Content about Latin America

September 9, 2013

(IP) Motivated by the downing of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane over the Snowden fiasco, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), made up of the representatives of the 34 active member countries of the OAS, approved a resolution expressing solidarity condemning violations of international law and the inviolability of heads of state, thus condemning the actions of the European countries involved. An emergency meeting of The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in July denounced “the flagrant violation of international treaties” along with The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) — "We express our rejection of these facts unjustifiable...”, by the  European governments. Such unity among countries shows a decline of US “imperialism” in the southern hemisphere.

According to the Center For Economic and Public Research:

Nearly every country in the region backed the resolution.  The only holdouts were Canada and the U.S., identified in footnotes as refusing to join the regional consensus in support of the resolution.  The US could hardly be expected to condemn its European partners, especially given that their actions have resulted in a particularly serious diplomatic crisis, affecting European relations with a number of Latin American countries.

Rather than try to block the resolution entirely, the U.S. and Canada – which has almost systematically backed the U.S. agenda at the OAS in recent years – chose instead to discreetly voice their opposition in the form of footnotes.  Nevertheless, the two countries’ rejection of the resolution has been noted in the Latin American media; the U.S. in particular appears to be more isolated in the region than ever.

The US, as indicated by a Reuters article, provided its  European allies France, Italy, Portugal and Spain with false Intel, resulting in the countries riding roughshod on international treaties and laws, at the request of the US government.

In a CNN Espanol report, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza,  said, “these things leave wounds that are difficult to repair.”

This is not an isolated event, but part of a series of actions on the part of the US that is feeding the growing US isolation in the hemisphere as Latin America frees itself from the imperial yoke after years of historic significance.

America’s longstanding staunch ally, Britain, is possibly treading the same path in its relationship with Ecuador - the constant surveillance of their embassy hosting Julian Assange, as they disregard the sovereign right of the country and international law to offer him asylum.

Spain has since apologized for its part in the events. Spain is keen to maintain historical ties to South America, a growing export market, and has renewed efforts to nurture relationships with Latin America after expropriations last year by Bolivia and Argentina hit Spanish companies.

The disregard of law and  treaties encircling the incident touched a sensitive nerve in Latin America, which has a history of U.S.-backed coups.

June 26, 2013

 

In a world where Europe and the United States are struggling, both East Asia and Latin America are outperforming the pack, even if they, too, face challenges.

And yet, more than 12 years since it started, the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) has not grabbed headline attention — not in the way, say, the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have. Still, the relationship has grown.

Notwithstanding the considerable distances, inter-regional trade has grown at an average of 20.5 per cent over the past decade, projecting to reach US $500 billion (S$626.9 billion) this year. The full range of goods crosses the oceans, from manufactures to agricultural products, with resources especially important.

Global conditions are pushing the two regions closer. With the developed markets of the West still soft, the search is on for new markets and South-South cooperation. As the meeting’s host, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said FEALAC can assist in “the next major shift in the world’s geopolitics and geo-economy”.

Yet, this cannot happen overnight — and if left to market forces, relations would be dominated by the larger or more developed countries. China, for instance, accounts for nearly 50 per cent of East Asia’s trade with Latin America. Japan, too, has substantial ties.

Among the Latin Americans, Brazil attracts the most interest despite a recent slowdown. Mexico, too, is considerable in its own right and provides access to the US market through the North American free trade area.

But smaller economies on each side tend to be less noticed. Yet, Peru and Colombia rack up impressive growth rates, after making political changes and policy reforms. The recently-formed Pacific Alliance brings them together with Chile, Mexico and Costa Rica, accounting for US$445 billion in exports.

On the Asian side, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — whose collective population of 650 million is more than all of Latin America — deserves more attention. As they integrate as an ASEAN community, their competitiveness will further improve, and the group could do more to link with the Pacific Alliance.

Individual countries, too, can further their ties. An estimated 100 Singaporean companies are present in Latin America, including Keppel, Sembcorp, Olam and Wilmar. Latin American companies venturing into Singapore include petrochemical company Braskem and mining giant Vale.

Thailand has a free trade agreement with Peru and has seen its exports to Latin America more than double in recent years. The efforts of different countries and sub-groups can serve as building blocks for FEALAC to become the premier forum for the inter-regional relationship and broaden the connections for all 36 participating countries. This is where governments can make a difference.

There remain gaps in business connectivity — information, infrastructure, logistics and trade facilitation. Progressively, the aim must be to fill these gaps, so that even the smaller and medium-sized enterprises, and not only the larger corporations, can access the inter-regional opportunities.

A broader foundation for engagement is also needed. This is difficult given the lack of historical interaction between the two regions.

Nevertheless, networks between universities and cultural institutions, and using the media and tourism, can foster better understanding and increase people-to-people contact. Building for the future, efforts are needed to interest the youth of both regions and help them develop intercultural skills.

These were among the recommendations put forward in Bali by a ‘Vision Group’ appointed by the FEALAC ministers. Some ideas aim to jump-start a new stage in relations with iconic projects — such as a regular business forum and a network among universities. The longer-term goal is to deepen and broaden the inter-regional relationship, so that it can take its place alongside ties with the US and Europe.

Cliches about revolutions and drug smuggling may persist when Asians think about Latin America, and vice versa. The realities of trade and changes in global politics are, however, pushing both sides to rethink old assumptions.

The opportunities are real and substantial — more than when FEALAC began. But for these to be realized, Asians and Latin Americans must increasingly give attention to each other as a new frontier for engagement.

May 25, 2013

More than 1,400 years ago, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “Surely, this religion will reach the boundaries of the day and night and Allah will not spare a rural or an urban dwelling except that He would cause Islam to enter it…”(Ahmad and Ibn Hibban, classified as authentic). We are witnessing the realization of this prophecy today, as Islam continues to spread from the East to the West, including North and South America, where the number of Muslims will more than double by the year 2030, according to statistical projections.

Many of the new Muslims are Latinos who are living in the US and in Latin America. Recent studies such as the The American Mosque 2011 Report reveal that the number of Latino converts in the US has been steadily increasing since the year 2000, more so than any other racial or ethnic group. Similar trends are occurring in neighboring Mexico and further south in Central and South America, where the primary language is Spanish.

Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world, and the official language of 21 countries. With over 50 million native speakers and second-language speakers, the United States has the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world, after Mexico. Spanish is the most studied foreign language in the US.

In the Holy Qur’an, God says, “And We sent not a Messenger except with the language of his people, in order that he might make (the Message) clear for them. Then Allah misleads whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise”(Qur’an, 14:4). This points to the importance of providing educational materials about Islam in all languages. And due to the dramatically rising number of Spanish-speaking Muslim converts in the US, the need for resources in Spanish cannot be ignored.

ICNA and its WhyIslam project are among the few organizations providing services for this demographic, with Spanish-speaking operators on the 1-877-WhyIslam hotline, educational material in Spanish, Spanish sessions during the annual ICNA-MAS convention, and The Message International magazine now featuring articles in the Spanish language.

Islam is an integral part of Latino history and culture and as such, Hispanics who choose to become Muslim are merely re discovering and embracing their past. Through our efforts, with God’s help, we can share the message with our brothers and sisters in humanity and facilitate the success of their transition.

May 23, 2013

CARACAS, May 6 (BERNAMA-NNN-Xinhua) -- Petrocaribe member states agreed to create a new economic zone and granted membership to Honduras and Guatemala at their 7th summit that ended here on Sunday.

Venezuela created Petrocaribe in 2005 to sell fuel to Latin American and Caribbean nations at cheaper prices and help finance their oil infrastructure projects.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the planned economic zone for Petrocaribe member states and other regional blocs is designed to boost regional development by promoting joint investments in trade, tourism, industry, agribusiness and science.

Venezuela has also proposed the establishment of a permanent headquarters in Caracas for the Petrocaribe Secretariat.

In 2012, Venezuela supplied on average 108,000 barrels of oil a day to 14 Petrocaribe members, or 40 percent of their energy needs.

Speaking at the start of the meeting, Maduro said regional alliances such as Petrocaribe are growing stronger, despite attempts by the "international right wing" to sow division among Latin American countries.

"They look at us with absolute scorn, as if they would be happy to see Petrocaribe fall apart. But Petrocaribe is consolidating and growing stronger," said Maduro.

Petrocaribe now consists of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, El Salvador, Granada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Venezuela.

