Three months have passed since Nicolas Maduro took power in Venezuela following the death of Hugo Chavez, and almost 50 days since he became the country’s elected president. However one chooses to date his tenure, there is no denying that, as president, Maduro so far looks anything but commanding in his job. Maduro narrowly managed to survive the election, with barely enough votes to keep the presidency in Chavista hands. Since that razor-thin, rather embarrassing performance, he has battled a constant stream of awkward difficulties, finding plenty to worry about at home and looking for enemies abroad. In the short [...]
The latest meeting of the leaders of the Pacific Alliance on May 23 in Cali, Colombia, was the best one yet, suggesting that this new economic bloc is an emerging powerhouse in Latin America. The alliance is an effort by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru to link their economies more closely together through trade, finance and labor market integration to build mutual economic competitiveness. It is one of the most dynamic and potentially significant developments in hemispheric trade relations since negotiations to form a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) broke down in 2003. In the intervening decade, China’s [...]
Bolivian President Evo Morales’ successful push to clear the way for a potential third term in office has reinforced the fears of many observers who, ever since he was first elected president in December 2005, have lumped Morales in with the wave of populist, anti-democratic leaders in Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Morales joined ALBA, the alliance of leftist countries assembled and underwritten by former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; he engaged in the time-honored tradition of leftist “yanqui” bashing; and he has whittled away institutional checks and balances on executive power. But in important economic and political ways, Bolivia was and [...]
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