Upsets in Colombia andBrazil bring a grim picture for leftists in Latin America; Argentina's dissatisfiedworkers threaten Mauricio Macri's government; and Jamaica bucks the dismal economictrend in the Caribbean.
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Chile is set to lose its standing as the remaining net creditorin Latin America as it ushers in its second largest budget deficit in 36 years,Bloomberg News' Laura Millan Lombrana reports. The budget gap is expected to expandto 3.3% of GDP in 2017 amid dwindling copper prices and higher spending from thegovernment. This comes at a time when the economy remains dull and is predictedto expand by only 2.25% next year. The situation is enough to worry analysts, sayingthat Chile needs to maintain its reputation for fiscal prudence if it wants to gainfavors from credit rating agencies next year for the issuance of new debt.
Recent developments in Colombia and Brazil that have rejectedleftist aspirations reflect a larger picture of a region at odds with socialism,Simon Romero of The New York Times writes.Colombia's dismissal of a peace deal with leftist rebels and the defeat of Brazil'ssocialist party in the municipal elections add up to growing signs of the shiftto the right in Latin America, Romero points out. Frustration with the status quois fueled by the region's dire economic situation and a rise in conservative thinking,which mirror "the West's blossoming romance with anti-establishment movements."A Colombian writer described the failure of the country's peace deal as a move "frommagical realism to tragic realism," wistfully adding that "all that'sleft now is for Trump to win."
Social unrest is threatening to flare up in the streets of Argentina,as worker unions bemoan President Mauricio Macri's failure to boost the economyas of yet, Benedict Mander reports for the FinancialTimes. Huge tariff hikes and rocketing prices are provoking workers to startstrikes, further complicating matters for Macri as the demand for higher wages couldfurther destabilize the economy, Mander writes. With unions largely controlled bythe dominant Peronist party, now in opposition, labor unrest could serve as thepresident's downfall as it threatens the administration's chances in the incomingmidterm elections and the flow of needed foreign investments. In a country whereworker protests "have been the undoing of all non-Peronist governments,"the writer prods Macri to pull out all the stops to ward off such grave possibilities.
While most Caribbean countries are failing to break out of avicious cycle of sluggish growth, Jamaica has been bucking the trend lately andis making important headways in its economy, Robert Looney writes for the WorldPolitics Review. Since reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fundin 2013, Jamaica has been able to largely improve its macroeconomic indicators,with credit rating agencies takingnotice. While severalIMF programs in Jamaica had failed in the past, the most recent one has been a successlargely due to a sense of ownership and cooperation between the groups involved,Looney notes. Jamaica's large debt buybacks also show the country's clear intentof creating a stable investment environment, the writer adds. Economic and politicalrisks remain for Jamaica, but Looney noted that it at least proves that assistancewon't work out if it "does not induce the reforms and internal cooperationthat Jamaica, with its back to the wall and out of options, had to implement."