Washington Report on the Hemisphere


Vol. 38, No. 8, June 14

Guatemala's Unnoticed Israeli Love Affair
Guatemala formally opened its Jerusalembased embassy only two days after the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14. Paraguay closely followed Guatemala in its action, opening its embassy in Jerusalem on May 21. The Central...
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The End of the Morales Magic
When Evo Morales came to power in 2006, he ran as a proud anti-establishment socialist whose vision for Bolivia was not far from the earlier egalitarian dream that Hugo Chávez had nursed years before in Venezuela. Morales campaigned on commitments to...
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U.S. Foreign Policy Continuities towards Honduras in the Age of Trump
The Central American nation of Honduras has experienced an entangled history with Washington, reflecting frequent changes in political ideology and direction in each country. Heavily influenced by the Iran-Contra affair, all of their interactions have...
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El Salvador: Women in Legislature vs. Legislation for Women
Female representation in Latin American countries' legislative bodies is relatively high compared to "developed" nations. Cuba (No. 2), Bolivia (No. 3), Nicaragua (No. 6), Costa Rica (No. 7), and Mexico (No. 9) are all in the top ten of the Inter-Parliamentary...
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Vol. 38, No. 7, April 19

China's Encroachment in Latin America: An Economic Policy Issue
The United States has experienced a decline in influence throughout Latin American over the past decade due to a failure of leadership in Washington. As a result of the United States' slow withdrawal from economic and political affairs in in the region,...
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Cuba after the Castro Era
On March 11, nearly 8 million Cubans went to the polls to elect representatives to the National Assembly of People's Power, the unicameral national legislative body, and to provincial assemblies. Turnout was, as expected, about 85% and delegates chosen...
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High "Steaks": Powerful Farm Lobbies Delay EU-Mercosur Trade Deal
Spanish wine, French cheese, and Argentine beef seem a perfect fit for the menu of a festive gourmet dinner party. Instead, these Zagat-worthy flavors have found themselves on the table of tense trade negotiations between the European Union and the South...
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Vol. 38, No. 5/6, March 29

"We, Latin Americans, Had a Lot to Do with the Current Wave of Feminism.": "We, Latin Americans, Had a Lot to Do with the Current Wave of Feminism." an Interview with María José Lubertino
While feminism itself becomes increasingly mainstream, gender-based violence against women remains rampant throughout Latin America. Femicide or feminicide are terms used to identify hate-crimes based on sex, broadly defined as "the intentional killing...
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Military Invention in Rio De Janeiro
Nearly one month after de facto President of Brazil Michel Temer issued an emergency decree that placed the Rio state police under control of the military, councilwoman Marielle Franco was killed under mysterious circumstances on the night of March 14....
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Behind the Throne: Colombian Elections Strengthen Ex-President's Power
It is not easy to overshadow a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Yet since leaving office in 2010, Colombian ex-president Alvaro Uribe Velez has done exactly that, continuing to wield immense power by stifling the agenda of his award-winning successor. Uribe...
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Open Letter in Support of Mediation in Venezuela, Not Sanctions
We urge the United States and Canadian governments to immediately remove their illegal· sanctions against Venezuela and to support efforts at mediation between the government of Venezuela and the nonviolent segments of the political opposition.We, the...
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Vol. 38, No. 3, February 15

The State Department's Inconsistent and Ineffective Response to the Undemocratic Proliferating through Latin America
The disparate nature of the State Department's reaction to the election in Honduras and the call for an election in Venezuela reveals that U.S. policy-makers have prioritized political concerns over the preservation of so-called democratic norms in the...
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Grenada at a Crossroads: Elections May Accelerate Pivot Away from U.S
How does a tiny, hilly island dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean, impoverished with unemployment, debt, and squalor, repeatedly become the focus of geopolitical great-powers? The unassuming islet of Grenada, with a population...
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Costa Rica Election 2018: The Rise of Fabricio Alvarado, the Anti-LGBT One-Hit Wonder
Feb. 4 marked the first round of the election for president of Costa Rica. The 13-person field is now narrowed down to two candidates: Fabricio Alvarado and Carlos Alvarado. It is the third time a presidential runoff will occur in the nation's history.First-place...
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Vol. 38, No. 1/2, February 1

