Friday, May 6, 2016

Lat Am Viva 5-6-2016

FINANCIAL TIMES - Latam Viva: Your weekly briefing from the region
Brazil's House of Cards
By Joe Leahy 
May 6, 2016
If there is one person in real life whom the imaginary Frank Underwood of House of Cards might respect, it is Brazilian lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha. The eagle-eyed architect of the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff, Mr Cunha has ruled in congress with unshakeable nerve even as he has unleashed a constitutional maelstrom. But now it seems the speaker, an evangelist Christian whose other big idea was a “heterosexual pride day”, might be about to get impeached himself. The supreme court has suspended him for alleged involvement in corruption at state-owned oil company Petrobras, citing a list of alleged offences.
His removal from the political scene should make life easier for vice-president Michel Temer, who is expected to assume power if Ms Rousseff is suspended from office in a senate vote on the impeachment on Wednesday. A member of Mr Temer`s PMDB party, the scandal-tainted Mr Cunha would have been an embarrassing partner in government, particularly as he would have been next in line for the presidency under Brazil`s constitution should anything happen to Mr Temer. 
Speaking of internecine politics, it seems France is the stick in the mud in trade talksbetween the European Union and Mercosur, the South American trading block. France is leading a rebellion of 13 countries concerned about the impact the deal could have on European farmers. The move comes ironically as Mercosur looks finally ready to budge on trade with a new investor-friendly government in place in Argentina and one possibly on the way in Brazil if Mr Temer gets in.
Less welcomed by investors was news that prosecutors in Brazil are seeking $44bn in damages from miners Vale and BHP over the Samarco dam disaster. The suit over the collapse of the iron ore tailings dam sent shares of both companies plunging during the week. It comes after the Brazilian government had already settled with the companies.
Mexicans are becoming equally unexcited about their president, Enrique Peña Nieto, whose ambitious reforms in energy and telecoms - much-touted by investors - have yet to unleash dynamic growth. The tepid economy, rising violence and scandals have knocked 9 percentage points off his popularity rating so far this year, bringing it down to 30 per cent.
Quotes of the week
“Argentine judges are not very brave. They know that if you go after someone more powerful than you, they can destroy you in 15 minutes - Guillermo Jorge, a partner at Governance Latam, an anti-corruption group.
“The first films about favelas in Brazilian cinema were [made] in the 1930s ... but favela films really took off after City of God. As a physical space, the Rio favela is popular because of the views and the visual surroundings — it gives the production added value and you don’t have to spend anything” - André Gatti, a professor of cinema at Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (FAAP) university in São Paulo. 
Asians save, but Latin Americans spend
FT Confidential ResearchTravel survey finds regional tourism on the ascent
The week in review
EM tourists go back to bricks and mortar
Online services lose appeal as consumers opt for face-to-face contact
US accuses Panamanians over drugs ring
Prominent businessmen charged with money laundering through 68 companies
Mexico’s billionaires are down but not out
How Mexico’s billionaires are dealing with the floundering peso
Brazil court suspends key Dilma foe
Speaker of the lower house Eduardo Cunha is architect of impeachment movement against the president
Puerto Rico’s looming Katrina-style disaster
US Congress must pass a bill to allow restructuring of island’s debts
France leads EU revolt against Mercosur trade talks
Brussels accused of rushing to make offers on quotas and tariffs
Six up-and-coming start-ups on what makes for a successful business
FT writers talk to six up-and-coming start-ups from around the world to determine what makes for a successful business
Chile’s salmon sector hit by toxic algae bloom
Latest blow to industry paves way for fall in global supplies of up to 10% this year
Brazil court suspends Rousseff foe Cunha
Vale and BHP Billiton rocked by $44bn Brazil dam lawsuit
Lawyers question whether prosecutors will succeed with full claim over last year’s disaster
Asians save, but Latin Americans spend
Stark behavioural divide is driven by government policy and cultural norms
AB InBev profits disappoint after tough time in Brazil
Brewer still on track to close SABMiller deal this year
Forget Miami: Latam tourists head to Iguazu Falls
Collapsing currencies rule out US and Europe but add to charm of region’s own attractions
Argentina’s economic rise fuels rivalry with Brazil
South America’s two largest economies jealously eye each other’s handling of economic reform and corruption
Mexicans grow impatient with Peña Nieto as violence flares
President’s popularity languishes as progress stalls on reforms
Brazilian filmmakers move beyond the dark glamour of the favela
A spate of new films explore more complex relationships between social classes
Faint economic pulse detected through Brazil’s political turmoil
Glimmers of economic hope may come too late for Dilma Rousseff
Fears Venezuelan imports heading for 60% slide
Government spending tumbles fast as crisis grows
Venezuelans add beer to list of privations
The socialist government has worsened an economic crisis by starving the private sector
MSCI Peru ruling threatens to unbalance Frontier index
Fears the move would drive foreign investment away from $67bn bourse