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Latam Brief: Lula and Macron, sitting in a tree

Photograph: Ricardo Stuckert/Brazilian Presidency/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ricardo Stuckert/Brazilian Presidency/AFP

Latin America Daily Briefing

French President Emmanuel Macron’s three-day trip to Brazil this week was fruitful. Macron and his host, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, announced a $1.1 billion public-private investment program to protect the Brazilian and Guyanese Amazon rainforest. They signed a series of cooperation agreements that aim to underscore warm relations between the two countries despite France’s stalling on the long-delayed EU-Mercosur free trade agreement. And, as you likely noticed by now, the two leaders participated in a series of photo-ops that has the internet on fire with comparisons to engagement photoshoots.

Macron leaned in on social media, effusively posting that “some people compared the images of my visit to Brazil to those of a wedding, and I tell them: it was a wedding! France loves Brazil and Brazil loves France!”

The French leader’s visit, accompanied by important French business representatives, “marks a rekindling of the Franco-Brazilian partnership after relations hit a low point under Lula’s far-right predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, who took issue with France’s concerns over Amazon deforestation,” reports the Guardian.

“After a four-year eclipse and a virtual freeze in political relations between our two countries during Bolsonaro’s presidency, we are in the process of relaunching the bilateral relationship and the strategic partnership with Brazil,” a French presidential adviser told Reuters.

France is one of the developed nations most open to Global South demands, and with the possibility of a second Trump presidency in the U.S., Europe is on the hunt for alternative dependable allies, writes Catherine Osborn in the Latin America Brief.

Nonetheless, there were disagreements: Macron criticized the EU-Mercosur trade deal tsaying it is “terrible” and outdated and needs to take climate change into account. Lula told reporters Thursday that the proposal as it stands is much more promising. (Associated Press)


  • Lula nixed commemorations of the 1964 coup, possibly in order to avoid further tensions with Brazil’s military, as senior officers face jail for allegedly conspiring to prevent Lula assuming office in 2023, reports the Guardian.


  • Gang violence has killed 1,554 people and injured 826 this year, as of March 22, according to U.N. human rights office report released yesterday, which described a surge in sexual violence by gang members, including rapes of women, often after having witnessed the killing of their husbands. (Guardian)

  • “The situation of the violence on children is particularly worrying,” the report said. Children are increasingly dying during violent attacks, either in crossfire or because they have been recruited by gangs as lookouts for kidnappings or to carry out armed attacks, reports the Miami Herald.


  • Since taking office in 2018, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has assigned the military sweeping new powers, an ever-larger budget, and new revenue streams. While the military does not play a kingmaker role, “has become as important to governance as any of the country’s civilian bureaucracies — and in some policy areas such as domestic security, perhaps even more so,” writes Will Freeman in the Journal of Democracy. “Mexico’s next president — whether she’s AMLO’s protégé, Claudia Scheinbaum, who leads in the polls, or opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez — will find it difficult to govern without the armed forces’ active support.”


  • The Warao, Venezuela’s second-largest Indigenous community, with about 41,000 members, “are increasingly making the dangerous trek to neighbouring Brazil, fleeing famine and their own country’s economic and political crisis,” reports the Guardian.


  • Colombian President Gustavo Petro “constantly discusses and debates big ideas and agenda items that ultimately veer off course and never seem to reach the implementation phase. He tweets more than he governs, angering his political opponents, disappointing supporters and leaving Colombia without the progress that its population desires,” writes James Bosworth in World Politics Review.

More Regional Relations

  • Mudslinging between Argentine President Javier Milei, Colombian President Gustavo Petro, and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is not unusual in a region where leftist and right-wing leaders spar regularly, but Americas Quarterly editor Brian Winter noted to the Associated Press that the back-and-forth between Latin American leaders could have longer-term repercussions on regional relations.

  • The UK Labour Party said former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, in his role as a consultant for a hedge fund, was “potentially serious impropriety.” (Guardian)

  • “Indigenous communities in Bolivia have objected to Colombia’s plans to recover the remains of an 18th-century galleon believed to be carrying gold, silver and emeralds worth billions, calling on Spain and Unesco to step in and halt the project,” reports the Guardian.

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing
latinamericadailybriefing.blogspot 03 29 2024

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