Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Welcome back to the Latin America Brief, where we highlight Brazil’s new industrial policy, the Dominican Republic’s trial of a four-day workweek, and international controversy at a music festival in Chile. A year and a half after the United States passed the Inflation Reduction Act, Brazil unveiled its own industrial policy package on Monday. The announcement detailed $60 billion in grants and loans aimed at activities like green energy, drug manufacturing, and farming productivity w. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva framed the policy as essential for Brazil to become a definitively great and developed country. The policy aims to make progress on six missions, including shortening urban commutes and cutting emissions in the manufacturing sector. The strategy behind the policy was developed together with Italian economist Mariana Mazzucato, emphasizing public-private partnerships that harness the work of multiple economic sectors at once. Critics remain skeptical of the policy, citing a long history of failed industrial policies in Brazil. Specifically, concerns were raised about the lack of robust evaluation and adjustment mechanisms in the past, making it politically costly to alter support to certain sectors or companies. Brazil’s auto industry, for example, has struggled to make products competitive for international markets. Additionally, concerns around evaluation mechanisms have been raised, with emphasis on the need to measure impact against a comparison group of similar firms that did not receive government help. In other news, Pope Francis played a key role in securing the release of detainees in Nicaragua and Haiti. The upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in El Salvador, the appearance of former U.S. defense contractor Fat Leonard in a U.S. court after extradition from Venezuela, and the trial of a four-day workweek in the Dominican Republic are also noteworthy developments in the region. The controversial performance of Mexican singer Peso Pluma at a music festival in Chile, where calls to cancel his participation have been made due to his songs about drug violence, has sparked discussions about censorship and societal fear of violence. Peso Pluma’s music, which spans numerous genres, has caused controversy in Chile for the genre called narcocorrido, an urban, trap-infused version of traditional Mexican regional ballads that discuss drug trafficking. Overall, the Latin America Brief highlights a range of economic, political, and social developments across the region.

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