live at 8PM Eastern, and archived for your listening convenience Panama Canal, Argentina, Mexico & US-Latin America stories of the week
Today is question day: Is Populism beatable?
Populism has been the driving force behind both our political landscape and our economic misfortunes. This trait has marked the misguided economic policies of several administrations, with Chavismo just exacerbating the problem. Because, in essence chavismo repeats a well’worn recipe: continue to fuel the spending binge, among other insane policies, with an unprecedented oil boom backing this profligate party.
Populism thrives in societies where the rule of law is undermined or non-existent, with sky-high economic inequalities, a weak institutional framework, and polarization among other contributing factors.
Carlos Rangel’s post offers a start, but my question is, can totalitarian Communism be ousted from Venezuela at this point?
Marisol Ruiz writes, Want to Fix Border Crises? Empower Women.
Ms Ruiz, whose research focuses on gender and international relations, states that
A common denominator in most proposals is that they lack a gender perspective or simply ignore the concerns of women and girls. A long-term solution is to urge Central American governments to allocate resources – their own and any that the United States may want to contribute – to policies that reduce inequality and promote “gender mainstreaming” – the “globally accepted approach to achieving gender equality,” according to UN Women, so women’s and men’s concerns and experiences are “integral to the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of all policies and programs.”
. . .
Any approval by US Congress for emergency funds should attach specific conditions to the aid packages, ensuring the money will implement policies focused on gender mainstreaming, highlighting the importance of transforming gender relations, rather than just implementing a one-size-fits-all approach to include women.
Her solutions include government spending in education, family planning, legalizing abortion, and “investing in political equality” by including women in the policymaking.
Yes, good, universal elementary school education and fostering literacy is a vital factor. But what is missing from Ruiz’s picture?
Not a word on the rule of law.
Not a word on curtailing corruption.
Not a word on protecting and encouraging property rights.
Not a word on fostering economic growth by decreasing bureaucracies, streamlining the registration and licensing of businesses, or investing in infrastructure.
Not a word on finding ways to provide access to capital (other than by remittances, that is).
Not a word on attracting foreign investment, industrializing, increasing exports, or increasing productivity.
So, would “gender mainstreaming” fix the border crisis? No.
Looks like Citibank lied down with dogs, and is now covered with fleas:
If the banking giant obeys a US judge’s order, it risks losing its banking license in Argentina — and the $2 billion it has in local deposits.
But if it follows Argentine law, it risks violating a US federal court order.
Play me the world’s smallest violin: It’s not looking good,
In a recent speech, Kirchner reminded Citi of its obligations under Argentine law and noted that her government decides who gets banking licenses in the country.
The potential fallout is a major concern for Citi, which has a huge retail banking presence in Argentina — and throughout South America, which is siding with Argentina.
About 18 percent of Citi’s revenues come from Latin America.
I don’t know if it’s related to the infernal heat, but there was no internet for several hours today. Here’s some Terapia Intensiva while I get things done,
August 15th marked the Centennial of the inauguration of the Panama Canal.
U. of FL in Gainsville: Panama and the Canal
Under Panamanian leadership, the canal has not merely been maintained as one of the world’s premier shipping routes. It has been transformed from a staid state-owned public utility, with its quasi-socialist “zone” for employees, to a modern business that aims to maximize revenues and compete internationally. The privatization of the ports on both coasts and the railroad that runs alongside the waterway, as well as the construction of a third set of locks, are testaments to the visionary and entrepreneurial thinking that Panamanian ownership has brought.
Of course, no roundup would be complete without The Tailor of Panama, in book and film.
The 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal, hailed at the time as one of the world’s great wonders, has inspired a celebration in central Florida to showcase the experience of the US canal workers behind the engineering feat.
Fresno Bee:At age 100, Panama Canal looks to the future
To fuel that growth, the canal is in the midst of an expansion that includes new channels on both ends and state-of-the-art locks that will allow bigger, wider and heavier ships to transit the waterway.
Quijano, who is in charge of the autonomous government agency that oversees canal operations, said the expansion represents “the next 100 years of the canal.”
