Annual Report on Latin America and the Caribbean (2015-2016)Fecha：2016/08/15 Autor：
1 Constructing China’s National Image from the Perspective of Cultural Promotion: Challenges
and Suggestions【Guo Cunhai】／001
Abstract:It is well recognized that the rise of China has attracted global attention. Along with the expansion of China’s clout, such dynamics have also brought great pressure to China, especially as far as national image is concerned. China’s poor international image not only originates from deliberate distortion and containment from the West, but also from external stereotyped perception of China’s past and present. To effectively address such challenges, China needs to further strengthen its cultural power and accelerate cultural modernization in order to win a better position in cultural competitions worldwide.This paper first discusses and reviews the deficiencies of cultural and culture-related factors in building national image abroad from eight respects. In conclusion, it is suggested promoting the role of cultural diplomacy in China’s foreign policy and setting up cultural promotion strategy and mechanism compatible with changing global situations, domestic affairs and overseas interests to forge China’s new cultural image.
Keywords:China; National Image; Cultural Building; Challenges; Suggestions
Ⅱ Situation Reports
2 Political Situation 2015-2016: Political Dilemma of Leftist Governments and New Trends
Abstract:In 2015, the political situation in Latin America and the Caribbean remained stable. First, some countries held elections and achieved regime change. Despite conflicts in elections, smooth transition was achieved. Secondly, the left-wing forces, which have ruled the region for tens of years, faced unprecedented challenges, while the right-wing parties further enhanced their strength. Take Argentina as an example. The left-wing Justice Party lost in the election to the right wing, which signifies that right-wing forces will probably start to dominate Latin America. Finally, the year of 2016 is highly important for political development in Latin America. In Cuba, the 7th congress of the Communist Party will be held; Bolivia and Colombia will face constitutional referendum; and the Venezuelan opposition may stage a recall referendum to the president. All these merit attention.
Keywords:Elections; Regime Change; Right-Wing Ruling Cycle
3 Economic Situation 2015-2016: Decline and Disparities【Yue Yunxia】／049
Abstract:In 2015, due to the sluggish world economy, declining prices of staple commodity and slumped international trade, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) suffered heavy losses. A series of basic indicators, such as the region's overall economic growth, inflation, employment and international trade, were at the worst in recent years. The economic fundamentals were rather fragile. Meanwhile, the intra-regional difference increased. The economic indicators of Central America and the Caribbean are better than those in South America. Faced with economic difficulties, regional countries implemented targeted fiscal and monetary policy, adjusted exchange rate and international reserve, reformed and innovated the financial system to offset potential systemic risk and reduce the uncertainty of external impacts. However, pro-cyclicality of regional economies was not mitigated. Most of regional economies fell into stagnation and economic fluctuations remained to be large. Looking ahead, because of the unfavorable external environment, relatively large risk exposures, and limited space for government policy, economic recovery in the region will lack adequate momentum in the short and medium terms. Economic growth rate in 2016 is supposed to be modest. Meanwhile, as regional countries vary in production structure and major trade partners, their disparities are likely to further exacerbate.
Keywords:Latin American Economy; Caribbean Economy; Recession; Disparities; Procycle; Outlook
4 Social Situation 2015-2016: A Modest Improvement【Fang Lianquan】／068
Abstract:In 2015, Latin American countries experienced negative economic growth for the fourth consecutive year, leading to stagnation of social situation, as manifested in increasing poverty, rising unemployment rate, and soaring inflation. All these factors exerted great impacts on income. Social and economic problems overlapped, making public security worse. Corruption remained to be a crucial challenge to regional countries. Due to fiscal difficulties, social expenditure policies implemented by some left-wing governments faced lots of challenges. As a result, rightist parties were gaining a momentum. The year 2015 is the 15th anniversary of the Millennium Development Goals. While regional countries have made great progress in poverty reduction, employment promotion and education, some goals of social development are still not achieved. The performance of regional countries varied greatly. According to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, regional countries put a series of new development goals, emphasizing sustainable development and social integration.
Keywords:Latin America; Social Development; Employment; Poverty; Public Security
5 Foreign Relations 2015-2016: A Combination of Diversification, Continuity and Fragility
Abstract:In 2015, convergence in diversity, continuity along changes, and autonomy with fragility are three pairs of variables characterizing international relations in Latin America. The yearly international drama is not just about a variety of new developments in regional cooperation and integration either originating from intra-regional dynamics or driven by extra-regional actors, but it is also a story of the dual impact of practical interests and historical legacies upon the cooperation and conflict among Latin American countries themselves. The obvious landmarks of the year include the change in US-Latin America relations, and to a lesser extent the launch of integral cooperation between China and Latin America, showing the active roles played by great powers in the reconfiguration of the hemispheric affairs.
