Tag Archive | "Center for Hemispheric Policy"

CHP Founder Takes the Next Step in Her Career

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CHP Founder Takes the Next Step in Her Career

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

Susi Davis and Susan Purcell

For nearly 11 years Susi Davis (seated) and Susan Kaufman Purcell conceptualized topics and lined up speakers for the Center for Hemispheric Policy’s dynamic programming.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 15, 2015) – With outstanding grades in all her graduate courses and time spent abroad conducting research, Susan Kaufman Purcell seemed the perfect choice for a job teaching Latin American politics at the university level.

“It was a time when most colleges didn’t have professors who specialized in that area,” recalled Purcell of the late 1960s, when she graduated from Columbia University with a Ph.D. in political science. “So there were lots of good jobs, but the men got those jobs first.”

Purcell became painfully aware of that fact after being passed over for an assistant professorship at the University of Wisconsin, only to find out later that a male classmate, with grades and experience no better than hers, had been hired for the position. “They wanted someone who could run a new Latin American Center” was the explanation Purcell’s friend offered as to why she didn’t get the job. “The implication being that I couldn’t do it,” she said.

Read the full story

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Former Colombian President Criticizes Peace Talks


Former Colombian President Criticizes Peace Talks

By Barbara Gutierrez and Marie Guma-Diaz
UM News

UM President Julio Frenk, left, greets former President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe at UM's Newman Alumni Center.

UM President Julio Frenk, left, greets formerColombian President Alvaro Uribe at UM’s Newman Alumni Center.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 6, 2015) – When Colombia’s government announced last month that it wanted to enter into a bilateral truce with the leftist rebels of the FARC by New Year’s Day, some glimmers of hope that a gory 50-year conflict could soon come to an end seemed more tangible.

But an influential Colombian politician, speaking Friday on the University of Miami campus, warned that instead of bringing a lasting peace to his country, the negotiation process with the rebels will only weaken and erode confidence in his country’s institutions.

“Colombia should never link narco trafficking with political crime,” Álvaro Uribe, former president of Colombia and now a senator, told an audience of about 250 businesspeople, academics, community members, diplomats, and students gathered inside UM’s Newman Alumni Center for a forum hosted by the institution’s Center for Hemispheric Policy.

“This process gives legitimacy to the FARC and demoralizes the military. It gives immunity, pardon, and political eligibility to the kingpins of the FARC,” said Uribe, criticizing the policies of his successor, current President Juan Manuel Santos.

For the past three years, the Colombian government has been holding peace talks with the leadership of the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, in Havana in an effort to end a conflict with the narco traffickers that has taken approximately 220,000 lives. On September 23, FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, also known as “Timochenko,” and President Santos, shook hands and decided to start a phase of amnesty and pardons that could result in reduced sentences for members of the FARC as well as reparations to victims.

Santos, who was minister of defense in the Uribe administration, has reversed previous policies of the government by entering into negotiations with the rebels—a practice that constitutes the major point of disagreement for Uribe with the current administration. “After all of this struggle against narco trafficking, it is now just being treated as a political crime,” said Uribe.

Uribe, who was president of Colombia from 2002 to 2010, was introduced by UM President Julio Frenk, who expressed great admiration for Uribe and said, “It would be an understatement to say that President Uribe needs no introduction. He is known throughout the world as the president whose policies and actions have played a big part in rescuing his country from an onslaught of guerilla forces intent on weakening the democratic institutions of his country.”

Bruce Bagley, a UM professor and chair of the Department of International Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, acted as moderator during a 20-minute Q&A session with the audience.

Uribe discussed a range of topics, from the influence of “Castroism” in Latin America and Venezuela’s economic and political demise to the need for Latin America to strengthen its institutions and build stronger respect for the rule of law.

Asked his opinion on how the international community had accepted the ongoing Colombian peace process, Uribe said, “It is a lack of respect to place FARC and the armed forces as equal political actors. Members of ETA (the Basque nationalist and separatist group in northern Spain) went to jail. Why then does Spain want to support FARC with impunity? This country [the United States] would not give impunity to al-Qaeda.”

Talking about the future of Latin America, Uribe said that he sees ‘progressive’ and ‘regressive’ democracies in the region and highlighted what he considers to be the five key elements for democracies to advance: security, investment confidence, social policies, independent institutions, and pluralistic participation.

Uribe said that the fall of commodities in Latin America, which has led to an economic decline in the region, presents an opportunity for democracies.

“My hope is that these years of low commodity prices could be a time to rethink the necessity to improve institutions, give confidence to the private sector and understand that to overcome poverty and to create fair income distribution, we need to work hand in hand with the private sector on social policies.”


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Experts Discuss Reforms to Spur Economic Growth in Latin America


Experts Discuss Reforms to Spur Economic Growth in Latin America

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

Panelists included, from left, Claudio Loser, president, Centennial Latin America, Washington, D.C.; Riordan Roett, Sarita and Don Johnston Professor and director of Western Hemisphere Studies, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; CHP director and panel moderator Susan Kaufman Purcell; Mario Castro, vice president, Latin America Strategy, Nomura Securities, New York City; Jonathan Heath, principal, Heath & Asociados, Mexico City; and Welch.

Panelists included, from left, Claudio Loser, president, Centennial Latin America, Washington, D.C.; Riordan Roett, Sarita and Don Johnston Professor and director of Western Hemisphere Studies, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; CHP director and panel moderator Susan Kaufman Purcell; Mario Castro, vice president, Latin America Strategy, Nomura Securities, New York City; Jonathan Heath, principal, Heath & Asociados, Mexico City; and John H. Welch, executive director and emerging market macro strategist for CIBC World Markets.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (October 1, 2015) — Despite a significant decline in poverty rates over the past decade and an economic boom spurred by exports of commodities, Latin America at the moment is still the slowest growing economic region in the world.

