Annual Report on Latin Ameirica and the Caribbean (2009~2010)
The book presents an overall review of Latin American and the Caribbean (or LAC) in 2009.
The negative impact of Honduras Coup on June 28th 2009 has not changed LAC’s main political trend featured by stable progress as various elections were smoothly carried out in more than ten countries and power was transferred basically orderly among different parties. In some countries, leftist governments got reinforced while right political forces were emerging and taking ground in others. Therefore, LAC countries may have to face the risk of an ever swinging political pendulum between the left and the right and the consequent policy discontinuity. Besides, democratic institutions and collective mechanisms to safeguard democratic institutions remain obviously weak.
Under the circumstances of global financial crisis and economic downturn of the world, LAC economies sank into the most serious recession in 2009. Most countries’ economies slumped for the first half of the year and turned upwards for the rest months, presenting a trajectory in “V” shape. Global financial crisis transmitted its impacts through channels of trade, remittance and tourism to affect direct or indirectly the economic performance of the region.
Social improvement was reversed by the impacts of global financial crisis in 2009 as poverty rate bounced back, income distribution deteriorated, unemployment rate rose up in many countries and remittance income fell in a few. Moreover, several emerging social problems deserve much attention, such as nearly 40% of H1N1 cases around the world were found in LAC, strikes and demonstrations in a few countries threaten social instability, drug related crimes are rather regular than exceptional, posing severe challenges to social security in some countries and the negative impacts of climate change are turning for the worse.
Global financial crisis, world multipolarization and Obama’s success in US presidential election were proved to be new opportunities for LAC countries to adjust their foreign policies. During his early days in the White House, Obama adopted series of policies to better US relations with LAC. However, the Military Cooperation Agreement with Colombia and US position on Honduras coup subjected the relationship between the US and LAC countries to a new test. During 2009, LAC countries’ continuing integration efforts were undermined by internal political wrangles, disputes over boarder issues and increasingly rampant trade conflicts. The US factor drove the existing conflicts and contradictions even acuter. Meanwhile, progresses were made in diversifying their foreign relations, the traditional relationship with the EU continued to be consolidated and new advances were seen in their relationship with China and other Asia-Pacific countries, Russian and Iran.
Looking into 2010, elections of various types in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and other countries will not only determine the political trends in these countries but will also impact the political tendency of the whole region. LAC countries will accelerate their economic growth in 2010 although they have to deal with challenges posed by global economic uncertainty. Further policy fine-tuning, market and industrial structure adjustment during post-crisis period will define the possibility for LAC countries to meet their economic growth goals. Although hopeful signs emerged in LAC, recovery will not be easily attained in most countries and employment perspective will hardly be optimistic.
Stepping Forward through Setbacks
—China-LAC Economic and Trade Cooperation Under the Background of International Financial Crisis (SU Zhenxing ZHANG Yong)
Report on Specific Topics
ICT, LAC Countries Choice for Technological Innovation and International Cooperation (WU Guoping)
Country and Subregional Report
Appendix I Statistics
Table 1 Average Annual Growth Rates of GDP and GDP per Capita
Table 2 Regional GDP and GDP per Capita of LAC
Table 3 Balance of Payment
Table 4 Net FDI
Table 5 Total Foreign Debt
Table 6 Annual Variations of CPI
Table 7 Open Unemployment Rate (average annual rate)
Table 8 Poverty and Indigence Index of 18 LAC Countries (1990~2008)
Table 9 Income Concentration Index of 18 LAC Countries (1990 ~2008)
Table 10 Major Social Expenditures as Percentages of GDP of 21 LAC Countries (1990~2008)
Table 11 Sino-Latin American Trade Statistics
Table 12 Non-Financial FDI Statistics on China and LAC
Appendix II Chronology of Events