Keywords:Latin America and the Caribbean; International Relations; Regional Cooperation and Integration; US-Latin America Relations; China-Latin America Relations
Ⅲ Reports on China-Latin America Relations
6 The 3X3 Model of China-Latin America Relations【Zhang Qing】／103
Abstract:In May 2015, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang put forward the “3X3” model for China-Latin America cooperation, charting a course for the future development of bilateral ties. The model is a good attempt for emerging countries, most of which are going through a tough time and seeking a new type of effective, sustainable cooperation model. It is of great significance to galvanizing real economy, overcoming current economic difficulties and ensuring benign development of cooperation, while providing guidance for other countries.
Keywords:China-Latin America Relations; 3X3 Model; Capacity Cooperation
7 China-Latin America Hi-tech Cooperation since the 21st Century: Key Areas and Prospects
Abstract:The first cooperative initiative in the field of high technology between China and Latin America started in the late 1980s, when China and Brazil signed an intent agreement focusing on cooperation in space technology. Only 11 years later, in 1999, was the first China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite ( CBERS-1 successfully launched. The cooperation in multiple high technological fields and among many countries in Latin America just began since the inception of the 21st century. Currently high technological cooperation between China and Latin American countries have involved several fields, such as information technology, new energy technology, biotechnology and space technology, among others. But in some fields such as new material technology and precision manufacturing technology, there is huge potential for further cooperation. And the future cooperation in almost all high technology fields and among most Latin American countries may finally form a domino effect and a network effect. There will also be a system effect, which can be well handled by achieving strategic balance and formulating risk-control or risk-management mechanisms.
Keywords:21st Century; China; Latin America; High Technology; Cooperation; Key Areas
Ⅳ Countries and Regions
8 Brazil【Zhang Yong】／125
Abstract:In 2015 Brazil saw dual crises in politics and economy. Due to a severe economic recession and continuous influence of corruption arising from Petrobras, President Rousseff’s support rate has already fallen to a record low of 8%. Especially, on December 2, Eduardo Cunha, the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of Congress), started impeachment proceedings against Rousseff. Although the reasons for impeachment aren’t sufficient, it has increased political uncertainties. The economic recession is a result of external and internal factors including the decline in commodity prices in the former, and economic policy failure and structural imbalance in the latter. In the short term, unemployment rate and poverty rate have risen. And due to the government’s focus on domestic problems, Rousseff has made less achievement in foreign relations than former President Lula. In 2016, the situation in Brazil is still not optimistic.
Keywords:Rousseff; Impeachment; Economic Recession; Corruption
9 Mexico【Chen Yuanting】／139
Abstract:Mexican President Pea Nieto made substantial progress in structural reform in 2015, and public security has become one of the main targets of government policy. The president also needs to struggle to recover credibility amid social frustration over institutional deficiencies, notable corruption and violence. The party system is fragmented. In the face of adversities in the international environment, especially the impact of low oil prices, the main goal of Mexico’s economic policy is to ensure the stability of the macro economy. Public security and corruption remain great challenges to social development, and the government has failed to reduce poverty levels. On the diplomatic front, Mexico is developing relations with countries of North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific.
Keywords:Crisis of Confidence; Structural Reform; Public Security; TPP
10 Argentina【Lin Hua】／151
Abstract:In 2015, the centre-right candidate Mauricio Macri won the presidential election, putting an end to Argentina’s left-wing ruling period of 12 consecutive years. Macri’s claims are quite different from the previous government, indicating that the new government will carry out major reforms in the economic, diplomatic and other aspects. The overall economic situation remained distressed, and old problems unsolved. The slow economic growth mainly depended on consumer and credit expansion fueled by financial incentives. The social situation has been stuck in a vicious cycle in which the government continued expansionary welfare policies while trade unions kept going on strikes. In foreign relations, the main concerns are the reinforcement of relations with Russia and China, as well as the free trade negotiation between Mercosur and the EU.
Keywords:Argentina; Election; Macri
11 Cuba【Fan Lei】／163
Abstract:Cuba featured political stability in 2015, when the political “update” made steady progress. Owing to favorable internal and external factors, the economic performance continued to improve. Health care, education, communication services and the housing sector embraced advances. The country was also active in the diplomatic sphere. Its relationship with the United States developed rapidly; the ties with the European Union was steadily promoted; firm relations with traditional friendly nations continued; and Pope Francis paid a visit to Cuba.
