Category Archives: Mexico

Venezuela is Part Nation/Part Disaster/All Tragedy

Obviously in Miami, I meet, know, and do business with a lot of Venezuelans. I’ve been reluctant to read anything about the country on the fear that the news will be bad. Well, even so, there are people doing business successfully in Venezuela, and Venezuelans finding opportunities outside of Venezuela. If you’d like to see how, don’t be shy about contacting us.

Venezuela’s President Maduro wants to raise oil prices to $70 – and fast. His plan, announced on Venezuelan television this week, is to somehow stabilize oil prices despite weak demand and near record production from Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Iran over the past several months. Maduro has a phone and he is using it (when the electricity works) to call every OPEC oil minister and some non-OPEC oil ministers to talk about cutting production. Not only is this strategy going to fail (the most important producing countries are not incentivized to freeze or cut production now), but Venezuela’s oil problems run much deeper.

Venezuela’s great paradox is that it holds the worlds’ largest known oil reserves yet cannot feed its own citizens or keep the lights on in its major cities. Riots around the country are laying bare the effects of corruption and decades of socialist policies. Venezuela’s oil production has been declining for years, going from 3.3 million barrels a day in 1997 to about 1.9 million barrels a day in 2016. Venezuela cannot afford to produce the oil it needs to sell. It costs approximately $18 to produce a barrel of oil in Venezuela, but not all of that cost is due to Chavez and Maduro’s policies. Most of Venezuela’s reserves consist of oil that is expensive to recover, making it less valuable (when still in the ground) and more difficult to exploit.

Venezuela became a major oil producer when easily recoverable oil was discovered in Lake Maracaibo in 1914. Venezuela knew it had heavy oil in the Orinoco Belt, but this oil is difficult and expensive to retrieve. In 2006, the national oil company started accessing it, meaning that Venezuela’s recoverable oil reserves rival Saudi Arabia’s. However, production from the Orinoco Belt is still extremely costly.

Oil production from tar sands is one of the more expensive forms of oil production today. The procedures used to extract oil from the tar sands are expensive. Moreover, once extracted, the heavy oil must be blended for most uses. When the average price of oil was in the upper $20/barrel range, Venezuela was losing money with each sale.

Read Forbes article here:

Haiti in Club Med Revival: Destination Haiti

Haiti in Club Med Revival: Destination Haiti

Lucio Garcia-Mansilla had long heard about the former Club Med property tucked along the Haitian Riviera, 123 acres lined with lush vegetation and a mile-long expanse of white sand.
But it wasn’t until decades later — when Haiti’s investment climate began to welcome international brands — that the Argentine founder of Colombia-based Decameron Hotels & Resorts would get there.

Read Jacqueline Charles’ article here:

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Turkey Spends Over $1M on its New, Miami Embassy. I Think They’ll Stay for Awhile

If you spend money in a place, it usually means you like it.  If you spend a lot of money in a place, it usually means you’ll be staying for a while.  With the new non-stop airline route from MIA to Ankarra, I think the Turks are getting comfortable in Miami.

Amicon Construction is putting the finishing touches on Turkey’s new Miami consulate. Turkish-born and U.S.-based Murat Mutlu designed the 7,500-square-foot space in the Brickell City Tower, at 80 Southwest Eighth Street.

The Consulate General of the Republic of Turkey’s new consulate features a modern, monochromatic design, and ballistic-rated glass, wall paneling and doors, Amicon project manager Jay Richmond told The Real Deal. He said the cost of the buildout was more than $1 million. It includes a reception area with multiple teller stations. “When you’re doing a high-security buildout, you’re dealing with materials from specialty manufacturers with long lead times,” Richmond said.

While the space opened in time for the Turkish election in November, the consulate is still tweaking finishes and has yet to hold a grand opening reception. Other tenants of the 33-story office building include Uber, Verizon, Lamex Agrifoods, Inlingua Language School, Chase Bank, Moye restaurant, the Beacon Council and the Consulate General of Japan.

Property records show that Banyan Street Capital owns the building. Danet Linares, vice chair of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, is the building’s exclusive leasing agent. Linares told TRD Brickell City Tower is currently 87 percent occupied with two new leases that will bring its occupancy up to 93 percent.

The Turkish consulate signed a 10-year lease about a year ago and moved into a temporary space in the building before the new office was ready. “Their space required a complete renovation,” Linares said. Amicon also built out the space of the French consulate in the Espirito Santo building nearby at 1395 Brickell Avenue.

Read Katherine Kallergis The Real Deal article here:

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Venezuelan strives for better U.S. relations

Maximilien Arvelaiz does not look or sound like a hardened socialist tactician going toe-to-toe with the U.S. government.

Instead of military garb emblazoned with medallions, the young Venezuelan diplomat wears designer suits and vintage glasses. His talk isn’t peppered with vitriolic attacks on Yankee imperialism, but with references to pop culture and U.S. television.

Yet Arvelaiz, 43, is at the center of one of the most acrimonious relationships in the Western Hemisphere. For the last year and a half, Arvelaiz has been working behind the scenes trying to re-establish a functional relationship with U.S. officials.