The Termination of Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador
On January 8, 2018, the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced the end of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador. The termination date will be delayed for 18 months to allow TPS beneficiaries, including the state of El...
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Violence and the 2018 Elections: Mexico's Fragile Security Situation
On the night of December 29th, 2017 at 11:45 p.m., Arturo Gómez Pérez, the mayor of a small town in the state of Guerrero, was assassinated by unidentified assailants as he dined with friends in a local restaurant. At first glance, this tragedy seems...
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Peru in the Wake of Fujimori's Pardon
A series of corruption allegations and previous human rights trials has threatened the stability of the Peruvian political system. Odebrecht, a Brazil-based corporate construction giant, has been at the center of a complex web of huge political bribes...
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Who to Watch in the 2018 Brazilian Election
On Wednesday, January 24, a Brazilian appeals court upheld the conviction against former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, jeopardizing his run for a third term as president. The decision increases the possibility that Lula, currently...
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Vol. 37, No. 20, November 30

Infrastructure and Megaprojects in Latin America
Despite a poor track record and a plethora of horror stories surrounding billion-dollar infrastructure megaprojects, a number of countries in Latin America and the Global South continue to see them as an expedient solution to economic development quandaries....
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Argentina's Missing Submarine and the Specter of Praetorianism
After 11 days of an international search effort to find the missing Argentine submarine, the ARA San Juan, some families of the crew members have begun to mourn. "At this point, the truth is I have no hope that they will come back" Maria Villareal, the...
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Eleven Years Seeking Justice: Women of Atenco vs the Mexican State at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
On November 16th and 17?-, 2017, a group of 11 female survivors, who had been sexually tortured by police forces, took their case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) during its 120th Ordinary Period of Sessions in San José, Costa Rica....
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The Cuban Legacy in Africa
November nth marked the 42nd anniversary of the independence of Angola. It also is a reminder of the indispensable contribution made by Cuban soldiers who helped defeat the South African army, liberating Angola, Namibia, and serving as an inspiration...
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Vol. 37, No. 19, November 2

Bolivia's Continued Fight for Coastal Access
Bolivian President Evo Morales has welcomed the readiness of Chilean presidential candidate Beatriz Sanchez to discuss a plan for settling the two countries' age-old dispute over coastal access to the Pacific. On Twitter, Morales said, "We salute that...
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Marichuy and Mexican Leftist Indigenous Politics
María de Jesús Patricio Martínez is not your common Mexican presidential candidate. She does not have the name appeal of an Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), former Governor of the Federal District, and the leader of National Regeneration Movement...
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Indigenous Brazilians Massacred on the "Uncontacted Frontier"
Brazil's indigenous population has a long history of enduring attacks by illegal miners and violent land disputes with local landowners. In the most recent case of violence in August 2017, up to 10 indigenous people were killed by men working for illegal...
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Argentina's Midterm Elections
Two days after the discovery of the body of Santiago Maldonado, an indigenous rights activist who disappeared while protesting the inhumane treatment of local Mapuche indians, Argentina held its midterm elections. In line with pre-election public opinion...
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State-Owned Media Failure in Ecuador
On October 24, the head of state-run media, Andres Michelena, offered an overview of the management of the company during the government of former president Rafael Correa. During Correa's regime, state owned media was a topic of controversy as different...
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Vol. 37, No. 18, October 19

