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CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS, TRENDS & IDEAS

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Latin America

Peace Through Growth: Ending Colombia’s Civil War

in Diplomacy/Human Rights/Latin America by

The interview was originally published in NOVasia Issue 31 and is republished on The Policy Wire with express permission. For more exciting pieces on international relations from the brightest minds in Korea be sure to checkout their website.  Though the peace agreement between President Juan Santos and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s (FARC) Commander Timochenko was narrowly defeated in a plebiscite on October 2nd, the world’s longest running civil war appears to be in its twilight. The intensity of the fighting has dropped precipitously since its peak in the early 2000s. Organized military groups in Colombia, FARC being the largest but not the only, are steadily losing ground in remote regions, and major cities have been free from daily terrorism for years. Current international coverage has only offered in passing the most basic of accounts of FARC, Colombia’s place in the Cold War and the land disputes that have fed a half-century long civil war. Despite the setback to a negotiated peace, a difficult prospect for any civil war, both Santos and Timochenko have promised to continue a bilateral ceasefire and search for a negotiated peace.

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After COP21: Mexico In-Between Energy Security and Climate Change Mitigation

in Academic/Economics/Latin America/Politics by
cop21 mexican president pena nieto

Climate change is perhaps one of the thorniest economic and social problems of our time. This is not unrelated to the fact that in many countries, the forms of energy that power economic growth are those with the highest concentrations of carbon –oil and coal. It has been argued that it only takes three economies – the United States, China and India – to produce more than 40% of all global greenhouse gas emissions [1]. After the recent UN Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) nonetheless, energy policies have quickly become priority issues in many developing countries’ agendas for a number of reasons, ranging from new technological developments and economic benefits to above all, energy security and climate change mitigation. A number of technical and economic challenges are likely to emerge in the near future, given the widespread development of fossil fuel resources and their incompatibility with decarbonised energy systems, now being adopted across many of these regions to mitigate global climate change.

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Cyclical Failure – Economic Crisis and Commodities in Latin America

in Economics/Latin America/Politics by
chuquicamata chile mining

Despite a great deal of discussion on the information economy in recent years, (much of it useful and much of it overhyped,) the actual world economy’s health is still reliant on raw materials, which is expressed in their prices. While in parts of the developed world the recent fall in commodity prices has been referred to as the equivalent of a tax break, in countries that are heavily dependent on commodity exports, calamity is a better reference point. The primary issue here is dependence. Many developed nations also produce raw materials in great quantities, but their economies are comparatively diverse. When a nation’s basket of exports is dominated by just a few commodities while its import basket is varied, economic crises are more likely to occur.

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Energy Reforms in Latin America: What the Mexican State Needs to Learn

in Academic/Latin America/Politics/Technology by
oil well

The growing importance of developing countries’ national oil companies to the global supply-demand balance raises questions about the emerging policies of association, objectives and regulations of these organisations. In particular, shifts in those policies will have a great impact on the future development of global oil and gas markets, not to mention the socioeconomic development of the companies’ host countries. National oil companies are expected to control a greater proportion of future oil and gas supplies over the next two decades, as these commodities in the mature producing regions of the OECD countries continue to show natural decline of supply. The International Energy Agency projects that most of the new hydrocarbons supply will come from the developing world in the next 20 years. Latin American countries will play a pivotal role in this transition, as the region possesses more than 20% of the world’s known reserves (Ortiz, 2011). Along these lines, Brazil, Colombia and recently Mexico have embarked on major restructuring of their energy sectors. In the early 2000s, the Colombian oil industry was waning: its production started to decline due to a lack of major new discoveries and output fell considerably from 1999 to 2004 (CAEAG, 2010, p. 6).…

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China in Latin America: Sister Country or Neo-Colonialist?

in Asia/Diplomacy/Economics/Latin America by
Rafael Correa Yi Xinping

Ever since the end of the 15th century, Latin America has been seen by outsiders overwhelmingly as a place rich in natural resources. In the 21st century, the most recent outsider, China, is as hungry for its raw materials as any other previous power. It needs Argentinian agricultural products for its fisheries and pig farms to feed its growing middle class. It needs Bolivian and Peruvian iron and copper to continue building its manufacturing industries, and Ecuadorian and Venezuelan oil to fuel them. Past encounters with foreign powers in Latin America reveal a patter of resource extraction and economic dependency that benefited primarily the outside power and the local elite. Some, most notably Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in the region say that relations with China will be different, that China is a partner and a sister country, not an imperialist outside power. These optimists are hoping for a reinvention of the relationship between resource hungry outside powers and natural resource rich nations in the region. Unfortunately, Chinese recent forays into the region appear to be mirroring this tragic historical pattern.

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Decentralization Process in Peru

in Latin America/Law/Politics by
Lima Peru City

Ideally the modern state is supposed to generate the necessary basic conditions for its citizen’s wellbeing and continuously improve its own systems in order to improve its citizen’s quality of living. The globally trending prescription to achieve these aims is decentralization and local governance. Several countries, such as Korea, Brazil, Thailand, Uganda, Indonesia, and Peru, among others, have all recently tried to strengthen local governments. In larger countries and countries with diverse populations, such as Peru, it is especially necessary to disseminate the central government’s power and authority to local and regional governments. In that way, each sub-government can communicate with citizens directly and can serve them faster and more efficiently. According to The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Peru has developed its GDP 5.2% in the past 10 years. In addition, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI) shows an increased HDI rate from 0.67 in 2002 to 0.73 in 2012. However, the problem that Peru faces is that the development of the country did not happen evenly in each region, but is rather predominantly concentrated in Lima, the capital of the country and the location of the central government. It would…

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US Central American Foreign Policy: Foreign Aid, Immigration Policy, Geopolitics or None of the Above

in Diplomacy/Latin America/US by

In an op-ed piece in the New York Times on February 9th, Vice-President Joe Biden outlined the White House’s argument for the US Congress to pass a billion dollar aid package to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras as part of the proposed budget for 2016. Without the realistic prospect of a larger immigration reform being passed in Congress, this push for foreign aid falls into the White House’s piecemeal approach to immigration reform. Up to now President Obama has used executive orders to push his immigration agenda, most notably an order that called for minors brought to the country before 2010 to not be targeted for deportation. However, unlike an executive order, the plan for foreign aid to Central America requires Republican support in Congress. So far, lawmakers are not discussing the proposed aid and what it would mean for immigration or foreign policy in the press. The plan outlined by Biden aims to support reforms to the security, education, tax, foreign investment and judicial systems in the three small, but long-suffering nations. By improving the economic, security and political situations in these countries, the White House hopes to limit further border crossings. In particular, they hope to avoid future…

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