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ANNUAL REPORT ON LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (2013-2014)

Fecha:2016/08/15 Autor:

  Introduction

  On March 5, 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, delivered the new cabinet work report at the Second Session of the Twelfth National People’s Congress. Based on the wisdom and consensus of all consulted parties, it draws a basic blueprint of the country’s economic development and social governance for the next few years, in which six major reform priorities including an in-depth and new-type urbanization were highlighted. Such new policy messages triggered intensive concerns both in China and around the globe.

  Henry M. Paulson, Chairman of the Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago and former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, observed shortly before Li’s report that“Urbanization is both at the heart of China’s future growth and prosperity and posing a vexing challenge”, “Therefore, moving more labor from farms into cities can increase productivity and domestic consumption, helping China to rebalance its econom If done well, urbanization has the potential to expand prosperity in China and create significant consumer markets for other economies around the world, while limiting its environmental impact”.

  Urbanization is an accompanying phenomenon of modern industrial development process. It is not just an important symbol of demographic movement of the modern ages that large numbers of people move into cities to live, produce, and live together, but also the inevitable trend of social evolution in the meantime. However, throughout the history of human development, various countries and regions in the process of urbanization experienced ignorance, disorder, far longer than rational and orderl Until the 18th century, the revived urbanization process in Europe as a result of the first industrial revolution brought prosperity, at the same time, infesting with a large number of social problems such as cramped and filthy living quarters, disordered management and crime. French historian Fernand Braudel noted that before the 19th century, the mortality rate was much higher than its birth rate. In Latin America, the development was in a chaotic and painful manner. Not until the early 1900s did Mexico’s population reached the level before the Spanish conquest. New immigrants had to give up “their homesickness” and traditional moral constraints, “sharpen your knives, do not trust anyone, do not hesitate, do not bargain, do not even look to see”became their Right Way for the Survival in a metropolis.

  Today, the urbanization of emerging economies and developing countries is no longer constrained by sluggish population growth. In contrast, the pace of urban construction cannot catch up with the urbanization of population. So cities cannot provide enough employment and necessary living conditions for residents. Rural immigrants failed to achieve appropriate career and identity conversion after their migration. It caused serious “urban disease” that deeply affected governments. Take Beijing, the Chinese capital, as an example. Its annual increase of population was about 600,000. Currently, the urban residents are nearing 20 million, which is well beyond the target line of limiting the population to 18 million by 2020.The oversized population made Beijing susceptible to“urban diseases”featured mainly by traffic jams, housing shortage, high difficulty of meeting the energy resource demand, heavy pollution of the air and water. The above-mentioned problems have made the city increasingly uninhabitable. At the end of the year, the 2012 China New Urbanization Report released by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences shows that in 2011the urbanization rate of the Mainland China exceeds 50%for the first time to reach 51.3 percent. It means that China’s urban population has exceeded the number of rural dwellers for the first time. The urbanization of China has entered a critical stage. It is within this context that the newly established Chinese administration proposed to develop“new type of urbanization”in the above-mentioned report in order to avoid “excessive urbanization”.

  Obviously, there is notable difference between the “new” urbanization and the “old” one. The new urbanization need not only conform to the natural tendency of production and subsistence in the region or between regions according to market trends and developing law, but also require management authorities of all types and levels to make systematic responses and arrangements in economic, social and institutional aspects, in order to ensure diversified development interests and needs of different populations. The“new”and“old”represent two different views of development and civilization orientation as well. A major difference is whether“the urbanization of person”is regarded as the core, so as to realize smooth transformation of rural population’s modes of production and life, homogeneity of urban and rural population’s social rights, including equal exchange of urban-rural elements.

  “To break with the old” is an important prerequisite to “establish the new”. Only if we fully understand the “old”, learn from experience and lessons from the old model of urbanization, can we stand on the shoulders of our predecessors to take a broad view at the whole world and open a new path. Therefore, the 2014 edition presents a special report entitled “After Achieving an Urbanization Rate of 50%: Economic, Social and Political Transformations in Latin America” written by a scholar from the Institute of Latin American Studies, CASS.

  At the end of 19th century, the major countries in Latin America became involved in the tide of modernization. In the 1930s, the urbanization process started. In the next the region witnessed an accelerated urbanization process. According to State of Latin American and the Caribbean Cities 2012: Towards a New Urban Transition released by UN-HABITAT on August 2012, 80 percent of the population in Latin America lives in cities. The urbanization level is even higher than many developed countries. But unfortunately, many cities in Latin America, especially metropolis witnessed excessive population growth without significant margin improvement of employment opportunities and living conditions, resulting in a kind of morbidity that ultimately jeopardized the healthy development of economy and societ

  ——Public infrastructure failed to meet popular demand. A considerable part of rural immigrants was forced to solve housing through informal channels due to overemphasis on the homeownership rate. Regional governments didn’t take actions to provide people with public houses. It resulted in excessive “informal housing”. Nowadays slums are still widespread in regional cities.