The $5.25 billion project was initially supposed to be completed to coincide with the canal’s 100th anniversary. But a dispute with the contractor, weather and delay in finding the right concrete mix for the new locks have pushed the completion date to December 2015 with commercial traffic beginning in 2016.
International Business Times: Panama Canal Anniversary 2014: 100 Years Ago Today, Navigation Project Launched “American Century
Mashable photos: The Panama Canal, Then and Now
BBC: My Panama Canal
The Panama Canal has been described as one of the wonders of the modern world. Cutting a swathe through the landscape, the canal connected the Pacific and Atlantic oceans for the first time 100 years ago. Today, the waterway provides employment and inspiration. Four people talk about their Panama Canal.
Why is the Venezuelan regime so intent in making the trial of Leopoldo Lopez such a travesty?
Let me make that clear for the reader: the defense will not be allowed to present its evidence nor its witnesses. The only evidence and witnesses that will be allowed in court are the ones from the prosecution. The defense, we hope, will be only able to cross examine that evidence. Since we know that Venezuelan judges under chavismo can silence cross examination as they want, there you have it. Of course, I am sure that as the trial moves on the judge may allow the defense an item here, an item there, just to pretend that a trial did take place, but is not going to fool anyone. It is also true that in any serious trial the judges can dismiss useless evidence such as the nephew of the accused selling boy scout cookies as a character reference, but this is not the case here. What is going on here is outright denial of justice, it is a show trial, a kangaroo court, a pre-ordained execution.
Why is the regime taking such an international risk with a figure that has already won in international courts sentences establishing that the regime was unfair towards him?
One word: force.
Fernandez said the printing firm had ties to foreign investors whose decade-long debt battle against Argentina in the U.S. courts led Argentina to default on its debt last month for the second time in 12 years.
Silva ‘to run’ for Brazil president
Former Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva agrees to run as the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate after Eduardo Campos’s sudden death, an adviser says.
Colombia victims join peace talksRepresentatives of the victims join the talks in Cuba for the first time, 16 Aug 14
A group of victims of five decades of conflict in Colombia for the first time join government negotiators and Farc rebel leaders at peace talks.
Pie in the sky: Ecuador Seeks To Build A Silicon Valley Of Its Own
A Reminisce: Grand Theft Auto Murder
Mexico’s kidnappers used to target the rich. Now even shopkeepers and taco vendors are victims.
At 100, Panama Canal looks to the future
Panamanians reflecting on the past 100 years say the biggest legacy of the canal is its contribution to the economy. ‘Without the canal, we wouldn’t have half the things we have now,’ says one shopkeeper.
Gold, Peru’s New Cocaine
Not The Onion: Migrant Thinks He’s Arrived To U.S., Actually In Uruguay
The week’s posts and podcast:
Mexico: The dancing ‘dipu-tables’
At Da tech Guy blog:
The Economist lowers the bar on low expectations
US-Latin America stories of the week
Puerto Vallarta PAN legislative-strategy meeting:
The four-minute video was published this week by Reporte Indigo, a muckraking online publication known for taking on public corruption and politicians of all stripes. The publication’s publisher, Ramón Alberto Garza, said in an interview that the video’s newsworthiness rests in the question of whether the party was paid for with public funds. The PAN officials in the video, none of whom dispute its authenticity, say it wasn’t.
Mr. Garza didn’t reveal where his publication obtained the video, in which a chuckling man can be heard shouting, “The Viagra is going to run out.”
Here’s Garza’s interview, in Spanish,
Garza points out that one of the men caught hot-handed is the man in charge of managing the money allotted to the PAN funds from public funds.
It’s not the first time PAN members were caught copping a grope:
Brazilian police in late June arrested two PAN officials and two other Mexican men for allegedly groping a woman on a street corner after Mexico’s World Cup loss to Holland, then beating her husband when he tried to intervene. The men have been fired from their jobs with a Mexico City district government and remain jailed in Fortaleza, Brazil, charged with assault.
Paco Almaraz did a burnt-out unit skit on them,
Post re-edited for clarity.
Tom Hiddleston for Jaguar,
Mark Strong fans will like this one: “Maybe we just sound right.”
Blogging on LatAm shall resume shortly.