Columbia: Sixth summit of the Americas may address legalization of drugs and other contentious issues
The sixth summit of the Organization of American States will be held April 14-15 in Cartagena, Colombia. The theme of the summit will be, “Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity.”

The meeting is unique because it will be the first time the U.S. has proposed an open discussion on the legalization of drugs with the growing number of Latin American presidents who are considering legalization in their countries.

U.S. secretary of state Mike Hammer said that although the U.S. is now open to the discussion, it is still firmly anti-legalization.

Cuba: Amnesty International report shows notable increase in human rights abuses in past two years
According to a report by Amnesty International, the number of recorded human rights abuses in Cuba increased dramatically from 2010 to 2011, which witnessed a staggering 2,784 instances of abuse.

It also found that while the Cuban government did liberate a number of political prisoners from years past, many dissidents—particularly journalists and bloggers—are still being denied basic rights such as access to a lawyer.

Additional findings show there are still a small but significant number of Cubans who are being detained for their religious, political or personal beliefs.

El Salvador: Public security forces becoming militarized
El Salvador’s President, Mauricio Funes, has made major changes in his cabinet, marking a move towards increased militarization of public security forces.

Many former officials, supposedly linked to the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front, have been replaced with high-level military officers and graduates of the School of the Americas.

The public security force in El Salvador has been civilian-run since the peace agreement after a long and bloody Civil War. Critics have raised concerns that increased U.S. security measures in Central America along with growing militarization of El Salvador’s public security forces may damper democracy in the region.