On Thursday, March 3rd, the Delaware Chapter of People to People International brought Charles S. Shapiro, The senior coordinator for economic initiatives in the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and former Ambassador to Venezuela, to speak about economic growth in South America to faculty and students on Widener Law’s Delaware campus.
Following an introduction for Vice Dean J. Patrick Kelly
, Ambassador Shapiro said that contrary to what any might think, the recession in the United States has had only a minimal impact in South America and that the economies in Latin America have emerged from the recession faster and are actually growing. “Businesses are opening operations in South America, particularly Brazil.”
“Steps that you take to support financial inclusion are the economic version of counter-insurgency,” said Ambassador Shapiro in discussing how economic growth and the creation of small business jobs could make people active participants in the economies of their countries. “You are preventing a whole host of ills in society,” he added.
Ambassador Shapiro also discussed how the macroeconomic trends in Latin America could have an impact on the micro-economies in which people live, oil production in Canada and Brazil, and the difficulty that people have in securing loans in Latin American countries. Following his remarks, he took questions from the audience on a variety of topics including economic growth in Peru, U.S. and Canadian responsibility for the illegal narcotic trade in Mexico, and the role of China in South America.
In addition to serving as Ambassador to Venezuela, Mr. Shapiro has served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassies in Santiago, Chile and Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. His other past postings include El Salvador and Denmark, and in Washington, D.C., he has served as Director of the Office of Cuban Affairs. Ambassador Shapiro was the recipient of a Presidential Meritorious Service Award in 2005. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Ambassador Shapiro is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Georgia State University, and the Department of State’s Senior Seminar.