By Beatrice E. Rangel
For months astrologers have been holding their breath at the coming together of what are supposed to be the most beneficial planets of the universe: Jupiter and Venus.
Jupiter is the maker of intellectual achievement; wealth and abundance. Venus is the planet of love. When they conjunct the world is supposed to be in a happily creative cycle. The much heralded rendezvous took place on June 30th, and beneficial effects were forecast to follow up and until July the 15th.
A cursory review of events that unfold during that period leads us to believe that some horrendous non-encounter took place in the skies or that both planets simply found it to be easier to engage in orbit fouling with NASA’s Messenger rather than spreading good fortune on earth.
In the Americas as well as in Europe and Asia, reality trumped expectations.
Market correction in China start about June the 12th and went into crescendo up and until July 12th. And while impact upon aggregate demand and household net worth has been minimal in China, the tremors were about enough to trim down the value of S&P forerunners, one too many Footsie listings and about 8% of HK’s ventures that have high exposure to trade with China.
The shake-up was a stout reminder to world economic leaders the Great Recession is in no way ready to exit and that most authorities are rather lean today when it comes to public policy instruments available to fight further recessionary spells. In addition, at least ten major Chinese-backed investment projects in Latin America were postponed sine die
. This is rather bad news for a region that is in dire need of infrastructure development
In Venezuela, authorities became creative choosing two different policy roads over paralysis.
One has been tried ad nauseam. This is the elimination through shotgun legislation of democratic political rivals. And they decided to get rid of Mayor Daniel Ceballos, Representative Maria Corina Machado, and Governor Pablo Perez, decreeing their ineligibility to stand for election.
The second and heretofore untried policy route is to resort to repression of the criminal gangs turned into political movements by grace of the revolution and known as “colectivos.”
The suppression of Ceballos, Machado and Perez from the electoral roster -- like most Bolivarian measures -- has had a boomerang effect upon government as their popularity skyrocketed in the aftermath. Also, the rather complacent international community took yet another snapshot at constitutional proceedings in Bolivarian times.
The repression of colectivos might prove to be a trap, as their leaders are key to successful drug distribution. Lest the hunt is selective and affects those outside the Suns Cartel, its leaders could see the lucrative business that keeps them in power wither away. And although the Andorran revelations tell us that these gentlemen have enough money to rebuild operative reserves, one wonders whether they are ready to give up the power to continue to exploit Venezuela as if it were a time share interest.
In Mexico and Brazil, corruption took center stage. Mexico was the locus of a Hollywood-worthy great escape by Joaquin Guzman alias “el Chapo.” The incident bore a double impact. On the one hand, Mexicans could see in plain sight the degree of penetration that organized crime has in the Mexican state. On the other hand, the march towards greater transparency was jump started. And although it will probably take at least three generations to finish the cleanup, as comrade Mao would say, “a 1000 mile march starts with the first step.”
In Brazil, Senator Fernando Collor de Mello’s residence was searched by Federal Police in relation to the Petrobras investigation. Should facts prove any involvement by the former president of Brazil in this corruption scam, the march towards transparency in the country of Pele will make Formula 1 shiver. Indeed, former President Collor’s potential involvement will bring to the forefront a very ugly reality: the Brazilian state is taken over by corrupt politicians who are also opening the doors to organized crime.
President Collor -- who was impeached on corruption charges -- politically represents the interests of the small landowning class which everywhere in the world is conservative. Presidents Da Silva and Rousseff represent the interests of labor. Should both be exposed as corrupt partners, very few political parties and leaders will survive the ensuing earthquake. Some sources indicate that the inclusion of President Collor in the Petrobras investigations was advised by former President Da Silva. Should this be the case he clearly is looking at the mirror through a binocular held backwards. Because his people are going to see a picture of partners in crime not a picture of a strayed past leader. And who is going to vote for a mafia clan? Definitively Jupiter and Venus must be quite distracted in the skies!!!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 seriesBeatrice Rangel: When Markets and Manners Crash
Beatrice Rangel: From Grexit to Exit, Contagion is in the Air
Beatrice Rangel: An Infuriated God & An Environmental Crusader Mark the Summer Solstice
Beatrice Rangel: Between Ionesco & the Falklands Syndrome
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