South America

Colombia’s FARC rebels reborn as legal party

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Colombia’s FARC former guerrilla group has re-launched itself as the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, sealing its transformation into a leftist political party following its disarmament after a half-century civil conflict. Hurriyet The name controversially retains the same acronym and the revolutionary spirit of the communist guerrilla group, which fought a bloody 52-year campaign against the state before signing a peace deal last year. The party was set to hold a formal launch ceremony on Sept. 1 on Bolivar Square, near ... Read More »

Final Curtain for Venezuela’s Democracy as Parliament is Dissolved

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The Venezuelan government has dissolved the elected, opposition-led parliament and initiated de facto rule. Foreign governments and multilateral organisations should regard all government actions carried out in contravention of the 1999 constitution as invalid and press the government to take urgent steps toward the restoration of democracy. ICG On 19 August, Venezuela’s self-styled Constituent Assembly, installed two weeks earlier by the government of President Nicolás Maduro, announced that it was taking over the functions of the country’s opposition-led parliament, elected ... Read More »

Will China be a Factor in the Upcoming NAFTA Negotiations?

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Beijing is incentivizing Mexico City and others in Latin American to rethink their traditional trading relationships. Bill Bray Miyako Yerick The National Interest The first round of NAFTA renegotiations is set to take place in Washington, DC August 16–20 and one of the primary U.S. objectives is reducing its $63 billion trade deficit with Mexico. Mexico is in a position to drive a harder bargain than many would think, however. Unlike thirty years ago, Mexico today can leverage China’s growing foreign direct ... Read More »

Venezuela’s Last Flickers of Democracy

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Venezuela’s political crisis took another fateful turn on Sunday 30 July with the rigged election of an all-powerful assembly mandated to rewrite the constitution. Phil Gunson ICG In this Q&A, Senior Analyst for the Andes Phil Gunson says Sunday’s vote represents the end of what little democratic space still existed and takes the country on the path to dictatorship. Can you explain what Sunday’s vote was about? On Sunday, the chavista government led by President Nicolás Maduro held a one-sided “election” to ... Read More »

Why Can’t the U.S. Left Get Venezuela Right?

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As Venezuela’s fascist-minded oligarchy conspires with U.S. imperialism to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro, few in the… Shamus Cooke CounterPunch Instead of denouncing rightwing violence that aims at regime change, many on the U.S. left have stayed silent, or opted to give an evenhanded analysis that supports neither the Maduro government nor the oligarchy trying to… Rather, the left prioritizes its energy on lecturing on… Why Can’t the… Read More »

Saudi-Venezuelan ties to reach new heights: Envoy

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RIYADH: Bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Venezuela are set to take a leap forward with the holding of a Joint Committee Meeting in Riyadh at the end of this year, according to Joseba Achutegui, the Venezuelan ambassador to the… MOHAMMED RASOOLDEEN Arab News The envoy was speaking to Arab News on Wednesday, on the 206th anniversary of his country’s independence. Achutegui said that the… Saudi-Venezuelan ties… Read More »

Colombia’s FARC Ends its 53-year Insurgency

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With the official disarming of its main rebel organisation, Colombia has passed a remarkable new milestone in its peace process. ICG But major challenges remain: the destruction of remote arms dumps, reintegration of ex-combatants, and progress towards peace with other armed groups. The International Crisis Group celebrates the most significant achievement of the Colombian peace process to date: the… Colombia’s FARC Ends… Read More »

Colombia’s Farc officially ceases to be an armed group

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Colombia’s Farc rebel group has formally ended its existence as an armed group, putting an end to half a century of violent conflict. BBC In a ceremony which ended the disarmament process, President Juan Manuel Santos said the “peace was real and irreversible”. The former guerrillas will now work on forming a political party. “Farewell to war. Farewell to arms, welcome to peace!” said Farc leader Rodrigo Londoño, known as… Colombia’s Farc officially… Read More »

A Misguided Cuba Roll-back

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President Trump’s new measures against Cuba preserve diplomatic relations and the right to most U.S. trade and group travel. Ivan Briscoe ICG But aggressive U.S. atmospherics risk hardening Cuba’s domestic politics and making it harder for Havana to play its mediating role in regional crises and conflicts. President Donald Trump’s 16 June announcement that his administration will partially reverse efforts to restore diplomatic ties and normalise relations with Cuba represents a… A Misguided Cuba… Read More »

Power without the People: Averting Venezuela’s Breakdown

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Violence is escalating in Venezuela, killing 70 people in over two months of ever-angrier popular protests against a government that is abandoning representative democracy. ICG Regional states should avert a humanitarian catastrophe by pressuring the Maduro regime to withdraw plans to elect a phony constituent assembly on 30 July. I. Overview Venezuela is in turmoil after more than two months of almost daily mass… Power without the… Read More »

Merkel indirectly criticizes Trump, says walls won’t solve problem in Mexico visit

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday indirectly criticized US President Donald Trump’s plans to build a wall on the US-Mexico border to stop illegal immigration. GERMAN PRESS AGENCY – DPA Daily Sabah Building a wall won’t solve the problem, Merkel said, adding that it’s more important to address the reasons why people flee. Merkel, who is on a three-day trip to Latin America that has already taken her to Argentina, spoke in Mexico City at a business forum with… Merkel ... Read More »

Why Venezuela Proves That Russia Is Still a World Power

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Russia has acquired in Venezuela, as it has in Syria, a need to preserve the current regime in order to safeguard its investments. Nikolas K. Gvosdev The National Interest One of the problems with continuing to box Russia into the European policy box is that Moscow, while not wielding all the resources of the former Soviet Union, can still wield influence in a… This myopia continually ignores the… Why Venezuela Proves… Read More »

Nicolas Maduro vows constituent assembly referendum

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President’s pledge follows criticism from within government that move to create constituent assembly was not democratic. Al Jazeera and news agencies Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has pledged to hold a referendum on a new constitution he is proposing, in response to two months of violent anti… The move on Thursday came after the plan to create a new grassroots super-body. known as a constituent assembly, to rewrite the… Nicolas Maduro vows… Read More »

Brazil emerges from recession as GDP grows 1%

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Brazil’s economy has grown 1% in the first three months of 2017, putting an end to the country’s longest recession in history, officials have announced. BBC The GDP increase came after two consecutive years of negative growth, during which the Brazilian economy shrank by almost 8%. A record harvest of soybeans, one of Brazil’s main exports, gave the economy a… Brazil emerges from… Read More »

Total’s plans for Brazil’s new oil frontier snagged on Amazon reef

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As French oil giant Total seeks to conduct oil exploration in Brazil’s Foz do Amazonas Basin area, which some geologists say may contain around 14 billion barrels of petroleum, environmentalists fear it could damage the eco system in the… Reuters OIAPOQUE Daily Sabah Deep beneath the waters of the Atlantic off Brazil’s most northern coast, French major Total SA is hunting for what it hopes will be… Metal drill bits, pipes and Total’s plans for… Read More »

Brazil Declares an End to Its Zika Health Emergency

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The country launched a major campaign that included genetically modified mosquitos, and now reported cases are down 95 percent. J. WESTON PHIPPEN The Atlantic Brazil has announced the end of its public health emergency over Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that became a global concern just 18 months ago. Brazil launched a major mosquito eradication program last year, and the health ministry said that from January to April 2017 there were 95… Brazil Declares an… Read More »