Brazil is increasingly becoming a less stable country and has been ranked one of the most worsened countries over the past year by the 2017 Fragile States Index report from the Fund for Peace. The FSI measures a nation’s vulnerabilities based on a series of stability indicators. The Cipher Brief’s ...

The stability of Colombia has improved significantly over the past year, according to the Fund for Peace’s 2017 Fragile States Index, which measures 12 social, political, and economic indicators to determine a country’s vulnerability. Colombia’s progress is due largely to the peace agreement the government reached with the armed FARC ...

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has called for military exercises on August 26 and 27, after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he would not rule out a “military option” to quell the turmoil in the South American country. Vice President Mike Pence, who is traveling through South America this ...

As Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos, the Organization of American States (OAS) has failed for a second time in just one month to reach a resolution that would condemn the current Venezuelan regime led by President Nicolas Maduro.  At least 73 people have died in anti-government demonstrations since ...

“Narcos” is the Netflix fictionalized series that traces the rise and fall of one of the world’s most notorious narcotic traffickers, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. (Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t finished the series, you may want to save this article for later!) As the head of the Medellin Cartel, ...

“Narcos” is the Netflix fictionalized series that traces the rise and fall of one of the world’s most notorious narcotic traffickers, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. (Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t finished the series, you may want to save this article for later!) As the head of the Medellin Cartel, ...

Aside from a “big, beautiful wall” and so-called “bad hombres,” references to the southern border and illegal immigration, the U.S. campaign season has largely neglected any discussion of policy toward Latin America.  As the presidential election looms ahead, the winner has the potential to either build on the initiatives of ...

After the surprising results of the Colombian peace referendum on Sunday night, both the government of Colombia and the FARC must try again to reach a deal to end the 52-year war in their country. The Cipher Brief spoke with Andrea Saldarriaga Jiménez, a researcher at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne ...

On Sunday, Colombians were called upon by their government to answer a simple question, “Do you support the final agreement to end the conflict and build a stable and lasting peace?”  Their answer shocked the world: by a razor-thin margin, Colombia voted down the peace agreement brokered by their government ...

Colombia’s pollsters, who are usually pretty accurate predictors of vote results, didn’t foresee this. Public opinion surveys showed a clear majority of voters in the South American nation—from 55 percent to as many as 72 percent—intending to vote “yes” in an October 2 plebiscite to approve or reject a peace ...

The unexpected vote in Colombia to reject the peace deal with the FARC has left the country in shock and its leaders scrambling to determine a path forward.  In a conversation with The Cipher Brief, I. William Zartman, a Professor Emeritus at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International ...

The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas this week signed an historic ceasefire, bringing the two sides one step closer to ending over fifty years of bloody conflict.  Despite this landmark achievement, however, new challenges lie ahead. The agreement, announced in Havana, Cuba, is a ...

In 1991, a gram of cocaine sold on U.S. streets for about $225. In 2012, after adjusting for inflation, it sold for $186. Cocaine supply is satisfying demand as well as ever, despite tens of billions of dollars spent on interdiction, law enforcement, and foreign counter-drug aid. Only three countries in ...

For a very long time, the word that most often followed a mention of Colombia was cocaine.  Colombia was the world’s largest producer of the illicit drug.   In the mid-2000s, the South American country turned a corner and made significant progress with its program to systematically eradicate the coca plant. ...

In 1992, Peru produced an estimated 60 percent of the world’s cocaine. At one time, cocaine production was the largest industry in the country, at 17 percent of Peru’s GDP. It provided between four and six billion dollars in revenue to Peruvian drug trafficking organizations. Unlike the Colombians, Peruvians and ...

My name is Pedro José Arenas Garcia. I am a former Colombian congressman and the director of the Observatory on Growers and Crops Declared Illicit in Colombia, a civil society organization that takes interest in the human rights of rural workers associated with coca, cannabis, and poppy production. The Observatory ...

