Monday, June 11, 2018

Latin American Elections: A Time to Celebrate or Worry?

Latin American Elections: A Time to Celebrate or Worry?

This Sunday, elections will be held by a crucial US ally, Colombia. The eyes of the Latin America community will be focused on this election as one presidential candidate will drive that country to further economic growth and development and stronger trade relations with the US; while the left of center presidential candidate's rise to power would negatively affect the US interests for National Security and Trade Relations.

In Nicaragua, the tides have begun to change on an Ortega Administration that has resorted to violence against protesters killing over 70. A new wave of entrepreneurs and leaders is looking to reformers like Christiana Chamorro, the daughter of former president Violeta Chamorro, to lead the path towards a better and more prosperous Nicaragua.

Another significant election will take place on July 1st as a key US neighbor, Mexico holds its presidential elections. The latest polls show a widening margin by the leftist candidates with over a quarter of the electorate still undecided in an election that is bound to set US-Mexico policy for years to come. 

The electoral results can easily be manipulated, but the will of the people to find freedom is more powerful than any tyrant.
Vice President Mike Pence Addresses the OAS

I was honored to join US Ambassador Carlos Trujillo and many others at the OAS for Vice President Pence's important speech on the Trump Administration's vision for increased democracy throughout Latin America. This is an important step in helping the millions of Latin Americans seeking a brighter future.
Copyright © 2018 The Estopinan Group, All rights reserved. 

A True Public Servant - Honoring my friend Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's career of service

In the summer of 1989, my life was changed by a State Senator from South Florida. She was a voice for change in a world that was happy with the status quo. She was a school teacher who had become a principal and loved education and showing children the importance of civic engagement. Little did I know that volunteering to help that August special election for Congress as she sought to be the voice of a Cuban-American community would set me on a career path that would lead me to where I am today.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, or Ily as we in her staff affectionately call her, was recognized last night by the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI), and her recognition is well merited. Her days in Congress are coming to an end, and the halls of the Capitol will never be the same. She has dedicated her 29 years of Congressional service to being an advocate for the voiceless, a true public servant who placed people above politics and constituents above party.

Many of you know her as the ferocious wolf fighting tyrants in the halls of Congress, but to myself and the dozens of staffers who had the privilege of working for her, she is more than that, she is a friend. Someone who never wastes an opportunity to support those who help her. When my son became ill, Ily was a pilar of support for my wife, Olga, and myself. As if her work in Congress was not enough, this dedication to her friends and family are what make Ileana Ros-Lehtinen a remarkable Member of Congress.

The road ahead will require new leaders picking up the baton Ileana leaves behind, but for now, let us take the opportunity to recognize the decades of service Ileana has given our great nation.

Ileana, thank you for your service to our South Florida community, but more importantly, thank you for your dedication to your family and friends and your constant support!

WATCH VIDEO NOW: "Thank You Ileana"

The Future of Central America

March 2018

The Future of Central America

This past month, I had the great opportunity to visit Central America with my colleague Lisa Coen of Avenue Strategies. We had great dialogue with leaders from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Businesses in these countries are providing unique services and products to the United States and offer integral trade partnerships for US companies. The discussion of trade issues and domestic legislation that will affect Central America is of great interest in the region and should be an important focus for us in the United States, as these partnerships are crucial to our global economy.
(El Salvador)

Expertos impulsan negociación por posibles cambios al CAFTA


Expertos Avizoran Que Vendra
Revision al CAFTA

Entrevistas CDNN 23
con Plinio Suarez Garcia


Visita a Centroamérica de estrategas político

Copyright © 2018 The Estopinan Group, All rights reserved.

The Hill: When rebuilding Puerto Rico, let's start with its economy, by Art Estopinan

When it rains it pours. It seems these days, Puerto Rico can't catch a break. As the people of the island work to recover from a double whammy of devastating storms, must, as a nation, take a closer look at assisting our fellow American citizens through economic development and disaster relief for Puerto Rico.
Already in a perilous economic situation, Puerto Rico now must grapple with the urgent matters such as roadway cleanup and hooking people back up to clean, running water and the electrical grid.

As Congress works on emergency appropriations legislation for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in Texas, Florida and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, two key members of Congress can play a vital role in our rebuilding efforts. Both are Florida Republicans. The first is Sen. Marco Rubio who serves a large number of Puerto Ricans living in his home state of Florida and is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The second is Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami, a longtime advocate for Puerto Rico and a member of the House Appropriations Committee. Their leadership in Congress to help Floridians and Puerto Ricans rebuild from these horrible hurricanes is crucial.

Another good example of proactive efforts that are currently taking place in Congress to help Puerto Rico is that of Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon who introduced a bill to amend Title 49 referencing air cargo on the Island. The “Puerto Rico Air Cargo Industry Empowerment Act,” or HR 3472. This bill is introduced in connection to an economic growth strategy modifying the federal laws that currently governs cargo transported in any aircraft on the island of Puerto Rico. Given their current economic situation, passing laws like this one will provides necessary changes to integrate shifts that can benefit the development and growth of the island.

