Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Assessing the Bush Administration in Hemispheric Affairs

Shortly before the end of the Bush administration in January 2009, I met with a senior official covering hemispheric affairs who said point blank, “You’re going to miss us when we’re gone.  We actually accomplished a lot more than anyone gives us credit for.”  The opening of the George W. Bush Library in Dallas today … Read more


Monday Memo: Paraguayan Elections – Ríos Montt Trial – Argentine Protests – Guantánamo Hunger Strike – Venezuela

Top stories this week are likely to include: Horacio Cartes will be Paraguay’s new president; Guatemala’s Constitutional Court will decide whether Efraín Ríos Montt’s genocide trial can continue; Argentines protested Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government; Guantánamo prisoners’ hunger strike grows; the Venezuelan election audit process will take a month. Horacio Cartes Wins Presidential Election in … Read more


Gringo Stay Here!

Lea una versión en español aquí. “Why do they hate us?” This question1, on so many U.S. citizens’ minds over the decade following the September 11, 2001, attacks, is often asked about Islamic extremists and even the broader Muslim world. Among the most common responses is that “they” resent U.S. foreign policy in the Middle … Read more


Immigration Reform to Address Labor Demand

This week marked several milestones in the immigrants’ rights movement. On Wednesday, tens of thousands of immigrants and their allies descended on Capitol Hill to demand a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The “Rally for Citizenship” was held on the forty-seventh anniversary of the first farmworker march … Read more


U.S. Delegation Leaves Gross in Cuba

A delegation of U.S. lawmakers led by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) returned from Cuba on Wednesday without jailed USAID subcontractor Alan Gross. The seven-member delegation left for Cuba on Monday with the intent of freeing Gross, who was arrested in 2009 for bringing communications equipment as part of a “democracy-promotion program” and is currently serving … Read more


Canadians’ View of Obama’s Inaugural Speech

As Canadians, we tend to watch the Inaugural activities with interest. Sometimes, as in 1961 or in 2009, we marvel at the significance and the majesty of the event. Many times, we are indifferent and see it merely as a news story in the heart of winter every four years. We do not pretend to … Read more


U.S.-Cuba Tensions Flare over Gross’s Health

Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rebuked the possibility of a “unilateral” release of jailed USAID subcontractor Alan Gross on Wednesday amid growing concern by the United States over his health. Josefina Vidal, the top Cuban diplomat for North American affairs, said that the Cuban government has communicated the terms of Gross’ release to U.S. officials … Read more


Get the Story Right: Time for Stories of Fading U.S. Interest to Fade

It gets tiresome hearing the constant assertions by reporters and analysts that U.S. influence in the Americas is ebbing. Not only are they wrong—let alone trite,  by now—they miss the actual complexity (and yes, maturity) of  U.S. diplomacy in the region today.   Ironically, much of evidence cited for “declining U.S. power” is rooted in … Read more


Mexico’s Proposed Labor Reforms: The First Test for the New PRI

  Mexico’s 62nd Congress had just been inaugurated on September 1 when legislators heard from President Felipe Calderón, who sent a labor bill to the Chamber of Deputies for consideration. Under a new fast-track authority, the executive branch can submit legislation to the lower chamber of the legislative branch, after which the lower and upper … Read more


Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico Ask UN to Revise Drug War Tactics

In remarks to the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, Mexican President Felipe Calderón, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called on the UN to begin a serious debate on alternative ways to combat drug trafficking. “Today, I am proposing formally that [the UN]…carry out a far-reaching assessment … Read more

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