Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 109th Congress [Updated January 24, 2006]   [open pdf - 173KB]

"The Latin America and Caribbean region has made enormous strides over the past two decades in terms of political and economic development. While the region overall experienced an economic setback in 2002-2003, by the end of 2004, it had rebounded with an estimated growth rate of nearly 6% for the year, surpassing even the most optimistic predictions. Nevertheless, several nations face considerable challenges that could threaten political stability, including persistent poverty, violent guerrilla conflicts, autocratic leaders, drug trafficking, and increasing crime. Legislative and oversight attention to Latin America and the Caribbean in the 109th Congress has focused on continued counter-narcotics efforts, especially in the Andean region; trade issues, including consideration of several free trade agreements (FTAs); threats to democracy in such nations as Haiti and Venezuela; and efforts to foster political change in Cuba. Congress also has maintained an active interest in neighboring Mexico, focusing especially on border security and migration issues. Since 2000, the Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI) has been the primary U.S. program supporting the Colombian governments efforts to combat drug trafficking and terrorist activity perpetrated by guerrilla and paramilitary groups. The 109th Congress approved the Administrations request to continue ACI funding in FY2006 at approximately the same levels as in previous years."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32733
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