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Haiti’s Martelly names an interim PM

On 21 December Haiti’s President Michel Martelly named his health minister, Florence Duperval Guillaume, as interim prime minister.

Obama sets bold new course on Cuba

Barack Obama has made history – and cast his legacy – by becoming the first US President to make a decisive move to end the last Cold War anachronism in the Americas. On 17 December President Obama used his executive powers to decree a major change in US-Cuba policy, paving the way for the restoration of diplomatic relations after 53 years. “These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked,” Obama said. “It’s time for a new approach.”

Peru presides over climate change deal

Officially, the 12-day United Nations climate change conference (known as Conference of the Parties 20 or COP20) held in Lima and chaired by the Peruvian government was a success: it was extended for a further two days to break a deadlock and finally concluded in the early hours of 14 December with the approval of a document that sought to balance the many, often conflicting views of the participants on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While the global debate will continue, it is becoming clear that climate change issues are of growing importance in Latin America.

DEA says most drugs in the US come from or through Mexico

Even as patterns of use and production change, Mexico continues to be the main source or conduit for the drugs imported by the US. Mexican methamphetamine has become the main drug threat identified by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), ahead of all others save the controlled prescription drugs (CPDs), which are seen as a stepping stone towards heroin use — and Mexico is the hemisphere’s biggest producer of heroin. It is also the source of most of the marijuana. And most of the cocaine that flows into the US passes through Mexico.

From Bolívar to Damocles – a Greek tragedy for Maduro?

It is exactly two years since Venezuela’s seriously ill president, Hugo Chávez, anointed his-then foreign minister and vice president Nicolás Maduro as his preferred successor, with the words, “Nicolas, here is the sword of Bolívar”. Chávez shortly thereafter departed for Cuba for another operation for recurrent cancer; he never walked the streets of Caracas again. Twenty-four months later, it is not too much of an exaggeration to say that the sword of Damocles seems to be hanging over Maduro, as he struggles to preserve the Socialist legacy entrusted to him by his mentor.

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