Recent Events

The new administration has brought with it a plethora of tensions for the United States’ relationship with Mexico. From a proposed border wall, to talks of withdrawing from NAFTA, to a scrapped meeting between the two presidents, what was historically a diplomatic partnership has been turned on its head.

On Tuesday, March 7, the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center hosted ‘Trade, Security, and Prosperity,’ a discussion with Margarita Zavala, one of the main contenders for the presidency of Mexico in 2018, and Michael Chertoff, former US Secretary of Homeland Security. The event also marked the launch of the Beyond the Headlines: A Strategy for US Engagement with Latin America in the Trump Era. The publication, part of the Atlantic Council Strategy Papers series for the new administration, was written in partnership with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.
With US-Mexico relations at a historic low, Mexico is asking itself whether the bet it made twenty-three years ago on a future of cooperative economic prosperity integrated markets and security building between the three North American countries was a good one.

In order to assess the economic and strategic importance of the relationship between the North American countries, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center hosted a timely lunch with distinguished experts. Following introductory remarks by Senior Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives and Director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, Peter Schechter, Former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez gave opening remarks on the current situation of the US-Mexico relationship and the shroud of uncertainty that masks the future of an integrated North America.
After the abrupt cancellation of the first scheduled meeting between Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and US President Donald Trump in January, the deep security and commercial ties that bind the two countries felt the heat as bilateral cooperation reached new lows.

In trying to search for what the future holds for this crucial relationship, Adrienne Arsht senior vice president for Strategic Initiatives Director, Peter Schechter, and Latin America Economic Growth Initiative Director, Jason Marczak, spoke with José Cárdenas, a former senior foreign-policy adviser at the State Department, National Security Council, and USAID, and Julio Madrazo, a partner of De la Calle, Madrazo, Mancera (CMM), Board Member of the Mexican Foreign Affairs Council (COMEXI ) and of the Aspen Institute of Mexico, to discuss the still unfolding situation. Can common ground be found between the two administrations? What needs to change? And, what does this mean for the Mexican presidential elections in 2018? Listen to the full conversation here.
On October 2, Colombian electoral officials announced the surprise victory of the ‘No’ vote in the national referendum to approve the peace agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
On October 4, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center convened financial experts from the US, Latin America, and China to discuss the next phrase of the China-Latin America relationship and the launch of the Atlantic Council’s most recent publication on this topic, “A Globalized Renminbi: will it reshape Latin America?”.
In New York this week, Brazilian President Michel Temer embraced the opportunity to convince investors that Brazil has entered a new era. Brazil’s economy, long in steep decline and with twelve million people unemployed, has started to show signs of rebounding. Inflation is decelerating and analysts have revised GDP growth projections upwards from 0 to up to 2 percent for next year.
On September 1, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Caracas, voicing their frustration with worsening food and medical shortages, frequent blackouts, and triple-digit inflation. Organized by the political opposition, the march called for a recall referendum to remove President Nicolás Maduro from power.
As Brazil experiences a period of transition, with president Dilma Roussef facing impeachment and Michel Timer leading an interim government, its energy sector’s faces a turning point. For the past 50 years, state-owned oil giant Petrobras has dominated Brazil’s energy industry. In the recent past, however, scandals involving top officials in Petrobras and in the country’s largest construction firms have shaken the entire industry. Petrobras is now undergoing a profound transformation, reducing its investment and potentially cutting back its role in oil exploration. The result could mean more private investment that could jumpstart the sector and have positive implications for the country's waning economy.
For the last decades, Mexico has worked to transform its society and economy through strategic partnerships and economic reforms. Today, however, this transformation is increasingly being called into question. To address next steps for the US-Mexico relationship and to welcome the new Mexican Ambassador to the US, Carlos Manuel Sada, Baker & McKenzie LLP and the Atlantic Council Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center hosted a discussion at the Baker & McKenzie LLP headquarters in Washington D.C. on July 14th, 2016.

Following opening remarks by Baker & McKenzie partner Miguel Noyola, a discussion between Peter Schechter, Director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, and Ambassador Sada. began with a question about the Mexican government’s approach to the volatile political rhetoric in place during the 2016 election cycle in the United States.

Ambassador Sada emphasized the importance of Mexico taking a stand and joining forces with non-governmental voices. Ambassador Sada called the current anti-Mexico rhetoric a wake-up call for his country, for Mexicans and for Mexican-Americans. He proposed that all work together in a more organized fashion to present to the world the advantages of the United States relationship with its southern neighbor. Ambassador Sada also affirmed that meetings with better organized communities, such as the American Jewish Community, are on their way to help find best practices to unite the 23 million first and second and third generation Mexican-Americans and the 12 million Mexican residents living in the US.

“We have a real force, but we have not connected them.” Said Ambassador Sada.

The discussion ended with a question about the future of trade negotiations with Mexico. Mr. Schechter asked how the support for trade in Washington could affect Mexico and the viability of the Transpacific Partnership (TPP).

“We have to keep in mind that these agreements are for the people” stated ambassador Sada. Sometimes “people try to present negotiations like NAFTA in a negative way, but what has Mexico done? We have reinvented ourselves from different perspectives, and when there is a need to adjust, we do it.”

After the discussion, approximately 200 guests continued the conversation with the Atlantic Council and Baker & McKenzie about the future of North American ties during a cocktail hour.

Click here to check out our #WhyMexico campaign
After the end of a 50-year-old conflict in Colombia, the country is now partaking in a historical peace process. With it, new business development opportunities have emerged. To address some of these prospects, Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, and Ben Powell Founder and CEO of Agora Partnerships participated in a film screening and panel discussion, The Disruptors: Reimagining Business in Latin America, on Monday, July 11, 2016 at the Atlantic Council headquarters in Washington, DC.