Keywords:2015; Cuba; Improvement
12 Venezuela【Wang Peng】／177
Abstract:In 2015, the decline of crude output and the fall of oil prices contributed to a drop in Venezuela’s oil export revenues. The macroeconomic situation deteriorated, as manifested in surging inflation, severe commodity shortage and tremendous pressure in bolívar fuerte depreciation. The ruling PSUV was forced to embrace a congressional election and suffered a huge setback in the end. The opposition MUD won two thirds of the seats of the next congress, gaining overall control for the very first time. The power struggle between PSUV and MUD will certainly make the Venezuelan political situation more uncertain. As an effort to cope with inflation, the Maduro government raised the national minimum wage four times within a year. In order to improve housing conditions, it continued to vigorously perform the Gran Misión Vivienda (GMVV). When it comes to foreign policy, the Maduro government attempted to stabilize oil prices and seek more external funds. Venezuela and the United States made some contact, but confrontation remained the tone for bilateral ties.
Keywords:Congressional Election; Economic Recession; GMVV; Limiting Production to Control Price
13 Chile【Lu Siheng】／185
Abstract:In 2015, in the domain of politics, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet signed the new electoral law and announced the launch of the process to draw up a new Constitution for the country. However, due to the sluggish economy and a series of political scandals, the public was suspicious of Bachelet and her government’s ruling power. Despite the stable macroeconomic situation, growth remained weak. A package of plans to boost economic growth was vigorously promoted by the central government, which has exerted positive impacts on investment and private consumption stimulation. In social terms, educational reform and labor reform achieved staged results. In regards to international relations, the official visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Chile coincided with the 45th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations. Besides, Chile has made significant progress in participating in regional cooperation and integration in Asia Pacific.
Keywords:Chile; Electoral Reform; Tax Reform; Education Reform
14 Colombia【Zheng Meng】／196
Abstract:The Colombian government and the FARC reached a consensus in peace negotiation. Local elections were held successfully. Due to weak international demands and falling oil prices, economic slowdown exacerbated; the balance of payments deteriorated; and deficit and inflation rose. The PIPE2.0 stimulated the labor market to perform well generally. Colombia expressed a strong willingness to join APEC and TPP while promoting the integration progress in Pacific Alliance. On the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, China and Colombia has been experiencing a “honeymoon period” since Chinese Premier Li Keqiang paid a visit to Colombia. The border crisis between Colombia and Venezuela further escalated.
Keywords:Peace Negotiation; Local Election; Economic Slowdown; China-Colombia Relations; Pacific Alliance
15 Peru【He Meilan】／207
Abstract: In 2015, despite the stable political situation prior to the general election, Peru witnessed frequent cabinet shuffles. It experienced weak economic growth with increasing financial and trade deficits. Poverty reduction was remarkable as a result of government measures in spite of hidden trouble in public security. The government also took active actions to promote Latin American integration, develop diverse diplomacy and deepen relations with China,.
Keywords:Peru; Political Stability; Weak Economic Growth; Stable Society; Diplomatic Progress
16 Bolivia【Song Xia】／218
Abstract:In 2015, some changes took place in the political sphere of Bolivia. Evo Morales took office for a third consecutive five-year term on January 22nd, 2015, and then appointed a new cabinet with two thirds of cabinet members changed. Although the Bolivian economy continued to grow under the Morales administration, he lost in a constitutional referendum held on February 21st 2016 that would allow him to run for re-election in 2019 for another term. In his third term, President Morales concentrated his efforts on planning and developing energy and infrastructure programmes to tackle Bolivia’s numerous development needs. Bolivia focused on restoring sovereign access to the Pacific coast that continued to complicate the relationship with Chile. It strengthened relations with Russia and France in the nuclear energy field and with Argentina in the military area. The relationship between Bolivia and China was also deepened, which was underpinned by China’s increasing economic interest in Bolivia, including providing investment in infrastructure and mining.
Keywords:Bolivia; Economic Growth; Constitutional Amendment; Referendum; Bolivia-China Relations
17 Ecuador【Fang Xufei】／226
Abstract:The national legislative assembly gave final approval to the constitutional amendments, making the presidential indefinite re-election reality, which was the most notable political event in 2015 in Ecuador. The ongoing, large-scale anti-government protests posed a serious challenge to political stability of the Correa regime. Due to falling oil prices and dollar appreciation, the economy suffered a sharp decline, as the growth rate was only 0.4% in 2015. The Correa government has made a number of policy adjustments, such as budget and spend cutting, because the high-income and high-expenditure economic management model is unsustainable. In the field of foreign relations, the preferential trade arrangements were renewed by the US to the Ecuadorian export products, and the deal to accede to the EU-Andean Community Association Agreement was in progress. Assuming the rotating presidency of CELAC, Ecuador expanded its influence in regional and global affairs. In early 2015, Ecuador and China also established strategic partnership.
