Category Archives: Venezuela

PF – Coup Déjà vu: What Egypt’s Military Learned – And Failed to Learn – From Venezuela

Posted By Juan Nagel  Thursday, August 15, 2013 – 9:39 AM

Long-time observers of Venezuelan politics view the events unfolding halfway across the globe, in Egypt, with more than a bit of déjà vu.

populist president with a power base in the poor classes? Check.

A revolution imposing a constitution and running a sectarian government, prompting a political crisis? Check.

Massive street demonstrations triggering a military ouster of said president, who is immediately placed in custody while his supporters take to the streets? Check.

Venezuela lived through all of this in 2002. And while so far the Egyptian coupsters have succeeded longer than the Venezuelans did, it’s still an open question whether the coup will have actual staying power, and at what cost to the Egyptian people.

In 2002, Hugo Chávez was facing a political crisis of enormous proportions. A sluggish economy had eaten away at his base of support. The approval of a new Constitution — tailor-made to his desires — was seen by many as a sectarian move. The approval of a series of secret decrees that touched everything from the oil sector to land holdings without consulting affected sectors brought panic to boardrooms across the country. And the suggestion of a new education law seeped in leftist ideology sent worried parents out into the streets en masse.

By April of 2002, the crisis had reached a boiling point. Members of the military began openly questioning the president. Throughout the month millions of people marched through the streets of Caracas demanding Chávez resign. A general strike was called.

The crisis came to a head on April 11, when hundreds of thousands of people marched on to the Presidential palace, only to be greeted by snipers of unknown affiliation. A violent, confusing confrontation ensued and nineteen people (from both the opposition and pro-government camps) lay dead.

This prompted the military to act.

Within a few hours, the top brass of the Venezuelan army had removed Chávez and placed him under arrest. The president of the main business federation and leader of the protest movement, Pedro Carmona, was named interim-President, and he quickly moved to dissolve parliament, the courts, and suspend the Constitution. (The best book on the subject is The Silence and the Scorpion, by American author Brian Nelson)

Then, in a development that changed the course of Latin American history, the military backtracked. Seemingly afraid of being in charge of a coup d’etat, facing internal grumblings from dissenting commanders, and unwilling to attack pro-Chávez demonstrators who marched on the streets demanding to know where Chávez was, the coup quickly collapsed. On April 13, two days after being removed, Chávez came back to consolidate his grip on power. Carmona and the generals are now in exile in Colombia. The opposition has never fully recovered from these events.

The parallels with Egypt are striking. After the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the government of Mohamed Morsy moved to change the Constitution. By all accounts, the new constitution left important sectors of society out in the cold. Demonstrations demanding Morsy’s ouster paved the way for Egypt’s military to depose Morsy and place him under arrest. Thousands of his supporters are now demanding his release, and the result has been unspeakably violent.

Yet, unlike Chávez, it does not appear as though Morsy has any allies in the armed forces. This is a crucial difference that may spell doom for the former Egyptian president. It is also understandable — Chávez, after all, came from the military, and his deep knowledge of the institution along with the friendships cultivated there proved a daunting challenge for Venezuela’s plotting generals.

Furthermore, Venezuela’s generals were unwilling to go all the way with their coup.

When Chile’s Augusto Pinochet overthrew Salvador Allende in 1973, he promptly unleashed a wave of terror that overwhelmed Allende’s backers. The swiftness and the unabashed violence of his campaign helped consolidate his grip on power. Venezuela’s generals did nothing of the sort, and their power quickly dissolved.

If Egypt’s generals begin to feel remorse for the violence in the streets, if they begin losing allies, or if they face internal conflict, with sectors of the armed forces thinking twice about what they have done, the coup could very well collapse. Failing to quash dissent will only embolden the poor masses at the heart of Morsy’s movement, just like the chavista masses were emboldened after seeing Chávez’s detractors squabbling. This could pave the way for Morsy’s return amidst a popular wave of support, no matter what the middle-class crowds in Tahrir Square think.

