Brazil led the streak of bad businesses for Latin America in 2015 with the Petrobas corruption scandal reaching to the far ends of business. These had involved several corporate leaders such as Odebrecth’s Marcelo OdeBrecths and BTG Pactual CEO Andres Esteves. Both are involved in the $7.6 billion scandal that also involved politicians and an additional 50 prominent businessmen.
Brazil’s political crisis also plays a role in any attempt to stabilise its economy, weakening the influence and popularity of Brazil’s Dilma Rouseff.
Argentina’s former President Cristina Kirchner weakened Argentina’s economy during her almost a decade rule in the country. After her candidate Daniel Scioli lost to opposition candidate Mauricio Macri, she pushed the entire process to move under her command despite her candidate losing the election.
Her decree allowed her to spread the funds to provinces and weaken the incoming government.
Venezuela’s own economy had declined with inflation reaching extremely high numbers. Having the worst macro-economic environment possible, this includes a leader that will not change the methods. President Nicolas Maduro continues to push the red tape forward with restrictions on private enterprise and the foreign exchange market.
Analysts From Stratfor.com said that Latin America’s economy is projected to contract by 0.3 per cent in 2015. The International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook seconds it as fact.
According to the report, the stronger American dollar and a collapse in commodity prices is driving down export values while local consumption is at its weakest.
Social instability is also rising in different areas of the region
Stratfor’s analysis indicates that most of Latin America’s nations was driven by China’s economic growth throughout the year 2000. With the contractions of the Chinese economy beginning from 2013, exports have devalued, leaving many commodities also devalued.
Meawhile, inflation on property coupled with rising unemployment plague several Latin American Nations.
High Growth For Some
Despite the bleak outlook, Stratfor believes that Latin American Countries can handle the decline better as they are not vulnerable to commodity market changes. With their lower external debt ratios and higher international reserves, many Latin American countries do not rely on Austerity driven international loans.
This means that despite Venezuela and Brazil seeing their worst year for 2015, the Central American and Carribean regions would enjoy higher growth. The latter two do not depend heavily on oil, which has devalued. With coffee, fruit and sugar as their primary exports, the two countries are seeing great potential to grow highly.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro knows the world sees him as a communist dictator continuously blasting against the United States’ leadership and anti-communist sentiment. However, he was honestly surprised when he was compared to US tycoon and GOP Presidential Hopeful Donald Trump.
Due to his decision to close border crossings and deport hundreds of Colombians, Maduro’s political opponents see his decisions as parallel to Trump’s proposal to deport US aliens completely and his proposal to make Mexico pay for and create a wall that separates it from the United States
Maduro heavily criticises the United States but his Colombian immigration decision is similar to Trump’s decision, according to Saverio Vivas, an opposition politician. According to other opposition party members, Maduro is trying to rally the nation in his favour by using Colombia as his scapegoat.
Maduro said Venezuela, performing poorly on economy, has become a victim of the Colombian right and black marketers taking advantage of the situation by smuggling almost everything vital from detergent to gasoline across the border.
Meanwhile, the opposition blames Maduro’s government for controlling the currency and prices.
Venezuela and Colombian borders have 1.4 miles with lax security. Smugglers and illegal armed groups frequent the borders.
Younger Venezuelans see Maduro and Trump as “nutters” and feel that Maduro is making Venezuela look bad to the rest of the world.
Investors are still positive about the economic growth of Latin America despite the frequency of protests in different areas. According to investors, Latin America had always been a “volatile region plagued by political instability.”
Analysts believe that protests from Brazil to Venezuela had rumbled on for years. Students are often on the forefront of the protests. While the Latin American governments may deploy severe security forces, Latin Americans understand their economies need to prosper.
Analysts also said that Latin American protests have a fair point to cause instability because it empowers the Latin American public and it battles against sordid corruption in their countries. The fear of protesting against dictators and unfair governance has long disappeared.
Analysts advise that a good investment for Latin America would be to understand who is opposing the project, engage in dialogue, deal fairly with both the government and public. Inevitably, good engagement and communication with local communities and companies are signs of a fruitful investment in the region.
It is also believed that the protesting public understands the value of freedom and it shows that the citizens of Latin America are maturing and citizens are holding their politicians and institutions to account for their actions.
Latin America would possibly the world’s most dangerous place to become a environmentalist.
Environmental protester Jose Isidro Tendetza was beaten up and his bones were broken before he could even reach the Peruvian capital of Lima against mining operations. Tendetza, a well-known indigenous environmental and indigenous activist, was said to have been tortured before being thrown into the river.
