How Will Latin America Fare in the Global Recession?

Celebration about recent growth in Latin America has quickly given way to near-universal alarm about economic prospects. Stock markets are collapsing. Latin currencies are under great pressure. More weakness almost certainly lies ahead.  Real indicators of employment and economic activity have turned negative almost uniformly across the region. Make no mistake about it.  With the […]

Latin America: A Long Way from Denver?

The ongoing Democratic convention with all its high-tech hoopla and homey patriotic spirit would at first glance have little relevance for Latin America, but in fact this is not the case. A Democratic president, if Obama is elected in November, would have a rare opportunity to recast U.S.-Latin American relations in ways that could be […]

Energy Reform in Mexico: If It Happens, Will It Really Matter?

Mexico, despite 42 billion barrels of crude oil reserves, is far from the global forefront in technology and development and almost nowhere in the debate on renewable energy alternatives.  Energy policy in Mexico, hobbled by decades of nationalist mythology and political vacillation, is adrift on a sea of oil.  Something is very wrong with this […]

Brazil’s Investment Grade Rating

The timing of any decision to upgrade Brazil sovereign credits to investment grade was bound to be surprising whenever it occurred. Even for those who follow Brazil carefully, the improvement in Brazil’s financial indicators boggles the mind. How could a country with a long history of shaky finances that just yesterday seemed on the verge […]

Brazil and the Global Crisis: Different This Time?

A very interesting debate is occurring in Brazil, one unimaginable a few short years ago, about policies to pursue in the light of the US recession. Should Brazil hew to the painful lessons of crises past and tighten policies? Or are internal and external conditions so different nowadays that Brazil should do the opposite: stimulate […]

Cuba as a Transition Economy

It was a small step for Cuba, maybe, but with Fidel’s recent decision to step aside the reform “genie” is now out of the bottle.  Raul’s first actions in office – meeting the Vatican representative, signing human rights treaties, talking about economic reform – speak volumes.   Rigid control by the Party and the Revolutionary Armed […]

Mexico and Super Tuesday

Those following the US primary elections could be forgiven for thinking that Latin America in the minds of these candidates is, as ever, the “forgotten continent”.  While it may be true that most of Latin America remains an afterthought, Mexico is certainly not forgotten, though it probably wishes it could be.  Instead, Mexico and its […]

Brazil: Rethinking the 2008 Outlook

Latin America’s economic outlook for 2008 is increasingly uncertain, caught somewhere in a no-man’s land between last year’s quiet complacency about decoupling and last week’s panicky market sell-off and fears of a return to the 1990s-style crises. Concern about the economic outlook for Latin America is natural because a good part of the region’s recent […]

Is Barack Bullish or Bearish for Latin America?

Through a process that Latin Americans must find very strange, the U.S. is selecting its two candidates for the 2008 presidential elections. This is beginning with high-profile primary elections in Iowa and (tonight actually) in New Hampshire, two very low-profile (and unrepresentative) states. For reasons not crystal clear to anyone, voters in these states have […]

Which Way for Latin America in 2008?

Which way is it for Latin America?  It was commonly said in the past that when the U.S. caught a cold, Latin America got pneumonia.   By that measure, the shivers in the U.S. economy should have already sent chills throughout Latin America, but that does not seem to be the case, at least not on […]