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Latin America and the Caribbean

CEPR examines economic changes in Latin America, including how IMF, World Bank and WTO policies have affected countries in the region, and looks at the economic factors behind political developments there. For more information, sign up for our Latin America News Roundup or visit the archives.

Also check out The Americas Blog, which features social, political and economic analysis of the Western Hemisphere.

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In Focus

Latin America News Round-up: a daily email digest. This free compilation of articles features the latest English language news on economic and political developments in Latin America. Click here to subscribe.


The Brazilian Economy in Transition: Macroeconomic Policy, Labor and Inequality

September 2014, Mark Weisbrot, Jake Johnston, and Stephan Lefebvre

Latin American Growth in the 21st Century: The 'Commodities Boom' That Wasn't

May 2014, David Rosnick and Mark Weisbrot

Did NAFTA Help Mexico? An Assessment After 20 Years

February 2014, Mark Weisbrot, Stephan Lefebvre, and Joseph Sammut

Honduras Since the Coup: Economic and Social Outcomes

November 2013, Jake Johnston and Stephan Lefebvre

The Multilateral Debt Trap in Jamaica

June 2013, Jake Johnston

More >

Op-Eds & Columns

One Step Forward, One Step Back in U.S.-Latin America Policy

Alexander Main
The Hill, December 19, 2014

Fixing the Exchange Rate System in Venezuela

Mark Weisbrot
Triple Crisis, November 25, 2014

Lessons from Bolivia: Re-nationalizing the Hydrocarbon Industry

Stephan Lefebvre and Jeanette Bonifaz
Open Democracy, November 24, 2014

Economic Issues Could be Decisive in Brazilian Presidential Election

Mark Weisbrot
October 24, 2014, The Hill
Folha De S. Paulo

Why Dilma Rousseff Could Win Brazil’s Presidential Election

Mark Weisbrot
The Guardian Unlimited, October 2, 2014

More >


Work In Brazil: A Comparative Perspective

Latin American Human Rights Defenders on the Impact of U.S. Security Policy in Mexico, Central America and Colombia

The Impact of the BRICS’ Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) and the New Development Bank (NDB)

Unaccompanied Minors: Undocumented Immigrants, Refugees or Asylum Seekers?

Revisiting the Role of U.S. Trade and Economic Policies in the Central America Refugee Situation

BRICS Bank: A Challenge to Bretton Woods or More of the Same?

The Legacy of Independence and Democracy in Venezuela

Humanitarian Crisis at the U.S.-Mexico Border: Understanding the Surge of Unaccompanied Minors at U.S. Borders

DC Premier Screening of Documentary: Revolutionary Medicine: A Story of the First Garifuna Hospital

Congressional Briefing: Critical Lessons from NAFTA for the United States and Mexico

More >

Press Releases

Obama’s Change of Cuba Policy is Welcome and Long Overdue; Reflects Increasing U.S. Isolation in a Latin America Mostly Run by Left Governments, Says CEPR Co-Director

For Immediate Release: December 17, 2014
Contact: Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460

Washington, D.C.- News that the Obama administration is “changing its relationship with the people of Cuba” is due to the leftward shift in Latin America that has increasingly isolated the United States politically in the region, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said today. The Obama administration announced the changes following Cuba’s release of USAID contractor Alan Gross and an unnamed “intelligence asset,” and the U.S. release of the three remaining members of the “Cuban Five” who were imprisoned for espionage after working to disrupt plots by Cuban exile extremists based in the U.S. Cuba is also reportedly releasing 53 other political prisoners.

“This historic shift is a direct result of the United States’ increasing isolation in the region,” Weisbrot said. “Relations between Latin America and the Obama administration have been the worst probably of any U.S. administration in decades.  This will help, but new sanctions against Venezuela will also raise questions in the hemisphere about whether this is a change in direction or merely a giving up on a strategy that has failed for more than 50 years.

“Because of the historic transition in Latin America over the past 15 years, with left governments elected in most of the region, basically the rules and norms were changed for the whole hemisphere. Various Latin American governments – and not just those on the left – have been increasingly vocal in recent years that the status quo cannot stand, and that Cuba must be treated as an equal, and welcomed into fora such as the Summit of the Americas,” Weisbrot noted.

“Washington’s Cuba policy is being pulled into the 21st Century thanks to this regional shift.”

