Colombia’s Displaced

This is a guest post by Stephanie Leutert, a research associate here at the Council on Foreign Relations who works with me in the Latin America program. The best known Colombian security story is that of declining violence. Indeed its homicide rate dropped from near 80 homicides per 100,000 in 1990 to 32 per 100,000 […]

Can 80 Percent of Mexicans Be Poor? The Debate Over Poverty

A recent study highlighted in La Jornada, a Mexican newspaper, claims that some ninety million Mexicans are poor, roughly 80 percent of the total population. This contrasts drastically with calculations by the OECD (which put the poor closer to twenty-three million) or those by Mexican researchers Luis de la Calle and Luis Rubio (who estimate […]

Central America’s Moment

While Brazil and Mexico (in good and bad ways) tend to fill U.S. headlines regarding Latin America, other nations matter as well for the United States. Among them are the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Though combined their populations total less than thirty million people, these small nations arguably have an […]

Latin America’s Expanding Definition of National Security

Two reports came out recently from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Council of the Americas (COA), both looking at Latin America and framing their substance as “national security” concerns. The first from CSIS, “Police Reform in Latin America: Implications for U.S. Policy,” describes how police reform has become a mainstay […]

Organized Crime Beyond Drug Trafficking

Harvard’s winter 2012 ReVista magazine focuses on crime and violence primarily in Mexico and Central America. Many of the authors were participants in a Harvard-sponsored working group, bringing together scholars and researchers from the university, as well as from other institutions in the United States and throughout the region to delve into the many complicated […]

Investing in Latin America

I just came back from speaking on a panel, on Brazil and Latin America more broadly, at a conference for institutional investors. We five panelists came from research, investing, and on-the-ground business backgrounds, providing a variety of perspectives and interesting conversation.  Overall three big themes emerged in our discussion: Brazil still holds the top spot […]

The Future of Brazilian Ethanol

I am in Brazil this week, and met today with people from the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA). In Brazil this means they are active energy players, as over half of the crop in Brazil is used for ethanol. In recent years they have become an effective lobbying force not just in Brazil, but also […]

Press Freedom and Democracy in Latin America

Last Wednesday, Ecuador’s Supreme Court upheld sentences handed down in July 2011 for four members of the El Universo newspaper’s staff in the latest chapter of a lengthy and controversial trial. Three of the newspaper’s directors, Carlos, César, and Nícolas Perez, and an editorialist, Emilio Palacio, face three years in jail and $40 million in […]

Mexico’s Burgeoning Economy Amid Drug Violence

I sat down last week with Bernie Gwertzman to talk about the top issues facing Mexico and U.S.-Mexican relations. In the interview we discussed Mexico’s economic prosperity (despite drug violence), immigration reform, and the importance of Mexico’s upcoming presidential election on both sides of the border. Here is an excerpt: There have been reports about […]