Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 109th Congress [December 21, 2006] [open pdf - 241KB]
"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. […] With regard to democracy, Congress provided continued support to Haiti, the hemisphere's poorest nation, under the new government of Rene Preval. Venezuela remained a congressional concern because of fears that President Hugo Chávez has been using his political power to push toward authoritarian rule. With regard to U.S. policy toward Cuba, Congress continued to debate whether loosening or tightening the U.S. embargo would encourage political change. This report provides an overview of U.S. relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, focusing on the role of Congress and congressional concerns in the 109th Congress. It reflects final actions of the 109th Congress and will not be updated. For further information, see the CRS [Congressional Research Service] products listed after each topic."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32733