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Calls for El Salvador’s main opposition party to be cancelled

 On 13 August Walter Araujo, a founder of El Salvador's main right-wing opposition party Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (Arena), presented a request before the electoral authorities (TSE) calling for the party to be cancelled.

Maduro orders crackdown after alleged assassination attempt

Two loud explosions were heard during a military parade attended by Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas on 4 August to mark the 81st anniversary of the national guard. The government claimed they were caused by two drones laden with explosives used in a failed attempt to assassinate Maduro perpetrated by the Venezuelan Right, “terrorist” former members of the military, and the Colombian government. The Venezuelan political opposition claimed that it was a staged incident to justify further government repression and to divert attention from the country’s real problems. Footage of the event does not provide conclusive evidence. It does, however, show participating soldiers scattering to the four winds. The abiding impression of the Bolivarian armed forces (FANB) was not the one of redoubtable loyalty and bravery purveyed by the government but one of weakness and pusillanimity.

Foreign direct investment down again in 2017

Foreign direct investment (FDI) flowing into Latin America and the Caribbean fell for the third year running in 2017, down by 3.6% to US$161.7bn, according to a report published in early July by the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Eclac).

Immigration struggle set to continue

US President Donald Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy, which led to the forcible separation of Central American families, was widely criticised both in the US itself and across Latin America. Stung by the criticisms, in June Trump suspended the policy and his administration is now struggling to meet court-imposed deadlines to reunite families. One reading of events therefore, is that the border crisis is over, and will fade away as a major problem in hemispheric relations. Yet a look at the underlying issues suggests the contrary: cross-border migration disputes are likely to continue to feature prominently for the rest of this year and beyond.

Introduction

In different ways Guatemala, Honduras and Panama are boosting their ties with Israel. While Guatemala has moved its embassy to Jerusalem and Honduras is in the process of doing so, Panama has signed a free trade agreement with Israel. In this August edition of Latin American Regional Report: Caribbean & Central America, we begin by looking at the factors behind closer relations between Israel and some of the Central American Republics.

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