Brazil’s Economic Policies Under President Rouseff

I would be the first to admit that I am not very good at reading the political tea leaves in Brazil.  I once anticipated that Jose Serra would win the presidency – in 2002!  I even thought this pragmatic centrist had a good chance to win in 2010.  Of course, I never envisioned the emergence of Dilma Rouseff.  Wrong again!   It now looks like Dilma in an absolute landslide and in the first round, no less.

Helping Haiti

Although words fail us, the burden of relief, reconstruction, and development in Haiti is one that must be borne by all.  Effective plans need to be in place quickly, before the rains come bringing with them the threat of deeper catastrophe. 

Brazil and the Rebalancing of World Economic Growth

In Nouriel Roubini’s July 14 post, he issues a further warning about the slow and halting pace of recovery in the United States.  How alarming is this scenario of slow global recovery for Latin America? Is commodity-driven and capital-dependent Latin America inevitably being channeled into another “lost” half-decade because of the weak U.S. and external […]

Brazil and the BRICS

Investors should see Brazil’s leadership in the recent BRIC meeting as another sign of a profound transformation in its international role.  While Brazil prides itself on being structurally anti-status quo, and still seeks opportunities to distance itself from U.S. and European institutions, Brazil is moving toward a more active role within a (reformed) international status […]

Brazil and Mercosul: Reasons to Think Twice About Venezuela

The Brazilian Senate is considering whether or not to ratify the decision by the Lula administration to extend to Venezuela full membership in Mercosul.  In the context of global financial crisis, any and all efforts to promote freer trade should be welcome.  In this case, however, the Brazilian government would be well advised to postpone […]

Why Is Bolivia Doing (Relatively) Well?

Juan Antonio Morales* and Thomas Trebat Many observers of the Latin American economies are wondering why these vulnerable commodity exporters, including the smaller South American economies, are showing more resilience to the current crisis than economies in other parts of the world.  Is it because the crisis just has not hit them hard yet, but […]

Brazil and the U.S.: Reflections on Lula’s Visit

To readers:  I made closing remarks by way of summary following an event entitled “Brazil: Global Partner in a New Economy” held in New York City on March 16, 2009 and sponsored by the Business Council for International Understanding and Dow Jones.  President Lula was in attendance for most of the day along with almost every senior member of his cabinet.  The text of my closing remarks follows.

Bolivia: Economic Consequences of the New Constitution

Juan Antonio Morales* and Thomas J. Trebat

In a January referendum followed around the world, a significant majority of Bolivians (62%) voted in favor of a new constitution.  On the surface, the passage of the constitution is a victory for Bolivia’s indigenous majorities and provides reason to celebrate.  The new charter promises more equitable access to land and other natural resources, redefines Bolivia as a “plurinational state” in which multiple societies (e.g., 36 defined ethnic groups) and their legal structures co-exist, and guarantees social and economic rights.  As the embodiment of the ideals of Bolivia’s social movements, this constitution is a powerful document.

The Curious Case of Ecuador’s Default – And Why It Matters

One of the questions concerning Latin America in 2009 is whether or not the region will be plunged into yet another dismal round of debt defaults as commodity prices stay low and foreign capital inflows frozen solid.

For the skeptics, Ecuador is Exhibit A.  In the context of a region that gave birth to the term “serial defaulter”, Ecuador’s mid-December decision to default on its bonded debt is an alarming development.

Latin American Alarm: Time for Global Action, Not Benign Neglect

Alarm bells are sounding all over Latin America as the credit freeze starts to exact a grim toll on jobs, employment, and confidence.   Latin America’s aggregate financing needs in 2009 are more modest than those of Russia and Eastern Europe, but credit needs are l enormous and the global competition for funding severe for 2009, at least, and who really knows for how much longer after that?

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