Tag: Latin America

Venezuelan Dictator Nicolas Maduro Tightens His Grip »

Venezuela’s tyrant, Nicolás Maduro, has a habit of surpassing his own repressive feats every now and then. The latest wave of repression gives a stunning indication of how far he is prepared to go to hold on to power in the face of massive rejection. At the end of January, Maduro’s government gave the...
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What Makes a Miserable Country? »

Venezuela is the world’s most miserable country, according to a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University who have calculated a World Misery Index. “Misery” is measured as the sum of a country’s inflation rate, unemployment rate, and interest rate, minus the annual percentage change in real GDP per capita. The higher the total...
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Humala’s Hatchet Man May Be Key Figure in Peruvian Spy Scandal »

The Peruvian government is spying on its critics, real or imagined. The first revelations came out a year and a half ago but were summarily dismissed by President Ollanta Humala. Now a profusion of videos, documents, and other evidence has been leaked out by insiders at the National Intelligence Directorate (DINI), an organization headed...
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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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