Donald Trump dominated global headlines once again this morning after meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City, and later reaffirming his hardline stance on immigration in a speech in Phoenix, Arizona. In front of a cheering crowd, the Republican presidential candidate delivered enough anti-immigrant applause lines for his supporters' hands to get blisters. It was a head-spinning day after the earlier visit across the border along which he's vowed to build a wall that "Mexico will pay for 100%," and failed to apologize for earlier references to Mexicans as "rapists."
While the invitation from President Peña Nieto was widely lambasted in Mexico, the cross-border encounter was just one of several recent flashpoints of the shifting relations and the high stakes at play between the U.S. superpower and its Latin American neighbors ahead of November's elections.
Trump's show yesterday happened to coincide with the first commercial flight between the U.S. and Cuba in more than half a century, which landed in Santa Clara. But even as the rapprochement continues between the two former enemies, tensions are rising elsewhere in the area. Venezuela's embattled leftist President Nicolas Maduro accused Washington of being behind the nationwide protests that are set to kick off today, calling it a coup attempt. "The government of President Barack Hussein Obama ... seeks the instability of Venezuela and the region to legitimize its imperial plans against the peace and development of the people," he said earlier this week.
Meanwhile, next door to Venezuela, Brazil is facing profound instability of its own after Dilma Rousseff's impeachment was confirmed yesterday by the Senate. To the north is perhaps the best diplomatic news of the summer, as Colombia and leftist rebel group FARC have reached an accord to end 52 years of civil war. The lengthy negotiations, we should note, were hosted in Havana. Could evolving U.S.-Cuba relations become the rock of stability in the Western Hemisphere?
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