Colombia’s Santos announces ministerial changes

On 31 July Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos announced the first two changes to his ministerial cabinet ahead of the start of his second four-year term in office on 7 August.

Obama gets Central American leaders to OK repatriation agenda

US President Barack Obama got the presidents of Central America’s ‘Northern Triangle’ — Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador, Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala and Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras — to sign up to his agenda for dealing with the surge of unaccompanied minors entering the US over the past couple of years. He did not offer much in return, mainly because he does not know how much emergency funding the US Congress will approve, and to what extent he can go ahead on the strength of executive orders without paying a high political price.

BRAZIL: After football and politics – the economy

Brazilian growth has disappointed this year. Many economists argue that the country needs new and more dynamic ‘pro-growth’ policies. But the country has been distracted; first by the Fifa World Cup, and second by the long presidential election campaign, which most likely will stretch to two rounds, with a run-off in late October. The result is that major new policy announcements are not likely until early 2015.

Rio police bring charges against planners of Word Cup violence

When on the eve of the World Cup final the police in Rio de Janeiro arrested 28 people on charges of conspiring to commit acts of violence, there was instant uproar among rights advocacy groups and social organisations. The police were accused of acting without any solid evidence with the sole purpose of repressing social protests. Just over a week after the event, when the media gained access to the report on the police investigation, the picture had changed dramatically: either there was fabrication of evidence on a grand scale, or there had indeed been a substantial organised attempt to disrupt the event with violence.

US summit inconclusive over migrant children crisis

On 25 July US President Barack Obama and his opposite numbers from Central America’s ‘Northern Triangle’ countries – Guatemala’s Otto Pérez Molina, Honduras’s Juan Orlando Hernández and El Salvador’s Salvador Sánchez Cerén – met in Washington D.C. to discuss the crisis caused by the large number of mostly Central American migrant children that have been trying to illegally enter the US. The issue first made international headlines in June [RC-14-06]. Expectations for the meeting had been raised by the unprecedented level of media coverage surrounding the issue in all the affected countries (which also include Mexico as a point of passage of the children) and by a unanimous resolution voted on 23 July by the permanent council of the Organisation of American States (OAS), which appeared to point to a US-Central American common stance on the crisis. However, the talks failed to produce a concrete cooperation strategy – another clear sign of how opinions and expectations about the crisis remain divided.

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