  ——There were excessive informal employment. Cities failed to provide sufficient employment for increased urban population. The labor force transferred from rural to urban areas has to flow to the informal sector. Compared with the formal employment sector, employment needs, jobs, income level of informal employment sector is not clear, making it difficult for employees to produce good expectation.

  ——Informal employment directly led to lower coverage of social security system, whichmeans “secondary distribution” system, a symbol of social justice, was seriously lagging behind and a lot of labor force were kept from the social security system due to failure to obtain the development bonus from the urbanization.

  ——The poverty rate continued to be high. In the 1980s and 1990s, the impoverishment rate in Latin America was above 40%. Since 2003, thanks to strong economic growth in Latin America, the poverty rate continued to decline and fell to 32% in 2010. Even so, Latin America remains one of the regions in the world with the highest poverty rate. Up till now, one third of the population in the region still lives below the poverty line.

  ——Insecurity, directly related to the above mentioned phenomenon, became a deeply rooted social problem. Informal housing in some regional countries became the major reason causing violence, drug abuse and trafficking.

  “The city is a bridgehead between the country’s land and the world economy, an irreplaceable engine of economic growth…Different cities are connected together by many tangible (telecommunications and transport networks) and intangible (the relation of politics, economy, culture to science) networks. It is these chances to become rich that constantly attract people to pour into the cit” However, why did such a high urbanization rate fail to bring such a beautiful picture in Latin America, but caused widespread dislocation? The special report answers the question by providing readers with a new analytical framework, in which the absence of a systematic policy or mismatch was supposed to cause the transformation of economy, society and politics in Latin America lagging behind. This analytical framework can further help people have a more comprehensive and deeper understanding about the main reasons why most of regional countries continued to hover in the middle-income level.

  This analysis framework also has the advantages of being concise and easy to remember. It, centers on urbanization issues, guiding readers to grasp the fundamental starting point of observation and understanding of “Latin American phenomenon” in general.

  First, there are often tense contradictions between the state and the societ A large number of labor force were in a state of informal employment after moving into cities and lived in private-built houses. Their profession and private lives kept out by government planning. They were excluded from the social security system and failed to enjoy equal rights to have public service like other groups in the cit With ever-increasing sense of exclusion, their degree of national identity is far lower than the pursuit of their independence and autonom Thus, it is more likely for them to have friction and confrontation with national governance due to helpless psychological environment.

  Second, poor living and working conditions pose a challenge to rural immigrants to be integrated into city life. A large number of new immigrants living in shantytowns and slums failed to integrate them into diverse urban community relations, but continued to rely on bloody ties, gang and other traditional asylum system to survive. At the same time, people with informal and formal employment lived in different communities. So multifarious organizations, such as labor unions, trade associations, non-governmental organizations, and political parties, extended to different members through professional relationships to form their own organizational basis, and to some extent, to provide benefits for them, leading to the blockage of social flow and existence of the original identit

  Third, three social stratum constitutes a “pyramid” of contemporary Latin America societ People with informal employment are at the bottom of the tower who has unstable income and fewer opportunities to flow upward for a variety of conditions. The middle sector is with higher and more stable income, enjoying the public services. The elites, at the top of the pyramid, are the high-income class and control most of economic and political resources.

  Fourth, the phenomenon of four-dimension economy constituted by rural economy, foreign economic, urban formal and informal economy came into being during the process of urbanization in Latin America. Under multiple pressures of land allocation and possessive system, industry competition dominated by technology, market and foreign capital, it is difficult for a large part of agricultural population to gain an access to rural and urban formal employment sector. They are only engaged in economic activities beyond the scope of the jurisdiction of the laws, regulations, thus forming and supporting the unique position of informal employment sector in the national econom

  Fifth, five trends continue to develop in parallel with urbanization. As the author concludes, “A pair of contradictions” is related to the development process in the region; “two social relations”, “three social classes”, and “four economic sectors” are referred to social, economic structure. The economic internationalization, group benefit, social stratification, political elitism, and socialization of the government are their form of expression.

  This analysis framework can also be applied to the assessment of the annual political, economic and social situations in Latin America. The“Political Developments in the LAC Region”reviews general or mid-term elections in some Latin American countries in 2013, aimed at showing regional political trends. Although the radical left-wing forces were faced with obvious challenges and setbacks, the existing change is still not enough to break the balance of regional political ecolog The Latin American left still has the potential to develop because many regional countries are still facing the task of conducting profound social changes, high degree of inequitable distribution, and a large percentage of people who are poor and strongly dissatisfied with serious social exclusion and marginalization, which is in a urgent need to be changed. They are more likely to accept policy in favor of left-wing parties so that the latter has a wide range of social foundation and strong appeal. However, no matter who are in office, left-wing or right-wing, whether it is to control the more developed economies such as Chile, or guide the large developing countries in Latin America, such as Brazil, Mexico, the ruling environment throughout Latin America became more complex, more difficult to govern with the pressure to change overwhelming, which is embodied in the slowdown of economic growth, the rebound of extreme poverty with lower public tolerance. Therefore, Latin American countries have to start with promoting economic growth, employment and boosting competing capabilities to allow for wider range of equitable distribution and social security, and accelerate the publicity and transparency of governmental affairs, accountability and anti-corruption process to achieve democratic governance.

