Thursday, May 16, 2013

Causes and Types of Domestic Land Conflicts in Latin America

Many Latin American countries today are still suffering from domestic land conflicts, often resulting in violent actions and killings. These land conflicts may be limited to small parts of a country, effect whole regions or even the whole country. Land conflicts in Latin America have always existed since the Spanish and Portuguese conquest. To understand the root of these still existing land conflicts, you have to research history. I will try to do that in this blogpost. Resolving the conflicts will often have serious negative consequences, but not resolving the problem will have serious negative consequences too.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Still Growing Violence and Crime in Venezuela

With 99.67% of the votes being counted on April 14th, it looks like Nicolás Maduro has beaten Henrique Capriles with 1.49% of the votes (50.61% vs 49.12%) in the presidential elections of April 14th 2013. The gap is 224,739 votes, which is only 112,370 voters that are making the difference. Capriles has called for a full audit of the election results, but it looks like he isn't going to get it. The National Electoral Council (CNE) said it would be legally impossible to carry out. What is agreed upon now is a partial examination of 56% of the votes cast, which is expected to take until June, but what exactly is examined is stil not agreed upon. The remaining 44% had been checked immediately after the election. On April 30 even fistfights have broken out in Venezuela's parliament over the recent disputed presidential election. It is obvious that Maduro and his PSUV campaign team used about the same pre-election fraud tactics  that were applied during the campaign of the 7 October 2012 presidential elections, that Chávez won. And maybe some real election fraud as well, according to Capriles. Maduro has to combat serious corruption crime and violence, but also a real economy that is ever more dependent of future oil sales. This seems like an impossible challenge for someone who has been Venezuela's foreign minister for 6 years and has very little experience in dealing with interior matters. It is very likely that the opposition will petition for a recall referendum in April 2016, after half of Maduro's term has elapsed. However, this blogpost is dealing about the serious violence and crime rates in Venezuela, its causes and Maduro's plans to combat this during his first term.