We are excited and pleased to share with you Beyond 2012, our debut e-book publication presenting in-depth analysis of the future of Latin America across six important themes.
As many of you know, Southern Pulse is a decentralized, field-based organization focused on conducting investigations for private clients interested in security, politics, energy, and business in Latin America. Over the course of 2011, we concluded over 20 separate investigations, interviewing well over 100 sources during a collection process that produced far more material than necessary to fulfill our commitments to any one particular client. We’ve combined the resulting “clippings” with a year-end round of interviews to frame and present the six chapters of this book, capsulated with this introduction and an afterword.
We open the book with Mexico, where our first two essays look at politics and public security, respectively. We place a particular focus on the further destabilization of the Mexican public security situation in 2013 and possible scenarios for how the country’s next presidential administration will carry forward with recently initiated reforms that will require several more years of political will and financial resources to complete.
We would be remiss to consider the future of Central America without exploring the sub-region’s public security challenges. In 2011, our investigations focusing on the Central American criminal system in many ways revealed how challenges and successes in Washington, Mexico City, and Bogotá have played out as significant citizen security problems in the sub-region’s northern triangle countries. In our third essay, we explore where the trends are headed with a close look at how the black market of drug trafficking will deeply affect the region’s most vulnerable country - and it’s not Guatemala.
We explored another vulnerability in 2011, though in one man, not his country. Since Hugo Chavez announced his fight with cancer, his image as the region’s next Castro has seen a paradigm shift. Chavez could die sooner than anyone expected; and no one, least of all el presidente himself, is prepared. Our fourth essay explores the reality of several political scenarios in Venezuela, revolving around the October 2012 elections and extending into considerations for the future of the country’s economy, national security, and energy output.
Resource security is an important goal for every country, though few are as focused on this goal as China, whose engagement with Latin America since 2004 has been a constant arena of interest for some and concern for others. Our fifth essay explores the next phase of the China-Brazil engagement, one where the rubber meets the road in a way that will likely force China to abandon its former disengaged posture - an entirely new way for the Asian power to relate to Brazil and other Latin American partners.
With our sixth essay, we have saved the best for last. Cybersecurity in Latin America is perhaps the most important, unreported trend in the region. From flash-in-the-pan events such as the Anonymous confrontation with Los Zetas, we push you forward into an eventual future where cybersecurity is a reality that extends well beyond identity theft or email hacking. The nexus between organized criminals and local hacker cells is only the beginning of this phenomenon in a region where for every single company or government body with an organized, secure approach to cybersecurity, there are several dozen without.
These six essays together represent trends that we believe are worth following for any professional, academic, student, journalist, or sophisticated reader interested in Latin America. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it does represent a core of themes important to our clients and contacts in region for many years to come. We hope that this book will contribute to a better understanding of the emerging trends and will change the way you think about security, politics, or energy in the region.