Friday, January 20, 2017

FT LatAm Viva For January 20, 2017

6:53 AM (21 minutes ago)
to me
The moment of truth
By Benedict Mander 
January 20, 2017
The moment has finally arrived. Today Donald Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. Before too long, it will become clear just how much of the blustery rhetoric he directed towards Latin America, especially Mexico, should be taken seriously.
In an editorial, the Financial Times argues that it would be ironic if Trump’s Mexico-bashing puts an end to decades of fruitful co-operation between the US and Mexico. That would frustrate Trump’s desire to make America “great” by imperiling thousands of jobs and harming US interests. Already, his threats to “terminate” the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he has called the “worst trade deal in history”, have pushed the Mexican peso down to its weakest level in two decades, just as he is worrying about the US dollar’s strength.
That is to say nothing of the possibility of an ensuing trade war that would hardly be welcomed by the roughly half of US states that count Mexico as their first or second-biggest export market. So no surprise that he has said less lately about terminating Nafta than renegotiating it.
On the southern side of the border, Mexico’s avocado growers are already voicing intense concern at the implications – not least for guacamole-addicted Super Bowl viewers. And one can only guess at what Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán thinks, after the notorious Sinaloa cartel boss was extradited to the US on the eve of Trump’s inauguration to face trial in the US. But there is at least one Mexican who is unfazed by Trumpian America – and rather sees it as a business opportunity. Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim announced this week that he is launching a new television channel “made by Mexicans, for Mexicans” in the US this year.
Elsewhere, apparently one Latin American nation has been sounding out Trump administration officials about a free-trade agreement with the US, to capitalise on Trump’s preference for bilateral deal-making (presumably not Mexico). Argentina even whipped out a massively oversubscribed $7bn bond the day before Trump takes power, seizing advantage of the relative calm in markets.
But it’s not all about Trump. Brazil was shocked by the death in a plane crash of the supreme court judge in charge of the Lava Jato corruption probe on Thursday, opening the possibility that the investigation could be seriously undermined.
And Argentina has also been looking in completely the other direction: to Antarctica. On a recent trip to the White Continent, Susana Malcorra, trumpeted her country’s scientific research activities there, as well as the importance of protecting Argentina’s sovereignty claims and Antarctica’s resources. It remains to be seen what Trump will have to say about that. 
Quote of the week
“Who is to say what countries like Russia and China will do in 30 years’ time? They might say ‘we need these resources’ in the Antarctic” - a diplomatic source.
Video of the week
¿Prefiere leer el FT en español?
Lea una selección de nuestros artículos en español: 
The week in review
Sergio Larraín: the poet of Valparaiso
For 40 years, the reclusive photographer was obsessed with the crumbling Chilean port, drawn as much by its sordid side as its romance
Hotel gems in the Mexican jungle
Two lavish retreats are setting new standards on the Yucatán peninsula — and offering the chance to commune with both shamans and celebrities
Fast FT: Mexican ministers to meet Trump administration in Washington
Fast FT: Mexico faces 50-50 risk of downgrade, Moody's warns
FT Photo Diary: Carlos Tevez arrives in China
The Trump effect and the guacamole dip
Mexican avocado farmers fear Nafta revamp could make this their last big Super Bowl
Fast FT: BHP Billiton, Vale look to settle $48bn Samarco claim by June
FT View: Donald Trump’s Mexico-bashing hurts American interests too
The country has taken Mexican co-operation for granted. That is foolish
How to Spend It: New ways to see Cuba
Sophisticated sojourns that go beyond salsa, Cadillacs and cigar factories
Fast FT: BMW's new Mexican plant can survive without making US sales
Fast FT: Mexico names US expert as new ambassador
EM Squared: Central America shrugs off Latam woes
Region continues to power ahead as South America struggles to exit recession
Mexico extradites drug lord ‘El Chapo’ to US
Joaquín Guzmán, who twice escaped from maximum security jails, is sent to face trial
Antarctic mission underlines Argentina’s territorial claims
Climate change unleashes growing international and commercial interest
Brazil judge overseeing corruption probe dies in plane crash
Death of Teori Zavascki could undermine investigation into state-owned oil company
Carlos Slim to launch TV channel ‘by Mexicans, for Mexicans’ in US
Move by billionaire comes as Trump fleshes out plans that may hurt Hispanic neighbour