That was the assessment of Claudio Loser, president of Centennial Latin America in Washington, D.C., who was part of the panel “Modernizing Latin Americas’ Economies: Needed Reforms Spur Growth,” hosted by the University of Miami’s Center for Hemispheric Policy (CHP) on September 25 at the Westin Colonnade Hotel in Coral Gables. Read the full story

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Experts Forecast Latin American Economy


Experts Forecast Latin American Economy

UM News
LA Economic Forecast

From left are Margaret Myers, Luisa Palacios, Susan Kaufman Purcell, and Mauricio Mesquita Moreira.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 18, 2015)— The outlook for trade in Latin America remains poor, as intraregional and external trade has declined over the last several years and will likely continue to do so. As such, the region needs to look globally for trade opportunities, beyond the regionally focused Mercosur or the Pacific Alliance, to open new opportunities and boost competitiveness.

That outlook, provided by Mauricio Mesquita Moreira, principal economist of the Integration and Trade Sector at the Inter-American Development Bank, was one of many viewpoints expressed by a panel of experts at the University of Miami Center for Hemispheric Policy’s Latin America Economic Forecast 2016 conference earlier this month.

Held at the Conrad Miami, the symposium also addressed topics such as the changing energy landscape in the region, economic policies to boost growth, and the expanding Chinese presence.

Margaret Myers, program director for China and Latin America at Washington, D.C.-based Inter-American Dialogue, noted that despite slowing trade growth between China and Latin America, the East Asian country continues to broaden its engagement with the region, which covets China’s loans and investments. Although the economic relationship is uneven, both sides see it as a win-win: Latin America is able to export its commodities and have access to investment, while China is able to diversify its sources of agricultural and energy imports, according to Myers.

Energy producers in Latin America (Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia) are feeling the effects of the nearly 50-percent decline in oil prices over the past year. The decline, said Luisa Palacios, senior managing director and head of Latin American research at Medley Global Advisors in New York City, will impact all countries in terms of growth, current accounts, and fiscal balances. Falling capital investment by state oil companies due to declining revenue will likely contribute to further declines in oil production.

Experts at the June 18 conference also provided country-by-country economic forecasts. Manuel Suárez-Mier, an economist in residence at American University’s School of International Service, said Mexico’s economic growth outlook compares favorably with the rest of Latin America. The drop in oil prices has boosted Mexico’s competiveness, and rising labor costs in China have also aided its manufacturing sector, according to Suárez-Mier. While short-term growth will likely remain low, major reforms in the energy and telecommunications sector should further boost growth in the medium-term.

In Brazil, wide-ranging corruption scandals, including one involving the state-owned oil company, Petrobras, has embroiled the administration of recently reelected President Dilma Rousseff. Growth this year will be negative and flat in 2016, predicted Christopher Garman, head of country analysis at the Eurasia Group in Washington, D.C. While the corruption scandal will make governance messy in the short-term, it has the potential to improve corporate governance in Brazil, improving the country’s competitiveness in the long-term, he said.

Joydeep Mukherji, managing director in the Sovereign Ratings Group at Standard and Poor’s, said Colombia and Peru will see lower growth over the next few years due to slowing global growth and falling commodity prices. He noted that both saved gains from the commodities boom and have strong fiscal policy frameworks, and that flexible exchange rates should allow them to adjust to lower growth.

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Forum Spotlights Mexico’s Dual Identity


Forum Spotlights Mexico’s Dual Identity

By Barbara Gutiérrez
UM News


With center director Susan K. Purcell at his side, Luis Rubio discussed the progress, or lack thereof, of Mexico’s reforms.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 11, 2015)—As a country, Mexico is schizophrenic. While it enjoys a stable economy, a growing middle class, and the fourth spot on the list of the world’s top automobile exporters, its government is dysfunctional and hesitant to fully implement reforms already inscribed in the constitution.

This was the assessment of Luis Rubio, chairman of the Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo, an independent research institution devoted to the study of economic and political policy issues, who spoke last Wednesday at a University of Miami Center for Hemispheric Policy (CHP) breakfast. The forum, titled “Mexico: Reforms without a Vision for Development?” was held at the Westin Colonnade Coral Gables Hotel.

CHP director Susan K. Purcell introduced Rubio to about 40 people in the audience, which included members of the business community, journalists, academics, and the Consul General of Mexico in Miami, José Antonio Zabalgoitia.

Rubio attributed the stalled implementation of reforms to education, the energy industry, and telecom sector to President’s Enrique Peña Nieto’s insular way of governing, as well as his fear of losing power after last September’s kidnapping and murder of 43 students, which was carried out with the help of police officers in the state of Guerrero. That case outraged citizens who came out to protest by the thousands and set off a political crisis from which the government has not recovered.

“At heart Mexico’s problems are not about corruption or violence or crime, but the absence of a functioning government,” Rubio said.

Mexico is also burdened by a historical authoritarian system of government that makes it different from other countries in Latin America, he said. In part, that system led to the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (PRI) seven-decade rule. Although Peña Nieto is a PRI member, he was elected in December 2012 under a modern platform that included numerous reforms that promised to modernize Mexico.

Rubio believes that Peña Nieto’s promises remain unrealized. But Zabalgoitea, the Mexican consul in Miami, had a different take. Standing up during the question-and-answer period, he expressed optimism about Mexico’s future.

“The reforms have to go forward,” Zabalgoitia said. “The president knows that his legacy will be tied to the reforms and that is the key to the future.”


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