Posts From Samuel Arnold-Parra

Back to homepage
Central America Economics

Nicaragua: Risks to Economic Recovery in 2021

Like most other countries, Nicaragua’s economy slowed in 2020 owing to the international effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nicaragua was also affected by a rough hurricane season, sustaining damage particularly from Hurricanes Eta and Iota. Compounding these challenges, the country’s political environment remains an obstacle to encouraging foreign direct investment and improving the country’s socioeconomic situation. How is Nicaragua’s situation likely to change in 2021?

Asia Pacific Politics

Japan: Will Suga Remain Prime Minister After September?

After Abe Shinzo stepped down as Japan’s Prime Minister in late August last year, then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide emerged as the man to succeed him, through the support of high ranking Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) figures including Abe himself and the party’s secretary-general Nikai Toshihiro. Though Suga began his premiership with reasonable approval ratings, public support has since plummeted. With an LDP leadership contest scheduled for September 2021, the possibility exists that Suga will not be in the top seat by that point this year. How likely is such an outcome, and what factors are likely to contribute?

Latin America Politics

Alex Saab and the State of Corruption in Venezeula

The Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro has been accused of turning a blind eye to or engaging actively in corruption for both the personal enrichment of state officials and as part of sanction-dodging efforts. Among other individuals linked to corruption by the Maduro government, in June 2020 Colombian national Alex Saab was arrested in Cape Verde in connection with an Interpol Red Notice concerning money laundering. Now, 6 months after his arrest, it seems likely that he will be extradited to the US. How significant is Saab to the Maduro government and what impact might his extradition have?

Covid-19 Latin America

Cry for me, Argentina: COVID-19 and Economic Woe

2020 cannot be described as a good year for Argentina. Already struggling with high inflation and a sovereign debt of over $300 billion, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic confronted the Argentine government with new financial drains and economic hurdles. Faced with this crisis, Argentina’s economy has undergone a severe contraction. Though Argentina’s economic situation is, along with that of many other countries affected by the pandemic, expected to rebound in 2021, indications are not positive for a long-term indication in the country’s economic situation.

Asia Pacific Technology and infrastructure

A Neglected Frontier: Challenges to Japan’s Cyber Security

2020’s SolarWinds cyberattack, which affected numerous US government agencies, underscores the growing relevance of IT security and cyber-crime to national governments. Not solely the work of individual criminals, crimes perpetrated by state-sponsored or entirely state-operated hacker groups have increasingly been alleged. With cyberspace growing in importance as a frontier of political contestation, states must act; what steps has Japan been taking, and what barriers are there to enhancing Japan’s cybersecurity?

Latin America Politics Security

Forever War: The Unfulfilled Peace in Colombia

Despite the signing of a peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla organization in June 2016, Colombia continues to struggle with armed violence by far-left guerrilla groups including the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) and FARC dissidents, as well as by right wing paramilitaries and criminal cartels. The causes of this continued violence are numerous and range from the attitude of the Duque administration towards the peace agreement, to the situation in neighbouring Venezuela.

Economics Latin America

Rumours of reform: the likelihood and consequences of currency reform in Cuba

Indications have been growing that the Cuban government intends to move forward with sweeping reforms to the country’s currency and exchange rate systems. These reforms will certainly involve the unification of the country’s current dual currency system. Nevertheless, such a change is easier said than done and will almost certainly be painful in the short term.

Latin America Politics

Crisis in Peru: The interplay between COVID and Corruption

Peru is in the throes of a political crisis following the outbreak of protests after the impeachment of now former President Martín Vizcarra, ostensibly due to corruption during his time as Governor of the province of Moquegua between 2011 and 2014. The protestors see Vizcarra’s impeachment as politically motivated, carried out to halt the anti-graft initiatives he sought to implement; the protests have also been inflamed by alleged police brutality that led to the deaths of 2 demonstrators. It is likely that some concession by the government will be made in order to defuse this tension.

Asia Pacific Politics

Japan – Taking Initiative in the Asia-Pacific Region

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga embarked on his first diplomatic visits last month, meeting the Vietnamese and Indonesian governments. Suga’s choice of Vietnam and Indonesia, both important members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), demonstrates his aim to continue the policy formulated under his predecessor Shinzo Abe for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP). Alongside this, there are indications that Japan will step up the involvement of its defence industry both for the country’s own security and that of the wider Asia-Pacific region. With an ineffective US Asia policy and a gutted US State Department, the moment is right for Japan to take the initiative towards peace and prosperity in the region.

Latin America Politics

What a Biden Presidency Means for Latin America

With his position as President-Elect all but guaranteed, it is important that leaders and policymakers grasp the policies and stances Joe Biden is likely to take on a myriad of issues. This is especially true for leaders in the region closest to the United States, Latin America. Drawing on previous statements and actions by Joe Biden, particularly during his time as Vice-President under President Barack Obama, this article will highlight that Biden is likely to pursue a more positive and co-operative agenda with the region compared to President Donald Trump.