Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Keys for a Sustainable and Democratic Development in Latin America

Latin America’s vast geography contains great wealth as well as endless cultural, linguistic and historical diversity. While Latin American countries may face common challenges, finding solutions to these problems is a process as varied as the region itself. It will be imperative for the next U.S. President-elect to understand this fact and respond accordingly. Challenges … Read more


But Will All This Work in Washington?

Every four years the policy community is abuzz with ideas and efforts for the next U.S. president. Discussions of new paradigms, new approaches and new realities dominate the policy world. From the economy to health care, energy and the Middle East, any policy entrepreneur worth his or her salt puts together position papers for the campaigns, the transition teams and for anyone perceived to be close to the candidates.

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Redistribute the Windfall from High Oil Prices

The Americas face multiple and simultaneous challenges in the coming years, ranging from climate change and the competition from the growing economies of China and India to rising crime and narcotics trafficking. These issues have been magnified recently by the severe problems associated with rising oil and food prices.

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Support Debt-for-Human Rights Swaps

As a human rights defender who works primarily in Latin America, I am reminded every day of the region’s profoundly unjust realities: the prevalence of urban and rural violence; the disenfranchisement of the poor and the alienation of vast sectors of the citizenry from basic rights and services; the rampant levels of impunity for outrageous acts of abuse; the persistent and complex manifestations of discrimination against women; and the lack of transparency and accountability in public finances.

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Upgrade the Diplomatic Corps

I hesitate to write to the new U.S. administration about Latin America because I know that natural realities mean that Latin America will not be a priority for any administration despite the high-minded talk from the candidates.

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Go Beyond Free Trade

Mr. President-elect, on behalf of the many Nicaraguan citizens who believe in democracy, we hope your entrance to the White House will open a new era of fruitful relationships between the United States and Latin America. After many years of abandonment and disregard toward Latin America, I am sure this will be welcomed in the region. It will be particularly welcomed in Nicaragua, a country torn by dictatorship and war for most of the twentieth century.

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Recognize and Build on Our Progress

Mr. President-elect, your inauguration in January 2009 brings hope to Latin America and the Caribbean for a closer and improved relationship within the hemisphere. Unfortunately, many citizens of our region, including leaders and analysts, share the view that the prosperity of the Americas is not a high priority for the U.S. It’s a perception that … Read more


Respect Those on The Other Side

One of the most important steps you can take, Mr. President-elect, is to support the movement toward inclusion that is breaking down centuries of discrimination toward indigenous peoples around our region. My own experience, as the first indigenous woman to be named minister of justice in Bolivia, offers an insight into how much has changed—as well as how much still needs to be changed. In my country, a minority of Bolivians—many schooled in foreign universities—have traditionally pursued a Western model of governance.

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Treat the Caribbean Wisely

We look forward to welcoming you Mr. President-elect, at the Summit of the Americas in April 2009 in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a great privilege for us that you are coming to our area, and it is our hope that you will not overlook our region.

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Create a Hemisphere-Wide Security Alliance

My proposal to the next U.S. president is heartfelt—and simple: start regarding Latin America as a neighbor. This may sound obvious, but the truth is that although we live in the same neighborhood, the relationship is by no means that of close and important neighbors. It is in everyone’s best interest to put Latin America back on the map, and the way to do this, I believe, is by constructing a cooperative framework that will give a comparative advantage to our hemisphere.

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It’s Time for a Fresh Start

United States policies toward the region have oscillated between activism and aloofness. In both cases, the perception of U.S. attitudes has given rise to criticism in Latin America and the Caribbean. If the U.S. seems too involved, chances are that many observers will accuse Washington of unduly interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries. … Read more


Define the Next-Generation Agenda Of the U.S.-Mexico Relationship

In today’s fluid world, a nation’s ability to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its people depends to a great extent on the degree of peace and prosperity in the neighborhood to which it belongs. The U.S., notwithstanding its economic might and military power, is no exception. In a welcome respite from Latin America’s turbulent … Read more


Protect the Amazon

In the northwestern Amazon Basin in Colombia, an extraordinary process has been quietly taking place to protect the tropical forest. Over the last 20 years, Amazon indigenous peoples have been handed back their lands in a process aimed both at protecting the environment and supporting human rights.

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Be a Global Leader

I sit down to write in a spirit of regret and of hope. Regret, because in the field of U.S.-Latin American relations, so much ground has been lost; and hope, because I have the honor to address a person who can set it right. Mr. President-elect, your country is not only built on the ideals … Read more


Share the Tools of Wealth Creation

Of all the relationships that the next U.S. president needs to repair around the world, none has a higher priority than Latin America. In fact, Latin America’s unaddressed poverty and inequality is approaching a major national security concern for the United States. Latin America is in trouble. Of 550 million Latin Americans more than 200 … Read more

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