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Center for Latino and Latin American Studies

Latin America


Argentina

Silent, but seething

Marchers want the truth about the death of a prosecutor. It could become a casualty of a political war.

Feb 21st 2015 | BUENOS AIRES | From the print edition

PROTESTS in Argentina are normally clamorous affairs, raucous with the din of pot-banging, drum-beating and slogan-shouting. The huge march on February 18th, one month after the death of Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor who had accused the president of trying to hide Iran’s complicity in Argentina’s worst terrorist act, took place in near silence. Some 400,000 people walked in pouring rain from Congress, past Mr Nisman’s former office to the presidential palace. They carried signs demanding “truth” and “justice” for Mr Nisman, who was found shot dead in his bathroom, and for the 85 victims of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas

Wage Negotiations in Argentina
Class War

Teachers' unions go out on strike.

Mar 8th 2014 | BUENOS AIRES | From the print edition

“IT CAN’T be that every annual salary negotiation makes it a strain just to begin the school year,” said President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner during a speech to Congress on March 1st. Yes it can.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas

The Parable of Argentina

There are lessons for many governments from one country’s 100 years of decline.

February 15th 2014 | From the print edition

A CENTURY ago, when Harrods decided to set up its first overseas emporium, it chose Buenos Aires. In 1914 Argentina stood out as the country of the future. Its economy had grown faster than America’s over the previous four decades. Its GDP per head was higher than Germany’s, France’s or Italy’s. It boasted wonderfully fertile agricultural land, a sunny climate, a new democracy (universal male suffrage was introduced in 1912), an educated population and the world’s most erotic dance. Immigrants tangoed in from everywhere. For the young and ambitious, the choice between Argentina and California was a hard one.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas


Brazil

Gone to Pot


A sprawling corruption case poses a threat to badly needed economic reforms.


Mar 9th 2015 | SÃO PAULO

ON MARCH 8th Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, used a televised women’s day address to justify the need for belt-tightening. This is required to close a budget deficit of 6.75%, stave off a painful ratings downgrade and revive a flagging economy. In an echo of last year's election campaign, she blamed the country’s economic woes squarely on the global financial crisis (and a record drought in 2014). The government did as much as it could to weather these adverse events, the president explained. “Now we must divide part of this effort between all sections of society.”

Continue reading at The Economist: The Americas

Awkward allies

The new speaker of the lower house will make life difficult for Dilma Rousseff.

Feb 7th 2015 | BRASÍLIA | From the print edition

THE new Congress was always going to be awkward for Brazil’s president. Having won re-election last October with the slimmest of majorities, Dilma Rousseff has a weak mandate. She faces power cuts, water shortages and a probable recession. She must curb the growing fiscal deficit to maintain Brazil’s prized investment-grade credit rating.

Continue reading at the Economist: Americas

Bello: the political tide turns
Brazilians want change.

That could deprive Dilma Rousseff of a second term.

May 24th 2014 | From the print edition

BRAZIL likes to think of itself as o país do futebol—the football country. So it is extraordinary that just three weeks before the World Cup kicks off in São Paulo, a recent poll found less than half of Brazilians saying they were happy to host it. True, this may change once the tournament gets going, especially if fears of transport chaos prove misplaced. Yet that poll result betrays not just public anger at the inflated cost of the tournament, but also wider grumpiness.

Continue to read at The Economist: The Americas

The World Cup
Pitch Imperfect

They think it’s all over budget.

May 15th 2014, 14:59 | From the print edition.

Down to the finishing touches FOOTBALL’S World Cup was meant to display Brazil’s coming-of-age as a global player. Instead, the preparations have illustrated the improvisation for which the country is nearly as famous as its footballers.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas

Security in Brazil

Unarmed and dangerous
Legislators and police ready themselves for World Cup protests.

Mar 1st 2014 | São Paulo | From the print edition.

A CURB on masks is an odd thing for Brazilians to be contemplating just days before Carnival gets cracking. The justice minister, José Eduardo Cardozo, insists that the prop, as integral a part of the festival as scantily clad sambistas, will not vanish from Carnival parades or other “cultural, historical and folkloric events”. But a bill he is about to send to Congress aims to restrict the use of masks in political protests.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas

The Great X-IT!

Foreign firms are buying most bits of the Brazilian mogul's fallen Empire.

Feb 22nd 2014 | SÃO PAULO | From the print edition.