There is a popular saying in Venezuela: doing something and not finishing the task is like “killing a tiger and being afraid of its dead skin.”

Venezuela’s generals overthrew a president and immediately began regretting it. If Egypt’s generals blink, the same could happen there. But if they tighten their grip, blood will continue being spilled, and the hopes for an open, democratic Egypt will be quashed.

Either way, it’s a tragedy for all Egyptians…just like 2002 was a tragedy for all Venezuelans.

Click here for original article.


FP – Chávez propagandist in leaked recording: ‘We are in a sea of shit, my friend’

Posted By Elias Groll  Monday, May 20, 2013 – 6:08 PM

The Venezuelan opposition on Monday released a recording of what it says is a conversation between Mario Silva, a prominent Venezuelan television host and a favorite of the late Hugo Chávez, and a Cuban intelligence officer, in which Silva details a feud within the government between Chávez loyalists and Diosdado Cabello, the president of the National Assembly.

In the conversation with Aramis Palacios, a lieutenant colonel in the G2, the Cuban intelligence agency, Silva, the host of the state television program “La Hojilla,” describes a government deeply divided against itself, with rival factions competing for power amid rampant corruption.

The conversation was allegedly recorded for the benefit of Cuban President Raúl Castro, but its authenticity has not been independently verified. Writing on Twitter, Silva dismissed the recording as a Zionist plot.

Assuming that’s not the case, set against the backdrop of the recent highly contested presidential election and Chávez’s death, Silva sketches a portrait of a government in turmoil marred by high-level corruption, shares rumors of a coup d’état against President Nicolás Maduro, and says he fears that Maduro is being manipulated by his wife. Additionally, according to Silva, on election day the Venezuelan National Electoral Council was the victim of a cyberattack that brought down its security protocol for at least an hour, an allegation that would seem to further call into question the integrity of the vote.

The full audio (a transcript, in Spanish, is here).

Prior to being selected by Chávez as his heir apparent, Maduro engaged in a bitter power struggle with Cabello, and if Silva’s account is correct, a great deal of tension remains between the two men. At one point, Silva, who might be described as the country’s de facto propaganda minister, says that “Maduro is obligated to follow the path of el Comandante and is obligated to put Diosdado Cabello against the wall,” a statement that is difficult to read as anything other than a suggestion to put Cabello before a firing squad.

But it’s not entirely clear that Silva trusts Maduro either. “I am afraid, Palacios, that Nicolás … is feeling manipulated by Cilia [his wife],” Silva tells the Cuban officer. “This is a continent of caudillos[strongmen], my friend, and the woman has to stay in the shade.” Silva then compares Maduro’s tendency to appear in public alongside his wife and to kiss her to the worst tendencies of an American poltician. “This isn’t a North American campaign,” he says. “This is a Latin American campaign.” Elsewhere in the conversation, Silva wonders why Chávez didn’t make a tape recording of his decision to anoint Maduro as his successor.

Although Chávez used the armed forces to consolidate his power, according to Silva, the army is now divided, with some factions in favor of staging a coup. According to Silva, Maduro has managed to alienate Diego Molero, the country’s defense minister, whom Silva describes as an “operator” and a “commando.” The strained relationship resulted in rumors circulating in Caracas that Molero was about to launch a coup attempt, leading Maduro’s wife, Cilia Flores, to dispatch Silva via intermediaries to find out if the rumours were true. They were not.

But for the man charged with selling the idea of the Bolivarian Revolution to the Venezuelan people, Silva speaks like a man who has become disillusioned with what has become of the government. He describes rampant corruption and officials dipping into public funds for their personal benefit. “We are in a sea of shit, my friend, and we have not yet realized it, Palacios,” Silva says.

