Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 109th Congress [Updated December 21, 2006] [open pdf - 244KB]
"Over the past two decades, the Latin America and Caribbean region has made enormous strides in terms of political and economic development. In 2006, elections for head of government were held in 12 countries in the region, including the close election in Mexico in July, the re-election of presidents in Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, and Venezuela, and the election of former heads of government in Costa Rica, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, and St. Lucia. Although the region overall experienced an economic setback in 2002-2003, it has rebounded since 2004. Nevertheless, several nations faced considerable challenges that threatened political stability, including persistent poverty, violent guerrilla conflicts, autocratic leaders, drug trafficking, increasing crime, and the rise of a new form of populism in several countries. Legislative and oversight attention to Latin America and the Caribbean in the 109th Congress focused on continued counternarcotics efforts; trade issues; challenges to democracy, especially in Venezuela; efforts to bring political stability and ameliorate poverty in Haiti; efforts to foster political change in Cuba; and cooperation on migration and border security, especially with Mexico. Since 2000, the Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI) has been the primary U.S. program supporting the Colombian government's efforts to combat drug trafficking and terrorist activity perpetrated by guerrilla and paramilitary groups."