DURING his stratospheric rise Eike Batista became a symbol of Brazil’s economic virility, extolled by politicians and lionised by fellow businessmen. He was the world’s seventh-richest person, with a fortune put at around $30 billion. His interlinked businesses included six listed commodities and logistics companies—each with an X in its name, signifying the multiplication of wealth—plus a handful of private firms such as a property developer and a gold-miner. But OGX, the oil and gas firm at the heart of his empire, proved not to be the gusher he had promised. Investors lost faith in him and his devalued assets, and his empire crumbled.

Continue reading at The Economist: Business and Finance


Chile

 


Colombia

Colombia's tight election
Polling for Peace

May 19th 2014, 19:30 by Economist.com

THE winner of the May 25th election will attempt to end one of the world's longest running guerilla wars. But the main candidates have different ideas for doing so.

Watch Video at The Economist: Americas

Gabriel García Márquez
Poet of a Magical Latin American world

Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian novelist, died on April 17th aged 87.

Apr 18th 2014, 20:56 by Bello | LIMA

AS HE later told it, Gabriel García Márquez, who has died at his home in Mexico City, made the most important decision of his life as a writer at the age of 22 when he joined his mother on a journey by steamer and rickety train to Aracataca, a small town surrounded by swamps and banana plantations in the heart of Colombia’s Caribbean coastal plain. Their purpose was to sell his grandparents’ house, where the author was born and had spent most of his first eight years, brought up by his maternal grandparents.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas View, The Americas

 


Cuba

A long game in Havana

Mar 7th 2015 | From the print edition

THE contrast was striking. On February 28th Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, announced the de facto expulsion of scores of American diplomats. It was a transparent ploy by a deeply unpopular leader to foment a clash with the United States so as to justify his repression of the opposition and the possible cancellation of a forthcoming legislative election that he would otherwise lose. Yet a day earlier diplomats from Cuba, Venezuela’s closest ally, sat down in Washington, in an atmosphere that they called one of “respect”, for a second round of talks with the Americans on restoring diplomatic relations after a 54-year hiatus.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas


Ecuador


Honduras


Mexico

Small Business in Mexico
The Peter Pan Syndrome

Why the country’s firms do not want to grow up.

May 17th 2014 | TOCUMBO | From the print edition

N ALMOST every town in Mexico, you will find at least one garish La Michoacana ice-cream parlour, or paleteria. The decor is generally pink, and the ice creams are a rainbow of colours. Flavours include rice pudding, chewing gum and avocado.

La Michoacana is a Mexican business success story, possibly as well known as Dunkin’ Donuts is in the United States. But it is not a corporation, nor a brand, nor a franchise. It is a confetti of independent, family-owned ice-cream parlours. To find its roots, you must travel to Tocumbo, a village in the south-western state of Michoacán, where, when your correspondent visited, the funeral was taking place of two youths beheaded by a drug gang the day before. Small consolation, perhaps, that the locals are so proud of their cemetery they say it is a “joy to die”.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas

All the President's Men

Enrique Peña Nieto dusts off an old manual for imposing order.

Feb 15th 2014 | APATZINGÁN | From the print edition

THREE brotherhoods are struggling for control of Apatzingán, a dusty town in the south-western Mexican state of Michoacán. One is deadly: the Knights Templar drug gang. One espouses vigilantism: the armed “self-defence” militias who on February 8th helped drive the Templars out of their stronghold. The third is the most powerful: a young and preppy group of federal-government employees sent in by President Enrique Peña Nieto to retake control of Michoacán after tension between Knights Templars and vigilantes threatened to spin out of control.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas


Nicaragua 

 


Panama

No Chávez, but no prize
An ex-president's colourful tale

Feb 7th 2015 | PANAMA CITY | From the print edition

FROM ex-president Ricardo Martinelli’s plush 43rd-floor offices overlooking the shorefront of Panama City, the view is good. Below is a Ferrari distributor; nearby are flamboyant skyscrapers, such as a twisted green one known as the “Screw”, which sprouted during his 2009-14 tenure. In those five years, Panama’s growth averaged a blistering 8%, the best in Latin America, though debt also ballooned. A supermarket millionaire, Mr Martinelli touted his country as the Latin Singapore.

Those who championed him as a pro-business alternative to left-wing zealots like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela are thinking again. Seven months after stepping down from office, he has left the country on his private jet, amid accusations that his government ran a corruption and political-espionage racket. He denies wrongdoing.

