Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Newswire: Latin America

Latinamerica foreign trade forecasted to contract 9 to 11% in 2009
The main impact for Latinamerica of the global financial crisis and economic slowdown has been the contraction of trade, so far in the range of 9 to 11%, revealed Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latinamerica and the Caribbean, Cepal.

“The strongest impact we are seeing in the region is the fall in trade volumes. I believe that the “shock” of the contraction of global demand for our goods and services is our most relevant issue”, said Bárcena in an interview with the Cuban daily Granma.

She recalled that when the last big crisis Latinamerica’s foreign debt was equivalent to 24% of GDP, while in 2008 it had dropped to 8%.

Latinamerican Liberals hold congress in “Bolivarian” Venezuela
Liberal political parties and thinkers from Latinamerica are holding their annual congress this week in the Venezuelan capital Caracas. The event is in the framework of the 25th anniversary of the local branch Cedice-Libertad and will promote debates on liberal policies to address poverty and the current global slowdown.


The congress is bound to spark some reaction among President Chavez followers since his Bolivarian revolution and XXIst Socialism stand at the opposite end of the political spectrum from the Liberals and the concept of individual freedom.

The two events will be taking place during a particularly sensitive week since President Chavez has ordered the nationalization of oil industry subcontractors, banks, steel industry, food processors and farm land considered idle.

Foreign direct investment to Latam reached 139 billion USD in 2008
Direct foreign investments in Latinamerica and the Caribbean are showing a significant resistance to the global crisis and in 2008 reached a record 139 billion US dollars, up 9.4% from the previous year according the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Latinamerica’s bicentennial independence festivities begin in Bolivia
Bolivia’s commemoration on Monday May 25th of the 200th anniversary of the first uprising in Latinamerica against the Spanish colonial empire will also mark the beginning of similar independence celebrations along the continent which will peak in 2010.

Third re-election running “inappropriate” admits Colombia’s Uribe
Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe says it would be “inappropriate” for him to seek a third consecutive term. His statement comes two days after the Senate approved a referendum that would ask voters to permit him to run again. Uribe did not, however, clearly rule out a re-election bid.