BREAKING NEWS

Agora Partnerships – Job Opening: Managing Director, Latin America.

Agora Partnerships is seeking is seeking a hire a Managing Director for Latin America and I would truly appreciate your help to find the right candidate.





The Managing Director position will be based in Colombia or Mexico City and will lead Agora’s team in finding high-potential entrepreneurs, providing them valuable business and investment consulting, and catalyzing the flow of capital from mission-driven investors to fast-growing social enterprises. This is an incredible opportunity for a seasoned leader (10 years plus experience) to make a huge impact in Latin America and we want to leave no stone uncovered to find the right fit. More info on the position can be found here – Managing Director, Latin America Job Description.





If you know people we should be talking to about this position, please contact me directly and feel free to reach out to your network (you can even help us spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. Thank you for any leads you may have for this critical role helping to build an organization that can support the growth of hundreds of high growth entrepreneurs solving the UN Sustainable Development Goals across Latin America.




Warm Regards,

Ben


Press Releases: Costa Rica’s Presidential Election

Press Statement:
Heather Nauert, Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC April 2, 2018

The United States congratulates Carlos Alvarado Quesada on his election as the next President of Costa Rica in free, fair, and peaceful voting that continues to be a model for the region.
Our long and enduring partnership with Costa Rica is rooted in a shared history of support for human rights, democracy, and security for all people. Costa Rica plays a key role as our partner promoting regional economic prosperity, security, and good governance throughout the hemisphere.
We look forward to building on that partnership with the Alvarado administration.


The Peruvian Chancellery announces the 13th International Gold and Silver Symposium

The Peruvian Chancellery is proud to announce the 13th edition of the International Gold and Silver Symposium in the City of Lima, Peru. On May 29th, 30th and 31st, 2018

For more details revise our Brochure Simposium del Oro y la Plarta 2018


Chamber of the Americas is proud to introduce our newest member, BizWest Media, Boulder, Colorado

BizWest was formed in March 2014 through the merger of the Boulder County Business Report and the Northern Colorado Business Report. The merger created a regional business-news powerhouse, covering a dynamic region of Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties, with a population exceeding 1 million people. Major industries in the BizWest coverage area include aerospace, agribusiness, banking, bioscience, clean tech, energy, health care, hospitality & tourism, natural & organic, outdoor industry, real estate & construction, technology and many more. BizWest Media LLC is co-owned and operated by Jeff Nuttall and Chris Wood.

Mission Statement
To be the premier provider of the most accurate, in-depth, business news and developer of the deepest and most up-to-date business database, in Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado.
 

Vision Statement
Our mission in the next 5 years is to be the best known, most trusted, and most turned-to provider of business news and data in Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado.
Please help us welcome Chris Wood to “The Americas Business Team!”


Six Things to Know if You’re Exploring Emerging Markets

OPIC, featured in Entrepreneur
May 11, 2017
by Larry Spinelli, OPIC Outreach Director

Getty Image of Business People shaded gray against high-rises

Looking for your next customer? It may pay to look far from home.

Today, the vast majority of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and a growing share of those people live in emerging markets. Places like Rwanda, the Philippines and the Brazilian rainforest might seem unreachable to an American small business with limited resources, but in my work in the global marketplace, I’ve seen small American businesses successfully expand into all these places with ventures that have introduced valuable services and transformed industries, while at the same time growing their U.S. operation.

While developing countries present a significant opportunity, they often bring a steep learning curve as well. Here are some things your small business should consider before expanding into an emerging market.

Anticipate currency fluctuations.
Since you will ultimately judge your business success on the revenue you generate, it is critical that you factor in currency fluctuations from the outset. American businesses typically obtain financing for overseas projects in U.S. dollars and will most likely have to repay their loans in dollars. In between, they will conduct business in local currencies, which fluctuate against the dollar. Failing to anticipate the impact of these currency fluctuations can significantly increase the cost of borrowing.

Brace yourself for bureaucracy.
Businesses often discover that less developed countries have highly developed bureaucracies, which can slow down all sorts of routine processes from obtaining a business license to
registering property and paying taxes. A good way to manage all this red tape is to start small, with modest growth expectations, at least until you’ve navigated some of these tasks. But don’t be discouraged. Developing countries around the world are adopting reforms to make it easier to do business. In its latest Doing Business report, the World Bank said that the number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa engaged in one or more regulatory reform has doubled over the past decade.

Bring your most innovative products.
The paradox of doing businesses in emerging markets is that while these places are less developed than the U.S., the appetite for certain advanced products and technologies may be greater. Leapfrog technology is a phenomenon in which advanced products, like cell phones, are widely adopted in less developed places that never took to the predecessor technology, like the land line. So if your business has developed a new and improved way to move cargo, process produce or improve communications, you might discover there is particularly strong demand from a less developed market.

Create value for your customer.
One of the main reasons U.S. businesses avoid emerging markets is because they doubt there is a real market for the goods or services they are selling. And while it is of course true that demand for certain luxury items will be slim in the world’s poorest countries, the flip side is that even poor people, and certainly poor governments, will pay for the things they need, such as electricity, healthcare, housing, education and even financial services. In fact, demand for things like basic homes or internet connections can be quite strong in poor countries, where supply is limited. If the product is priced for the market, consumers will pay. The trick for the business is to spend time understanding the market, the real needs of consumers and what they can afford to pay.

Remember the “last mile.”
In developing markets, businesses will often find strongest demand in rural areas, where poor roads and limited electricity can make it difficult to connect with customers. Your business may have a great idea for introducing internet access in rural areas or connecting rural farmers with larger markets, but be mindful of the challenges this entails and know that a viable solution goes beyond just delivering a product or service. You also need a consistent way of reaching your consumers.

Don’t be a stranger.
Technology goes a long way in bridging long physical distances, but to really succeed in business in an emerging market, be prepared to spend a lot of time there. Your on-the-ground presence will not only help you become familiar with the local culture, it will also bring you credibility with potential customers. Other key ways to establish a credible and respected local presence include hiring and training local workers, and partnering with diaspora investors in the U.S., who should be able to provide valuable insight into the culture and business climate.

Spinelli runs OPIC’s Expanding Horizons workshop series for American small businesses interested in emerging markets, and will host a workshop in New York City on June 16. Learn more about the event and register here.


Trump on Trade: Colorado Trade Supporters Warn of “Devastating” Impact of Policies

by Paula Aven Gladych
from BizWest
May 5, 2017

President Donald Trump’s policies regarding international trade have many trade proponents in Colorado up in arms.

One of his first acts as president was to sign an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a trade deal among the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Gil Cisneros, chairman and CEO of the Denver-based Chamber of the Americas, said that this decision was one of his organization’s biggest disappointments. He felt the deal would be a boon for a lot of companies and now those opportunities will go to other countries instead of the United States.

The future of the North American Free Trade Agreement — which includes Canada, Mexico and the United States — also is uncertain, with the president saying April 27 that he would seek to renegotiate the agreement, rather than withdraw outright.

The Chamber of the Americas has an office in Mexico City, where it works to develop partnerships with small and medium-sized businesses. In the last year alone, the Chamber signed on more than 130 new members in the Mexico City area.

“They all present opportunities for us to begin to work with them. I don’t know what Mr. Trump is ultimately going to do. One of the things he has done is get Mexican business people beginning to look at other markets, which could be a big loss for us. We’ve always been one of the best trade partners for Mexico and our trade partners.”

Cisneros believes that if Trump walks away from NAFTA, it “could be very disastrous. I don’t blame the Mexican government for looking at other markets. I hope Mr. Trump takes advice from other countries to walk gingerly when it comes to NAFTA.”

Unlike the United States, Mexico has stayed with the TPP, which will “increase their opportunities to do more trade and lose potential clients for us in this area of the world. It is very simple logic in terms of we’re one world and we can’t exist solely by ourselves, and becoming isolationists again could really harm our country,” Cisneros said.

“Colorado exports to other countries bring in $8 billion in goods and $13 billion in services every year,” said Karen Gerwitz, president of World Trade Center Denver. That equates to 700,000 Colorado jobs supported by international trade, or about one in five Colorado jobs. In addition to that, 83,000 Coloradans go to work every morning for foreign-owned companies.

She points out that 85 percent of the state’s agricultural exports and 44 percent of its manufactured exports go to the 11 TPP countries, “which is huge. So the idea of pulling out of that agreement so early in the administration, it would have been nice to at least see some effort to understand what are the things they hated so much about it, because that free-trade agreement would have eliminated 11,000 tariffs.”

Gerwitz said that most people believe that all of Colorado’s international trade comes from big companies, but 88 percent of it comes from small businesses.

Colorado-based Crazy Mountain Brewery does business in 27 states and seven countries, including China, Sweden, Korea and the United Kingdom. The company has been trying to break into other international markets for a few years.

“With the changing political landscape, deals we have lined up in Chile and Mexico have fallen through,” said Kevin Selvy, CEO of Crazy Mountain Brewery, which has locations in Edwards and Denver.

The deal the brewery had lined up in Chile fell apart when it became clear that the United States was not going to participate in the TPP because that changed the economics of the deal they were putting together. The uncertainty around NAFTA helped sink a deal with Mexico.

“Those were both deals we spent years putting together. We were bummed to not see them come together for us,” Selvy said.

“With America moving towards an isolationist-type view of operating, well, that has not boded well for the way consumers around the world view American-made consumer goods, and that effect has happened alarmingly fast, in my opinion,” Selvy added. “I think it is too early to tell if it is a knee-jerk reaction people are having or if it is going to be around for a long time. I would say that craft beer is more isolated from politics than most consumer goods but unfortunately we have been feeling the impacts of the changing scenery in America already. Like I said, it caught us by surprise how quickly it has happened.”

Mexico is still in its infancy when it comes to craft beer, but because it is a new product, there is enormous price sensitivity. When steep tariffs are added on top of shipping and other fees to get the beer across the border, it prices itself out of the market, he said.

“If all of a sudden America changes its policies and that triggers Mexico to do the same and tariffs come into place, it’s not going to limit our ability to get product into Mexico. It will eliminate our ability to get product into Mexico,” Selvy said. That will have a “trickle-down effect on our economy and their economy.”

Exports make up 20 percent of Crazy Mountain Brewery’s business and are its fastest-growing revenue stream.

George Deriso, assistant director, innovation and entrepreneurship for the Research & Innovation Office at the University of Colorado Boulder, is worried about changes to the H1-B visa program that brings in immigrants from other countries to take on certain jobs, particularly in the technology industry.

Deriso deals with global entrepreneurs in residence at CU-Boulder. Those are people the university recruits globally who “have deep entrepreneurial experience on a global scale, and we look for a particular type of talent to help bring perspective to our students, faculty, our staff and researchers,” he said. Those individuals mentor others, speak in classrooms, coach faculty and researchers and connect the university’s networks with their networks.

“It has been an amazingly beneficial program for the short time it has existed,” he said. And that program is one of the ones that could be potentially threatened because of the visa changes. The Trump Administration placed a moratorium on the H1-B premium processing option that cuts visa approval times down from months to weeks.

CU-Boulder is “quite likely” the largest employer of H1-B immigrants in the state of Colorado, Deriso said. “Anything that affects our ability to acquire H1-B visas, even innocuous things like the temporary moratorium on premium processing, can have an economic impact.”

That restriction could also restrict the university’s ability to attract additional research dollars, he added.

“Take that to a national scale, and it is enormously devastating to our ability to lead the world as a country of innovators because we know through an enormous corpus of research that diversity in collaborative teams leads to much bigger breakthroughs and much more effectiveness. We don’t want to lose that at all,” Deriso said.

Gerwitz is concerned that the new visa requirements will have a negative impact on technology and science organizations, that they will have a difficult time filling those roles here.

“The reason they are going to other countries is to tap into new expertise or skillsets they are not finding here. I also think the agricultural sector will be hurt from this as well. It is a major concern,” Gerwitz said. She believes that it would be better policy to find ways to bring this outside talent into the United States and find a way to keep them here and integrate them into our economy so they can continue to add value to it.

International trade doesn’t just refer to products but services and knowledge as well. “All those benefit our state, new money coming to the economy, new jobs created,” Gerwitz said.

She said renegotiating NAFTA may not be a bad thing because it was signed into law before cell phones and the Internet.

“What bothers or concerns us as a trade association that is pro trade is the whole concept that trade is a zero-sum game, which is what we’re hearing come out of his policies right now,” she said. “I feel like he’s taking an approach to negotiating agreements like he would a business deal.”

She points out that if the United States is importing more from Mexico than it is exporting, that the U.S. is boosting their economy. It is also “empowering them to be more powerful consumers to purchase other goods from us. To look at just trade imbalances is not the whole picture. A more-empowered Mexico means they can invest in the U.S., buy our products, become a more stable country, a neighboring country to be partners with. There’s a lot more to it than sheer numbers of who imports more from whom.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership “ would have been a huge impact for both manufactured goods and agriculture,” Gerwitz said.

One of the major benefits of a trading block like the TPP is that the United States could make sure those countries’ labor standards were on par with others, including electrical and environmental standards.


Chamber of the Americas is pleased to announce the appointment of George “Jordi” Ventura as Executive Director, Chamber of the Americas in Utah

Jordi G. Ventura
1.801.201.7621
fax 1.866.636.3414
Skype: jordi.g.ventura
jordigventura@gmail.com
www.linkedin.com/in/jordigventura

George “Jordi” Ventura is a bilingual attorney (fluent in Spanish and English) whose legal practice focuses exclusively on Latin America. He has extensive experience in a broad range of areas that impact multinational companies and organizations, including: corporate governance; corporate law; corporate communications; the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); international anti-corruption and transparency laws, standards and compliance; and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Mr. Ventura possesses deep cross-border experience and diverse problem-solving skills and perspectives that were developed in a variety of settings: (a) as an independent consultant; (b) at large U.S. and Canadian law firms; and (c) as Country General Counsel for large multinational corporations in several Latin American countries.

A dual citizen of the United States and the European Union (a national of Spain), Mr. Ventura is fluent in Catalán and French, in addition to his Spanish and English language capabilities.

Mr. Ventura is admitted to practice law in Colorado and Utah and is a member of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada and the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. He earned his J.D. degree from the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney School of Law.


Hispanic Integration

According to Newswire, approximately 50 million Hispanics live in the U.S with an estimated purchasing power of one trillion dollars. Hispanic consumers are an under-served market with a higher-than-average household income and are heavily active within mobile e-commerce and social media platforms.

Research also shows that Hispanics are more likely to download apps, chat, stream video, listen to music and play games than non-Hispanics, according to Ad Age. Look for an increase in ad agency dollars as well as media and tech firms dedicating resources to this important audience. Those that choose to ignore this market risk alienating a critical consumer base and falling behind in both online brand recognition and patronage.


New U.S.-Cuba Travel and Trade Rules Come into Effect

from BBC News

New travel and trade rules between the U.S. and Cuba have come into effect in the biggest policy shift between the two countries in more than 50 years. Measures include allowing U.S. citizens to use credit cards in Cuba and for U.S. businesses to export some technologies.

Some of the freed political prisoners from Cuba
Earlier this week, U.S. officials said Cuba had completed the release of 53 political prisoners as agreed, as part of the historic deal.

The move implements last month’s agreement to re-establish ties severed since 1961.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the changes would “immediately enable the American people to provide more resources to empower the Cuban population to become less dependent upon the state-driven economy.”

While ordinary tourism is still banned, the new regulations will allow U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba for any of a dozen specific reasons without first obtaining a special license from the government.

United Airlines announced on Thursday plans to begin flying to Cuba from its terminals in Houston and Newark.

U.S. credit and debit cards can be used there and there will be no more limits on how much money U.S. citizens can spend in Cuba each day. About 170,000 authorized U.S. travelers went to Cuba last year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Americans will be able to take home up to $100 (£66) in alcohol and tobacco from Cuba.


Americans will be able to bring home small numbers of Cuban cigars after a ban of more than 50 years.

U.S. firms will also find it easier to export mobile phones and software to Cuba, as well as provide internet services there. According to a White House estimate, Cuba currently has about a 5% internet penetration rate—one of the lowest in the world.

A change in the regulations will also allow U.S. investments in some small businesses and agricultural operations.

Cubans hope that with the lifting of trade restrictions they will be able to import rare commodities such as car parts.

The thaw in relations between the two countries was announced last month in simultaneous televised speeches by President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro.

Next week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson will lead a delegation to Cuba to discuss migration issues—the first high-level talks since the easing of relations was announced.

Although the latest moves put a large dent in the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba’s communist government, only Congress can lift it completely. President Obama used his executive powers to ease the embargo, defying hardline critics. Analysts say Congress is unlikely to agree to lift the embargo completely any time soon.

Cuban-American Republican Senator Marco Rubio said Mr. Obama’s policy would harm ordinary Cubans. “This is a windfall for the Castro regime that will be used to fund its repression against Cubans,” he said in a statement.


United Airlines announces flights to Havana as companies prepare to cash in on Cuba détente

From tourism to mobile phones, the end of the Cuban cold war could be good news for U.S. corporations
by David Millward, U.S. Correspondent, The Telegraph

United Airlines plans flights to Havana

United Airlines has announced it will operate flights to Cuba following President Obama’s relaxation of restrictions dating back 52 years. The move by the airline, which will run flights from Houston, Texas and Newark, New Jersey, is evidence that companies are preparing for what they hope will be a commercial bonanza.

Much, however, will depend on the extent to which Cuba is prepared to open up its economy to the U.S. and willingness of the Republican-controlled congress to lift the trade restrictions. That could still prove problematic given the hostile reception Republicans gave to the initiative when it was announced by President Obama.
“I think the first industry to benefit will be agriculture,” said Rob Sequin, owner and publisher of the Havana Journal, a website containing information about trade and business with the island.

