Stories by Jorge Castañeda

  • Arizona Puts Immigration on Center Stage

    Immigration has returned to center stage in the U.S. for wrong but not unreasonable motives. The law (S.B. 1070) signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in April has set off an explosion of condemnations, justifications, and demonstrations. This brouhaha has brought the issue back to the fore, leading thousands to muse about, hope for, or decry the possibility of comprehensive reform. It is long overdue.
  • Jorge Castaneda on Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua

    To the myriad foreign challenges Barack Obama will have to confront upon taking office we may have to add a complex conundrum next door in Latin America. On three fronts that have posed serious problems for the United States before, there is a growing and worrisome democratic challenge in the hemisphere—and no one knows quite how to handle it.The first problem is Nicaragua, where the Sandinista Front rigged and stole municipal elections in such an egregious fashion Nov. 9 that even the old PRI antics in Mexico pale by comparison. In the country’s larger cities, like Managua, the capital, as well as León, Granada and Masaya, ex-Sandinista opponents and supporters alike were harassed, intimidated and erased from electoral rolls. Their ballots were discarded, and they were subsequently forcibly banned from demonstrating against the stolen vote. Most analysts agree that the opposition at least won in Managua, though it may not have done so elsewhere. Yet virtually no one in Latin...
  • The Silly Ideas of the South

    Over the past few weeks, some silly ideas have circulated on the impact of the financial crisis on Latin America. The most dangerous was that Latin American would be largely impervious to a debacle which was, as Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva imprudently phrased it, "Bush's crisis." Leaders ranging from Mexico's Felipe Calderón on the center-right to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez on the extreme left all claimed, for different reasons, that orthodox macro-economic policies, recent growth, solid banking systems, the high price of commodities (oil, soybeans, copper, iron, coal) and tighter market regulation and supervision would help spare the Latin economies. Castro, Chávez and a few others (on occasion, Argentina's Cristina Fernández de Kirchner) gloated over the demise (finally) of the capitalist system, from which socialist countries like theirs would emerge in better shape than others.Well, the Brazilian real has dropped 40 percent in the past month and the São Paulo...
  • Jorge Castaneda on the Global Financial Crisis

    Over the past few weeks, some silly ideas have circulated on the impact of the financial crisis on Latin America. The most dangerous was that Latin America would be largely impervious to a debacle that was, as Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva imprudently phrased it, "Bush's crisis." Leaders ranging from Mexico's Felipe Calderón on the center-right to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez on the extreme left all claimed, for different reasons, that orthodox macroeconomic policies, recent growth, solid banking systems, the high price of commodities (oil, soybeans, copper, iron, coal) and tighter market regulation and supervision would help spare the Latin economies from the woes of their partners across the Rio Grande, the Atlantic and the Pacific. Or, in their more excessive moments, Castro, Chávez and a few others (on occasion, Argentina's Cristina Fernández de Kirchner) gloated over the demise (finally) of the capitalist system, from which socialist countries like theirs would...
  • Jorge Castañeda On Why Cuba Is No Vietnam

    At a recent meeting in Hanoi of a new global outfit called the Emerging Markets Forum, a group that is positioning itself as an emerging-economy, though business-oriented, alternative to Davos, participants were exposed to a fascinating perspective on the Vietnamese experiment. At the meeting—and during this writer's additional week touring the country—officials outlined a combination of rigorous one-party rule in the classic socialist style (including a Ho Chi Minh mausoleum indistinguishable from Mao's and Lenin's, and a completely official, propagandistic press) with freewheeling, swashbuckling, barely regulated market economics. Over the past 15 years, Vietnam has grown 8 percent annually, and last year saw more than $18 billion in foreign investment—one of the highest totals in the world as a percentage of GDP.Such an impressive performance (despite the current specter of rising inflation and slower growth) has led many to view the country as a model for nations now going...
  • A Bunch Of Crooks On The Run

    With the death of its leader, the band faces extinction. It would be high time. They've degenerated into criminals.
  • Raúl Castro’s Big Gamble

    He is betting that he can improve living standards while also keeping the lid on political dissent.
  • Ending The Electoral Monopoly

    A key question is whether electoral rights should be treated the same way as better-known human rights.
  • The Battle to Clean Up Mexico

    The people trained to use the technology could use it for nefarious purposes. It has happened before.

Pages