Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

What to Expect of the Summit

After almost two years of parsing first candidate then President elect and now President Barack Obama’s words for his ideas on Latin America, the world will finally get a view in April 17, 18 and 19 in Trinidad and Tobago at the Summit of the Americas. Certainly President Obama’s recent interview with Univision caused some … Read more


The Start to More Sensible Immigration Policies May Just be Around the Corner

Washington is abuzz this week. Yes, Beyonce will be sharing the stage with Garth Brooks at Sunday’s Lincoln Memorial concert, but a new tune also may be developing in regard to U.S. immigration policies. Both the incoming administration and congressional leaders have signaled that the chorus for ’09 may yet be a new, practical approach … Read more


Bringing a New Generation of Latin American Writers to the Forefront

Isolation and high prices have held back new talented writers in Latin America. It is difficult for someone in Colombia to hear about a rising Venezuelan author. A work by a Peruvian author, well-known in Spain, may be hard to come across in a Costa Rican bookstore. Where books are available, they are often too … Read more


Stasis Across the Straits

On January 1, 2009, the Cuban government celebrated the 50th anniversary of Fidel Castro and Ché Guevara’s triumphant march into Havana that marked the end of the reign of Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship and the beginning of the Cuban revolution. The occasion was quite frankly sad, not just for what it said about a revolution that … Read more


Pyramid Schemes in Colombia

In Colombia, everyone seems to know someone who has been affected by the recent collapse of bogus pyramid investment schemes. An estimated 4 million Colombians, from the political elite, members of the armed forces, to small businessmen and the poor invested in pyramid scams. Some have lost their life savings. The biggest pyramid company, DMG … Read more


Economic Stimulus in the Digital Era

With the scope of the recession looming larger with the release of each new gloomy statistic, talk of the New Deal-style package (and it’s potential scope) grows with it. But today in the digital age there’s a significant new component to stimulating the economy (including state investment in infrastructure that recalls the historic images of … Read more


Viva Bill Richardson!

It was difficult for any Latin Americanist (not to mention Latin American) not to feel a swell of surprise and pride when New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson broke into Spanish at the end of his speech announcing his appointment to Commerce Secretary last week. The announcement further filled out President-elect Barack Obama’s economic team. Governor … Read more


Skating a lo Cubano

The Cubans are behind. Given the shortage of equipment, skills training from outside the island and lack of public space, it is no wonder that Cuban skaters are not keeping up with their counterparts abroad. The Havana skate community is estimated to hover around 400 to 500. There is one skate park on the entire … Read more


The Colombia FTA is an Economic Stimulus that Doesn’t Cost $25 Billion

The election campaign has ended, but Commerce Secretary Gutierrez is still on the campaign trail for the Colombia free-trade agreement (FTA). This week, he was on the hustings at the Small Business Administration trade symposium.  The message: we must pass the Colombia free-trade agreement “with the same sense of urgency that we passed a stimulus … Read more


Protecting Journalists in Weak States

This week brought another tragic murder of a journalist in Mexico.  Armando Rodriguez was a well-known crime editor for El Diario in the violence-ridden, Mexican border-town of Ciudad Juarez. The hit (conducted while he was waiting to take his daughter to school, by gunmen who sped off) prompted strong condemnations by international NGOs and the … Read more

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