Monday, 26 January 2009

Earlybird, Jan. 26, 2008

And these are the headlines:

MARKETS -- The Era of Big Government to Be Discussed at Davos Forum (WSJ): The risks of big government in the current scenario, as much as the need for it, should be extensively debated and told to the public. No one says more effective regulation isn't needed. But the type of distorting intervention in private affairs, the way Brazil's government is doing, should be discussed, understood and fiercely attacked. No government should use the crisis to increase their grip on the economy nor offer taxpayers' money to help badly managed companies, nor use state companies to house political appointees and endorsers of the regime.

U.S -- Obama Plans Fast Action to Tighten Regulation on Wall Street (NYT): We have to see what type of solutions they will come up with to problems that range from conflicts of interest between banks and rating agencies to the crisis in the investment-bank model. Good news they are moving quick on these regulatory overhaul.

BOLIVIA -- Evo Morales Wins Referendum on New Constitution (Estado): The approval of the constitution by an overwhelming 58 percent is an important victory for Morales, who in the past year has been under fire due to a feud with opposition governors, declining gas exports and political uncertainty. The new constitution will allow more access to power to indigenous communities, which should be very welcome. One good friend of mine told me at lunch Sunday the importance of this type of ''revolution´´ in Bolivia, where the majority never had real access to power. On the other hand, the government will have almost full control of the economy. The U.S. new administration's reaction to this result is one aspect of interest -- it would be very encouraging to see the U.S. accepting the 'Yes´ victory and congratulating Evo and the Bolivian people for the process.

VENEZUELA -- Chavez Seen Garnering More Support for His Plan to End Presidential Term Limits (Nacional): Well, people are sovereign. But in any case the 'Yes´ victory won't be an overwhelming one. A call on this is quite a tough job. Chavez is doing quite a clever move by enticing his regional supporters to work for the 'Yes´ option. On the other hand, we see a dormant opposition, a bit lazy and perhaps fractured again after the electoral wins obtained in the recent regional elections.

BRAZIL -- Crisis is Leveraging the Clout of Unions (Estado): Good story by Estado. We have been saying this along the past month. It doesn't mean that unions will get what they want, but Brazil need stronger unions, less dependent on state aid, independent, protective of the interests of Brazilian workers.

COLOMBIA -- Uribe, Venezuela's Chavez Agree to Create $200 Million Fund for Small Companies (Tiempo): Another populist move that will end up in nothing. Instead of creating these funds, both countries should work on issues ranging from trade problems (Venezuelan companies are squeezed by little access to foreign exchange to pay for their Colombian imports) to contraband. Another item in the agenda should be oil investment by the Venezuelans in Colombian projects and vice versa. Ah! One more thing: Hugo Chavez believes that bilateral trade will reach $10 billion by 2012 ... That can be possible only if Venezuela stops imposing barriers on Colombian imports.

MEXICO -- Drug Dealer Dissolved 300 Rivals in Acid (London Times): Jesus Christ! No comments.

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