Latin America: more shocks from global crisis

Latin American markets continued to be shaken by a global financial crisis set off in September by bad mortgages in the US. On Oct. 7 the stock exchange in Sao Paulo, Brazil, fell 4.66%; Mexico‘s market was down 3.97%; stocks in Santiago, Chile, fell 4.29%; and the market in Buenos Aires, Argentina, lost 2.72%. Latin American losses that day were smaller those in New York, where the Dow Jones lost 5.11%. (La Jornada, Oct. 8 from Reuters, AFP, DPA and Notimex) But fallout from the global crisis is likely to get worse. Speaking in Durango on Oct. 6, Mexican Labor Secretary Javier Lozano Alarcón said his department expected some 200,000 Mexicans now working in the US to come home during the next year; he denied the number would be in the millions. (LJ, Oct. 7)

Despite the problems in Latin America, the US government’s dramatic interventions to unfreeze its own credit markets have amused Latin American critics of US neoliberal economic policies. “How many times have [US officials] criticized me for nationalizing the phone company?” Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez asked during his weekly television program. “They say, ‘The state shouldn’t get involved in that.’ But now they don’t criticize [US president George W.] Bush for having nationalized…the biggest banks in the world. Comrade Bush, how are you?” (McClatchy Newspapers, Oct. 7)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 12, 2008

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