"Industrialized" Methamphetamine Production in Mexico
In popular culture, a typical methamphetamine lab is often imagined as an old trailer baking under the punishing New Mexico sun, occupied by a paranoid chemist constantly eyeing the horizon for police sirens. Such imagery, while certainly recognizable,...
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Upcoming Elections in Chile
On Sunday, November 19, Chile will hold general elections to decide the nation's next president. According to the CERC Mori poll, former Chilean president and Chile Vamos candidate Sebastian Piñera is currently leading the polls with 44 percent, followed...
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Capitalism vs Climate in Chile
IntroIt is no secret that Chile is one of the most sought-after countries for foreign investment. Chile has the most successful and stable economy in Latin America. The country is the region's top per capita importer, and has the highest purchasing power...
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El Salvador Homicides Surge in September
With 435 homicides, September was El Salvador's most violent month of 2017. The exceptional bloodshed of the past month was in sharp contrast to homicide reductions earlier in the year, and brings into question the efficacy of President Salvador Sánchez...
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Paraguay: A Rising Guerrilla Movement in the Northern Plains
Just when the Western Hemisphere thought that armed Marxist guerrilla movements wielding AK-47s in support of the internationalization of Marxism-Leninism seemed to be waning given the recent demobilization of the hemisphere's largest guerrilla group,...
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Vol. 37, No. 17, September 28

Honduras: Candidate Profile for November Elections
In November 2017, Honduras will hold presidential elections which, for the first time in the nation's history, will feature an incumbent president as a candidate. Current president Juan Orlando Hernández (2014Present), candidate of the conservative National...
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The Balance of Power in Latin America in the 21st Century
There is a perception that the decreasing ability of the United States to leverage or manipulate the decisions of Latin American countries signals a decrease in the projection of U.S. authority. If power is as Joseph Nye puts it, "the ability to attain...
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Mexico: AMLO, MORENA, and the 2018 Mexican Elections
In early September, the Woodrow Wilson Center's Mexico Institute hosted Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). Obrador, previously the governor of the Mexican Federal District from 2000 to 2005, ran for president as the leftleaning...
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Ortega Strengthens Grip on Nicaragua
Some members of the international community have questioned the legitimacy of Nicaragua's 2016 presidential election in which Daniel Ortega, a former general of the Sandinista Revolution, won his thirdconsecutive term. Ortega's victory is widely considered...
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The Frente Ciudadano Por México and the Possible Benefits for MORENA
On September 5, 2017, leaders from the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), and the Movimiento Ciudadano (MC) formally submitted their alliance, Frente Nacional por México (FCM), to the Mexican National Electoral...
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Vol. 37, No. 15/16, September 14

Argentina: Where Is Santiago Maldonado?
Thirty-four years after democracy ostensibly returned to Argentina, the ghost of los desaparecidos (the missing) has returned. The military dictatorship was responsible for the kidnapping, torturing, and killing of approximately 30,000 people. A common...
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The Future of Electronic Currency in Ecuador
With the creation of Bitcoin in 2009 and its subsequent rise in popularity, the world has seemingly witnessed the dawn of a digital currency era. While the terms are used interchangeably in day-to-day media, digital currencies actually "cover a wide...
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Beyond Venezuela: Cuba Continues to Seek Foreign Investment to Break Economic Interdependence
On the first anniversary of Fidel Castro's death on August 8th, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro visited the grave of the Cuban revolutionary in the eastern city of Santiago, accompanied by Cuban president Raul Castro. In addition to paying his respects...
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Do Deportations Really Put "America First"?
Whether or not to welcome the millions of undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States is one of the most contentious questions facing American policymakers at the moment. Many Americans want these migrants expelled and 58 percent...
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Panama: Battles with Espionage and Embezzlement Continue
On August 31st, a federal judge authorized the extradition of the former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli from the United States to stand charges of political espionage and embezzlement in his home country. Martinelli was detained in June 2012...
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Colombia: Pope Brings Hope to Post-FARC Colombia?
Last week, Pope Francis arrived in Colombia for the country's first papal visit since 1986. Upon arrival at the at the Catam military base, he was received by a white dove decorated with orchids. It was presented to him by the 13-year old son of Clara...
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Successes and Failures of Gender Quotas: Lessons from Latin America
The small African country of Rwanda, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, and the island nation of Cuba may upon first glance may appear to have little in common. However, upon closer inspection, they have a unique bragging right: all three places can...
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Vol. 37, No. 14, 2017

