Saturday, March 4, 2017

FT LatrAm Viva For 2 March, 2017

10:47 AM (15 hours ago)
to me
Back to reality
By Benedict Mander 
March 3, 2017
Carnival is over, and cold reality has set in for many in Latin America. That is especially so in Argentina, where people are reluctantly returning to work after their months-long summer holidays. With his spirited state of the nation address in congress on Wednesday, just a day after Donald Trump’s, Mauricio Macri picked up the gauntlet thrown down by the Peronist opposition who have been laying into the former business man over his alleged conflicts of interest.
For many observers, this marked the beginning of election season, with important mid-term legislative elections due in October that could determine the future of Macri’s market-oriented reform programme. But despite a series of recent unforced errors – especially the handling of negotiations over the repayment of a debt his father’s company owed the state after a botched privatisation of the post office in the 1990s – Macri looks well positioned thanks to the utter disarray of the opposition.
Macri’s conflict of interests has also surfaced in a crisis at Avianca, which a year ago bought Macair, an air taxi service owned by his father’s company. Germán Efromovich, the top shareholder of the Colombia-based airline, has defended himself against allegations that a tie-up with United Continental was for his “own benefit”, arguing that the complaint by the company’s second-largest shareholder was a “controversy started without any grounds, because of greed and ego”.
Meanwhile, corporate Mexico has produced more cheery news. BP plans to open its first filling station in Mexico City next week, as the country’s energy sector gradually opens itself up to competition. And Pemex, Mexico’s struggling oil giant, reaped the rewards of a new focus on efficiency as it slashed its 2016 net loss by nearly 60 per cent and hit its production target for the first time in five years.
Even so, the outlook for Mexico’s growth continues to disappoint. And for a very different take on life in Mexico, see Jude Webber’s moving report (and accompanying video) on Hurler and Morquio syndromes, rare genetic disorders that dramatically reduce life expectancy.
Quote of the week
“Peronism is in a state of dissolution. It is over… It is just a memory now" - Julio Bárbaro, a congressman in the 1970s under the final government of Juan Domingo Perón, the movement’s legendary founder.
Video of the week
FT special report. Combating rare diseases: Living with Morquio syndrome
Other views
¿Prefiere leer el FT en español?
Lea una selección de nuestros artículos en español: 
The week in review
Fast FT: Peso surges after Wilbur Ross talks of currency stabilisation 'mechanism'
Nicholas Lander: Bocanáriz and La Misión, Santiago: why Chile is red hot
‘I was most impressed by a tangerine mayonnaise that accompanied very fresh “locos” — the large native sea snails’
Fast FT: Mexico's economy minister to meet US auto executives in trade push
AB InBev chief Carlos Brito loses bonus as profits dive
‘Bad year’ sees brewer suffer big drop in earnings in Brazil as it absorbs SABMiller costs
Fast FT: Banxico denies Fed swaps report
Jude Webber: Mexico's Pemex cuts net loss by almost 60% in 2016
Andres Schipani: Colombia central bank unexpectedly cuts rates
Efromovich fires back over Avianca-United Continental deal
Colombia airline’s top shareholder blames ‘greed and ego’ for dispute
Fast FT: Trump's attorney general failed to disclose meetings with Russian official
Argentina’s Mauricio Macri weathers storm as Peronists in disarray
Floundering opposition struggles to challenge reform
FT LatAm Viva features commentary by the FT's Latin America team and stories from across the FT.
Forward this email to friends and colleagues, who can sign up here. Send your feedb