Despite the explosive nature of the conversation between Silva and Palacios — never mind the crazy fact that he is having in-depth conversations with Cuban intelligence agents in the first place — it is far from clear what repercussions this recording will have on the ground in Venezuela.Writing at Caracas Chronicles, Juan Nagel makes a compelling case that this recording may strip some of the revolutionary veneer off Maduro:

The important thing to keep in mind is that we are not the target audience for this recording.


Yes, we all knew that Cabello was a crook, Maduro a nincompoop, Silva a marxist Cuban mole, Rangel an evil power broker, and Flores a scheming Lady Macbeth. But the important thing is that rank-and-file chavistas … didn’t. Up until now, they have been immune from these facts because of the messenger.

Either way, take a moment to revel in the sweet irony of the fact that Chávez’s favorite propagandist is now responsible for providing the most stinging critique to date of the Maduro government.

Find original article here.

In Sight Crime – Venezuela to Use Military to Fight Crime

Venezuela will deploy the military to fight crime, a move that will likely increase concerns over the depth of corruption in the armed forces and the possibility that human rights could be compromised in the name of citizen security.

Interior and Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez announced that the army, navy, and air force would join National Guard troops in a new security initiative, reported The Associated Press. Rodriguez described the military as an “important tool that will bring peace to citizens” and would allow the public to “feel safe in the streets,” although he did not provide further details on how, exactly, the armed forces would be deployed.

Activist Rafael Uzcategui, a representative from human rights non-governmental organization (NGO) PROVEA, was critical of the announcement, stating that the military is not trained in fighting crime.

InSight Crime Analysis

In late April, Minister Rodriguez said that he would soon announce a series of new measures meant to tackle insecurity in Venezuela, now one of the most dangerous countries in the world, with murders in the first four months of the year reaching an average of 58 per day.

Turning to the military to help fight crime is a common phenomenon in Latin America. Under former President Felipe Calderon, Mexico made great use of its armed forces in taking down high-value criminal targets. Other countries have turned to the military in order to make up for a corrupt and under-trained police force. However, there are valid concerns that the armed forces are more inclined to use heavy-handed tactics at the expense of human rights, something clearly seen in Mexico, where the armed forces have been documented engaging in a wide range of abuses, including torture and disappearances.

There is also the issue of deploying a military plagued with corruption issues as a crime-fighting force. In Venezuela, the very highest levels of military command have been accused of complicity with organized crime.

Click here for original article.

REUTER – Post Chavez: Can U.S. rebuild Latin American ties?

By Peter Hakim

MARCH 27, 2013

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.

Virtually every Latin American country sent a high-level delegation to show its esteem for Chavez, who, during his 14 years in office, regularly vilified the United States, disparaged its leaders and campaigned tirelessly to end the U.S. role in the region. The presidents of Latin America’s six largest nations — including the closest U.S. regional allies, Mexico, Colombia and Chile — traveled to Caracas for the burial ceremonies. Never in Latin America, as many commentators noted, has a deceased leader been given a grander memorial — not even Argentina’s adored Juan Domingo Peron back in 1974.

This extraordinary acclaim for Washington’s most virulent adversary in the Americas was probably not intended as a deliberate snub. There were other reasons that so many of Washington’s friends ended up applauding a committed antagonist of the United States.

Some leaders, concerned with politics back home, were seeking to appeal to constituencies on the left, who idolized Chavez. Some who have benefited from the financial largesse distributed by the president of oil rich-Venezuela are eager for his successor to continue that support. Still others were reluctant to stand apart or isolate themselves from their neighbors — so they became part of the crowd.

Yet the fanfare accompanying Chavez’s funeral suggests a troubling degree of indifference to the United States in Latin America — as if Washington no longer counted.

Aside from his ability to hold onto power and sustain the devotion of so many Venezuelans, Chavez’s accomplishments hardly warranted this level of attention. His autocratic rule and reckless spending merit no praise from Latin America’s democratic and fiscally responsible leaders. Make no mistake, however, the foreign leaders came mostly to praise Chavez, not just to bury him.

