Networked Notes - 30 Aug 2016


The FARC leadership expressed sincere gratitude to Venezuela’s government for the success of recent peace negotiations. In reality, it is Venezuela’s government which should be thanking the FARC. The extended peace negotiations are a critical reason why Colombia specifically, and Latin America in general, has been reluctant to more forcefully denounce abuses of human rights and democratic values in Venezuela.

Networked Notes - 14 June 2016

Venezuela’s government has ended its two day workweek, a sign the electricity crisis is easing. Public sector employees will now return to work for half days on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of every week. Government officials declared victory. The extreme measures taken prevented Venezuela’s electricity grid from completely collapsing. However, that is a low bar for success.

Networked Notes - 31 May 2016

Outside of a very small group of governments including El Salvador, nearly the entire hemisphere has decided to ignore Brazil’s change of government, some eagerly and others reluctantly, the administration of Michel Temer in Brazil. While certain media, including Venezuelan-backed Telesur, have tried to portray the Temer administration as a U.S. plot, in reality, most of the hemisphere is de-facto accepting the interim president.

#PanamaProjects: Two Views on Progress after Panama Papers

On 5 May 2015, Vice President and Foreign Relations Minister Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC. In her remarks, Saint Malo emphasized two major themes: human development and transparency.

While she candidly acknowledged Panama’s history as an opaque and often corrupt steward of financial resources, she highlighted President Juan Carlos Varela’s determination to move quickly and decisively in a new direction. Regarding the so-called ‘Panama Papers,’ Saint Malo noted the publications referred to banks operating in 21 jurisdictions, none in Panama. She added that of the offshores revealed in the leak so far, 20 percent were registered in Panama, but 80 percent were registered elsewhere.

Corruption Continues to Plague Honduran Government

In September, Insight Crime reported Honduras is now “one of the most corrupt and mistrusted [countries] in Latin America.” Transparency International’s latest corruption perception index gives Honduras a score of 29, coming in at 126th place. In fact, corruption has so profoundly dominated the current administration that any report on the current political situation in Honduras is really just an analysis of corruption within the government and the public’s resulting distrust. 

An outlook on Chile’s disappointing reforms and corruption scandals in 2015, and what to expect in 2016

2015 was not a good year for President Michelle Bachelet. Though she began her first term as president with an 84 percent approval rating, her rating slipped to 24 percent as of December 2015. In 2015 alone, the president saw a 20 point drop. As Bachelet seeks to turn things around, she will likely target two key issues of great concern to the country in the previous year: the administration’s failure to follow through with its promises of ambitious reform and the government’s struggle in dealing with corruption.