Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 110th Congress [January 23, 2007] [open pdf - 297KB]
"Over the past two decades, the Latin America and Caribbean region has made enormous strides in terms of political and economic development. Twelve countries held successful elections for head of government in 2006, including a close election in Mexico, and in 2007, five other countries have elections scheduled. Although the region overall experienced an economic setback in 2002-2003, it has rebounded since 2004, and most recently experienced an average growth rate over 5% in 2006. Despite this progress, several nations face considerable challenges that threaten political stability or pose challenges for U.S. interests and policy in the region. These include persistent poverty, violent guerrilla conflicts, autocratic leaders, drug trafficking, increasing crime, and the rise of a new form of populism in several countries. In the 110th Congress, legislative and oversight attention to Latin America and the Caribbean will likely focus on continued counternarcotics efforts, especially in the Andean region; potential immigration reform and increased border security, which have been key issues in relations with Mexico; efforts to deal with potential threats to democracy and the rise of populism in such nations as Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador; debate over the best means to foster political change in Communist Cuba; and trade issues, including the potential consideration of implementing legislation for free trade agreements (FTAs). Curbing the flow of illicit drugs from Mexico and South America into the United States has been a key component of U.S. relations with Latin America for almost two decades."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33828
United States. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers, Bureau of Public Affairs: http://www.fpc.state.gov/