Keywords:Ecuador; Rafael Correa; Presidential Re-election; Economic Downturn
18 Uruguay【He Luyang】／236
Abstract:In the 2015 local elections, the FA extended a hegemony over the mayoralty of greater Montevideo, while the new opposition coalition made significant gains. Faced with great international and regional uncertainties, economic growth decelerated significantly, but still maintained moderate growth. Relatively tight government budgets led to union discontent, as persistent protests and strikes not only divided the ruling coalition but also affected the president’s approval ratings. In foreign affairs, Uruguay worked hard to repair the relations with Venezuela, while actively developing economic diplomacy.
Keywords:Uruguay; Local Elections; Social Protests; Uruguay-Venezuela Relations
19 Paraguay【Li Hui】／244
Abstract:Paraguay’s ruling party Colorado Party broke down and the government’s support rate decreased, but the political situation was generally stable. In municipal elections, the Colorado Party lost several important cities, including Paraguay’s capital Asunción. In terms of economy, due to the impact of external factors and bad weather conditions, the growth rate was moderate in 2015. The social situation was still grim. As drug trafficking and corruption issues loomed large, protests occurred from time to time.
Keywords:Paraguay; Colorado Party; Municipal Election; Social Problems
20 Costa Rica【Wang Fei】／252
Abstract:In 2015, political parties in Costa Rica were split. Due to increasingly severe fiscal deficits, the divide between the ruling and opposition coalitions deepened. Fiscal deficits also exerted negative impacts on Costa Rica’s economy. The growth rate fell below the average of countries in Middle America. The central bank cut interest rates many times to galvanize economy, but still failed to break away from inflation. The deficits of current account continued to widen, posing another challenge to the government. In addition, the unemployment rate remained high with a growing number of destitute families, escalating social risks. In terms of foreign relations, Costa Rica continued to take an active part in regional and global governance, playing an active role.
Keywords:Costa Rica; Political Split; Fiscal Deficits
21 Nicaragua【Li Han】／262
Abstract:In 2015, President Ortega retained firm control of public institutions and was expected to win a third consecutive term. The Nicaraguan government unveiled and approved the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the proposed Nicaragua Canal megaproject. However, the construction was delayed as a result of social protests and uncertainties about financial viability. Nicaragua maintained economic growth momentum. The government made significant progress in women’s rights and the country has been ranked as one of the most gender-equal countries in the world. Nicaragua maintained close relationship with Venezuela, and ties with the US were improving, but its relations with Costa Rica remained strained.
Keywords:Ortega; FSLN; Trans-Ocean Canal Project; Women’s Rights
22 Honduras【Yang Zhimin】／270
Abstract:In 2015, the general situation of Honduras made much progress. The Supreme Court ruled to remove the ban on presidential reelection, but domestic politics remained stable. The economy has kept growing since 2013. Although protests happened over the government’s corruption scandal, the homicide rate continued to fall. Diplomatic efforts will be focused on strengthening economic and security ties with the US and its neighboring countries.
Keywords:Presidential Re-election; Continuous Economic Growth; Falling Homicide Rate; US
23 El Salvador【Tan Daoming】／279
Abstract:In 2015, the political situation of El Salvador remained stable with no big changes, while there was an evident trend of politics judicialization. The economy continued to grow slowly. However, the security situation in this small Central American country deteriorated dramatically. The Sánchez government had few countermeasures and would face various constraints in financial investment and resource allocation. In diplomacy, El Savador deepened cooperation with the United States on such aspects as undocumented immigrants, anti-corruption and judicial assistance, while balancing relations with neighbors in Central America and the rest of Latin American and Caribbean countries. Meanwhile, it established diplomatic relations with some African and Oceanian countries. In Asia, El Salvador developed closer ties with Japan and South Korea, and began to engage in economic cooperation with China.
