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  • Author: Sidney Weintraub
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Some significant outcomes in Mexico during the past quarter century are worth reviewing. There has been practically no growth in real per capita income since 1980. Until the presidential transition from Ernesto Zedillo to Vicente Fox, there were financial collapses either ending, starting, or during every other sexenio (six-year term) over this period. Perhaps these monotonic curses are a thing of the past, but no Mexican would “bet the farm” on this. These financial collapses were generally accompanied by economic downturns, spectacularly so in 1982 and 1994. Mexicans who came of age over the past 25 years—those now about 40 to 50—have known nothing other than repetitive currency depreciations and lack of sustained growth, and these expectations surely have been programmed indelibly into their psyches. A Mexican would have to be unthinking not to be pessimistic about the future based on recent economic management of the country, its currency, and its financial solidity.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Struggle over the Referendum On September 25, the new National Electoral Commission (CNE) issued the regulations that will govern referenda for the recall of elected officials. These long-awaited norms will make it possible for a popular vote to be held on President Chávez's stewardship in office by early March (157 days from the time the opposition submits a request to the commission, as it now has done). The commission's decision—not really welcomed by the president—changes Venezuela's political landscape. Although the outcome of the campaign for a referendum remains in doubt, this action gives encouragement to the alliance of the opposition parties seeking the president's removal. Chávez will now have to consider how to adjust his own strategy to deal with this new situation.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Diaz
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: At the invitation of the White House, Argentina's newly elected president, Nestor Kirchner, will be paying a visit to President George W. Bush this Wednesday, July 23. This is the latest and most notable signal from Washington of an interest in engaging and working with the new government in Buenos Aires. The hope in Foggy Bottom is that this outreach can translate into the kind of constructive and comprehensive relationship that President Bush has established with Brazil's new president, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, Kirchner's regional partner. Whether Kirchner has the savvy to exploit the gesture to set a tone for the bilateral relationship and establish the general parameters of a mutually rewarding policy agenda will be evident soon enough.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Twenty-two years after the Brazilian Workers' Party (PT) was established, Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva—one of the PT's founders—became Brazil's president. His election on October 27, 2002, marked the first time a candidate with a limited formal education, a background of poverty and disadvantage, and a fully elaborated leftist agenda had been elected to Brazil's highest office.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Armand Peschard-Sverdrup
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On July 6, 2003, as many as 64.7 million registered voters will be heading to the polls to cast their votes for all 500 seats in the lower house of the Mexican Congress—the Chamber of Deputies. Of all 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, 300 are elected via direct representation (mayoria relativa) and 200 via proportional representation (representacion proporcional).
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In a solemn ceremony in Caracas, presided over by César Gavíria, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Chávez administration and the Coordinadora Democrática signed a pre-referendum accord. In his remarks, Gavíria characterized the document as an important political step. The result of several weeks of quiet diplomacy, the agreement bridges the differences that had developed over an earlier April 21 draft. The most important provision of the document is paragraph 12, which envisages the possible invocation of article 72 of the constitution—a recall referendum—if the National Electoral Commission (CNE) decides that the conditions for such a referendum have been met.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Dwight N. Mason
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: That the government was about to decide to seek negotiations on participation in the U.S. missile defense system was signaled by Bill Graham, Canadian foreign minister, in his May 15, 2003, statement in Parliament on missile defense policy.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Canada, Latin America, North America
  • Author: William Barr
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The New York Times was by no means the lone voice in criticizing Brazil's abstentions on the Cuba-related motions before the UN Human Rights Commission. Much tougher criticism has come from a wide range of Brazilians, including a substantial segment of academics, journalists, and even politicians who have long praised Cuba's independence from the U.S. orbit and criticized the United States' economic blockade.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Brazil, Cuba, United Nations, Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Diaz, Carlos M. Regúnaga
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Argentina's national mania to experiment with new rules, procedures, and institutions never ceases to produce surprising, and sometimes stunning results. This time, the electoral process has been managed in such a bizarre way that as a result, the primary election of the Peronist Party will take place after the general election rather than before, as one would expect in a normal, more boring country.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: Carlos M. Regúnaga
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Voter turnout for the April 27 elections was among the highest in record: about 80 percent of the total population eighteen years old and older. The number of empty ballot envelopes was less than 1 percent, and votes annulled were within the normal margins in any election. All of this indicates that the protest vote (“voto bronca”), which was so high in the 2001 congressional elections, was not a factor in this election. The large number of candidates—and the exceptionally high number of candidates with the possibility of reaching the second round presidency on May 18 in particular—may have convinced electors to cast positive votes.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America, Latin America