August 1, 2011

 

Government representatives and delegates representing worker and employer organizations attending a United Nations conference recently called for more rights for domestic workers: clear information on terms and conditions of employment, reasonable hours of work and rest, and freedom of association, according to a UN News Centre report.

The value of the UN International Labor Organization’s resolution to the millions of men and women forcibly trafficked and coerced into servitude will likely be very little. This has been seen in the steady increase of modern slavery despite the number of global mandates in the past on the subject. The crisis has been heightened by the increase of displaced people --those most vulnerable to human trafficking-- in direct proportion to the increase of armed conflict around the world.

Last month on World Refugee Day, Mans Nyberg of the United Nations' Refugee Agency (UNHCR) told Voice of America (VOA) the thousands of people uprooted by the uprising and conflict across the Arab World make this year especially poignant. "It's basically the last desperate move you make when you don't have any other option," said Mr Nyberg.

 

Nyberg’s statement is critical as, out of sheer desperation, these same refugees are often enticed into a better life across borders, one free from war and poverty, only to be sold into modern day slavery.

June 10, 2010

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva was officially recognized by the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Food Program (WFP), both commissions of the United Nations, as a ‘Champion’ for his aggressive leadership role in the effort to end hunger and improve nutrition in Brazil, and the developing world, and for re-emphasizing hunger as a critical global concern and U.N. priority. 

June 10, 2010

In parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, particularly Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru, peasants and indigenous farmers are losing tens of millions of hectares of their fertile farmland to foreign states and private sector investors. These invaders, representing large banks and agribusiness corporations are grabbing the land from their rightful owners and using it to produce food and fuel, primarily for export, not with a concern for reducing worldwide poverty, but moreso to gain profit.

In parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, particularly Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru, peasants and indigenous farmers are losing tens of millions of hectares of their fertile farmland to foreign states and private sector investors. These invaders, representing large banks and agribusiness corporations are grabbing the land from their rightful owners and using it to produce food and fuel, primarily for export, not with a concern for reducing worldwide poverty, but moreso to gain profit.

June 10, 2010

In parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, particularly Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru, peasants and indigenous farmers are losing tens of millions of hectares of their fertile farmland to foreign states and private sector investors. These invaders, representing large banks and agribusiness corporations are grabbing the land from their rightful owners and using it to produce food and fuel, primarily for export, not with a concern for reducing worldwide poverty, but moreso to gain profit.

In parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, particularly Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru, peasants and indigenous farmers are losing tens of millions of hectares of their fertile farmland to foreign states and private sector investors. These invaders, representing large banks and agribusiness corporations are grabbing the land from their rightful owners and using it to produce food and fuel, primarily for export, not with a concern for reducing worldwide poverty, but moreso to gain profit.

June 6, 2010

Women all across Latin America and the Caribbean joined the recent global celebration of International Women’s Day in March for a day of reflection and commemoration, highlighting the huge strides made in the region towards ending gender discrimination and inequality. Nearly every country in Latin America has currently signed onto international or regional treaties whose focus is equality and non-discrimination. And all the countries have established institutions promoting equality of the sexes.

May 14, 2010

Water, the life-giving combination of oxygen and hydrogen that comprises 80 per cent of the human body, was celebrated and discussed, inspiring action around the world during World Water Day (WWD), officially designated as March 22 by the United Nations Environmental Program for the group UN-Water. The observances were held in conjunction with a host of other international organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), the UN sponsored World Health Organization (WHO), The International Water Association, and The World Water Council. 

March 19, 2010

The common concerns and priorities of the Latin American and Caribbean nations have once again culminated in coalition.  The ‘Rio Group’convened in Cancun, Mexico recently.

The common concerns and priorities of the Latin American and Caribbean nations have once again culminated in coalition.  The ‘Rio Group’convened in Cancun, Mexico recently.  The yearly summit has been another venue through which the attending member nations have been able to formulate a unified vehicle to use to represent the specific interests, problems, and concerns of all its 32 members - a collective bargaining agent for use in dialogue in the global forum.  Speaking as to the nature of the peculiarities of the Latino-Caribe regions, Mexican President

March 19, 2010

U.S.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was greeted by a standing honor guard of Uruguay upon landing there on the first stop of her diplomatic tour of Latin America. Ms. Clinton attended the inauguration of Uruguayan President-elect Jose’ Mujica, who served as a senator before his election. Mrs. Clinton’s tour then preceeded to earthquake striken Chile’, where she met with outgoing President Michelle Bachelet, and also with the President-elect Sebastian Pinera.

