We are pleased to present Beyond 2013, the second annual installment of our “beyond” series where Southern Pulse investigators, analysts, and editors endeavor to collect the best of our clippings and bring them together in a document that defines our organization’s analysis for some of the most important issues facing the region.
Energy and security are the strongest themes in this volume. With the recent election of Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico, we have spent a significant amount of time analyzing his team and its plans for tackling what has become Mexico’s most important national debate – the public security crisis. Perhaps a close second is the future of PEMEX; this state oil company looks to the so-called “Petrobras model” as a guide for opening the organization to private investment. To one side of the publicprivate spectrum of oil company ownership, Venezuela’s PDVSA remains firmly under government control, while Petrobras presents an interesting combination. Our second chapter assesses four other state oil companies in the region to determine the movement of each, from private to public.
In El Salvador, public sentiment rests on the perception that the MS-13, the country’s best-known street gang, has spearheaded an unprecedented path towards violence reduction and peace. Ironically, peace communities could strengthen the gang as it evolves into something more powerful. Another item within our security focus is the First Capital Command in Brazil, the country’s most powerful criminal organization. As just about everything else in Brazil, the PCC must be viewed against the upcoming international sporting events; we assess that any negotiations with the PCC may lead to some level of peace during the World Cup or the Olympic Games, but the PCC could leverage its criminal prowess into better conditions in Brazilian prisons, another interesting irony on the public security front.
A particular political conundrum is how the Argentine government manages to press on, despite a litany of internal and external challenges. “Kirchnerismo” is on the decline, but what will be the ultimate cost? Our analysis focuses on answering that question.
Meanwhile, we found ourselves looking closely at drones as a new technology in Latin America during the course of 2012. This fascinating technology presents a wide range of implications, complications and opportunity for both the region’s militaries and criminal organizations. Along the vein of our exploration of drones, cybersecurity, and other technology-driven advancements in regional security and political stability, we expect that beyond 2013, cybersecurity will remain at the forefront. That said, we expect drones to follow a close second in terms of disrupting regional patterns for law enforcement, logistics, private surveillance, and military operation.
Finally, we conducted a frank assessment of our own analysis by comparing our predictions for 2012 and beyond against actual events in 2012. We determined that Southern Pulse investigators were correct over 60% of the time, with a 15% error rate. A quarter of the time, unforeseen events, such as the gang truce in El Salvador offset our analysis. Overall, we are pleased to review our own work to provide a transparent platform upon which we may learn and build. And to that end, we have built upon the 60% we got right, and lessons learned to present you with Beyond 2013.
Table of Contents
Beyond 2012, a year later
Chapter 1: What to expect from the PRI’s return to power
Chapter 2: The Evolution of the MS-13 in Central America
Chapter 3: Kirchnerismo on the Decline
Chapter 4: The Hemisphere’s Drone Revolution
Chapter 5: Oil: Governed by Politics or Economics?
Chapter 6: The PCC: Brazil’s Criminal Legacy and Future
Chapter 7: Taking Measure of Beyond 2012 – An Assessment