Enrique Pena Nieto, a front-runner in the Mexican presidential race, is in the PRI, which is known for allowing drug cartels power. U.S. policy-makers are concerned for what may happen with the drug war if he wins the election.
Rousseff Offers Closer Economic Ties, Reflecting Nation's Bid for Greater Regional Leadership; Human Rights Remain Issue
"Lopez was running far behind in the polls, and the Supreme Court's defiance of the decision by the Inter-American Court left a big cloud of uncertainty over Lopez's future, even if he were to come out ahead," said Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin America program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. "Capriles has been the front-runner for some time, so the endorsement will continue to bolster his campaign."
"FARC has been under unrelenting military pressure for over a decade," said Cynthia Arnson, the director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. "But FARC is still an enormously wealthy insurgent organization because of revenues from the drug trade. It still retains a capacity to commit acts of violence and harm people."
Latin American Program on the News: After 20 years of peace, Salvadorans in D.C. still worry about their homelandJan 23, 2012
Cynthia J. Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, said Salvadoran expatriates play a critical role by sending remittances home, but that is not enough. El Salvador needs people to help build the economy and provide education and job opportunities to keep people out of gangs, she said. “As important as the remittances are to subsidize consumption, [it] is not the same as creating productive capacity, and there is a huge role for the Salvadoran community living in the United States and other countries to contribute to their homeland by creating economic opportunity,” Arnson said. “It is a vicious cycle and, unless people who are in a position to provide capital for the economic growth and job creation [also provide help], it is very hard to see how the country will ever break this cycle.”
Many in the U.S. are taking a wait-and-see approach to Perez given his military background. President Barack Obama took two weeks to congratulate Perez on his November election victory, something some read as a chilly sign. "They want to sort of say, look, we're prepared to cooperate, but it depends on who is in the government, what priorities they have," said Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin America program at the Wilson Center in Washington. "It doesn't come with a free ride."
Violence in Mexico continues to increase and spread as the drug war in Mexico continues.
Cynthia Arnson was interviewed by Juan Forero for NPR on the recent visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Latin America and his interest in the region.
Mexico Institute in the News: Mexico Updates Death Toll in Drug War to 47,515, but Critics Dispute the DataJan 11, 2012
The Mexican government released high death toll for drug war. The accuracy of these numbers is questioned.
Mexico Institute in the News: With Stake in Stability, Businesses in Mexico Help City Shaken by ViolenceJan 11, 2012
Three Mexico Institute Board Members were featured in a New York Times story highlighting the commitment of the business community in Monterrey, Mexico to help recruit vetted police forces, build confidence in state law enforcement institutions, and ensure stability and safety in Mexico’s industrial capital.