Pena Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, want to let foreign companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Repsol SA sign production-sharing contracts for oil exploration and output. (The companies would still be prohibited from operating their own fields.) Thus would Mexico return to the situation that prevailed from 1938, when the country expropriated oilfields from U.S.

Sergio Massa marches down a corridor, casting aside his suit jacket and rolling up his shirtsleeves – as if preparing for a schoolyard tussle – before facing the camera: “If they want to fight, we’re going to fight,” he says. That’s the controversial TV spot Mr. Massa, who is running for a congressional seat in Argentina’s upcoming midterm elections, chose for his campaign. But he is not the only politician to adopt an aggressive tone against the Front for Victory, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s ruling alliance.

The twelfth round of peace talks between the Colombian government and FARC rebels ended on Saturday in Havana, Cuba with both sides expressing optimism despite a lack of recent concrete actions and agreements in the past week. Current negotiations, which began in October 2012, have been more successful than previous attempts, with difficult obstacles like land reform having reportedly been cleared.

August 10, 2013

When it comes to corruption, Venezuela has long languished near the bottom of the international league table. According to the latest index of perceptions of corruption compiled each year by Transparency International, a Berlin-based watchdog, only eight out of the list of 176 countries were seen as more graft-ridden. Even places like Haiti and Zimbabwe ranked higher. The organisation’s Venezuela chapter found that 65% of respondents in a recent survey thought corruption had worsened in the previous two years. Well over half thought government measures to tackle it were ineffective.

Argentina will have the opportunity to represent Latin America at the UN Security Council, said Foreign Minister Hector Timerman in reference to the presidency his country will play in that organ this month. Timerman made these statements after two meetings President Cristina Fernandez held last night with Brazil's Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota, and the president of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, Telam news agency reported here.

The Venezuelan government plans to create a new force tasked with patrolling the border with Colombia, which will face an uphill battle if it is to make a dent in crime in a region where criminal groups, corrupt security forces and general lawlessness run rampant. President Nicolas Maduro announced the government will create a Joint Task Force, which will be a "civic-military" initiative bringing together area residents, political actors and security forces with the goal of reinforcing border security.

August 4, 2013

For a little under a year, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been holding peace talks in Havana -- the first since the round conducted by the Pastrana administration from 1998 to 2002. Those were plagued by delays, accusations from the FARC that the Colombian government was planning to assassinate its top leaders, accusations from the Colombian government that the FARC was planning to kidnap officials, and ongoing violence.

After years of neglect, the Canadian government seems to be ratcheting up international cooperation with its Latin American counterparts. The increase in diplomatic overtures is motivated by the promise of forging new trade relationships and enhancing existing ties, but also by the apparent continent-wide consequences of organized crime and drug trafficking. While an “Americas Strategy” was launched in 2007, the government only recently started matching its rhetorical commitments with action.