Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Some questions for 2008

I hope everyone is having a happy (and hangover-free) start to 2008. Here are some questions to think about for the upcoming year. The list, of course, is by no means exhaustive!

--Can Evo Morales ratify a new constitution without serious violence or even civil war? If that happens, then perhaps there is more hope for Ecuador as well.

--Can Hugo Chávez re-energize his base and move forward with his socialist project? And related, will a real opposition movement emerge?

--Will South America move in a unifying direction (e.g. expanding the Bank of the South, Mercosur, etc.) or will that remain largely rhetorical?

--Will scandals catch up to Alvaro Uribe or will he remain a Teflon president? Will he also seek to amend the constitution for yet another term?

--The same Teflon question could be asked about Lula, since he has scandals (though dealing with corruption rather than paramilitaries!) swirling around as well.

--Thinking of Lula, where is the biofuel debate going? The corn-based model seems to be creating serious problems (e.g. higher prices) but can sugar—or other products--represent a viable model of alternative fuel?

--In what direction will Cristina Fernández de Kirchner go? Will she depart at all from her husband’s political and economic strategies? How will she deal with the U.S.? Will the U.S. election matter?

--Will the Concertación—and thereby Michelle Bachelet’s chances of getting anything done--hold together in Chile? To be fair, rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated in the past.

--Can the Mexican opposition regroup? Felipe Calderón is popular yet by no means untouchable, but the left is still reeling.

--With Raúl Castro—whose tone and message are different from Fidel’s--more in charge, will there be substantive political and/or economic reforms in Cuba?

--Can Central American countries address drug trafficking and gang violence without also bringing the military back to fighting internal enemies?

--Once the U.S. presidential candidates are decided, will they say anything intelligent about Latin America and U.S. policy?

--Will the immigration debate in the United States reach new lows? Will it be a central issue once the primaries are over?


boz 11:04 AM  

Will the immigration debate in the United States reach new lows?

Well there's one where I can unfortunately answer an almost definitive YES.

Anonymous,  1:57 PM  

Will be an interesting year. Thank you for keeping up this blog Greg.

Mikeosaurus 12:17 AM  

I think there's another question that should be asked as well:

- Given the newly inaugurated Banco del Sur, with funds already earmarked to be in its reserve, and loan forgiveness already happening, will this year show BdS becoming a contender against the IADB?

-sub-question: Rafael Correa and Evo Morales, leaders of BdS countries, and the former being a trained economist, have suggested a South American Economy. Little has been said by BdS members directly against this, will this be on the table in '08 as a possibility?

Greg Weeks 7:26 AM  

I think 2008 is premature for something of that magnitude about the bank or an economic/monetary union (which I think is what you're referring to by "South American Economy").

Mikeosaurus 12:26 AM  

You're right, Petro Man, I meant South American Currency. Good call. Perhaps it's premature to say "yes" in reply to the questions I posed, but they're worth asking. Or at least it's worth asking what the region that Nixon once said "didn't mean shit" will do with it's new development bank.

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