U.S. President Barack Obama before delivering his speech at the Grand Theater of Havana, Cuba, March 22, 2016 (AP photo by Desmond Boyland).

One of U.S. President Barack Obama’s most significant measures to promote commerce with Cuba isn’t working. Last March, a few days before the president’s trip to Havana, Washington announced a new package of regulatory reforms loosening the U.S. embargo—the fourth since December 2014. One element of that package licensed U.S. financial institutions to process international transactions between Cuba and non-U.S. parties, so-called “u-turn” transactions. Because most dollar-denominated transactions are cleared through U.S. banks, the ban on these transactions severely hampered Cuban trade. In fact, lifting that prohibition was at the top of Cuba’s agenda last February when Cuban Minister of […]

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at the Mercosur Summit, with her Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz, Luque, Paraguay, Dec. 21, 2015 (AP photo by Jorge Saenz).

As the sun sets on Latin America’s commodities boom, news from the region is rarely good. Brazil is impeaching its president. Venezuela is steeped in the worst economic and political crisis in its history. And drug wars still roil Mexico and much of Central America. Populism is alive and kicking in many countries, and the source of the next potential source of economic prosperity is uncertain. Even Chile, long the region’s model of democratic transition and economic and social progress, is experiencing its deepest political crisis since the return of democracy in 1990. President Michelle Bachelet’s approval ratings, along with […]

A Syrian Kurdish fighter from the People's Protection Units (YPG), Sinjar, Iraq, Jan. 29, 2015 (AP photo by Bram Janssen).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the challenges facing President Maurico Macri’s reforms in Argentina, Mozambique’s hidden debt crisis, and land protests in Kazakhstan. For the Report, Denise Natali joins us to talk about how the Syrian war has impacted the country’s Kurds and their prospects for autonomy. Listen:Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant articles on WPR: Macri’s Moment: Can Argentina’s New President Live Up to the Hype? Massive Debt Revelation Another Blow to Mozambique’s Economy Kazakhstan’s Unprecedented Land Protests Only the First Wave of Discontent? Can Syria’s Kurds Leverage War […]

Guatemalan Defense Minister Gen. Williams Mansilla gives a press conference following the death of a 13-year-old boy in a shooting incident on the Belizean border, Guatemala City, April 23, 2016 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

Border tensions between Belize and Guatemala flared back up this weekend when Belizean soldiers shot and injured a Guatemalan man who allegedly threatened them with a machete after he was found illegally prospecting for gold on Belize’s side of the contested border. In an email interview, Margath Walker, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville, discussed the border dispute between Belize and Guatemala. WPR: What is the history behind the contested border between Belize and Guatemala, and what has caused the recent border tensions? Margath Walker: The territorial dispute between Guatemala and Belize dates back more than 150 years. […]

Argentine President Mauricio Macri at the government house, Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 7, 2016 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, is creating a buzz on the international circuit, but he won’t have an easy time installing a new paradigm in a deeply divided society. On March 24, Argentina marked the 40th anniversary of the military coup that ushered in a brutal seven-year dictatorship in 1976. As has become customary, tens of thousands marched on Plaza de Mayo, in central Buenos Aires, to remember the atrocities of that era and chant the universal slogan, Nunca Mas—Never Again. But this year, the march was different. Just 24 hours earlier, the same historic square had been adorned with […]

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Paris Climate Conference, Le Bourget, France, Nov. 30, 2015 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Given global headlines, you might think the world is terribly off course. Geopolitical rivalry threatens stability from Eastern Europe to the South China Sea. Jihadi terrorists sow mayhem throughout the Middle East. A scary virus emerges in Latin America, spreading across borders. A Brazilian president is brought down, as the Panama Papers expose corruption in other lands. Publics everywhere, alienated by yawning inequality and anemic growth, vent their frustration at a system rigged for moneyed elites. Populist politicians, sensing the sour mood, promise to reverse globalization by building walls to keep out foreigners and abandoning trade agreements. This noisy, negative […]

Cuban dissident Miguel Alberto Ulloa holding his prison release document, Havana, Cuba, Jan. 9, 2015 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the challenges facing NATO, South Sudan’s unstable peace, and Kim Jong Un cementing his power at North Korea’s party congress. For the Report, Ted Henken, joins us to explain what normalization with the U.S. and reforms mean for Cuba’s economy and political opposition. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant articles on WPR: From Russia to Refugee Crisis, NATO Faces Biggest Test Since the Cold War Machar’s Return Only the First Step in Bringing South Sudan Back Together North Korea Party Congress Shows Kim’s Power—and […]

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto gives the opening address at the annual IHS CERAWeek global energy conference, Houston, Tex., Feb. 22, 2016 (AP photo by Pat Sullivan).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the potential impact on members’ economies. Mexican Trade Minister Herminio Blanco told a gathering of Mexican and Japanese business leaders earlier this month that “Mexico will become more competitive when the TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] takes effect.” In an email interview, Raúl Francisco Montalvo Corzo, the director of the EGADE Business School, Guadalajara, discussed the potential effects of TPP membership on Mexico’s economy. WPR: What are the expected economic benefits and potential downsides for Mexico from the TPP, and who are the expected “winners” and […]

Deputy National Security Adviser For Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes at the White House, Washington, Feb. 16, 2016 (AP Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

