Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a serious debt crisis

Economy, Policies

Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a serious debt crisis

In the previous three parts we have observed the evolution of the DCs’ external debt over the last twenty years. The first part shows a dramatic increase of indebtedness, which multiplied by 2.5 with a steep acceleration from 2008 onward. The second part highlights the main threats on the DCs’ external debt, among which the growing significance of bonds, the evolution of interest rates and the depreciation of their currencies against the U.S. dollar. The third part examines the various factors that lure DCs into the debt trap: dependence on commodities, drop in foreign exchange reserves, inflating repayments, conjuncture of a multi-dimensional crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.

We deepen our analysis by focusing on various regions, starting with Latin America and the Caribbean.

Read More

 

The Blocked Suez Canal Isn’t the Only Waterway the World Should Be Worried About

Economy, Policies

The Blocked Suez Canal Isn’t the Only Waterway the World Should Be Worried About

I’ve sailed through the Suez Canal many times—as a junior officer, a captain of a destroyer, a commodore in command of a group of destroyers, and as a strike group commander on the nuclear aircraft carrier Enterprise. It is a fascinating trip, and dangerous in a variety of ways. At various times, the terrorist threat was very high and we went through with crew-served weapons manned fore and aft, and helicopters over head.

Exhaustion for the senior leaders tends to be a factor as it is a long passage. As a ship’s captain, I almost went aground in the Great Bitter Lake, as the Suez is called, after a couple of bad navigational decisions on my part, but, fortunately, my navigator saved my career with some good advice.

Read More

 

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Energy, Policies, Security

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

“Economic hit men,” John Perkins writes, “are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder.”

John Perkins should know—he was an economic hit man. His job was to convince countries that are strategically important to the U.S.—from Indonesia to Panama—to accept enormous loans for infrastructure development, and to make sure that the lucrative projects were contracted to U. S. corporations. Saddled with huge debts, these countries came under the control of the United States government, World Bank and other U.S.-dominated aid agencies that acted like loan sharks—dictating repayment terms and bullying foreign governments into submission.

Read More

 

Venezuela and the United States: From Monroe’s Hemisphere to Petroleum’s Empire (The United States and the Americas Ser.)

Demographic, Venezuela

Venezuela and the United States: From Monroe’s Hemisphere to Petroleum’s Empire (The United States and the Americas Ser.)

Long before sea power, the Panama Canal, and petroleum drew the world’s attention to the Caribbean coast, United States leaders recognized Venezuela’s potential as the linchpin of the Caribbean’s southern rim. In Venezuela and the United States, Judith Ewell provides a historical analysis of the main themes and directions of U.S.-Venezuelan relations from the early 1800s, when Simon Bolivar declared an American Republican identity and Monroe proclaimed U.S. responsibility for the hemisphere to the present, when Venezuelan relations with the United States reflect the growing importance of the developing world and its multilateral challenges to U.S. global hegemony.

Read More