Too often, political and economic analysts summarily lump Bolivia together with the rest of South America’s leftist governments. That has not been a comfortable category to be in over the past decade, and recent developments on the continent — such as Argentina’s nationalization of Spanish oil company YPF in April and Venezuela’s January announcement that it would withdraw from the World Bank-hosted International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, a key arbitration forum — have only further rattled investors and governments. Even moderate Brazil has recently raised eyebrows with its tough treatment of multinational oil companies. But President Evo Morales’ […]

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos visited China earlier this month, where he and Chinese President Hu Jintao signed an agreement to begin considerations for a free trade agreement. In an email interview, Benjamin Creutzfeldt, a lecturer and researcher in contemporary China studies at Externado University in Bogota, Colombia, discussed relations between Colombia and China. WPR: What is driving increased diplomatic and economic ties between China and Colombia over the past decade? Benjamin Creutzfeldt: The driving force behind contact between China and Colombia has been and continues to be trade. Over the past decade, China’s need for the types of raw […]

“The [Organization of American States] is an enemy of the U.S. and an enemy to the interests of freedom and security,” said Rep. David Rivera, a Republican congressman from Florida, in July 2011 as he joined the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s GOP majority in voting to cut off U.S. funding for the OAS. Rivera’s low regard for the organization was matched by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who in urging the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean to form a new regional bloc excluding the United States said, “You can’t expect much from the OAS. It’s like a corpse that […]

The defense ministers of Brazil and Turkey met in Brazil last month, where they signed a letter of intent to improve bilateral military ties and increase technology transfers. In an email interview, Oliver Stuenkel, an assistant professor of international relations at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation in São Paulo, discussed the military relationship between Brazil and Turkey. WPR: What is the extent of the current defense relationship between Brazil and Turkey in terms of military-to-military relations and defense-industrial ties? Oliver Stuenkel: The defense relationship between Brazil and Turkey is still small and incipient, yet in 2003, Brazil and Turkey signed an […]

A bomb intended for former Colombian Interior Minister Fernando Londono instead killed two of his bodyguards and injured scores of bystanders in Bogota on Tuesday. According to media reports, the bombing was the first with seemingly political motivations to hit the capital in nearly a decade. Rebels from the guerilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are the most likely culprits behind the attack, but two experts who spoke with Trend Lines warn that the Colombian government must not react by focusing too much of its attention on the FARC while ignoring the many other threats to Colombia’s […]

It seems like Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez increasingly has the world lined up against her, but there’s no reason to feel sorry for her. Fernandez is the librettist of her own drama, and she is carrying out an international populist performance worthy of her famed predecessor, Evita Perón, updated for the anti-globalization, Occupy generation. In the process, the Argentinean leader is taking her country on a sharply different path from the one chosen by other booming South American economies, moving Argentina down a perilous road. She is also driving foreign investors, as well as many domestic ones, away from Argentina. […]

In April, three major Brazilian energy companies announced plans to increase investment in Peruvian natural gas. In an email interview, Thomas Andrew O’Keefe, president of Mercosur Consulting Group, discussed Latin America’s intraregional energy ties. WPR: Historically, how strong has intraregional cooperation been on energy issues in South America, and how is that changing? Thomas Andrew O’Keefe: Intraregional cooperation on energy issues went through a boom period in the 1990s, when there was a widespread regional consensus on letting the market set energy prices and permitting the private sector to take a lead role in developing new pipelines and connecting electricity […]

El Salvador, only recently home to the world’s second-highest homicide rate, has watched murders plummet by 60 percent since early March. The unprecedented decline, however, is not the result of conventional policies aimed at eliminating criminal activity, but rather a very different development: a negotiated truce between the country’s two leading gangs, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18. On March 9, some 30 gang leaders were moved to lower security prisons to engage in discussions led by the Catholic Church and a former congressman. El Salvador’s online investigative journal El Faro broke the story on March 14, and the […]

Canada’s efforts to join the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement received a boost last month when Chile agreed to support Canadian participation. In an email interview, Laura Dawson, president of Dawson Strategic, discussed Canada’s attempt to join the negotiations. WPR: What are Canada’s motivations — political and economic — to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and how receptive are the current members to Canada’s membership bid? Laura Dawson: The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the focal point of Canada’s external trade strategy. While three-quarters of Canadian exports still go the United States, future growth depends on trade with emerging markets […]

In Securing Amazon, Brazil Must Balance Development and Sustainability

In one of several military operations that have been launched over the past year to tackle illegal gold mining, illegal deforestation and drug smuggling in the Amazon rain forest, Brazil is sending more than 8,500 troops to patrol an area that stretches across the northern border of the country. The deployment, which underscores Brazil’s efforts to assert greater control over the more than two-thirds of the Amazon that falls within its borders, comes as international expectations over Brazil’s role as a regional power rise — and as a United Nations conference on sustainable development to be held in Rio de […]

GUATEMALA CITY — Goldcorp is one of the many mining companies winning big on the Central American Gold Belt. Amid soaring gold prices, its Marlin mine in Guatemala made $609 million in profit last year, up 125 percent from 2010. The second-biggest gold miner in the world, Goldcorp was also Guatemala’s largest single taxpayer last year, paying more than $80 million in royalties and taxes, while also funding community development and health projects. But the Marlin mine has a downside. Guatemalans living nearby claim to have lead poisoning, and environmentalists say Goldcorp is harming local water supplies irreversibly. Meanwhile, anti-mining […]

Last week’s inaugural U.S.-Brazilian Defense Cooperation Dialogue was the latest example of the Obama administration’s efforts to enhance defense cooperation with Brazil. Though improving broader relations with Brazil has been a priority for the Obama administration, the U.S. emphasis on bilateral defense ties should also be seen as part of Washington’s ongoing effort to get Brazil to increase its global security profile as the U.S. focuses more of its strategic attention and shrinking defense resources on the Western Pacific. Even before announcing the U.S. pivot to Asia last fall, the Obama administration had actively pursued expanded security ties with Brazil. […]

New developments in a wide range of fields and regions have reshaped the global energy landscape. Whether due to newfound techniques or newfound reserves, regional politics or national policy, global energy seems to have entered an era in which limitless opportunities coexist with long-standing problems. This World Politics Review special report examines the emerging global energy picture. Below are links to each article in this special report, which subscribers can read in full. Not a subscriber? Purchase this document for Kindle or as a PDF from Scribd. Or, learn more about how you can try our subscription service free for […]