Weisbrot added, however: “The U.S. has pumped tens of millions into efforts to undermine left-of-center governments in Latin America, including BoliviaEcuadorVenezuela and Brazil. The just-approved appropriations bill [PDF] includes increased funding for these purposes, and the White House fact sheet on the new Cuba policy makes clear that so-called ‘democracy promotion’ will continue to be a major component. So these activities will continue to harm relations with Latin America. The U.S. still does not have full diplomatic relations with Bolivia and Venezuela.”

Weisbrot noted that the move was also made possible by an apparent willingness by the Obama administration to no longer allow Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez take the lead on Cuba policy. Menendez has vocally opposed the reforms announced today, and is considered a hard-liner on U.S.-Latin America policy.

Weisbrot pointed to the formation of international groupings such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) that include Cuba but exclude the United States, and the growing influence and pushback from regional organizations such as UNASUR (the Union of South American Nations), as more evidence of regional change that have made U.S. policy untenable.  “Obama’s decision is also a clear defeat for the Cuban-exile extremists who have dominated U.S. policy toward the region for decades, more recently with their neo-conservative allies.”

Regarding the easing of the embargo, and Obama administration recommendations that it be reconsidered by Congress, Weisbrot said: “The U.S. can no longer ignore international law and the opinion of the entire world. This is a victory for the rule of law in the world of international relations.”


Dilma’s Electoral Victory in Brazil Should Be No Surprise after Economic and Social Gains under PT Governments, CEPR Co-Director Says

October 26, 2014

IMF Recommends Changes to Prevent Future Debt Rulings like the One Against Argentina

October 7, 2014

Economists Call on Congress to Mitigate Fallout from Ruling on Argentine Debt

July 31, 2014

Haiti Aid Reform Bill “Will Be a Step in the Right Direction,” CEPR Co-Director Says

July 25, 2014

More >


The Situation of Human Rights and Democracy in Honduras Since the Elections of November 2013

December 2014, Alexander Main

Testimony Before the United States Congress Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Honduras
July 25, 2012, Testimony of Alexander Main before Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, U.S. Congress

OAS: Economics, Democracy, Haiti
June 6, 2005, Remarks by Mark Weisbrot before the Organization of American States General Assembly, Meeting Between Civil Society Organizations, the Secretary General, and Heads of Delegations En español

On the State of Democracy in Venezuela
June 24, 2004, Testimony of Mark Weisbrot before the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Narcotics Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Relations (Senate)

Argentina’s Economic Meltdown: Causes and Remedies
March 5, 2002, Testimony of Mark Weisbrot before the Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade of the Committee on Budget and Financial Services (House of Representatives)

Other Resources

Returning Honduras to Democratic and Constitutional Order with President Manuel Zelaya
Discussion with H.E. José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, President of the Republic of Honduras, with an introduction by Mark Weisbrot and moderation by
George Washington University's Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program 's Cynthia McClintock, September 2, 2009. (Video and Audio)

Ecuador`s Debt Audit: Implications in the Global Economic Crisis
Minister of Finance of Ecuador, María Elsa Viteri, discussed the implications of the Ecuadorian debt situation in the context of the global economic crisis, including the negative impacts of deregulation of the financial markets and the lack of appropriate established international mechanisms for auditing developing country debt. December 11, 2008.

Media Briefing: Ecuador`s Debt

Discussion with Neil Watkins, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, and CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot on prospects for Ecuador`s debt default, December 10, 2008. (Audio)

Bolivia’s Democratic and Economic Changes

Discussion with Luis Arce, Bolivian Finance Minister, Carlos Villegas, Bolivian Minister of Planning and Development, and CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot, October 10, 2008. (Video)

Latin America in the Post-Bush Era: What Can We Expect in the Next Phase of U.S.-Latin American Relations?
Discussion with Mark Weisbrot of CEPR and Álvaro Vargas Llosa, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Global Prosperity at the Independent Institute, May 29, 2008.
(Audio and Video)


IFI Watchnet
This international network connects organizations researching the international financial institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF, and regional development banks.


Neoliberalism, Globalization and Inequalities:
Consequences for Health and Quality of Life

with a chapter by Mark Weisbrot, Dean Baker and David Rosnick
Baywood Publishing Co. (2007)

Flat World, Big Gaps

Flat World, Big Gaps:
Economic Liberalization, Globalization, Poverty And Inequality
with a chapter by Mark Weisbrot, Dean Baker, and David Rosnick, and a chapter co-authored by Heather Boushey
(forthcoming in May 2007)


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