I have never thought of Shakira, Juanes and lesser-known artists as potential engines of Latin America’s economy, but newly released studies conclude that the region could grow more rapidly if it developed its so-called “creative industries.” All of a sudden, major international institutions are sounding alarm bells about the fact that despite its wealth of talent in music, films, books, handcrafts, fashion designs, video-games and other creative activities, Latin America accounts for only 1.7 per cent of the $646 billion in annual global exports of cultural goods and services,
Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is likely to win the Dec 15 runoff election by a landslide, and the conventional wisdom is that her new coalition, which includes the Communist Party, will make a sharp turn to the left.
More than two years after President Obama announced his plan to increase US-Latin American college-student exchanges to 100,000 in each direction by 2020, the programme may be advancing too slowly to meet its target.
There are many reasons why potentially-rich Latin American nations are growing at a slower pace than their Asian counterparts but one of the least noticed factors — and one in need of urgent attention — is that a Latin American may grow old before being able to enforce a business contract in many countries of the region.
LIMA — When I interviewed Peruvian President Ollanta Humala last week, he struck me as a less articulate leader than most of his South American colleagues —but one who may be doing a better job than his more loquacious counterparts.
The U.S. government, which loves to lecture other countries on how to run their affairs, would do well in learning some lessons from other nations in order to avoid a repeat of last week’s costly — and embarrassing — government shutdown.
The US government’s recent signing of a first-of-its-kind bilateral deal with the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo makes me wonder whether Washington will start a new strategy in Latin America — by-passing not-so-friendly national governments, and signing agreements with more amicable local authorities.
When I interviewed Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa last week, I was most surprised by his renewed optimism about Latin America, and by his confidence that Chavismo — the region’s authoritarian populist movement — is rapidly losing ground.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s angry denunciation of US electronic spying at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week was applauded by most in the room, but her proposal to regulate the Internet should make all of us very nervous.
Much of the world is demanding greater pressure on Syria following a United Nations inspectors’ report hinting that Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons in his country’s civil war, but — amazingly — Venezuela and some of its Latin American allies are still passionately defending Syria’s dictator.
What’s most amazing about the arrest in Miami of Bolivia’s top anti-corruption police official, caught on tape extorting a bribe from a well-known businessman, was that hardly anybody was surprised by the news.
The World Economic Forum’s ranking of competitiveness released this week confirms what many of us feared: Latin America is losing ground in the global economy and is doing very little about it.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is doing great things in Latin America, but I wonder whether its latest role as a middleman to help place 4,000 Cuban doctors in remote areas of Brazil does not amount to sponsoring slavery.
While the much-needed US immigration reform bill remains stuck in Congress, Canada is not waiting — it has launched a pilot programme to attract global entrepreneurs by offering them permanent visas and a path to citizenship.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power deserves credit for asking Cuba’s foreign minister to launch a credible investigation into the suspicious death of leading Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, but she should have gone a step further.
Uruguay’s government-proposed marijuana legalization drive has been described as the world’s boldest, and could help reduce drug-related crime, but a conversation I had this week with former Uruguayan President Julio Maria Sanguinetti left me wondering whether it won’t backfire.
Just when we were beginning to digest the news that Nicaragua had signed a contract with a Chinese company to build a $40 billion inter-oceanic canal that would compete with a soon-to-be expanded Panama Canal, Guatemala announced this week that it’s jumping into the fray and will build a $12 billion inter-oceanic “dry corridor.” Are the Nicaraguan and Guatemalan projects serious?
After more than a decade of booming economic ties between China and Latin America, new headlines that China may be heading for a crisis are starting to draw anxiety in China-dependent countries in the region.
The United States is becoming a dysfunctional country: politically, it’s lurching from one embarrassment to the next, but economically and technologically, it’s rising at an amazing speed.
The surprising support for Egypt’s military coup in US, European and Middle Eastern political circles may turn into a bad precedent for Latin America — it could help legitimize the idea that there are ‘good’ military coups.
It’s no wonder that protesters in Brazil are holding signs reading “more education, less soccer,” or that there are constant teacher strikes in Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Mexico — Latin American schoolteachers are among the most miserably paid in the world.
Nicaragua’s $40 billion deal with a Chinese company to build a trans-oceanic waterway that will compete with the Panama Canal will either be Latin America’s most important economic project in more than a century or the biggest government scam in the region’s history.
When I interviewed former President Jimmy Carter on a wide range of issues a few days ago, I was especially interested in his views about Venezuela’s two-month-old political crisis.
Something very unusual happened at the 34-country Organization of American States (OAS) annual foreign ministers’ meeting recently: the United States and Mexico won a diplomatic victory over authoritarian populist governments that wanted a free hand to suppress human rights monitors and critical media.
