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Events in Venezuela take a dramatic turn

On 27 June, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro accused a former Chavista government minister of being responsible for a bizarre incident in which a police helicopter dropped grenades on the supreme court (TSJ), fired shots at the interior ministry, and, reportedly, flew low over the Miraflores presidential palace.

Trump’s new Cuba policy: tough talk, soft substance

US President Donald Trump presented an eagerly anticipated foreign policy speech on Cuba on 16 June in Miami. Trump sought to ratchet up the pressure on the Cuban government led by President Raúl Castro, and rhetorically he did just that. His scathing attack on the Cuban Revolution was reminiscent of the previous Republican administration under President George W Bush in style, which played well to Cuban-American hardliners, but in substance it was different. Despite his assertion that he was ending the “terrible and misguided” policy of his predecessor Barack Obama, Trump is only unpicking certain aspects of it. Much of it will remain unchanged. But style matters, and the Cuban government’s combative response suggests the diplomatic rapprochement is on hold, although there was probably considerable relief in Havana that Trump did not go further.

Mexico’s inflation on the rise: something to worry about?

Mexico’s annual inflation rate rose to 6.17% in May, the highest in over eight years. On 18 May, before the inflation data was released, the Banco de Mexico (Banxico, central bank) had again tightened interest rates, raising the benchmark rate by 25bps to 6.75%. Analysts are divided as to whether this is part of a worrying vicious circle or whether it is no more than a passing spike in an economy that is otherwise showing signs of resilience.

Northern Triangle: new security initiatives?

The Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, co-sponsored by the United States and Mexico, was held in Miami from 15-16 June, and designed to pull together a coordinated strategy against crime, drug trafficking, and illegal immigration flows coming out of the ‘Northern Triangle’ countries of Central America (El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala). Here we look at what was said and whether it will make a difference.

Problems in the military may edge Venezuela to a tipping point

Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz continues to rail against the government led by President Nicolás Maduro, telling Peru’s leading daily, El Comercio, on 26 June that Venezuela was no longer a State of law, but a police state, and accusing the Bolivarian intelligence agency Sebin of dictating orders to a judiciary now subjugated to “a repressive police logic”. “Here [in Venezuela], the cart is before the horses”, she quipped, adding that the supreme court (TSJ) had moved to erect “a totalitarian court that interprets and manipulates the constitution in line with its political interests”.

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