Latin American Herald Tribune
Venezuela Overview
Venezuelan Embassies & Consulates Around The World
Sites/Blogs about Venezuela
Venezuelan Newspapers
Facts about Venezuela
Venezuela Tourism
Embassies in Caracas

Colombia Overview
Colombian Embassies & Consulates Around the World
Government Links
Embassies in Bogota
Sites/Blogs about Colombia
Educational Institutions


Crude Oil
US Gasoline Prices
Natural Gas

UK Pound
Australia Dollar
Canada Dollar
Brazil Real
Mexico Peso
India Rupee

Antigua & Barbuda
Cayman Islands

Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Costa Rica
El Salvador



What's New at LAHT?
Follow Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Most Viewed on the Web
Popular on Twitter
Receive Our Daily Headlines

  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: The Americas from Boutros Boutros-Ghali to Ban Ki Moon
Former U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali died this week, giving ace analyzer Beatrice Rangel a chance to compare just how how far Latin America has come since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

By Beatrice E. Rangel

The death of former United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali is thought-provoking as its leads most of the world leadership to reflect upon progress or lack of thereof made by the international community over the last twenty years.

As Sir Geoffrey Howes used to say, “Decently stable and prosperous countries are outside the scope of multilaterals. Becoming a priority for any such entity spells disaster for the country involved.”

Latin America was spared U.N. attention during Boutros-Ghali’s reign, proving Sir Geoffrey’s description.

The sixth UN Secretary General entered the limelight at a moment when the world was fully embracing the promise of multilateralism. With the Berlin Wall gone, the world body effectively dealt with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and began a successful restructuring of peace-keeping and consensus building.

The world was transitioning from a two superpower era to an era of lone leadership by the largest and most effective democracy. The lonely power was ruled by George H.W. Bush, a leader who believed in multilateralism.

Mr Boutros-Ghali came with great expectations, as he had been instrumental in the shift of Egyptian foreign policy towards Israel when Anwar El-Sadat made his historic trip to Jerusalem, with Mr. Boutros-Ghali as his Foreign Minister and close adviser.

Under Boutros-Ghali's tenure, however, the world began to discover the difficulties represented by the end of totalitarianism in Europe.

Countries that had been put together to comply with the bipolar balance of power unraveled in a furious gush of violence, death and destruction.

As Europe’s internal situation got more complex with reunification, tribal fractioning, ethnic rivalries and continuing low intensity violence, the world lost the grip over African affairs and soon conflict ruled the day everywhere from the Balkans in Europe, to Iraq, to the ivory continent.

Rwanda-Burundi will always be remembered by its death toll of between 500,000 to 1 million -- or 20% of the total population and 70% of the Tutsi population. And these killing fields bloomed under Boutros-Ghali’s tenure, in his own backyard. The Bosnian ethnic cleansing also took place during his mandate.

The Americas, on the contrary, were enjoying a rosy rehabilitation. South American countries were recovering from the 1980s debt crisis and being welcomed back into international financial markets through the efforts of U.S. Treasury Secretary Nicolas Brady and U.S. banks writing off the losses.

Democracy was finally blossoming around Latin America as bloody dictatorships ended and a historic encounter with the U.S. was taking place.

Optimism reigned in the hemisphere as the region vibrated under the spell of the greatest development momentum since the post war period.

Mr. Boutros-Ghali also oversaw the execution of the Central American Peace Treaties which brought to a halt the worst conflict shattering the region since the Triple Alliance War involving Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina (1864-1870).

By the time Kofi Annan succeeded Secretary General Boutros-Ghali, Latin America had experienced the Tequila Crisis and was about to get hit by the Asian Flu.

Democratic resurgence in Haiti and the Zapatista insurgency in Mexico were the greatest political concerns in Latin America, but other than those spots of instability, the rest of the region seemed concentrated on embracing the Washington Consensus and striving to create free trade zones.

Both financial crises were overcome by means of setting up support packages involving multilateral and bilateral financial resources.

Annan’s tenure, like that of his predecessor, revolved around the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Latin America happily was again a small postscript for the first Secretary General to emerge from the ranks of the UN staff.

Under Mr. Annan's initiative, U.N. peacekeeping was strengthened so as to cope with the rising number of conflicts and the need for more personnel.

