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  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Struggle over the Referendum On September 25, the new National Electoral Commission (CNE) issued the regulations that will govern referenda for the recall of elected officials. These long-awaited norms will make it possible for a popular vote to be held on President Chávez's stewardship in office by early March (157 days from the time the opposition submits a request to the commission, as it now has done). The commission's decision—not really welcomed by the president—changes Venezuela's political landscape. Although the outcome of the campaign for a referendum remains in doubt, this action gives encouragement to the alliance of the opposition parties seeking the president's removal. Chávez will now have to consider how to adjust his own strategy to deal with this new situation.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Diaz
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: At the invitation of the White House, Argentina's newly elected president, Nestor Kirchner, will be paying a visit to President George W. Bush this Wednesday, July 23. This is the latest and most notable signal from Washington of an interest in engaging and working with the new government in Buenos Aires. The hope in Foggy Bottom is that this outreach can translate into the kind of constructive and comprehensive relationship that President Bush has established with Brazil's new president, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, Kirchner's regional partner. Whether Kirchner has the savvy to exploit the gesture to set a tone for the bilateral relationship and establish the general parameters of a mutually rewarding policy agenda will be evident soon enough.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In a solemn ceremony in Caracas, presided over by César Gavíria, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Chávez administration and the Coordinadora Democrática signed a pre-referendum accord. In his remarks, Gavíria characterized the document as an important political step. The result of several weeks of quiet diplomacy, the agreement bridges the differences that had developed over an earlier April 21 draft. The most important provision of the document is paragraph 12, which envisages the possible invocation of article 72 of the constitution—a recall referendum—if the National Electoral Commission (CNE) decides that the conditions for such a referendum have been met.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Diaz, Carlos M. Regúnaga
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Argentina's national mania to experiment with new rules, procedures, and institutions never ceases to produce surprising, and sometimes stunning results. This time, the electoral process has been managed in such a bizarre way that as a result, the primary election of the Peronist Party will take place after the general election rather than before, as one would expect in a normal, more boring country.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Carlos M. Regúnaga
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Voter turnout for the April 27 elections was among the highest in record: about 80 percent of the total population eighteen years old and older. The number of empty ballot envelopes was less than 1 percent, and votes annulled were within the normal margins in any election. All of this indicates that the protest vote (“voto bronca”), which was so high in the 2001 congressional elections, was not a factor in this election. The large number of candidates—and the exceptionally high number of candidates with the possibility of reaching the second round presidency on May 18 in particular—may have convinced electors to cast positive votes.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Luis Pinto
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Since Augusto Pinochet stepped down as president in 1989, Chile has been one of the most politically, socially, and economically successful countries in the region. The country has been able to move forward because of its aggressive promotion of exports, strength of its institutions, and the trust it has built with the international community. Recently however, Chile has found itself opposing the United States, a long time champion and supporter; it was also embroiled in several domestic corruption scandals. Chile has turned to the strength of its institutions and its international credibility to get back on track.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Latin America, Chile
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: During the period under review, public discussion in Venezuela was dominated by: the prospective referendum to recall the president; the release of the defendants that fired weapons at the demostration last April 11 by an appeals court; a growing debate in the country over the lack of accomplishments (growth, infrastructure, crime and poverty) by the Chavez administration; and the festivities observing the anniversary of Chávez ́s return to office last April, which brought to Caracas prominent international figures of the radical left. The opposition now recognizes that there may be indeed a referendum -- or a general election -- and thus it will be difficult to try to defeat the president. The government, increasingly confident that it can beat the opposition, appears to be moving ahead with preparations for a recall referendum for all elected officials.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Venezuela
  • Author: Carlos M. Regúnaga
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Observers unfamiliar with Argentine history may see in the present campaign a lack of real confrontation and choice of ideas. And they may be misled in that direction by the fact that candidates have devoted great time and effort to expose flaws in their opponents' character and background and very little to explain platforms and proposals. One should not be deceived, however, by appearances. The ideological spectrum represented by the five candidates is much wider than has been seen in any U.S. election in recent history. That statement needs, however, some historical perspective.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: William Perry
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: 100 days have now passed since Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva donned Brazil's presidential sash on January 1, 2003. Perhaps use of this traditional U.S. benchmark, even for preliminary judgments, is a bit unfair, as the Brazilian political calendar with Carnival holidays off, precludes Congress from really beginning to function until early March. Nevertheless, the past three months have been instructive in terms of gauging the problems and prospects of the new Workers' Party (PT) government.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Phillip McLean
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Once again events elsewhere have driven news of Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America off the front pages— even from newspapers in the region. Lack of attention may be the least of those countries' concerns about the war. The more serious consequence is likely to be that the war will accentuate the hemisphere's already evident problems. To the degree that the war slows the growth of world trade, the region's near-term economic prospects will suffer, and global uncertainties will dim the promise of more open and dynamic markets.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Canada, South America, Latin America, Central America, Caribbean, North America