Tag: Latin America

Oil and Dictators »

Will the collapse of oil prices benefit or erode petrodictators in the Middle East, Eurasia, Africa, and Latin America? At first glance, the answer would seem obvious. Venezuela, Nigeria, and Iran need crude prices as high as $110 per barrel to fund their states in their present condition. Russia, half of whose government budget...
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Normalizing Relations with Cuba: Good Policy »

President Obama announced that the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba, which is a good move for both countries. The economic impact of the policy will be limited, however, because the economic embargo the United States has imposed on Cuba can be removed only by Congress. This presents the obvious political...
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The Malvinas versus Argentina »

I hope someone has the cheek to send Argentine President Cristina Kirchner a copy of the Statistical Yearbook 2014 published by the Falkland Islands Government—preferably without giving too many hints of their identity, if they want to avoid serious trouble. Regardless of what one thinks about the sovereignty issue, few documents in recent memory...
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Brazil—Back to Normality »

Brazil’s presidential election has confirmed that, after a few weeks in which environmentalist candidate Marina Silva and her “new kind of politics” turned things upside down, everything is back to normal: the governing Workers Party (PT) is a hegemonic force, the Social Democratic Party (PSDB) is a convenient opposition and, despite the increasing impatience...
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Obama: The Unbearable Lightness of Being on Immigration »

President Obama’s decision to postpone executive action on immigration is probably the nail in the coffin for comprehensive reform under the current government—regardless of whether the president has the constitutional authority to bypass Congress or not, which is not the topic of this post. Whatever reform comes after the midterm elections, if any, will...
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Piketty and Emerging Markets »

Much has been said to refute Thomas Piketty’s important book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, from the perspective of developed countries, but not from the standpoint of emerging markets. His contention that the rate of return of capital, roughly twice the rate of growth of the economy, leads to increasing inequality is not consistent with...
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Leopoldo Lopez: Venezuela’s “Dangerous Man” »

After several days in hiding, Leopoldo López, one of the leaders of Venezuela’s resistance movement, turned himself in at a massive protest rally and proclaimed: “If my imprisonment serves to wake up people...it will have been worth it.” The Chavista dictatorship headed by Nicolás Maduro has charged him with acts of violence related to...
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Venezuela: The End of Newspapers? »

I recently got a call from the owner and editor of “El Nacional,” the longstanding Venezuelan daily, in which Miguel Henrique Otero told me that things are even worse than what has been reported in relation to his country’s newspaper industry. Since the end of last year, the government has refused to allow the...
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U.S. War on Poverty Failed While Global Poverty Declined 80%: Economic Liberalization Begets Prosperity and Equality »

50 years after LBJ declared a “War on Poverty,” the U.S. would do well to take a page from the global playbook—whereby economic liberalization and more open trade has resulted in an 80% decline in abject poverty since 1976. The graphs below, taken from the National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper, “Parametric Estimations...
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Venezuela’s Price Police »

The Venezuelan government’s war on price inflation is not a metaphorical one—last weekend President Maduro, who owes his title to April’s rigged election, ordered the military takeover of Daka, a chain of electronic stores, and the arrest of several managers from that and other retail companies. The rhetoric employed by Maduro was inevitably interpreted...
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