Roger F. Noriega

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El presidente de Venezuela Nicolás Maduro en un evento de campaña de cara a las elecciones presidenciales el 20 de mayo Credit Carlos García Rawlins/Reuters

En una conferencia en Miami la semana pasada, Juan Cruz, el director de asuntos del hemisferio occidental del Consejo de Seguridad Nacional de Estados Unidos, encaró al régimen venezolano de Nicolás Maduro.

Cruz citó un fragmento de la Constitución de Venezuela, reescrita durante el mandato de Hugo Chávez, el predecesor de Maduro, en el que dice que el pueblo, “fiel a su tradición republicana, a su lucha por la independencia, la paz y la libertad, desconocerá cualquier régimen, legislación o autoridad que contraríe los valores, principios y garantías democráticos o menoscabe los derechos humanos”. Cruz se estaba dirigiendo al Ejército venezolano, pidiendo a sus miembros honrar su compromiso con la Constitución.…  Seguir leyendo »

SHORTAGES: People line up outside the Dia a Dia supermarket in Caracas one day after the government took over the chain of stores to punish businesses it blames for worsening shortages. Ariana Cubillos AP

As Venezuela drifts toward repression, the Obama administration has failed to “name and shame” human-rights violators, as mandated by Congress last December. Robust U.S. action is more critical than ever, as authorities in Caracas last week approved the use of deadly force against Venezuelans protesting food shortages and fresh revelations on the criminality of regime leaders.

Career diplomats managing Venezuela policy fiercely resisted Congress’ call for sanctions against individuals using violence to quell student-led demonstrations last spring — giving regime gangs time to crush the unrest, leaving 44 dead, hundreds jailed and thousands injured.

In the midst of the crackdown last March, Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson told a U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russia’s annexation of Crimea is an egregious violation of international norms that demands a concerted international reaction. However, as foreign policy pundits settle into their Eurocentric comfort zone, Washington must not neglect its important strategic interests elsewhere in an increasingly interconnected world.

Consider Venezuela. A country of vast oil wealth, with historically deep ties to the United States, and strategically located astride major drug smuggling routes to the United States, Venezuela been roiled by 30 days of spreading street protests that have been met by government repression. Yet it appears only a small group in Congress is interested in an effective U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

The international community has justifiably condemned a decision by the supreme court of the Dominican Republic revoking the citizenship of as many as 350,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent. Unfortunately, that decision in September was just the latest in a pattern of cynical, partisan actions that threaten the rule of law and economic growth in that nation.

Dominicans of goodwill must act to restore the probity and independence of their institutions to secure a better future for all of its citizens.

Early this month, the respected Inter-American Commission on Human Rights paid an urgent visit to that country to study the implications of the decision to retroactively apply a 2010 constitutional amendment that redefined citizenship rights, effectively stripping multitudes of their “right to nationality.”…  Seguir leyendo »

While visiting Argentina a few years ago, just as president Néstor Kirchner was defending the biggest default in history, I saw a televised government message that concluded with the phrase, “Argentina . . . A serious country” ( “Un país en serio”). At the time, I dismissed the ad as more farcical than Orwellian, thinking that a government more obsessed with its image than with reality is its own worst enemy. Unfortunately, such a regime finds enemies elsewhere — starting with any independent journalist or media outlet that refuses to toe the party line.

The Kirchner-controlled congress propagated a media law in 2009 aimed at silencing such critics.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, took office on Saturday, promising a balanced budget, bold education reform, a more productive energy sector and vigorous security policies. How he manages this ambitious agenda during his six-year term will impact Mexico’s future and its partnership with the United States.

Mr. Peña Nieto takes the reins of government from Felipe Calderon, who managed one of the most difficult periods in Mexico’s contemporary history. During Mr. Calderon’s administration, the country suffered a serious polarization after his razor-thin victory over a leftist firebrand. Rampant narco-violence also prompted the government to implement a strategy to confront the impunity and carnage, which was threatening the country’s governance.…  Seguir leyendo »

Venezuela’s democratic opposition leaders are disappointed by their unsuccessful campaign to unseat caudillo Hugo Chavez in elections on Oct. 7. It may be too soon to give up hope. Mr. Chavez is losing his battle with cancer, his regime is being undermined by infighting and criminality, and he must deal with a series of elections that will take place throughout the country in the coming year.

Mr. Chavez is sick, and his campaign schedule took a strong physical toll on him. For more than six months, reliable sources have explained to me that Mr. Chavez’s medical team is merely treating symptoms of his aggressive cancer to maintain a public facade.…  Seguir leyendo »

Venezuela’s cancer-stricken leader, Hugo Chávez, appears to be losing ground to opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, and the ruling party is taking dramatic steps to bully the opposition and to whitewash the results of the Oct. 7 balloting. Only in Venezuela could violent street gangs and a former U.S. president be on the same team.

According to sources in Miraflores palace, about two months ago, Chávez began refusing cancer treatment and check-ups, insisting that returning to the campaign trail would invigorate him. In recent weeks, as doctors warned, this dangerous decision has taken a terrible toll. As a result, it is increasingly difficult for his medical team to prepare him for periodic public appearances.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.S. Gen. Douglas Fraser on Tuesday backed up President Obama’s appraisal that Venezuela does not represent a threat to U.S. security. The only thing that statement proves is that both men refuse to acknowledge a menace that has grown worse on their watch.

Gen. Fraser is the last in a long line of regional commanders who have refused to mud-wrestle with Hugo Chavez. I have profound respect for men and women who are willing to risk their lives fighting our enemies or ordering others to do so, and I understand fully why they want to keep such conflicts to a minimum.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Justice Department’s recent announcement that an Iranian agent attempted to recruit a Mexican drug gang to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the United States presents an opportunity for the Obama administration finally to draw the line on Iran’s growing presence in the Western Hemisphere.

As we establish in a paper we co-authored recently for the American Enterprise Institute, “TheMountingHezbollahThreatinLatinAmerica,” over the past several years, Iran, with its Hezbollah proxy in tow, has made a major push into the Western Hemisphere to gain access to strategic resources and establish a new platform from which to wage its war against the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Obama's trip to South America has showcased promising partnerships in Brazil and elsewhere. His visit, however, should also focus attention in the region and within his administration on the fact that Iran and Venezuela are conspiring to sow Tehran's brand of proxy terrorism in the Western Hemisphere.

On Aug. 22, 2010, at Iran's suggestion, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hosted senior leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in a secret summit at military intelligence headquarters at the Fuerte Tiuna compound in southern Caracas. Among those present were Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah, who is on the FBI's list of most-wanted terrorists; Hamas's "supreme leader," Khaled Meshal; and Hezbollah's "chief of operations," whose identity is a closely guarded secret.…  Seguir leyendo »

U.S. and Mexican authorities are nearing agreement on an aid package to support Mexico's courageous new offensive against the deadly drug syndicates that threaten both our nations. The stakes are high for the United States: We depend on Mexico as a cooperative neighbor and trade partner, and most of the marijuana and as much as 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in this country pours over our southern border. If Mexico cannot make significant headway against the bloodthirsty cartels, our security and our people will suffer the consequences.

Since President Felipe Calderón's victory last year, Mexican authorities have stepped up efforts to fight drug sales and have paved the way for increased cooperation with the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »