The US Agency for International Development (USAID) through Plan Colombia, the multibillion-dollar US aid package aimed at fighting the drug trade, appears to have negligently put drug-war dollars into the hands of notorious paramilitary narco-traffickers. A study of USAID internal documents, corporate filings and press reports raises questions about the agency's vetting of applicants, in particular its ability to detect their links to narco-paramilitaries, violent crimes and illegal land seizures.
President Obama left the summit in Latin America with Washington more isolated than ever before. The reason: The stubborn positions the United States takes on the drug war and on Cuba.
President Obama's recent meeting with Latin American heads of state marked a positive step, but he needs to make bigger ones to repair our relations. Distrust of Washington still runs deep in Latin America.
With all that happened at the Summit of the Americas, it was easy to miss a significant about-face by the Obama administration. No, it wasn't the administration's supposedly softer stance toward Cuba. Nor was it Venezuela's well-received offer (by harsh Chávez critic Hillary Clinton no less) to re-exchange ambassadors with Washington.
The election results in El Salvador show the time has come for the Obama administration to upgrade Washington's relations with Latin America. El Salvador now joins a group of nearly a dozen Latin American nations that have elected left-leaning leaders. The Obama administration should work quickly to mend these frayed ties.
Puerto Rico announced that it is laying off 30,000 public sector employees. According to NAM contributor Teo Ballvé, the island’s current economic crisis can be traced partly to neoliberal policies of the 1950s that were replicated across Latin America.