Recent Events

Ahead of President Donald Trump’s anticipated announcement on a change to US-Cuba policy, the United States’ bilateral relationship with the island nation has once again come under scrutiny. To discuss the implications of a potential rollback of US-Cuba relations, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center held a conference call with Brigadier General David L. McGinnis, member of the American Security Project’s Consensus for American Security, José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the Americas Vision of the Human Rights Watch, and Emily Morris, associate fellow at the Institute of the Americas at the University College London. Jason Marczak, Director the Latin America Economic Growth Initiative at the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, delivered opening remarks and moderated the conversation.
Ahead of NAFTA renegotiations and amid a changing geopolitical environment, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center and Baker McKenzie hosted the 2017 Global Commerce Forum - Mexico’s Role in the World: North America and Beyond on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, in Mexico City. The second iteration of the global commerce forum, this year’s event focused on the opportunities and implications of a potential restructuring of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The half-day event brought together senior-level representatives from international businesses, governments, and the media, along with thought leaders on global policy and international affairs. Experts and leaders in key sectors discussed the state of play with respect to NAFTA, recent developments in other existing and prospective free trade agreements, and the state of Mexico's economy and role in global commerce.

Following introductory remarks by Reynaldo Vizcarra, managing partner at Baker McKenzie, Senator Gabriela Cuevas Barrón, senator in the National Action Party and chairwoman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, provided keynote remarks on Mexico’s positioning in the hemisphere and the future of US-Mexico relations. Remarks were followed by an armchair conversation with Peter Schechter, Senior Vice President and Director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center of the Atlantic Council.
After almost twelve months of consultations and deliberations, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center launched on May 17 the Colombia Peace and Prosperity Task Force report: A Roadmap for US Engagement with Colombia. It was the culmination of the work of a notable group co-chaired by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), who strived to provide a roadmap for US engagement with Colombia going forward. The goal was to keep the focus on the US-Colombia partnership as the country implements peace and agenda items compete for priority in the new US administration.

With Plan Colombia, a bipartisan strategic framework sustained over almost two decades, Colombia and the United States consolidated a mutually beneficial relationship. Today, the United States is presented with the opportunity to maintain a major stake in the next phase of Colombia’s transformation. Solidifying a strategic bipartisan partnership with Colombia offers the United States enviable opportunities to reap the national security benefits of its $10 billion Plan Colombia investment.
In early April, President Xi Jinping sat down with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago in what was a highly anticipated event between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies. Coming off a campaign in which then-candidate Trump criticized China, the first meeting between the two was intended to focus primarily on the uneven trade relations and North Korea’s nuclear threat.

Prior to the meeting, Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center’s Fellow and the Associate Director of the China - Latin America Initiative, Sean Miner, spoke with Chile’s foreign minister and permanent representative to the UN, Heraldo Muñoz, and Jamie Metzl, senior nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. The trio discussed the ramifications of US and China trade relations for Latin America. Listen to the whole conversation here.
The new administration has brought with it a plethora of tensions for the United States’ relationship with Mexico. From a proposed border wall, to talks of withdrawing from NAFTA, to a scrapped meeting between the two presidents, what was historically a diplomatic partnership has been turned on its head.

On Tuesday, March 7, the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center hosted ‘Trade, Security, and Prosperity,’ a discussion with Margarita Zavala, one of the main contenders for the presidency of Mexico in 2018, and Michael Chertoff, former US Secretary of Homeland Security. The event also marked the launch of the Beyond the Headlines: A Strategy for US Engagement with Latin America in the Trump Era. The publication, part of the Atlantic Council Strategy Papers series for the new administration, was written in partnership with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.
With US-Mexico relations at a historic low, Mexico is asking itself whether the bet it made twenty-three years ago on a future of cooperative economic prosperity integrated markets and security building between the three North American countries was a good one.

In order to assess the economic and strategic importance of the relationship between the North American countries, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center hosted a timely lunch with distinguished experts. Following introductory remarks by Senior Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives and Director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, Peter Schechter, Former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez gave opening remarks on the current situation of the US-Mexico relationship and the shroud of uncertainty that masks the future of an integrated North America.
After the abrupt cancellation of the first scheduled meeting between Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and US President Donald Trump in January, the deep security and commercial ties that bind the two countries felt the heat as bilateral cooperation reached new lows.

In trying to search for what the future holds for this crucial relationship, Adrienne Arsht senior vice president for Strategic Initiatives Director, Peter Schechter, and Latin America Economic Growth Initiative Director, Jason Marczak, spoke with José Cárdenas, a former senior foreign-policy adviser at the State Department, National Security Council, and USAID, and Julio Madrazo, a partner of De la Calle, Madrazo, Mancera (CMM), Board Member of the Mexican Foreign Affairs Council (COMEXI ) and of the Aspen Institute of Mexico, to discuss the still unfolding situation. Can common ground be found between the two administrations? What needs to change? And, what does this mean for the Mexican presidential elections in 2018? Listen to the full conversation here.
On October 2, Colombian electoral officials announced the surprise victory of the ‘No’ vote in the national referendum to approve the peace agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
On October 4, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center convened financial experts from the US, Latin America, and China to discuss the next phrase of the China-Latin America relationship and the launch of the Atlantic Council’s most recent publication on this topic, “A Globalized Renminbi: will it reshape Latin America?”.
In New York this week, Brazilian President Michel Temer embraced the opportunity to convince investors that Brazil has entered a new era. Brazil’s economy, long in steep decline and with twelve million people unemployed, has started to show signs of rebounding. Inflation is decelerating and analysts have revised GDP growth projections upwards from 0 to up to 2 percent for next year.