Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 110th Congress [Updated June 22, 2007] [open pdf - 312KB]
"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. To date in 2007, the Bahamas held elections in May, while presidential elections are scheduled in Guatemala (September) and Argentina (October), and parliamentary elections are due by October in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Although the region overall experienced an economic setback in 2002-2003, it has rebounded since 2004, most recently experiencing a growth rate over 5% in 2006. Despite this progress, several nations face considerable challenges that affect 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 is focusing on continued counternarcotics efforts, especially in the Andean region; immigration reform and increased border security, which have been key issues in relations with Mexico; efforts to deal with 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; trade issues, including the potential consideration of implementing legislation for free trade agreements (FTAs); and continued efforts to support stability and poverty alleviation in Haiti."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33828
United States. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers, Bureau of Public Affairs: http://www.fpc.state.gov/