With our eyes on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in our own national landscapes, it is easy to overlook what is happening elsewhere in the world. Here are three things you might have missed in LATAM in October 2020.
1. US CONCERNED AT MEXICO'S INCREASINGLY INSULAR ENERGY POLICY.
Members of the US Senate and Congress wrote a letter to President Trump, stating that Mexico is turning its back on its 2014 energy reform. This reform opened the market to private and international businesses; Mexican President López Obrador is now favouring state enterprises. How would a return to energy isolationism affect Mexico's economy? Will López Obrador make good on his promise to respect all existing contracts?
2. NICARAGUA TAKES FURTHER STEPS TOWARDS AUTHORITARIANISM.
All employees of foreign businesses and NGOs are now obliged to report income and spending and are forbidden from entering domestic politics. Additionally, a newly introduced "Cybercrime" bill criminalises those who "spread false information online" and has been criticised as a threat to freedom of expression. Will foreign businesses draw back investment in Nicaragua as a result of these measures? Will the European Union and the United States follow through with suggestions of new sanctions against Nicaragua?
3. COSTA RICA OPENS BORDERS TO ALL FOREIGN TOURISTS.
International arrivals to Costa Rica no longer need to provide a negative COVID-19 test and all requirements for automatic 14-day quarantine have been lifted. However, visitors do need to provide evidence of travel insurance that covers potential expenses caused by contracting COVID-19. Will this move enliven the economy or create deeper economic damage in the long-run? How long before other LATAM countries make similar moves to boost struggling economies?
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