  In 2013 the economic situation of Latin America continued to present dual characteristics of slow growth and unhealthy structure. It is closely associated with depressed global economy, the coexistence of deflation and inflation between developed economies and emerging ones, and the deterioration of exterior economical condition. However, the main reason undoubtedly lies in that there are long-existed structural imbalances in Latin America, which has not been improved much. First, the external economic dependence is still strong, which causes the region to be affected by external economic fluctuations. Second, the economic and industrial system is still under-developed. Since the 1990s, the reverse trend of industrialization has swept across in countries like Brazil and Mexico to varying degrees. The sector of primary products, boosted by rising international market prices, gained a rapid growth, while labor-intensive manufacturing which absorbed more labor and quickly and effectively improved people’s livelihood got a limited development. The intrinsic motivation of economic development and competitive strength were negatively affected by inadequate guide of national strategy, industrial system not yet formed, too much missing link, incomplete supporting of domestic industry with management operations and technology not enough. Third, protectionism continued to prevail impairing the increase of competitive strength. Facing the current complicated and changeable pattern of the global economy, all countries were developing approaches to take measures accordingl Due to the lack of labor market flexibility, limited industrial competitiveness, deeply rooted populist ideological trend, and the function of electoral politics, trade and investment protectionism were common, with which competitive power formed the correlation of each other’s essential prerequisites. Fourth, the production relationships like politics and society still restricted the release of its economic potential and domestic demand. Social inequality problem shackles inclusive growth model for a long time, thus domestic demand cannot be fully expanded. Fifth, foreign openness was still insufficient and the regional cooperation moved slowly that made the countries in the region hard to achieve sustainable growth with the help of the convenient and free surrounding market environment that offered scale econom

  In 2013,Latin American countries witnessed the contraction of social investment due to sluggish economic growth and weaker revenues, the various social indicators declined significantl The entire region’s poverty rate continued to fall, but at a smaller rate, and the decline of extreme poverty rate was reversed with a slight rise. In the field of labor market, slowing economic growth has weakened job-creating ability, resulting in a limited fall of unemployment rate in 2013. The income distribution of the region got an improvement, but it is worth noting that the income concentration of the individual country has increased. Under the above-mentioned background, there was a rise of social unrest in the region. Public protests occurred in some countries like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela as a result of discontent over public services such as education and medical care, corruption, public safety, higher pay, and better laboring condition. This round of economic growth cycle in Latin America is near the end, so the social risks of Latin American countries in 2014 are widely predicted to rise significantl

  The change of the domestic economic situation forced regional countries to speed up the adjustment of foreign relations, boosting the role of economic diplomacy and multilateralism. The regional powers such as Brazil and Mexico accelerated dialogue with important economies like China, the United States, the EU, Japan, India, and Russia. At the same time, they danced trippingly within the framework of the BRIC countries, Mercosur, Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, North American Free Trade Agreement, showing the active international cooperation orientation. Five Central American countries reached a free trade agreement with Mexico, while the member states of the Caribbean Community showed a clear attitude towards the common development goals and policy priorities, exploring possible paths for improving the efficiency and focus of international assistance to the organization. After more than a year of development, the Pacific Alliance, comprised of Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico, achieve a progress in promoting free flow of goods, capital, personnel and services. At present, zero tariffs has been achieved for 92 percent trade in goods and services between the member states, and the remaining 8 percent tariffs on goods is expected to be exempted in the short or intermediate term. Meanwhile, the spillover effect of alliance began to emerge. Costa Rica and Panama were approved to be candidate member states. There are 25 observer countries including the United States and China.

  In 2013, the Chinese-Latin America relations entered into an important period of adjustment. There are three highlight reports presenting that the adjustment and transformation of the relations, their multiple backgrounds. With the expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation, the development of the overall cooperation between China and Latin America not only conforms to interests and wishes of the both sides, but also an inevitable choice for the two sides to strengthen their strategic cooperation. In September 2013, China and the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States)“enlarged Troika”Foreign Ministers reached a consensus on making substantial progress as soon as possible in promoting China-Latin America overall cooperation. Subsequently, the two sides discussed the establishment of China-Latin America overall cooperation mechanism, in which China-Latin America Forum acted as the core. At the same time, the multidisciplinary cooperation mechanism between China and relevant countries made great progress. The dialogue concerning politics, diplomacy, science and technology, culture, and education was more frequent, which not only promoted the traditional economic and trade cooperation, but also largely improved the status and role of other areas in China-Latin American relations. In the future, China-Latin America relations are expected to achieve a more balanced and sustainable development. Even in the field of economy and trade, both sides faced common challenges in the economic cycle, the transformation of trade and investment structure, and the change of external environment. Therefore, the economic and trade cooperation in the future need reasonable planning and rebalancing. To this end, the authors put forward the three key tasks which can represent the future direction of economic and trade cooperation, namely, the deeply involved industrial upgrading in Latin America on the basis of financing services for large projects, the infrastructure cooperation guided by the large equipment export, technology and financial services, promoting technical cooperation between China and Latin America, and even the industrial docking through more economic assistance.

