latin america

Today marks one month since the assassination of journalist Javier Valdéz Cárdenas, which shook the international press community and further exemplified the pervasive violation of press freedom in Mexico. Winner of the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2011 International Press Freedom Award, Valdéz was murdered on May 15 in broad daylight near the Ríodoce office, the local weekly publication he founded in the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

Two Canadian First Nation sound artists are currently in La Guajira, Colombia, working with Indigenous artists from Chile and Colombia to create a unique sound art installation to premiere at the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in Toronto this fall. The cross-cultural project, called the Territ-Aur(i)al Imprints Exchange, invited sound artists Janet Rogers, who is Mohawk, and Casey Koyczan, who is Tlicho Dene.

The U.S. government is auditing a foreign aid program that loaned almost $1 billion to renewable energy projects in Chile – including solar farms in such deep financial trouble that the loans may never be fully repaid, according to people familiar with the matter. [...] OPIC, which aims to advance U.S. interests by lending to overseas business ventures, loaned about $2.5 billion to 32 projects throughout Latin America, in 2013-2014 with over a third of those funds going to Chilean energy projects.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday proposed drastically slashing U.S. foreign aid spending in Mexico and Central America, which are struggling with drug violence, graft and poverty.  2018 Mexican aid of $87.66 million, down more than 45 percent from the 2016 outlay. The budget proposes scrapping most U.S. money for the Mexican military, along with counterterrorism funds and some governance programs. In Guatemala, U.S. aid would drop almost 40 percent from 2016, to $80.66 million, while in Honduras and El Salvador it would fall nearly a third.

Representatives from Guyana and twelve other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean will be in Vitória, Brazil from May 16 to 18, to learn about the Brazilian experience of School Feeding Programmes and purchasing from Family Farming, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a statement. The visit is an international exchange mission promoted by the Internal Cooperation Programme between the FAO and the government of Brazil.

Cuba has emerged an unlikely victor in health care. The Cuban Revolution served as a catalyst for improved medical services and universal treatment on the island. Although Fidel Castro’s vision for a Cuba mejor stemmed from his political mantra, the country’s most successful social program can ultimately be credited to the medical training of former revolutionary Che Guevara. 

Featuring Mexico’s opportunity to update NAFTA and Cuba’s new agreement with Google. 

The United States and its new administration need to reengage with Latin America. Regional dynamics are favorable for it, giving President Trump the opportunity to reestablish relationships with the rest of the Western Hemisphere—and thus reaffirm the United States’ position as the region’s key partner. Regional primacy must remain a cornerstone of US Grand Strategy if President Trump truly wants to protect the country’s strategic interests and national security. 

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