Today, I found an interesting article (the link is below) about US aid to Colombia to fight poverty. This reminded me of my Latin American Studies class on Monday on the Narcotics trade between South America and the United States. One thing that the retired Army Colonel who guest lectured pointed out was that Colombia is the only country currently (in the Colombia/Peru/Bolivia group where the most Coca/Cocaine is produced) that has allowed US forced to enter the country and work to eradicate the growth of Coca. President Evo Morales of Bolivia has aligned with President Chavez of Venezuela in the sense that he is against US intervention. Because of this, Bolivian production of coca has increased since the 1980s/1990s when US policy called for direct intervention in Bolivia.
This relates to the article on poverty because one argument of Morales and others who support the continued growth of coca is that it is used in traditional ways (such as coca tea or being chewed) by the campesinos and that it is an affordable and worthwhile crop for them to grow.
The US, along with the UK and France, are known for having supported economic sanctions against Iran. While this is an issue I’ve discussed before (in Model UN and in a global context), I never thought that I’d really read about it with regards to Latin America. I mean, I understand the close ties between Presidents Ahmadenijad and Chavez, but according to the Washington Post, Brazil is opposed to the prospect of new sanctions on Iran. The article states that “Brazil has increased its political and economic ties to Iran in the past year while criticizing efforts to impose sanctions over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.” I find this very interesting and it is an issue I will keep a close watch on!