“It is already legal for American companies to sell agricultural products and there is a sales network in place.” Already a newly formed group, the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, comprising more than 30 firms, intends to lobby congress in support of easing trade restrictions. “We have the momentum we’re carrying it forward,” said Paul Johnson, the group’s vice chairmen. Experts also believe banking will benefit, especially with new rules making it possible for Americans to use credit cards in Cuba.

The easing of restrictions should see an upturn in trade between the U.S. which, according to the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, had fallen dramatically from a peak of $710 million (£467 million) to $349 million last year. American corporations have been keen to see the five-decade embargo brought to a close, according to Jodi Bond, vice president of the Americas for the International Division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“The business community has been against the embargo for quite some time,” she said.
“You’ll be hearing more and more from companies soon.” Some analysts believe that American companies could also benefit if Cuba chooses to modernize its creaking infrastructure. This would be good news for construction and telecommunications firms in particular. Cuba does have a mobile phone network, but compared with other countries – including poverty-ridden Haiti – it is primitive and expensive.
The internet is also painfully slow and access restricted.

According to one recent study only 3.4 percent of Cuban homes are online.
The potential for U.S. companies to win contracts to modernize the network is obvious.
But some have argued that Havana could have done this with European trading partners already if it had identified it as a priority.

The other potential big winner is likely to be the travel industry. Even though travel to Cuba purely as a tourist remains restricted, some of the bureaucracy involved in taking a trip to the island has been eased.


Why the U.S.-Mexico Relationship Matters

by Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico
from Politico Magazine

U.S. President Obama and Mexican President Nieto
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto during a joint press conference. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA.

January 06, 2015 — The United States and Mexico have enjoyed a unique and flourishing relationship over the past decades. I am delighted to start 2015 by visiting Washington, D.C. and embarking on new ways in which Mexico and the United States can strengthen our ties in order to make North America the most prosperous and competitive region in the world.

Our countries have an intense economic relationship that is spread over a myriad of areas. Since the beginning of my administration, I have worked with President Barack Obama to create bilateral mechanisms that harness the full potential of our relationship. We are already seeing concrete results from the High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED), the Mexico-U.S. Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research (FOBESII), the Mexico-U.S. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council (MUSEIC) and the 21st Century Border Action Plan of 2014.

We are steadfast in our belief that the continuous promotion of bilateral trade is a win-win situation for both our countries. Mexico is the third largest trading partner of the U.S., just behind China and Canada. Total bilateral trade between us amounted to more than $500 billion during 2013. Our exports to the U.S. have increased significantly since NAFTA entered into force, with roughly 80 percent of them coming to this country. Meanwhile, U.S. exports to Mexico in 2013 were $226 billion, up 443 percent since 1993. In fact, Mexico buys more U.S. goods than all of the BRICS combined—and nearly as much as the entire European Union. Moreover, 5.9 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico. Even Mexican exports benefit the American economy: 40 percent of the value of Mexican exports to the U.S. contains American inputs. By 2020, Mexico will have the capacity to build one in every four vehicles in North America, up from one in six in 2012. Additionally, Mexico has begun to invest in high technology exports; we have become the leading exporter of flat screen televisions in the world, the fourth largest computer exporter and a growing pioneer in the aerospace industry. We are interlinked.

To ensure the prosperity of our border we have worked together to improve security and facilitate trade. Every minute, nearly a million dollars worth of products cross our land border. Additionally, our countries have begun several infrastructure projects to make the border region a catalyst for growth and innovation. These projects include the San Diego-Tijuana airport pedestrian bridge, the railway crossing at Matamoros-Brownsville, and six new inspection booths at the Nogales port of entry. We have also reduced average waiting times at the San Ysidro-Chaparral crossing on the California-Baja California border from 3.5 hours to half-an-hour.

Our commitment to education has allowed us to take advantage of the synergies built through FOBESII and between our initiatives “Proyecta 100,000” and “100,000 Strong in the Americas.” Last year, we launched the webpage Mobilitas, a platform to help students find educational opportunities in both countries. Furthermore, 23 cooperation agreements have been signed between Mexican and American states and universities. Altogether, we were able to reach our 2014 goal: 27,000 Mexican students are attending almost 200 universities across the U.S.

The United States and Mexico have recognized that the challenges and opportunities we face on immigration should be addressed from a broad regional perspective and based upon the principle of shared responsibility. Consequently, we are committed to working with our neighbors in Central America to foster development and prosperity in that region.

Over 34 million people of Mexican origin live in the U.S., 22.9 million of whom were born here. Mexican-Americans are socially and economically active members of their communities, and they maintain a strong binational identity. These communities are pillars of the relationship between our countries and will help us build a more prosperous shared future.

My government applauds President Obama’s recently announced Immigration Accountability Executive Action, which acknowledges the positive economic and social impact of Mexican immigrants to their communities in the U.S. Furthermore, these measures will allow immigrants to increase their contributions to American society and live without fear of being separated from their families. My administration will continue to work with the U.S. government by providing services and consular assistance in order to improve the well-being of the Mexican community in this country. In order to raise living standards in Mexico—which will discourage undocumented immigration—my government has embarked upon a transformational path. We have sought to enhance my country’s competitiveness, strengthen the rights of the Mexican people and consolidate our democracy.

Since taking office, my administration has taken on the responsibility of making structural change a reality. We have worked with Mexico’s political leaders from the left, right and center, in order to put Mexico on the path to modernization, innovation and economic growth.

The Mexican Congress approved eleven structural reforms in several key sectors such as education, banking, telecommunications, justice, electoral system, labor, energy, economic competition and public finance. These reforms will better prepare our citizens and businesses for the global challenges of the 21st century and enhance competitiveness in our region. The implementation of these unprecedented changes is already taking place and will make our partnership with the United States even stronger.

In accordance with these efforts, my government recognizes the need to improve security conditions in Mexico. The tragic and despicable events that took place last September in Guerrero have been met by my government with decisive action: Over 70 individuals, including the masterminds, are already being prosecuted, and I will continue to stress that there is no room for impunity. Last November, I took steps to strengthen the rule of law and to promote fundamental reforms in the realms of security, law enforcement and criminal justice. We are focusing our efforts on shoring up institutional strength at the local level to prevent these types of events from ever being repeated.

The United States and Mexico have worked together to deepen our ties and diversify an agenda that reflects our strengths and common values. Together, we must build a more integrated, competitive and prosperous North America.


COTA’s Cultural Mission to Cuba

      For two decades, the Chamber of the Americas trade missions earned applause and recognition for its past explorations of Latin American and Canadian under the guidance of COTA CEO and Interim Chairman Gil Cisneros. Cisneros introduced American business people to untapped opportunities courtesy of the enhanced knowledge and connections the trade missions facilitate. In 2013, COTA veered from its traditional travel ventures to embark on a people-to-people cultural mission to Cuba. The half century (and counting) trade embargo and travel ban preclude a traditional trade mission, which allowed COTA to engage in the educational arena, a focus that is forefront in the nonprofit organization’s long-term visionary endeavors and expansion.

      The broad American perception of Cuba is that of an anachronistic government and country; exiled to a bygone time and discarded ideology. The forbidden fruit allure and film noir romanticism retain a potent pull on the American imagination through bohemian bromides and celluloid visages of Hemingway and fedoras, Ernesto “Che” Guevara and berets, and vintage automobiles last seen with regularity in the Eisenhower era. Remnants of those perceptions remain throughout Cuba, but the island nation has progressed past America’s stereotypical imagination of Batista’s decadence and Castro’s severity. These days, Castro’s sweeping and soaring sermons under the monumental pillar in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución are seen and heard only on historical video and audio recordings; the state no longer has monolithic business and communication exchanges. Indeed, the general population eagerly trade words, goods and services with foreigners.

      COTA’s Cuban cultural mission exposed both the holdouts and the passing of Castro’s communist Cuba. While the government’s economic reforms and expanded freedoms and allowances appear slow, even begrudging, the newfound permissiveness appears everywhere and every day. The Cuban government’s long-awaited and anticipated surrender won’t come courtesy of military strikes or economic embargos, but through pragmatism and compromise. Democratic and economic reform will occur through evolution rather than revolution.

      COTA’s seven days spent in Cuba was a complete and continuous immersion in Cuba’s everyday existence – culture, cuisine, education, communications, artistry and business development. The itinerary dominated the participants’ activities and attention from morning well into the evening with a non-stop schedule of meetings, lectures and tours throughout Havana and beyond into the Cuban countryside. The people-to-people purpose of the one-week trip facilitated a fast-paced but in-depth insight into contemporary Cuba’s people and circumstances.

      Arturo Lopez-Levy, co-organizer of the COTA Cuba cultural mission and a Cuban native, described the week’s events as a multipronged and multifaceted excursion into a country, its people and its resources. Through a host of Cuban religious leaders, academics, farmers, nascent entrepreneurs and even American representatives in Havana at the U.S. Interests Section, COTA experienced Cuba in a people-to-people cultural exercise program that went well beyond what a typical tourist excursion would allow. COTA gained upfront and unique insights into Cuban lifestyles, opinions, changes and experiences. The average Cuban citizen on the street who shared and exchanged small talk with COTA members completed the cast of compelling characters in the cultural odyssey.

      The Cuban people not only hosted lectures and meetings for COTA. They invited COTA into their homes and confidences. Rather than a simple series of formal exchanges of lectures, meetings and tours, COTA members and Cubans interacted, conversed, socialized and dined outside the rigid structure and stricture of the standard lecture and Q&A template.

      An example featured a relaxed roundtable exchange between COTA members and Dr. Carlos Alzugaray Treto at a private Cuban home of his friend in a relatively upscale neighborhood just outside Old Havana’s periphery. Dr. Alzugaray Treto, a professor and former Cuban ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, discussed historical and contemporary events and circumstances of Cuban governments and economies, and explained the changes that are slowly but surely altering the Cuban political and socioeconomic landscape. He also opined on the various factors impeding change, including the hesitancy of Cubans to discard completely old conceptions and practices, the Cuban government’s resistance to swift, sweeping and seismic transmutation, and the elephant circling every discussion on Cuba – the American embargo.

      The overall lesson learned is that Cuba, its government, its people and its future are more nuanced, complex and dynamic entities than disseminated through commentaries and news reports in either Cuban or American media. And the revolutionary precepts of the late 50’s and 60’s appear more on billboard slogans than in everyday existence. Following the roundtable exchange, COTA members invited Dr. Alzugaray Treto to lunch at a local paladar (privately operated restaurant) where the discussion shed what little decorative vestiges of formal presentation appeared at the scheduled presentation with the easy spontaneity and comfortable interaction typically encountered at dinner conversations of old friends and business associates. Instances and examples of presentations transformed into conversations occurred regularly throughout COTA’s Cuba cultural mission.

      While not as intimate or lengthy, Miguel Coyula’s presentation candidly informed the COTA group about a contemporary challenge, even a crisis, for Cuba and its citizens. While government subsidies keep homelessness to a minimum and a substantial percentage of Cubans own their residences, the lack of financial and material means to maintain homes leaves many Cubans residing in squalid structures that would attract condemnation notices in any American municipality. Coyula, an expert on Cuba’s heralded colonial architecture, emphasizes the need for responsible legislation and practices to restore and preserve rather than merely improvise and develop (although Coyula advocates for green building designs and development). The discussion on housing revealed an ironic occurrence in contemporary Cuba at odds with the historical conception and aspirations of the revolution’s communal ideology. Remittances from foreign relatives, mainly Cuban Americans, have created a significant socioeconomic disparity among a nominally egalitarian society.

      As Coyula stated in a lecture at American University in 2010 (reported in the America Today), “Poverty and privilege exist side by side.” He places responsibility for remedial solutions on both the state and homeowners with government intervention and subsidies and enhanced citizen education and practices.

      Free speech and expression in contemporary Cuba is neither as restricted nor as ubiquitous as conflicting reports assert. While the Internet is still a luxury item and the Cuban population doesn’t enjoy easy and affordable access to mass communication technologies, cell phones have become relatively common among the general population in the past few years. A burgeoning blogging community, largely comprised of intellectuals, has become increasingly insistent in demands for expanded reforms and opportunities. Ironically, the breeding ground for the revolution – the University of – has become a hotspot of activism. Cuba has joined the digital era as commentary and protests spread through networks congregating online rather than in streets and squares.

      COTA met with several of Cuba’s digital commentators who scribe online missives agitating for greater freedoms, rights and opportunities. Harold Cardenas Lema, a professor at the University of Matanzas, blogs for Joven Cuba, Yasmin Silvia Portales, a Observatorio Critico member advocating for Afro Cuban, gender and LGTB rights, and Elaine Diaz, a professor at the University of Havana’s School of Communication all disseminate opinions and propel awareness and action through digital dissemination. Obviously, in the last century, the Internet and activism weren’t tools and options that today’s Cuban activists use without fear and reprisals.

      The cultural mission introduced COTA to Cuba’s growing entrepreneurial class, a disparate set of small business people eager to expand income and opportunities following Raul Castro’s allowance of limited capitalism in communist Cuba. Havana teems with taxi drivers, restaurant owners, street corner merchants and Cubans modeling in period costumes for a paid photo op. Filmmaker Rafael Rosales owns and operates the Cafe Bar Madrigal, a watering hole reminiscent of Hemingway’s and Hollywood’s ideated and idyllic Havana. A couple of hours outside Havana, COTA visited a Cuban entrepreneur who transformed the family home into a quaint bed and breakfast operation, a common occurrence in rural villages. A few miles away, COTA toured a family tobacco farm, exploring the organic origination of the fabled Cuban cigar. COTA also visited the Ludwig Foundation, situated on the top floor of a Havana highrise, where curator Wilfredo Benitez lectured on Cuba’s artistic culture and trends. Examples of Cuban artistry of the avant-garde variety adorned the walls, each piece displayed with the option to buy.

      Cuba’s innovative and energetic entrepreneurial efforts, while limited in relative scope and returns compared to American standards, firmly signal that the severe and stark austerity of Soviet-style communism appears today in history books and dated conceptions more than the contemporary Cuban mindset and reality.

      Religion has endured through 50-plus years of communistic rule. COTA experienced two temples of Cuban devotion – a Catholic cathedral frequented primarily by Havana’s black population and a synagogue serving the city’s Jewish population. Regla claims the Black Madonna, a shrine to the Virgin Mary cast in a complexion corresponding to the black worshippers paying homage and seeking solace and guidance. The president of the Cuban Jewish Community, Adela Dworin addresses the spiritual and material needs of her constituency at the Beth Shalom Synagogue. The diversity of Cuba’s open and vibrant religious expression contradicts the notion that the nation is largely atheist and non-denominational.

      COTA member Chrissy Lynch summarized the cultural mission as a fascinating learning experience. “Thank you Gil and Chamber of the Americas for an outstanding trip,” Lynch wrote in an email. “I feel very fortunate I was able to experience Cuba in this way and with such great people. The group leader’s experience, connections and passion were priceless and I am unable to express how impactful and thought provoking this trip was for me. I would highly recommend this trip program to anyone interested in Cuba.”

      The friendliness and openness of the Cuban people impressed COTA Communications Director Wayne Trujillo. “The Cuban disposition regarding Americans is one of great curiosity and a visceral desire to interact and experience American traditions and lifestyles,” Trujillo noted. “As excited as we were to learn about Cuban traditions and culture, the Cubans we met seemed even more eager to learn about our lifestyles and communities. Cuba’s people are truly its greatest national treasure and natural resource.”

      On behalf of COTA, Cisneros extends gratitude to the members who participated in the Cuba cultural mission, tour organizers Arturo Lopez-Levy and Colin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, the Cuban presenters and hosts, and the Cuban people for their warmth, generosity and assistance. “It’s been 51 years since I’ve been to Cuba,” Cisneros stated. “It’s a great, beautiful country with wonderful gastronomy and friendly people, but a government that leaves a lot to be desired. I felt overall that there are positive changes happening in Cuba, but change is slow. However, Cubans remain hopeful. I would go back in a New York second if I have the opportunity to be in a position to help the Cuban people with their economic development efforts.”

Additional information and online resources about the speakers and hosts of the 2013 COTA Cuba Cultural Mission:
Miguel Coyula
http://www.american.edu/americantoday/campus-news/20101123-cuba-scholar-Miguel-Coyula.cfm
Ambassador Carlos Alzugaray
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Alzugaray_Treto
Roberto Veiga Gonzalez, Editor Catholic Magazine Espacio Laical.
http://www.cubastudygroup.org/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=15b31475-5b93-431f-81ff-0bd8fe308291
Lenier Gonzalez
Vice Editor Catholic Magazine Espacio Laical.
http://www.cubastudygroup.org/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=22ab67bc-6ea2-4a3a-ac79-0b2fdd91fb27
Omar Everleny Perez Villanueva
http://www.cubastudygroup.org/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=cca0a8bc-ba75-4acf-b677-17606cbc97d3
Yasmin Silvia Portales, Activist LGTB, Gender and Afro Cuban rights. Member of the Observatorio Critico.

Yasmin: A Multifaceted Cuban Activist and Blogger


Elaine Diaz
Professor School of Communication University of Havana. Blogger. “La Polemica Digital”
http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/04/04/talking-about-cuba-with-ellery-biddle-and-elaine-diaz/
Adela Dworin
President Cuban Jewish Community
Beth Shalom Synagogue.
http://www.jewishcuba.org/adela.html


Gil Cisneros has been elected by Dialectika MX board of directors to become their International Chairman

Dialectika MX is based in Mexico, D. F., and is a digital agency of publishing, marketing, and e-branding. Cisneros will be responsible for assisting Dialectika MX in expanding their market in Latin America.


