Latin America

Press Clips: “Slowing the Flow of Smuggled U.S. Guns Into Mexico”

On Thursday, May 31st, NDN/NPI held a forum with Congressman Adam Schiff of California and Mexico’s Ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhan, about tougher penalties against the illegal southbound flow of guns from the US into Mexico, a country where owning a gun of any kind is illegal. Below are a handful of press clips.

Janell Ross – Huffington Post Latino “Mexico Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan Says U.S. Guns Fuel Violence, Denies Mexico Is Infringing Upon Gun Rights”

Dan Freedman – San Antonio Express-News and Houston Chronicle “Mexican ambassador calls 2nd Amendment fears 'gobbledygook'”

Jordy Yager – The Hill  “Mexican official: Fast and Furious 'poisoned' public opinion of US”

Jaime Goldberg – Los Angeles Times “Mexico left in the dark on Fast and Furious, ambassador says”

Douglas Stalin - USA Today  “Envoy: Mexicans upset over botched U.S. gunrunning scheme”

UPI- Envoy: "Mexico was not in gun-sting loop"

Notimex –  “Impactan en México leyes laxas sobre armas: Sarukhán”

Diego Urdaneta   Agence France-Presse  “México espera fin de investigación de escándalo de armas en EEUU (embajador)”   

Latin America-Weekly Roundup, June 21, 2011

In international politics: 

Uruguay will occupy the rotating presidency of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the next year. The MercoPress article can be found here.  Ambassador Laura Dupuy, who will actually hold the office has quite a bit on her agenda:

Among the issues in Ambassador Laura Dupuy’s agenda are the special investigation commission for Libya, accused of war crimes, and Sri Lanka where two years ago 30.000 civilians were massacred, allegedly by the Colombo government at the end of a prolonged civil war.

The latest on Latin American drug trafficking:

According to a recent article by Nils Elzenga for The Associated Press, submarines are the new mode of transportation used by Latin American cartels.  In order to meet European demand without having to deal with European airport and maritime controls, the submarines travel from Latin America to West Africa where the drugs are then parceled out and carried North.  Although cocaine seizures in West Africa have gone down recently, Alexandre Schmidt, the head of the West African branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime cautions against complaceny:

What that shows, he said, is that the actual trade is likely increasing and that the cartels are simply becoming more sophisticated at hiding their operation.

And in another link between Latin America and Africa:

According to an article by Anne Herrbereg on the German website Deutsche Welle, African emigrants have lately been turning to Latin America over Europe.  With the European Union sealing off its external borders, more and more refugees from African countries are seeking shelter in other parts of the world. In Latin America, figures have doubled.  The article focuses mostly on Argentina, which is already taking measures to combat the flow of illegal African immigrants into the country via Brazil.

And finally, indications that Cuba's private sector is starting to flourish under looser economic restrictions:

According to an Associated Press article, Cuba's recent licensing of a broad spectrum of private sector activity has given rise to a nascent and growing class of self-employed people.  This is manifesting through urban marketplaces springing up for the first time and flourishing all across Havana.  Though, despite this development, it's still Cuba:

President Raul Castro insists that the new private-sector activity is meant to “update” Cuba’s socialist model, not replace it with the free market.

Baby steps.

Latin America: Arms Trafficking, Ash Clouds, Scientific Advancement, China and more

Below are some of the past week's most interesting stories on Latin America.  They range from arms trafficking in Mexico to a high-profile resignation in Brazil, to an amazing opportunity to promote scientific advancement across the region.  Enjoy!

A shocking Congressional report found that 70% of firearms recovered from Mexican crime scenes in 2009 and 2010 came from the U.S., prompting new proposals to curb arms trafficking. The full article from BBC News can be found here.  Given the violence in Mexico over the past week, this report comes at an especially poignant time. Below is Mexican President Felipe Calderon's fiery response to the situation:

"Why does this arms business continue?" he asked.

"I say it openly: it's because of the profit which the US arms industry makes," he added.

Not to say that both sides aren't to blame, especially last week's arrest of former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rohn for stockpiling weapons. (Elisabeth Malkin's New York Times story can be found here)

Here is a link to some incredible pictures of Chile's volcanic ash cloud, which continues to disrupt air traffic as far away as New Zealand and may have disastrous long-term effects on agriculture in Southern Chile and Argentina. (BBC News story here, which includes some amazing aerial video footage)

Lots of people are talking about China's push into Africa nowadays, but China also has important ties with Latin America.  In fact, according to Chen Weihua with China Daily:

China is now Latin America's second-largest trade partner, trailing the United States. Meanwhile, China's imports from Latin America grew more rapidly than from any other region. About 8 percent of Latin America's exports went to China last year.