Banks in Uruguay Say Nope to Dope
Sixteen pharmacies in Uruguay began selling legal marijuana for the first time in July after legislation was passed in December 2013. Around five thousand people registered with the state for the right to purchase up to 40 grams (1.4oz) of the substance...
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Vol. 37, No. 14, August 31

IDB Pledges Aid to Northern Triangle
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) recently pledged a total of $800,000 USD in two technical cooperation grants for the Strategic Program for Infrastructure Development and the Strategic Program for Integration Development. Mesoamerican Project...
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The Belize-Guatemala Border: History and Dispute
A Renewal of TensionsOn April 20, 2016, thirteen-year-old Julio René Alvarado Ruano, a citizen of Guatemala, was shot and killed by Belizean troops near the adjacency line on the border between Belize and Guatemala. Belizean troops claimed they were...
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Labor & Tax Reform in Costa Rican '18 Election
INTRODUCTIONCosta Rica's current economic situation has recently attracted attention from various international organizations and has stirred national movements calling for tax and labor reform. In 2016, Costa Rica's fiscal deficit was 5.2 percent of...
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Odebrecht Scandal Threatens Peruvian Infrastructure
The Odebrecht corruption scandal, in which the Brazilian construction company paid over threequarters of a billion dollars in bribes to secure public works contracts in 12 different countries, has significantly affected Peru politically and economically....
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Vol. 37, No. 13, 2017

On October 22, Argentina will hold legislative elections for the country's Senate and Chamber of Deputies. Twenty four of 76 Senate seats are up for grabs, as are 127 of 257 Deputy seats. This election is unlikely to greatly alter the balance of power...
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On July 26, 2017, the multi-billion-dollar Brazilian multinational conglomerate Odebrecht signed an agreement with the government of Panama, promising to pay Panama USD $220 million in fines as part of an 'efficient collaboration agreement.' The payment...
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A customs union (Unión Aduanera) was adopted by Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua in 1960 as a component of the association Central American Common Market (CMCM), but it was never put in practice. However, a month ago Guatemala...
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Vol. 37, No. 13, August 10

Narcotics Trafficking in Central America
INTRODUCTIONThe Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) is essential to the national security interests of the United States. The Kingpin Act is based on an interagency effort in which the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Departments...
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OECD-BEPS Addressing, Preventing, and Eliminating Tax Avoidance in Latin America and the Caribbean
INTRODUCTIONThe Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), comprised of 35 of the world's most developed countries, announced on June 27, 2017, that there has been considerable progress in implementing Exchange of Information...
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Vol. 37, No. 12, July 13

Colombia to Send Military Troops to Afghanistan: Will This Hinder or Help the Peace Process?
In September 2017, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is expected to present a proposal before the General Assembly of the United Nations regarding the deployment of "Colombian special forces and tactical instructors to Afghanistan and other regions...
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Anti-Immigration Rhetoric in the Chilean 2017 Presidential Campaign
The rise of radical far-right political parties and their anti-immigrant rhetoric in the United States and Europe has proven pervasive. This trend has not spared Chile and has been central to the presidential political campaign which will culminate in...
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Journalists at Risk: Paraguay Paying Lip Service to Press Freedoms
Journalists in Paraguay continue to be threatened for their work, despite supposed government efforts to protect them. In December 2014, COHA Research Associate Louise Højen authored "A Legacy of Violence: Impunity for Murdered Journalists Continues...
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The Incident at Ahuas: A Case Study into the DEA’s Detrimental Role in Latin America
In 1971, then-President Richard Nixon stated that drugs represented the greatest threat to the United States. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was thus created in 1973 with the prescribed objective of criminalizing the use and sale of illicit drugs....
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Continued OPEC Production Cuts Unlikely to Raise Prices of Venezuelan Oil
On May 25 the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in conjunction with 11 non-member nations, agreed to extend oil production cuts for nine months in an attempt to drive up global prices. The agreement aims to reduce production by...
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Vol. 37, No. 10/11, June 22