In Memory of Jason Johnson, a Member of the Chamber of the Americas and Our Friend

COTA member Jason Johnson, 31, died in his home on September 20, 2014. As Director of Community Outreach at Colorado Heights University, Jason worked closely with students and the administration. He helped launch CHU’s first student government in 2010. As he visited countless high schools, community centers, local businesses, media outlets and the homes of prospective students, he became the face of CHU and embodied their mission. Jason will be sorely missed by all who knew him.


Chamber of the Americas is proud to introduce COTA’S New President of North America, Dr. David Conde.

The Chamber of the Americas (COTA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. David Conde as COTA’s President of North America. Dr. Conde has been serving COTA as a senior consultant for the last five years and has been a commercial activity partner since the inception of COTA.

Conde earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado and Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. He spent 39 years in higher education as a Professor, Associate Dean, Assistant Vice President, Associate Vice President and SeniorAssociate Vice Chancellor in Colorado, New Mexico and North Carolina. Dr. Conde also comes to us with 32 years of experience in developing and conducting international programs inEurope, Mexico, Central and South America in the public and private sectors.

In addition to helping facilitate COTA conferences and trade missions, he currently serves as President of the Board of Directors of East Migrant Head Start Project, a 45.7-million-dollar agency with 40 education centers for migrant children in 14 states along the east coast and the south and serves as a board member and one of the task group leaders for Colorado Global College, a start-up institution serving an international bilingual community.

Dr. David Conde is also a journalist who has that has published over 600 articles and was recognized by the Hispanic Media 100 Award that placed him among the top 100 Latino journalists in the United States in 2002; he also received a Hispanic Media 50 Award in 2003. He has been honored for his work numerous times in the United States and Mexico, where he received the Diploma Honoraria from the Law School of the Autonomous University of Mexico in 1984.


New Shoes in Juárez

by Morgan Smith
New Mexico Mercury

Although Mexico ranks last in the rankings of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in terms of educational achievement and although it has a much higher level of poverty than the U.S., public education isn’t free. Santa Feans Jim and Pat Noble and their powerful team of volunteers not only manage an orphanage in Palomas, Mexico – La Casa de Amor Para Niños – but they have also raised scholarships for some 300 youngsters there. The cost which includes the subscription fee, uniforms, shoes, a backpack for carrying books and school supplies is $150 per year for elementary school, $250 for middle school and $500 for each of the three years of high school. This is a staggering barrier for the many extremely poor families living along the border.

Recently, I tried to do my share in the Juárez area by helping several kids I know from my work at the mental asylum, Vision in Action. I told them that I would buy them the shoes and tennies they needed for school if they would each write a three page essay about their lives, struggles, aspirations and plans for the future. I’m not an educator but I believe that having some goal for your future gives your school experience some meaning. Many American kids – so pampered compared to these young Mexicans – seem to have no goals. No wonder, therefore, that school has little meaning to them. In addition, I wanted these kids to earn their shoes and tennies; I didn’t want this to be just a gift.

The kids followed through beautifully. Here are some of their comments.
Ángel who is fifteen said that his father started working at the asylum when he, Ángel was only two and that when he was six, he began helping his father with tasks like cutting the hair of and shaving the patients. When Benito, one of the patients, had a bi-polar attack and had to be kept in a cell, Ángel would bring him food.

Yeira described how she and Hector would search their barrio for scrap metal, then sell it along the highway or cruise the barrio with a baby carriage, looking for chunks of plywood to heat their home.

Daniel wrote about growing up with a schizophrenic mother. He now lives at the asylum and works there when he isn’t in school, together with Ángel and Yeira’s brother, Hector.

As a result, I agreed to meet them at Vision in Action which is located in the desert o the west edge of Juárez at 9 AM, Saturday, August 2. Why a mental asylum? Because Daniel, one of the boys lives there with his mother who is a patient. Others work there – Ángel, Braulio and Hector. Rubí is the daughter-in-law of an employee and Alejandra is the daughter of a patient. Hector and Yeira are the grandchildren of a woman named Elvira Romero who was the cook at the asylum for many years. Believe it or not, this asylum with its 100 or so patients and its charismatic leader, Pastor José Antonio Galván, is as close to a home as these young kids have ever known.

Our small caravan finally got started at 11 a.m. with Rubí’s husband, “El Pollito” (the Little Chicken) leading the way in an old van. There were sixteen of us in all – the seven kids, three mothers, three younger children of one of the mothers, Pollito (a friend of mine from Colorado who had come to see the asylum) and me. Until very recently Juárez was the most dangerous city in the world and not a place to be driving a car with New Mexico plates, so I just followed Pollito and hoped for the best.

He led us first to a beautiful Costco where a capable young man named Reyes sold me a membership and also pointed out that he had briefly lived with grandparents near the Colorado town where I had once lived. But Costco’s collection of shoes was almost non-existent so we exited past a heavily armed woman police officer and headed into the center of the town. Extensive renovations are going on here: one major street has been replaced by a pedestrian walkway and the area was crowded with shoppers. This is a huge change from just a few years ago when people simply didn’t go out in crowds.

Finally we found a store named Coppel that both had a good selection and would take a credit card. Then the three mothers earned their keep by getting the kids to focus on the shoes and make decisions. Time just disappears when you’re involved in a project like this, but finally I was standing in front of a surprised-looking cashier with this huge stack of 14 boxes. The manager agreed to a ten percent discount and soon we were headed back to our vehicles, mission accomplished.

The goal of getting these kids ready for school was a practical one. There were surprises, however. Hector, almost seventeen and the oldest of the seven, confided to me afterwards that he had never before gone into a store to buy clothing. His clothing had always been used clothing bought at the local “segundos” or flea markets. And seeing the life and vitality in downtown Juárez – a ghost town only a few years ago – was an enormous surprise.

This is a project that keeps evolving, however. I started with three kids and ended up with seven. We started with an agreement to buy a pair of shoes but ended up with both shoes and tennies. So the subject of uniforms will soon resurface, “uniform” meaning not only something for school wear but clothing for sports as well. I better be ready.


United Toma Altura en “Puro Español”

from NegociosNow

La Aerolínea refuerza el puente aéreo entre EEUU y América Latina afincada en talentos hispanos como Francisco Figueroa, acreedor del premio Chairman’s Sales Award-2014 de United Airlines.

CHICAGO – En 2013 Frank Figueroa se mudó a la Ciudad de los Vientos en gran medida por el auge que experimentó el puente aéreo de United entre Chicago y América Latina.

      Tres años antes, Figueroa había sido nombrado Gerente de Cuenta para la Región del Medio Oeste de United, dentro del equipo de Ventas Latinas. Desde entonces United ha establecido dos vuelos directos desde Chicago: a Monterrey, México, en noviembre de 2012 y a San Juan, Puerto Rico, en noviembre de 2013.

      “Mi principal enfoque son las ventas para el mercado latinoamericano desde un territorio que abarca Colorado, Utah, Illinois, Texas y el Medio Oeste”, explica Figueroa a Negocios Now. “Para lograr eso, yo desarrollo relaciones con las entidades
gubernamentales, agencias de viaje, cámaras (de comercio) latinas/hispanas, y negocios pequeños y medianos”, agrega. “También me mantengo cerca de la comunidad al representar a United ante las organizaciones y asociaciones comunitarios hispanas en EEUU”, agregó.

      Nacido en Zacatecas, México, Figueroa ha trabajado para la aerolínea desde hace 22 años en diferentes puestos. Antes de ingresar al equipo de Ventas Latinas, trabajó en reservas en Los Ángeles y Salt Lake City, así como en operaciones de aeropuerto en Los Ángeles y San Francisco. También participó en el diseño y el lanzamiento de los sistemas de procesamiento de aeropuerto en Chicago y Richmond, Virginia.

      Paralelamente, United se ha consolidado como la aerolínea estadounidense número uno hacia México y la número dos hacia América Latina. En junio, United anunció su primer vuelo a Santiago de Chile, desde su centro de operaciones en el aeropuerto George Bush Intercontinental en Houston a partir del 7 de diciembre de 2014, previa aprobación gubernamental.

      El vuelo 847 partirá de Houston diariamente a las 9:05 pm y llegará a Santiago a las 9:40 am del día siguiente. El vuelo de regreso 846 saldrá de Santiago a las 10:45 pm y llegará a Houston a las 5:40 am del día siguiente. Todos los horarios son locales. El vuelo Houston-Santiago no es obra de la casualidad.

      “La economía de Chile ha crecido de forma consistente y con poca variación en los últimos años. Se espera que registre un crecimiento consistente en los próximos años”, explica Figueroa. “Santiago fue uno de los destinos más importantes que faltaban en nuestra red. Consideramos que este era el momento perfecto para volar a Chile”.

      United operará su servicio entre Houston y Santiago con aviones Boeing 767-300, con un total de 214 asientos, de los cuales 30 son asientos-cama en United Business First y 184 asientos en United Economy, incluyendo 49 asientos United Economy Plus que brindan más amplitud entre filas. Dicho vuelo está programado para proveer convenientes conexiones desde Houston a 111 aeropuertos de EEUU y más de 60 destinos internacionales.

      Sobre la posibilidad de establecer otros vuelos a Chile desde otras ciudades estadounidenses como Chicago, Figueroa dijo: “United siempre está buscando oportunidades potenciales, pero no tenemos anuncios que hacer sobre rutas nuevas por el momento”. United reconoció la labor en ventas de Figueroa con el 2014 Chairman’s Sales Award. “Me siento honrado y humilde a la vez por el reconocimiento de parte de la empresa. Yo trabajo con un grupo de profesionales talentosos para las ventas en Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo”, dijo Figueroa. “El reconocimiento es una validación del trabajo que estamos haciendo en Chicago, pero más importante, del compromiso con América Latina. Nuestros logros son definitivamente un esfuerzo de equipo”.

      Figueroa es miembro de la junta directiva de la Cámara de Comercio de EEUU-México en Chicago. También es miembro de la Cámaras de las Américas con sede en Denver, Colorado.

      Aconseja a los jóvenes latinos que están interesados en incursionar en la industria aérea a prepararse académicamente, primero. “Si hablan español, eso es un plus definitivo en cualquier industria que tiene con ver con América Latina. Pero aun si no lo hablan, ellos pueden aplicar su conocimiento cultural en el trabajo. Pero sobre todo, necesitan tener determinación, dedicación y metas definidas”, dijo.

      “El mejor consejo profesional que he recibido fue saber adaptarme y ser un agente del cambio. Un mentor alguna vez me dijo. El carácter no se define por cómo lidias con el éxito, sino cómo lidias con el fracaso’ “.


Chamber of the Americas is proud to announce the appointment of Mr. Clovis Lemes, as our executive director of Brazil

Jose Clovis Lemes
Ruas das Palmeiras, 335 – Suite 12
01226-010 – Sao Paulo – SP
Brazil
55-11.3825.9634
Cel: 55-11.9206.2402
clovis.lemes@candex.us


The Chamber of the Americas is pleased to announce the renewing of our strategic partnership with the AMCHAM-Guatemala.

CONTACT:

GUATEMALA
Carolina Castellanos, Chief Executive Officer
American Chamber of Commerce in Guatemala
5a Avenida 5-55, Zona 14
Torre I, Nivel 5, Europlaza,
Guatemala City 01014, Guatemala
502.2417.0800
502.2417.0777
director@amchamguate.com
www.amchamguate.com


Veronica Medina Joins 1stWEST Mergers & Acquisitions LLC As Managing Director For Chile

1stWEST Mergers & Acquisitions LLC is pleased to announce the appointment of Veronica Medina as a Managing Director for Chile.

Veronica Medina brings over 20 years of experience in international business development, having assisted companies in expanding their business to markets such as Canada, Europe, South America and the U.S. This work has been in multi-sectors, with a specific focus in industries such as biotechnology, environmental, energy and renewable energy, health, mining, ICT, and infrastructure. Ms. Medina is currently the CEO of BusinessHUB SL, an international consulting firm assisting foreign companies in their objectives to enter the markets of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Peru. BusinessHUB is part of Alcalde & Cia, a prestigious law firm who will provide a full range of services to companies looking at these markets. Veronica most recently served as Chief Operating Officer at TradeChile S.A. As COO, Veronica focused on international business development, operations, global sales and negotiations for clients in Chile, Peru, Colombia and Argentina.

Prior to TradeChile, Veronica was the European Manager for the Colorado Trade Office in London and served as the Information and Outreach Co-coordinator for the Colorado International Trade Office. Veronica’s past experiences include working as the Medical Information Manager at the biotechnology firm Gensia Europe Ltd., Drug Surveillance Officer for Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), and Events Organizer at the British Red Cross. Veronica has lived and worked in various countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, England, Italy, Peru, Scotland, United Arab Emirates, and the United States

Veronica has a Certificate in International Trade from the World Trade Center Denver & Metropolitan State College in Colorado. In addition, she earned her Masters of Science in Clinical Pharmacology from the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland and undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Dallas, Texas.

“We are delighted and honored to have Veronica join our 1stWEST M&A team and lead our M&A activities in Chile and Latin America. Our clients will be very well served by Veronica’s experience and expertise,” commented Ted Rieple, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, 1stWEST Mergers & Acquisitions.

1stWEST Mergers & Acquisitions is full service international investment banking and advisory firm that is focused on the under-served lower middle-market of companies with sales of $10 to $100 million. The firm has built a unique business solutions platform of assisting owners and shareholders in selling their company, acquiring another business or raising growth capital. With Managing Directors in the US, Europe, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Chile, 1stWEST M&A is uniquely positioned to serve its clients around the globe.

For more information about 1stWEST Mergers & Acquisitions LLC, please visit our website at www.1stwestma.com. To contact Veronica Medina, please call +56 2 94730684 (Santiago, Chile) or email at v.medina@1stwest.com.


New Mexican Consul in Denver Touts Partnership

by Don Bain
from Denver Herald Dispatch

      The Chamber of the Americas hosted a luncheon with Carlos J. Bello, Consul General of Mexico in Denver, at the Palm Restaurant in the Westin Hotel, January 29, 2014. Bello is responsible for Mexican nationals living in Colorado as well as the eastern parts of Montana and Wyoming plus portions of Utah.

      He considers his most important task the support, assistance and rights of his countrymen living in the U.S. After thanking those in attendance for the support and hospitality Denver has shown his people for more than 40 years, the Consul General began his address with the following anecdote.

      A mouse is running wildly through the streets of Mexico City, chased by a large cat. He ducks into the first wall crack he can find, waiting there for the cat to wander off. Some minutes later the mouse hears a dog barking nearby and thinks,

“If there is a dog out there, then the cat is gone.” Emerging from his sanctuary, the mouse is immediately pounced on by the cat. Under the feline’s complete control, the mouse manages to mouth a query, “Okay, you’ve caught me, but I heard a dog out here so why didn’t you run away?” With a toothy smile, the cat replies, “Sometimes it’s good to be bilingual!”

The animated and engaging consul then noted the numerous advances in Mexico over the last decade. It is now the fourth largest economy in the Western Hemisphere, following the United States, Canada and Brazil. Mexico’s national debt is only 33 percent of their annual GNP and unemployment is at 5 percent, ranking the country among the top of industrialized nations. He praised Mexico’s open economy, citing 12 free trade agreements, including NAFTA, encompassing 44 countries and resulting in $500 billion in trade every year. Mexico alone purchases 11 percent of all U.S. exports – in fact $17,000 in commerce occurs between the U.S. and Mexico every second of every day in the year.
Our southern neighbor has a youthful populace with a median age of 27 and graduated 106,000 engineers last year. Mexico produces 52 percent of the goods exported in Central and South America, while purchasing 48 percent of everything imported across the same region. The aerospace industry is booming in Mexico, primarily in the manufacture of components for export.

Over the last 10 years the Mexican Congress has enacted some 95 pacts to make it a stronger competitor in the global marketplace. The coming emergence of foreign investment in the Mexican Oil industry is just one example.

“We must partner with America to promote commerce for us all,” asserted Consul General Bello. “We have never competed with you – we have complimented you.” That remark was well received by the assembly, comprising a cross-section of business people from local universities, medical firms, translation services, and international and immigration law entities.

Bello wrapped up his presentation by pointing out that 80 percent of Mexico’s exports are manufactured and that all the incentives provided by the government are aimed at supporting small business. “Remember we are neighbors and there is nothing we can do about it!” he concluded, drawing both laughter and applause.

During a short Q& A, the question of immigration reform in the U.S. came up and General Consul Bello pointed out how the reform was not about letting more Mexicans come here to work, but rather about allowing those with established jobs in the U.S. to visit Mexico and return again. Clearly, not only is a path to citizenship necessary for those who want and deserve it, but also a Long-Term Work Permit for those who have proven their value, yet wish to maintain their expatriate status.

When asked if he thought immigration reform would pass in the U.S. during the next two years, Bello replied: “I don’t even know what my own Congress will do. We will continue to pursue this no matter what the result is,” he added. “We have been working on this for 40 years – we won’t stop. Let’s make The Americas a better place to live, a better place to work for everyone!”


Over 53 Million Hispanics Live in USA

Washington, Aug 12 (Prensa Latina) – More than 53 million Hispanics live in the United States and constitute around 17 percent of the country’s total population, according to recent reports.

The state of New Mexico has the highest percentage of Latinos with 47 percent, but California has the highest share, with 14.5 million of Hispanics of a total of 38 million inhabitants.

A million or so Hispanics live in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas.

According to the latest estimates of the Census Bureau, by 2060 there will be 129 million Hispanic residents, 31 percent of the country’s population by then.

In 2010, only Mexico, with 112 million inhabitants, had a higher Latino population than the United States.

Of the total of Hispanic people living in the United States, 65 percent are from Mexico; 9.4 percent from Puerto Rico; 3.6 percent from Cuba and 2.3 percent from Guatemala. The rest are from other nations in Central and South America.


