Articles / Opinion Editorials archives

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Feb 24, 2014 0 Comments

Venezuela’s Lawlessness Fueling Protests Articles / Opinion Editorials


When British citizen, Thomas Henry Berry and his ex-wife, Monica Spear, travelled to Venezuela for a vacation early in the new year, they hoped to spend time enjoying the beautiful sights and sunsets of Spear’s distant homeland.

Unfortunately, the former Miss Venezuela and her ex-husband fell victim to the harsh reality that many of her compatriots face on a daily basis, as they were left dead on a roadside in the mountains of western Venezuela.

More recently, 22-year-old local beauty pageant winner, Genesis Carmona, faced the same fate as Miss Spear, shot in the head and killed while protesting in the city of Valencia. But it’s not just beauty queens that are being killed in country where someone dies every 21 minutes. 

All Venezuelans are feeling this extreme insecurity and senseless violence to the extent that it incentivized the Venezuelan youth to mobilize on February 12th. Considered the third most violent country in the world, Venezuela has seen homicide rates rise an astonishing 444 percent in the 14 years since Chavismo took over.

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Feb 22, 2014 0 Comments

Which Path for China in Latin America’s Development? Articles / Opinion Editorials


Politically and economically, Latin America is a continent divided in two, with one bloc of nations pursuing market-driven economic growth, free trade and regional integration based on economies of scale and another made up of populist regimes with state-controlled economies and protectionism flirting with autarchy.  The divide underscores relations with the rest of the world and especially with the United States.  The first bloc seeing their future as integrated with the North American part of the hemisphere and the latter looking for external actors to subsidize their projects and stand as a counterweight to the U.S. 

At a recent summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held in Havana, Cuba, January 28-29, the divisions were glossed over as the groups announced a CELAC-China forum to take place later this year.  

China is Latin America’s second largest trade partner – after the U.S. – a relationship primarily driven by demand for natural resources and a source of markets for Chinese products.  By 2012, bilateral trade grew an additional 8% from the previous year to $261 billion.   While China’s important presence in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is unassailable, the critical question is which development model the PRC will choose to support in the continent. 

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Feb 17, 2014 0 Comments

Student Dies in Crackdown on Venezuela Opposition Articles / Opinion Editorials


On the morning of February 12, Bassil Alejandro Da Costa left a message for his mother informing her he would be participating in a nationwide student protest for liberty in Caracas, Venezuela. By the end of the day, 24-year old Bassil was lying in the morgue dead from a fatal gunshot fired by Venezuelan security forces. 

Bassil’s shooting went viral, as did two other fatal shootings that day: that of Roberto Redman and Juan Montoya, a pro-government supporter.

The protests — among the largest seen in the months following Nicolas Maduro’s wafer-thin electoral victory in April 2013 — have spread across the entire country and the government’s response has been unmeasured and brutal. Armed motorcycle patrols, like the ones believed responsible for Dacosta’s death, wade into crowds, weapons at the ready.

Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government, as earlier reported in these pages, is steadily losing whatever legitimacy it might have had among the Venezuelan people.
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