Cuba: Transforming a Revolution

Cuba: Transforming a Revolution. YaleGlobal. Patricia Alejandro. July 23, 2015.

The United States and Cuba are reopening their respective embassies and preparing for more exchanges in diplomacy and trade. “Cubans and Americans are equally curious about exploring the other side since December when President Barack Obama and Raúl Castro made the surprise announcement on restoration of full diplomatic relations between the two countries,” writes Patricia Alejandro. “Both sides concede the process will be gradual, yet changes in leadership that paved the way for rapprochement are inevitable – Obama leaves office in January 2017, and Castro, now 84, announced intentions to retire in 2018.” The Cuban-American community could help boost ties between the two countries. The Cuban government is wary about foreign investment, and the United States will press for improved human rights. Cubans are eager for an end to the U.S. embargo, along with new electronics, cars and internet service, while US tourists are nostalgic for the Cuba of the early 20th century. Economic imbalances and challenges to normalize relations are many, but there’s likely no going back. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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The New Russian Engagement with Latin America: Strategic Position, Commerce, and Dreams of the Past

The New Russian Engagement with Latin America: Strategic Position, Commerce, and Dreams of the Past. Strategic Studies Institute. R. Evan Ellis. June 17, 2015.

Although overshadowed by China, Russia’s re-engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean, which includes military deployments, arms sales, and the negotiation of base access agreements, impacts the regional security environment and potentially challenges U.S. national security. The monograph provides one of the first broad, in depth analyses of Russian engagement in the region, including an examination of its political and economic, as well as military activities, with an examination of implications for the U.S. and recommendation for U.S. policymakers.

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Barriers Along the U.S. Borders: Key Authorities and Requirements

Barriers Along the U.S. Borders: Key Authorities and Requirements. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Michael John Garcia. April 8, 2015.

Securing the borders is an issue of perennial concern to Congress. Federal law authorizes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to construct barriers along the U.S. borders to deter illegal crossings. DHS is also required to construct reinforced fencing along at least 700 miles of the land border with Mexico (a border that stretches 1,933 miles), though Congress has not provided a deadline for its completion. At this time, fence construction has largely been halted, though DHS still needs to deploy fencing along nearly 50 additional miles of the southwest border to satisfy the 700-mile requirement.

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Unaccompanied Child Migration to the United States: The Tension between Protection and Prevention

Unaccompanied Child Migration to the United States: The Tension between Protection and Prevention. Migration Policy Institute. Marc R. Rosenblum. April 2015.

Policymakers, the public, and the media were seemingly caught off-guard in spring 2014 when a surge of child migrants from Central America reached the U.S.-Mexico border in unprecedented numbers. Yet the uptick began in 2011. The report examines the causes of this surge and recommends policy solutions to advance both critical protection and enforcement goals in situations of complex, mixed flows. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Seventh Summit of the Americas: In Brief

Seventh Summit of the Americas: In Brief. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Peter J. Meyer. March 24, 2015.

On April 10-11, 2015, President Obama is scheduled to attend the seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama. The Summits of the Americas, which have been held roughly every three years since 1994, serve as opportunities for the Western Hemisphere’s leaders to engage directly with one another and discuss issues of collective concern. With Cuba expected to attend for the first time in 2015, the Summit of the Americas will be the only forum in the hemisphere that includes all 35 independent nations. The theme of the 2015 summit is “Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas.” Although strengthening economic growth while reducing inequality will be one of the principal topics of conversation, the leaders of the hemisphere are also expected to discuss a variety of other issues, including education, health, energy, the environment, migration, security, citizen participation, and democratic governance. This will be President Obama’s third and final Summit of the Americas and could set the tone for hemispheric relations for the final two years of his Administration.

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Mentoring Practices in Europe and North America: Strategies for Improving Immigrants’ Employment Outcomes

Mentoring Practices in Europe and North America: Strategies for Improving Immigrants’ Employment Outcomes. Migration Policy Institute. Milica Petrovic. January 2015.

Employment-oriented mentoring is increasingly recognized in Europe as a tool for advancing the labor market integration of disadvantaged individuals, including immigrants. The report highlights a number of relevant one-on-one mentoring practices in Europe and North America, focusing on the role of different initiators and stakeholders, forms of collaboration, methods, and target groups. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Argentina Default Flashes Warning to Emerging Markets

Argentina Default Flashes Warning to Emerging Markets. YaleGlobal. Will Hickey. September 9, 2014.

Argentina, among the world’s top 25 economies, is trying to seek relief with bondholders and avoid being locked out of international credit markets. A U.S. judge has sided with a minority of bondholders led by a U.S. billionaire, blocking payments to the 90 percent who agreed to restructuring. For now, despite the judge’s ruling that all or none of the bondholders be paid, Argentina explores debt swaps and a separate account for the holdouts. The case highlights the challenges for emerging economies, explains Will Hickey. Advanced nations push ideas that require complex financing vehicles, developing nations have few financing alternatives, priorities change over the life of a bond, and investments are subject to speculation. As trouble emerges, a few wealthy bondholders can pursue highly complex legal cases. So far, U.S. courts have ruled that speculators who purchase debt for pennies can pursue full payment. If not careful, Hickey concludes, the emerging economies could be trapped into never-ending debt. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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