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May 29, 2013: Is Freedom of the Press in Danger in Latin America?
By Luis Manuel Botello, Horacio Verbitsky, and Carlos Lauría
Source: Latin America Advisor
Concerns about press freedom in the Americas have been in the headlines recently. In Colombia, authorities have warned the public of a plot by an organized crime group to kill several high-profile journalists. In Argentina, opposition leader and Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri signed a decree "to guarantee protection to journalists and media in the city" as the government's ongoing dispute with country's largest media company has intensified. In Venezuela, the last major opposition television station was sold to investors believed to be friendly with the administration President Nicolás Maduro. What do these developments say about press freedom in the Americas? What are the most important trends that stakeholders (government, businesses, civil society) need to pay attention to? How has the evolution of social media and wider access to the Internet and communications technologies changed the debate over freedom of the press?

May 23, 2013: A Tribute to Albert O. Hirschman
By Alejandro Foxley
Jeremy Adelman has written an extraordinary book about an extraordinary person: "Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman." After his death, "The Economist" posed the right question: why had Hirschman not been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics?

May 14, 2013: The Politics of Poverty: South America's Conditional Cash Transfers (PDF)
By Michael Shifter & Cameron Combs
Source: World Politics Review
The cross-country comparison suggests that however well designed and intentioned social programs might be, they are most likely to be sustainable if they are carried out within a context of effective democratic institutions. This is critical to ensuring that spending is adequately tailored to the changing needs of recipients instead of merely buttressing support for traditional officeholders. In this regard, political and institutional factors are central in accounting for the relative success of social policy experiments throughout Latin America.

May 13, 2013: How Solid Is Morales' Support as he Looks to a Third Term?
By Carlos Mesa, Kathryn Ledebur, Iván C. Rebolledo, and Miguel Centellas
Source: Latin America Advisor
Bolivia's Constitutional Court ruled last month that President Evo Morales can seek a third term in the presidential election scheduled for December 2014. How solid is Morales' support as he looks toward his next campaign? How strong is the opposition, and what could Morales' rivals do to gain an edge? Will Morales choose to make 2014 his last run for office?

May 8, 2013: Las mujeres de América Latina, al alza (PDF)
By Joan Caivano and Jane Marcus-Delgado
Source: Polítca Exterior
En las últimas dos décadas, el avance de la participación política de las mujeres en América Latina ha sido espectacular. La región, sin embargo, registra las mayores tasas del mundo en violencia contra las mujeres y mortalidad maternal a causa de abortos ilegales.

May 3, 2013: What Does the Future Hold for U.S.-Venezuela Relations?
By Michael Shifter, Gustavo Roosen, and Mark Weisbrot
Source: Latin America Advisor
The future of U.S.-Venezuela relations remains uncertain in the early days of the Nicolás Maduro administration. Maduro has voiced a desire for "respectful relations" with the United States, though Washington has still not recognized his government. The United States has denied that it is considering sanctions against Venezuela, and Venezuelan authorities recently arrested a U.S. citizen on accusations of attempting to spark social unrest. The State Department has denied any efforts to destabilize the Venezuelan government. Will U.S.-Venezuela relations be better or worse under Maduro than they were under Hugo Chávez? What do Maduro's cabinet picks portend about the future of bilateral relations? Should businesses be more worried about political risk in Venezuela now than they were when Chávez was alive?

April 29, 2013: John Kerry repite la visión que Hillary Clinton tuvo en los últimos cuatro años (PDF)
By Michael Shifter
Source: El Deber
Las declaraciones del secretario de Estado, John Kerry, hacen eco de lo que precisamente su redecesora en el cargo, Hillary Clinton, decía repetidamente en los últimos cuatro años. La diferencia ahora, en el segundo periodo de su gobierno, es que Barack Obama no parece dispuesto a gastar tanto tiempo en tratar de mejorar las relaciones con gobiernos que han sido inamistosos con Washington.

April 9, 2013: Why Is the OAS Human Rights Commission Under Fire?
By Carmen Lomellin, Nathalie Cely, and Michael Shifter
Source: Latin America Advisor
The Organization of American States on March 22 rejected attempts by the governments of Venezuela and allied leftist countries to block outside funding for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Opponents of the effort to block funding say the move would have neutralized the work of the commission, which has angered leftist governments of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, or ALBA. What would rejecting outside funding have done to the IACHR? Do the ALBA countries have a legitimate gripe with the commission? Is the IACHR effective at protecting human rights in the hemisphere?