In Memory of COTA Member Pat Duran

We are greatly saddened to report the passing of Pat Duran on January 23, 2013.

Pat was one of Chamber of the America’s members for years and was the executive director of the Yuma County Economic Development Council. While many people come to Colorado for the mountains, Pat was drawn to the Eastern Plains.

He loved everything about Colorado, and it was his honor to serve our state in so many ways. Pat was a past executive director of Always Buy Colorado and the executive director of DARE Colorado. He will be sorely missed.


Chamber of the Americas welcomes our newest strategic partner: Empowerment International, Granada, Nicaragua, and Lyons, Colorado

CONTACT:
Kathy A. Adams
Executive Director and Founder
Empowerment International
303.823.6495 (USA)
505(8) 469.1089 (Nicaragua)
kathyadams@gmail.com
www.empowermentinternational.org
Mission: To break the cycle of poverty before it transfers to another generation by building educated and productive communities.
Programs: Primary School, Peer Tutoring, Home Visit, Educational and Activity Study Center, Teen Program, University Program, Photography


COTA appreciates the continued support of Boris Mannsfeld & Associates, Placencia, Belize, CA

BELIZE REAL ESTATE: BORIS MANNSFELD & ASSOCIATES
Boris A. Mannsfeld
Owner
Placencia, Belize, CA
501.610.0294
501.523.3263
USA Mobile 303.881.3874
BMannsfeld@yahoo.com


Batero Gold Appoints Leonard (Len) Harris to Board of Directors

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Batero Gold Corporation is pleased to announce the appointment of Leonard (Len) Harris to the Board of Directors of the Company. Mr. Harris is a metallurgist with over six decades of experience in the mining sector, including extensive experience building and operating mines in South America and worldwide. He joins Batero as the Company evaluates the most efficient leach processing operation at its Batero-Quinchia gold project in Colombia.

“I would like to welcome Mr. Harris to the Board of Directors of Batero. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work with Len. In addition to his vast technical expertise, he provides an enormous wealth of knowledge in community and government relations in South America,” stated Brandon Rook, President and CEO of the Company. “Mr. Harris will provide valuable technical, environmental and community input as Batero focuses on developing the most efficient and cost effective leach processing circuit at La Cumbre gold deposit.”

Mr. Harris held various senior positions at Newmont Mining over 20 years. He was the first General Manager at Newmont’s Yanacocha heap leach mine in Peru. Mr. Harris was instrumental in advancing the exploration project through to a mining operation at Yanacocha, which is now the largest gold mine in South America. He later became President & General Manager Newmont Peru and Vice President & General Manager Newmont Latin America. Prior to Newmont, Mr. Harris spent over 15 years at Cerro de Pasco Corporation’s smelting, refining and ore processing operation in Peru, his last position as Director of Metallurgy.

Mr. Harris is a member of numerous associations including a Life Member of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (CIM), Member of the Mining and Metallurgy Society of America (MMSA), Member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Inc. (SME), and Member and former Director of the Peruvian Institute of Mining Engineers (IIMP). He has also chaired numerous committees including twice Chairman International Gold Symposium, Lima, Peru, and Chairman International Congress on Environmental, Safety and Social Responsibilities in Mining and Metallurgy, Lima, Peru. Len Harris and his wife, Rosa Harris, are recipients of a special SME award in recognition of their efforts to improve mining and community conditions.

Mr. Harris is a currently a Consultant and Director of a number of exploration and development companies.


Fernandez: Trade is Key to Economic Recovery

Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs talks free trade.

by Bertha Velasquez
Bvelasquez@lavozcolorado.com

Jose W. Fernandez, assistant secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs was in Denver last Thursday to serve as the keynote speaker at the World Trade Day 2012 Conference. La Voz had the opportunity to talk with him about free trade and its affect on the U.S. economy.

“I was very impressed with the level of commitment to foreign trade and the interest of the Denver community that attended the event,” Fernandez said. He also expressed his “great appreciation for the Spanish heritage in Colorado — it’s a fascinating state.”

“You know, Colorado exported more than 7 billion dollars of net goods,” he said speaking about Colorado’s agriculture trade.

Fernandez insisted that trade is a valuable point when it comes to improving the state of the economy not only at the state level, but nationally. “We believe exports can be a powerful tool to create jobs…this is a critical piece in economic recovery.”

La Voz spoke with the assistant secretary about Colorado’s agriculture exports. Recently, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar led a trade delegation to Mexico to discuss greater agriculture exports from Colorado to Mexico.

“Well, agriculture is one of the brightest parts of the export picture,” Fernandez said.

The U.S. takes part in several free trade agreements one of which is the Colombia free trade agreement, which was implemented on May 15. Fernandez said this type of agreement “liberalizes agriculture products and basically called for all agriculture products to be duty free in a certain period [of time].”

Fernandez also spoke about the South Korea free trade agreement, which he said exports became 80 percent duty free, this past March 15, when it took effect. “That FTA basically eliminated or phased out tariffs from Korea, exports to the U.S. by value.”

Both the Korea FTA and Columbia FTA, he said, will help to increase U.S. agriculture exports. “Almost two thirds by value of our exports to Korea will become duty free as a result of the FTA,” he said.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an agreement among Canada, Mexico and the United States, which has removed or reduced trade restrictions. Arguments in favor and against the agreement have been evident since before it was officially implemented in 1994. Critics point to levels of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and impact on workers rights.

“We believe that NAFTA has been a great success. You look at the level of trade between these two nations (Mexico and the U.S.) and its increased tremendously for both,” Fernandez said.

In April, Fernandez traveled to Libya on a trade mission. “We opened the doors for a number of our companies; we think we helped them open the door so to speak,” he said.

Fernandez reflected on his first trip to Libya in 2010 prior to the revolution. He noted the absence of U.S. companies in the country and the presence of many others from the international community.

“If we are able to get our companies in Libya,” then the U.S. and Libya can build and strengthen their relationship he said.

La Voz asked Fernandez, who is originally from Cuba, what has been most rewarding for him in his current position. “This has been a dream come true,” he said. He said that because of his position, he is able to help developing countries throughout the world, or as he put it, “helping out our own people.”

Fernandez was nominated to his current position by President Barack Obama and was later sworn in 2009. He has been honored because of his financial prowess many times and is considered one of the top attorneys in finance. Fernandez obtained his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and earned his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.


The Making of a Peruvian Ambassador

Ambassador Loayzaby David Conde, News@lavozcolorado.com

Photo credit, La Voz Bilingue

In the middle of October 2011, I had the opportunity to visit Peru for the third time. The trip was a very successful trade mission organized and carried out by elements from Gil Cisneros’ Chamber of the Americas (COTA).

Since then, there have been at least two other missions that altogether have yielded almost $1 billion in business. In looking into the background of this success, I found the hand of Guido Felipe Loayza Desvescovi, the General Consul of Peru in this region, who has worked tirelessly to get the United States and Peru to work together to help create infrastructure for his country and business opportunities for Americans.

I had seen Mr. Loayza several times over the years, both as a presenter and guest at the COTA business forums. I found a warm and unassuming man that talked passionately about his country and what it had to offer the world. In the conference in Lima, which was part of the October 2011 trade mission, he was everywhere making sure that all of the support mechanisms were in place to assure successful meetings.

In the beginning of 2012, Loayza was promoted to Ambassador, which said volumes about the quality of his work including a career that took him across the globe to places like Canada, Mexico, Central America, Chile, Europe, Japan, Korea, China, Singapore and Thailand. But more importantly for us is the fact that he achieved his new rank while working with our community in Colorado and this region of the United States.

Ambassador Loayza’s passion came early in this adult life. For 10 years, between the ages of 18 and 28, he traveled to every corner of his country to get acquainted with the peaks and valleys of the Andean highlands, the coast and the exotic sea life created by the Humboldt current and the Amazon jungle that completed his journey to understanding the special character of his people. The lessons provided by that travel translated into the development of qualities that feel the issues when others just talk about them.

When Ambassador Loayza discusses trade he talks about adding value rather than exploiting a rich deposit of something, extracting it and leaving the country with less. He looks to find mutual benefits in trade that creates wealth for importers and exporters as well as promotes the development of infrastructure for Peru.

He was excited to see that one of the companies that participated in the trade missions provided water treatment services and technology, because the country needs help to create potable water, which is scarce in parts of Peru. He was excited about the presentation of a solar technology company because it offers to produce electricity house-by-house in Andean villages that have not known electrical power.

The ambassador also talks about investing in the country’s great ports, especially for trade with Asia. This speaks not only to Peru but to all of Latin America, especially its neighbor Brazil.

The evolving partnership with Brazil includes the development of transportation avenues through Peru to the coast for the shipment and receiving of goods from the fast the growing Asian markets.

We should be proud that Loayza has not only achieved major breakthroughs in mutually beneficial trade between Peru and the United States, but also achieved it working with our Colorado and regional community. He is now a new ambassador from Peru.


Peru’s Business Confidence Increases To 12-Month High

by Andean Air Mail & Peruvian Times

Business confidence in Peru reached its highest level in 12 months, daily Gestion reported, citing the Central Bank’s latest survey on macroeconomic expectations.

Sixty percent of respondents said they are optimistic about the economy, compared to 57 percent in January and 56 percent in December.

The survey found that 61 percent of businesses expect sales to increase this year, up from 58 percent in January and 57 percent in December.

The survey also found that 64 percent of companies see demand increasing, up from 61 percent in January and 57 percent in December.

The consumer confidence index in February also rose, up to 61 from 59 in January. However, it is still down from December, when the index reached 68.

Economy and Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla said recently that Peru’s economy will expand by 5.7 percent this year, from a previous estimate of 5.4 percent. In 2011, Peru’s gross domestic product increased by 6.92 percent, compared to 8.8 percent in 2010.


A Clash of Generations: U.S. 50-Year-Old Embargo Meets Scarabeo 9

by Arturo Lopez-Levy and Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado

Scarabeo 9, the semi-submersible oil rig contracted by the Spanish company Repsol, completed its journey from Singapore to Cuba. Repsol’s rig will explore Cuba’s exclusive economic zone, an area in the Gulf of Mexico of about 112,000 square kilometers. Oil exploration in the zone is being contracted to several foreign companies such as Venezuela’s PDVSA, Malaysia’s Petronas, and Vietnamese PetroVietnam. Cuba’s Ministry of Basic Industry estimates the oil reserves in the zone are between 5 billion to 9 billion barrels of oil. CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria referred to Cuba’s total oil potential as between 5 billion and
20 billion barrels of oil.

The start of the oil exploration will not derail Raul Castro’s reform program. At a minimum, oil will not come from the offshore wells soon enough, while the reforms are needed immediately. The Cuban government needs to create jobs for the million and half workers that are supposed to leave the government sector in the next two years as part of the reforms program proclaimed last April by the Cuban Communist Party in its VI Congress. It must also alleviate critical situations of poverty in the five most eastern provinces, where unrest has been rising. With or without oil, the Cuban economy sorely needs to develop an environment in which businesses and individuals feel confident to invest.

The development of an oil based economy also poses a challenge for the anti-corruption policy President Raul Castro claims to support. The risk of potential backdoor deals and traffic of influence associated with the volume of oil profits cannot be contained without more transparency to hold corrupt or incompetent officials to account. To improve the quality of governance, the Cuban government must accelerate its opening to the best monitoring world practices and the training of its project managers, accountants, economists, and regulators. It must also lessen controls over the media and nongovernmental activities in ways that they can monitor and identify negligent and corrupt officials.

The impact on U.S.-Cuba relations:

In the early 1990’s, several studies of Cuban future scenarios (Edward Gonzalez and David Rondfelt’s “Cuba Adrift in a Post-Communist World” of the Rand Corporation for instance) warned that a discovery of oil in Cuba would be a game changer for U.S-Cuba relations. Given the expectation that it will find oil in Cuba’s waters; the mere arrival of Scarabeo 9 strengthens Havana’s position versus Washington’s policy of isolation.

One must add that oil offshore exploration in Cuba has important implications in terms of U.S. national security, energy and environmental policies. Facing the danger of an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Cuban American oil expert Jorge Piñón, associated with the University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geo-sciences, recommended an industry wide license “allowing U.S. oil equipment and services companies to provide goods, services and personnel to oil companies operating in Cuba in the event of an emergency.”

At a minimum, Piñón suggested that CUPET, Cuban oil company be allowed to join the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) “in order to gain experience in deep-water drilling by the sharing of industry health, safety and environmental best practices through IADC conferences, training seminars, and technical publications in areas such as drilling and completion technology; standards, practices, legislation and regulations which provide for safe, efficient and environmentally sound drilling operations.”

The activation of the American business and environmental community about oil exploration in Cuban waters is already in motion. In December 2011, a joint delegation of the International Association of Drilling Contractors and the Environmental Defense Fund visited Cuba to explore ways to cooperate with Cuba beginning by common responses to potential spills. Last fall Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) and Mary Landrieux
(D-La) sponsored a bill to allow “U.S. citizens and residents to “engage in any transaction necessary” for oil and gas exploration and extraction in Cuba — “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” The bill passed the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources with the support of The Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association (PESA).

Even in the “worst case scenario” for Cuba of a Republican victory in 2012, historical precedents such as the lifting of the embargo against Vietnam allow us to predict that the pro-embargo lobby doesn’t have the spine to stop the push of the American petroleum lobby. The opening of Agricultural trade with Cuba in 2000, showed how a mobilized and well-funded American farmers community defeated the pro-embargo lobby in a matter of two years. In the last decade, food sales to Cuba averaged $350 million a year. The trade peaked in 2008 at $700 million. If Scarabeo 9 discovers oil, the potential profits of American trade and investment in Cuba will easily exceed the agricultural trade revenues.

The Way Forward:

Sooner or later, we will read an op-ed by a pro-embargo lobbyist explaining that all this is a campaign by the Cuban government to entice the American business community, and that the only way forward is for the United States to fight with the companies that dared to explore oil fields next to our shores, respecting international laws and showing goodwill to our government but refusing to go along with the Cuban American right wing lobby in Southern Florida. It will insist that there are neither reforms nor reformist elements to nurture by engaging Cuba.

Here is a better course: The Obama Administration, which wasted a year since Repsol-YPF contracted the platform in China, should instead include Cuba in all regional cooperation efforts to design mutually beneficial hemispheric energy and environmental protection policies. To pursue such a goal and protect Florida and Gulf coast, the American and Cuban government should begin negotiations to train their officials for coordinated responses against accidents in the Florida Straits and protect their installations against any potential terrorist attack, from enemies of the United States or violent Cuban exile groups.

To nurture economic reform and anti-corruption initiatives in Cuba’s dealing with the oil industry, is clearly in the national interest of the United States. Since American companies contracting overseas are regulated by the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, by far a more restrictive anti-corruption legislation than any of the countries involved in Cuba’s oil industry, President Obama can argue that it is in U.S. national interests to license American oil companies to contract any oil related activity in Cuba, beginning by environmental protection. This is legal within the framework of the Helms-Burton law.

A secure and stable world oil market is a fundamental United States national security interest. All serious predictions by American academic and intelligence community are forecasting the globalization of energy demand and an increase in world demand for oil by 20% or more over the next two decades, mainly in emerging markets. The risks of disruptions of oil extraction, refining or transportation, and oil spills are always present. Washington should not postpone anymore an urgent discussion about the convenience and the opportunity costs of refusing to engage Cuba’s oil industry.


Scholar Advocates for Increased Academic Partnership Between U.S. and Cuba

In January, President Obama lifted restrictions on academic travel to Cuba, making it easier for students to partake in educational exchanges with the island country. To get an expert’s perspective on that decision, Education-Portal.com spoke with Arturo López-Levy, Ph.D. candidate and research associate at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. López-Levy is a passionate advocate for increasing shared educational opportunities between the U.S. and Cuba.

by Douglas Fehlen

Arturo Lopez-Levy
Arturo López-Levy

For decades, the United States has maintained no formal diplomatic relations with Cuba, enforcing severe travel and trade restrictions against the country all the while. Arturo López-Levy, Ph.D. candidate and research associate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, is a longtime critic of American policy toward the Caribbean nation. The University of Denver scholar believes that recent changes in American policy — including relaxed regulations on educational, cultural and religious travel — have the potential to transform the relationship between the two countries.

Education-Portal.com: In a ForeignPolicy.com article, you praised President Obama’s January decision to ease restrictions on academic travel to Cuba. Why do you support this policy change?

Arturo López-Levy: Education exchanges will foster rational conversations between Cuban and American societies. This by itself is a very positive advance in the two countries’ relationship, a political area in which passion, offenses and political retribution have been the norm.

There are important differences between the political systems of Cuba and the U.S. Furthermore, there are important disagreements between Cuban and American narratives about the history of the two countries and their relations. Most Cubans, for instance, would never talk about the 1898 Hispanic-Cuban-American War or the 1962 Missile Crisis without mentioning the central role of their compatriots. But the two societies, and even the two governments, are not destined to be enemies. Cuban nationalism and a U.S.-led world order are not necessarily incompatible. The optimal way to manage differences and destroy negative stereotypes between these two countries is through a free flow of travelers and ideas across national boundaries. In fact, as the Helsinki process proved in Europe, this is not only the most effective way but also the most democratic.

President Obama’s decision occurred at a strategic moment in Cuban history, just after the power transition from Fidel to Raul Castro and in the middle of important processes of economic reform and political liberalization. Cubans on the island and the Diaspora are talking about national reconciliation and dialogue. A discussion of ways in which the U.S. and Cuba might cooperate in almost every area is long overdue.

EP: What types of education exchanges are now permissible between the U.S. and Cuba? Are you aware of additional programs in the works?

ALL: It’s important not to have excessive optimism about the Cuban government’s attitude toward academic exchanges with the U.S. Those exchanges need goodwill and authorization from both governments.

