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GuidanceMar 27, 2020 | 17:03 GMT
Wearing a protective mask, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro takes to questions regarding the country's coronavirus outbreak during a press conference at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on March 18, 2020.
In Brazil, Bolsonaro's COVID-19 Rift With Congress Will Stall Tax Reforms
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has continued to claim that concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic are overblown. This controversial position has intensified an already bitter rift with Brazilian lawmakers regarding Bolsanoro's perceived disrespect for democratic norms, consuming the time needed to enact key tax reforms before October’s municipal elections.
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Contributor PerspectivesOct 23, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
A policeman fires into a building during a protest over the killing of a bystander in Rio de Janeiro during August 2019.
Responding to Gangs in Brazil's Two Largest Cities
Urban gangs are a fixture of Brazil's prisons and favelas (slums). And the operations of such criminal groups in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are illustrative of their competition among themselves and with the state. Two major organizations -- First Capital Command and Red Command -- dominate this hyperviolent contest for control. The core of their power lies in the connections between prison gangs and street gangs. From prison, these groups consolidate control over criminal enterprises, shape strategies, ruthlessly attack competitors and exert internal discipline over their members. The conflicts often reach the streets. Building a state response will require careful analysis and will need to start with intelligence-led policing.​​​​​​​
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On SecurityOct 1, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Favio Gomez, brother of Servando Gomez, also known as "La Tuta," is transported in Mexico City on Feb. 27, 2015, after his capture.
The Case for a Counterinsurgency Approach to Mexico's Cartel Wars
Clearly, the Mexican government can't capture or kill its way out of its cartel problem. Instead, the road to solving the country's profound problems might lie along a different, more holistic, tack: a counterinsurgency model. Thinking of the cartels as criminal insurgents provides a valid blueprint for understanding the problem -- as well as a road map for addressing it.
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AssessmentsSep 9, 2019 | 15:54 GMT
Police officers patrol Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, during April 2018.
In Mexico, Violence Flares Up Again in the Border City of Nuevo Laredo
Violence between the Cartel del Noreste (CDN) and state police has been surging in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas state over the past two weeks. The incidents began Aug. 22, when officers with the Center for Analysis, Information and Studies of Tamaulipas (CAIET) erected a pop-up checkpoint just outside Nuevo Laredo on Federal Highway 2, which leads to Piedras Negras up the Rio Grande in Coahuila state. A convoy of heavily armed CDN gunmen with the cartel's "Tropa del Infierno" (Spanish for "Soldiers of Hell") enforcer unit attacked the checkpoint and wounded two police officers. They attacked the officers again as they took their wounded to the hospital, injuring a third officer. The fighting means those with interests in the city should be even more wary than usual.
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Contributor PerspectivesNov 19, 2018 | 17:27 GMT
This photo shows the rugged territory in the Chisos Mountains typical of the landscape in the Big Bend region along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Cultural Stew of Rodeo in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands
My family owns a ranchito in the beautiful Davis Mountains of far West Texas. It is my favorite spot on earth. A recent episode of Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" series on CNN featured Texas' Big Bend region where the Davis Mountains are located. The residents he interviewed, much like myself, cherish both the rugged beauty of the land as well as its rich mixture of Anglo and Mexican cultural traditions. And they universally opposed the push to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border through the sparsely populated region.
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AssessmentsNov 12, 2018 | 11:00 GMT
New Peugeot and Citroen cars await shipment on the pier in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in February 2017.
Latin America's Auto Giants Strive to Secure Markets
When it comes to Latin American automotive production, two giants dominate the scene: Mexico and Brazil. Together, they produced 6.8 million light and commercial vehicles last year, representing around 7 percent of the globe's total output. The two countries are also heavily integrated into global automotive supply chains, as Mexico's auto sector is closely linked to the United States, while Brazil's auto sector has tight connections to Argentina. Historically, however, the Mexican and Brazilian automotive industries developed in vastly different geopolitical environments. Mexico is an export-oriented powerhouse, shipping nearly 70 percent of its finished vehicle production to the United States. Brazil, on the other hand, mainly focuses on supplying its huge domestic market. And thanks to the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the future of Mexico's automotive market clearly lies in the same place as its recent past: the U.S. domestic market. Brazil, by contrast, will take steps to eliminate the
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AssessmentsOct 25, 2018 | 06:00 GMT
Central American migrants near Huixtla in the Mexican state of Chiapas head toward the United States more than 1,000 miles away on Oct. 24.
Why the Central American Migrant Caravan Matters
An estimated 7,000 Central American migrants making their way through Mexico toward the United States have become a prominent headline in the daily news cycle. The Central Americans intend to request asylum when they finally reach the U.S. border with Mexico, most likely in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. In response, U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to cut assistance to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, the three countries where most of the migrants come from. With U.S. midterm congressional elections less than two weeks away, it's no surprise that Trump, who made securing the U.S.-Mexico border a central part of his administration, has seized on the migrant caravan to rally his political base. But the caravan's significance stretches beyond Trump's desire to shore up electoral support or his administration's attempts to reduce illegal immigration.
