The huge rhetorical spat between Bolivia and Peru over Peru’s Miss Universe costume (purportedly ripped off a traditional Bolivian devil costume) is covered in the Wall Street Journal. Miss Universe is a huge affair in the region, and although I complain about Western media coverage of Bolivia, Peru’s papers are out of control. In the end though, Venezuela won.
Slate has a nice, little piece about how wonderful Peru’s economy is weathering the downturn. Reading the piece, I kept waiting for the mention of how Peru’s neighbor to the south, Bolivia, is also an economic bright spot in the hemisphere. The article never mentions Bolivia but has this description:
In the Western Hemisphere, one small country has outperformed its larger, richer, neighbors to the north. Its export-dependent economy has weathered the global credit tsunami in good shape . . . Its public finances seem to be sound, and the authorities appear to be making the right countercyclical moves. What’s the name of this mystery country that finds itself on an economic shining path?
Actually, Peru isn’t by it lonesome self, and the description could apply equally to Bolivia. Bolivia is expected to grow at least 2% this year, and has the largest currency reserves in relation to GDP of any country in Latin America. Bolivia is also moving ahead with infrastructure investment around the country. Pretty much Bolivia is doing all the things the article praises Peru for doing.
Although I could speculate why this article sings the high praise of Peru’s economy, while ignoring the nearly equal performance of the Bolivian economy, I don’t know if it’s really worth it. I was pondering a more complex analysis of the underlying dynamic here but then I saw that Newsweek has this out today:
These people have an almost comical inability to understand international relations and complex foreign societies. It’s doubtful these people have the ability to make nuanced judgments about the policies and ideologies of Latin American governments. And compared to this headline, a certain political ignorance of small Andean countries doesn’t seem so bad.
Bolivia and Peru are doing the best out of the bunch, and the hardest hit economies are also the biggest, Argentina and Brazil.