By allowing scholars, professors and students (graduate and undergraduate) to participate and even sponsor academic events, trips and workshops in Cuba, the White House dismantled the restrictions imposed by George W. Bush in 2004 — a counterproductive policy and an affront to American traditional liberties. The fact that some Cuban government regulations conflict with international human rights to travel and limit the scope of educational exchanges does not excuse Washington’s own controls. Hence, President Obama’s January decision allowing accredited educational and cultural institutions to sponsor travel to Cuba for academic, cultural and educational exchanges goes in the right direction.

History proves that migratory and travel relations are intertwined with the general atmosphere of the political links between the two countries. Currently, the Cuban government violates the right to travel and the associated right to education of scholars and students when it demands from them exit visas to leave the island. Cuban government officials have presented these controls as emergency measures against a hostile U.S. policy. Following this logic, the Cuban government would probably lift many of these restrictions as part of the current reform, particularly if it enjoys a friendly international environment.

A total dismantling of the travel controls is today unthinkable. In Washington, the House Foreign Relations Committee is chaired by Cuban American Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a fierce opponent to any relaxation of the embargo. In Havana, Raul Castro is not interested in clashes with the U.S., but he is not a misunderstood democrat either. Furthermore, there is a combination of Cuban paranoia with an openly declared goal of the U.S. government to use every single channel (religious, academic, cultural, educational, etc.) to promote a regime change in the island.

EP: What benefits do you predict increased academic exchange will have for Cuba’s university community? What do U.S. institutions and students stand to gain from it?

ALL: Because the new openness toward the outside world has gathered momentum in the last years, it’s predictable that Cuban universities would try to foster academic exchanges with overseas institutions. In the case of the U.S., Cuba has been disconnected from the American market but not from its academic community.

Most American educational exchanges with Cuba are concentrated in some universities and centers, particularly in Havana, and in some cases reach the same people. American and Cuban institutions should make an effort to diversify the participants in terms of regions, race and gender. It’s important to reach out not only to official institutions but also to an emerging sector of non-state actors such as bloggers, independent researchers, language professors and artists.

Cubans have the highest level of education and school attendance in Latin America, with widely disseminated language skills. Among other things, American academic exchanges with Cuba can assist the education of a new generation of businesspeople, managers, economists and accountants urgently needed for economic reform.

There are already American students in Cuba, particularly in the Latin American School of Medicine. An expansion of these exchanges will enable American students, teachers and scholars of all levels to take advantage of the growing educational market in Cuba. Study in Cuba is today a fairly inexpensive alternative for many Caribbean, Latin American and some minority students from the U.S. This could be easily expanded if the Cuban government allows joint ventures in education with foreign institutions. President Obama’s decision to allow short-term non-credit related educational visits would enhance the ability of ordinary Americans to learn about Cuban culture and life and see firsthand the counterproductive character of the U.S. embargo against the island.

EP: Do you feel current regulations go far enough to foster multinational academic partnerships, or would you like to see greater cooperation between the two countries? Are there measures you would propose to increase collaboration?

ALL: The policy changes of January 2011 are just the beginning of an urgently needed reversal of Washington’s policy of isolation against Cuba. All travel controls, outside obvious national security areas, are a relic of the Cold War and an infringement of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is as valid for Cuba as it is for the U.S. Different from the Helsinki process in Europe, when the U.S. built bridges for a flow of people and ideas across countries, Washington has insisted on adding its own walls to those erected by Cuban communists.

The meager results of such policies are logical consequences of their irrationality and double standards. The Helms-Burton Act dictates unacceptable conditions to Cuban sovereignty and even disrespects Cuban civil society by not asking the informed consent of all Cuban partners for the programs of USAID. The U.S. cannot encourage a democratic environment for academic exchanges if it says it seeks respect for human rights in Cuba but then curtails the rights of its own citizens to travel to Cuba and implements policies that violate international law.

Since the end of the Cold War, the inclusion in the State Department list of terrorist countries has served as the legal and political underpinning for most travel controls against Cuba. The blacklisting of Cuba by the State Department is not the result of serious national security analysis but a simple subordination of American national interests to South Florida electoral politics. That said, American regulations that treat traveling to Cuba and the participation of Cubans in academic events in the U.S. are enforced with maximal zealotry. In 2004, three years after the September 11th tragedy, a scandal broke when it was found that 21 officials at the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Treasury Department were assigned to monitor transactions with Cuba, while only three were searching the assets of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein combined.

The American academic community should become active in this debate, assess whether Cuba represents a real threat for the U.S. and bring the experiences of the Helsinki process to the discussion of the bilateral relations between Cuba and the U.S. The Obama Administration should seek a wide-ranging dialogue with Havana to set the relations between the two societies on a course towards normal educational relations. Congress must eliminate all restrictions to the use of government or private funds for academic exchanges between Cuba and the U.S. All international institutions, such as those of the Inter-American Consortium of Universities, must be released from any limitation to invite Cubans to participate or benefit from their academic and educational events or fellowships.

EP: Do you believe that warming relations between Cuba and the U.S. on the academic front will also lead to constructive political dialog between the two countries?

ALL: Despite the absence of diplomatic relations between Havana and Washington, food sales, remittances, family visits and cultural, religious and educational exchanges have led to some informal integration between the two countries. A great benefit of academic exchanges between the two countries is the development of a ‘linkage community.’ This community is defined as a group of people in both countries who develop extensive contacts with the society of the other country. This type of community enables political dialogue across the Strait of Florida as individuals share their knowledge, sensitivity and empathy for those on the other side.

If the Obama Administration’s policy of academic, cultural, educational, humanitarian and family travels to Cuba survives for five years, the travel ban will not stand. The current loopholes would eventually create a virtuous circle of travelers to the island who would come back mobilized for less restriction to travel. At some point they would reach a critical political mass.

EP: Are there campus organizations in the U.S. and/or Cuba working to increase academic collaboration between the two countries?

ALL: One of the most seasoned projects working on academic and educational exchanges between Cuba and the U.S. is Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC). The organization is based on the idea that both Cuba and the U.S. can learn from each others’ health systems and experiences.

There are other projects, such as the Cuba Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), with a substantive Cuban participation in all its conferences, as well as exchange programs at Harvard, Johns Hopkins and other universities. Still many efforts are quite dispersed, and there’s a lack of an effective forum among universities in both countries to discuss higher education coordination. Perhaps the presidents of universities on both sides of the Strait of Florida should organize an academic consortium and meet once to coordinate an expansion of academic contacts.

EP: What kind of relationships do you hope ultimately exist between U.S. and Cuba academic communities?

ALL: Our two countries can have the closest of the relationships that exists between U.S academic community and any other country in the world. Every year thousands of Cubans should come to study or lecture in the U.S. and vice versa. Nothing should prevent Cuban and American scholars from participating in the academic life of their neighbor country. That’s why I feel frustrated by the missed opportunities for knowledge, interactions and joint development between Cuba and the U.S.

But I am cautiously optimistic; President Obama opened a significant door to academic, cultural, religious and social exchanges. After Fidel Castro’s retirement, Cuba is also going through parallel processes of economic reform, political liberalization and openness to the outside world. Growing social integration across the Florida Strait would develop a critical mass of actors that lobby for good relations between Cuba and the United States. Cross-strait economic and cultural ties will further expand and would likely impact political decision-makers.

Another Latin American country has actually opened schools of their own inside the U.S.

education-portal.com


Mexican Senate Ratifies Free-Trade Accord With Peru

by Andean Air Mail & Peruvian Times

Mexico’s Senate ratified a free-trade agreement with Peru on Thursday, after delaying about seven months since it was approved by executives in both countries on concerns about its impact on the agricultural sector.

The trade pact was approved with 55 votes in favor and 47 against.

Peru’s Foreign Trade and Tourism Ministry said in a statement that trade between the two countries has increased 13 percent annually between 2000 and 2010, jumping to $1.46 billion from $414 million.

The Ministry said that trade could double in the next five years thanks to the trade pact.

Silva and Ferrari at WTO Meeting
“Peru is a country in full growth,” said Mexican Economy minister Bruno Ferrari, in Geneva this week at the World Trade Organization’s eighth ministerial conference. “It is a natural option for Mexican producers who are looking to expand their business in Latin America and obtain that way a bigger international presence. In other words, Peru is a major strategic partner for Mexico. In fact, Peru has seen growth three times faster than our most important trade partners. It represents a commercial opportunity that we must take advantage of.”

Both Ferrari and Peru’s Foreign Trade minister, José Luis Silva, are in Geneva this week for the WTO conference of cabinet ministers from 153 member countries.

Both countries already have numerous free trade agreements. Peru’s most important free trade pacts are with China, the United States, the European Union and Canada.


Colombia’s Open For Business With ‘Can-do’ Attitude

Premium content from New Mexico Business Weekly
by Morgan Smith (COTA Member), Guest Opinion

To quote Jack Barker, president of Innovative Water Technologies, “The mission was a great success. I have no doubt that…IWT will be doing a great deal of business in Colombia.”

There also was a U.S. Department of Agriculture Latest from The Business Journals International Cos.’ sales up 20% to 0 million, Conservation Service awarded 1M to farmers in 2011, UC Davis gets share of M grant to help Afghanistan’s ag economy mission in Colombia when we were there. As for the “miracles,” let me cite several.

The first is the extraordinary recovery Colombia has made from decades of violence and near anarchy. For example, in 2000, there were some 4,000 reported kidnappings. Now there are fewer than 20. The homicide rate has declined from 120 per 100,000 of population to 26. On November 4, Colombian forces killed Alfonso Cano, the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which is likely to further advance peace.

The second was the signing of the Free Trade Agreement on October 12. Yes, dawdling by Democrats, my party, has allowed other countries like Argentina and Canada to cut deeply into our share of agricultural exports to Colombia, unnecessarily costing us farming jobs. And far too many members of my party voted against it: three of the four Democrats in the New Mexico delegation, for example. It’s time to get moving, because Colombia will not only be a good market for U.S. companies, but it can also become an important “jumping off” point for the rest of Latin America.

The business community there is excited about the trade agreement. I visited Colombia’s export promotion agency, Proexport; Asocolflores, the association of flower exporters; the Council of American Enterprises; and Amcham Colombia, and met a number of Colombian businesspeople. They are anxious to work more closely with the U.S.

The last and most important “miracle” involves the Victim’s and Land Restitution Law that was signed by President Santos on June 13 and starts Colombia on a process of healing the wounds incurred in its decades-long and still unfinished civil war.


Guatemala Elects New President

Contributed by: Quiñones, Ibargüen, Luján & Mata, S.C.

On Sunday, November 6th, Guatemala held a second round of general presidential elections that resulted in a victory for the opposition party, (“Patriot Party” Partido Patriota – PP), and its presidential candidate, retired General Otto Perez Molina, over a younger, rising and controversial political figure, Attorney and Congressman Manuel Baldizón (“Leadership Party” Lider -PL). The PP is considered as favoring Guatemala’s businesses while the PL was formed from dissidents of the current populist party in government of Mr. Alvaro Colom.

The eight weeks after the September 11th first round were filled with accusations of overspending by both parties and a lack of transparency of political contributions. Both parties where fined for insignificant amounts.

A dangerously divided Guatemala revived memories of human rights violations through questioning of Mr. Perez Molina’s participation in Guatemala’s civil war in the 1980s, and his alliance to questionable figures of Guatemala’s past. His campaign revolved around a promise of a crackdown on escalating violence.

Mr. Baldizóón was questioned for his sources of funds, inventive campaign promises, and his rapid rise to the political scene. His campaign focused on continuing social programs and rising employee benefits. According to analysts, Mr. Baldizón did not benefit from his last moment alliances. Among his most commented allies was an improvised political party that holds as its most notorious member an ex-president (Alfonso Portillo) who is subject to a U.S. extradition request over corruption charges.

Mr. Baldizón also made an alliance with Sandra Torres, the former First Lady (divorced from Mr. Colom in an attempt to become a Presidential Candidate) and her party. This last alliance was an effort to benefit from the former First Lady’s personal involvement in a controversial governmental program of conditional transfers that created a strong network of supporters in mainly rural areas. The election results favored Mr. Perez by 53.74 percent. Division was marked between a support for Mr. Perez in Guatemala City of close to 78 percent, versus extremely low results in rural areas of 34percent.

This week Guatemala quickly returned to business as usual and, although there is no post-electoral euphoria, there is a quiet feeling of relief from a prolonged and stressful election process. Guatemala’s business community may be described as moderately optimistic but concerned over the marked division.

Many progressive business sectors have positively acknowledged the deep need to work on creating a more united society (Guatemala holds one of the lowest Gini coefficients in the world) by focusing on education on economic development in rural areas, if it wants to break away from a recurring pattern of alternating election victories between conservative and populist regimes every
four years.


Support Free Trade with Colombia

by Morgan Smith

Santa Fe resident Morgan Smith is a former commissioner of agriculture from Colorado and director of the Colorado International Trade Office. He writes frequently for La Voz on issues related to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“In 2008, 46.5 percent of Colombia’s imports of agricultural products came from the United States. By 2010, that figure had dropped to 20.8 percent,” Gabriel Silva Luján, the Ambassador from Colombia to the United States told the Council on International Relations here in Santa Fe on Aug. 20.

This was a stunning comment. Colombia is a country of about 45 million people that imports a high percentage of its food products — roughly 97 percent of its wheat, for example, an important crop here in the Western United States. At a time of record high unemployment in the United States, how could we have let an important agricultural market quietly slip away?

Colombia approved an agreement with us five years ago, but because of union pressure on Democrats in Congress, we have failed to respond. As a result, Colombia has negotiated agreements with the Latin American Mercosur countries, the European Union and, most recently, Canada. This has given these countries a huge market advantage over our farmers who face tariffs that average 30 percent.

As a result, Argentina’s share of Colombia’s agricultural imports, for example, has gone from 13.8 percent in 2008 to 28.2 percent in 2010. This bad news for American farmers will soon get much worse because the Colombia-Canada agreement went into effect in August. Canadian farmers will soon take more market share from us.

Colombia has made some extraordinary changes that deserve recognition.

First, unlike the United States where tax increases are totally “off the table,” Colombia has funded much of its war against the drug cartels through a special “wealth tax” on richer Colombians. (Our aid only amounts to about 4 percent of the cost of this war.) One result has been a huge reduction in violence. In 2002, there were 40,000 kidnappings. Last year, there were only 20, according to the ambassador.

Second, recognizing the enormous human cost of the drug war, Colombia has just enacted a law providing compensation of up to $20,000 to victims.

Another law passed in the most recent legislative session will return land to farmers from whom it was stolen during the war. The amount of land involved is 16 million acres, an area equal to the state of West Virginia.

Lastly, Colombia has enacted an extremely tough anti-corruption law.

And, in addition to its own struggle against the drug business, Colombia is training some 11,000 Mexican law-enforcement officials.

President Juan Manuel Santos is not only attempting to heal the wounds of this longstanding war but he has also reduced Colombia’s dependence on the United States. In addition to these other free-trade agreements, he has attempted to smooth out relationships with Venezuela, his largest and most important neighbor.

One downside, however, was his decision last spring to extradite Walid “The Turk” Makled to Venezuela instead of the United States. Arrested in Colombia last year on a U.S. warrant, Makled is alleged to have been smuggling ten tons of cocaine a month from Venezuela to the United States and to have many ties with top Venezuelan officials. U.S. officials desperately wanted him extradited to the United States so that they could question him. Would Santos have done this if we had been more responsive regarding the trade agreement?

On April 19, 2008, I wrote an article for The New Mexican, urging support for the agreement but for mostly political reasons. I believed that we should support a country that had stood up for us, particularly in regard to Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s virulently anti-American president. Now our failure to act is costing us jobs as well. Isn’t it time for us to act? If the European Union and Canada are satisfied with Colombia’s record on the environment, human rights and trade union issues, what is holding us back?


Perú President Elect Ollanta Humala Meets With Secretary Clinton & Other Washington Officials

The newly elected Peruvian leader arrived to Washington yesterday for a slew of meeting that are met to introduce him to Washington and President Obama’s key international representatives. President Ollanta Humala and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are due to meet today at 2:45 p.m.

President elect Ollanta Humala’s main objective is to reassure the US Secretary of State that his presidency will seek to maintain good relations with Peru’s largest trading partner.

Humala, a 49-year-old former army rebel, is expected to address concerns that his administration will restrict investment when he takes office July 28, 2011.

“Humala has become more moderate and more centrist, and this is an opportunity for him to tell the U.S. administration who he is and what his positions are,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a policy research group. “The U.S. won’t be a high priority for the Humala administration, but he’ll want to have good relations on trade, drugs and other issues.”

Humala shifted his almost “Chavist” political stance and now embraces more business friendly policies—like Brazil’s Lula, which eventually resulted in Brazil becoming the fastest-growing economy of the decade in Latin América.

Humala travels accompanied by his wife Nadine Heredia and by a group of close collaborators, possible members of his cabinet.

“The trip is an opportunity for Humala to recast his reputation in Washington, which is based on a lot of gossip,” said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a Washington-based research group. “Ollanta will do what Brazil has done and say we feel we can have cordial relations with Venezuela and Cuba and the U.S. We don’t have to pick sides.”


IDB says Peru’s growth is unmatchable in past 5 years, meets with Humala

The president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Alberto Moreno, said Thursday that no country has shown a similar growth rate to that of Peru over the last five years, Andina reports.

“The expansion of Peru’s gross domestic product (GDP) during the last five years has been very important. What Peru has done in that period is really good; I don’t think there is another country with a similar growth rate,” said Moreno.

While the IDB does not make economic growth projections, Moreno agreed with the latest World Bank forecasts that predict 6.9 percent growth of GDP in Peru for this year, the highest growth rate in South America.

