Thinking global, living local: Voices in a globalized world

Free Trade is a hot topic – in which way is Latin America concerned about it?

Written by on . Published in News.

Latin America is at an interesting economic moment right now. While some countries’ economies have grown slow but steady, others remain at a sudden standstill. National budgets have always been tight. The effects of natural disasters, corrupt dictators and authorities, civil wars, and political unrest have stressed those lean budgets constantly at unexpected times.

The economic crisis of 2008 didn’t seem to affect the region as hard as it hit other countries. In fact, some analysts agreed that Latin America was better prepared for the crisis than others. The constant economic turbulence it has lived through has taught its governments how to tackle more than one storm – sometimes even literally.

One of the strategies that might have helped are the commercial treaties and agreements (Sp) that the countries of the region have signed among themselves, in order to create nontraditional business partners. This has allowed opportunity for growth, commercial exchange and better conditions for its nationals to travel and migrate to neighboring countries.

While some economies emerge with strong and positive perspectives – like Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru, – others continue to strive just to stay afloat. Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua are still among the poorest countries in the world. Other countries are privileged in resources – like Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador, – but find themselves caught in trying to take the balanced decisions that will allow their economies to grow and expand while protecting the national resources, fight poverty and preserve local culture and traditions – all at once.

Some countries have already signed Free Trade Agreements with the United States and are negotiating similar agreements with the European Community. China is also strongly interested in making millionaire investments in regions like Central America.

With all that in mind, could we say that free trade has had a positive or a negative outcome for Latin American economies? How does the normal citizen feel the effects of these agreements? (Sp) Is there an impact at all in daily life? What happens in other regions like Africa or Asia? Do they share similar experiences? Is the strategy of expanding commercial borders and forming economic blocks with neighboring countries a strategy to learn from? What are the risks? ¿Who is actually the biggest winner with these agreements? Is Latin America becoming a territory in dispute among the richest countries or will it be able to someday stand on its own?

Dear bloggers: we want to publish some articles about this issue in the next weeks. Please lets use this post as a starting point so that we can identify relevant topics in the end of our debate. These issue would be the basis of our upcoming blogposts.


Jacinta Escudos Twitter: @jacintarioJacinta

Writer, columnist and blogger from El Salvador. With 8 published books and an op-ed column on the Sunday magazine of the country’s main newspaper, La Prensa Gráfica. I'm interested in literature, culture, the rescue of historical memory and how these can be used to transform reality, construct a better society and improve individual lives.