April 5, 2013: The End of Chavez Reveals U.S. Missteps
By Peter Hakim
Source: Latin Pulse
The acclaim and praise of late President Hugo Chavez throughout Latin America suggests a troubling degree of indifference to the US.

March 27, 2013: Post Chavez: Can U.S. rebuild Latin American ties?
By Peter Hakim
Source: Reuters
The funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez earlier this month was a massive celebration of a vitriolic foe of the United States. This tribute should make Washington take a fresh look not only at its relations with Venezuela but also with all of Latin America.

March 23, 2013: Farewell Comandante: Venezuela without Chávez
By Michael Shifter
Source: The Diplomatist
Since Hugo Chavez first came to power in Venezuela in early 1999, there has been no shortage of speculation about how the regime would ultimately end and what scenarios would eventually follow. Yet few, if any, contemplated the possibility that Chavez would end up leaving the political scene he so thoroughly dominated for 14 years as a result of a severe illness, at the age of 58.

March 19, 2013: What Is Driving Peru's Relationship With China?
By Cynthia McClintock, Margaret Myers, and Carlos Mateo Paz-Soldan
President Ollanta Humala will pay an official visit to Beijing in April, Peru's government announced earlier this month. While China has reportedly invested about $6 billion in Peru over the past three years, Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo recently called on Chinese companies to diversify their investments in the Andean nation, naming specifically the infrastructure, telecommunications and information technology sectors. What is the state of Peru-China commercial ties today? What is driving the bilateral relationship, and what things stand in the way of improvement? Who stands to benefit or lose the most from expanding Peru-China ties?

March 13, 2013: The Decade that Was (2003-2013)
By Michael Shifter
Source: El País
Latin America has, for the most part, seen sustained growth, reduced levels of poverty and equality, and rising confidence and activism on the global stage

March 13, 2013: La década que fue (2003-2013)
By Michael Shifter
Source: El País
América Latina ha visto casi en su totalidad un crecimiento sostenido, niveles de pobreza y desigualdad más reducidos y un aumento de la confianza y el activismo en el escenario mundial.

March 11, 2013: The Empire Makes Nice
By Michael Shifter
Source: Foreign Policy
Four years ago, when the first Obama administration was still hopeful about the prospects of resetting relationships with U.S. adversaries in the world, Venezuela was high on the list.

March 7, 2013: With Chavez gone, what of ‘Chavismo’?
By Michael Shifter
Source: Reuters
"The End of the Chávez Era” That was the headline on Colombia’s major newspaper, El Tiempo, the day after Hugo Chávez’s death. True, Chávez’s controversial and colorful 14-year rule has ended, and Venezuela has lost a president who evoked uncommonly intense passions among followers and detractors. Venezuelans will not easily forget a leader who, for better or worse, was the consummate showman and left an indelible mark on a highly polarized society.

March 5, 2013: La fragmentación en Venezuela
By Michael Shifter
Source: El Colombiano
El drama surrealista continúa. Los venezolanos y el resto del mundo esperan para ver qué pasa con Hugo Chávez. Los rumores sobre su estado de salud se han ido multiplicando pero cuando el vicepresidente Nicolás Maduro dice que Chávez está "luchando por su vida", es importante tomar nota

March 5, 2013: Fragmentation in Venezuela
By Michael Shifter
Source: El Colombiano
The surreal drama continues. Venezuelans and the rest of the world wait and watch to see what happens with Hugo Chavez. Rumors about his health have been rampant, but when vice president Nicolas Maduro says that Chavez is “battling for his life,” it is important to take note.

March 5, 2013: So Long, Chávez
By Michael Shifter
Source: Foreign Affairs
To be sure, Chávez’s boldness partially helped inspire pride and political self-confidence in the region, in addition to revitalizing the dream of leftist revolution in Latin America. Chávez’s contributions, however, were minimal compared with the positive impact of larger and more important factors, such as the rise of Brazil, the commodity boom, the growing assertiveness of many of the region’s countries, and the acute fiscal and political shortcomings of the United States.

February 24, 2013: Correa no logra llenar el ocaso de Chávez (PDF)
By Michael Shifter
Source: El Deber
Hace una semana hubo dos importantes novedades en América Latina, una esperada, y la otra, menos. Sin sorpresas, Rafael Correa fue reelegido de manera aplastante en Ecuador. Y en un movimiento que econtró a muchos con la guardia baja, el aparentemente muy enfermo presidente de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, retornó a Caracas.