All Articles (42)

Brazil’s leading prosecutor filed a document containing 230 pages with the Supreme Court charging former Presidents Lula and Dilma Rousseff with running a criminal organisation involving cartel formation, corruption and money laundering through state-owned oil firm Petrobras. The charges indicted 6 other Workers Party (PT) functionaries, including two former Finance Ministers. On 14 September, President Michel Temer was charged with obstruction of justice and racketeering. Collusive…

Venezuela’s cash-strapped national oil company Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PdVSA) has offered India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) an extra stake in a joint venture, according to a July Reuters report. PdVSA is making slow payments under a recent agreement to OVL towards over $500 million in pending dividends. PdVSA reportedly offered 9 per cent further equity to OVL, which holds 40 per cent in the project, currently producing around 23,000 barrels of heavy oil per day. The price of the deal is…

On 5 August the Venezuelan Constituent Assembly (ANC) - all 545 members from the Chavista bloc - ‘elected’ to refashion the current constitution promulgated by Hugo Chavez in 1999, held its inaugural session. Widely regarded as President Maduro’s ploy to strengthen his hold on power and further marginalise the opposition - which holds a two-thirds majority since December 2015 in the emasculated parliament – the election was preceded by violent protests by civil society and the political…

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to LAC declined by 7.9 percent to $167.043 billion in 2016, due to low commodity prices, sluggish economic growth and global trend of shifting investment in developed economies, according to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). At 3.6 per cent of the region's gross domestic product (GDP), against the global average is 2.5 per cent, investment by transnational corporations in the region's economies is crucial. Brazil…

On 21 June, the first meeting of the India-Peru Joint Commission, set up in 2013, was held in Lima at the level of Secretary/Vice Minister. Peru is an important and growing market for Indian exports. It is a member of the Pacific Alliance where India has observer status, which it seeks to upgrade to Associate Member status. Peru has agreed to negotiate a free trade agreement with India and signed up to the India based International Solar Alliance and other accords on renewable energy and…

Presidents of Argentina and Chile both attended the One Belt One Road (OBOR) Summit in Beijing in May, adding on bilateral visits to sign agreements. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meetings in 2016 with Bachelet and Macri launched the China-Chile Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and agreement on two nuclear plants to generate over 1200 MW of electricity in Argentina. China is the largest trading partner of Brazil, Peru and Chile, and the second largest for still more LAC…

The political fallout in Brazil of the ongoing ‘Car Wash’ investigations into corruption deepened, with the publication of a conversation in which President Michel Temer allegedly colluded with an accused businessman to defend the former Speaker of the Parliament, now in prison. A leading Senator of the main opposition Social Democratic party and potential presidential candidate, Mr Aecio Neves, was similarly exposed and is being tried by the Supreme Court. All this happened as former…
Ecuador’s Former Vice President Lenin Moreno (2007-13), candidate of the ruling party ALIANZA PAIS, was elected President in the second round of voting in the presidential election on 2 April. Moreno, a paraplegic who had done better in the first round in February, defeated the conservative businessman, Guillermo Lasso of the CREO party, by 51.1 to 48.9 percent. This victory has come as a relief for the Left in South America, where allied regimes have lost to the Right recently in Brazil,…
The framework for negotiation of a Trade Agreement with Peru was finalised during the visit of  Vice Minister of Foreign Trade, Edgar Vasquez to India in March. The agreement falls short of a free trade agreement that Peru was willing to negotiate. India  prefers to move slowly though both sides agreed to include services and investments within the ambit of the negotiations. Peru is one of the more dynamic economies of the region. The election last year of the market-friendly…
Mexico has taken on the Trump challenge by accelerating talks with signatories of the TPP, Brazil and Argentina who were invited to the March meeting of the 4-nation Pacific Alliance, followed by a meeting between the two blocs in April in Buenos Aires. This market-friendly grouping, formed in 2012 by Mexico with Chile, Peru and Colombia, has drawn attention for its success in lowering trade and investment barriers. US threats have already impacted the Mexican peso, FDI and may hit GDP…

After Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA and ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL), last year signed a deal allowing the latter to get 17,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil to recover dues of about $540 million, OVL received the first installment of $19 million in end of January. OVL has invested $200 million in the San Cristobal field in Venezuela and had not received any dividend since 2009. The two companies also agreed that ONGC will arrange a loan of $320 million to boost output from the field,…

IMF assesses that Latin America’s economy will grow just 1.2% in 2017: Brazil (0.2%); Mexico (1.7%); Argentina (2.2%); Chile (2.2%) and Peru (4.3%). Venezuela’s GDP will shrink further.
 
