The new geopolitics of Latin America

by Dave


the ability to join natural resource
wealth to value-added industry is positioning the region to become an
important player in the global economy of the 21st century.

trade is both the driving force and the benefactor of these changes.
New roads being built across the Andes will link the Atlantic and
Pacific Oceans for truck and rail traffic — opening land for
agricultural production and opportunities for the poor to escape

The mineral wealth of the Andes — gold, silver, iron, copper, zinc, tin, manganese and other exotic metals — could fuel the global economy for centuries.

The potential for growth is clear from the transportation and infrastructure projects already being planned.

High speed master plan

The Inter-American Development Bank is now studying 14 possible passes over the Andes between Chile and Argentina.

A new highway for high-speed truck traffic will link Buenos Aires to São Paulo. A master plan for transportation and energy for the Andean countries was recently completed by the Andean Development Corporation.

From sea to sea

Road and pipeline networks to handle intra-regional trade among the Mercosur countries, crossing Paraguay and Bolivia, are almost complete.

As intraregional trade grows and trade routes cross the interior, they unlock rich agricultural potential to produce for global markets — and the inland countries will occupy a more strategic role in the economic development of the region.

Newly privatized railroads are being modernized, providing intermodal transportation corridors from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Argentina’s Ferrosur Roca now allows direct rail shipment to Asia — with truck links to Valparaiso, Chile.

Brazil is constructing one of the world’s largest rail links, the 3,100-mile Ferronorte, to enable grain producers in the interior to reach global markets.

Trains on the pampas, which only a few years ago took days to travel 70 miles to ports on the Parana River, now can carry their grain cargo there in hours.

The role of railroads

The new road from Santa Cruz, Bolivia to Arica on the Pacific coast will reroute traffic — which now has to travel by barge out through the Amazon — thereby reducing the cost of shipping soybeans by $40 a ton and the time to reach Asian markets by half.

The controversial 2,200-mile waterway connecting the Paraguay and Parana Rivers with the Rio de la Plata will, when completed, extend inexpensive river transport from remote areas of Paraguay and Bolivia to the Atlantic Ocean.