Latin America faces many challenges to ensure a better life for its citizens. The best tool to tackle such challenges is improving democratic governance, which does not always find fertile ground to thrive. The main obstacle to democratic governance continues to be populist politicians and their shaky commitment to democracy. The making of a democratic … Read more
It’s fair that Mexican officials would fret over U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to walk away from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – 80 percent of Mexican goods are currently exported to the U.S., and any change to the 23-year-old deal will surely be economically and politically disruptive. But other potential changes in … Read more
It’s 8 a.m. on a rainy Monday morning in Argentina, and Captain Humberto Duarte is stuck in traffic. A tugboat pushing 16 barges laden with soybean is taking an age to pass under the bridge that spans the river here at Corrientes on the Paraguay-Paraná hidrovía (waterway). The captains of nearby ships voice their frustration … Read more
Venezuela’s September 1 demonstrations, in which as many as a million people took to the streets of Caracas to demand a change in government, were certainly impressive. But were they effective? If the goal was to fundamentally alter the country’s political direction, the answer is probably “no.” Despite the buzz generated by this month’s protests … Read more
Like waves caused by a faraway hurricane, big global events eventually tend to wash up on Latin America’s shores. In the 2000s, the rise of China and its appetite for commodities gave rise to a new Latin American middle class and a “pink tide” of left-leaning leaders who handed out the spoils. In the 1990s, … Read more
In the past decade, China’s expanding engagement with Latin America has captivated the attention of the region and the United States. Most of the focus, however, has been on whether the new trade and investment is good for the region’s long-term development, and whether particular Chinese activities, such as military sales and loans to Venezuela … Read more
Read more about China and Latin America in the Winter 2012 issue of Americas Quarterly to be released on January 26, 2012. Brazil and China’s economic relations have grown at a rapid clip in the last five years. But their new ties are also leading to increased wariness by the Brazilians. The real challenge comes … Read more
In 2008, when I was a Fulbright professor at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, the international school my children attended hired a local contractor to build a new classroom wing. As the building reached completion, the relationship went sour: the construction did not meet the criteria originally agreed upon. As the parties began to fight … Read more
China has taken a renewed interest in the five-sixths of the world that is still developing—the area famously christened the “Third World” by Jawaharlal Nehru at the dawn of the Cold War. But China’s identification with the emerging world is by no means new.1 And the interest is not just rhetorical: it is borne out … Read more
As President George W. Bush pressures Congress to ratify the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, it is worth examining the results to date of the Dominican Republic-Central America-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). That agreement, involving the United States, five Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) and the Dominican Republic has taken … Read more
Is globalization a leading cause of rising inequality? Or does it help reduce poverty? These questions are at the heart of the major economic and social challenges confronting both high income and developing countries today. For developed industrial nations, the answers are bound to determine the outcome of the currently troubled Doha Round of trade talks—and possibly the future direction of the global multilateral trading system itself. But the stakes are no less high for developing countries.
Congratulations, Mr. President-elect. Amidst the celebratory post-election fervor of the past few weeks I hope you have caught glimpses of the transcendent significance of your victory, and the powerful inspiration that it provides to the citizens of the U.S. and, indeed, the world. In fact, there can be little doubt that your ascension to the presidential office validates and illuminates many of the core tenets of your nation.