltran, a senior associate for citizen security at the Washington Office on Latin America who specializes in Guatemala, explained how the proposal might affect levels of violence in the country.

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To Rebound After Defeat, El Salvador’s ARENA Must Move Beyond Fear

El Salvador’s FMLN won the country’s presidential election in March by a razor-thin margin, despite polls that indicated the party would score an easy victory over the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA). Following ARENA’s relatively poor first-round performance, the party’s surge in the second round surprised many observers. Yet ARENA’s ability to reform and modernize remains in doubt.

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NSA Leaks Fallout Will Fade Faster Than Hit to U.S. Pride

By James Andrew Lewis
, on , Briefing

Americans are having a hard time coming to terms with the effect of Snowden’s leaks and the damage they have done to America’s status in the world. In part, U.S. leaders do not want to admit that the leaks were merely the final straw for the growing discontent with American global leadership that predated Snowden and has many causes. The unipolar moment was never popular—the leaks confirm that it is over. more

Global Insider: With Air Force Arrests, Venezuela’s Maduro Puts Focus on Civil-Military Relations

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

Late last month, Venezuela’s government arrested three generals of the country’s air force, accusing them of plotting a coup. In an email interview, Harold Trinkunas, senior fellow and director of the Latin America Initiative in the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy program, explained the state of Venezuela’s civil-military relations. more

Strategic Horizons: Amid Debate, U.S. Shares Drone Approach With Partners

By Steven Metz
, on , Briefing

While Americans debate when and where the U.S. should use drones to strike at insurgents and terrorists who cannot be reached by other means, they may be overlooking an important trend: the move to supply a targeted killing capability to allied nations. The decision to provide technology and advice to Colombia and Yemen is only the beginning, as more states will field drones with or without American help. more

Political Economy: Conditioning Markets to Reduce Income Inequality

By Nathan Kelly
, on , Feature

Although income inequality cannot be completely controlled, policymakers have a variety of tools at their disposal to produce changes in how the economic pie is divided. Those that most readily come to mind fall into the category of explicit redistribution, which can be controversial. But a second set of tools, rather than explicitly redistributing income within a society, focuses on creating an economic context in which growth can occur and in which that growth can be distributed more equally. more

Global Insider: Ecuador Local Elections Show Correa’s Weakness More Than Opposition’s Strength

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

In late February, Ecuador’s municipal elections yielded gains for the opposition in an apparent setback for President Rafael Correa. In an email interview, Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue and adjunct professor of Latin American politics at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, explained why the opposition made gains and what’s next for Correa. more

Cuba’s New Foreign Investment Law Is a Bet on the Future

By William M. LeoGrande
, on , Briefing

The new foreign investment law Cuba’s National Assembly passed unanimously last Saturday is a key component of President Raul Castro’s program to “update” the economy. The law offers better terms to foreign investors, with the aim of boosting direct foreign investment in Cuba’s chronically capital-poor economy. But important aspects of Cuba’s FDI landscape—including the U.S. embargo—have not changed. more

In Raucous Fight for Venezuela, Chavez's Former Twitter Account Stays Silent

By Matt Peterson
, on , Trend Lines

When ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez publicly anointed Nicolas Maduro as his desired successor a year ago, Chavez apparently forgot to hand over one element of his power: his more than 4 million Twitter followers. In a country in the midst of a bruising and very public fight for political power, control of a powerful megaphone like Chavez’s Twitter account would seem to be a valuable prize. more

World Citizen: Venezuela, Once an Ideological Magnet, Now Worries Region

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

The continuing turmoil in Venezuela is being watched with a view toward the national interest in Caribbean and Latin American countries, most notably Cuba, which is feeling the impact of the contest for Caracas with particular intensity. The fall of President Nicolas Maduro and the end of the policies instituted by his mentor, the late President Hugo Chavez, would have strong repercussions in the region. more

Time for U.S. to Come Off the Sidelines on Venezuela Repression

By Christopher Sabatini
, on , Briefing

The arrest of two mayors by the Venezuelan government last week demonstrated that repression is ramping up in the oil-producing and deeply troubled country. Sadly, Venezuela’s neighbors are unlikely to do anything about it, and this collective failure to protect democratic norms and human rights has placed the U.S. in the position of coming forward to defend what was once thought to be a hemispheric consensus. more

Colombia’s Santos May Face Livelier Opposition in New Congress

By Adam Isacson
, on , Briefing

Colombia’s congressional election Sunday proved a modest setback for President Juan Manuel Santos. A new party loyal to former President Alvaro Uribe, a conservative populist and vocal critic of Santos, made a reasonably strong showing, though without securing enough seats to either pass or block legislation. Santos may now find it more difficult to pass legislation, but his agenda as a whole will survive. more