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Latin America

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Maduro’s Government Is Losing Its Monopoly on Violence

July 24, 2021 11:20 PM
Moving forward, the United States may stabilize regional power in the American continent by removing a critical Russian ally, Venezuela. Nicolas Maduro, the controversial, authoritarian president of Venezuela, is backed by the Russian government and continues an anti-American narrative beneficial to Russian interests in the American hemisphere. If the United States can challenge the relationship between Russia and Venezuela by becoming Venezuela’s ally, the United States could directly contest Russian interests in the American hemisphere.
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Chile’s Constitutional Reform

June 24, 2021 11:45 AM
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Moving Away From "War" in the Drug War

April 26, 2021 05:07 PM
A recent study of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict between 1987 and 2004 shows a reduction in the number of terrorist attacks following the enactment of humanitarian policies. The study provides some evidence to the argument that terror attacks can be reduced through “incentivizing peace rather than punishing violence.” These results were upheld by case studies of Turkey, Lebanon, Algeria, and Egypt–areas in which the goal of terrorist activity is mainly political: namely, the expulsion of a real or perceived foreign military and political presence from the region. While these peace-incentivizing policies may not directly impact those presently engaged in terrorist activity, strengthening the economic base may deter others being recruited into the organizations, thus reducing the number of terrorists and terror attacks.
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Drug War Vigilantes and the Rule of Law

April 23, 2021 11:43 AM
During the middle of last month, Honduran and U.S. forces conducted a major drug bust that recovered a half-ton of cocaine in the river town of Ahuas. The morning following the raid, four homes were set ablaze by villagers retaliating against the people in their community who worked for the drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). These burning homes represent the unwelcome feelings for drug trafficking and the crime that comes with it. Additionally, the blaze represents a significant problem within Honduras and other countries along the drug trafficking routes: decreasing respect for and trust in the government’s ability to uphold the rule of law.
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Hugo Chavez and Venezuela

April 23, 2021 11:39 AM
The year 2012 plays host to several important Presidential elections around the world: those in France, the first presidential elections in Egypt following the removal of Hosni Mubarak from power, and the elections in the United States with President Obama up for reelection in what seems to be an increasingly partisan climate. Another important presidential election this year is found in Latin America: specifically, the October contest between Hugo Chávez and Henrique Capriles in Venezuela.
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Avoiding a second Falkland Islands conflict

April 23, 2021 09:49 AM
Last month, Argentina and Great Britain commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Falkland Islands Conflict in which Argentina attempted to take possession of the island about 250 miles off its coast in the Atlantic Ocean. Argentina’s claims for the the Falklands, or the Islas Malvinas as the Argentines call them, go back into the 19th century despite British control of the islands since 1833 (with the exception of the short time Argentina “re-occupied” them before Britain forcibly removed Argentina’s forces from the islands weeks later). Although the Falkland Conflict reestablished British control of the islands, Argentina has continued to fight for them in other ways, such as including the territorial claim for the Malvinas in its reformed constitution in 1994.
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Security Sensationalism: Hezbollah in Latin America

April 23, 2021 09:21 AM
In November of last year, the Republican presidential candidates were asked to speak about a national security issue that had not been receiving enough attention. In response, three of the candidates reported that radical Islamist groups, namely Hamas and Hezbollah, were operating in Latin America across the Mexican border, presenting an “imminent threat to the United States of America.” Many of these claims were drawn from a report published by the American Enterprise Institute released in October 2011. This report states that “Hezbollah is using the Western Hemisphere as a staging ground, fundraising center, and operational base to wage asymmetric warfare against the United States.”
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Addressing Drug War Migration Patterns