UNCTAD figures show that despite a fall in foreign investment in Brazil from $65 billion in 2015 to $50 billion in 2016, it was ranked 7th, ahead of India in 8th place with $42 billion ($59 billion in 2015). Brazil’s Central Bank estimated FDI in 2015 at $75 billion and in 2016…

The 5th Summit of the 33-nation Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in the Dominican Republic on 25 January 2017 revealed apparent fissures in the region. Only 10 heads of state attended. Mexico, Chile, Panama, Colombia and Guatemala cancelled at the last minute. The political declaration called for Washington to return the Guantanamo military base and end the economic embargo on Cuba “without conditions”. It also called for a “national dialogue” in Venezuela and…

Fidel Castro passed away on 26 November, ending an era. After he handed over power to his younger brother Raúl in 2006, because of ill health, and the presidency de jure in 2008, Cuba began changing slowly. The monolithic communist political economy Castro had overseen for almost half a century welcomed foreign investment and private enterprise, subject to conditions, and loosened restrictions on movement and ownership for its citizens. Castro saw the US government re-establish diplomatic…

On 4 November, India’s ONGC (Videsh) Ltd – OVL and Venezuelan national oil company PdVSA signed two agreements.  PdVSA currently owes ONGC about $600 million and will ‘give a volume of crude every month... total dues will be squared off in a couple of years.’ Funds from crude oil sales by PdVSA are to be deposited in an escrow account. ONGC agreed to invest $ 318 million to increase production in the Orinoco San Cristobal field, from around 18,000 bpd to 27,000 bpd.…

Peru hosted the 24th Summit of the 21-nation Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on 19-20 November. Attended by U.S. President Barack Obama, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and Japan’s Shinzo Abe, the Summit agreed “to carefully study the possibility for an Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area”, an idea promoted by China and linked to the ongoing negotiations for an Asian RCEP. Even as the leaders sought to allay fears about the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),…
At a mega business event on 12-15 September, President Mauricio Macri conveyed the message that Argentina is a country that can be trusted. Projects have been announced, inter alia for exploration and extraction of gold, silver, copper and lithium. Incentives include a 30-year fiscal stability agreement, free transfer of profits, a single exchange system, elimination of the state’s export monopoly and free import of capital goods. Latin America’s third-largest economy, with a gross…
On the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Goa, PM Modi had a bilateral meeting with President Michel Temer of Brazil. Both reasserted their interest in permanent membership of the UN Security Council. President Temer reportedly conveyed Brazil’s ‘understanding’ for India’s case at the Nuclear Suppliers Group. At the plenary meeting in Seoul in June, Brazil supported India but wanted a "non-discriminatory process", not country-specific admission. 
 
Four MOUs…
Vice President M H Ansari led the Indian delegation to the 17th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Venezuela. Venezuela presides over the movement till 2019 when it will hand over to Azerbaijan. There had been speculation in Indian media that PM Modi, the second Indian PM after Charan Singh in 1979 to not attend a NAM Summit, had downgraded the movement. Only 8 of the 120 delegations in fact were headed by Presidents, mainly left-wing allies of the ALBA bloc of LAC (35 went to Teheran…

Ms Delcy Rodriguez, Foreign Minister of Venezuela visited Delhi and met External Affairs Minsiter Ms Sushma Swaraj to hand over the invitation to the XVII NAM Summit being held in Venezuela on 17-18 September, 2016. She was accompanied by the Venezuelan Minister of Petroleum, Mr Eulogio del Pino who met Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Dharmendra Pradhan.


The Indian side reiterated its long-standing proposal for an oil-for-export mechanism for payment of pending dues…

Ambassador Deepak Bhojwani joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1978. He retired in February 2012. During his career, he was accredited as Ambassador in seven Latin American countries, resident in Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba, concurrent in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and was Consul General in Sao Paulo. He served abroad in three Continents – Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia), Europe (Spain and Czech Republic) and Latin America.

In the Ministry of External Affairs, he served in the Divisions dealing with Administration; West Asia and North Africa; US and Canada; and had a brief stint at the United Nations.

Ambassador Bhojwani also served as Private Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, Mr P.V.Narasimha Rao for two years from 1994 to 1996, and as Special Assistant to the Minister of State for External Affairs and for Science and Technology, Mr K.R.Narayanan, from 1985 till 1988.

He writes extensively on Latin America and its relations with India. He has written a book published in 2015 titled ‘Latin America, the Caribbean and India: Promise and Challenge’.

He is currently a Consultant for Latin America and the Caribbean through his firm LATINDIA (www.latindia.in)

Ambassador Bhojwani also serves as Independent Director on the Board of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., one of the largest state oil and gas companies of India.

Since January 2017 he has been Country Manager and Director, Magotteaux Industries Pvt. Ltd.