Statehood and Bankruptcy: The Puerto Rican Conundrum
On May 1 of this year, a lawsuit was instituted against the government of Puerto Rico by stakeholders, following the expiration of a freeze on creditor litigation. Two days later the government of Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy under the Puerto Rico...
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Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori to Face Trial for Forgotten Massacre
On June 5, the Chilean judiciary extended the extradition of Alberto Kenya Fujimori Fujimori for the crimes of illicit association, qualified homicide, and embezzlement.Alberto Fujimori was the president of Peru from 1990 to 2000. Amidst scandals of...
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The Trump Administration Will End Temporary Protected Status for 59,000 Haitian Immigrants
On January 21, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security issued a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian immigrants "currently physically present" or "currently residing" in the United States following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti...
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Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the Dominican Republic
Despite efforts by non-governmental and human rights institutions, sexual exploitation of children remains a serious issue in the Dominican Republic. According to The United Nations Children's Fund, "Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is the use of...
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Customs Strike Disrupts Chilean Shipping Industry
On May 24, Chilean customs workers began a general strike to protest the government's failure to honor agreements regarding pay and working conditions. Earlier strikes in 2015 and 2016 affected a number of industries including the fruit industry, postal...
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Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Migration in Central America
Individuals in the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) face escalating violence, rampant organized crime, and persecution, forcing unprecedented numbers to flee their homes for other countries. In addition to gang violence, corruption,...
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Dominica: A Bureaucratic Predicament
On February 9, 2017, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit made allegations that there was a coup at-tempt by opposition forces two days prior. Alt-hough opposition sources dispute the charges of any coup attempt, whether or not a coup was in the planning,...
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The Impact of Remittances and Increasing Trade with Cuba
What is the Fate of the U.S. Embargo?Sanctions have become a tool within the international community to express disapproval with a nation's government. The Cuban Embargo, a policy of no trade imposed by the United States on Cuba in the 1960s, is a long-term...
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Vol. 37, 2017

Countries and Regional Blocs
Argentina: Immigration 4/5:7-11; Maori's Neoliberal Economic Policies 8/7:11-15; 2017 Elections 13:10; Where is Santiago Maldonado? 15/16:15-17; Argentina's 2017 Midterm Elections 19:9-10; Missing Submarine and Praetorianism 20:9-10Brazil: Prison riots...
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Key Terms
Agriculture: Colombian contract farming 2/?:?-4Corruption: Odebrecht scandal 1:14-15; Alejandro Toledo 2/3:2-35 Political Corruption and Odebrecht in Panama 13:9; Odebrecht Scandal and Peruvian Infrastructure 14:7-9Crime: El Salvador murder rates 1:12-13;...
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Vol. 36, No. 13, 2016

The Ongoing Human Trafficking and Farm Labor Crisis
Human trafficking is a serious violation of human rights, which endangers individuals in every country in the world. According to the United Nations, human trafficking is best defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, and transferring of...
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Vol. 34, No. 15, October 9

Closer Ties Raise Questions: LAC and China
Although Latin America and the Caribbean are enjoying strengthened economic ties with China, concerns about possible damage to the environment and suspicions over China's growing presence in the region remain. Due to the complementarity of the two economies...
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Vol. 32, No. 19/20, November 16

Closer to Home: Human Trafficking in the USA
Human trafficking might seem like a fairly distant problem to many U.S. citizens, as few hear about it on television or read about it in the daily news. However, recent cases of human trafficking for commercial sex exploitation that have occurred just...
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