The Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson met in Asunción last Friday with Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes to discuss regional issues covering topics such as transnational crime, education and investment. Following the meeting, Jacobson highlighted the “common perspective” of the two administrations regarding transnational crime.

Authorities in Paraguay are concerned about Brazilian drug cartels operating in their country, which use Paraguay as a holding source after shipping in cocaine and marijuana from the Andean region.

Both countries emphasized their similar worldview on the local, regional and worldwide level. Roberta Jacobson stressed their cooperation on democracy, transparency, education and economic development.

Increasing cooperation on issues like education is important for Paraguay, where more than half of third graders cannot solve simple addition problems. Programs by the Inter-American Development Bank use comparative techniques to improve education standards.

In particular, one study compared the teaching techniques of Paraguayan teachers with techniques used in the United States. The study uncovered that most of the teachers in Paraguay made their pupils copy from the blackboard instead of actually solving math problems.

In Brazil, Jacobson visited the Minerao stadium in Belo Horizonte, where the US soccer team is set to play during the upcoming World Cup. Jacobson also discussed educational relations between Brazil and the U.S. and opened an Education USA office in Belo Horizonte. The Education USA office is intended to increase educational cooperation between the two countries by providing information about US colleges and universities to international applicants, thereby increasing international student enrolment within the U.S.

Education USA is headed by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, along with the new program “100K Strong in the Americas,” designed to increase Latin American student enrollment in the U.S. to 100,000 and American student enrollment in Latin America to 100,000 by the year 2020.

– Jeff Meyer

Sources: Merco Press, La Nacion, Shanghai Daily, Inter-American Development Bank
Photo: Guanajuato