  The 2014 edition presents a chapter analyzing four regional organizations including the CELAC, the Pacific Alliance, the Southern Common Market and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America. The CELAC is a product of political development in the region. With the consolidation of democratic institutions and the stability of macroeconomic policy in most countries over the last ten years, especially the export-led economic growth and increase of social investment, Latin American countries have enhanced their capability and confidence. The center-left forces kept growing and took office in some countries that obviously altered the political landscape of Latin America. International financial institutions increasingly losing their influence and the hemispheric economic integration plan promoted by the United States fell into stagnation. Increasing independence of the region and U.S.“benign neglect”of the region made the both sides away from each other. Latin American countries, driven by the above-mentioned motivation, have long expected to integrate cooperation mechanism at the sub-regional level in order to establish an economic and political union covering the whole region. The author reviews the growth record of the organization in 2013, stressing its role in promoting the regional unity and political, economic, social and cultural integration, as well as taking specific steps in the establishment of permanent dialogue between 33 member states and coordination mechanism under the multilateral framework. It includes not only the collaboration in the area concerning many policy goals such as the elimination of hunger and food security, the fiscal and financial cooperation, the exploitation and efficient use of energy resources, as well as the drug-related crime and regional security, but also the efforts and progress they made in the joint response to the international crises, reflecting and achieve regional interests and concerns in the international organizations and global agenda, as well as beginning dialogue with the forces outside the area such as the United States, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. The author points out, from the ideal of the 19th century to the new alliance in the 21st century, the Latin American and Caribbean countries have devoted a long time exploring the way for self-development by uniting. But the overall progress is not yet satisfactory, the diversity of each member’s interests and aspirations, and how to effectively achieve mutual coordination remain enormous challenges facing the integration process in the area. As a result, it will be undoubtedly a long term and arduous significant mission whether the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States can eventually stand out and become the leader of this process.

 

 Main Report

1 Latin AmericaEconomic, Social and Political Transformations

  after the 50% UrbanizationXie Wenze】/001

Abstract: From the beginning of the 1960’s to 2013, Latin America achieved the triple-jump of the urbanization. Between 1950 and 2000, the number of cities with population over 20 000 increased by almost 8 times. As a result of the urbanization process, the region realized an economic transformation with two features. First, the level of urbanization continued to be higher than that of economic development.“Over-urbanization”and“Middle-income Trap”are two major phenomena. The stagnated industrialization and the suppressed household consumption are the basic reasons for them. Second, there emerged the rural economic sector, the foreign capital economic sector, the formal economic sector of urban area, and the informal economic sector of urban area. On the whole, the social transformation in the region has two main characters. First, two social relations (based on community and profession respectively) and three social classes (elite, formal and informal) got concreted. The social fragmentation is a special phenomenon in Latin America. The community-based social relation and the profession-based social relation have horizontal and vertical impacts on fragmentation respectivel As a result of the three social classes, the social structure in the region is pyramidal. Second, there has existed the contradiction between state and societ Some Latin American countries have been practicing the“3-pillars”frame of social cohesion and social management. As for the political transformation, the region has finished the process of transforming from populist politics to party politics. In the process of political transformation, the region witnessed the internationalization of economy, the differentiation of interest groups, the stratification of society, the solidification of political elite, and the socialization of government. The article summarizes one basic frame for observing and investigating Latin American countries, which is “12345”. “1” represents one contradiction, which is the contradiction between state and societ“2”represents two social relations, including the community-based and the profession-based social relations.“3”represents three social classes, which are the elite, formal and informal classes.“4”represents four economic sectors, which are the rural economic sector, the foreign capital economic sector, the formal economic sector of urban area, the informal economic sector of urban area. “5” represents five “actions”, which are the internationalization of economy, the differentiation of interest groups, the stratification of society, the solidification of political elite, and the socialization of government.

Keywords: Urbanization; Latin America; State Transformation

 

 Respective Reviews

2 Political Developments in the LAC RegionYuan Dongzhen】/043

Abstract: In 2013 Latin America and the Caribbean maintained a relatively stable political situation. A number of regional countries held elections and achieved a smooth change of governmets. There were still a political balance between the left and the right. But it is noteworthy that the radical left-wing forces were weakened because of the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Regional governments were confronting an increasing pressure to advance social and political reforms. They have made massive efforts to enhance governing capacity and promote their legitimac Brazil and some other regional countries will hold general elections in 2014, which deserve close attention. The region is expected to sustain political stability although there exists some political uncertainties.