To be sure, after his presidency, Venezuelans are considerably less poor and unequal than when he came to power in 1999 — though many other Latin American nations did the same, or better, than Venezuela in this period. They achieved this without a huge oil windfall and without pushing the economy toward shambles and undoing the country’s democratic and civil institutions.

Chavez does, though, deserve credit for Petrocaribe, a program that supplied discounted oil (and low-interest loans to buy oil) to poor and energy-deficient countries in Central America and the Caribbean. Cuba got the largest subsidy — some $4 billion to $6 billion a year — without which the island might today be facing a humanitarian crisis. But 13 other nations, some in great need, were also assisted — and are grateful.

This is the kind of aid program that Washington should consider emulating for the region’s low-income countries.

The Chavez funeral is not the only reason for unease about Washington’s relations with Latin America. Two months ago, Cuban ruler Raul Castro, another determined U.S. adversary, was elected to head the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations (CELAC), a new organization that includes every nation in the Western Hemisphere — except the United States and Canada. Next year’s meeting is scheduled to be in Havana, though CELAC’s charter requires that members be governed democratically.

At the 2012 meeting of the Summit of the Americas (every country of the hemisphere except Cuba), the discussion, despite Washington’s objections, focused on two topics: drug policy andCuba. Both are sources of long-standing tension between the United States and Latin America. The assembled Latin American heads of state closed the meeting by warning Washington that, unless Cuba is included in future summits, they would no longer participate.

The problem is not that Latin America has retreated from democratic rule. Though democratic governance has deteriorated in some countries, it is still the overwhelming regional norm ‑ and getting stronger in many places.  The commitment of Latin Americans to democracy. however, now largely applies to their own countries. What they have given up on is the idea of collectively defending democratic practice in countries other than their own. Regional solidarity is now a higher priority than democracy, a reflection of the many ideological and political differences among Latin American nations.

On economic matters, developments have been more encouraging for Washington. It is true that China and Europe have made considerable inroads, diminishing U.S. economic preeminence in Latin America. But U.S. exports have more than doubled in the past 12 years, and U.S. investments have grown apace — along with considerable Latin American investments in the United States. Washington now has free-trade agreements in force with 11 of 19 Latin American countries — three in South America, six in Central America and the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

Yet all is not well here, either. Latin America is now effectively (and unfortunately) divided into two economic zones. One includes all the countries that trade freely with the United States. Another seven are members or soon-to-be members of the Brazilian-led South American Market (Mercosur).

Political differences, not economic interests, are what keep the two groups apart. Prospects for an economically integrated hemisphere, once a key aspiration of most countries, have faded and seem unlikely to be revived anytime soon.

Whether Washington can remake its relationship with Latin America is in question. A sensible and humane reform of U.S. immigration legislation would remove one critical obstacle to more productive relations with many countries, as would a more flexible approach to drug-control policy.

Recent developments suggest, however, that for Washington to regain clout in regional affairs, it must it end its standoff with Cuba. U.S. policy toward Cuba sets Washington against the views of every Latin American and Caribbean government. Long-standing U.S. efforts to isolate and sanction Cuba, have, counterproductively, brought every country in Latin America to Cuba’s defense with a general admiration of Havana’s resistance to U.S. pressures.

Because this U.S. policy is viewed as so extreme, no Latin America country is willing to criticize Cuba — almost regardless of its words or actions. Chavez, with his close association with Cuba, possessed some of that immunity — with his neighbors leaving him unaccountable for his violations of democracy, human rights and decency.

His funeral made it clear that the United States has a lot of work to do to prevent that immunity from spreading.

Click here for original article.

Venezuela, primer importador de armas de Latinoamérica – RT

Venezuela, primer importador de armas de Latinoamérica – RT.

Según un reciente estudio del Instituto Internacional de Estudios para la Paz de Estocolmo (SIPRI), Venezuela sigue siendo el principal importador de armas convencionales de América Latina.

El informe difundido por el SIPRI revela que a partir de 1999, año en que asumió la presidencia Hugo Chávez, Venezuela se situó entre los países del mundo que más armas importan. La compra de armas por el estado bolivariano creció de manera espectacular en los años 2002-2006, cuando se incrementó un 555% en comparación con el período anterior. 

Justo en ese período (2002-2006) el país se erigió como el primer importador de armas convencionales del continente (el segundo lugar lo ocupaba el gigantesco Brasil) y decimotercero en el mundo. 

El SIPRI añade que un 66% de las armas adquiridas por Venezuela durante el período 2008-2012 provenía de Rusia y que este porcentaje muestra una clara tendencia al aumento tras la concesión por parte de Moscú de una línea de crédito de 4.000 millones de dólares.

Venezuela y las armas rusas

Entre las armas que compra Venezuela a Rusia figuran tanques T-72B1, sistemas de misiles antiaéreos de corto alcance S-125 Pechora-2M, helicópteros de ataque Mi-28, cazas multifuncionales Su-30MK2, vehículos blindados de infantería BMP-3М y BTR-80А, obuses autopropulsados 2S19 Msta-S, lanzamisiles múltiples y morteros autopropulsados, entre otros. 

Además de los misiles Pechora, la defensa antiaérea venezolana estará formada por los sistemas móviles Buk-M1-2 de medio alcance y los S-300VM Antey-2500, de largo alcance, que se desplegarán en varias áreas estratégicas de Venezuela. 

Se informa también de que Venezuela podría adquirir un nuevo lote de 12 cazas multifuncionales Su-30MK2, que se añadirían a los 24 aviones ya comprados. Además, Venezuela ha expresado su interés en adquirir los avanzados cazas Su-35, entrenadores Yak-130 y aviones de transporte pesado Il-476. 

Hugonomics – By Daniel Altman | Foreign Policy

Hugonomics – By Daniel Altman | Foreign Policy.

What is the economic legacy of Hugo Chávez? A common criticism is that by changing how Venezuela sliced its economic pie, he also reduced the size of the pie for his fellow citizens. The Venezuelan economy did perform dreadfully through much of his presidency, and it continues to suffer fromhigh inflation and rising debt. But when you strip away the ideological debates about Chávez’s 14-year tenure and just look at the numbers, it’s not entirely clear that he left Venezuelans worse off.

A happy recent development in economics has been the recognition that increases in equity and efficiency can go hand in hand, especially when inequality has reached a level that threatens living standards for everyone. In the 1990s, Venezuela may well have reached that level. The country had high inequality in incomes and one of the most inequitable distributions of wealth — at least judged by land — in the world. As research by the International Monetary Fund has suggested, so much inequality can indeed reduce economic growth. The reason is simple: The wealthy can grab economic opportunities that might be a better fit for poorer people with more suitable talents.

Of course, economic theory also suggests that too little inequality can stifle growth completely. In a socialist state of the kind Chávez professed to pursue, incomes would be equal regardless of effort. Notwithstanding the commitment of ardent socialists to their national project, workers’ effort might lag, resulting in an economy that failed to fulfill its productive potential.

So what happened in Venezuela? Chávez undertook an enormous agenda to redistribute income and wealth through a variety of social programs and the nationalization of assets in industries ranging from agriculture to telecommunications. According to the Venezuelan government’sstatistics, inequality did eventually fall quite a bit during his time as president, or at least through 2009.

Four years later, the end of Chávez’s rule has left two big questions for economists: First, were his programs truly responsible for the reduction in inequality? And second, did these changes in the distribution of income result in more growth or less?

Though it’s never possible to compare a country’s economic history to what might have taken place with difference policies — you only live once — in this case the timing of the trends offers some answers. Inequality in Venezuela didn’t start dropping until 2006, seven years into Chavéz’s presidency. So if the incomes of the poor were increasing during that time, the incomes of the rich had to be increasing at the same rate.