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AssessmentsOct 3, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
A Workers' Party supporter holds a mask with the face of Brazilian presidential candidate Fernando Haddad on it during a campaign rally in Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, on Sept. 21 ahead of the Oct. 7 national election.
Brazil's Presidential Candidates Duel in an Election Like No Other
Brazilians will head to the polls on Oct. 7 for an election that hasn't been this open since the country's return to democracy in 1989. Polling suggests the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro will advance to a second round to face leftist candidate Fernando Haddad. Victory in the elections, however, is likely to bring the winner more challenges than relief, as Brazil's divided Congress may not only stall the next president's vision for the country, it may even endanger his or her seat.
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AssessmentsSep 28, 2018 | 10:00 GMT
Rows of solar panels are seen at a Tekno Ray Solar farm on Sept. 13, 2018, in Konya, Turkey.
Why More Global Corporations Are Betting on Renewables
Facebook recently heralded that it will source 100 percent of its electricity consumption from renewables by 2020, representing the latest direct renewables purchase by a major global corporation. The social media site joins Apple and Google, which already power all their operations using renewable electricity. But while Silicon Valley's giants are clearly among the leaders in embracing green electricity, other industrial and commercial segments are not far behind. The materials segment, including metals, is the largest consumer of directly sourced renewable electricity. For instance, metals giant Alcoa sources 75 percent of the energy required for its smelters from renewables, while mining giant Rio Tinto acquires just under half of its energy from such sources. In telecommunications, AT&T and T-Mobile are pursuing aggressive renewables plans, and there are others on the cutting edge in retail, including Wal-Mart, Ikea, Nike and Starbucks. Volkswagen, in turn, leads the way for renewables in manufacturing
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AssessmentsAug 23, 2018 | 10:00 GMT
Specialists monitor dials in the control room of the Angra 1 nuclear plant in Angra dos Reis in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state on April 12, 2011.
Brazil Considers the Nuclear Option
For four years, a corruption scandal has kept Brazil down for the count on some of its biggest projects, including a third nuclear energy plant. Now, however, things appear set to change as the country emerges from the corruption probe and stalled construction work resumes on nuclear facilities -- particularly the third nuclear plant. Boasting the world's sixth-largest uranium reserves, Brazil is also eager to attract investments to its uranium-mining industry. In all, Brazil hopes to meet the demand for nuclear plants, construct a multipurpose nuclear reactor and further harness atomic energy for medicine and agriculture. But in turning its face once more to nuclear power, Brazil could also leave the door open to the production of nuclear weapons –- a development that could elicit far more pushback at home and abroad.
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AssessmentsAug 1, 2018 | 15:22 GMT
Bolivian military police try to seize the Vinto industrial complex of Swiss mining group Glencore in Oruro in 2007.
What Explains the Ups and Downs of Resource Nationalism?
News that the Indonesian government has taken a majority stake in U.S.-based Freeport-McMoRan's giant Grasberg copper mine after a hard-fought dispute is just the latest sign of growing pressures exerted by host states on global extractive industry corporations. The mining industry has cried foul over such actions, with the CEO of mining giant Rio Tinto warning in May that resource nationalism was "gaining momentum," threatening investment in the lucrative sector. But what exactly drives resource nationalism and what explains its ups and downs? As it turns out, the conventional explanation -- market cycles -- does not account for much of what leads states around the globe to strive for greater control over their natural resources.
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AssessmentsAug 1, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
An illustration shows the copper atom.
Copper: A Relative Constant in a Changing World
Copper was one of the first metals tamed by the human race; people were using it for decorative objects, tools and weapons as early as 4500 B.C. in Mesopotamia. In modern society, the element is necessary for construction materials, electricity transmission and transportation. That means it can serve as a fairly reliable gauge of economic growth, with demand indicating how much effort a country or region is putting into industrialization and urbanization.
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AssessmentsMay 29, 2018 | 08:00 GMT
This photograph shows bars of aluminum.
A Defiant Russia Builds Barriers to U.S. Sanctions
U.S. sanctions against Russia aren't really working the way Washington had hoped. As the pressure builds, Moscow continues to duck, bob and weave to avoid the harshest blows. The Kremlin remains defiant and is even punching back at U.S. interests. What's more, Russia is working on short-term and long-term strategies to insulate its people, businesses and economy from Western penalties. U.S. attempts to alter Russia's behavior are leading Moscow to turn away from the West more and more and are also forcing some Russian companies, including the aluminum giant Rusal, to remake themselves.
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AssessmentsApr 25, 2018 | 18:10 GMT
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, shown here after a mass held in memory of his late wife Marisa Leticia on April 7, 2018, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In Brazil, Difficult Negotiations Await the Next President
The world's fifth largest country is set to head to the ballot box later this year for elections unlike any other. After more than two decades of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party and the Workers' Party largely alternating being in power, Brazil's presidential elections in October appear certain to catapult an outsider into power after a monumental corruption probe brought the country's traditional political parties to their knees. Parties that otherwise wield little power in the National Congress are racing to nominate their own candidates for the country's top job. But given the fractured nature of Brazil's Congress, winning the polls might prove to be a lot easier than actually governing the country.
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