IMF

Juan Karita / AP

COMMENTARY

Tuesday night the Trump Administration made the surprising if not stunning announcement that, for the first time ever, the U.S. is nominating an American to head the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). For many if not most Latin American and Caribbean governments, the news was more jarring than hearing a gringo tourist order dinner in Spanish.

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to trigger the worst recession since the Great Depression — dwarfing the fallout from the financial crisis a dozen years ago, the International Monetary Fund warned Tuesday.

It predicts the global economy will shrink 3% this year, before rebounding in 2021. The expected contraction in the U.S. will be almost twice as sharp, the IMF said, with the gross domestic product falling by 5.9% in 2020. The IMF predicts a partial recovery in the U.S. next year, with the economy growing by 4.7%.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

COMMENTARY

One of the most popular, and most ridiculous, social media discussions of the past year is the big Capitalism-versus-Socialism Debate. Thanks to President Trump’s right-wing demonization of socialism, and Bernie Sanders’ left-wing demonization of capitalism, folks in America – and in Latin America, thanks to Sanders’ recent kudos to Cuba – have decided it’s an either-or issue.

It’s not, of course. The best societies are always a hybrid of free wealth production and fair wealth redistribution. And the coronavirus pandemic, from São Paulo to Seattle, may finally affirm that commonsense reality across our absurdly polarized hemisphere.

JUAN BARRETO / AFP/Getty Images

A newly negotiated government funding compromise on Capitol Hill includes nearly a half-billion dollars in humanitarian aid to support Venezuelan refugees and codifies sanctions against the regime of embattled Venezuelan ruler Nicolás Maduro.

A poor showing for Argentina's President Mauricio Macri and a surge for his leftist opponent sparked fears of a possible default on the country's IMF loans, sending the peso to its lowest level in nearly two decades and causing a massive sell-off in the country's stock market.

Although Macri, who belongs to the center-right Republican Proposal party, was not expected to do well in Monday's primary, populist Alberto Fernández and his running mate, ex-president Christina Kirchner, scored 15 points higher in their primary for Citizen's Unity.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

When the year started, we were astounded to hear Venezuela’s 2018 inflation rate could top 13,000 percent. That’s pretty bad hyperinflation. But Venezuelans now look at that forecast as the good news.

Jamaica Information Service/Prime Minister's Office

These days the Caribbean seems better known for debt ruin than for dark rum.

The region – South Florida’s next-door neighbor – is home to some of the world’s most indebted countries. Since 2010, five of them have defaulted. The government of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, may soon shut down thanks to its epic debt crisis.

But Jamaica – whose more than $16 billion debt represents 130 percent of its GDP – may be the Caribbean’s debt champ. And that’s a big reason Andrew Holness is expected to be sworn in this week as the island’s new Prime Minister.