Keywords: Political Pattern; Political Environment; Reform; Latin America

 

3 Economic Developments in the LAC RegionChai Yu, Kong Shuai】/057

Abstract: In 2013, Latin American and the Caribbean were featured by economic slow-down and ill-structured problems. The GDP growth rate was only 2.6%, and per capita GDP increased by only 1.6%. Brazil and Mexico, the most important economies in the region, showed a sluggish economic performance. Although unemployment dropped slightly, job creation slowed down. There were increased inflation pressure, worsening current account balance, rising reliance on the external savings and stagnation of international reserves. The structural factors still restricted regional economies. As a response to economic slowdown, regional economies took counter-cyclical policies to boost domestic demand, stabilize the domestic financial system and offset impacts from the international market. In 2014, the region is expected to gain a moderate economic rebound, but downside risks will remain.

Keywords: Growth; Structural ProblemsCounter-cyclical Policies; Downside Risks

 

4 Social Developments in the LAC RegionGuo Cunhai】/076

Abstract: Although there was an economic slowdown in 2013 in Latin America and the Caribbean, the poverty rate remained falling across the region while the extreme poverty rate turned out somewhat upward. It is noticeable that the region gained a continued improvement of income distribution. There was very limited job creation although unemployment decreased slightl Regional countries witnessed an outbreak of street protests as a result of popular discontent with government’s failure to meet their demand for better education, health services, salaries and working conditions. Rampant corruption and worsening public security were also viewed as main factors triggering protests. Given the unfavorable economic situation will continue, the region is exposed to increasing social risks in 2014.

Keywords: Latin America; Social Situation; Social Risks; Public Security; Corruption

 

5 External Relations of the LAC StatesChen Yuanting】/095

Abstract: Latin American countries reacted differently over the Snowden issue reflecting their different policies towards the United States. Regional countries like Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela are strongly critical of the United States and usually take a hard line handling their relations with it. The Obama government announced the end of the Monroe Doctrine, representing that it wants to influence the region through soft power instead of resorting to hard power. The recent integration process in the region was featured by fragmentation. The Pacific Alliance gained rapid development while the Southern Common Market fell into stagnation. Russia, Japan and the EU were increasing their presence in the region.

Keywords: Latin America; Foreign Relations; Monroe Doctrine; Fragmentation

 

 Highlights

6 China-LAC Relations: Transition and ChallengesSun Hongbo】/108

Abstract: In 2013, the newly established Chinese government emphasized developing relations with Latin America and sent more high ranking officials to visit regional countries. China remained to be the second largest trading partner of the region as a whole. China’s financial cooperation with regional countries facilitated their bilateral industrial cooperation. The cooperation in the field of energy sources gained advancement. China sought to make joint efforts with regional countries to coordinate economic and foreign policies. For that purpose, China expected to develop an official mechanism to promote its comprehensive cooperation with the region.

Keywords: Diplomatic Arrangement; Comprehensive Cooperation; Diversifi-cation

 

7 Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development in Brazil: Trends and Challenges

  【Wang Shuang】/121

Abstract: This article makes analysis on current status and developing trends of Brazil’s renewable energy (hydropower, biomass, solar power, wind power, etc.), and elaborates the mutual promotion relations between renewable energy and sustainable development. It also discusses contradictions between the development of renewable energy and sustainable development in the areas of environment, economic and policy coordination.

Keywords: Brazil; Renewable Energy; Sustainable Development

 

 CountrySub-region Observation

8 BrazilZhou Zhiwei】/134

Abstract: In 2013 Brazil witnessed the Mensal?o scandal trial and massive protests, which resulted in political uncertainties. The massive protests in June caused by hike of public transport fares are especially noteworthy that it reveals that Brazil is still facing some deeply rooted contradictions in the process of social transformation. The GDP gained a moderate growth at 2.4%, failing to reach the government’s target. Income distribution and social polarization continued to improve thanks to the implementation of social inclusion policies. The U.S.cyber-spying against Brazil deepened Brazil’s distrust of the United States. Brazil tried to accelerate the free trade negotiation between the Mercosur and the European Union to expand its export of agricultural goods to Europe.

Keywords: Protests; Public Policy; Exchange Rate Fluctuation; Diplomatic Crisis; Free Trade

 

9 MexicoFang Xufei】/145

Abstract: In 2013 the Congress approved some important reform packages proposed by the Pea Nieto government. The divergence on the reform resulted fierce struggles among three main political parties. The country was still in an economic downturn in 2013. The annual GDP growth rate only reached 1.3%, a new low since 2009. Public security was complicated as a result of the expansion of Michoacán militias. The Pea Nieto government took active and substantive actions to diversify external economic and trade links. It is noteworthy that the Chinese-Mexican relations were highly boosted.

Keywords: Mexico; Structural Reforms; Militias; Chinese-Mexican Relations

 

10 ArgentinaLin Hua】/158

Abstract: In the mid-term legislative election in October 2013, the ruling Frente para la Victoria coalition won a majority of Congress seats. Opposition parties also took advantage of the opportunity to win more seats to increase their influence in the Congress. The economic situation was still grim. There were a variety of macro-economic problems to be resolved, including high inflation, rapid depreciation of exchange rate, the rundown of foreign-exchange reserves and large current-account deficit. Frequent demonstrations and strikes posed a threat to social stabilit There was an outbreak of large-scale looting at the end of 2013 as mobs took advantage of the police strike. Argentina’s relations with Uruguay were strained due to disputes over trade and the paper mill by the border.