While strategizing options for development of the economy in Puerto Rico, we must take into consideration that the household income of 3.4 million Puerto Rican citizens reflects nearly $20,000 per year. By contrast, on the mainland, Mississippi has the lowest income per capita and the household income is nearly $40,000 per year with a similar population of almost 3 million citizens. There is a significant gap to fill in transitioning Puerto Rico out of a third world country status and out of their $72 billion debt.

There are several important and viable industries in Puerto Rico that help the economy greatly. Tourism is one of the most predominate sources of income, in which their economy is highly dependent on thanks to their beautiful beaches and sunshine. The other one is manufacturing which produces 49 percent of employment on the island and most are good paying jobs. However, there is great potential to increase those primary industries on the island to others, such as: aviation, international banking, international finance, medical tourism, fashion and arts, transportation infrastructure, energy and information technology just to name a few sectors.

For sustainable economic growth, investors in Puerto Rico should maintain a long-term perspective and create business opportunities that will address the ongoing need for economic growth and development. Legislative efforts including changes to Title 49 will help. This sets in motion the upward domino effect for increased employment and higher wages ultimately increasing the household income and the overall economy on the island. The implementation of the new industries and needed reforms in established sectors such as energy, are essential to improve the economy where tourism, manufacturing and other  promising sectors can flourish for the residents of Puerto Rico and all Americans.

Art Estopinan is part of the New World Group, which represents the Coalition of the Private Sector in Puerto Rico. Estopinan is a contributor to the American Project with the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. 

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The Washington Times: Building a Stronger Economy by Art Estopinan

The infrastructure in China is impressive. My recent visit extremely impacted my perspective on the overall transportation systems in the United States as I witness that China has a big advantage with their wonderful airports, road systems and with their unique Shanghai Maglev Train. I had the opportunity to ride on the world’s fastest commercial train; it has maintained its record since 2004.

The train can speed up to 268 mph and can quickly travel 19 miles in a short 7.5 minutes. This strategy saves valuable time and achieves results that are more cost effective. We in America must satisfy society and provide transportation methods that reflect the rapid developments of the 21st century. Time is of the essence and we know that fast turnaround ultimately closes the deal efficiently and effectively. It was instructive to experience firsthand how a quicker transportation system adds a lot of value to commerce — and for traveling passengers as well. We need an innovative system to compete with other leading countries around the world.

Private and public partnerships in transportation are key components for government to obtain effective results. Partnerships will create leverage for private sector entities to financially develop our economy by integrating resources and also creating jobs. The overall improvement of the U.S. infrastructure, particularly state and local transit, can be made possible by partnering with public entities such as non-profits to implement immediate results.

A source of revenue such as tolls or other public revenue is required to pay back private investments, and the outcomes are likely to be extremely rewarding. Our global economy thrives on time-saving innovations. The quicker transport of goods inevitably leads to increased productivity. By initiating and implementing new structures in transportation a significant value would be added to our nation’s infrastructure.

Private and public partnerships share a vision to regain our global leadership in transportation such as the one we had in aviation for so long. The country at large needs better trains and roadway systems. We must also effectively secure our bridges to help transport people and products in a timely fashion.

Intrastate commerce will also increase with an improved infrastructure system. Our leaders should support President Trump’s infrastructure plans for economic development with American labor, energy, iron and steel industries. Nurturing existing private and public partnerships as well as establishing new partnerships is fundamental. Funding is being allocated to complete current projects and to begin future projects on much needed improved roads, bridges, tunnels, highways and airports.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is working on accounting for federal taxpayer dollars to ensure the progress of infrastructure projects. Prioritizing local and state needs is a pressing concern now since there are multiple action items lined up to address the nation’s infrastructure problems. Last night, at a dinner with Mr. Trump and a group of bipartisan U. S. senators including Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat. Mr. Manchin has publicly pressed for U.S. infrastructure buildup and was front and center in their discussion.

President Trump is working in a proactive way to address many of his priorities, and infrastructure buildup must be a bipartisan effort as it is a winning issue for America, not simply a Republican or Democratic initiative.

As Trump recently stated, new building projects inspire Americans, and introducing new technology to our daily transportation needs will elevate our global standing into the 21st century. The Chinese are grateful for their commercial train system, and soon we will be able to compete with their efficiency. At the same time, producing new projects would create jobs and wealth in the U.S. The president and Congress must come together to address the urgency of prioritizing and executing actions immediately. I am certain our global economy will flourish significantly once we are able to transport passengers and goods efficiently throughout the entire nation.

• Art Estopinan, president of The Estopinan Group, is a contributor to the American Project, School of Public Policy, at Pepperdine University.

Copyright © 2017 The Washington Times, LLC.

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