Keywords:El Salvador; Politics Judicialization; Security Situation; Economic Cooperation with China
24 Guatemala【Wei Ran】／287
Abstract:In 2015, ahead of the election, Guatemalan President Pérez Molina was involved in the La Linea corruption case with other high-ranking officials. Consequently, President Pérez was stripped of his immunity by the Guatemalan Parliament. He was arrested right after his resignation. The majority of voters supported the “outsider” Jimmy Morales, who won the run-off election as the FCN’s presidential candidate. His success was viewed as a sign of the distrust of many Guatemalan towards traditional political elites. Since the Renewed Democratic Liberty became the largest party in the Congress, Guatemala is facing more radical political fragmentation. Although the tendency of economic recovery is quite stable, the GDP growth rate declined to 3.9%, which was mainly influenced by the overall situation in Central America. Since at the end of President Pérez’s term, 62.4% of the population lived in moderate poverty, the condition of social inequality has not improved. In 2015, Guatemala’s longstanding territorial dispute against Belize stagnated, while the Guatemalan government succeeded in promoting cooperation with Mexico on regional energy integration and cross-border governance issues.
Keywords:Anti-corruption; 2015 Presidential Election; Civil Society;Cross-Border Governance
25 Panama【Wang Shuai】／296
Abstract:The Varela government continued to consolidate his power in 2015. In politics, he stepped up anti-corruption efforts and a large number of former government officials were arrested or investigated, so far as to the former President Martinelli. In the economic domain, he implemented fiscal austerity, cut spending and achieved a sharp decline in deficits. In the social aspect, the Varela government devoted efforts to easing conflicts with the indigenous and has won a preliminary victory. The fight against corruption helped him gain popular support. On the diplomatic front, the government vigorously developed the diplomatic situation, maintaining friendly relations with neighboring countries, resolving trade disputes, and shaping the international image of Panama.
Keywords:Anti-corruption; Deficit Fall; Popular Support; International Image
26 Dominican Republic【Gao Qingbo】／305
Abstract:Dominican President Danilo took office three years ago, and has been very popular among the people, while the PRD was divided into two parties last year. The offshoot party named Modern Revolution Party chose Abinader as the candidate, while the PRD decided to join the ruling coalition after the constitution was amended in May. Medina pursued an ambitious social agenda, such as security reform, education reform, alleviation of poverty and job creation. In the economy aspect, GDP grew by 6.6%, and the overall deficit decreased to 2.5% of GDP. On the social front, anti-crime was the highest priority, and the Dominican Republic was struggling with poverty and unemployment. At last, the most notable diplomatic affair was the tension with Haiti.
Keywords:Dominican Republic; Politics;Economy; Social Affairs; Foreign Affairs
27 Haiti【Zhao Zhongyang】／315
Abstract:For Haiti, 2015 was an year of election. Affected by various factors, the new president and parliament failed to be elected on time, leading the political situation to chaos. The political instability affected economic and social development. Haiti’s economic growth was stagnant in 2015. Its social security situation was worse than in 2014 and the immigration dispute with the Dominican Republic added to social instability. The MINUSTAH mission’s mandate was extended for one year, but it is likely to be the last year. The relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic remained tense.
Keywords:Haiti; Political Instability; Economic Stagnation; Social Unrest; Foreign Relations;MINUSTAH; Dominican Republic
28 The Caribbean【He Xi】／322
Abstract: In 2015, the overall political situation in the Caribbean was stable. Guyana’s president and prime minister stepped down one after another. Dési Bouterse became the new president of Surinam. The opposition parties of Trinidad and Tobago won national elections. Jamaica’s Labor Party won the election by a tiny margin. The process of Caribbean integration was promoted further. The economic growth of Caribbean countries slowed down. Promoting tourism development and attracting foreign investment remained important measures for the economic development of the Caribbean countries. The population growth of Caribbean countries also decelerated, and the region was still bothered by drugs, poverty and crime. China attached more importance to integrated cooperation with Caribbean countries and China-Caribbean relations have taken a new step. In addition, developed countries and international organizations further enhanced their aids to Caribbean countries.
Keywords:The Caribbean; Caribbean Community; Regional Integration; International Aid
1. Average Annual Growth Rates of GDP and GDP per Capita (2005-2014)
2. Regional GDP per Capita and GDP of LAC (2012-2014)
3. Balance of Payment (2013-2015)
4. Net FDI (2006-2014)
5. Total Foreign Debt (2006-2015)
6. Annual Variations of CPI (2006-2015)
7. Open Unemployment Rate (average annual rate) (2006-2015)
8. Income Concentration Index of 18 LAC Countries (2001-2014)
9. Poverty and Indigence Index of 18 LAC Countries (2001-2014)
10. Sino-Latin American Trade Statistics (2011-2015)
11. Non-Financial FDI Statistics on China and LAC (2010-2014)
Derecho reservado: Instituto de América Latina，Academia de China de Ciencias Sociales.
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