Keywords: Argentina; Mid-term Election; Inflation;Looting

 

11 CubaYang Jianmin】/170

Abstract: In 2013, Cuba held a general election, which brought new members into the political leadership. Although there was an economic slowdown, it continued to update the economic model. It has realized the Millennium goals of the United Nations as a result of long-lasting efforts in social sector. The government revised the immigration law to facilitate people’s international exchanges. Cuba maintained a close relationship with after President Chavez’s death. President Maduro visited Cuba shortly after he was elected president. In addition, Cuba was enhancing its relations with China, the United States, Russia and Brazil.

Keywords:Updating; Millennium Goals; Cuban-Venezuelan Relations

 

12 VenezuelaWang Peng】/184

Abstract: The death of Hugo Chavez in March 2013 made Venezuela enter into the post-Chavez. In April 2013 Nicolas Maduro was elected president with small margin, sustaining the PSUV’s ruling status. Five months later, the National Assembly granted him decree power to rule, facilitating him to implement economic adjustments. In December 2013 the PSUV consolidated its ruling position by gaining most mayoralties in the municipal election. But the Maduro government was confronting economic hardship in 2013, including weak GDP growth, accelerated inflation rates, and reduced oil production an export. In addition, it was pressured to improve public security, which is a major concern for voters. Diplomatically President Maduro continued to maintain close relations between Venezuela and Cuba and advocated deeper regional integration.

Keywords: Presidential Election; Inflation; Regional Integration

 

13 ChileLu Siheng】/192

Abstract: In 2013 Chile hold the general election. Michelle Bachelet, as the candidate of the New Majority, defeated the centre-right’s candidate Evelyn Matthei and elected president for a second time. Based on a solid economic fundamental, the Chilean economy gained a moderate growth. The Central Bank reduced key monetary policy interest rates in order to stimulate liquidit It is notable that unemployment reached a new low. Chile expanded its economic ties with China and continued to advance the integration process of the Alianza del Pacífico. Its relations with Bolivia soured after the Morales government took to the International Court of Justice to reclaim the sea outlet.

Keywords: Chile; Presidential Election; Bachelet; Nueva Mayoría

 

14 ColombiaQi Fengtian】/203

Abstract: The peace talks between the Santos government and the FARC gained a significant progress in 2013. The two sides reached the peace agreements on land issues and political participation. With a strong financial support President Santos is expected to win the second presidential term in 2014. Thanks to increasing domestic demand and counter-cyclical economic policies, Colombia achieved a GDP increase by 4.0 percent in 2013. The mining and industrial sectors suffered from massive strikes and environmental disputes and grew slowl Domestic security deteriorated because of farmers’ protests and miners’ strikes. Colombia deepened economic ties with other members of the Pacific Alliance.

Keywords: Peace Negotiation; Presidential Election; Pacific Alliance; Sino-Colombian Relations

 

15 PeruFan Lei】/214

Abstract: In 2013, there were several cabiner shuffles in the Ollanta Humala government. President Humala witnessed a large decrease of supporting rate. There were some political uncertainty as the 2016 general election was coming. Peru maintained economic growth in 2013, but the grwoth rate was very moderate. Poverty reduction measures achieved remarkable results, but public security is still a concern. Peru was an active participant of regional integration process. Its relations with China were boosted as a result of President Humala’s official visit to China.

Keywords: Humala; General Election; Poverty Reduction; Regional Integration

 

16 BoliviaSong Xia】/224

Abstract: President Evo Morales enjoyed a high popularity and the ruling MSA party controlled a majority of seats in the Congress. Opposition political parties, including the FA and the PT, sought to forge a political alliance. Aimed at promoting a state led development model, the Morales government continued to push the nationalization reform in 2013. The economic growth rate in 2013 was higher than that in 2012. There was an improvement of major economic indicators and a large increase of government revenue. The government expanded expenditure on social welfare programs and introduced new labor policies. As a result of the emergency landing of President Morales’s plane in Austria, Bolivia’s relations with the United States and 4 European countries were strained.

Keywords: Nationalization; Economic Growth; Emergency Landing

 

17 EcuadorFang Xufei】/232

Abstract: President Rafael Correa was reelected in February 2013, ensuring the continuation of the “citizen revolution”. The ruling party gained an absolute majority in the Congress. It is expected that the Correa government will continue to emphasize the role of state intervention and seek an expansionary fiscal policThe economic growth rate in 2013 decreased significantly compared to 2012. Public security and poverty reduction are still major challenges in Ecuador. The Ecuadorian-Chinese trade gained a remarkable increase and Ecuador was seeking to attract more Chinese tourists.

