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Latam Brief: Bolsonaro challenges loss (November 23, 2022)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro challenged the presidential election he lost last month, arguing that votes from some machines should be invalidated.

The complaint seems unlikely to prosper — Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s victory has been ratified by Brazil’s electoral court, the TSE, and recognized by international actors from around the world.

But the move could fuel a small but convinced protest movement in Brazil. Indeed, it is likely aimed, precisely, at feeding into conspiracy theories of voter fraud, “an attempt to give political veneer to false suspiciouns of fraud and encourage new protests in the streets,” reports Folha de S. Paulo.

Alexandre de Moraes, the Supreme Court justice who currently leads the TSE, said in a ruling seen by Reuters that Bolsonaro’s right-wing electoral coalition, which filed the complaint, must present its full audit for both rounds of last month’s vote within 24 hours, or he would reject it.

Bolsonaro’s coalition said its audit of the 30 October second-round runoff between Bolsonaro and Lula had found “signs of irreparable … malfunction” in some electronic voting machines.

But the report the Liberal Party used to justify its request is flawed, according to computer experts consulted by Folha de S. Paulo.


  • “In countries where left leaning leaders have taken power in Latin America, rightwing opposition movements are gaining strength and organizing protests,” writes James Bosworth at the Latin America Risk Report. “Most of these protests are led by a populist right that doesn’t have the same “Washington Consensus” economic agenda that defined the region’s political right” a few decades ago.

More Brazil

  • Brazil could enjoy a flood of investment, if president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva embarks on the “right” fiscal policies, argues Brian Winter in Americas Quarterly.


  • Mexico’s ruling Morena party will publish its electoral reform proposal today — starting a process that opposition parties have promised to reject, reports Animal Político. (See Nov. 14’s post.)

  • U.S. sanctions against Mexican criminal group Nueva Familia Michoacana for trafficking illicit fentanyl elide some of the complexities behind the smuggling and marketing of the deadly synthetic opioid, reports InSight Crime.


  • Peruvian President Pedro Castillo faces a slew of ouster attempts. But though he is very unpopular, the embattled leader is favored by Peruvians deep dislike of Fujimorismo and Congress, writes Andrea Moncada in Americas Quarterly.


  • Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s tax reform was a major political coup, but it “will ultimately make Colombia less competitive,” writes Ricardo Ávila in Americas Quarterly.


  • A national debate over the right to water is unique in Chile, where the country’s military dictatorship-era constitution permits private ownership of water rights. While some economists say it permitted the country greater growth, critics say the privatization of water protects the interests of businesses over those of the most vulnerable and endangers the environment, reports CNN.

Costa Rica

  • Costa Rica’s waters provide an ample territory for marine conservation, but the expanse could complicate sustainable development, reports El País.

Critter Corner

  • “Wildlife traffickers in Mexico are taking advantage of the large-scale, unregulated digital marketplace provided by social media platforms, placing some of Mexico’s endangered species in even greater peril,” reports InSight Crime.

  • Xin Xin, Mexico’s native-born giant panda is a descendent of pandas gifted by the Chinese government in the 1970’s, part of the country’s “panda diplomacy.” She might be the region’s last giant panda. Under China’s current panda loan program, a new bear would cost Mexico about $1 million annually, a steep price tag that AMLO’s austere government is unlikely to agree to, reports the Associated Press.

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing

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