In December of 2014, United States President Barack Obama made a monumental announcement that he planned to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba after the 50-year embargo. The embargo was to be kept in place, but steps were to be taken to loosen it. An embassy was to be built in Cuba to increase diplomatic ties. Measures were taken to increase financial freedoms between the two countries.
The State Department this month determined that Mexico had not made sufficient progress in working towards its human rights goals, consequently withholding fifteen percent—or $5 million—of its aid to security forces under the Mérida Initiative. In order to grant this portion of funding to the Mexican government, the State Department is required to submit a report to Congress outlining specific steps Mexico has taken to improve its human rights record.
Hurricane Patricia, a storm that formed off the western coast of Mexico, was the strongest recorded hurricane in history. Winds were recorded at 165 miles per hour while the storm was gaining strength at sea near the many resort towns on the western coast, such as Puerto Vallarta. Thanks to the the evacuations aided by the government, many people were spared from the storm when it touched down.
American foreign policy toward Latin America has had an overwhelmingly development based focus; building democratic institutions, promoting economic opportunity and encouraging social equity. With this strategy, American policymakers have hoped that both political and economic liberalization will lead to the submission of Latin American governments to the American interest. This has been proven false in an increasing number of occurrences, such as Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil.
Are poverty alleviation programs short-term solutions or do they provide vulnerable individuals with opportunities to escape long-run deprivation? This policy question has been an ongoing source of debate between economists.1 For instance, Jeffrey Sachs has defended these programs, claiming that aid generates incentives for the poor to lift themselves out of poverty. William Easterly disagrees, arguing that aid creates dependency and that policymakers should instead focus on promoting economic growth.