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In and About the Hemisphere …

Rule of law programs are one of the most critical components of reform in developing countries.  For anyone who thinks there is rule of law in Ecuador, take a look at this.  In 2004, Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady penned a good article on Ecuador and ROL that will give you a flavor of the many challenges U.S. companies are up against when doing business in these countries.  Which begs the question, why should the U.S. include Ecuador in an ATPDEA extension?  And it is not just ROL issues, think Iran and terrorism, among other things.

More on state sponsor of terror Iran and its antics in Latin America.

This week Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Knesset are hosting a Conference of Latin American Parliamentarians in Israel.  The group of folks from Latin America includes the president of the El Salvador Parliament and the chairs of foreign affairs committees from Chile, Mexico and Paraguay.

Bolivians plan to explore an old uranium mine.  Are the Iranians funding?  Maybe we should condition ATPDEA extension to these folks as well.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff warns of the growing threat from Hezbollah in the Western Hemisphere, specially Latin America.    On a related subject, Fox News reports on Bolivia potentially becoming a hotbed of Islamic religious extremism with groups in the region including the Asociacion Cultural Boliviana Musulmana, among others.

The U.S. pulls funding from Nicaragua, Venezuela fills the gap.

And if you thought the Peruvian terrorist group Sendero Luminoso was a thing of the past, the group seems to chiming in on regional events.  Most recently, it posted a solidarity manifesto supporting regional indigenous groups.

Finally, yesterday the State Department released the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report and several Latin American nations claiming to be paragons of freedom and democracy received honorable mentions: Bolivia (Tier II), Cuba (Tier III),  Ecuador (Tier II), Nicaragua (Tier II), and Venezuela (Tier II). Seems like the Bolivarian Axis nations are keeping up with its usual behaviors, contributing to regional instability and lawlessness.   Other countries from the Western Hemisphere were also listed.

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