Under his stewardship, the international community created two intergovernmental bodies: the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council.

The latter was a praise worthy effort to hold member states responsible in preventing genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The Global Compact Initiative he promoted stands as the greatest push yet for corporate social responsibility.

Mr. Annan’s game changing efforts were recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

Ban Ki Moon was elected in 2007 and will head up the organization until December of this year.

The U.N. multilateral financial organizations took center stage at the outset of his mandate upon eruption of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Once financial stability was restored, Mr. Annan worked at strengthening U.N. peace efforts through the New Horizons peacekeeping initiative, the Global Field Support Strategy and the Civilian Capacity Review. These were designed to improve the impact of the 120,000 United Nations "blue helmets."

A mediation support unit, along with new capacity to carry out the Secretary-General’s good offices, have been set up to help prevent, manage and resolve tensions, conflicts and crises.

Violations of human rights have been thoroughly investigated through inquiries related to Gaza, Guinea, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, legal processes in Lebanon and Cambodia, and advocacy for the "responsibility to protect," the new United Nations norm aimed at preventing and halting genocide and other grave crimes.

Ban Ki Moon has also promoted the strengthening of the UN response capacity vis-à-vis humanitarian crises such as those abating Myanmar (2008), Haiti (2010) and Pakistan (2010).

Again Latin America has commanded little or no attention from the current U.N. Secretary General. His concertation on fighting terrorism and bringing peace to the Middle East obscured his vision of Latin America.

Populism undermining democracy and freedom caught the U.N. looking in another direction.

Today, that populist itch seems to be fading - witness the recent elections in Argentina and Venezuela and even this weekend's referendum denying Bolivia President Evo Morales extra terms -- but damage perpetrated to some nations might have horrific consequences for the future of the Western hemisphere. The Howes dictum would indicate that progress and stability will be at stake in the Americas over the next decade.

And as the world prepares for the election of a new U.N. leader, the question arises as to whether Latin America will be able to contribute to world progress or whether it will enter the world priority list of regions to be taken to the U.N. ICU - intensive care unit.

The answer to that question will largely depend on whether the institutional framework of its nation-states can survive the demise of populism.

So far, Argentina seems to be coping extremely well and succeeding in its renewed quest to deepen democracy. but the two great unknowns, of course, are Cuba and Venezuela.

Havana seems to continue to suppress change in favor of preserving Fidel Castro’s image of world leadership. And as the Cuban nomenclature plays dice with history, the Venezuelan economy melts down drowning any possibilities of stabilization for both countries.

Should a humanitarian crisis erupt in Venezuela, Cuba will follow suit and then perhaps the Americas will back on the priority list for the U.N. Secretary General. That would signal the end of the “decently stable and prosperous” age.

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 Gifts of Christmas!!!!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Crying Wolf in Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: A 21st Century Tale of Two Cities

Beatrice Rangel: Are the Americas Ready for President Trump?

Beatrice Rangel: On Predictions of War & Global Confusion

Beatrice Rangel: Paris and the Return of Fear

Beatrice Rangel: Marijuana & Latin America's Next Trade Corridor

Beatrice Rangel: Of Burning Airplanes & Argentinean Tsunamis

Beatrice Rangel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: Buena Vista's Magic Covers the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Pride and Perjury in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Trompe L’oeils Proliferate in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: The Economic Consequences of Peace in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Colombia, the FARC & the Makings of Gangland in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: When Extreme Weather Meets Extreme Politics Calamities are Bound to Happen

Beatrice Rangel: When Ladies Hit 70

Beatrice Rangel: About Uninformed Elites and Gullible Leaders

Beatrice Rangel: On US-Engineered Soft Landings in Cuba and Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: On the Many Ways Cecil Matters

Beatrice Rangel: Blue Moons Lead to Extraordinary Happenings in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: On Why Embassy Openings Do Not Necessarily Herald Different Policies

Beatrice Rangel: When Jupiter meets Venus

Beatrice 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

Beatrice Rangel: The Americas from Boutros Boutros-Ghali to Ban Ki Moon!

Enter your email address to subscribe to free headlines (and great cartoons so every email has a happy ending!) from the Latin American Herald Tribune:


Copyright Latin American Herald Tribune - 2005-2019 © All rights reserved