April 22, 2021 07:23 PM
When thinking security threats in Latin America, one has to think about the bloody war on drugs raging in Mexico. Although Mexico is currently the battle arena of the war on drugs, Colombia previously held that position. At the time, the United States and Colombia worked together militarily to combat this threat. Their efforts resulted in the significant weakening of the Colombian drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and the subsequent rise of DTOs in Mexico. Removing the DTO threat in Colombia did not stop the drug trade in the Americas but merely displaced it, moving it along trade routes toward its largest consumer: the United States.
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Monthly Archives: May 2019

Figuera and His Change of Opinions

May 18, 2019 04:33 PM
On April 30th, skirmishes erupted in Venezuela between anti-government protests and law enforcement officers as Juan Guaidó called for the population to rise up against Nicolás Maduro. Since this incident, many analysts are attempting to establish the role played by General Manuel Ricardo Christopher Figuera, who was the acting head of Venezuela’s secret police. Figuera was known for many years as a “diehard Chavist loyalist.”[1] However, his name was mentioned in several local Venezuelan media reports as being a leader in the uprising. After the uprising, Figuera is credited to writing a letter on the afternoon of April 30th. This was quoted by Venezuelan news website Efecto Cocuyo, and began with Figuera’s allegiance to Maduro as his, “commander in chief”[2]. However, it later says that, “the state of disrepair in which the Fatherland is submerged is not a secret for anybody, and it would be irresponsible of me to blame only the North American empire [US]”[3]. This simultaneous approval of Maduro and disapproval of Maduro’s government has caused much consternation as to Figueras true allegiance.
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Monthly Archives: April 2019

An Update on Venezuela

April 02, 2019 03:54 PM
Aid Finally Allowed into Venezuela
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Monthly Archives: March 2019

Brazil's Bolsonaro and the Future US-Brazil Relations

March 02, 2019 02:29 PM
Fighting Fernando Haddad for the Presidency, Jair Bolsonaro won the presidency of Brazil and has filled that office since January. His election surprised many Brazilians and outsiders. Judged as a homophobic, misogynist, and a no-nonsense speaker, he is strongly allied with President Trump on many issues (Carneiro, Julia; Fagundez, Ingrid. 2019). In recent years, Brazil has been suffering from major corruption problems in the government. Bolsonaro claims that he will fix these problems, and echoing Trump’s campaign slogan, Bolsonaro promises to make Brazil ‘great again’. Bolsonaro wants to put the ‘old’ Brazil behind him and build Brazil up into a powerful country. As Bolsonaro competes with China, moves its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and exits the Paris climate agreement, the government of Brazil will likely find favor with the White House, and economic and political ties will be greatly strengthened. Brazil will expectedly become a strong base for US foreign policy to proliferate throughout South America.
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Monthly Archives: February 2019

Russian-Venezuelan Relationships

February 07, 2019 02:44 PM
Economic and Political Ties Between Russia and Venezuela
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Monthly Archives: January 2019

Venezuela in Chaos

January 26, 2019 01:48 PM
The recent election in Venezuela has left the country in even more disarray than it was already in. President Nicolas Maduro was elected to serve a second six-year term as president. The people of Venezuela and many other countries have claimed that the election was a sham and unjust. The main opposition said it would refuse to run against Maduro because they knew the election would be staged. Stating that the government decided to move the election from its scheduled time in December, all the way to May so that they would have an advantage. The government saw it as an easy win in May because most of the oppositions political figures were banned from running for office, jailed, or had fled the country. Luckily for the government one opposer decided to run for the presidency, Henri Falcón. Making the election look like a far race, but right after the election Henri called it rigged an unfair. Because a starving country was promised food if it voted for Maduro. The elections had a 48% turnout at the polls. Which was down from the 80% at the previous 2013 election. Many experts are also saying that the 48% is inflated with the actual turnout being more around 30%. The Venezuelan CNE is supposed to govern the election independent of the government but four of its five seats are supposedly filled with Maduros puppets. With So many issues and red flags going on in a country in turmoil what are the implications of such events?
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Monthly Archives: December 2018

MS-13 in America

December 08, 2018 07:03 PM
This week, a member of the notorious Central American gang MS-13 was apprehended trying to cross the border into the US with the migrant caravan. This has sparked a resurgence of the dialogue about the presence and danger MS-13 poses to the United States. One of the key points crucial to understanding MS-13 is that it is not an organized group as the mob or drug cartels are. MS-13 has become more of a methodology or ideology for gang members. There is no evidence of any sort of hierarchy within the gang. Where the gang exists, the hierarchy is very localized and most violence is committed against other gang members, defectors, and any others who openly oppose them or resist joining them.
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Monthly Archives: December 2018

FARC: History and Raison D’etre

December 03, 2018 06:36 PM
The FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) traces its roots back to the 1950’s era struggle called “La Violencia.”[i] These battles were between conservative and communist factions within the country. Small communist groups banded together and adopted the FARC name in 1966. Funded largely by drug enterprises the group grew in strength and numbers throughout the 1970s.[ii] The heavy hand of FARC administration facilitated rival gangs’ establishment and led in large part to the world’s assessment of the group as a drug cartel. At its peak some 18,000 members affiliated themselves with the FARC.[iii] The group therefore wielded a hefty military power. Politically, despite multiple attempts by the government to reach peace and integrate the FARC into mainstream politics, leadership and members alike breached deals in 1984 and 1990 subverting standard political responses.[iv] The conflict continued. Due to a demilitarized zone, part of the 1990s peace process, the FARC were ceded a piece of the country roughly the size of Switzerland, and instead of looking for peaceful administration and joining talks for integration with the government, the rebels took advantage increasing the drug trade and their influence dramatically.[v] Kidnappings, drug trade, extortion, and murder were common plays by the group that seemed to hoist communism as a justification for a cartel rather than a true philosophical battle. In 2000 the United States government funded a major counternarcotic program focused on Colombia. The deal, Plan Colombia, was a behemoth operation with over a half billion-dollar annual budget. The goals were clear: reduce drug production by 50% in six years and create institutions and regain government control of all territory in Colombia.[vi] These goals were somewhat achieved as coca production decreased substantially in the first years of the plan’s operation, though the FARC remained in control of significant portions of the country.[vii] The plan, some contend, was particularly successful in developing Colombian institutions and stabilizing the government. In part due to the billions of dollars invested, Colombia is now one of the United States’ strongest partners in the region with a stable and democratic government.[viii] Overall, the FARC lost influence. The conflict overall cost some 200,000 lives and the displacement of some 7 million inhabitants.[ix] The FARC is still listed as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” by the U.S. State Department.[x] A peace deal negotiated by President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leaders in Cuba provides protections for FARC leaders and fighters alike and protects FARC participation in congress.[xi] Since integration, it appears the insurgent leaders lack a real policymaking agenda. The battle of identity and reason behind the FARC is fought both in academia and the Colombian jungle. Communist in history and in manifesto, the FARC is now having to prove itself as a legitimate philosophical revolution or suffer the judgement of history as the stain on society only a drug cartel can be.
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Monthly Archives: November 2018

MS-13

November 20, 2018 06:15 PM
MS-13 is one of the largest and most dangerous organized crime syndicates in the
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Monthly Archives: November 2018

Latin America in the News, November 2017

November 17, 2018 05:57 PM
Argentina
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Monthly Archives: November 2018

Paris, Buenos Aires, and START

November 17, 2018 05:49 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump shook hands briefly at the centennial World War I commemoration in Paris on November 12, 2018. They had a short discussion about Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea (“Putin says had…”). Though the leaders planned a meeting, they ultimately postponed the meeting until the Buenos Aries G20 summit on the weekend of November 30 (Jackson). Trump said he wants to discuss Russian collaboration in Syria and denuclearizing North Korea. Putin wants to discuss the recent U.S. pull out from 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and “the future of the 2011 New START arms-reduction agreement” (Jackson, “Putin: Arms control…”).
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