Latin America in deep trouble in January : LUSENET : Sonoma County : One Thread

he enclosed makes a strong case that Latin America will have crippling difficulties with Y2K. The person making the case is none other than Sr. Carlos Guedes, Chief Information Officer of InfoDevBank (the Latin American arm of the World Bank). One of the more interesting points is that the computer manufactures dumped non-compliant computers on third world countries when they found they were non-compliant. Guess who they are going to blame for Y2K? Bottom line of his many points - There will be massive failures of computers all throughout Latin America.

Does anyone still believe that all the serious Y2K problems in Latin America, most of Asia, other underdevelped countries, Russia, and even places like Germany will not affect us? Does anyone still believe the fiction that everone is going to have problems but us?

This is from the Yourdon Time Bomb 2000 bulletin board.


Changes in attitude from southern latitudes 10/13 WDCy2k : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread ------------------------------------------------------------------------

October 13th the Washington D.C. Year 2000 Group met at Fannie Mae headquarters to hear about international readiness for the century date change. Presenters were: Sr. Carlos Guedes, Chief Information Officer of InfoDevBank (the Latin American arm of the World Bank), Mr. Bruce McConnell, Chairman of the International Y2k group of the United Nations, and a representative from the State Department. I was present for the first two speakers , and left when the State Dept. person said they were looking forward to the challenge of CDC.

Extreme Caution

Sr. Guedes had presented previously at the Washington Post in December of 1998 (you can get a tape from Cspan of the dialogue, and I am the one who asks the last question of the meeting.)and at that time was optimistic about the ability of Latin America to cope with the century date change problem. As CIO of InfoDevBank Sr. Guedes has traveled extensively thoughout Latin America and Europe. He has met at Cabinet level with many countries. His presentation on the 13th was one of consistent bad news. His closing words were that all should exercise extreme caution when dealing with Latin American partners.

His presentation examined the current state of remediation in Latin America but he also stated that Germany was far behind. He stated that the report on Paraguay which appeared on the front page of the Washington Post last week reporting serious problems in Paraguay was overly optimistic. Given that the Washington Post report began its report on Paraguay with a scenario of total collapse of the electrical grid, water system, telephone network, rioting and martial law being imposed one wonders about any optimism being possible. (Washington Post, Sunday, October 10th, Page A01)

Change of Stance

In his presentation of December 1998 Sr. Guedes was quite humorous and was well prepared with amusing anecdotes illustrating the foolishness of Y2k alarmists. Yesterday there were no jokes but rather sarcasm mixed with irony. He began by noting that there were only 54 working days remaining. He said that no country would be finished. Some would be more prepared than others but no one would be ready. He asserted that many countries are insisting on an optimistic We will be 100% ready stance instead of acknowledging that all systems would not be repaired and doing realistic contingency planning for failures. He held up, as a positive example, Jamaicas Prime Minister, Mr. Powell, who had candidly admitted that Jamaica would not complete the work until 2004. He believed that the insistence on optimism by countries would backfire when failures occurred.

Reasons for Pessimism

Sr. Guedes was at some pains to clarify the reality in developing countries. He took issue with assessments which downplayed the amount of possible damage in developing countries due to the relative scarcity of computers in the infrastructure. His point was that while there might be fewer computers all of them were critical.

He noted the following problems for Latin America.

1. Late and misleading information from vendors. Cf. Infoliants recent report that the past month had seen the largest downward revision of software readiness at a time when increased compliancy and repair was expected.

2. In the mainframe world the systems were legacy systems with no documentation.

3. The mainframes themselves were old hardware and the skill sets needed for them were not available due to a brain drain to the United States where the number of H1B visas had been increased to allow foreign programmers easy entry and more salary.

4. In the personal computer area illegal and unregistered software was present in 60% of government offices. Ergo no support or upgrades from software companies.

5. 80% of PCs were using Windows 3.1 with a small percentage using Windows 95. 6. The PCs themselves were not compliant with BIOS problems. He was scathing about the dumping of non-compliant computers into developing countries by manufacturers when they discovered their inventory was not Y2k compliant. The number of compliant PCs discovered after a survey of 14,000 machines was under 1%.

7. Some upgrades and fixes had been offered by Microsoft but the offer was made on CD-ROM media which is not available on the obsolete PCs in Latin America.

8. The suggestion that governments in Latin America should use the internet to upgrade software and seek information ran headlong into the fact that less than 5% of government offices have any internet access.

9. Lack of money. Only Mexico and Chile had budgeted for Y2k work.

10. Disasters and elections. Honduras has lost 30 years of public works due to Hurricane Mitch. Ecuador lost its coastal fish farming sector to an earthquake last year. Elections have meant the outgoing government has not been concerned and incoming governments have no interest in the issue.

11. Last but not least, he drew attention to the fact that there was no word for procrastination in Spanish.

-- Drac (, October 21, 1999

-- Alan Jones (, October 31, 1999

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