AUTHOR

Greg Weeks

U.S. Influence in Honduras

As we all know, in 2009 the U.S. government did not want Manuel Zelaya to return to the presidency after he was overthrown, so effectively stalled until regularly scheduled presidential elections took place later in the year. Porfirio Lobo won those elections. His victory was spun as a boost both to democracy and to fighting corruption. We know the opposite to be true.

Now the New York Times has a long and disgustingly fascinating story about the U.S. government's efforts...

Sebastian Bitar's U.S. Military Bases, Quasi-Bases, and Domestic Politics in Latin America

I read Sebatian E. Bitar's US Military Bases, Quasi-Bases, and Domestic Politics in Latin America (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). It's a good read.

The core argument is that Latin American domestic politics is the key variable for understanding why the United States has pursued more quasi-bases that are secret and not well known. In a democratic era in Latin America, domestic opposition can use electoral or institutional means to block the approval of formal...

Trump's Response to Puerto Rico

Back in 1998, Lars Schoultz published Beneath the United States: A History of U.S. Policy Toward Latin America. The core argument is that policy making has been based on the belief in Latin American inferiority. That should inform how we understand Donald Trump's response to Puerto Rico. It is their fault.


This comes on the heels of his tweets about how Puerto Rico is a disaster to begin with and needs to pay the banks.


In short, Puerto Rican leaders and weak and incompetent. Only...

Umberto Eco's Travels in Hyperreality

Umberto Eco's Travels in Hyperreality was an impulsive used bookstore purchase. It consists of only loosely connected essays. The hyperreality one is good--he traveled around the United States to examine how we construct different realities. Sometimes they are copies of European originals and sometimes, like Disneyland and Disney World, we construct fake worlds that are intended to be artificial but actually better than reality. And he can be pretty funny....

Latin America Response to China

Simeon Tegel has a nice take on Latin America's relationship with China. That relationship is often portrayed as one-sided, where Latin America is becoming more dependent, China is spreading its influence, and the like. But it ignores how Latin American leaders are consciously forging their paths, picking and choosing, and avoiding too much entanglement.

But despite Beijing's best efforts – and the uncertainty about future relations with the U.S. as Trump seeks to renegotiate...

US-Cuba Relations Get Weirder

About a month ago I wrote about how weird the sonic attack issue was with Cuba. It has become weirder and not in a good way. Examples:


The Trump administration reportedly believes Cuba's insistence that it wasn't responsible, but is removing diplomats anyway.Cuba hardliners support this move, though it will make it harder for Cubans to emigrate.The Cuban government insists it does not know who is behind the attacks, yet has one of the most effective intelligence operations...

Venezuela Still Hearts Syria

Iran claims Venezuela is working with it and Syria to build a new oil refinery in...Syria. That will unshackle Venezuela from the economic war and allow revolutionaries to work together. Or some such, I imagine.

There is really nothing to do but chuckle. Venezuela lacks the resources to embark on such a venture. But more importantly, it should be rather obvious to everyone that Syria is in the midst of a brutal civil war, which makes any investment doomed. The article does a nice...

Cuban Doctors Fight Back

From the NYT: Cuban doctors are suing in Brazilian courts to allow them to work independently instead of just having the Cuban government take it all. Two things come to mind:

First, renting Cuban doctors without compensating them is reprehensible. This quote from the Brazilian health minister--in a conservative government!--is reprehensible:

“There is no injustice,” said Brazil’s health minister, Ricardo Barros. “When they signed up they agreed to the...

El Salvador in 2016

Mike Allison has an article in the recent issue of Revista de Ciencia Política (from Chile) summing up the challenges El Salvador faced in 2016 (the issue has that theme for the region with case studies). The Salvadoran case is not what you'd call positive:

El Salvador continues to struggle with elevated levels of criminal violence perpetrated by street gangs, drug trafficking organizations, members of the security forces, and other criminal groups. The Attorney General’s...

Travel Restrictions on Venezuelans

Donald Trump added Venezuela to the list of countries with travel restrictions. The wording is as follows:

The government in Venezuela is uncooperative in verifying whether its citizens pose national security or public-safety threats; fails to share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately; and has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. Accordingly,...
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