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Latam Brief: Lula in Egypt (November 15, 2022)

Lula Da Silva (PL)

COP27

  • Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva arrived in Egypt today, where he is expected to tell the COP27 U.N. climate talks that “Brazil is back” in the fight against global warming, reports Reuters.

  • The fate of the Amazon, and perhaps the fight against climate change, rests in Lula’s hands, writes Jon Lee Anderson in the New Yorker. Lula has promised to honor Brazil’s pledge to end deforestation by 2030, but emphasized the need for global governance.

  • Brazil would love to host Cop in 2025, according to Marina Silva, the country’s former environment minister and a close Lula ally. (Guardian)

  • Indigenous women from the Amazon held a press conference, yesterday, calling out the violence committed against their land and their bodies. (Guardian)

Regional Relations

  • Seven former presidents called on Latin America’s current leaders to relaunch UNASUR, arguing that regional unity is more important than ever. Signatories including Dilma Rousseff, Michelle Bachelet, and José Mujica said “the escalation of the dispute between China and the United States has created a new international scenario” that calls for a coordinated response to the threat of global chaos and the use of nuclear weapons. (El País, Mercopress)

  • Argentine President Alberto Fernández said there have been major steps towards resuming talks between Venezuela’s government and opposition. Speaking in Paris, where he met with members of Venezuela’s political opposition, Fernández criticized “brutal” U.S. sanctions. (France 24)

  • U.S. and Cuban officials plan to meet in Havana today to discuss migration policy, reports the Associated Press. In October, Cubans replaced Venezuelans as the second-largest nationality after Mexicans, according to figures released yesterday.

Haiti

  • “Haitian women and children are not just being caught up in the country’s spiralling gang wars – they are increasingly being targeted for rapes, torture, kidnappings, and killings by the 200 armed groups that now control 60% of the capital,” according to a report by The New Humanitarian. (Yesterday I mistakenly credited the story to the Guardian, which published a part of the report.)

  • “Their plight has been compounded by a lack of safe shelters or refuge. More than 96,000 people have been displaced by the gang violence, but neither the Haitian government nor the international community have mandated formal displacement sites – centres set up during previous bouts of instability or disasters,” reports The New Humanitarian, whose reporters reporters spoke to more than a dozen victims, as well as aid workers, civil society groups, rights groups, and government officials who said they are struggling to keep up with the unprecedented surge in cases. 

  • A U.S. embassy convoy was attacked by the 400 Mawozo gang in Port-au-Prince yesterday, reports CNN.

Regional

  • Would-be autocrats around the world are embracing the Trumpian “Big Lie” as a legitimate political strategy, writes Brazilian investigative journalist Natalia Viana in a New York Times guest essay. “Campaigns against democratic elections seed mistrust in democracy. American alt-right figures seeking to discredit the democratic process in Brazil — and potentially other countries in the future — evade mediation policies that social media platforms have in place for a country’s election.”

  • The current Latin American political landscape offers opportunity to right-wing political movements an some especially outspoken conservatives — including Argentine Javier Milei and Brazilian Eduardo Bolsonaro are “using international collaboration as an opportunity to expand their influence over right-wing politics at the national level,” reports Americas Quarterly.

  • Former U.S. DEA agent José Irizarry is starting a 12-year prison sentence for corruption. But in an in-depth interview with the Associated Press he painted a picture of institutionalized debauchery among a cohort of colleagues, pushed by the “crushing realization among DEA agents around the world that there’s nothing they can do to make a dent in the drug war anyway.”

  • A close economic advisor to Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former finance minister Guido Mantega, has sought to postpone the Nov. 20 vote to select the next Inter-American Development Bank head. Lula’s team has argued that the current administration’s nominee for the post does not reflect its newly elected government, reports Reuters. (See yesterday’s briefs.)

Brazil

  • The request to postpone the IDB election has some analysts concerned about divisions within the incoming administration’s economic team, according to Reuters.

  • Lula’s transition team will weigh a more conservative alternative to finance next year’s social spending, reports Bloomberg.

Chile

  • Chilean President Gabriel Boric’s approval rating rose for the first time since mid-September after he sent a bill to Congress to reform the country’s controversial pension system, according to a poll released Sunday. (Reuters)

  • After Chileans rejected a constitutional reform proposal earlier this year, Boric has been forced to make his own proposals to address the changes demanded citizens in massive mobilizations. Boric’s political fate may rest on the passage of his pension reform proposal in Congress, according to Robert Funk in Americas Quarterly.

El Salvador

El Salvador is in a precarious financial situation — and might be forced to default on its debt or move off the dollar, say experts. A recently announced free trade deal with China reportedly includes a buyout of the country’s $21bn in foreign debt, reports the Guardian.

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing
http://latinamericadailybriefing.blogspot

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