A protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Caracas, Venezuela, Oct. 26, 2016 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the formal triggering of the two-year Brexit process. For the Report, R. Evan Ellis and Román D. Ortiz talk with Peter Dörrie about an array of near-term security challenges across Latin America that could bedevil the Trump administration, and how events in the region will be shaped by U.S. policy. If you’d like to support our free podcast through patron pledges, Patreon is an online service that will allow you to do so. To find out about the benefits you can get through pledging […]

Masked members of the collective "500 Brothers" take part in a march supporting a general strike, Cayenne, French Guiana, March 28, 2017 (AP photo by Pierre-Olivier Jay).

Strikes and protests have paralyzed French Guiana since last Sunday, as residents of the French overseas department in South America demand an end to rising crime and insecurity and rampant unemployment. French Guiana, France’s biggest overseas department, has the highest murder rate in any French department, with one murder each week for a population of just 250,000. But residents are also fed up with poor economic and development indicators, including a youth unemployment rate of 40 percent and high infant mortality. The unrest, which according to some estimates has drawn 20,000 people to the streets, led to the closure of […]

Security personnel guard the Unasur building during the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Quito, Ecuador, Jan. 27, 2016 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

Latin America and the Caribbean are dotted with potential crises and the worsening of any single challenge could have a destabilizing effect on the others. With U.S. security and prosperity tied closely to the region, policymakers in the United States need to be drafting policies that help improve economic and political stability from Mexico to Venezuela. Although not always reflected in the attention of U.S. national security policymakers, no region other than Latin America and the Caribbean more directly affects the prosperity and security of the United States. As U.S. President Donald Trump and his team begin their work, mutually […]

A giant puppet depicting U.S. President Donald Trump paraded at Carnival celebrations in Olinda, Pernambuco state, Brazil, Feb. 27, 2017 (AP photo by Diego Herculano).

Other than a wall at the border with Mexico, Donald Trump promised little to address drug trafficking in the Americas during last year’s U.S. presidential campaign. Two months into his presidency, it is clear that the Trump administration’s disengaged and military-first approach to the drug trade could bring more volatility to the region. On March 13, the White House released “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” which raises more questions and concerns than solutions on many issues, including the drug trade. It notably recommends a $54 billion increase in military spending, proposes reduced funding to the […]

Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos, listens to Vice President German Vargas Lleras present an annual report in Bogota, March 14, 2017 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

That high-level corruption is a serious problem in much of the world is no surprise. But when the Odebrecht case—a massive corruption scandal, possibly even the largest ever uncovered anywhere—burst onto the front pages of newspapers in nearly a dozen Latin American countries, it raised an important question: Is the uncovering and prosecution of major cases of graft a good sign or a bad one? Is it evidence that corruption is even more widespread than anyone knew and becoming worse? Or is it proof that the age of endemic corruption is coming to an end? The wrongdoing at Odebrecht, a […]

Migrants from Somalia cross into Canada from the United States, walking down a train track into the town of Emerson, Manitoba, where they will seek asylum, Feb. 26, 2017 (Canadian Press photo by John Woods via AP).

Canada has long been viewed as a country that is open to migrants. But the reality is far more complex and is increasingly colored by events taking place south of the border. In particular, the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, which took effect in 2004 and requires asylum-seekers to apply for refuge in their first country of arrival, has cast some doubt on the narrative of Canadian tolerance. Over the past decade, Canadian authorities have denied entrance to thousands of migrants seeking asylum, many of them from African countries such as Somalia, Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana. In all likelihood, it […]

President Donald Trump greets Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, March 17, 2017 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

It’s no secret that President Donald Trump, like all of his recent predecessors, thinks America’s NATO allies have been free-riding on Washington’s largesse and should contribute more to their own security. In the familiar terms of NATO alliance management, that is understood to mean meeting the target of budgeting 2 percent of GDP for national defense. Set in 2006, that benchmark is currently met by only four other alliance members—one of them being tiny Estonia—with a fifth, France, falling just short. But last week, at a news conference following his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump went further than […]

U.S. President Donald Trump meeting with Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, Feb. 24, 2017 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

As President Donald Trump contemplates a new trade order, one that puts “America first,” he may be surprised to find he is pushing on an open door. From both a top-down geo-economic level and a bottom-up corporate level, 21st-century trade is in urgent need of a new vision. If he is serious about offering one, Trump should consider a global growth model based on what could be termed the tripolar world, in which deepening ties within three main regions—the Americas, Asia and Europe—become the next catalyst for economic growth. Globalization as it has existed since the end of the Cold […]

A policeman fires tear gas during a clash with drug offenders, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Feb. 23, 2017 (AP photo by Andre Penner).

Last month, police in Brazil’s southeastern state of Espirito Santo went on strike over pay and working conditions, creating a security vacuum that allowed for widespread violence and looting. The police reported 143 killings over a 10-day period, and the government deployed federal troops to stave off further violence in advance of Carnival celebrations at the end of February. In an email interview, Dennis Pauschinger, a sociologist and expert on Brazil’s security sector based at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, discusses how the crisis speaks to larger problems plaguing Brazil’s security sector. WPR: What are some of the factors […]

Caribbean leaders meet during the Summit Cuba-Caricom, Havana, Cuba, Dec 8, 2014 (AP photo by Ismael Francisco).

Just when the United States seems to be retreating from competition in global markets, and possibly even NAFTA, socialist Cuba is moving in the opposite direction. With the signing late last month of a new trade agreement with the 15 countries of the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, Cuba is looking to capitalize on trade and economic links with its neighbors. The feeling is mutual. The Caribbean countries have begun to see Cuba in a different light following the start of the normalization of relations between Havana and Washington and the prospect of the U.S. lifting, or at least relaxing, its […]

FARC guerrillas set up temporary camp next to the construction area for a transition zone, Carrizal, Colombia, Jan. 16, 2017 (photo by Camilo Mejia).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the implications of the Trump administration’s emphasis on hard power over soft power. For the Report, James Bargent talks with Peter Dörrie about early stumbles in the implementation of Colombia’s peace deal. If you’d like to support our free podcast through patron pledges, Patreon is an online service that will allow you to do so. To find out about the benefits you can get through pledging as little as $1 per month, click through to WPR’s Trend Lines Patreon page. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes […]