Latin AmericaLatin America
Any country that suffers an interruption to its democratic order will be automatically excluded from Unasur (Union of South American Nations), the bloc announced this week, after its “democratic clause” came into force and as Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro claimed that a US-funded campaign is trying to ouster him.
The Bolivian Senate is expected to vote next month for the full incorporation of the country to Mercosur, thus complying with some of the last steps to join the group made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The Economist Intelligence Unit anticipates a 2015 scenario in which Tabaré Vazquez from the ruling coalition will most probably be president, but in a situation quite different from that of his first mandate (2005/2010) if he insists in implementing orthodox economics.
President Jose Mujica said that Mercosur even with all its problems has been a good deal although it could have been better, and it is imperative that the group signs trade agreements with Europe and China, which has become the main trade partner of the region.
Chile's new foreign minister Heraldo Muñoz ratified his country's membership of the Pacific Alliance, a much questioned group by other regional organizations such as the Venezuelan inspired ALBA and even Mercosur led by Brazil, and suggested that Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance could consider integration. Chile is currently an associate member of Mercosur.
Mercosur will present a joint proposal to the European Union for a wide ranging trade agreement between the two blocks later this month, announced Brazil' Minister of Industry Mauro Borges, following a visit to Buenos Aires where he met with Economy minister Axel Kicillof and Industry minister Debora Giorgi.
It is a mistake to blame government expenditure for the increase of prices, as is the concept that inflation can be defeated by cutting government spending, said Uruguayan Vice-president and economist Danilo Astori, who argued that in many cases these funds are essential to finance public investments and social policies.
The Uruguayan government finalized on Friday a prices agreement with commerce and trade organizations to help bring down the third highest inflation of the region which is advancing at an almost two-digit pace. The package is to be completed with government fiscal 'sacrifice' such as the elimination of taxes on some public utilities rates.
Michelle Bachelet became the first person since General Carlos Ibañez in 1952 to return to Chile’s presidential palace, La Moneda, for a second term. According to a recent official history of the building, the general was a stickler for fitness.
Venezuela's annual inflation rate rose to 57.3% in February, the central bank said as violent opposition demonstrations during the month disrupted the economy. However the bank also pointed out that despite the protests inflation slowed on a month-on-month basis to 2.4% from 3.3% in January.