China is now saying that it wants to broaden these ties.  Chen Weihua's article can be found here.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's chief of staff resigned last Tuesday under dubious circumstances, casting doubt on the strength of the President's government and her personal ability to judge character.

On a happier note, 10 outstanding young Latin American scientists were chosen as Pew fellows in the Biomedical Sciences, a program which will provide the fellows with $60,000 in salary support, opportunities to work with leading U.S. researchers and $35,000 to establish research laboratories and further scientific research in their home countries.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez to Speak at NDN

On Tuesday, April 26, NDN will host Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez for an address on the challenges and opportunities presented to America by an increasingly competitive global economy. In the days following his speech, Under Secretary Sanchez will attend the World Economic Forum on Latin America in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he will meet with leaders from some of the world's most vibrant economies.

As new economic powers rise around the world, the prosperity of Americans increasingly depends on our ability to export to and do business in these fast growing markets. Under Secretary Sanchez, the International Trade Administration, and the Department of Commerce are central to these efforts to advance American economic interests abroad. Under Secretary Sanchez will be joined by Dr. Robert Shapiro, Chair of NDN's Globalization Initiative and former Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez at NDN/NPI
April 26, 12:30pm
NDN: 729 15th Street, NW First Floor DC

For more on this event, including Under Secretary Sanchez's biography, please click here.


Obama Administration Moves Forward on International Economic Policy


NDN applauds last week’s announcement by the Obama Administration on its intent to renegotiate and push for Congressional approval of the Colombia and Panama Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). This announcement follows a similar one from June regarding an FTA with South Korea.

Taken together, these FTAs represent both a legacy of failure on the part of the Bush Administration to create a robust conversation and political consensus around America’s place in a changing global economy and the need for the Obama Administration to clear the decks on the trade agenda in order to move forward. 

Each agreement would expand American access to foreign markets in economically dynamic and geopolitically crucial regions. South Korea, the world’s 14th largest economy, has recently undergone a rapid and impressive economic transformation and is a market the U.S. has good reason to be strongly interested in gaining better access to. Panama and Colombia are both important allies in a region that remains economically significant but politically troubled. While individual, realistic concerns about each agreement exist, the Administration has declared its intention to address them, and, in virtually every case, the partner nation has taken steps to do so as well. 

Over the past two decades, the global economy has gone through a rapid transformation. New nations, businesses, and people are playing increasingly important roles, and American and global economic policy must adapt to these changes. A 21st century strategy for global economic engagement must be a cornerstone of America’s overall economic strategy – alongside healthcare, financial services, immigration, and energy reforms. We applaud the administration for its leadership in this area, as exemplified by both the National Export Initiative and the renewed emphasis on these agreements.


Assistant Secretary Valenzuela to Speak on U.S.-Latin American Relations

NDN/NPI is pleased to announce that Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, will be coming to NDN on Monday, June 28th to deliver remarks about the current state of US-Latin American relations.

The event will begin promptly at 2pm, and end at 3pm.  After his remarks the Assistant Secretary will take questions from the audience at NDN and on-line.

To attend the event or to watch the event online, please RSVP.  We look forward to seeing you on the 28th.


Special Event: MON 5/24 - Ambassador Sarukhan and Commissioner Bersin on US-Mexico Relations

On Monday, May 24th at Noon, NDN will host Ambassador of Mexico to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan and Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Alan Bersin for a discussion of the unprecedented cooperation between the United States and Mexico in both seizing opportunities and better managing the challenges of the region along the common border.

In addition to their general remarks, Ambassador Sarukhan and Commissioner Bersin will reflect upon the discussions this week between the U.S. and Mexican governments during President Calderon's State Visit this week.

While this is a private event, you may watch via our live webcast beginning at 12:15pm.  The event is open to the press.


McCain on Immigration

McCain continues to be pulled further and further right of where he once was on immigration.  This ad speaks for itself.

Uno de cada tres habitantes en EUA será de origen hispano en 2050

Indicó, sin embargo, que la intención de voto de los hispanos para los comicios legislativos de noviembre próximo está por debajo del promedio nacional, quizá por su decepción por la continua inhabilidad de Washington de abordar una reforma migratoria integral.

La manera en que los demócratas y republicanos enfrenten el tema migratorio en los próximos años, en particular tras la aprobación de una nueva ley antiinmigrante en Arizona, será clave para moldear el futuro político de la población latina, aseveró Rosenberg.

This posting is based on our report, Hispanics Rising 2010, and can also be found on

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