The government of president Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) have been negotiating in Havana, Cuba for the past four years to put an end to an internal conflict that has ravaged the country since the 1960s. Santos has confirmed that the signing of a ...

President Barack Obama’s trip to Argentina and Cuba gives welcome attention to the dynamics and challenges of Latin America and the Caribbean. While designed to capitalize and build upon positive developments in both countries, it also invites reflection on what will be his legacy there. At the beginning of his ...

Frank Mora, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere, told The Cipher Brief that President Barack Obama has two distinct objectives during his Latin America trip:  In Cuba, the President wants to “maintain the momentum” and in Argentina, he hopes to “start a new chapter in ...

President Barack Obama’s arrival in Havana, Cuba marks the first visit by a sitting U.S. President in 88 years.  But more than just a warming of relations with the island nation, the visit is a symbol to the entire hemisphere.   The President will also travel to Argentina this week.  It ...

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will not be pressured into signing a final peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).   “I will not sign a bad deal to meet a deadline,” Santos said last week, announcing that the March 23rd deadline for Colombian peace negotiations will pass ...

Since 1982, Colombia’s government and the FARC guerrilla group have sat down to negotiate four times. This attempt appears to be the one that will finally end with a peace accord. The negotiators are on the fifth of five substantive negotiating agenda topics, and they appear likely to announce a ...

In light of the announcement by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos of a signed peace deal between the government of Colombia and the FARC, The Cipher Brief revisits Cynthia Arson of the Wilson Center's take on what comes next in post-conflict Colombia. March 23, 2016, the deadline set by the ...

It seems that wherever opportunities for innovation and technological developments arise, cyber attacks are not far behind.  Latin American countries are certainly seeing this trend emerge in their markets.  Latin America may not be the first region that comes to mind when one thinks of technology and innovation.  Indeed, Latin ...

The plan to sign a peace agreement early next year to end the more than 50-year civil war in Colombia appears to be in jeopardy. Earlier this week, a senior Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) negotiator, Jesus Santrick, said the negotiations between the government and the FARC will not ...

Two assumptions about transnational crime disrupt the design of effective security policies worldwide: Assuming that corruption is mainly an economic issue in which private agents bribe officials, and assuming that only pure and “full time” criminals participate and sustain organized crime. To interpret corruption as an economic problem is to ...

With over 30 years working as a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, Michael Vigil has an extensive understanding of illicit trafficking networks.  The former DEA Chief of International Operations shared with The Cipher Brief how drug trafficking in Latin America must be addressed–or risk being a destabilizing force for Latin ...

Last month, The Cipher Brief published a feature commentary on the prospects for peace in Colombia. This month, we continue that conversation with Frank Mora, the former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Mora offered his thoughts on the status of the negotiations between Bogotá and ...

Colombia is not a “typical” Latin American country.   It diverges from common views of the region in ways that are interesting and important.  It has a deep democratic vocation, lacking the repeated coups and dictatorships common elsewhere.  Its one military coup was peaceful and initially enjoyed broad support from ...

Colombia is not a “typical” Latin American country.   It diverges from common views of the region in ways that are interesting and important.  It has a deep democratic vocation, lacking the repeated coups and dictatorships common elsewhere.  Its one military coup was peaceful and initially enjoyed broad support from ...

Juan Manuel Santos’ administration and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) kicked off peace negotiations in October 2012. The chosen methodology ("nothing is negotiated until everything is negotiated") and the absolute secrecy of what is being discussed at the table have left society uncertain about the country’s future.  There ...

There should be no doubt that the current round of negotiations between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is a major step toward a full peace agreement.  It provides for accountability for past crimes on both sides, even though the details still remain to be ...

Pablo Escobar’s childhood dream was to be a millionaire by the time he was 22.  It is unclear if he met that specific goal, but at the height of his wealth, Escobar was worth $30 billion, money he earned as a Colombian drug lord.  In its new series, Narcos, Netflix ...