When he took office in 2010, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos trumpeted mining as a “locomotive” that would drive the economy forward. Recently though, the Santos administration dealt a series of harsh blows to the country’s No. 2 coal exporter, Alabama-based Drummond Co., in response to a series of legal blunders committed in 2013. Coming down this hard on a company like Drummond is an unprecedented move for Colombia’s government, signaling that from here on out, multinationals that come to mine the country’s natural resources could face a new, hard-line stance when they don’t play by the rules. The Drummond […]

This year started on a particularly pessimistic note in Cyprus. In December 2013, the latest attempt by the United Nations to bring the island’s Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders back to the negotiating table had foundered. The two sides had been unable to reach an agreement on the wording of a joint statement that would have laid down the parameters for a renewed attempt to reunify the island. At the core of the dispute was a disagreement on the nature of sovereignty in any settlement. While the two sides have long agreed that any solution would see the creation of […]

China’s unveiling of its fourth research base in Antarctica this weekend has produced a flurry of interest in the Chinese polar program. The broad consensus among analysts is that Beijing’s intent is more about gaining sway over long-term rule-making than furthering science. As Lily Kuo writes in Quartz, “China’s Antarctic aspirations are likely for status and more importantly, leverage over a distant future when the region opens up.” In a briefing for WPR last month, Anne-Marie Brady, editor-in-chief of the Polar Journal, outlines the impact of China’s Antarctic expansion, which also includes a newly announced fifth station. She writes: The […]

The recent International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision on the Chilean-Peruvian maritime boundary dispute closed one chapter of a trilateral territorial dispute that has festered among Chile, Peru and Bolivia for more than a century. But while Chile and Peru mend fences, similar progress between Chile and Bolivia has not materialized. Less than a decade ago, geopolitical tensions surrounding the dispute played a part in blocking Bolivia from participating in a clear market solution to Chile’s natural gas crisis. Today, that dynamic has deteriorated for Bolivia: The region’s shifting energy market realities have removed what leverage Bolivia had in its […]