Continue reading at the Economist: Americas

Caribbean ports and the Panama Canal
Ripple effects

Feb 28th 2014, 9:59 by M.W.| PORT OF SPAIN

THE wrangling between the Panama Canal Authority and a Spanish-led consortium may soon be settled. Work on the project to expand the canal began again on February 20th, after rows about cost overruns had stalled construction since the start of the year. A preliminary accord between the two parties, reached on February 27th, now sets an end-2015 deadline for completion of the work. For some in the Caribbean, further delays would suit their purposes.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas


Paraguay

 


Peru

Peru’s no-convictions politician

A failed labour reform exposes the limits of pragmatism.

Feb 7th 2015 | From the print edition

OLLANTA HUMALA is Latin America’s political weather vane. A former army officer, in 2006 he ran for Peru’s presidency (and lost) as a sympathiser of Hugo Chávez, his campaign financed in part by Venezuelan money. In 2011 he ran again, this time as a disciple of Brazil’s left-leaning but pragmatic former president, known as Lula, calling for “a great transformation”. To win a run-off election that year he moved further to the centre, promising to maintain the liberal economic policies that helped to give Peru the fastest growth rate of South America’s larger economies over the previous decade.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas


Puerto Rico

 


Uruguay


Venezuela

Tyranny looms

Faced with growing unrest and the prospect of losing parliamentary elections, the president is ratcheting up repression.

Feb 28th 2015 | CARACAS | From the print edition

IT WAS a military-style operation, of the kind you would mount to collar a dangerous drug lord. On the afternoon of February 19th dozens of agents of Venezuela’s state security service, Sebin, armed with automatic weapons and a sledgehammer (but no arrest warrant) burst into a suite of offices on the sixth floor of a tower block in El Rosal, a normally quiet district of Caracas. Their quarry was not some villain but the 59-year-old mayor of metropolitan Caracas, Antonio Ledezma. After a day and a half in Sebin’s custody he was sent to a military jail to await trial on charges of conspiring to overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s president.

Continue reading at The Economist: The Americas

Sliding toward Dictatorship

The arrest of the mayor of Caracas is a sign that the regime will do whatever it takes to hold on to power.

Feb 20th 2015 | CARACAS

LATE on the afternoon of February 19th a large group of armed men, some with their faces covered, burst into the offices of Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Caracas, on the sixth floor of a tower block in the normally quiet district of El Rosal. Some carried assault rifles, others side-arms and at least one had a riot shield. They smashed the glass door to his office with a sledgehammer and, according to eyewitnesses, responded with expletives to Mr Ledezma’s demand for a search warrant.

Continue reading at The Economist: The Americas

Sliding toward Dictatorship

The arrest of the mayor of Caracas is a sign that the regime will do whatever it takes to hold on to power.

Feb 20th 2015 | CARACAS

LATE on the afternoon of February 19th a large group of armed men, some with their faces covered, burst into the offices of Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Caracas, on the sixth floor of a tower block in the normally quiet district of El Rosal. Some carried assault rifles, others side-arms and at least one had a riot shield. They smashed the glass door to his office with a sledgehammer and, according to eyewitnesses, responded with expletives to Mr Ledezma’s demand for a search warrant.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas

The revolution at bay

Mismanagement, corruption and the oil slump are fraying Hugo Chávez’s regime.

Feb 14th 2015 | CARACAS | From the print edition

ON A Wednesday evening around 30 pensioners have gathered for a meeting in a long, brightly lit room in a largely abandoned shopping gallery in Santa Teresa, a rundown and overcrowded district in the centre of Caracas. After a video and some announcements, Alexis Rondón, an official of the Ministry of Social Movements and Communes, begins to speak. “Chávez lives,” he says. “Make no mistake: our revolution is stronger than ever.”

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas

Protests in Venezuela
Stop the Spiral

Dialogue, not repression, is the way for Nicolás Maduro to save his government and his country.

Mar 1st 2014 | From the print edition

THE echoes are striking: division, a government combining a democratic mandate with thuggery, and an opposition that is increasingly radicalised. The parallels between Venezuela and Ukraine are not exact: the fractures in Venezuela are based largely on class, and those in Ukraine partly on geography. But both are caught in a spiral of protest and violent response.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas

Disorder in Venezuela
Towards the brink

The regime’s brutal response to opposition protests fuels greater radicalism.

Mar 1st 2014 | CARACAS | From the print edition

THE sound of banging pots began well before dawn. Out on the streets on February 24th the barricades were going up across the south and east of Caracas, the capital city. Tree-trunks, blocks of concrete, burning tyres and smouldering rubbish brought traffic to a halt. In some areas demonstrators slicked the road surface with oil or spread spikes to keep government forces away.

Continue reading at The Economist: Americas