Publications by FERNANDO MENÉNDEZ

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Feb 22, 2014 0 Comments

Which Path for China in Latin America’s Development? Articles / Opinion Editorials

Authors: FERNANDO MENÉNDEZ

Politically and economically, Latin America is a continent divided in two, with one bloc of nations pursuing market-driven economic growth, free trade and regional integration based on economies of scale and another made up of populist regimes with state-controlled economies and protectionism flirting with autarchy.  The divide underscores relations with the rest of the world and especially with the United States.  The first bloc seeing their future as integrated with the North American part of the hemisphere and the latter looking for external actors to subsidize their projects and stand as a counterweight to the U.S. 

At a recent summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held in Havana, Cuba, January 28-29, the divisions were glossed over as the groups announced a CELAC-China forum to take place later this year.  

China is Latin America’s second largest trade partner – after the U.S. – a relationship primarily driven by demand for natural resources and a source of markets for Chinese products.  By 2012, bilateral trade grew an additional 8% from the previous year to $261 billion.   While China’s important presence in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is unassailable, the critical question is which development model the PRC will choose to support in the continent. 

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Feb 17, 2014 0 Comments

Student Dies in Crackdown on Venezuela Opposition Articles / Opinion Editorials

Authors: FERNANDO MENÉNDEZ

On the morning of February 12, Bassil Alejandro Da Costa left a message for his mother informing her he would be participating in a nationwide student protest for liberty in Caracas, Venezuela. By the end of the day, 24-year old Bassil was lying in the morgue dead from a fatal gunshot fired by Venezuelan security forces. 

Bassil’s shooting went viral, as did two other fatal shootings that day: that of Roberto Redman and Juan Montoya, a pro-government supporter.

The protests — among the largest seen in the months following Nicolas Maduro’s wafer-thin electoral victory in April 2013 — have spread across the entire country and the government’s response has been unmeasured and brutal. Armed motorcycle patrols, like the ones believed responsible for Dacosta’s death, wade into crowds, weapons at the ready.

Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government, as earlier reported in these pages, is steadily losing whatever legitimacy it might have had among the Venezuelan people.
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