According to Domingo Ankuash, the leader of the Shuar Indigenious group, the culprits for Tendetza’s plight had never been caught. However, he pointed out that Tendetza made many enemies as a critic of open-pit copper mines. According to Ankuash, Tendetza’s killings was covered up by the Ecuadorian government, who is heavily reliant on the mines
“This is a camouflaged crime,” Ankuash said. “In Ecuador, multinational companies are invited by the government and get full state security from the police and the army. The army and police don’t provide protection for the people; they don’t defend the Shuar people. They’ve been bought by the company.”
Latin America continues to hold a record of violence against environmentalists. In 2014, there had been 116 environmentalists killed, with 29 killed in Brazil. Colombia had killed 24 of its environmenalists.
Most environmentalists come from indigenous groups driven away by large landowners. Without any law to turn to and pinned by large mining companies, these individuals fight against ese companies to take back their rights to their land.
YouTube Channel Contiki shows what it’s like to live in Latin America as a tourist. After showing off footage from a scuba diving session, biking and gliding, Contiki then shows off the tasteful and lovely cuisines the country has to offer in this video!
Sandra, the Orangutan at the Buenos Aires zoo, was granted some basic human rights by an Argentinian court. Lawyers have fought to free Sandra from the Buenos Aires zoo by arguing that she should be given legal rights and that she was illegally detained.
Sandra is clearly not a human, but the court case clarified whether orang-utans, or primates for that matter, was a “thing” or a “person.”
Lawyers for Argentina’s Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights considered Sandra as “a person.” However, they made it clear that she was a person in the “philosophical sense.” She was detained in a situation of illegal deprivation of freedom as a “non-human person.”
They filed that she was unjustifiably detained while she has probable cognitive capability.
Sandra was born in 1986 in a German zoo and arrived in Buenos Aires in September 1994.
She regularly tried to avoid the public in her enclosure.
If there is no appeal against the court’s decision from the Buenos Aires zoo, she will be transferred to a primate sanctuary in Brazil where she can live in partial liberty.
Re-elected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that dialogue will be her top priority. She has also promised to re-unite Brazil and become a “much better president than I have been until now.”
The fight for Brazilian presidency had been a closely fought battle. Both Rousseff and Centre-Right candidate Aecio Neves fought bravely against each other with a respective score of 51.6% and 48.4% respectively.
Rouseff had remained in power since 2010 as she remains highly popular with poor Brazilians, which her administration had helped thanks to her welfare programs.
However, it was clear that Brazilians were trying to look at the other way. The Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) attracted many of the wealthy and developed southern parts of Brazil.
Despite Rousseff’s call for unity and dialogue, millions of Brazilians are left unsatisfied with her work. The standards of public services in the country for health, education and basic sanitation are still too low despite Brazil having the seventh largest economy in the world.
She said that “sometimes in history, closer outcomes trigger results more quickly than ample victories. It is my hope, or even better, my certainty that the clash of ideas can create room for consensus, and my first words are going to be a call for peace and unity” during a speech in the country’s capital, Brasilia.
AT&T is highly interested in buying some of the assets of Carlos Slim’s America Movil. The latter company is selling some of its assets, including some offered to AT&T.
John Stankey, AT&T President and Chief Strategy Officer, said that AT&T is only “interested” but did not comment further regarding the extent of its interests. He said “I think we would be asleep at the wheel and we are not historically known to do that,” expressing AT&T’s high intrigue regarding the assets.
Stankey added that he “wouldn’t rule anything out. And I think when you are in the M&A game, you learn that you can’t always force your timing. Sometimestiming has to come to you. And exactly how that is going to work out, who knows.”
America Movil intends to sell its Mexican operations to cut its market share below 50% in anticipation for new Mexican regulations that would reduce its large market in Mexico.
After the announcement of their intrigue, AT&T shares went up to 0.71% with $34.94. Wall street periodicals are indicating AT&T stocks as a “Buy” because of its continuous growth and stability based on increases in return on equity, low debt-to-equty ratio and large profit margin at 56.37%
According to political analysts, the Latin American Tour of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba in July reflects the interests of China to create a flourishing business in Latin America. He has also participated in the BRICS and strongly hinted that China is willing to create long-term businesses with Latin America as a diplomatic ally.
They added that Xi’s tightening of Latin American interests will help it gain influence in the region as it loses ground in the Southeast Asian territories, where China has territorial disputes with other countries to whom the United States had pledged military and tactical assistance.
Xi had signed bilateral investment deals worth $10 million in one credit line to the members of CELAC and $5 billion for the Chinese-Latin American cooperation fund.
According to studies by the Blouin News, Chinese lending had reached its peak by 2010, lending $35 billion to almost the entire bloc of Latin America with Venezuela borrowing $20 billion.
In 2013, Venezuela gains 50% of the total lending from China. Meanwhile, Brazil’s exports are leading in 2012 in terms of GDP, with Venezuela coming in second for that year while Argentina remains third.
Latin America also shares the political disapproval of China against the United States’ recent actions, which had them find kindred political souls in each other.