Posts From Samuel Arnold-Parra

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Latin America Security

Mexican Marijuana: The Effects of Legalization on the Economy and the War on Drugs

Following in the footsteps of countries including Canada and Uruguay, Mexico’s lower house passed a bill on 10th March for the purpose of legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, often referred to as AMLO, has cited undermining drug cartels as one of the key reasons behind his support for the proposal. Nevertheless, though legalization is likely to prove an economic boon, its impact on crime is likely to be less substantial.

Environment Latin America

An Ecosystem in Crisis: Environmental Degradation in Venezuela

Venezuela’s biodiverse environment, from its share of the Amazon rainforest to its lakes and coastline, has suffered increasing levels of pollution and degradation in recent years. Venezuela’s reliance on extractive practices including mining and its ageing oil industry is one of the main drivers of the degradation of its environment. Given the attitude of the Maduro regime, the situation is set to worsen.

Latin America The Energy Briefing

The Struggle over Mexico’s Energy Sector: What’s At Stake?

Recently, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stepped up his administration’s efforts to reform the country’s Electricity Industry Law. However, these attempts have received criticism from the private sector and lawmakers. The dispute has the potential to affect Mexico’s relations with regional partners like the USA and Canada and, depending on the outcome of legislative elections in June, may even cause constitutional changes.

Politics Southeast Asia

Japan’s Glass Ceiling: Obstacles to Women’s Participation in the Workplace

Female participation in Japan’s workforce has increased in the last few decades but Japan still ranks poorly in terms of women’s participation in politics and corporate organisations relative to other developed economies. Initiatives to rectify this inequality struggle due to gendered social expectations and unfavourable political conditions.

Latin America Risk Pulse

The Implications of Colombia’s Decision to Grant Temporary Residence to Venezuelan Refugees

On 8th February, Colombian President Ivan Duque announced that Colombia would grant temporary residence to over 950,000 undocumented Venezuelan migrants in the country. This announcement constitutes a significant humanitarian measure, with the potential to have a regional and international impact. What is the situation of Venezuelan migrants in Latin America and what impact might Duque’s decision have both domestically and in broader terms?

Politics Southeast Asia

Japan and Myanmar’s Coup: The Likelihood of a Restrained Response

The news of the Myanmarese military’s coup against the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi at the start of February this year shocked the international community. Many countries have issued statements condemning the coup, with some moving forward in introducing measures such as sanctions. How is Japan likely to react to this crisis and what impact might Japan’s response have on its foreign relations?

Asia Pacific Economics

Japan’s Tech Competitiveness: Why the Decline?

The Japanese government’s plans to increase economic efficiency and productivity through digitalisation reflect Japan’s growing need to develop new and innovative technologies in software and big data. However, Japanese firms’ incremental and often secretive R&D approach and risk-averse attitude to investments in startups undermine these efforts.

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?