Friday, December 2, 2016

FT LatAm Viva For December 2, 2016

By Andres Schipani 
December 2, 2016
The Comandante is dead. Will history absolve the larger-than-life but controversial leader whose influence was important in Latin American politics? 
It depends on where you stand, with the revolutionary’s legacy mixed and fading. What is certain is that his passing has made uncertainty the new zeitgeist on the Communist-led island. It had a similar effect on the other side of the Florida strait, since two years of US-Cuba rapprochement may soon end.
The Castro family - now led by Raúl, the late patriarch's brother and President - appears unlike to fully relinquish power. But the world seems to be trying to avoid the divisive matter of Fidel's absolution almost entirely. After all, very few leaders attended his memorial ceremony.
One exception was Venezuela's almost-universally hated President Nicolás Maduro, a self-confessed Fidelista. With food prices rocketing weeks before Christmas, and the currency plummeting to unprecedented levels, history surely won't absolve him. 
It also seems unlikely history will absolve Brazilian lawmakers trying to shield themselves from the far-reaching Petrobras corruption probe. Shamelessly, congress approved the bill while the country's attention was focused on a plane crash in Colombia that killed most of Brazil's Chapecoense football team. 
Hopefully, history could one day absolve Agustín Carstens, the respected governor of the Bank of Mexico, for his decision to step down next year. His resignation is a blow to the country's economy, which is in need of a skilled pilot to steer it through the economic turmoil after Donald Trump becomes US president.
History may absolve Peru's popular President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in advance for any future mishaps. He warned the Financial Times in his house in Lima about "the dangers of protectionism" posed by Brexit and Mr Trump. He also slammed the US president-elect's plan to build a wall along the Mexican border.
But the leader who is under most pressure to deliver results for a true historic absolution is Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos. He is still facing vitriolic criticism, even if on Wednesday Congress ratified the peace accord he signed last week with the Farc to end a war almost as long as Castro's revolution.
Quote of the week
“Here I am, waiting for Fidel” - opponents of Venezuela's socialist government resent this message from the official Twitter account of the deceased comandante, Hugo Chávez, who was a close confidante of Fidel Castro.
Chart of the Week
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The week in review
Start-up Brazil
Belo Horizonte is emerging as a leading centre for entrepreneurs
Brazil’s wealthy give up bling
The country’s super-rich are investing in items that attract less attention
Carstens quits Mexican central bank to head BIS
Respected policymaker seen as steady hand in economy hit by turbulence
Mexico raises minimum wage by 3.9%
Carstens says expansive monetary policy has run its course
Brazil’s Odebrecht admits to ‘improper practices’
Construction group reported to have signed plea bargain in Petrobras corruption probe
Brazil risks constitutional crisis over Petrobras bill
Critics accuse lawmakers of trying to shield themselves from corruption probe
Colombian government moves to implement peace deal
Accord paves way for Farc rebels to lay down arms and enter politics
Angry prosecutors in Petrobras anti-graft case threaten to quit
Judges outraged by congressional bill aimed at protecting politicians
Brazil’s plunging GDP crushes hopes of Temer turnround
New government faces protests as it attempts to pull economy out of deep recession
Spending demonstration
Crowds throng Havana for Castro memorial ceremony
A few world dignitaries eulogise late Cuban leader but few leaders of stature attend
Brazilian footballers among 75 dead in Colombia air crash
Charter jet carrying team to South America cup final comes down on Medellín approach
Castros’ influence over Cuba set to outlast Fidel
Raúl has a formal succession plan but the family is still expected to loom large
The future is Cuba’s to lose
Road ahead is challenging for policymakers
Peru’s new leader champions trade in the Trump era
Former World Bank economist vows to push back on protectionism and deepen China ties
Trump faces clash with business over Cuba threat
President-elect says Havana must negotiate better deal with US over detente
Castro’s shadow shortens over Latin America
The Cuban revolutionary’s legacy in the region is mixed, and fading
Castro divides world leaders in death as in life
Western governments weighing whether to send senior delegations to state funeral
Mexico warns US on Nafta renegotiation risks
Finance minister says accord targeted by Trump creates value on both sides of border
Impeachment threat casts shadow on Brazil reforms
Property scandals come as Temer seeks to deliver on promises to rescue economy
Brazil joins Paris club of wealthy creditor nations
Deteriorating global credit conditions spur co-ordination on debt relief
Fidel Castro’s legacy makes Cuba’s progress harder
He has bequeathed a country that does not project a clear vision
Fidel Castro’s death fuels uncertainty at home and abroad
US policy of rapprochement towards Cuba questioned under Trump presidency
Fidel Castro’s death marks a climax on a year of extraordinary change
Loss of Cuban leader comes as the political left has ceded to the right, writes John Paul Rathbone
Cuban leader Fidel Castro dies aged 90
Revolutionary leader had been in poor health for a decade
World leaders react to Fidel Castro’s death
Putin hails ‘strong and wise man’ while Modi mourns ‘great friend’
Fidel Castro, former Cuban president, 1926—2016
Audacious guerrilla leader transformed into autocratic one-party socialist dies
FT LatAm Viva features commentary by the FT's Latin America team and stories from across the FT.
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