Assuming the Venezuelan figures on inequality are correct, the most likely explanation is that the steep climb in oil prices starting in 2004 allowed Chávez to spend much more on programs for the poor, including those that raised their incomes merely by distributing cash. At the same time, by taking over private assets that would have gained value because of higher oil prices, he may have prevented rich Venezuelans from profiting during the boom.

Did this decrease in inequality have any effect on growth? Adjusted for inflation, average incomes in Venezuela fell until 2003, then began to rise again until hitting a plateau around 2009. The turnaround began before income inequality started to shrink, again coinciding with the upward turn in oil prices. Indeed, about a third of Venezuela’s GDP comes from oil, and per capita income tracks the oil price fairly closely.

A more interesting gauge of Chávez’s success is to look at how much the non-oil portion of the Venezuelan economy expanded. Based on a rough calculation of oil revenue — Venezuela’s annual production multiplied by the average price of a barrel of crude — sales accounted for only about 20 percent of GDP in 1999, yet by 2005 they were already peaking at 37 percent. After taking a big knock during the global financial crisis, sales settled at about 25 percent of GDP in 2011. (Note that this measure does not include refining and other oil-related industries.)

The size of Venezuela’s non-oil economy also fluctuated during this period. From 1999 through 2005, just before inequality started to fall, per capita income not from oil sank by 16 percent, adjusted for inflation. It’s likely that these were dark days for those who neither worked in the oil industry nor benefited from social programs funded by oil revenue.

Starting in 2006, the non-oil economy began to grow again. It, too, suffered during the global financial crisis, but by 2011 non-oil income per capita was 11 percent higher than when Chávez took office. That was progress, but 11 percent was still a pretty mediocre figure; on an annual basis, non-oil income per capita grew just 0.9 percent during the majority of Chávez’s presidency.

The numbers look even worse in comparison to Venezuela’s neighbors. Peru’s oil production is about 6 percent of Venezuela’s, but its per capita income managed to grow by almost 60 percent between 1999 and 2011, according to the IMF’s estimates. The pie also expanded much more quickly in Ecuador and Colombia.

Venezuela certainly reduced inequality, but it hardly seems to have resulted in more economic growth. It’s not hard to guess why. Chávez’s moves to reduce inequality weren’t the only relevant parts of his economic strategy. His hostile attitude toward wealthier countries, combined with the threat of nationalization, undoubtedly discouraged foreign investment. While neighboring countries modernized their regulations and improved their business climates, Venezuela maintained a reputation as one of the toughest places in the world to run a company.

Economic growth and rising incomes aren’t everything, however. Economists are taught to care most about wellbeing, which can and should be gauged in other ways. And here’s the kicker: If there is one area where Chávez appears to have succeeded, it is in enhancing human development as measured by the United Nations. Even though Peru’s incomes grew much more quickly between 2000 and 2010, Venezuela passed its neighbor in the U.N.’s favored metric.

Could Chávez have done even better with higher economic growth? Perhaps, but we’ll never know for sure. Instead, we’ll see whether Venezuela can cement its progress in human development atop a rather shaky set of economic foundations.

El Colombiano – Estados Unidos promete minimizar influencia iraní en Latinoamérica

Publicado el 28 de febrero de 2013

La secretaria de Estado adjunta de Estados Unidos para Latinoamérica, Roberta Jacobson, aseguró este jueves que su país defenderá la democracia ante los “líderes populistas” del continente y minimizó la influencia que tiene Irán en los países de la región.

Jacobson se pronunció así en una audiencia ante el subcomité del Hemisferio Occidental en la Cámara de Representantes de Estados Unidos, en la que habló sobre las oportunidades y retos en Latinoamérica en el segundo mandato del presidente Barack Obama, en el que Estados Unidos tiene un nuevo titular de Exteriores, John Kerry.

