Op-Eds published in 2018

Guatemala ain't Australia

Plaza Pública. October 2018. Australia's path to development involved the agricultural and mining sector. Why is it that this is not the development path for Guatemala?

Neither Starbucks nor Dunkin' Donuts

Plaza Pública. September 2018. The ability of the Guatemalan coffee sector to promote to economic development cannot be tied to the big coffee shop chains. The challenges are not to obtain higher prices for the same goods. It is to increase the labor productivity via automation and R&D investment to promote the production of coffee byproducts.

P.S. On coffee and public funds

Plaza Pública. September 2018. What if instead of giving public funds to the coffee and bank sector, we promote a bankruptcy law to improve the allocation of those resources?

An open letter to the incoming President of the Central Bank

Plaza Pública. September 2018. The incoming President of the Central Bank should promote a discussion on the exchange rate policy.

The coffee in Guatemala is not facing an emergency

Plaza Pública. August 2018. Our economy has been suffering since 1897 every time coffee prices drop. We need to start considering long-term solutions rather than short-term relief.

We need to build and repair our bridges

Plaza Pública. August 2018. Guatemala should learn from the experience in Pennsylvania where 558 bridges will be repaired in 4 years thanks to a public-private partnership..

Challenges to finance development

Plaza Pública. July 2018. We need to discuss in Guatemala how to emphasize the allocation of financial resources to high-growth firms and industries.

It's not just the inflation

Plaza Pública. July 16th 2018. Guatemalan inflation has been under control since 1992. However, Guatemalan Central bank constitutional goal is not only to focus on inflation but to strengthen savings. However, savings have been decreasing in the country.

Vice President Pence, look to Hamilton, not to Jefferson

Plaza Pública. July 2nd 2018. Vice President Pence recently visited Guatemala. If he wants to stop illegal immigration to the U.S. he should acknowledge that the U.S. policy is not helping. Furthermore, it only means wasting U.S. tax dollars.

The IMF studies Guatemala

Plaza Pública. June 18th 2018. The IMF recently conducted their article IV analysis of Guatemala. Its economists also wrote background papers that Guatemalans should read and assess. I particularly find useful their labor market analysis. However, we should be skeptical regarding their analysis on inflation and investment.

"La Plaza" as a Right

Plaza Pública. June 4th 2018. Guatemalans should pay closer attention to what is happening in Nicaragua and support the struggle of its population. We were able to peacefully protest for changes to our political system. They have not been able to do so, being violently attacked by its own government.

Guatemala as a puzzle

Plaza Pública. May 21st 2018. Guatemala development challenges are like a puzzle. It is not like a fairy tale where showing at the right time and at the right place will help you magically solve everything. Hence, we need to work hard and for a long time.

New Rights in Guatemala

Plaza Pública. May 5th 2018. Guatemala is seeing the creation of new right-wing movements, after the cohesion created by the anti-communist struggle has been superseded. Guatemala needs these new types of right-wing movements to promote economic development. They will succeed if they can promote clear policy guidelines to move the country out of its current deterioration and by overcoming the fear and trauma from the past.

What does Guatemala have a comparative advantage in?

Plaza Pública. April 2018. It appears Guatemala has a comparative advantage in certain agricultural and mining goods. However we need to be cautious: comparative advantages do not explain all trade behavior and consequently should not be used as the only way to generate economic policy in Guatemala, especially if it is understood as is usually taught in Guatemala, as it was done 200 years ago.

Trade war or master stroke?

Plaza Pública. March 24, 2018. I discuss three scenarios to understand the trade dispute that is taking place between the U.S. and China.

Beyond Unproductive Confrontations

Plaza Pública. March 9th, 2018. Left-wing and right-wing analysts in Guatemala have been attacking my articles, preferring to use ad-hominem attacks rather than focusing on questioning my arguments and evidence. Here I answer one recent attacks while I try to promote an improvement in how we debate ideas in the country.

Reforming the export processing zones

Plaza Pública. February 27th, 2018. Guatemalan Congressmen need to assess the need to reform the free-trade zona legislation to include more economic sectors. But, while doing so, it should also improve the mechanisms to evaluate the policy and to enforce legislation among firms receiving the benefits.

Attempting to introduce policy reforms in Guatemala. Juan Alberto o el (intento de ser) reformador (en Guate)

Plaza Pública. February 15, 2018. The possibilities for policy reform in Guatemala are diminishing: reformers are either destined to face jail time after attempting to achieve political negotiations or face the certain death of their project.

VAT, Exchange Rate and Minimum Wage (IVA, Tipo de Cambio y Salario Mínimo)

Plaza Pública. February 12, 2018. We are running around in circles: economic obstacles to growth that were a concern back in 2003 are still a concern today: VAT devolution to exporters, unfavorable exchange rate, and high minimum wages.

Let´s Reform the Value Added Tax on Exports (Reformemos el IVA a las exportaciones)

Plaza Pública. January 27, 2018. On the need to promote a tax reform in Guatemala to eliminate provisions in the current scheme that promotes corruption.

Chimaltenango is a metaphor (Chimaltenango como metáfora)

Plaza Pública. January 03, 2018. On the need to promote government sponsored transportation research in Guatemala to overcome increasing congestion problems.

An open letter to the incoming President of the Guatemalan Central Bank

Plaza Pública. September 2018. The incoming President of the Central Bank should consider opening up the discussion on the exchange rate policy.