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Iranian Soft Power in Latin America: Yet Another Information Network

Back in 2008, LatAmThought wrote about Iran’s presence in Latin America. The topic has generated significant interest in recent years, as the Islamic Republic has continued to strengthen…

The Media’s Role in International Diplomacy

Two recent stories out of Latin America highlight some of the stranger ways the media plays a role in international diplomacy. The first is minor. Living in Peru…

Luxury Goods Target Brazil

Brazil’s wavering on a contract estimated at more than $4 billion to French airplane manufacturer Dassault has not discouraged the French. The product and consumer, however, could not…

Central America, crime, and what the Americas are doing about it

On 3 March 2009, The Wall Street Journal published an Op-Ed titled “In Praise of Mexico’s War on Drugs”. Although it was written nearly two years ago, it…

Cristina and the Campo: Round Nine

EFE has a detailed report on a fresh round of protests by Argentina’s agricultural sector. It is the ninth such strike since March 2008, when a tax increase…

Organized Crime in Costa Rica and the Other Balloon Effect

A few years ago, LatAmThought wrote about the balloon effect, which argues that cutting down on the production of drugs in one area simply pushes their cultivation elsewhere….

In Colombia, Growth in Construction of New Hotel Rooms

Europa Press recently reported on the expected construction of 16,000 new hotel rooms in Colombia in 2011. The number is a 9 percent increase in the number of…

Twisted Fantasy Becomes Twisted Reality

Bocas del Toro (Bocas, as many of the large ex-pat community refer to it) is a beautiful archipelago in Bocas del Toro province. I had the good fortune…

The Skeletons in Brazil’s Closet

In the last year, you’d be hard-pressed to have heard or read anything negative about Brazil (with the exception of President Lula’s pesky affinity for Iran). The South…

Peru in the Eye of the Drug-Hurricane

A recently released UN World Drug Report states that coca cultivation in Peru has increased for the fourth year in a row . The prevailing triumvirate of coca-growers…

Colombia Elections – Alliances in Numbers

A recent poll in Colombia released on June 3 says Juan Manuel Santos would win 61.6 percent of a vote, whereas Antanas Mockus would win just 29. 8…

Colombia Post-Election Analysis – From the Top

I was extremely lucky to be in Bogota last week, meeting with bunch of different people and talking about what have been some of the most unique and…

Business as Ideology

Boz has a very good post about the apparent “lack of ideology” when analysts describe drug trafficking organizations. Occasionally some analyst will say that the drug cartels have…

Far-Reaching Demonstrations Against AZ Law

How divisive is Senate Bill 1070? There was a universal rejection of the law by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), as well as protests on both…

Argentine Government Increases Advertising Spend

In a nation famous worldwide for its creativity – in fields as varied as literature, cinema, and official economic statistics – an increase in advertising spend could be…

Colombian Trafficker Arrested in Rio

On 16 April, a joint task force of Brazilian and US agencies (including the Drug Enforcement Administration) arrested Nestor Caro Chapparo, aka Felipe, as he was leaving his…

Scare Tactics in Colombian Presidential Elections

Soft on Terrorism. The well-worn phrase is one that the US public has grown accustomed to. Like nationalism, it is a tactic that political campaigners use in attempts…

From Partner by Default to Partner of Choice: Shifting US Policy in Latin America

On March 26, US Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield said the US is close to signing bi-lateral military accords with two unspecified countries in Latin America. In October…

The Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP): How to define it? and why should we care?

The Ejercito del Pueblo Paraguayo (Paraguayan People’s Army) is beginning to become a household name. For the moment it has focused its operations around kidnapping wealthy Paraguayans and…

Selective Impunity

El Chiguire Bipolar has a good take on the concept of selective impunity. In the Onion-like fashion for which the blog is known, it tells the story of…