Archived posts with tag ‘Latin America’

24.01.12
China’s Latin America Mil Surge: Don’t Worry, It’s Mostly Hype

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN In October, China ordered the deployment of a 25,000-ton, 300-bed hospital ship dubbed the “Peace Ark” into the Caribbean Sea. The goal: provide humanitarian aid and put on a friendly face for China’s growing international ambitions. This “soft power” mission was similar to related and ongoing U.S. humanitarian missions conducted in the [...]

1 Comment

25.05.11
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up

Venezuela
State energy firm Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) has been sanctioned by the United States for supplying $50 million worth of oil reformer product to Iran. PDVSA will not be able to compete for U.S. government contracts, will not be able to raise financing through the Export-Import Bank of the United States (although Ex-Im Bank has not lended to Venezuela since 2003), and will be restricted from licensing controlled technology. However, the sanctions will not revoke earlier licenses or stop Venezuelan oil exports to the U.S. or sales through PDVSA’s subsidiary Citgo. “The real significance has to be found in the psychological, political effect of the measure,” former PDSVA executive Gustavo Coronel said to the Associated Press. “It constitutes the first real move of the Obama government against Chavez’s Venezuela.”

Leave a comment

16.05.11
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Colombia and Venezuela Three years ago, Colombian soldiers raided a FARC camp one mile across the Ecuadorian border. The soldiers killed at least 20 rebel fighters including senior commander Raul Reyes and sparked a major diplomatic crisis. Then last Tuesday, the International Institute of Strategic Studies released a book analyzing a trove [...]

5 Comments

08.05.11
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up

Osama bin Laden
Latin American leaders reacted with acclaim, silence and condemnation after a United States Navy SEAL assault team killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden last week. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Peruvian President Alan Garcia praised bin Laden’s death. Garcia said the killing may be a miracle performed by the deceased Pope John Paul II. The Chilean Foreign Ministry called the death “positive news.” Mexican President Felipe Calderon congratulated U.S. President Barack Obama, and Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro said bin Laden “had outstanding bills to pay with justice and with the world.”

Leave a comment

16.04.11
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Mexico Authorities continue to discover bodies around the town of San Fernando, Tamaulipas. In recent weeks, gunmen believed to be Zetas seized and then killed at least 145 people, almost all Mexican men, traveling aboard buses on a highway leading to the border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros. It is not known [...]

1 Comment

08.04.11
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Mexico Much typically depressing news from Mexico. Two weeks ago, gunmen apparently stopped passenger buses in Tamaulipas, selected out young men and then killed them. Seventy-two bodies were later found in mass graves. The discovery was announced as street demonstrations were underway Wednesday calling for an end to the country’s epidemic drug [...]

2 Comments

31.03.11
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Venezuela Venezuelan authorities announced the disbandment of the Caracas Metropolitan Police (PMC) in a step aimed at curbing police crime and corruption on Wednesday. Police are responsible for some 20 percent of crime (yes) committed in Venezuela, according to the country’s own justice and interior minister. The PMC, in particular, is notorious [...]

Leave a comment

22.03.11
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Brazil U.S. President Barack Obama’s three-country tour of Brazil, Chile and El Salvador, although cut short, almost lead the headlines this week. It did not, however, overtake events in Japan and Libya. As it is, Latin America is often considered in Washington and in the mainstream media as tiertary to U.S. interests elsewhere. [...]

Leave a comment

08.03.11
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up

by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Mexico Mexican President Felipe Calderon visited Washington last week to discuss bilateral security issues with his United States counterpart. There was little entirely new, however, outside of an agreement to allow Mexican container trucks to operate within U.S. borders. Nonetheless, the visit comes shortly after the death of an Immigration and Customs [...]

Leave a comment

28.02.11
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up

Southern Partnership Station
The U.S. Navy amphibious ship USS Gunston Hall will wrap up its deployment to the Caribbean this month. The ship — embarked with sailors, Seabees and Marines — left Little Creek, Virginia in January for a tour of Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize and Jamaica: part of the Navy’s cornerstone “soft power” strategy. Last month, Marines trained with their Colombian counterparts in jungle warfare, drones, amphibious assaults and explosive ordinance disposal (IEDs being a serious threat in Colombia’s rural areas). In El Salvador, a Navy medical team visited the remote eastern island of Zacatillo to observe water filtration problems, and their logistics counterparts repaired several school buildings on the nearby mainland.

3 Comments

22.02.11
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up

Mexico
It can be difficult to summarize cartel violence in Mexico. It’s constant, senseless and extremely grotesque. Mexican newspapers often refrain from publishing daily briefs so as to not give cartels publicity, or because they’re simply afraid. Border newspapers on the U.S. side are not much better — often choosing to ignore violence happening in their sister cities in favor of neighborhood fluff. But when something big happens, like the death of a prominent drug boss, or a particularly severe few days of fighting, observers take notice.

1 Comment

16.02.11
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up

Brazil
When Brazil’s former president Lula da Silva handed power to successor Dilma Rousseff on January 1, triumph in a multi-billion dollar, 36-fighter bidding competition to supply Brazil’s next generation of strike aircraft was, for France’s troubled Rafale, a near certainty. It would be the plane’s first export — something manufacturer Dassault and the French government spent years cultivating with a receptive Lula. But three weeks later, Brazil re-opened bidding, throwing France’s budding achievement into doubt. Then last week, according to Reuters sources close to Rousseff, the current president told visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner the Rafale isn’t the best choice after all: it’s the U.S. F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

2 Comments