Tag: Latin America
Evo Morales and the Populist Domino
These are not happy days for Latin America’s authoritarian populists. The defeat of Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, in a recent referendum designed to allow him to seek a fourth consecutive term comes only weeks after Venezuela’s opposition wrested control of the National Assembly following a massive election victory and a few months...
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Save the Children. Open the Border
They call it “La Bestia” (“the beast”) or “el tren de los desconocidos” (“the train of the unknown”). Every year, an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 immigrants, as many as 1,500 per day, climb on top of trains and travel from their countries of origin—mostly Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador—and through Mexico in an...
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Galeano vs. Rangel: A Conflict of Visions in Latin America
In 2009, President Hugo Chávez caused a stir when he presented President Barack Obama with a literary gift titled Open Veins of Latin America. The author, Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, an icon of the left, died last month. It so happens that 2015 is also the fortieth anniversary one of the best books about...
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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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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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