Friday, March 09, 2007

Latin America as a political asset

Some times it looks like Latin America still depends on foreign attention to pursue its own guidelines concerning democracy ,economic growth and social progress .Sure ,we are part of a global network which make every country permanently connected to each other. Therefore, it is very important to know what its natural partners thinks about new developments on different issues, to move along upon the basis of consensus. The world has changed. It has become smaller, and self connected ; new global interests get closer what in the past were rather apart. Let take some examples. China is steadily increasing its economic ties with Latin America, because it provide raw materials and foods supply .Some Middle east countries are also getting closer to Latin America, because of the need of energy resources common policies, due to the expected decreased oil reserves. At the same time, Latin America has also worked out alternative energy supply sources, like ethanol which arises as an option to control the global warming trend. On the other hand, remittances from relatives abroad has made Latin America economies less vulnerable to foreign aid fluctuations, and although sharply questioned, the “Washington Consensus” has made its way through to impose better designed domestic economic policies to promote growth , investment and trade . This overall picture, despite some pessimism , has generated upbeat expectations for improving the political position of Latin America on regional affairs. In other words, these days Latin America have become mostly on its own, a more valuable political partner which to do business with.
What make the differences?. Latin America has its natural allies and friends, which stay well above short term political calculations. Latin America has worked hard these last ten years to find its own way to development and growth, and it does not need permanent advice either. However, there are winds which are blowing to move back economic history clock, what former Prime Minister from Spain Felipe Gonzalez ,call it the “regressive utopia” .Latin America has made strong improvements on democracy, human rights and economic conditions for growth, but there are still pending social problems such as poverty and inequality, which demand attention with a new approach, but not a regressive one .It also needs technologies assistant for non traditional source of energy supply, along with a reform to the state; not to get rid of it ,but to make it better, more efficient and connected to their own people ´s needs, and capable of providing effective solutions .-
What can be expected from all of this ? : The more obvious one should be that it is not the moment for turning back the economic history clock, there is still a lot of progress to do on social issues, as well as on trade practices .However ,there are some views , who believe that to solve these problems , the economy should be managed by the same policies which are responsible for what it was the worst economic depression in the eighties, widely known as the “lost decade”.
Above all, Latin America needs to complement growth with more effective social policies ,a modern state and institutions ,so that key values like democracy, private firms and markets instead of the state , prevail as the engines of economic growth. Following this path will improve even more its political value.-

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