Red Electrica

Is Bolivian president Evo Morales the poster boy for Latin America’s extreme left? Or for orthodox macroeconomic management?

Morales, a charismatic former coca union leader who swept to power in 2006 on promises to rebalance centuries of inequality, can do fiery rhetoric as well as his leftist allies Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. But just as Morales swapped his bobbly batwing jumpers for tailored suits with an indigenous fabric trim, has he taken a more conservative line when it comes to Bolivia’s bottom line?

Many economists would say yes. 

When an avalanche of Spanish capital turned up on Latin America’s doorstep over the turn of the century, naysayers shuddered at headlines that welcomed the “New Conquistadors”. Latin America seemed to many to be a risky bet for Spanish banks, energy and telecommunications companies by comparison with the comfort zone provided by European markets.

Instead, the steady growth of Latin America has provided welcome relief for Spanish companies from the financial turmoil at home. But in recent weeks troubles in the old country have appeared to clip the wings of the Spanish companies in LatAm. A weakened Spain, indeed, seems to have lost political clout in the region.