Cuba

The Cuban government released the last of the Ladies in White yesterday after more than 70 members of the group were detained over three separate incidents one week ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit.

Top stories this week are likely to include: the pope’s visit to Mexico and Cuba; Chávez at home and in campaign mode; Argentina’s threat of legal action on the Malvinas/Falklands; drug decriminalization talks in Central America; and Venezuela taking a stand against narcotrafficking.

Top stories this week are likely to include: U.S. congressional interest in Iranian activity in Latin America; Brazil responds to low 2011 growth numbers; Hugo Chávez returns from Cuba; drug legalization to be a topic of debate at the Summit of the Americas; and Costa Rica and Nicaragua agree to cooperate on their shared border.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos traveled to Cuba this morning to meet with Cuban President Raúl Castro and Hugo Chávez in a visit the Colombian government says has two objectives.

The top-five stories for the week of March 5-9, 2012, include: Joe Biden’s Latin America tour; FIFA’s criticism of Brazil; Hugo Chávez’ health recovery; new presidential polls in Mexico; and the UN making further preparations for Rio+20.

Beijing is playing a significant role in the direction of Cuba’s reforms.

At the conclusion of the Fifth Summit of the Americas in 2009, President Obama called for hemispheric partnership in place of “stale debates and old ideologies.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Venezuela yesterday afternoon to kick off his four-country tour of Latin America that will also include stops in Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador.

As part of President Raúl Castro’s stated aim to “modernize” Cuba’s socialist economy, the Cuban government plans to slim down its postal service, Empresa Correos de Cuba (Cuban Mail Company–ECC) and make it a decentralized state-owned enterprise by the middle of 2012.

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