By Beatrice E. Rangel
Robin, the inseparable companion of Batman until Hollywood decided to cater to millenial taste, used the word "Holy" to dramatize situations. "Holy haberdashery" was used when things did not look like what they really were. When a beautifully wrapped set of presents sent by the Joker arrives for the Mayor of Gothem City, for instance, a "haberdashery" was sure to be in the makings.
Should we follow 2015’s first set of images from the Americas, one is tempted to think there for sure is "haberdashery" in the region. The three defining pictures of this first week of January so far have been:First, President Pena Nieto of Mexico sitting side-by-side with President Obama as they worked their way through a bilateral meeting;
Second, Justices in Argentina announcing that they had agreed to extradite Kurt Sonnenfeld, a suspected murderer, to his country of origin, the US;
And third, President and Mrs Maduro of Venezuela descending from the Venezuelan Air Force One in Moscow with the Venezuelan President decked out in a colorful scarf representing the national flag.
The three pictures capture a haberdashery in the making.
Indeed, upon return to Mexico, President Pena Nieto will face headwinds with lots of turbulence. His dilemmas are tough to resolve. To punish those responsible for the monstrous execution of 43 students demands a clean up exercise that no political party in Mexico is willing to pursue. Forcibly standing behind the rule of law can unleash tumoultous dissent by all political forces. Because, truth be told, not only PRD elected officials have developed significant ties with organized crime.
Then come the Saudis and their strategic move to protect their market share which has driven the oil price to levels not seen in a decade precisely when Mexico needs a growth booster.
Finally there are those who regard competition as an Inquisitorial practice and would like to see the Mexican economy run by monopolies. All these dilemmas will test Pena Nieto's heretofore much recognized leadership. Should he try to run away from the challenge and take refuge in the past, Mexico could experience a development crisis that is sure to be rocky.
News feeds from Argentina tell us that members of the Supreme Court suddendly found that there is rule of law in the United States and that it is thus safe to grant the extradition request to return home for trial a suspected murderer. Interestingly enough, before they had this epiphany, Argentinian Justices sought to get assurances from the U.S. government regarding prohibiting a death penalty in the case.
The accused is to be tried in Colorado where murder can be punished by death. Undoubtedly something is happening behind the scenes in Argentina, as Argentinian Justices -- well reputed as the best readers of the direction of political winds and knowing that the extradition request was not welcomed at Casa Rosada -- decided to go ahead with it anyway. The change in hearts most certainly indicates the arrival of new tenants to the Peronist-dominated mansion. The Supreme Court is obviously preparing for the change of guard.
President Maduro, for his part, looks a bit too cheerful in the vicious Moscow winter, though perhaps extreme Siberian weather is a blessing compared to the heat he is taking back at home in Venezuela. He made the stop-over in order to examine with the Russian government what could be done to twist Saudi Arabia’s arm to reduce oil ouput. And while Moscow does not seem to be a place where anyone from the Caribbean would want spend an extended vacation, it certainly is a place where you can find comfort if you are the beleaguered President of the Bolivarian Republic.
After Moscow came Beijing, where Maduro says he picked up $16 to $20 billion -- it grew by the day -- but details are so far scarce. Most probably, China was happy to pick-up some extra Venezuela assets at garage sale prices in so far as it sees a continuation of the regime. Upon return, Maduro will have to finally decide whether he enters the hurricane eye to attempt to secure survival or he crashes and burns in a scenario of hyper-inflation and default. A haberdashery all over!!!! Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet seriesBeatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???
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Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.