The visiting IDB president will meet with president-elect Ollanta Humala on Friday to discuss topics such as Peru’s economic expansion and its perspectives.

“We had a telephone conversation with Humala when he visited us in Washington. Now we are here waiting to support and look for the best interests of Peru and every Peruvian,” said Moreno after meeting Thursday with Peruvian president Alan García at the Government Palace in Lima.

During the past five years, the IDB has financed water supply and sanitation projects and has also supported the development of the private sector. Moreno highlighted that the participation and collaboration of the IDB in the approval of such loans have been focused on key social issues in Peru, which benefit the population. A symbolic support has been the financing of the Camisea project. “We want to express that the IDB’s interest has always been to keep working for Peru,” Moreno said.

Moreno stressed Peru’s significant reduction of poverty, which in 2006 it stood at nearly 48 percent and stands at some 31 percent at present.

Moreno also spoke about his meeting Friday with Humala saying, “We’ll analyze a number of actions, which I’ll be supporting, especially topics related to social policies,” which he talked about a lot during his campaign.


Chamber/Americas is seeking your assistance without you spending a cent!

The Chamber of the Americas is now participating in Continental Airlines’ Reward One Program. It works by helping Chamber of the Americas earn mileage for our business trips.

For example, if you fly anywhere with Continental Airlines, they would automatically give the Chamber/Americas points. You will NOT forfeit any of your personal miles! Chamber/Americas will earn 10% of one point for every $100.00 you spend on airfare with Continental. We earn one ticket for every 14 points.

All we need is your one pass number. If you are not a “one pass” member, simply go to www.continental.com and enroll; then send your “one pass” number to:

Gilberto (Gil) Cisneros
President/CEO
Chamber of the Americas
720 Kipling, Suite 13
Denver, Colorado, 80215. USA
Tel: 303.462.1275
Fax: 303.462.1560
Cel: 720.309.7686
gil@chamberoftheamericas.com
www.chamberoftheamericas.com

Question? Just call us.


SISTEMA DE INFORMACIÓN DE ENERGÍAS RENOVABLES

Mediante el Decreto Legislativo N° 1002, Ley de Promoción de la Inversión en Generación de Electricidad con el uso de Energías Renovables (2008), y su Nuevo Reglamento aprobado mediante el Decreto Supremo N° 012-2011-EM, el Perú promueve el aprovechamiento en la generación de electricidad de los Recursos Energéticos Renovables (RER) tales como: biomasa, eólico, solar, geotérmico, mareomotriz y la energía hidráulica, cuando la capacidad instalada no sobrepasa de los 20 MW.

De acuerdo con el Artículo 7° del Nuevo Reglamento, este espacio tiene por objetivo publicar los documentos relacionados con los procesos de Subasta RER que se convoque; además de información histórica, estadísticas, normas, noticias y publicaciones relacionadas con las energías renovables. En tal sentido lo invitamos a suscribirse a esta página web en caso esté interesado en recibir información permanente que se publique en este espacio.


Business Opportunities with Peru

Peru has many products available for resale, including:

Agriculture/ Food Produce:

  • Industrial Egg Powder products
  • High Quality Peruvian Pisco
  • Construction and Furniture:

  • Wholesale Wooden Doors
  • Garage Doors
  • Home Furniture
  • Clothing & Apparel:

  • Leather and Synthetic Handbags and Wallets
  • For inquiries regarding supplies for production or re-sale, to reduce operating costs or improve margins, contact us. Also, please feel free to circulate to companies that may have an interest in these opportunities.

    Milo J. Blanco
    Commercial Representative
    Commerce of The Americas
    mblanco@commerceoftheamericas.com
    303-472-1399


    Cámara de las Américas abre Oficina en Lima

    Por Kristi Arellano
    Viva Colorado

    La Cámara de las Américas ha abierto una oficina en Lima, Perú, como parte de sus gestiones para ayudar a los negocios locales a expandir sus oportunidades en esa región.
    La cámara, con sede en Denver, trabaja para crear negocios en todo el continente americano. Esta organización ofrece seminarios y servicios de consultoría para negocios y regularmente organiza misiones comerciales para conectar a negocios locales con nuevos mercados.

    La oficina en Lima es la segunda oficina satélite de la cámara. La primera oficina, en Veracruz, México, se abrió hace dos años. Y ya se está gestionando la apertura de otras oficinas. Según directivo de la cámara, estas oficinas ayudan mucho a los empresarios, tanto en Estados Unidos como en los países en las que esas oficinas se abren porque impulsan el comercio internacional.

    “Uno de los principales problemas con las compañías que quieren hacer negocios internacionales es el factor de confianza”, dijo Milo Blanco Reyna, de la cámara en la región de los EEUU. “Al tener presencia en Estados Unidos y en Perú, les aseguramos a nuestros clientes que los ayudaremos en sus proyectos, ya sea en exportación, firmar acuerdos o presentarse a licitaciones para proyectos de infraestructura.” La expansión a Perú se produce en el momento en que en Estados Unidos crece la atención hacia ese país. A principios de mayo el Latin Business Chronicle ubicó a Perú como la segunda mejor economía de la región. Según ese reporte, que analiza 18 países latinoamericanos, el crecimiento económico de Perú y la baja inflación en ese país contribuyen al sólido ambiente económico.

    Blanco Reyna indicó que la economía de Perú ha crecido desde hace años, incluso cuando la recesión económica ha afectado a otros países. Según él, eso se debe a la industria minera, que ha creado una nueva clase adinerada, y a los acuer-dos de libre comercio firmados por Perú.
    Ese crecimiento se vio en el 2009 cuando la Cámara de las Américas realizó una misión comercial a Perú. Blanco Reyna y un empresario estadounidense visitaron un centro de ventas en el que las ventas se realizaban incesantemente.
    “En Estados Unidos, los centros comerciales estaban vacíos, pero en Perú la gente hacía fila para pagar sus compras,” puntualizó Blanco Reyna.

    Gil Cisneros, presidente y gerente general de la Cámara de las Américas, dijo que la nueva oficina en Perú contribuye a impulsar los continuos esfuerzos de la cámara para abrir oficinas y servir a las empresas en todo el continente.
    “Poco a poco queremos llegar también a otros países,” comentó.

    Esas oficinas, dijo, proveen valiosos servicios para los empresarios en Estados Unidos y en los países latinoamericanos.

    “Ponemos a nuestros clientes en buenas manos. Tenemos suficientes contactos y una base establecida para ayudarlos” en la fase inicial de su expansión internacional,” dijo Cisneros.

    La oficina en Lima actualmente cuenta con seis personas, más personal, observó Cisneros, del que trabaja en la oficina en Denver. Para más información, visite chamberoftheamericas.com.


    U.S. Diplomat to get Nod for Mexico Ambassador

    By DUDLEY ALTHAUS
    Copyright 2011 Houston Chronicle

    MEXICO CITY — President Barack Obama will nominate Earl Anthony Wayne, a high-ranking career diplomat with scant experience in Latin America, as his new ambassador to Mexico, sources confirmed Tuesday.

    The appointment of Wayne, currently serving as U.S. deputy ambassador to Afghanistan, will require approval from both the U.S. Senate and the Mexican government. It has yet to be formally submitted to either.

    Wayne’s nomination was reported Tuesday by the Mexican media, citing diplomatic sources. Neither the White House nor the Mexican government would confirm Wayne will be named, but three knowledgeable Washington sources did.

    “The word is that Wayne has it,” a former senior U.S. diplomat with long experience in Latin America said, on condition his name not be used.

    If approved, Wayne will replace Carlos Pascual, another career diplomat who resigned in March under harsh criticism from Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Pascual had been at the embassy’s helm less than two years when he stepped down.

    Except for a two-year stint in the late 1980s when he worked as a national security correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, Wayne, 60, has been a foreign service officer since 1975. Through a wide-ranging diplomatic career, he has specialized in economic and energy issues, largely focused on Europe.

    Last year, he was named as “career ambassador,” among the highest ranks in the U.S. foreign service, by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mexican officials long have preferred U.S. ambassadors here to be either political appointees with direct access to the White House or a State Department heavy hitter, analysts say.

    Wayne served six years as the assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs before President George W. Bush appointed him ambassador to Argentina in 2006. He ran the embassy in Buenos Aires for nearly three years before being appointed to Afghanistan.

    As the second-ranking U.S. envoy in Kabul, where U.S. and Afghan officials frequently have sparred over direction of the U.S.-led war, Wayne presumably gained valuable experience with a vital yet testy ally dealing with a bloody internal conflict.

    “While he lacks experience in Mexico, Ambassador Wayne has an impressive resume as a diplomat with invaluable experience in counterterrorism,” U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, said Tuesday. McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s panel on oversight and investigations, introduced legislation in Congress recently to designate six Mexican drug cartels “foreign terrorist organizations.”

    If confirmed, Wayne will take the reins in Mexico as the Calderon government’s crackdown on organized crime remains far from successful. The U.S. government is aiding that effort with $1.4 billion in equipment and training as well as logistical and intelligence support.

    Some Mexican officials and pundits were rankled by the appointment of Pascual two years ago because he was described by some as an expert in “failed states.” Pascual’s posting came just months after a U.S. military think-tank study claimed Mexico was on the verge of becoming such a state amid the worsening criminal violence.

    Pascual definitively ran afoul of Calderon when leaked diplomatic cables criticizing the Mexican government’s efforts were published last December by WikiLeaks, the muckraking website. The cables by Pascual and other U.S. diplomats particularly panned the performance of Mexico’s army, which has been the cornerstone of Calderon’s strategy against the drug gangs.

    “They have done a lot of damage with the stories they tell and that, in truth, they distort,” Calderon told El Universal, a leading newspaper in Mexico City, in late February. The Mexican president singled out Pascual, whom he did not explicitly name, for “ignorance” that had caused “an impact and an irritation in our own team.”

    A month later, Clinton announced that Pascual had submitted his resignation.


    Peru has Second Best Macroeconomic Environment in Lat-Am

    Lima, May 11 (ANDINA). Peru has become the country with the second best macroeconomic environment in the region due to its strong economic growth and low inflation, according to the Latin Business Chronicle’s annual Latin Business Index.

    The Latin Business Index measures the business environment in 18 Lat-Am countries through five key categories and 27 subcategories, which include Macro Environment, Corporate and Political Environment, Competitiveness and Technology Level.

    “This classification schema is in line with the current indicators of each nation,” the Executive Director of Latin Business Chronicle Joachim Bamrud said.

    According to this website, Peru will probably show the higher economic growth in Latin America (7.5%) and the lower inflation rate (2.7%).

    The Latin Business Chronicle, belonging to Latin Trade group, is a specialized site in Lat-Am businesses.


    Costa Rica and Peru Finalize Free-Trade Talks

    By Adam Williams

    Costa Rica and Peru verbally agree to become trading partners after 8 months of negotiations. If all goes as planned, Costa Rica and Peru will be free-trade partners by the end of the month.

    Foreign Trade Minister Anabel González and members of the Foreign Trade Promotion Office (Procomer) met with Peruvian Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Eduardo Ferreyros and members of the Peruvian Trade Chamber to finalize the details of a free-trade agreement between the two countries. Free-trade negotiations between the two Latin American nations began in September, 2010.

    The finalization of the free-trade agreement followed a trade mission between small- and medium-sized businesses from the two countries last week. During the fair, which included 15 national businesses and 75 from Peru, Costa Rican exporters promoted products that would be included in the free-trade agreement, such as beans, heart of palm, rice, chocolate, computer software, construction materials and many more food and miscellaneous products.

    “These commercial missions open concrete opportunities for the Costa Rican export sector,” said the Jorge Sequeira, the general manager of Procomer. “It gives us the opportunity to explore first hand the needs of the local economy, make contacts and better identify areas to be able to internationalize our products to larger markets.”

    From 2000-2010, trade between Costa Rica and Peru, a nation of 30 million people, grew at an annual rate of 8.7 percent. However, after six years of growth in export sales from Costa Rica to Peru, in 2010, exports to the South American country fell from $34.9 million to $12.9 million, a 63 percent decrease. In 2010, imports from Peru hit an all-time high of $35.3 million, creating a lopsided trade deficit of $22.5 million for Costa Rica.

    Despite the benefits of the free-trade agreement touted by Procomer and the Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX), Marco Cercone, the President of the Food Industry Chamber (CACIA) voiced concern with the pact. The Peru free-trade agreement is the third pact that Costa Rica currently has pending. The other agreements are with China and the European Union.

    “We are an open sector and there will always be interest in the food industry to export our products to all the country of the world,” said Cercone. “However, the big worry of the chamber is that free-trade depends on the conditions of competitiveness to remain sustainable. These agreements don’t permit our producers much flexibility if conditions suffer.”

    According to the Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX), tariffs on 80 percent of the products imported and exported between the two countries will be reduced during the next few weeks. González said she hopes the free-trade agreement will be signed by the end of the month.


    Peru signs FTA with Mexico in its 10th International Trade Pact

    by Sophie Kevany, Dow Jones Newswires

    LIMA — Peru signed a free-trade agreement with Mexico on Wednesday, its 10th international commercial pact.

    At a televised ceremony, Peru’s president, Alan Garcia, said it was an important day for Peru, guaranteeing a trade “flow” that would boost social development and economic growth.

    Garcia said trade between Peru and Mexico was worth $413 million in 2010. The latest figures from Peru’s trade ministry show Peru’s exports to Mexico totaled $242 million in 2009, its 19th most important trade partner that year.

    Trade Minister Eduardo Ferreyros also said he was “very happy” with the signing, which took five years of work and should take effect in July. He said the pact is expected to boost trade between the countries by close to 40%.

    “This agreement will bring important benefits primarily for small and medium companies. Mexico is relatively close, has similar customs and language and enormous trade potential,” said Ferreyros.

    The most sensitive trade area during negotiations, said Ferreyros, was the agricultural sector. He said the final accord was built around seasonal trading solutions allowing lower tariffs for farm exports at certain times of the year when production was high in one country and low in the other.

    Peru has trade agreements with a number of nations including the U.S. and China. A trade pact with Japan is also due to take effect in July, while another one with Europe should be ready in the first half of 2012.

    Peru is a leading producer of silver, copper and fishmeal, as well as a number of other mining and agricultural sector products.


    Colorado should be More Aggressive about Recruiting Overseas

    by Gil Cisneros
    Denver Business Journal

    To paraphrase Mark Twain’s lament about the weather: Everyone in Colorado talks about international trade, but very few do anything about it.

    Does that mean there’s no interest in the subject? That small- to medium-size companies have all the business they can handle right at home?

    Of course not. As a matter of fact, the reverse is true.

    That’s why I think our leaders and legislators need to become more aggressive in recruiting business to Colorado — especially overseas.

    The point was brought home to me after the recent Chamber of the America’s Women in International Trade conference. Judging by the number of women who attended, there’s significant need for information that enables business people to widen their perspective beyond domestic shores to opportunities in foreign markets.

    We need leaders and lawmakers who understand that international trade ultimately will create the jobs we all want. Unfortunately, there’s an enthusiasm gap in these quarters; we extend invitations to chamber events, but rarely do any lawmakers show up.

    It’s important to recognize that we live in a flyover state, and from up high, we’re just another expanse of land with nothing that shouts BUSINESS.

    Colorado simply isn’t on the radar of many foreign operations. When people from Latin America scout business opportunities in the United States, they look at Houston and Miami; few seriously consider Colorado.

    We’ve been making some progress, but we have a long way to go, starting with a commitment from our leaders to make international trade happen.

    At both the Colorado International Trade Office and the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development (MOED), there has to be less staff turnover and more stability, so that clients seeking guidance have the comfort of dealing with the same person each time they visit.

    Yes, we have budget problems, but I don’t remember a time in history when we didn’t, when money was overflowing.

    About five years ago, MOED had offices in London and Shanghai. These have been shut down, and I’m guessing it’s because they didn’t produce big numbers in the short term.

    Typically, there is a long lead time involved in converting a prospect to a client.

    But what these offices did consistently was keep the focus on Denver and Colorado — and that, as they say, was priceless.

    As a result of cutbacks through the years, international trade is the baby that’s been thrown out with the bath water; it’s simply not the priority it needs to be, particularly when dealing with Latin America.

    If we can recruit businesses from other states, we can certainly begin to recruit in other areas of the world.

    The question we need to answer is: Are we going to move forward and do what it takes to claim the title of “international city and state,” or are we going to give up trying and lose out on the economic advantages that international trade brings.


    San Diego’s Borders are Abundant with Commerce, not Crime

    by Ruben Barrales
    Ruben Barrales is president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Southwest Border Task Force and Community Resilience Task Force. Barrales previously served in the White House as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush, where he worked as the president’s liaison to state and local elected officials.

    San Diego is home to one of the most vibrant economies in the country and part of what makes our region so prosperous is its proximity to the Mexican border. Yet this is not what people outside the region often hear about. Instead, they hear tales of drug cartel kidnapping, robbery and other crimes.

    Disparaging, hyperbolic rhetoric on border security and safety in the region must stop. It is not only inaccurate; it’s damaging the economic well being of San Diego and every other Southwestern town that borders Mexico.

    Despite near-daily inflammatory reports, the American side of our southern border is actually quite safe, and cross-border trade and commerce provides a huge economic impact for our region.

    For example, crime rates in San Diego continue to plummet each year. In 2010, the city’s crime rate was the lowest it has been since 1963. According to FBI data, in 2009, the city had the third-lowest crime rate among cities with populations larger than 500,000, behind only Honolulu and San Jose.

    Unfortunately, these are not the statistics we read in the newspaper or hear on television. People across the county are inundated with misleading information about how dangerous it is to live, work and travel in our region.

