WRH Volume 37 Issue 6

The Latest Washington Report on the Hemisphere is out:

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


1. Is Statehood the Saving Grace Puerto Rico Needs? by Kayla Whitlock

On January 2, Puerto Rico’s bid for statehood began again with the swearing in of its twelfth governor, Dr. Ricardo Rosselló. Rosselló and Resident Commissioner Jennifer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s nonvoting representative in the U.S. Congress, are both members of the New Progressive Party (NPP) and strong advocates for statehood for the U.S. territory. Since his campaign last year, Rosselló has stood firmly on this platform, declaring that “The United States cannot pretend to be a model of democracy for the world while it discriminates against 3.5 million of its citizens in Puerto Rico, depriving them of their right to political, social, and economic equality under the U.S. flag.”

2. Puerto Rico’s Ongoing Battle Against Zika: A Plea for Washington’s Attention by Taylor Lewis and Walter Shaw

Throughout history, the transmission of dangerous viruses has sparked enormous concern and demanded careful government intervention. Most recently, the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus has made its impact on the world, originating in Africa and spreading west, slowly making its entrance into the Americas. On December 31, 2015, the Zika virus was first reported in the United States’ Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,   marking the commencement of a dangerous epoch for the island, in which Washington, its critics would insist, has continued to insufficiently address the great threat that Zika poses to the region. While basic preventative and treatment-based measures have been taken in the interim period, as well as the allocation of federal funds to address the epidemic, there still is a great need for the United States government to take advanced measures and to treat Puerto Rico’s epidemic with increased intentionality and concern.

3. Indigenous Nicaragua’s Fight for Survival by Kate Terán

Central America is a geographically diverse landmass that lies directly atop the “Middle America trench.” Because of its precarious location, the region is known for its vast and intricate topography, which, in turn, has a direct impact on the passage of communication throughout the region. To consider the delicate nature of this passage of communication, Nicaragua provides a particularly compelling case. When thinking about the country, many consider its mestizo population, but few outsiders are aware of its vibrant afro-indigenous Atlantic Coast. In Nicaragua, the topography of the country has led to a distinct isolation between the capital city of Managua in the West and the primarily indigenous and Afro-Nicaraguans in the East. Such extreme geographical barriers lead to an inevitable disconnect between the government and the governed. One of the consequences of this disconnect is the death and deterioration of indigenous languages and cultures. Since the early conquest and colonization of the New World, hundreds of languages have disappeared throughout Latin America, and this loss continues to threaten the continuation of the region’s indigenous roots. Ultimately, one cannot offer potential solutions to this regional issue without recognizing the driving factors of the problem: namely, internal migration, lack of awareness and an absence of government support for their cause. Unless action is taken immediately, several indigenous Nicaraguan languages could be lost within the next several years.

Country Briefs

1. Peru– Peru Floods Bring Misfortune and Calls for Reform by Taylor Lewis

On  Friday, March  17, Peruvian  President  Pedro Pablo Kuczynski addressed his country after what was recognized as the most destructive flooding the region had seen in nearly 20 years. “We are confronting a serious climatic problem”, Kuczynski said. “There hasn’t been an incident of this strength along the coast of Peru since 1998.” The flooding, a result of relentless rainstorms brought on by extreme El Niño weather patterns, has left Peru’s urban and rural communities in shambles. In recognizing this fact, Kuczynski went on to sympathetically reassure his citizens: “We know it is a difficult situation, but we are controlling it, and we are hopeful that it will soon pass.”

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