RIO DE JANEIRO
July will mark the start of a new era for the Common Southern Market (Mercosur), when it will expand to five full members, if the South American bloc manages to overcome the commotion caused by the admission of Venezuela and the suspension of Paraguay.
The political polarisation in Venezuela became even more marked as the country emerged from Sunday’s elections basically divided in half, between two sectors that are antagonistic and reluctant to try to understand each other.
The 35-member Organisation of American States (OAS) on Friday voted unanimously to approve a series of reforms to the Inter-American human rights system, but stepped back from proposals that had caused the greatest concern among civil society groups.
What is Hugo Chávez's legacy to Latin America? The best way to evaluate a head of state is to examine what is left behind after his or her death. In the case of Chávez, his image is obscured by a series of ideological and cultural prejudices that hide a clear perception of who he was.
Venezuela’s economic challenges, more than the uncertainty over who will succeed late president Hugo Chávez, could threaten the oil diplomacy he practiced in the region.
Although there is plenty of speculation about what will happen now President Hugo Chávez is gone, the likelihood of change in Venezuelan politics and society is low.
Late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez played a key role in the current attempt to negotiate peace in Colombia. Along with Cuban President Raúl Castro, he confidentially urged the FARC guerrillas to agree to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’s secret proposal for peace talks.
That his life and his deeds had black dots is part of the story but should not prevent us from seeing the greatness of a maker of history. First, in his own country, Venezuela, Hugo Chávez lifted those at the bottom up from misery, into economic wellness, political participation, cultural pride (in their often African, or Indian, blood), social dignity – going far beyond Gini coefficients to measure increasing equality.
While the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama says it would like to improve relations with Venezuela in the aftermath of the death Tuesday of President Hugo Chávez, officials and independent analysts here believe any rapprochement will take time and faces political obstacles both here and in Caracas.
An agreement signed by the government of Venezuela and the Chinese state-owned company Citic Group for prospecting and mapping the country's mining reserves is being challenged by both the opposition and experts who argue that it will leave valuable natural resources dangerously exposed.
Governments of countries in the Americas are relying on the passage of time and a relatively peaceful political atmosphere to sort out the unprecedented institutional situation in Venezuela, whose ailing president Hugo Chávez is out of the country, while the executive team tasked with carrying out his former mandate continues in office.
Colombia has suffered an internal armed conflict for so many decades that it almost amounts to a "forgotten crisis" for external donors. But the president of neighbouring Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is well aware of the conflict, and understands that it destabilises Latin America, where centre-left governments proliferate.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge in Latin America since Hugo Chávez first took office as president of Venezuela in 1999, with left-wing and centre-left governments coming to power and the emergence of paths toward integration that exclude the United States.
While Hugo Chávez is being treated for serious illness in Havana, the premise of government "continuity" is winning out in his home country, along with plans to postpone his swearing-in ceremony for a new term as president of Venezuela, due to take place on Thursday Jan. 10.
People in the streets and squares of the Colombian capital are breathing easier. The air is fresh with hope, in contrast to the former leaden and fearful atmosphere of eternal violence and interminable conflict.