Read FRANCO ORDOÑEZ article here:

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China not Amused by Taiwan’s 1st Female President

China not Amused by Taiwan’s 1st Female President

“Sisters are doing it for themselves”, and their broth-ers seem not to be cool with that. For example, Tai-wan elected Tsai Ing-wen as its first female presi-dent Saturday, handing her pro-independence party its first majority in the national legislature and reject-ing the China-friendly party that has led the self-governing island for eight years.

The result seems to be deeply unsettling to China, which may respond by further reducing Taipei’s al-ready limited ability to win diplomatic allies and participate in international organizations.

In a statement issued after Tsai’s win, the Chinese Cabinet’s body for handling Taiwan affairs reaf-firmed its opposition to Taiwan independence, but said it would work to maintain peace and stability between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. It’s the Asian Century just in case you’re not paying attention.

Read ABC News Christopher Bodeen and Ralph Jennings article here:

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New Congress in Venezuela Anticipates Tension


Well, yeah, what did you expect?

In what’s likely a sign of things to come, the inaugural session of Venezuela’s National Assembly on Tuesday devolved into shouting, shoving and recrimination as the opposition took control of the body for the first time in 17 years.

The ruling-party delegation, long accustomed to holding sway in the legislature, stormed out of congress as they accused their rivals of violating internal regulations.

But beyond the posturing and brinkmanship, the opposition bloc laid out the guidelines of what they said would be their program to rescue the country.

Read Jim Wyss’ Miami Herald article here:

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Non-U.S. Tourists Leading Mexican Tourism Growth

Everyone talks about the “BRIC” countries.  However, the keen investor has already moved on to the MIST countries:  Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey.  And all indications are that Mexico is really on the move, economically.  Recently, they’ve discover even more oil, they are already the largest gold producer in the Region, and just for kicks, Mexico defeated Brazil in the London Olympics for the gold medal in Men’s Soccer, Neymar and all.  Now, they’re killing it in tourism.

Safety issues for foreigners are generally overstated.  Combined with the fact that in large parts of our Southern neighbor, anything goes.  You can get whatever you want and can’t get in the United States, including prescription medication, at a fraction of the price.  Add to it that Mexico is a gateway to the U.S.  And even as the number of travelers from the U.S. dropped a measly 1%, in the first half of the year, Mexico reported a 77% increase in visitors from Russia, a 61% jump from Brazil and a 38% bump from Venezuela.

Montezuma and his kin knew what they were doing when they settled in what is today Mexico City.  Now, if the Mexicans can capitalize on their many blessings, they could turn themselves into an economic juggernaut, and exact Montezuma’s real revenge.  He who has the gold makes the rules.

Read Hugo Martín’s Los Angeles Times article here:


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Mexico’s Future Confronts Its Past Over Wind Power

Somewhat quietly, Mexico is rapidly pushing to join the ranks of the economic juggernauts.  Another recent example, Mexico is putting up wind power turbines at a breakneck pace in one of the windiest spots in the world which happens to be in Mexico.  However, the expansion is pitting energy companies against the Indigenous people who occupy the region and have called it home for centuries.  In my humble opinion, it’s emblematic of the struggle Mexico faces within itself:  How to maximize its vast resources while also modernizing in an inclusive, democratic manner, which values the rights of all of its citizens.  Mexico has a real chance to be a global leader.

Read Mark Stevenson’s Associated Press article here:

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After U.S. States, Legalization of Pot Considered in Mexico

“There is nothing quite as powerful as an idea whose time has come”.  I don’t remember who said that, but I inherently know it to be true.  Now, after having witnessed what the citizens of Washington and Colorado wrought, a certain Mexican lawmaker thinks it may be time to rekindle the debate south of the border.  In the past, such bills have been presented to the Mexican Congress and defeated without so much as a debate.  Now, well, there is nothing quite so powerful as an idea whose time has come.  How do you say “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” in Spanish?

Read Tim Johnson’s Miami Herald article here:

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Mexico Looking for Bright Future with New Prez

I am a big believer in Mexico, that is, if they can get their sh*t together.  And why not?  They’ve got everything: oil, agriculture, tourism, willing trading partners to the North (NAFTA), and an industrious, hard-working core population.  What they don’t have – and the U.S. is not exactly one to talk (see pot calling kettle black) – is good governance.  When it comes to corruption and nepotism, Mexico is in a global league of one, unrivaled. Now, glamour boy-wonder President Enrique Peña Nieto and his telenovela wife are the hope of a new generation (sort of like Luke Skywalker). Although he is a return to the past of the PRI, he is also a breath of fresh air.  PRI Redux.  What Mexicans are hoping is that this new leader has brought the party back new and improved, and that he will be able to bring some security – economic, martical, and fiscal – to all of Mexico.   I, for one, will be rooting for him.  I like my Mexican vacation destinations as much as the next guy.

Read Mark Stevenson and Olga R. Rodriguez’s Miami Herald article here:

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