Latin America & Caribbean

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Semper Fidel

by William Ratliffvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, October 30, 2001

At 75, Fidel Castro has survived 10 American presidents, a 40-year American economic embargo, the collapse of communism, the loss of his principal benefactor, and the utter ruination of his country. Hoover fellow William Ratliff on a man too mean to die.

Can El Presidente Pull It Off?

by Stephen Habervia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 30, 2001

When Vicente Fox was elected president of Mexico a year ago, expectations ran high. Those expectations have turned out to be far more difficult to meet than either Fox or Mexican voters imagined. By Hoover fellow Stephen Haber.

War and Lack of Governance in Colombia: Narcos, Guerrillas, and U.S. Policy

by Edgardo Buscaglia, William Ratliffvia Analysis
Sunday, July 1, 2001

This essay is based on academic and field research conducted by both authors between 1994 and 2001 in Colombia and the United States. For more references, see Buscaglia, “Law and Economics of Development” in The Encyclopedia of Law and Economics (Cheltenham: Eduard Elgar, 2000).

Colombia today is crippled by its most serious political, economic, social, and moral crisis in a century, a condition that seriously threatens both Latin America and the national interests of the United States in the region.

Stalemate in the Drug War

by William Ratliffvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 30, 2001

Under Plan Colombia, the United States will provide the government of Colombia with nearly $1 billion to use in fighting the drug trade. Yet if the war on drugs has already proven a dismal failure here at home, why should we expect it to succeed anywhere else? Hoover fellow William Ratliff reports from Bogotá.

Before the Fall

by Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni, Barry R. Weingastvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Despite being corrupt and unpopular, Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) managed to hold onto power for seven decades before opposition candidate Vicente Fox won the presidency last July. How did the PRI manage this feat? Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni, and Barry R. Weingast explain.

What the Democratization of Mexico Means for All the World

by Larry Diamondvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 30, 2000

The year 2000 has been a global waterloo for one-party regimes, with historic electoral victories for opposition parties in Mexico, Taiwan, and Senegal. Hoover fellow Larry Diamond on a promising trend.

Analysis and Commentary

Making Sense of the Mexican Elections

by Stephen Habervia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, August 7, 2000

The PRI finally lost power in the 1990s because of three fundamental changes in Mexico.

End the Embargo Now

by William Ratliff, Roger Fontainevia Hoover Digest
Sunday, July 30, 2000

Who is the biggest beneficiary of the U.S. embargo against Cuba? Hint: His first name is Fidel. Hoover fellow William Ratliff and Roger Fontaine explain why the time has come to bring the embargo to an end.

A Strategic Flip-Flop in the Caribbean

by William Ratliffvia Analysis
Wednesday, March 1, 2000

For almost three decades the U.S. embargo of Cuba was part of America's cold war strategy against the Soviet bloc. It should have been lifted after that ‘‘war’’ ended since Castro ceased to threaten the United States and its neighbors and adopted the standard rules of international behavior. But inertia, a powerful Cuban American lobby, and misguided politicians set new demands: democracy, improved human rights, and economic reform. When Castro demurred we tightened the sanctions in 1992 and again in 1996 with the Helms-Burton Law. The United States has never committed the resources necessary to overthrow Castro, however, and the pressures we have applied have utterly failed to advance the three objectives. Worse yet, in the post–cold war world the policy and political outlook that sustain it have become a strategic liability. They promote conflict, both within Cuba—where a crisis might draw in the U.S. military—and abroad, as occurred in 1999–2000 after the arrival in Florida of the rafter boy, Elián González. They allow pressure groups to stand in the way of the policy-making process of the U.S. government. For example, the lobby manipulated wishy-washy politicians in 1998–1999 and got the president to turn down a widely supported proposal for a bipartisan commission to conduct the first comprehensive evaluation of the policy in four decades. Finally, the imperialistic Helms-Burton Law alienates allies worldwide and will poison relations between the United States and Cuba for decades to come. Castro will benefit no matter what we do, but on balance he gains more if we maintain the sanctions because they provide a scapegoat for his own repression and economic failures even as they enable him to maintain his cherished global image as the ‘‘scourge of U.S. imperialism.’’ Castro can wage a worldwide campaign against the embargo to bolster his image knowing Washington is too inflexible to change it. Indeed, whenever Washington has lightened up, Castro has tightened up and effectively prevented further improvement. Lifting sanctions need not mean establishing friendly relations with Castro—which he would reject in any event—or supporting his efforts to get international aid without meeting standard requirements. The ultimate responsibility for maintaining this antiquated and potentially dangerous policy falls on politicians who either do not understand the need for, or for political reasons are afraid to support, a new policy to benefit both Americans and Cubans in the post–cold war world.

Neglecting Latin America

by Timothy Charles Brownvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, January 30, 2000

Latin America matters more and more to our own interests. So why does our government all but ignore it? By Hoover fellow Timothy Charles Brown.

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