WRH Volume 37 Issue 1

The Latest Washington Report on the Hemisphere is out:

In the latest issue, you will find the following analyses:

Research Articles

1. “Personalist Populist and the Anti-establishment” by Kate Terán

For many Americans, Bolivia is a small, relatively unknown, even obscure country in the center of Latin America. Any relation that is to be found between a small indigenous peasant farmer in Bolivia’s highlands and the average working class American may seem farfetched. However, given President Evo Morales’ success in maintaining elaborately high approval rating in recent years and Republican front runner, Donald Trump’s astonishing success in the United States elections, the similarities between these two political personalities may be far less surprising than one might imagine. The indigenous peasant leader and the American both attract groups of people who feel underrepresented in the political spectrum of their culture and base their successful campaigns on giving the aforementioned groups a voice that was previously perceived as lacking. Here we intend to use social identity theory to directly explore the link between the success of Republican President, Donald Trump and Bolivian president Evo Morales.

Country Briefs

1. Brazil – New Year’s Prison Massacre Initiates Pattern of Violence” by Mitch Rogers

On the night of December 31, violence broke out in the Anísio Jobim Prison Complex (Compaj) in Manaus, Amazonas, between the Manaus-based gang Família do Norte (North Family, FDN) and the São Paulo-based gang Primeiro Comando da Capital (Capital’s First Command, PCC). The violence lasted for 17 hours, resulting in the death (mostly by decapitation and burning) of 56 inmates. It is believed that FDN leaders in the prison orchestrated the attack against their PCC rivals. The lack of adequate staffing to secure the overpopulated prison facility allowed for FDN gang leaders to plan and execute this attack on PCC inmates.

2. Cuba – Castro and Obama: One Last Dance by Kate Terán

On January 12, President Obama announced the end of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Wet foot, Dry foot” policy and the Cuban Medical Professionals Parole program, effectively ending Cuba’s ability to circumvent traditional US entry requirements. The U.S. decision to end this 1995 Clinton era policy was largely bipartisan. However, it had its critics: Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) stated that immigration reform was needed, although he emphasized the imperative need to “ensure that Cubans who arrive here to escape political persecution are not summarily returned to the regime” (Politico). Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat known to favor the reconciliation with Cuba relation stated, “This is a welcome step in reforming an illogical and discriminatory policy that contrasted starkly with the treatment of deserving refugees from other countries” (Washington Post).

3. Mexico – ¡Gasolinazo! Mexicans Struck by Higher Gasoline Prices to Start the New Year by Jordan Bazak

After a long night celebrating Nochevieja, Mexicans awoke January 1 to a horrid New Year’s surprise. On the first day of 2017, gasoline prices rose 10 to 20 percent, a serious blow to a country already suffering from a devalued currency and a worsening economy. The unexpected hike spurred nationwide outrage. Road-blocking demonstrations and gas station lootings resulted in 1,500 arrests, hundreds of store closures, and tragically, half a dozen deaths.

4.  El Salvador – An important day in El Salvador’s fight against crime by Erika Quinteros

In the days following January 11, several of the most prestigious mewspapers in the world ran headlines proclaiming: “El Salvador: No murders reported for 24 hours,” “A rare murder-free day recorded in El Salvador,” “A Remarkable Event in El Salvador: A Day Without Murder.” The news made global headlines because the small Central America country has not had a full day without a homicide in nearly two years. El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the hemisphere, with 71.57 killed per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the latest statistic of this year.

5. Brazil – After Plea Bargain, Brazil’s Odebrecht Giant Pays Up by Mitch Rogers

On December 21, 2016, Odebrecht S.A., an international construction giant based in Brazil, pleaded guilty before the U.S. Department of Justice and agreed to pay at least $3.5 billion USD in penalties. As recompense for the $788 million USD that Odebrecht had paid out in bribes since 2001, it is the largest penalty that a guilty party has ever paid for international graft. In March 2016, the former executive of Odebrecht, Marcelo Odebrecht, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for his involvement in the infamous Petrobras scandal, which involved massive corruption in the Brazilian state-run petroleum company.

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