    San Diego’s tourism industry is the third-largest segment of its economy, with more than 26 million visitors to the county bringing more than $5.6 billion in annual revenue. Hospitality industries continue to prosper as the city regularly ranks as a top destination for U.S. and international travelers.

    Yet tourists from around the country and internationally fearful about visiting our region, due to media reports from across the border. This idea is ridiculous.

    In truth, unprecedented government investment in security has given San Diego the opportunity to take advantage of all of the economic benefits of being close to Mexico, one of the city’s largest trade partners. The region’s two dynamic ports of entry to Mexico — which includes the busiest land border crossing in the world, San Ysidro — provide real incentives for businesses and job growth in San Diego.

    For example, the positive economic impact of the proposed new port of entry at Otay Mesa East is estimated to exceed $31.6 billion during the first 10 years of operation. These positive impacts are projected to be geographically concentrated in San Diego and Los Angeles counties. Some industries expected to benefit the most from the new port are electronics at $19.7 billion, machinery at $4.2 billion, precision instruments at $1.8 billion and manufacturing at $1.25 billion.

    As these statistics show, our border is first and foremost a place of trade, commerce and job creation, which makes our city, region, state and country better. Disparaging rhetoric to the contrary is untrue and it’s hurting our region every day.

    We need to project a more fair and balanced representation of what’s happening at our borders and the benefits our proximity to Mexico affords our communities. It’s up to each individual, business leader and government official to combat the words of critics by speaking just as emphatically about the positive impact these ports of entry provide to San Diego.


    Mexico Border is an Asset for the U.S., Ambassador Says

    by Trevor Williams

    Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, wants to cut through the clamor.

    Photo Courtesy Mexican Embassy
    From left: City Councilman Kwanza Hall and Martin Luther King III look on as Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan speaks at the tomb of Martin Luther King Jr.

    Despite frequent news reports of drug-related violence and the often-inflammatory debate surrounding the issue of illegal immigration, the U.S.-Mexico border is an asset that has boosted prosperity in both countries, he told GlobalAtlanta.

    The ambassador visited Atlanta in early February to meet with government officials and speak with local business leaders and representatives from the Mexican-American community.

    A month after his visit, the Georgia House of Representatives passed a House Bill 87, requiring most companies to verify the immigration status of their employees and authorizing police to check the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect of being in the country illegally.

    On March 14, the State Senate passed a similar bill, Senate Bill 40, setting up a reconciliation process before a final measure can be sent to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk.

    In a wide-ranging e-mail interview with GlobalAtlanta, Mr. Sarukhan highlighted the vibrant commercial ties between the two countries and called for “cool-headed” debate on immigration. He addressed misconceptions about the issue and said no solution could be reached without a collaborative, “holistic” and bipartisan approach on both sides of the border.

    Mexico is working to boost its global competitiveness and create more jobs for its people, but comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. is the “best way” to improve border security, he said.

    Legislative sponsors of the Arizona-style bills say that illegal immigrants – numbering about 425,000 in Georgia, according to the Pew Hispanic Center – put an undue burden on taxpayers. Critics say the bills are a sign of xenophobia and simply add another hurdle for small businesses while doing nothing to fix the immigration problem.

    When the economy slumped in the U.S. in the 2009-10, illegal immigration dropped, showing that immigrants come to work, not to game the system, Mr. Sarukhan said.

    “Unlike some pundits that falsely propose that immigrants come to the U.S. to take jobs and benefits, it has been proven over and over again that they give way more to the system than what they take, and that they come to this country to work,” he said.

    Mr. Sarukhan also noted that the U.S. and Mexico have been working together on efforts to ensure the free flow of people and goods. In 2010, a new bridge and two new ports of entry opened linking Mexico with Texas and Arizona. Programs that pre-screen travelers and goods are also being explored.

    The ambassador used trade statistics to illustrate the border’s vital role in commerce between the countries, particularly since NAFTA entered into force in 1994.

    While Asia grabs headlines, Mexico quietly continues to bolster the U.S. economy. The second-largest export destination behind Canada, Mexico buys more American products than Japan and China combined, Mr. Sarukhan said.

    U.S. exports to Mexico grew by 27 percent in 2010 to $129 billion. That jump, about $31 billion, was three times more than the yearly increase expected if the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement comes into force.

    Even money flowing into Mexico helps the U.S., he added.

    “For every dollar that Mexico earns from exports, 50 cents are spent on American goods, in comparison with the 6 cents China spends buying back U.S. goods,” Mr. Sarukhan said.

    Though still a major problem, violence attributed to organized crime hasn’t hindered Mexico’s international partnerships, the ambassador said. Drug-related violence is mostly concentrated along the border, and 70 percent of homicides attributed to drug gangs occurred in seven out of 32 states.

    Mexico and the U.S. are working together to address the issue. Mexico has a five-pronged strategy that focuses on building capacity in local police forces and judicial systems. The U.S. side of the bargain is to stem the flow of illegal weapons and cash to Mexico while clamping down on the demand that ultimately fuels the drug trade.

    Mexico’s economy grew at 5.5 percent in 2010, while many others were struggling to recover from the 2009 recession. Trade between Mexico and Georgia stood at nearly $4.27 billion in 2009.

    During his visit, the ambassador met with Mayor Kasim Reed and laid a wreath at the tomb of Martin Luther King, Jr. He also spoke to a luncheon audience of the Atlanta Council on International Relations.


    Time to Act on Free Trade

    Editorial, Washington Post

    The politics of free trade have never been easy for President Obama – and they appear to be getting harder. Mr. Obama wants congressional ratification of a tariff-slashing deal with South Korea, revising it recently to meet the objections of the U.S. auto industry and labor unions.

    House Republicans favor the agreement but won’t consider it unless the president submits it along with two others, with Colombia and Panama, about which the president has hesitated for two years and still has doubts. The GOP got a boost of sorts when a bipartisan group of 16 former U.S. trade representatives and experts on Latin America recently urged the president to accelerate the Colombia and Panama pacts. On Wednesday the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, who supports voting on the Korea, Colombia and Panama deals together, warned the administration that its position is putting all three agreements at risk.

    With so much support for the agreements in both parties, why is the administration asking for more time? The substantive issues that the president has raised – Colombia’s purported indifference to labor rights, Panama’s status as a tax haven – were never as serious as he contended, and are well on their way to resolution. No one even tries to deny the economic benefits to American companies and workers of the two pacts, especially the one to open the much larger Colombian market. Indeed, it would enable U.S. exports to enter Colombia duty-free, as Colombian products have entered the United States for many years. Alas, in retaliation for Republicans’ refusal to extend trade-adjustment assistance, House Democrats have held up extension of long-standing duty-free access to U.S. markets for Colombia and other struggling Andean nations.

    Obviously, the White House’s hesitation has a lot to do with politics, especially organized labor’s doubts about any legislation with “free trade” in the title. But public doubts about free trade extend well beyond the unions. There is, as the administration protests, value in going the extra mile to get maximum support before finalizing the deals. Mr. Obama did that with the Korea pact, and its prospects in Congress are stronger for it. The problem is that no one quite knows what Mr. Obama’s bottom line is, or might be. Colombia could improve on human rights, but it seems strange for the United States to demand perfection when other democratic societies such as the European Union and Canada have recently negotiated free trade with Colombia.

    Both sides deserve blame for the politics of Korea, Colombia and Panama spilling over onto other matters. The potential for a trade policy train wreck is real. Everyone needs to focus less on the political tit for tat and more on the policy case for getting these deals done as soon as possible, which is clear and strong. “It is time to identify the specific steps Colombia and Panama must take to move forward,” Mr. Baucus said Wednesday, “so we can finally approve our free-trade agreements with these countries, increase U.S. exports and create jobs here at home.” From a Democrat, that can hardly be considered unfriendly advice, and Mr. Obama would be wise to take it.


    Is Mexico Safer than the U.S.?

    by Patrick Osio

    Here comes Easter break again and young people will be young people; high school and college kids will travel to distant places where the drinking age is either less than it is in the U.S. or where authorities don’t care to enforce minors’ drinking laws. For several decades Mexico has been one such place of choice where the legal drinking age is 18. Mazatlan, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun were the “fly-to” favorite places and Rosarito Beach and Ensenada the favorite “drive-to” places from Southern California. But not this year, or for that matter neither was it last year.

    Our government and the U.S. media have convinced most Americans that Mexico is not a safe place to visit as drug traffickers are fighting it out to see which gang will have the right to sell their illicit drugs to the very group that will not be visiting Mexico. They will have to wait until they return from Easter break to get their Mexican smuggled drugs at home.

    But what really struck me was that the preferred country to visit this Easter break in lieu of Mexico is the Dominican Republic. It struck me because Dominica is rated as the number one country with the highest propensity for crime in the world. According to facts gathered by NationalMaster.com, their total crime per 1,000 residents (per capita) is 113.822 –Compared to the U.S. that is 8th in the world in total crimes at 80.0645 per 1000 residents, making chances of being a victim of a crime in Dominica better than 10%, and slightly less than an 8% chance of being a victim in the U.S.

    But here is the real clunker: Mexico, the country our government tells us not to visit and the media has a field day reporting any crime be it significant or not to further put the fear of God into staying away from there – well, it ranks 39th in total crime in the world with a per capita of slightly less than 13 crimes per 1000 residents that is a 1.3% chance of being a victim of crime in Mexico.

    So Mexico is out, Dominica is in, yet the chances of being a crime victim there is greater than in the U.S. and the chances of being a crime victim in the U.S. is greater than in Mexico. But, for our own safety we need to stay out of Mexico.

    Have you ever felt like you’re being duped but you can’t quite put your finger on why; what’s the motive? Is it to keep us from facing some bitter truths? We keep reading how crime is down, how safe we are compared to most other parts of the world. But is it true?

    So here are some multiple choice questions for you:
    1. Which country has a higher crime rate per 1,000 residents?
    Mexico, b. Germany, c. Canada, d. U.S.

    2. Which country has the highest murders with firearms?
    Mexico, b. El Salvador, c. U.S.

    3. Of the following countries, which has the least number of drug offenses?
    a. Germany, b. United Kingdom, c. Canada, d. Switzerland, e. Mexico

    4. Which country has the most prisoners?
    a. United States, b. China, c. Russia, d. India, e. Mexico
    (Answers: 1. d. U.S., 2. c. U.S., 3. e. Mexico, 4. a. U.S.)

    In one of the only bright spots due to its recent gang related murders, Mexico, on a per capita, ranks as more dangerous than the U.S. occupying No. 24 and Mexico No. 6 in the world, but in total number of murders the U.S. is No. 5 and Mexico No. 6.

    In fact, much of the crime data per capita 1000 population suggests that in many respects Mexico is safer than the U.S.: in assaults the U.S. ranks No. 6, Mexico No. 20; burglaries the U.S. No. 17, Mexico No. 34; car thefts U.S. No. 9, Mexico No. 22; fraud U.S. No. 18, Mexico No. 29; Rape (Canada No.5), U.S. No. 9, Mexico No. 17.

    No doubt that, at the expense of Mexico, we are being duped. Is it to hide our insatiable appetite for illicit drugs and cheap labor, and so by pointing the finger of guilt to the biggest supplier of both we exculpate our actions or, at minimum, pacify our own guilt?

    Maybe it’s time for “the home of the free, and land of the brave” to take note.

    Patrick Osio is Editor of HispanicVista.com. He can be reached at: POsio@aol.com.


    Mexico Remains Attractive to Investors

    Imprimir

    Despite problems such as violence and unemployment, Mexico remains an attractive country to receive foreign investments in 2011 said KPMG consulting and the financial group Credit Suisse.

    Mexico’s progress in indicators of institutions like the World Bank, and good macroeconomic numbers, make that decision makers have Mexico in mind when searching for a destination to invest their money, said KPMG.

    Mexico has for powerful factors in favor: the proximity to the world’s largest economy and a market with 112 million inhabitants.

    The consulting noted that while in the last 3 administrations many jobs were lost, these jobs are recovering and the productive plant remains.

    It also said that, according to data from the Bank of Mexico (Banxico), in the first 9 months of 2010 exports of goods amounted to $75,545 billion dollars, representing an increase of 29.1% over 2009.

    Credit Suisse added that demographic advantage that in the country there will be improvement in macroeconomic conditions in the medium and long term, opening the opportunity for strong growth from new investors.

    For the institution, the fact that most of the inhabitants are under 35 years, means that eventually in 5, 10, or 15 years will be developed and will achieve a greater degree of economic autonomy that encourages investment.

    “While Mexico continues developing its economic structures as it has done and impulse reform to enhance the development of the country will have in the medium term a high presence with investors of medium and high purchasing power,” the company revealed in a study.

    In this situation, Credit Suisse concluded, in the next 10 years will begin to see a larger and more sophisticated market where people, between 35 and 50 will seek to invest.


    Canadian Businesses Continue to Invest in Mexico

    Embassy of Mexico in Canada

    ·   With a figure surpassing US$9 billion, Canada ranked 4th in 2010 in terms of the country with the greatest accumulated investment in Mexico.

    ·   The Canadian mining company Gold Corp headed the list of investors in Mexico last year, with approximately US$1.5 billion ventured.

    ·   To boost competitiveness and productivity in Mexico, in 2010 alone a total of 14,000 regulations, rules, agreements and circulars were eliminated.

    In 2010 Mexico ranked as the world’s 6th top destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), coming in ahead of countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). By the close of the year, the total FDI received in Mexico had reached a whopping US$19 billion.

    In the period from January 2000 to September 2010, accumulated Canadian FDI in Mexico registered US$9.185 billion, positioning Canada as our country’s fourth top investor. This investment confidence translates to 2,563 companies with Canadian shares operating in Mexico, and confirms our country’s standing as one of the most attractive destinations for investment around the globe.

    The Canadian mining company Gold Corp headed the list of investors in Mexico last year, with approximately US$1.5 billion ventured. Its Peñasquito mining project in Zacatecas, which began in 2007, was completed last year.

    On October 21, 2010 in the state of Querétaro, Bombardier inaugurated the plant where the company will build its executive aircraft Learjet 85, representing an investment of US$250 million. In total the company has announced US$450 million of additional investments in Mexico.

    In fact, in the past five years the aerospace industry — comprising around 200 companies employing 30,000 Mexicans — has recorded an average annual growth of 20 percent, situating Mexico as the country with the greatest investment growth in this sector worldwide.

    In the automotive industry, auto part maker Magna International Company announced this past January 27 that it will invest over $100 million to build a new automotive stamping plant in the state of San Luis Potosí, raising Magna’s total number of Mexican plants to 31 in the 18 years since it first settled in our country.

    Other automotive industry news is that Martinrea Internacional Inc., with five plants in Mexico, confirmed last May that it plans to open two more. “We will likely double our operations in Mexico in the next five years. We see Mexico as one of our highest growth areas,” stated Executive Director Rob Wildeboer to President Felipe Calderón during the President’s Official Visit to Canada, on May 27, 2010.

    To boost competitiveness and productivity in the country, in 2010 alone a total of 14,000 regulations, rules, agreements and circulars were eliminated, a move that has greatly facilitated economic activity. In addition, the Internet portal www.tuempresa.gob.mx was created, which reduces to 9 (on average) the number of days required to complete the Federal Government procedures involved in opening a new business.


    Official: U.S. Hoping to Ratify Colombia Free Trade

    by Gisela Saloman
    Associated Press

    MIAMI – A State Department official says the Obama administration is committed to getting the Colombia Free Trade Agreement ratified by Congress.

    Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez spoke Thursday at a Miami conference co-hosted by business groups and the University of Miami.

    Colombia and the U.S. signed the agreement in 2006, but it has been blocked by opponents in Congress. Human rights advocates and labor groups say Colombia must do more to protect workers’ rights before the treaty is approved.

    Supporters of the agreement say Colombia has been a strong ally of the U.S. and should be rewarded for its loyalty and its fight against drug traffickers.

    Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/03/2049367/official-us-hoping-to-ratify-colombia.html#ixzz1DEadpQ1M


    20 U.S. Companies explore Investment Opportunities in Peru, Ecuador

    Lima, Feb. 01 (ANDINA). Representatives from 20 U.S. companies are exploring investment opportunities in Peru and Ecuador, said USDA’s Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse.

    Entrepreneurs from the United States, Peru and Ecuador will meet to evaluate the sectors with the greatest potential in the framework of the Agribusiness Trade and Investment Mission which will last until February 2.

    “The group will meet with 150 Peruvian and Ecuadorian entrepreneurs from several sectors such as the agricultural and the food industry,” he said.

    Scuse further noted that the mission represents the commitment of Barack Obama’s administration to contribute with the development of the region.

    “Our relation with Peru is as strong as possible. We have doubled the exports since the coming into effect of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA),” Scuse stated.


    Mexico’s Economy picks up Pace in November

    MEXICO CITY Jan 27 (Reuters) – Mexico’s economic growth picked up the pace in November, helped by a solid manufacturing sector and a jump in agricultural production.

    Economic activity MXIGAE=ECI rose 0.68 percent from October, the national statistics institute said on Thursday and was 5.83 percent MXIGDP=ECI up on a year earlier, beating analyst’s expectations.

    Surprisingly strong growth late last year in the United States, Mexico’s main trading partner, lifted local manufacturing. The finance minister said this week the economy could grow as much as 5 percent this year. [ID:nLDE70O1KC]

    Analysts surveyed by Reuters expected a 3.95 percent increase in economic activity year on year. (Reporting by Luis Rojas and Michael O’Boyle; Editing by Theodore d’Afflisio)


    MENA Tours Highly Recommended by Chamber of the Americas

    Jorge E. Sanchez, CTC, DS,
    Midwest Chapter President,
    American Society of Travel Agents,
    MENA Tours / American Express,
    5209 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640,
    T 773.275.2125, F 773.275.9726
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    When you conduct business with our agency, you receive
    the best combination of services. You enjoy the advantage of an independently owned, locally managed travel company with ties to the community, while benefiting from the extensive business travel resources of one of the most respected travel organizations in the world.