“En algunos países del continente, los líderes populistas que son impacientes o incluso irrespetuosos con los procesos de la democracia están cerrando o subyugando medios independientes y buscando controlar tribunales y parlamentos”, indicó Jacobson.

“Estamos trabajando a través de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) para proteger la libertad de expresión“, aseguró. “Seguiremos pronunciándonos para defender instituciones fuertes e independientes de la democracia”.

Estados Unidos ha analizado de cerca la situación en Venezuela, donde el presidente Hugo Chávez, reelegido en los comicios de octubre, no pudo jurar su nuevo mandato (2013-2019) el pasado 10 de enero debido a sus problemas de salud, y opina que en el caso de que el mandatario quede permanentemente inhabilitado para ejercer el poder, deberá haber elecciones en el país.

Al respecto, Jacobson consideró este jueves que, ante la posibilidad de que se produzca una transición política en Venezuela“Estados Unidos tiene un papel que representar”, al defender en la OEA y en sus intercambios con los venezolanos “la necesidad de que cualquier elección sea libre, abierta y justa”.

La responsable de Estados Unidos para Latinoamérica también se refirió a la creciente actividad de Irán en el continente, ante la que el Departamento de Estado está elaborando una estrategia de respuesta que ella misma está coordinando y que entregará al Congreso en junio.

Jacobson reconoció que Irán ha firmado “muchos acuerdos diplomáticos y actividades en la región”, pero aseguró que “no parece que estén dando frutos”.

El informe que elabora Estados Unidos tendrá una buena parte clasificada, según adelantó, aunque también una porción pública que reflejará “lo que hacemos para supervisar la influencia de Irán y responder cuando se violan las sanciones”.

“Gran parte de lo que creemos que es crítico para responder a Irán es trabajar con otros países, para ver si hay información que podamos compartir”, afirmó. “No siempre es posible, pero muchos países están preocupados de no tener la información que necesitan para supervisar ellos también (las actividades iraníes)”.

El Congreso aprobó el año pasado una ley que obligaba al Gobierno de Obama a elaborar una estrategia al respecto y describir detalladamente las actividades de Irán, su Guardia Revolucionaria, sus Fuerzas Quds y el grupo libanés Hizbulá.

Según esa ley, Irán ha construido 17 centros culturales en América Latina y en la actualidad mantiene once embajadas, en comparación con seis en 2005.

El Departamento de Estado también enviará al Congreso “lo antes posible” otro plan: elacuerdo que firmaron hace un año la entonces secretaria de Estado, Hillary Clinton, y el expresidente mexicano Felipe Calderón, para permitir la explotación de los yacimientos de hidrocarburos que estén en la frontera común en el Golfo de México.

El Gobierno de Obama aún tiene dudas sobre si el acuerdo con México es un tratado, que necesitaría aprobación del Congreso, o un simple pacto que no la requiere, según indicó una fuente legislativa al diario especializado The Hill. En caso de que decida que es un tratado,  deberá ser ratificado por el Senado y la Cámara baja antes de que pueda comenzar la exploración conjunta de los yacimientos transfronterizos.

La energía es, precisamente, una de las tres áreas en las que Jacobson ve más oportunidades en el continente, junto a la educación y la defensa de la democracia y los derechos humanos, según indicó.

Destacó el “excelente trabajo” que ha hecho Colombia en la mejora de su seguridad,hasta el punto de que “en muchas ocasiones saben hacer las cosas mejor que Estados Unidos” en esa área; y consideró que la alianza con el nuevo Gobierno mexicano de Enrique Peña Nieto “ha tenido un gran comienzo” en la cooperación de seguridad.

En cuanto a Cuba, confió en que haya “cambios en el terreno político en los próximos cinco años, porque hasta ahora” sólo han “visto avances en los derechos económicos”.

Click here for original article.