The most interesting thing about China’s new President Xi Jinping’s first official trip to Latin America was that he did not set foot in Cuba, Venezuela or any other of China’s political allies in the region — which would have received a huge propaganda boost from such a visit.
Latin American presidents who support the decriminalization of marijuana won a big diplomatic victory in recent days when the 34-country Organization of American States issued a report that considers that option as one of several policies that might help reduce the region’s drug-related violence.
The highly respected Nature Scientific Reports journal has just published a map of the world’s leading science cities, and it looks pretty bad for emerging countries: It shows the planet’s northern hemisphere full of lights, and the south almost solidly dark.
I’ve read with great attention President Barack Obama’s article in The Miami Herald earlier this week on how to improve US relations with Latin America.
Despite a lot of upbeat talk about upgrading US-Mexican economic relations, there will be one big issue that will be off the table during President Barack Obama’s visit to Mexico starting Thursday — Mexico’s request to be part of ongoing US-European free trade talks.
While many of us were focused on the Boston bombings, Venezue-la’s dubious elections and North Korea’s war noises in recent weeks, the world’s biggest nations took a potentially historic step — they launched a system to detect secret offshore bank accounts.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s endorsement of Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro in last Sunday’s elections has perpetuated one of the biggest myths in Latin American politics — that the Venezuelan government, despite its mistakes, has done more than others to help the poor.
Most polls show that Venezuela’s government candidate Nicolás Maduro is likely to win today’s elections thanks to an unfair election process in which the government controls an overwhelming share of TV time, but — even if he wins — Maduro’s future is gloomy.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias could not believe his ears when he heard that the United Nations had overwhelmingly approved a treaty to curb international arms sales, a cause he had been championing for nearly two decades.
What a pleasant surprise! Mexico, whose government routinely supports human rights violators throughout the region, played a key role in thwarting an effort by a group of countries to weaken the region’s most important human rights commission.
The most interesting thing about Argentine Pope Francis may be not just that he’s the first Latin American to head the Vatican, but also that he may become the Church’s biggest champion of interfaith dialogue ever.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s death will most likely mark the beginning of the end of Venezuela’s political clout in Latin America, but his influence inside Venezuela is likely to last for many decades.
Brazil, South America’s biggest country, may become a global economic superstar in the future, but it will have to stop being an inward-looking giant.
Many people are surprised by Rafael Correa’s sweeping victory in last Sunday’s Ecuadorean presidential election, despite his government’s massive corruption scandals and his record of repression against the media and political opponents.
A new study on corruption in Latin America contains some alarming figures — an average of about 20 per cent of the region’s people say they have been asked to pay a bribe by a policeman or another public official in the past year, compared with 5 per cent in the United States and 3 per cent in Canada.
House Republicans don’t seem to get it. After getting pummelled by Hispanic voters in the 2012 election, they now want to create an underclass of 11 million people — mostly Latinos — by denying undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.
Argentina has crossed a line by making a sweet deal with Iran to jointly investigate a 1994 terrorist attack against the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which according to Argentine prosecutors and Interpol was masterminded by top Iranian officials.
When President Barack Obama made a brief reference to gun violence in his second-term inauguration speech, he should have mentioned a new map of gun violence — it shows that Washington, DC’s murder rate is almost twice as high as that of violence-ridden Mexico.
It sounds like a joke, but it isn’t: At the end of this month, the 33-country Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) — a two-year-old organization that lists promoting democracy among its top goals — will swear-in Cuban dictator General Raúl Castro as its new chairman.
BUENOS AIRES — Things are not going well for Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner — only fourteen months after winning re-election by a landslide, barely a week goes by in which she doesn’t do something that raises questions about her political wisdom and emotional stability.
While Venezuela’s announcement that President Hugo Chávez’s bout with cancer has taken a turn for the worse is making big headlines, there is another development in the Venezuelan drama that has gone almost unnoticed: high-level US-Venezuelan talks preparing for a post-Chávez future may have already started.
Most media lists of the most important events of 2012 are led by headlines such as the re-election of President Barack Obama, the appointment of China’s new leader Xi Jinping, the revolt in Syria, the return to power of Mexico’s ruling PRI party and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s battle with cancer.
Since President Barack Obama has appointed Senator John Kerry as secretary of state to replace Hillary Clinton when he starts his second term next month, you may see a somewhat greater US focus on Latin American affairs.
When Doral made history by becoming the first Florida city to elect a Venezuelan mayor earlier this week, my first reaction was to run to my Twitter page to spread the news alongside a short comment: Gracias, Hugo!
While both the European Union and South America’s Mercosur bloc had condemned the latest round of violence in Gaza before Wednesday’s cease-fire, there was a big difference in their respective statements: One was reasonably balanced; the other was shamefully biased against Israel.