Top stories this week are likely to include: the U.S. embargo of Cuba turns 50; Chile votes in municipal elections; final U.S. presidential debate; Argentina-Ghana standoff continues; and Canada may reconsider protectionist energy move.
Cuban Missile Crisis: Fifty years ago today, then-U.S. President John F. Kennedy announced a naval blockade of Cuba after U.S. spy planes found missile sites supported by the Soviet Union. On that evening in 1962, President Kennedy delivered a television address vowing to end the Cuban Missile Crisis, which he termed a “clandestine, reckless and provocative threat to world peace.” Today, Cuba is slowly undergoing economic reforms and the Cuban government is fending off rumors of former Cuban President Fidel Castro’s death—“yet oddly a policy that has failed to produce change and has hamstrung U.S. diplomacy (the embargo) is still in place. It’s telling that the embargo will likely outlive Castro—the man whose government it was intended to take down.” says AQ Editor-in-Chief Christopher Sabatini.
Chilean Municipal Elections: On Sunday, Chileans will head to the polls for elections in municipalities across the country. For the first time, “voting will be voluntary with automatic registration, which will allow all Chileans 18 and older to vote. The change could potentially double the number of voters, allowing up to 5.2 million to vote—half of which are under age 29,” according to AS/COA Online. Also, Chile’s ongoing educational protests will come to the fore, as the secondary school system is administered by local municipalities and 70 percent of Chileans support students’ calls for inexpensive, high-quality education.
Extra: Stay tuned for an AQ Web Exclusive this week from NYU Professor and La Tercera columnist Patricio Navia on the elections.
U.S. Presidential Debate: The third and final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will take place tonight in Boca Raton, Florida. The debate will be divided into six segments: America’s role in the world; Afghanistan and Pakistan; Israel and Iran; the changing Middle East and the new face of terrorism (a two-part segment); and the rise of China. Sabatini observes, “Romney’s mentioned Latin America twice now as a way of increasing U.S. trade. Will Obama mention it this time?”
Argentina-Ghana Clash Intensifies: The standoff between Argentina and Ghana over the detention of Argentine naval vessel ARA Libertad will escalate this week as Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman begins a round of meetings at the United Nations today. He is scheduled to meet with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as well as the president of the UN General Assembly and president of the UN Security Council. At issue is a ruling by a Ghanaian court in favor of NML Capital, a creditor of unpaid Argentine debt that is demanding approximately $300 million. A Ghanaian representative affirms that the full crew except the captain and a small maintenance group is free to leave the boat, acquiescing to a directive from Argentine President Cristina Fernández. Pay attention to any developments in this story this week.
Canada to Continue Talks with Petronas: Although the Canadian government blocked the takeover of Progress Energy Resources Corp. by Malaysian state-owned oil firm Petronas, the industry ministry is continuing talks this week about the bid. Canada has the world’s third-largest crude oil reserves—behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela—and will need about C$650 billion ($654.5 billion) in investment, much of it foreign, over the next decade. Canada’s block of the original Petronas bid was blasted by the Financial Times, but perhaps there may be a breakthrough this week.