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  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: ecent events elsewhere in Latin America–specifically, an acute political crisis in Venezuela and a groundbreaking election in Brazil–have pushed Mexico off the front pages of American newspapers. Nonetheless, it is worth remembering that Mexico, our closest and most important Latin neighbor, is a major customer for our products and the source of many essential imports, most notably oil and gas. It is also a country with which we have intense cultural and human relations, far more indeed than most Americans realize. Its progress toward becoming an open and more modern society therefore deserves far more attention. President Vicente Fox is nearing the midpoint of a six-year presidential term. The next major marker will be elections in July concerning all the seats in the lower national legislative chamber, all the governorships, and the legislative assemblies in eleven of Mexico’s thirty-two states.[i] These elections inevitably will be interpreted in part as a referendum on Fox’s administration–the first drawn from an opposition party in more than seven decades. At the same time, they will tell us to what degree the ousted Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has managed to reinvent itself and become nationally competitive in a more pluralistic and open environment.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics, Immigration, Political Crisis
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 02-1997
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Presidents of the United States are elected to govern the American people, not the Latin American republics. Consequently, one should be neither surprised nor particularly troubled by the fact that many of our chief executives have failed to elicit much enthusiasm south of the border. Indeed, given the genuine differences of national self-interest, we would have ample reason to worry were it otherwise. Even so, one cannot help noticing how very unpopular the first Clinton administration has been in Latin America and with what trepidation most of the republics face the prospects of a second four years.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, Trade, Bill Clinton
  • Political Geography: Latin America, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 05-1997
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Although Mexico is, without doubt, the most important Latin American country for the United States, by any standard Brazil should rank close behind. It represents our second largest export market in the region and has become the second largest venue of U.S. investment there. More to the point, in many ways, Brazil is South America, in the sense that its economy is larger than that of all its neighbors combined. In many ways, it is a trendsetter for an entire continent. The success or failure of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s reform program will decisively shape the future of Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay and influence strongly developments in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Government, Reform
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 10-1997
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: This month President Clinton visits Argentina, a major South American country that in recent years has become one of our most valued and trusted Latin allies. His presence there will underscore the special relationship that President Carlos Sal Menem has forged with the United States, a relationship that is a mirror image of Argentina’s historic antagonism toward Washington and all its works. Clinton’s presence will also highlight Argentina’s significant victories in the economic field–in the war against inflation, in the struggle to reestablish creditworthiness, and, above all, in its efforts to attract significant new foreign investment from Western Europe, Japan, and the United States. The visit precedes by about ten days an important midterm election, which in all probability will determine the political lineup for that country’s 1999 presidential election. In this regard, the most important development has been the creation of a multiparty coalition, the Alliance, which will be running joint lists against the candidates of Menem’s own Peronist Party. If the Peronists hold their own on October 26, Menem will be tempted to make a bid for an unprecedented third term. If they are soundly defeated, the struggle for succession within Peronism will begin the morning after. But a victory for the Alliance by no means clearly points the way for the opposition, which is beset by profound divisions of its own. This vagueness makes these elections a particularly interesting lens through which to view Argentina’s continuing evolution.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 11-1997
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On his trip to South America last month, President Clinton made quite a splash in Brazil. After starting off badly–dodging a torrent of manure thrown at his motorcade–he ended the week with the local media singing his praises. The secret of his success? The president (a quick study if there ever was one) immediately grasped that the best way to get along with Brazilians was to repeat back to them–with redoubled enthusiasm–what they told him about themselves. Thus, by the time Clinton had been in the country for thirty-six hours, he was expressing his conviction that Brazil, together with the United States, would lead the hemisphere in the twenty-first century. He also went out of his way to insist on his support for Mercosur, a subregional trade agreement-cum-political alliance of whose existence Clinton was probably only peripherally aware before his trip. In so doing, he seemed to be writing off an entire continent to the Brazilian sphere of influence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics, Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, United States of America