Keywords: Ecuador; Rafael Correa; General Election; Citizen Revolution

 

18 UruguayHe Luyang】/239

Abstract: In 2013, President Mujica’s policies were criticized and questioned by opposition parties and some members of the ruling coalition. The ruling coalition has reached a consensus on choosing former President TabaréVázquez as a candidate for the 2014 presidential election. Economic growth became accelerated in 2013, but the inflation pressure also increased. It is noticeable that Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize the use of marijuana. There were numerous diplomatic and trade frictions between Uruguay and Argentina in 2013. But the Mujica government maintained close relations with Venezuela and China, which featured by frequent high level official visits.

Keywords: Presidential Election; Inflation; Legalization of Marijuana; Uruguay-Argentina Relations

 

19 ParaguayLi Hui】/246

Abstract: In April 2013, Horacio Carte won the president election, which means the traditional Partido Colorado returned to power. Then Paraguay succeeded in restoring its MERCOSUR membership and the diplomatic relations with neighboring countries. In 2013 it achieved fast economic growth and the GDP growth rate occupied the first place of all Latin American countries.

Keywords: Cartes; Partido Colorado; Law of Financial Responsibility

 

20 Costa RicaZhang Yong】/254

Abstract: The Laura Chinchilla government saw the lowest supporting rate for the recent six consecutive governments. Due to the world economic downturn, the economic growth rate of Costa Rica fell to 3.2% in 2013. The government had to resolve both current account and fiscal deficits. High poverty rate and rising unemployment year by year led to serious social problems. Regarding international relations, the government insisted on the strategy of diversifying its international partners and highly emphasized the economic and trade cooperation with China.

Keywords: Presidential Election; Chinchilla; Dual Deficits; Unemployment

 

21 NicaraguaLi Han】/261

Abstract: In 2013, President Ortega’s constitutional reform bill was approved by the National Assembly on a first vote, paving the way for the president to issue decrees with the force of law. The ruling Sandinista party controlled the majority seats in the Assembly, which allowed the plans for building the trans-ocean canal to be approved. The opposition parties failed to form a union to compete against the ruling parit Nicaragua was affected by an adverse international environment and witnessed an economic slowdown in 2013. There was a significant progress in promoting and defending women’s rights under the Ortega government. Nicaragua maintained a close relationship with Venezuela. The territorial disputes have caused its tense relations with Colombia and Costa Rica.

Keywords: Ortega; FSLN; Trans-ocean Canal Project; Public Security; Territorial Disputes

 

22 HondurasYang Zhimin】/268

Abstract: The ruling Partido Nacional’s presidential candidate Juan Orlando Hernández won the presidential election in November 2013. But the Libertad y Refundación party refused to accept the result. The annual GDP growth rate reached 2.6%, the same as the regional average in 2013, but lower than that of 2012. High crime rate and poverty were viewed as the most serious challenges for Honduras. It’s dispute with El Salvador over a small island caused diplomatic tensions.

Keywords: Presidential ElectionPoverty CrimeViolenceIsland Dispute

 

23 El SalvadorFang Lianquan277

Abstract: In 2013, El Salvador remained to be stable politicall All major politic parties were preparing for the presidential election to be held in February 2014. There were intense conflicts between the government and the opposition parties featured by confrontation between the Supreme Court and the legislative branch. The GDP growth rate slowed down due to decreasing domestic demand and weak recovery of the global market. The government stressed the significance of social development and took a variety of policies to reduce povert Its sovereign dispute over the Conejo Island with Honduras continued to cause diplomatic conflicts, posing a threat to the bilateral relations.

Keywords: El Salvador; 2014 Presidential Election; Social GovernanceForeign Relations

 

24 GuatemalaWei Ran】/285

Abstract: The Otto Pérez Molina government launched a new media initiative in 2013 to promote supporting rate that dropped remarkably in the second quarter. There were major changes in the cabinet to accelerate the implementation of social contracts and promote fiscal transparenc The Constitutional Court denied the rule against former President Efrain Rios Montt, which caused massive controversy and viewed as a violation against the jurisdiction independence. In 2013, the GDP growth rate reached 3.4% and the inflation rate was still within the expected range. The Congress has approved the Association Agreement between the EU and Central America.

Keywords: Guatemala; Institutional Adjustment; Regional Trade Agreement; Social Violence

 

25 PanamaWang Shuai】/294

Abstract: Major political parties were preparing for the presidential election in 2014. Jose Arias Domingo, the ruling party’s presidential candidate, had a lead in the opinion polls. In 2013, there was an economic slowdown in Panama. But it remains to be one of the countries with highest growth rate in the region. Rising food prices caused widespread discontent and large-scale protests and strikes continued to take place. Diplomatically it has made a significant progress in the FAT negotiations with Canada, Mexico and Columbia.

Keywords: Presidential Election; Economic Slowdown; Strike; FTA

 

26 The Dominican RepublicGao Qingbo】/301

Abstract: President Danilo Medina enjoyed a remarkable popularity since he took office in August 2012. The PRD, the largest opposition party, fell into internal chaos. The Medina government has conducted several important reforms in 2013 including finance, public security, and the immigrant polic In 2013, the GDP increased by 3.0% and the financial deficit decreased to 2.8% of GDP. Public security was still a major concern, forcing the government to take strong measures to fight crime. The poverty and unemployment rates remained to be high. Diplomatically it was confronting challenges from the worsening relations with Haiti as a result of disputes over trade and immigrant issues.

