Peru’s congress defies executive over ‘Lot 192’

On 3 September Peru’s national congress approved a bill authorising the state-owned oil firm, Petroperú, to take over the ‘Lot 192’ oil concession.

Confrontation between Colombia and Venezuela escalates as cross-border migration continues

The crisis triggered by the closure of a stretch of Venezuela’s border with Colombia by President Nicolás Maduro – invoking the need to act against smuggling and ‘paramilitarism’ – has worsened. Deportations of Colombians and the flight of many more in fear have continued to increase, and Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has failed to get a hearing in the Organization of American States (OAS). While Santos seeks other avenues, Maduro has been raising the stakes.

Towards a single digital market

The headline numbers suggest that Latin America and the Caribbean has done very well, as a region, to develop internet connectivity and capture what might be called ‘the digital dividend’ – the extra business opportunities and competitive edge that comes from using online systems. After all, according to the latest data, half the region’s population is now connected, the regional digital economy is worth US$27bn per annum, and the spread of the Internet has helped create around 900,000 new jobs a year. But there’s a catch.

Faced with rising unrest countrywide Maduro closes the border with Colombia

On 12 August Colombian foreign relations minister María Ángela Holguín was celebrating the fact that the number of illegal Colombian immigrants deported from Venezuela had been lowered since the establishment last March of a binational commission to verify due process. Twenty-two days later Colombia was having to deal with an inflow of 8,250 returnees, of which only 13% had been deported, the remainder having fled in fear, and both countries had recalled their ambassadors for consultations. The turnaround was caused by President Nicolás Maduro’s decision to close down the border and declare a state of emergency in the border state of Táchira.

The going gets tough

Successive Mexican governments have struggled with a big economic problem: sluggish economic growth. At one stage, it looked as if President Enrique Peña Nieto, who began a six-year term in office in late 2012, had the answer: an ambitious set of structural economic reforms, including the liberalisation of the energy sector, which would spark a ‘Mexican moment’ and lift the country’s long-term trend GDP growth rate from 2-3% to close to 5%. But it hasn’t happened yet, and in the meantime there are problems to contend with: low oil prices, the need for fiscal austerity, nervous financial markets and the sharp depreciation of the peso.

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