From Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.
U.S. Defense Secretary Tours Brazil, Chile, and Colombia
Colombia, Brazil, and Chile will host U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta this week. “This is a way of making contact and dealing with the region at a time when there’s growing concern over the ability of many countries to be able to handle the threat posed by transnational crime and, specifically, drug trafficking organizations,” one former Pentagon official told Voice of America. In Colombia, Panetta secured the sale of 10 U.S. helicopters to that country to be used in combatting drug trafficking and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Panetta met with Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim in Brasilia as part of the first U.S.-Brazil Defense Cooperation Dialogue, established during Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s visit to Washington earlier this month, and discussed ways to expand bilateral trade in defense technology. Panetta will next head to Rio de Janeiro before departing for Chile, where he is expected to discuss joint naval drug-patrol operations off the Central American coast.
Mexican Migration to the U.S. at a Standstill
A poll from the Pew Hispanic Center finds that Mexican migration to the United States has stopped and perhaps even reversed. The research finds that from 2005 to 2010, 1.4 million Mexicans emigrated to the United States, and 1.4 million Mexican immigrants returned to Mexico from the United States. The report also finds that the number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States dropped by nearly 1 million by 2011. The report says the decline is a result of “weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico.”
U.S. Funds to Fight Intellectual Property Crimes in LatAm
Last week, the U.S. State Department announced 12 international intellectual property training programs, designed to combat transnational crime and piracy by educating judges and law enforcement agents on the subject. Of the $2.6 million set aside for these efforts, $438,814 is destined for programs in Mexico, $150,644 for Brazil, $100,000 for Chile, and $70,000 for Colombia.