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    Peruvian SMEs to be Part of 23 Business Fairs and Roundtables

    Lima, (ANDINA). Peruvian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which seek to conquer the European Union will have the opportunity to be part of 23 business fairs and roundtables in Peru and abroad, Peru’s Exporters’ Association (ADEX) reported Tuesday.

    The manager of the Committee on Small Business of the Peruvian Association of Exporters (Pymeadex), Roberto Molero said that the neighboring countries are natural markets for the SMEs, but they are making the first steps to bring them closer to the European Union.

    Woman in Peruvian Market
    Diversidad de frutas son presentadas en la Feria Internacional Expoalimentaria que se inauguró hoy,en el Cuartel General del Ejército. Foto: ANDINA/Jorge Paz

    Molero noted that they will promote the participation of the SMEs dedicated to handicrafts and jewelery in the fairs Iberjoya, Intergift, and Bijoutex which will be held in Madrid (Spain) in September.

    Furthermore, they will also visit the Jewelry Industry’s Premier Event – JCK Show to be held in the city of Las Vegas in the United Stated. This was made possible thanks to a joint work made by Pymeadex and Peru’s Export and Tourism Promotion Board (Promperu).

    The schedule includes other missions to the United States to be part of the Children’s Club in New York to be held from March 6 to 8 and the Hannover and Resale fairs in Germany for the metal mechanic and manufacturing sectors. They will also visit the Colombiamoda Fair from June 27 to 29. This mission will be organized by Pymeadex and Promperu.

    The most important fair is without doubt the Expoalimentaria fair organized by Adex, which will have the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises from the food sector (agricultural and fishing), noted Molero.


    COTA Member: New Continental Airlines Los Angeles – Guadalajara Nonstop Service.

    New Continental Airlines Route: Los Angeles (LAX) – Guadalajara (GDL)
    Equipment: Boeing 737-800
    Capacity: 16First Class 144 Economy
    Frequency: Daily
    Service Effective: May 3, 2011 Subject to Mexican Government Approval
    Flight Times: Los Angeles – Guadalajara
    CO672 LAX Depart 8:20a GDL Arrive 1:15p Daily
    Guadalajara – Los Angeles
    CO673 GDL Depart 2:10p LAX Arrive 3:30p Daily

    Service Notes of Interest
    Continental currently serves GDL from Houston with up to six daily flights (735/ERJ).
    Continental serves 30 destinations in Mexico from the US- more than any other carrier.
    GDL will be the 8th destination for CO from LAX (BJX, CLE, EWR, HNL, IAH, ITO, OGG), in addition United’s hub operation.
    Continental operates from Terminal 1A at Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport and terminal 6 at LAX

    Guadalajara is the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and is the second largest municipality in Mexico after Mexico City (and the 10th largest in Latin America). Manufacturing, textiles, and information technology are the primary industries in Guadalajara. Guadalajara has been rated as the third most business friendly city in North America. Downtown Guadalajara is an excellent place to find colonial and Mexican architecture, including numerous plazas and the Metropolitan Cathedral.

    Guadalajara is the site of 2011 Pan American Games. Since winning the bid to host the Games, the city has been undergoing extensive renovations. The games expect more than 5,000 athletes from approximately 42 countries from the Americas and the Caribbean. The center of the city is repaving and creating streets as well as constructing new hotels for the approximately 22,000 rooms that will be needed by 2011. The new bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Macrobús, was launched in March and runs along Avenida Independencia. Eleven new sporting facilities are being created for the event. Other work includes a second terminal in the airport, a highway to Puerto Vallarta and a bypass for the southern part of the city.

    Guadalajara enjoys a temperature range between 52 and 79 degrees F.

    Links

    Visit Mexico – Guadalajara: http://www.visitmexico.com/wb/Visitmexico/Visi_Guadalajara

    Lonely Planet – Guadalajara: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/mexico/western-central-highlands/guadalajara


    COTA Member: Las Noticias de Hispanidad

    First Quarter, 2011

    It’s that time of the year again – be sure to check out the article “Marketing Trends for 2011” for details what smart marketers need to
    consider as they execute their plans.

    And speaking of 2011 marketing plans, the biggest adjustment marketers will need to make in the coming year is to understand that the familiar
    three-part Hispanic acculturation model – Unacculturated, Partially
    Acculturated, Acculturated – is changing.

    Although this model will continue to be valid, the differences between the three segments will increase, particularly with regard to media preferences. Moreover, the burgeoning segment of young, U.S.-born Hispanics (in less than
    10 years, 62% of all teens will be Hispanic) will only exacerbate the differences that exist between the various segments.


    Profile: Bolivia’s President Evo Morales

    When Evo Morales was elected Bolivia’s president in December 2005, it represented a radical change in the country’s history. Mr. Morales, an Aymara Indian, became the first president to come from the country’s indigenous majority.

    As a leader of a coca-growers union, he was also the first president to emerge from the social movements whose protests forced Bolivia’s two previous presidents from office.

    Mr. Morales was elected on a promise to govern in favor of Bolivia’s indigenous majority, who had suffered centuries of marginalization and discrimination.

    An avowed socialist, his political ideology combines standard left-wing ideas with an emphasis on traditional Andean values and social organization.

    A few months after taking office, he moved to put Bolivia’s rich gas fields under state control, worrying foreign investors.

    He also pushed for constitutional reform. Amid protests and disputes, he won a victory in a referendum in August 2008 on whether he should stay in office, and then a few months later a referendum approved his plans for a new constitution.

    It came into force in February 2009 setting out the rights of the indigenous majority, granting more regional and local autonomy and redefining Bolivia as a “multi-ethnic and pluri-cultural” nation.

    It also set out moves for large-scale land reform, enshrined state control over key natural resources, and paved the way for Mr. Morales to seek re-election.

    Mr. Morales’ left-wing policies have worried and in some cases antagonized many middle-class Bolivians who believe he is too radical.
    “I am a coca grower. I cultivate coca leaf, which is a natural product; I do not refine [it into] cocaine.” – Evo Morales

    His political base is among the indigenous population of Bolivia’s western highlands, while opposition has been concentrated in the wealthy eastern lowland province of Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s economic powerhouse.

    Regional leaders there led a campaign for greater autonomy, arguing that Mr. Morales’s socialist policies were damaging the economy and threatening private property.

    In December 2009, Evo Morales was re-elected president with 64% of the vote, easily defeating his conservative opponent and gaining ground even in the opposition stronghold of Santa Cruz.

    He promised to increase the role of the state in the economy and accelerate the pace of change.

    In 2010 he nationalized energy-generating firms and reformed pensions, taking over private funds and extending the state pension to millions of poor Bolivians.

    At the end of the year he faced his first major political setback when he tried to end government fuel subsidies, pushing the price of petrol up by more than 70%.

    Violent protests erupted and trades unions announced strikes, leading Mr Morales to back down.

    Since coming to power, Evo Morales has forged close links with other left-wing Latin American leaders, particularly Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel and Raul Castro in Cuba.

    Relations with the U.S. have been strained. In 2008 he expelled the U.S. ambassador, Philip Goldberg, accusing him of conspiring against his government, and suspended operations of the US Drug Enforcement Administration in Bolivia.

    Like Mr. Chavez, he is an outspoken critic of what he sees as US “imperialism” in Latin America, and has cultivated ties with other foes of the U.S., such as Iran.

    He has also taken on an outspoken role in international climate negotiations, arguing from an indigenous perspective for greater respect for “Mother Earth.”

    Although Mr. Morales’ electoral triumph in 2005 catapulted him to international recognition, he had long been a controversial figure in Bolivian politics.

    As the leader of the Movement towards Socialism (MAS) he played a central role in the violent demonstrations demanding the nationalization of the energy sector that led to the resignation of President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada in October 2003.

    His power base is in the coca-growing areas of central Bolivia and he remains the head of the biggest coca-growing union.

    Critics have long accused him of ties to drug trafficking because of his defense of coca cultivation. But he and his supporters stress the coca leaf is an intrinsic part of indigenous Andean culture, and not just the raw material for cocaine.

    Mr. Morales, who in his youth was a llama herder and trumpet player in a band, played a leading role in the indigenous struggle and the conflicts between coca farmers and U.S.-backed drug eradication programs.


    Richardson Lands New Job in Washington, D.C.

    SANTA FE, NM – Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has a new job as the special envoy for the Organization of American States.

    The OAS secretary announced the appointment Tuesday in Washington, D.C. after a meeting with Richardson.

    Richardson held a similar post in 2006, but left it after launching a presidential bid in 2007.

    The former two-term governor will focus on immigration and economic development.


    Peru’s Service Exports likely to Grow 25% by the End of 2011

    Lima – Peru’s service exports would increase at least 25 percent totaling US$5.12 billion by the end of 2011 boosted by a law aimed at promoting their trade, Foreign Trade and Tourism Ministry said Tuesday.

    “The impact of this new law in favor of services exports will be very positive, and the growth of that sector will depend on the investments attracted. But this year, it would rise at least 25 percent,” Minister Eduardo Ferreyros said.

    The law was enacted in late 2010 by President Alan Garcia, and thanks to this regulation the third generation of Peru’s export offer to the world began.

    In 2010 non-traditional exports exceeded US$ 7 billion, that is, Peru’s total exports in 2001.

    Ferreyros stressed that the export of non-traditional products is generating a significant amount of jobs for thousands of Peruvians across the country.


    U.S. Ambassador to Peru says Priorities are Trade, Fighting Narco-trafficking

    Living in Peru (blog)

    Many U.S. companies are already here, and the ones that aren’t here want to come here. It’s a hot moment, and Peru is perfectly positioned to take advantage …

    By Nathan Paluck
    Rose M. Likins officially began as new U.S. Ambassador to Peru on Sept. 30. “It’s really exciting,” she said in a recent interview with LivinginPeru.com. “I don’t think there’s been a better moment to arrive in Peru and be the U.S. Ambassador in Peru.”

    Her time in the U.S. Foreign Service has focused on Latin America. From 2000-2003 she was ambassador to El Salvador, and other posts abroad include Paraguay, Mexico and Bulgaria. Born into the Air Force, where both parents served, her two brothers also served in the military and her son, 23, is beginning a second tour of Afghanistan as a marine.

    “Peru seems to be receiving attention like never before, in the U.S. also. Our tourism numbers are phenomenal. Three hundred and seventy thousand Americans a year are visiting Peru. That’s more than 1,000 a day. That’s just Americans — it’s not counting the rest of the world. As I say to people, Peru is very in fashion in the U.S. now, for good reasons: great cultural resources that people want to come and see, everything from Machu Picchu to the Amazons and ecotourism. And obviously the business environment. Many U.S. companies are already here, and the ones that aren’t here want to come here. It’s a hot moment, and Peru is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the attention and the spotlight.”

    You’ll be here for three years. Can you mention a few of the U.S.’s top priorities looking ahead?
    “The free trade agreement between Peru and the United States is an important foundational piece for our relationship. It’s been good so far for both countries. Trade is up in both directions: Americans are selling more to Peru and Peru is selling more to the United States. That makes us Peru’s number one trade partner, so that’s an important relationship for us. Implementation of the free trade agreement is going to continue to be very important to both sides. I will spend a lot of my time and energy, and the Embassy, to help make that treaty successful. It has a lot of moving parts, from the fulfillment of the environmental provisions of the accord, the labor provisions. But also protection of intellectual property. Those are vital things for our country.

    The fight against narcotics trafficking is going to continue to be a high policy priority for the United States. Not just because it’s about an illegal activity, but because it is dangerous to Peru’s institutions. The corruption, the violence, the implications of a society with increasing abuse problems. As a friend of Peru, we don’t want to see those toxic affects that narcotics trafficking brings to a society.”

    Recently both the president of Peru and the foreign minister hinted at wanting more support [fighting narcotics trafficking]. Is that something you’ll be going through with them the next few years?
    “It’s a tough environment for everybody. Our counter-narcotics assistance this year [FY 2010] to Peru is $71 million and our overall assistance program for Peru is $160 million. Our embassy has prepared a great chart about where all that goes — it’s on the embassy website. Obviously, they are right to be concerned that the success we’ve had in Colombia has in fact pushed people who want to look at Peru as an alternative. I think the comments they made are a reflection of that concern. Because we have a terrific relationship, a great working relationship with the police, the military, the prosecutors. We have decades working on this problem together, and we have a strong relationship. I think the comments stem from their worry about a push from the trafficking organizations to find a new space in Peru. … We’d all like to have an infinite amount of resources, but that’s not the real world. And they recognize that. But we’ll continue to do the very best job we can.”

    U.S. Ambassador talks about Noche de Arte
    Ambassador says goodbye to Peru during Fourth of July celebration

    How often does the U.S. ambassador typically meet with the president of the host country?
    “Every country is different – as I just arrived here, I don’t really know. I’ve seen the president a few times. I had my courtesy call and we’ve been at other events together: the inauguration of the HONLEA conference and the ceremony for Admiral Grau in Callao.”

    Are there any plans for a visit from President Obama to Peru?
    “We’d certainly all love that, but there’s nothing on the calendar yet. President García was very nice to invite President Obama to come when President García was in Washington. … It would be fabulous; my experience with those kinds of visits is that whenever they happen, it does great things for the relationship. It is a driving event. Anything that is pending, a presidential visit is an action-producing event. For us professionals, it is a lot of work but also a time of results.”

    Does the U.S. has any official position in regards to the museum El Lugar de la Memoria, the museum proposed for the memory of the violent Shining Path years?
    “We don’t have an official position on the museum per se. I will say that in any society, remembering history, putting it in context and helping future generations be aware of what happened and the damage that can be done by extremism and violence — I think is important. So, I certainly support the concept. … In every society when you experience a trauma like that, it is important to give people a way to think about it, to have a frame of reference about it, to keep the facts in front of people for future generations.”


    U.S. Senate confirms Ambassador in Dominican Republic

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate has confirmed Raul H. Yzaguirre as United States Ambassador in the Dominican Republic, the Consulate of that nation said in a statement.

    Yzaguirre, who is currently a professor in Arizona State University, was also a senior executive of the Latino movement “La Raza,” among other posts.

    “As we work to bolster our relations in the global community and place our nation on the path to prosperity once again, I’m confident that these people will be able to represent our nation with dignity. I hope to have the opportunity to work with you in the next months and years,” President Barack Obama said during designation of Yzaguirre and his team.

    The designation fills the vacancy left by former U.S. Ambassador Hans Hertell more than two years ago.


    U.S. Ambassador to Peru says Priorities are Trade, Fighting Narco-trafficking

    from Living in Peru (blog) by Nathan Paluck

    Many U.S. companies are already here, and the ones that aren’t here want to come here. It’s a hot moment, and Peru is perfectly positioned to take advantage…

    Rose M. Likins officially began as new U.S. Ambassador to Peru on Sept. 30. “It’s really exciting,” she said in a recent interview with LivinginPeru.com. “I don’t think there’s been a better moment to arrive in Peru and be the U.S. Ambassador in Peru.”

    Her time in the U.S. Foreign Service has focused on Latin America. From 2000-2003 she was ambassador to El Salvador, and other posts abroad include Paraguay, Mexico and Bulgaria. Born into the Air Force, where both parents served, her two brothers also served in the military and her son, 23, is beginning a second tour of Afghanistan as a marine.

    “Peru seems to be receiving attention like never before, in the U.S. also. Our tourism numbers are phenomenal. Three hundred and seventy thousand Americans a year are visiting Peru. That’s more than 1,000 a day. That’s just Americans — it’s not counting the rest of the world. As I say to people, Peru is very in fashion in the U.S. now, for good reasons: great cultural resources that people want to come and see, everything from Machu Picchu to the Amazons and ecotourism. And obviously the business environment. Many U.S. companies are already here, and the ones that aren’t here want to come here. It’s a hot moment, and Peru is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the attention and the spotlight.”

    You’ll be here for three years. Can you mention a few of the U.S.’s top priorities looking ahead?
    “The free trade agreement between Peru and the United States is an important foundational piece for our relationship. It’s been good so far for both countries. Trade is up in both directions: Americans are selling more to Peru and Peru is selling more to the United States. That makes us Peru’s number one trade partner, so that’s an important relationship for us. Implementation of the free trade agreement is going to continue to be very important to both sides. I will spend a lot of my time and energy, and the Embassy, to help make that treaty successful. It has a lot of moving parts, from the fulfillment of the environmental provisions of the accord, the labor provisions. But also protection of intellectual property. Those are vital things for our country.

    The fight against narcotics trafficking is going to continue to be a high policy priority for the United States. Not just because it’s about an illegal activity, but because it is dangerous to Peru’s institutions. The corruption, the violence, the implications of a society with increasing abuse problems. As a friend of Peru, we don’t want to see those toxic affects that narcotics trafficking brings to a society.”

    Recently both the president of Peru and the foreign minister hinted at wanting more support [fighting narcotics trafficking]. Is that something you’ll be going through with them the next few years?
    “It’s a tough environment for everybody. Our counter-narcotics assistance this year [FY 2010] to Peru is $71 million and our overall assistance program for Peru is $160 million. Our embassy has prepared a great chart about where all that goes — it’s on the embassy website. Obviously, they are right to be concerned that the success we’ve had in Colombia has, in fact, pushed people who want to look at Peru as an alternative. I think the comments they made are a reflection of that concern. Because we have a terrific relationship, a great working relationship with the police, the military, the prosecutors. We have decades working on this problem together, and we have a strong relationship. I think the comments stem from their worry about a push from the trafficking organizations to find a new space in Peru. We’d all like to have an infinite amount of resources, but that’s not the real world. And they recognize that. But we’ll continue to do the very best job we can.”