U.S.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was greeted by a standing honor guard of Uruguay upon landing there on the first stop of her diplomatic tour of Latin America. Ms. Clinton attended the inauguration of Uruguayan President-elect Jose’ Mujica, who served as a senator before his election. Mrs.

February 21, 2010

Costa Ricans have elected their first woman president as the ruling party candidate won in a landslide after campaigning to continue free market policies in Central America’s most stable nation.  The 50-year-old protege of the current president, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias, promised to pursue the same economic policies that recently brought the country into a trade pact with the U.S. and opened commerce with China.

Costa Ricans have elected their first woman president as the ruling party candidate won in a landslide after campaigning to continue free market policies in Central America’s most stable nation.  The 50-year-old protege of the current president, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias, promised to pursue the same economic policies that recently brought the country into a trade pact with the U.S. and opened commerce with China.

February 21, 2010

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British research institute focusing on international security, revealed that Russia in 2009 became the main exporter of weapons to Latin America thanks to the purchases made by Venezuela, but also to Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Colombia. However, two of the countries with the largest defence budgets, Colombia and Mexico, remain faithful to US military arms, while other countries have “diversified suppliers.”

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British research institute focusing on international security, revealed that Russia in 2009 became the main exporter of weapons to Latin America thanks to the purchases made by Venezuela, but also to Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Colombia. However, two of the countries with the largest defence budgets, Colombia and Mexico, remain faithful to US military arms, while other countries have “diversified suppliers.”

February 21, 2010

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British research institute focusing on international security, revealed that Russia in 2009 became the main exporter of weapons to Latin America thanks to the purchases made by Venezuela, but also to Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Colombia. However, two of the countries with the largest defence budgets, Colombia and Mexico, remain faithful to US military arms, while other countries have “diversified suppliers.”

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British research institute focusing on international security, revealed that Russia in 2009 became the main exporter of weapons to Latin America thanks to the purchases made by Venezuela, but also to Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Colombia. However, two of the countries with the largest defence budgets, Colombia and Mexico, remain faithful to US military arms, while other countries have “diversified suppliers.”

February 21, 2010

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British research institute focusing on international security, revealed that Russia in 2009 became the main exporter of weapons to Latin America thanks to the purchases made by Venezuela, but also to Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Colombia. However, two of the countries with the largest defence budgets, Colombia and Mexico, remain faithful to US military arms, while other countries have “diversified suppliers.”

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a British research institute focusing on international security, revealed that Russia in 2009 became the main exporter of weapons to Latin America thanks to the purchases made by Venezuela, but also to Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Colombia. However, two of the countries with the largest defence budgets, Colombia and Mexico, remain faithful to US military arms, while other countries have “diversified suppliers.”

February 12, 2010

Chile is a country where Catholicism is the majority faith; it was the belief system of the Spanish and Portuguese invaders who at one time or another dominated the lands of the indigenous peoples of South America. It is recorded historically that In the 1800’s two Muslims from an unidentified part of the Ottoman Empire settled in Chile. By the turn of the century, the number of Muslims had risen to nearly 1500, living mainly in the northern part of Chile.

Chile is a country where Catholicism is the majority faith; it was the belief system of the Spanish and Portuguese invaders who at one time or another dominated the lands of the indigenous peoples of South America. It is recorded historically that In the 1800’s two Muslims from an unidentified part of the Ottoman Empire settled in Chile. By the turn of the century, the number of Muslims had risen to nearly 1500, living mainly in the northern part of Chile.

December 1, 2009

On November 13, Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary, gave a speech outlining a possible immigration reform. And as Arian Campo-Flores writes in a post for Newsweek, pro-immigrant groups are ready to seize the moment. Better organized than they have ever been, immigration reformers have new allies (the National Association of Evangelicals, and Liberty University’s Matthew Staver, to cite two unlikely examples) and they continue to refined their message.

Health care and the economy have crowded out most other issues in DC in recent months, but immigration reform advocates are finally getting some breathing room. On November 13, Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary, gave a speech outlining a possible immigration reform. And as Arian Campo-Flores writes in a post for Newsweek, pro-immigrant groups are ready to seize the moment.