It’s not surprising that 16 Latin American and Caribbean countries have set up embassies here, more than they have in Russia.
”India is in a growth trajectory,” Nath told me, noting that India is likely to grow at 10 percent annually in coming years. “And Latin America is very important to us.”
While India’s trade with Latin America lags far behind China’s, Indian officials are working overtime to catch up, as I learned after meeting R. Viswanathan, the Foreign Ministry’s head of Latin American affairs.
Unlike most Indian career diplomats, who tend to be low-key bureaucrats, Viswanathan is a highly visible Latin America promoter. His business card reads, ”Passionate about Latin America,” and he personally runs three blogs and one website, Business with Latin America [link added], dedicated to the region.
Oppenheimer notes that politically, India has an advantage over China:
America for its Buddhist history and spiritual movements that are increasingly popular in the region, and for its booming information technology and pharmaceutical companies, he said.
”While China reminds me of 16th century Spain, which was only interested in extracting Latin America’s natural resources, India is never going to be an imperial country,” agreed Abdul Nafei, head of the Latin American studies program at Jawhardal Nehru University.
My opinion: Get ready to hear more about India in Latin America. In addition to a 1.1 billion population, democracy and a booming economy, India will offer an alternative economic role model — based on exporting services rather than manufacturing — that some in the region will find more appealing than China’s. Lagos, the former Chilean president, knew what he was talking about.
In other Caribbean items,
Former tinpot dictator Daniel Noriega of Panama will be released from prison later this year:
When Noriega steps out of his specially built, apartment-like cell at the Federal Correctional Institution in Southwest Miami-Dade, he probably won’t be free. Noriega — reportedly 68 or 72, depending on conflicting birth records — is wanted in Panama and in France.
Noriega was sentenced to a 30-year term for protecting Colombian cocaine shipments through Panama in the 1980s.
At least he can still speak out: Former Chavez confidant becomes critic in Venezuela
President Hugo Chavez’s political mentor — who once persuaded the fiery leader to seek power through elections after he led a failed coup — now says the regime has “all the characteristics of a dictatorial government.”
Richard Rahn writes about the Collapsing Venezuela
Venezuela no longer has an independent central bank, and inflation is already up to 17 percent and rapidly rising. We know countries thrive with economic freedom but decline without it, and Venezuela is now down to 126 out of 130 nations in the 2006 Economic Freedom of the World the most rapid decline ever (in 1995 it was No. 75). And, finally, we know that when a state becomes totally corrupt an economic collapse always follows.
Here are some NEW DEAD CASTRO RUMORS, in case you thought I forgot.
Meanwhile in South America,
Evo replaced seven out of 16 ministers of his cabinet – a day after celebrating his first year in office.
In Spanish: Los muertos de Castro, a must-see video on The Cuba Archive: