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April 16, 2015: Can the U.N. Win the Battle Against Impunity in Guatemala?
By Eduardo Stein, Kelsey Alford-Jones and Salvador Paiz
Source: Latin America Advisor
U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden earlier this year called for the renewal of the U.N.-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), an independent body created in 2006 to fight organized crime and corruption, as a condition of U.S. aid to the Central American nation. While many Guatemalan civil society groups have urged extending CICIG's mandate when it expires in September, President Otto Pérez Molina has expressed doubts about its future, and some critics have said the body is unconstitutional, unsuccessful and biased. How successful has CICIG been in its first years of operation? Should its mandate be extended? What factors are shaping the debate, and what will most likely be the outcome?

April 8, 2015: ¿Qué se espera del crecimiento del crédito al consumo en México este año?
By Nicolás Mariscal and Adalberto Palma Gómez
Source: Latin America Advisor
Durante la reunión anual de la Asociación de Bancos de México el 19 de marzo, los banqueros expresaron su optimismo de que sus carteras de crédito crecerán a un ritmo similar en comparación a los últimos años a pesar de vientos desfavorables económicos relacionados con la fuerte caída del precio del petróleo y el valor mínimo histórico del peso. ¿Qué se espera del crecimiento del crédito al consumo en México este año? ¿Cuáles son los factores más importantes que determinarán si crece más rápido? ¿Qué se interpone en el camino de crecimiento del crédito al consumidor de México y la expansión del sector bancario?

April 7, 2015: Is Paraguay's Economy Headed for Investment Grade?
By Gerardo Ramón Ruiz Godoy, Sebastián Acha and Donald Richards
Source: Latin America Advisor
Ratings agency Moody's Investors Service last month increased Paraguay's sovereign rating from Ba2 to Ba1 with a stable outlook, one step away from investment grade, citing progress implementing fiscal reforms passed in 2013, increased infrastructure investment, moves to diversify the economy and improving governance. Is Paraguay's economy on the right track, and what would it take for the country to reach investment grade? Could flare-ups over social issues, such as strikes and concentrated land ownership, hamper progress?

March 23, 2015: U.S. Policy Shift on Cuba: Three-Month Assessment
By Gene Kuleta
The process of normalizing diplomatic relations and expanding trade between the United States and Cuba is proceeding slowly, but holds great promise for U.S. businesses, a group of experts said Monday. In the panel discussion, organized by the Inter-American Dialogue and held at the Washington office of law firm Holland & Knight, experts expressed optimism that the historic thaw between the Cold War foes will continue and will present opportunities for U.S.-based companies in areas such as agriculture and travel.

March 18, 2015: What Are the Top Issues Facing the OAS' Next Leader?
By John Maisto, Andrew F. Cooper, Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger, Pía Riggirozzi and Nils Castro
Source: Latin America Advisor
Former Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro is poised to be elected secretary general of the Organization of American States today in a secret vote. Is Almagro the right person for the job? What are the biggest challenges he faces, and what are the first tasks he should tackle? To what extent is the OAS irrelevant, as its critics argue, and what should Almagro do to increase its influence?

March 16, 2015: Does Solar Energy Still Have a Bright Future in Latin America?
By Rolando González Bunster, Lisa Viscidi, Jorge Kamine, Camila Ramos and Thomas Koerner
Source: Latin America Advisor
Latin America and the Caribbean installed 625 megawatts of solar photovoltaics in 2014, a 370 percent growth rate over 2013, with Chile accounting for more than three-quarters of the regional total, according to a recent study by GTM Research. Will solar continue its growth momentum this year, and which countries will stand out? How are big swings in prices for other sources of power such as natural gas affecting the outlook for PV in the region? How are recent energy policy changes in Brazil, Mexico and elsewhere shaping the outlook for solar development in the medium to longer term?

February 23, 2015: How Much Are the U.S. and Cuba Willing to Give?
By Peter Hakim, Frank Calzon, Kirby Jones, Jaime Suchlicki
Source: Latin America Advisor
The Obama administration reportedly wants to open an embassy in Havana by April, when the next Summit of the Americas is scheduled to convene in Panama. Meantime, Cuban President Raúl Castro has demanded that the United States remove his country from its State Sponsors of Terrorism list before opening an embassy, as well as returning Guantanamo Bay Naval Base to Cuban control. Will such sticking points derail the thaw between Washington and Havana? To what extent are the United States and Cuba willing to negotiate on issues such as Guantanamo and protection of human rights in Cuba? How is the multi-billion-dollar foreign claims settlement process likely to play out?

February 17, 2015: What Will Be the Impact of Mexico Cross-Border Trucking?
By Fred McLuckie, Arturo Sarukhan, Amy Glover
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced last month that Mexican trucking companies will be able to apply to make long-haul trips in the United States. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the policy change will strengthen the United States' relationship with Mexico and meet U.S. obligations under NAFTA. How will the change affect the countries' trade relationship? What will be the economic impact in the United States and Mexico? Have concerns raised in the United States about perceived safety hazards and pollution caused by Mexican trucks been adequately addressed?

February 6, 2015: Will Poverty Reduction Remain Stalled in the Region?
By Alfredo González-Reyes, Nora Lustig, Paula Lucci
Poverty reduction has stalled across most of Latin America since 2012 as economic growth has slowed, and 28 percent of the region's population, or 167 million people, were in poverty in 2014, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said recently in its annual report. With regional growth expected to be relatively low this year, will efforts at poverty reduction remain stalled? Can poverty be reduced in a low-growth environment? What policies or steps should governments take to address the issue?

January 29, 2015: Will Argentine Authorities Determine Who Killed Nisman?
By Horacio Verbitsky, Luigi Manzetti, Martín Federico Böhmer and Santos Goñi
Source: Latin America Advisor
Argentines were shocked by the untimely death Jan. 18 of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who had accused Argentina's president and foreign minister of covering up responsibility for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires. The country's security minister said the death appeared to be a suicide, but others, including President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, voiced suspicions about foul play. Do Argentine authorities have sufficient independence to get to the bottom of what happened? Does the country's judiciary have enough strength and autonomy in major cases like that of the Jewish center bombing? Will the case have a chilling effect on future investigations?

January 20, 2015: Is Maduro Maintaining His Grip on Power in Venezuela?
By Michael Shifter, Luis Vicente León, Mark Weisbrot, Asdrúbal Oliveros, and David Smilde
Source: Latin America Advisor
Next month marks the one-year anniversary of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López's imprisonment and a year since massive protests broke out across the country. Meantime, the Andean country is suffering the world's highest rate of inflation and plunging prices for oil, its chief export, with parliamentary elections set for later this year. What does 2015 hold in store for Venezuela? To what extent is Maduro maintaining his grip on power?

January 13, 2015: ¿Cuál es la expectativa para las elecciones presidenciales de Argentina?
By Carlos Fara, Analía del Franco, Julio Burdman
Source: Latin America Advisor
La presidenta de Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, se encamina en la recta final de su segundo mandato en medio de preocupaciones sobre la economía del país, entre ellas un alto nivel de inflación y una batalla en curso con los fondos buitre. Con las elecciones presidenciales previstas para octubre ya han surgido un número de candidatos potenciales, incluyendo a Daniel Scioli, gobernador de la provincia de Buenos Aires, el diputado nacional, Sergio Massa, y alcalde de Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri. ¿Cuáles individuos surgirán como principales candidatos para reemplazar a Fernández? ¿Cuál es la perspectiva para la economía de Argentina en 2015, y cómo está afectando a la forma en que la carrera presidencial se perfila? ¿Qué otros factores podrían influir en las elecciones en los próximos 10 meses?

January 13, 2015: What Did Obama & Peña Nieto Achieve in Their Meeting?
By Eliot Engel, Arturo Sarukhan, Juan Carlos Hartasánchez, James Jones
Source: Latin America Advisor
U.S. President Barack Obama met last week at the White House with his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, to discuss an agenda focused on economic, security and social issues. What were the most important developments to come out of the meeting between the two presidents? What are the biggest challenges that lie ahead for U.S.-Mexico relations in areas such as trade, immigration and human rights?

January 8, 2015: What Is the State of China-Latin America Relations?
By Jorge Heine, Beatrice Rangel, Margaret Myers, and Anton Edmunds
Source: Latin America Advisor
Q: The first ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC forum opens today in Beijing with members expected to discuss cooperation between Latin America and the Caribbean and China as well as the creation of institutions between the 33-member bloc and China. The presidents of Venezuela, Ecuador and Costa Rica are among the leaders attending. What is the state of China-Latin America relations? With China's slowing economy and Latin American economies facing lower prices for their commodity exports, to what extent will China and Latin American countries be able to help each other economically? What does China stand to gain politically from closer engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean?

December 23, 2014: New US-Cuba Ties Could Bring Investments to Small Businesses: Donayre
By Gene Kuleta
Source: Latin America Advisor
The establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba could lead to new opportunities for U.S. firms to invest in small businesses in the island nation, Fernando X. Donayre, chief investment officer and founder of Miami-based INCA Investments, told the Advisor Monday in an interview.

December 23, 2014: How Significant Will U.S.-Cuba Ties Be for Financial Institutions?
By Manuel Orozco, Ray Walser, Nicolas Mariscal, Jerry Haar
Source: Latin America Advisor
U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro on Dec. 17 announced a series of major bilateral policy changes. In addition to normalizing relations after a half century and opening new embassies in Washington and Havana, the countries have agreed to allow U.S. financial institutions to open accounts at Cuban financial institutions, permit the use of U.S. credit and debit cards in Cuba and increase the amount of remittances that can be sent to Cuba from the United States. How significant are the changes for banks and other financial services companies in the United States and elsewhere? How important of a market is Cuba for U.S. and other foreign financial institutions? How much will improved commercial ties between Cuba and the United States depend upon the U.S. Congress' support for changing existing laws that restrict business with Cuba?

December 19, 2014: Improved Relations With Cuba Unlikely to Spur Oil Sector: Analysts
By Megan Cook
Source: Latin America Advisor
U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced plans to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba after more than 50 years, creating speculation that the move could lead to an easing of restrictions on economic and commercial ties affecting the country's energy sector.

December 10, 2014: A Discussion of Costa Rica's Economic and Investment Outlook
By Megan Cook
The key to resolving Costa Rica's problematic fiscal deficit lies in a major reform that would replace the country's sales tax with a value-added tax, the country's ambassador to the United States, Román Macaya, said Wednesday at the Inter-American Dialogue. When President Luis Guillermo Solís took office earlier this year, there was some uncertainty regarding the country's economic outlook, but with a stable currency and a number of new investments announced this year, the largest remaining uncertainty is the fiscal deficit, the ambassador said.

December 9, 2014: Should Money Transmitters Be Required to Verify Migration Status?
By Adalberto Palma Gómez, Dan Stein, Earl Jarrett, David Landsman, Kai Schmitz
Source: Latin America Advisor
A bill pending in the U.S. Congress would require money transmitters to verify their customers' immigration status and collect a 7 percent penalty from customers who cannot prove that they are legally in the United States. Is this measure good policy? How would such a law affect companies that offer remittance services? How would Latin American and Caribbean countries that have large immigrant populations in the United States be affected

November 26, 2014: What Will Result From Obama's Immigration Policy Action?
By Peter Hakim, Dan Stein, Arturo Sarukhan, Louis DiSipio
Source: Latin America Advisor
Q: U.S. President Barack Obama last week announced a plan to protect as many as five million undocumented immigrants from deportation. Obama's plan has drawn sharp criticism from Republican lawmakers who accuse him of overstepping his authority as president. How will Obama's action affect U.S. relations with Latin American countries? Will Obama's move spur Congress to pass its own immigration reform, or will lawmakers focus on fighting the president's actions? What are the implications for businesses in the United States and Latin America?