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Venezuela’s CNE schedules constituent assembly, elections

On 23 May, the head of Venezuela’s national electoral council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, announced that the process to select a national constituent assembly would be held in July.

Tapping into China’s mammoth infrastructure plan

Argentina and Chile are pushing for starring roles in an ambitious global infrastructure development initiative launched by China. Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri and Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet were the sole Latin American leaders to attend a two-day ‘Belt and Road’ forum in Beijing on 14 and 15 May during which China’s President Xi Jinping presented his credentials as a global statesman and China as the new economic hegemon with the US retreating from the stage. Bachelet praised “the world’s biggest economic project” and offered Chile as a bridge between Asia and Latin America. Macri said that regional convergence with China’s initiative was “an opportunity not to be passed up”. While seeking investment in infrastructure projects in Argentina, Macri, in return, offered to provide the countries taking part in the forum with food security.

ECLAC lowers regional growth forecast

The UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has lowered its GDP growth forecast for the region this year to just 1.1%.

Venezuela’s collectives – paramilitaries by another name?

On 25 April Venezuela’s opposition-controlled national assembly called on the government led by President Nicolás Maduro to break up the so-called ‘collectives’ (‘colectivos’), groups of armed pro-government militants accused of marauding violence during anti-government demos.

Massive rejection of ruling PLP in Bahamas election

The Bahamas’ now-former prime minister, Perry Christie of the defeated Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), began his campaign for the 10 May general election by declaring “God can’t stop me now”. Maybe not, but the Bahamian electorate could and did. The Free National Movement (FNM) won 35 seats to just four for the PLP. One of the PLP casualties was Christie himself. He is replaced as prime minister by the FNM’s leader, Hubert Minnis.

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