The launch of the regional bourse, dubbed the Mercado Integrado Latino Americano (MILA), has special significance here in Peru, coming days ahead of a presidential run-off that pits right-leaning Keiko Fujimori against left-leaning Ollanta Humala, who has in the past campaigned with Mr. Chávez.
Although the Lima stock exchange represents the smallest share of MILA, this nation has the potential to dictate its success in the coming months.
Victory for Mr. Humala in the election “could pose obstacles to the merger of the [stock] exchanges,” says Mr. Guevara, adding that the former Army captain has shown hostility toward foreign investors and proposed government controls over corporate mergers.
Indeed, the Lima stock exchange plunged in April when Humala won the first round of voting, but it soared May 26 when Lima-based polling firm Datum showed Ms. Fujimori now leading with 52.9 percent support.
The daughter of imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori is backed by much of the business community, recently gaining a big endorsement from third-place presidential candidate and former Finance Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
Her steady rise in the polls in part reflects the nation's desire to see a continuation of the prudent fiscal policies and pro-market initiatives – such as the launch of the MILA – that helped fuel 8.8 percent economic growth in 2010, the highest in a region of hot economies.