LatAm Daily Briefing: Bolivia’s Former Interim President Arrested; Costa Rica Sets Out Decarbonization Plans

15 March: Find out what's been happening in Latin America with our latest news update.

Posted Monday, March 15th 2021
LatAm Daily Briefing: Bolivia’s Former Interim President Arrested; Costa Rica Sets Out Decarbonization Plans

Bolivia's former interim president Jeanine Áñez was arrested Saturday on terrorism and sedition charges linked to the ousting of her predecessor and political rival Evo Morales. Police were also rounding up former ministers who backed the conservative politician's caretaker government, which was in place for a year after Morales fled the country in November 2019 amid disputed elections, according to media reports. Morales was ousted following allegation of fraud in the 2019 elections that returned him to power, and he spent a year in exile, in Mexico and Argentina, before returning to the country in late 2020 following the victory by Luis Arce, the candidate for his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party.

Brazilian economic activity rose sharply in January, a central bank index showed on Monday, indicating that Latin America’s largest economy has not only recovered all its pandemic-related decline but is now back to the size it was over five years ago. The IBC-Br economic activity index, a leading indicator of gross domestic product, rose a seasonally adjusted 1.04% in December, more than double the 0.4% increase forecast in a Reuters poll of economists. The seasonally adjusted index in January stood at 140.3, higher than the 140.02 from February last year, before the Covid-19 pandemic brought the economy to a standstill and triggered the biggest annual decline in activity since 1990.

The Costa Rican government has launched a decarbonization plan for the 2020-2050 period that could cost a total of 13.1 trillion colones ($21.4 billion).  "We are providing a vision of Costa Rica in 2050, a Costa Rica with a decentralized, digitized and decarbonized economy, with equal opportunities for all people in all regions, in which each and everyone is part of the progress of the country," President Carlos Alvarado said. The core of the plan is to focus on 11 regional development hubs, including the greater metropolitan area of capital San José, with the aim of encouraging development outside the capital. Key interventions will be carried out in these hubs in order to boost the economy and generate development, Alvarado said. The hubs will be connected via six development corridors which will facilitate flows of goods and people. 

Ecuador’s electoral tribunals has rejected allegations of fraud in the February elections presented by third-placed candidate Yaku Pérez, and which has ratified its previous ruling on the outcome of the first-round election, in which left-wing candidate Andrés Arauz was declared the winner, and who will compete in a second-round election on April 11th against right-wing candidate Guillermo Lasso. Pérez, who is an Indigenous leader and anti-mining activist, had initially been in a tie for second place with Lasso before Lasso emerged as the second-placed candidate.

Mexico’s economy contracted by 10.5% in 2020, its worst slump in 80 years, according to estimates by the International Montary Fund, but which is optimistic in its forecast for recovery this year, which it expects will be around 3.3%, while Moody’s forecasts growth of 5.5% for this year, with its optimism buoyed by the arrival of vaccines in the country. Citibanamex’s director for economic studies, Iván Arias Gallegos, was quoted by La Jornada newspaper as saying that the second half of 2020 was better than expected for the country’s economy, while the stimulus plan announced by the US government will have a knock-on effect on Mexico by boosting the country’s exports.

Peru has suspended its mandatory quarantine regulations for travelers entering the country following a decline in the number of new Covid-19 cases, as well as dropping the requirement that travelers on domestic flights present results of a PCR test for the virus. However, foreigners arriving in Peru must still present the results of a PCR test. Tourism and Foreign Trade Minister Claudia Cornejo made the announcement, adding that health and safety measures such as the mandatory wearing of face masks in airports and during flights would remain in place.