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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Between Ionesco & the Falklands Syndrome

By Beatrice E. Rangel

Some weeks in the Americas can be great inspirations yet others could trigger disbelief and even amusement. The past week was quite bewildering.

Two events took center stage. On the one hand the EU-CELAC meeting in Brussels and down in the tropics experts began to fear the presence of the Falkland Syndrome in Venezuela.

In Brussels, discussion papers, position statements and visions for the future reflected a world that neither exists nor is about to exist. The event theme was "Shaping our common future: working for prosperous, cohesive and sustainable societies for our citizens." Curiously enough, "cohesive," "sustainable" and "prosperous" would not precisely describe either Latin America . . . or Europe as a whole, for that matter. Only Germany would fit that description today.

Then there is the issue of the means to achieve the goals. These are firstly, the joint initiative on Research and Innovation which was concocted with the mission to promote sustainability and social inclusion through targeted R&D. Needless to speculate on when R&D will produce such results.

Then comes the Structured Dialogue on Migration with the task of promoting exchanges of best practices ON IMMIGRATION! Coming from two regions of the world where the migration snapshots include sinking boats with thousands of impoverish migrants and people bursting from a rundown train dubbed The Beast running between Guatemala and the North of Mexico where at least 100 desperate migrants lose their lives every year, one wonders which the winning practice would be.

Finally, there will be Coordination and Cooperation Mechanism on Drugs aimed at "tackling the world drug problem." While welcome, this initiative seems to be "too little, too late," given that no material resources are allocated to the cooperation mechanism and that 51% of drug traffic from Latin America to Europe has Venezuela as departure point. Venezuela's head of state did not attend the conference.
Besides, the value of drug trade in Europe seems on the rise and about to become on par with that of the US. This would call for stronger means to confront such menace.

But perhaps the decision that brought the meeting closest to the Ionesco mentality was that of allocating 180 million euros for the purpose of building transport, energy and environmental protection. One wonders whether any of the project supporters knows that investment needs in Latin America are about $250 Billion per year over this and the next decade just to enable the region's economy to compete with Asia. The EU-CELAC fund would thus be equivalent to 0.46% of the region's annual needs.

Venezuela was also both an agenda item in Brussels as well as headliner during the past week. Not only the refusal by local authorities to allow former President of the Spain Felipe Gonzalez to visit the two most prominent political prisoners -- Messrs. Lopez and Ceballos -- projected the country into the limelight, but the country also issued a clear threat to neighboring Guyana concerning its petroleum exploitation plans in the continental shelf.

After years of neglect to the international proceedings pertaining to the decades old territorial claim by Venezuela to Guyana, the Bolivarian regime declared a good part of the border as a military zone. The idea being to block oil exploitation by means of frightening Exxon and Guyana. The game of chicken seemed to be working for Venezuela in so far as for the first time since the death of President Chavez, citizens showed support for the government.

But, alas the Guyanese took the threat to international institutions. Venezuela is thus left with no other way out but to blink, thereby calling loss or to proceed thereby calling war. And while the government might enjoy support for war, it will hardly be able to execute a successful war operation. To begin with, so much looting has taken place within the government that most probably Venezuelan Army tanks are being raffled in some Middle Eastern bazaar; second there is no foreign exchange to secure ammunition. Third, there is no way to defray the logistics of a war exercise. In sum, the Falklands syndrome will be short lived in Venezuela!!

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.

Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet series

Beatrice Rangel: The Ugly Americas

Beatrice Rangel: How FIFA Corrupted the Beautiful Game in the Americas and World

Beatrice Rangel: Could the US RICO Act Be Applied to Latin America?

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Commodities for Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The End of the Chinese Free Lunch in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Crooked Twig of Democracy in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Of a White Knight for Three Latin American Ladies in Distress

Beatrice Rangel: Withdrawal Symptoms?

Beatrice Rangel: The Un-Mannered Summit

Beatrice Rangel: Easter Miracles in Latin America and the World

Beatrice Rangel: Two Islands, Two Legacies & One Challenge - Modernity

Beatrice Rangel: Killing Me Softly -- the Obama Administration’s Legacy in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Upcoming Dynasties and Exhausted Ideas in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Thunderous Silences, Quiet Noises and Flash Backs in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox

Beatrice Rangel: Of Sweet Deals, Sugar Daddies, Direct Mail & Obama’s Care

Beatrice Rangel: Of Latin American Singing Birds, Femme Fatales & Empty Shelves

Beatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters

Beatrice Rangel: Holy Haberdashery!!! Is Fire Building Under the Surface in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???

Beatrice Rangel: Pope Francis Looks at the Americas In His Christmas Remarks

Beatrice Rangel: The Paint Brush Hanging from the Wall in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: An Eerily Familiar Week in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Tale of Two Walls

Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE

Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!

Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Communism from China to Cuba Finds Corruption!!!

Beatrice Rangel: From Rio to Hong Kong Discontent Taps the East to Find a New Way

Beatrice Rangel: Will Latin America Miss the Broadband Development Target?

Beatrice Rangel: Kissinger’s World Order and Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Third Attempt -- Will Modernity Prevail in Latin America?

Rangel: While US is Away, Latin America Rethinks Development Paths

Rangel: In the Midst of Riots, a Star is Born in Brazil

Rangel: In Mexico Cinderella Gets to the Ball while Colombia Gets a Chance at Peace


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