A profile in The New York Times Magazine of Ben Rhodes, the Obama administration’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, has been the focus of attention in U.S. foreign policy and media circles since it appeared last week. There’s a lot of ground to cover in giving the article a critical reading, and little of it reflects positively on the author, David Samuels—or on the Obama administration, if not quite for the reasons Samuels claims. In a nutshell, Samuels uses what is ostensibly a profile of Rhodes, who is President Barack Obama’s speechwriter as well as one of his […]

Argentine President Mauricio Macri makes a statement regarding an investigation into his role in offshore companies, April 7, 2016 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the impact of corruption and various countries’ efforts to combat it. Last week, a prosecutor in Argentina asked for an investigation into illegal enrichment allegations against former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her son. In an email interview, Manuel Balán, an assistant professor at McGill University, discussed Argentina’s fight against corruption. WPR: How big a problem is corruption, both low- and government-level, in Argentina, and to the degree it is one, how does it manifest itself in daily life? Manuel Balán: There is generally a great deal […]

Government supporters stage a counter-protest to one held by Ladies in White, Havana, Cuba, March 20, 2016 (AP photo by Rebecca Blackwell).

Expectations for change in Cuba grew following the historic thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations that began in December 2014, and gained momentum with U.S. President Barack Obama’s equally historic visit to the island in March 2016. How have these epoch-making transformations altered Cuba’s newly dynamic domestic reality, which is often inaccurately assumed to be both monolithic and monochromatic? On one hand, Havana has responded by circling the wagons of the state and doubling down on political centralization under President Raul Castro and los historicos, as the old-guard revolutionaries are known. On the other, a variety of actors in Cuban society—including political […]

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Spokane, Wash., May 7, 2016 (AP photo by Ted S. Warren).

It is time for the United Nations to start thinking seriously about Donald Trump, for the simple reason that Trump is thinking seriously about the United Nations. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee told the New York Times last week that he has been mulling some potential U.N. ambassadors. Having electrified the GOP, he hopes to have an equally stunning impact on U.N. diplomacy. “The U.N. isn’t doing anything to end the big conflicts in the world,” he noted with his usual acuity, “so you need an ambassador who would win by really shaking up the U.N.” This is likely to […]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 20, 2016 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the potential impact on members’ economies. Last month, the C.D. Howe Institute, a research institute based in Toronto, released a report saying Canada would see modest economic gains from membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In an email interview, Patricia Goff, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, discussed the potential impact of the TPP on Canada’s economy. WPR: What are the expected economic benefits and potential downsides for Canada from the TPP, and who are the expected “winners” and “losers”? […]

A Palestinian woman in the rubble of destroyed houses following Israeli strikes, Rafah refugee camp, Gaza, Palestine, Aug. 4, 2014 (AP Photo by Khalil Hamra).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR editor-in-chief Judah Grunstein and senior editor Frederick Deknatel discuss Honduras’ corrupt police force, transitional justice in Cote d’Ivoire, and the political prospects for Turkey, Syria and Iraq’s Kurds. For the Report, Khaled Hroub joins us to talk about Hamas’ options for ending Gaza’s isolation. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant articles from WPR: Police Scandal in Honduras Could Lead to Even More Militarized Policing Gbagbo’s Trial Is the Latest Sign of Victor’s Justice in Cote d’Ivoire Kurds in Iraq, Turkey and Syria Vacillate Between Hope and Despair Can Hamas Afford the Cost […]

An opposition rally to gather signatures to recall Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Caracas, April 27, 2016 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

Venezuela’s unraveling is gathering speed. The country is now on course for an extended period of uncertainty, with a probably momentous and possibly dangerous outcome lying in wait. This does not come as a surprise. A few months ago, I described Venezuela’s shambolic start to what promised to be a dramatic year. That was not a risky prediction. Anyone watching the country’s trajectory could see disaster coming. The question now is, How will this end? A number of possible scenarios come to mind, some of them very troubling. The events of the past few days mark a sharp escalation in […]

Military police outside of a juvenile detention center where clashes broke out, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Jan. 15, 2015 (AP photo by Fernando Antonio).

Documents recently released by Honduran newspaper El Heraldo revealed what many Hondurans had long suspected: the presence of a hit squad within the police tasked with carrying out assassinations of law enforcement officials. In December 2009, Honduras’ anti-drug chief, Gen. Julian Aristides Gonzalez, was killed in his car in front of his daughter’s school in the capital, Tegucigalpa. His assassination came just days after he revealed the discovery of clandestine airstrips in Olancho, the country’s largest department and a hub for drug trafficking. His associate and former head of the anti-narcotics commission, Gustavo Alfredo Landaverde, was killed two years later […]

Demonstrators demanding the impeachment of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff march during a protest, Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 17, 2016 (AP photo by Andre Penner).

The past year has been a tumultuous one for South America. The collapse in commodities prices, a series of corruption scandals and changing ideological tides have all combined to upend a lengthy period of prosperity and stability. In particular, the leftist ideologies that had been ascendant over the past decade and a half seem to be losing steam. The following articles are free for nonsubscribers until May 19. Brazil’s Crisis of Confidence Amid Impeachment Saga, Will 2016 Be Another Lost Year for Brazil? Writing in January, João Augusto de Castro Neves argued that while impeachment was unlikely in the short […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 181 2 Last