Keywords: Dominican Republic; Economy; Society; Political Development

 

27 HaitiZhao Chongyang】/309

Abstract: In 2013, Haiti faced considerable political instability, which resulted in postponement of the congress election and the municipal election. It had a stable macro-economy, but risks remained to be resolved. Public security gained a remarkable improvement, but it is still a major concern among people. It is proved that the assistance from MINUSTAH is a key factor for Haiti to maintain social stabilit Its relations with the Dominican Republic strained due to economic disputes and immigrant issues.

Keywords: Haiti; Economic Growth; Army Rebuilding; Foreign Relations; MINUSTAH; Republic of Dominica

 

28 The CaribbeanHe Xi】/316

Abstract: In 2013, the Caribbean remained a comparatively stable political situation. Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada hold general elections to produce new governments. The integration process continued to develop and produced new results. Regional countries gained a moderate economic growth and were facing a serious debt problem. The growth rate of population began to slow down while poverty and crime remained to be major social problems confronting regional countries. The European Union increased economic aid to regional countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Trinidad and Tobago marked a significant headway of China’s relations with the region.

Keywords: The Caribbean countries; Politics; Economy; Society; Foreign Relations

 

 Regional Organizations

29 The Community of Latin America and the CaribbeanZhang Fan】/330

Abstract: The Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (its Spanish acronym is CELAC) was founded in 2011, representing the latest achievement of regional countries for regional integration and laying a cornerstone for forging closer political cooperation. In January 2013, member countries held an annul summit in Chile. In addition, the bloc organized numerous ministerial meetings to promote internal cooperation. It is confronted with the challenge of developing an internal mechanism to cultivate consensus and resolve conflicts of political ideas and national interests.

Keywords: CELAC; Regional Integration; Consensus

 

30 The Southern Common MarketYang Jianmin】/339

Abstract: In recent years, the Southern Common Market (its Spanish acronym is Mercosur) continued to hold government summits regularly to promote its integration process. In June 2012, after the suspension of Paraguay’s membership, Venezuela gained full membership, which represents the accomplishment of seven years of entering procession. In December 2012, Bolivia was approved to join it, but its full membership requires the approval of the national congress of each member countr The 2013 Mercosur Summit condemned the U.S. surveillance on South American countries and decided to accelerate free trade negotiations with the EU. In 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit enhanced China’s relations with Mercosur, who proposed to double bilateral trade by 2015.

Keywords: Mercosur; Summit; China; Joint Statement

 

31 The Pacific AllianceXie Wenze】/348

Abstract: The Pacific Alliance was founded in June 2012, aimed at realizing the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons among member countries and serving them as a platform for economic integration into the global system and especially into the Asia-Pacific region. Since the foundation, the integrating process continued to be deepened and has produced remarkable initial fruits. Now the alliance is facing major challenges such as a small volume of trade among the members, immense difficulties in promoting free trade of agricultural products and service, and heavy competition from outside. As an observer, China has forged strong economic and trade ties with the bloc and is seeking a closer partnership with it.

Keywords: The Pacific Alliance; Regional Integration; Sino-Latin American Trade

 

32 The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our AmericaWang Peng】/359

Abstract: The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (its Spanish acronym is ALBA) is a regional integration bloc fully comprised by developing countries. It is a result of the antagonism against neo-liberalism in Latin America, the long-standing quest of regional countries for deeper regional integration and the combination of nationalism and anti-Americanism. ALBA advocates a state-based integration and expects to be an alternative to the market-based integration mechanism. By developing a mechanism of maximum flexibility, it seeks to assist member countries to achieve full cooperation and integration. Currently its integration process is involved with economic, political and social fields. Economically it has issued the common currency named SUCRE and established the ALBA Bank to facilitate economic cooperation among its members. Diplomatically it has coordinated member countries to take common position on a variety of major international and regional issues. In the social field, the member countries have made a joint effort to improve education and health, contributing greatly to promote social justice.

Keywords: ALBA; Chavez; Regional Integration; Alternative

 

 Appendix: Economic Statistics

33 Table 1Average Annual Growth Rates of GDP and GDP per Capita(2004-2013)367

34 Table 2Regional GDP and GDP per Capita of LAC(2010-2012)369

35 Table 3Balance of Payment(2011-2013)371

36 Table 4Net FDI(2004-2013)376

37 Table 5Total Foreign Debt(2004-2013)378

38 Table 6Annual Variations of CPI(2004-2013)380

39 Table 7Open Unemployment Rate(average annual rate) (2004-2013)382

40 Table 8Sino-Latin American Trade Statistics(2008-2012)384

41 Table 9Non-Financial FDI Statistics on China and LAC(2008-2012)389

 
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