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Setting the Record Straight: Accountability in Reporting on the Guatemalan Economy

For policymakers to make the right decisions, it is crucial that they first have the right information. With this in mind, career U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) officer Terrence Brown used his position as the USAID Mission Director in Guatemala to correct discrepancies in diplomatic reporting on the Guatemalan political economy in the early […]

Wikileaks: The Revelation That Shook U.S. Diplomacy

As the hearings of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange continue, the question of whether he will be extradited to the United States remains uncertain. New scandals continue to pop up as Assange contends that former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said that President Trump would give him a pardon in exchange for disclosing the source of the Hillary […]

The Question of Puerto Rico: The U.S. Faces International Criticism in the Late 20th Century

As decolonization was embraced on the world stage, the U.S. government and its diplomats had to decide, “How do we deal with the question of Puerto Rico?” The island had been an “organized but unincorporated” American territory since the United States defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War. After negotiations between Puerto Rican political leaders and […]

60 Minutes in Central America: The Politicization of Development During the Cold War

Complex geopolitical realities, poor leadership, and economic dysfunction characterized the Cold War in Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. USAID (United States Agency for International Development) played a crucial role in strengthening the political and economic institutions of these countries. Its ability to work and achieve success in Cold War conditions was nothing short of extraordinary. […]

Geiger Counters, and a Nanny Who Became a Millionaire—Establishing a USAID Mission in Kazakhstan

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, USAID made Central Asia a top priority—“no matter where you were posted and where you were on your current assignment” employees were urged to head there. Jonathan Addleton was working for USAID in post-apartheid South Africa. Central Asia intrigued him, and the organization quickly agreed to send Addleton […]

Latino American Ambassadors

Latino Americans have some of the lowest rates of participation in the federal workforce making it incredibly difficult for them to represent the United States within the foreign service. Nevertheless, the number of Latino American diplomats continue to grow thanks to the trailblazing work of many former and current ambassadors: Mari-Luci Jaramillo was the first […]

Getting Mexico to the NAFTA Negotiating Table

U.S. diplomats who helped lay the groundwork for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) first had to overcome entrenched Mexican skepticism.  The United States, Canada, and Mexico decided in mid-1990 to start negotiating a free trade agreement.  Discussions began in earnest early the following year.  By mid-1993 the parties were fine-turning a draft agreement. […]

Drogas y Derechos Humanos: Changing U.S. Policy towards Guatemala

In June 1954 the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, concerned about the threat of communism in Guatemala, assisted in the overthrow of the government led by President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán. A five-member junta assumed power. Following communications with Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry and consultations with countries in Central America, the U.S. determined that the new Guatemalan government […]