FROM Michael Shifter
Chronic Food Shortages Prompt Riots in Venezuela Venezuela’s worsening economic crisis has spilled over into chaos in recent weeks. Hungry protestors have been rioting, ransacking and looting stores and restaurants, leaving scores of businesses in shambles and at least five people dead. The government has declared a state of emergency, and basic necessities are being rationed. How did a relatively recently prosperous country which sits on the world’s largest oil reserves come to this -- the world’s worst rate of inflation and nearly 90% of its population unable to afford to eat?
President Bush's Fence-Mending Trip to Latin America President Bush is visiting Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico this week, carrying with him a complicated economic and trade agenda. But after keeping Latin American issues on the back burner for six years can he effectively compete with rising radical leaders like Hugo Chávez? September 11 and then the war in Iraq got in the way of Bush’s promise to focus US foreign policy on Latin America. Now, he faces a series of what promises to be some massive and noisy protests in a part of the globe where he’s deeply unpopular. Guest host Marc Cooper speaks with journalists and experts in energy, foreign policy and national security. (This program was originally broadcast earlier today on To the Point .)
Too Late for Bush to Mend Fences with Latin America? When George Bush came into office six years ago he vowed the Southern Hemisphere would be his top foreign policy priority--but that was before September 11 and Iraq. Now, midway through his second term, the President has begun a week-long visit to the region , to try to woo back Latin America and boost American influence. One of the few concrete agreements that might come out of the trip is a deal with Brazil about ethanol production. However, Bush is up against some stiff political competition from radical leaders like Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, who argues the US has nothing good to offer its southern neighbors. Can the President overcome his widespread hemispheric unpopularity? Can he offset the growing influence of regional leftists like Chávez? Guest host Marc Cooper speaks with journalists and experts in energy, foreign policy and national security.
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
In Janesville, WI, Middle America meets the new American dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn't prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. We hear what's happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.