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March 8, 2012 | By Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times
Despite intensified counter-narcotics efforts over the last five years, the military's ability to stop drug smuggling into the U.S. from Latin America has declined as planes and ships have been diverted to combat operations around the globe, according to a senior military officer. As a result, the Navy and Coast Guard are stopping one of three suspected seaborne drug shipments headed to American shores, Gen. Douglas Fraser, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, told reporters Wednesday.
February 19, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
"I will be the first woman president of Mexico. " Thus declared Josefina Vazquez Mota on the night this month when she was officially crowned the incumbent party's candidate in upcoming national elections. A former congresswoman and education minister, Vazquez Mota, 51, has eagerly embraced her historic position as Mexico's first female presidential candidate for a major political party. In a contest where she trails the leader by a wide margin, she does not hesitate to play the so-called gender card at chosen moments.
February 9, 2012 | By Adriana Leon and Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
  At first, Lima taxi driver Mario Segura was disgusted by the thought of buying a Chinese-made car. He had doubts about the vehicles' durability, service and resale value. But favorable word of mouth, assurances that spare parts are plentiful and, of course, unbelievably low prices won him over. "Little by little, I heard favorable comments," said Segura, speaking in a Chery showroom in the Surquillo district. He had just plunked down $12,000 in cash for a new Fullwin XR sedan, half the cost, he said, of a comparable Fiat or Renault.
January 27, 2012 | By Seema Mehta
Courting two critical constituencies in the days before the Florida primary, Newt Gingrich reached out to Jewish and Latino voters on Friday and pledged to chart a more aggressive course in the Middle East and Latin America. Addressing a mostly white-haired crowd at the Republican Jewish Coalition in Delray Beach, Gingrich said the United States and Israel would not be safe until Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was no longer in power in Iran. "I believe we need a profoundly new approach to the Middle East," he said.
November 5, 2011 | By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
Guatemalan voters pick a president Sunday at a moment when deepening drug crime threatens the nation's feeble justice system and doubts hang over both candidates. Rampant violence by encroaching Mexican drug traffickers provides an ominous backdrop to the sharp-elbowed runoff between the front-runner, retired Gen. Otto Perez Molina, and congressman Manuel Baldizon, who came in a distant second in the initial round of voting in September. Both men vow aggressive action. The rightist Perez Molina promises to use army troops to attack traffickers and says he will cut the murder rate in half, while the populist Baldizon has called for greater use of the death penalty.
October 10, 2011 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was touring Latin America this week, his second visit to the region in less than a year as part of a worldwide lobbying effort to gain recognition for a Palestinian state. Abbas met officials in the Colombian capital of Bogota on Monday, a day after announcing with President Mauricio Funes of El Salvador plans to establish diplomatic ties there. Until recently, El Salvador was one of Israel's closest allies in Latin America. "We are very interested in developing our relations with all the countries of the American continent," Abbas said in San Salvador, according to a Spanish translation of his remarks.
September 26, 2011 | By Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
The 50-year-old teacher is about to do something she's never done, something remarkable in Colombia: Buy a home. Inez Angel has her eye on a $35,000 split-level condo in the Villa Verde subdivision in the western Colombian city of Pereira. It is priced right, and the 15-year mortgage at a fixed 7% interest rate is affordable. Just as important to her — and her country — is her confidence in Colombia's future stability. Experts say homeownership can help a society lock in a sense of greater security.
August 8, 2011 | By Don Lee, Los Angeles Times
Many major U.S. companies are making big plans to expand overseas even as some of them announce new layoffs at home, and there's a chilling reason why: They're beginning to give up on the American consumer as a source of future growth. For years, U.S. companies went off shore to get cheaper labor and lower manufacturing costs for products to be sold to Americans. Now, as the nation's economy stalls and personal incomes stagnate, they see consumers in Asia and Latin America as offering brighter prospects for future sales and profits.
July 6, 2011 | By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
Expanding its reach from two countries to the entire Western Hemisphere, Netflix Inc. will launch its successful online film and television subscription service across Latin America in a bid to maintain its sky-high subscriber growth and stock price. The Los Gatos, Calif., company, which boasts more than 23.6 million subscribers and has become the nation's No. 1 movie rental provider, announced Tuesday that this year it will expand into 43 countries in South America, Central America and the Caribbean but not Cuba.
June 30, 2011 | By Merry Mogollon and Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
Casting more uncertainty on the health of President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday that it has canceled a summit of foreign leaders scheduled for next week that Chavez was to have presided over to mark Venezuela's bicentennial independence celebration. The ministry statement said the Latin America and Caribbean Summit on Development and Integration would not be held because Chavez is in a "process of recuperation and extremely strict medical treatment" in Cuba.
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