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Brazilian presidential campaign in full swing
This week, TV Globo’s Jornal Nacional program has been interviewing each of the major candidates in Brazil’s presidential race, beginning with current president Jair Bolsonaro on Monday (see Tuesday’s LADB). Polling frontrunner and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, was interviewed last night. AP reports that Lula expressed support for debt relief during the interview, commenting, “‘We have almost 70% of Brazilian families in debt and the vast majority are (headed by) women’… ‘You can be sure that we will negotiate with the private sector and the financial system.’” Lula’s campaign is reportedly “growing concerned about winning over the middle class, a key constituency in Brazil’s election,” according to Bloomberg. Lula admitted there was corruption in state-run giant Petrobras during previous Workers’ Party (PT) administrations, although also pointing to corruption during Bolsonaro’s current administration and critiquing the Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato) case, reports Folha. The outlet also noted that Lula commented, “‘polarization is healthy all over the world’ and even criticized dictatorships of governments that have the sympathy of PT supporters… ‘Now when you have democracy, you have more than one disputing, polarization is healthy, it is important, it is stimulating.’”
Folha recently outlined the plans of governance published by each of the candidate’s presidential campaigns. The first presidential debate will be held Sunday, August 28, with both Lula and Bolsonaro to be in attendance despite previous doubts over their participation (Folha). The first round of the presidential election will be Sunday, October 2. If no candidate wins a majority of the valid votes, then a second round will be held on Sunday, October 30. The inauguration of the eventual winner will take place on January 1, 2023.
Pushback from Bolsonaro’s opponents, if not done strategically, may result in a greater escalation by Bolsonaro and his allies, as demonstrated by the risk of Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes’ arrest warrants for businessmen that have expressed support for a Bolsonaro coup over WhatsApp, write James Bosworth and Jordi Amaral at the Latin America Risk Report.
Militias in Rio de Janeiro reportedly control areas covering over 1,200 pharmacies, which they extort for “protection,” notes Estadão.
Maduro sent to Argentina family members of the still-detained Venezuelan flight crew from the controversial Emtrasur flight in an effort to pressure Argentina to return the plane, currently in Buenos Aires. (Infobae, Clarín)
Following an agreement to deepen political and economic ties with India, Argentina assesses its potential entry into the BRICS economic bloc, reports Infobae.
Gabriel Boric, in an attempt to fulfill a campaign promise, has revived a bill to reduce the country’s working week from 45 hours to 40 hours over the course of 5 years, reports Reuters. The bill had been introduced in Congress in 2017, but had not advanced.
A presidential security convoy was attacked yesterday, although newly inaugurated president Gustavo Petro was not in the convoy and nobody was injured. (Globo)
The Ministry of Defense has suspended the practice of bombings of armed groups, which have previously killed minors, notes El Colombiano.
Three youths between the ages of 18 and 26 were killed in Colombia in July, prompting the arrest of ten police officers in connection to the murders, says BBC.
A training program headed by Colombia’s national police force that seeks to prevent abuses and human rights violations by cops has the support of the UN and the US, the latter which is also providing financial support, reports Reuters.
Though women often find a lack of opportunities after incarceration in El Salvador, programs that teach released prisoners craftsmanship skills and healing trauma appear to have promising positive effects, writes Carina Cione at the Aula Blog.
The “Guatemalan administration has continued to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby U.S. officials, primarily Republicans,” in an effort to bring back ideologically-aligned Donald Trump and other rightwing politicians to office in the US midterm and presidential elections, writes Progressive.
Oil companies aim to make Guyana the world’s largest oil producer per capita by 2027, a goal which has stoked concerns among citizens regarding the country’s “Natural Resources Fund, the sovereign wealth fund holding Guyana's oil royalties,” reports Reuters.
Yesterday, AMLO expressed his willingness to resolve Mexico’s trade dispute with the United States and Canada over Mexico’s energy policies, reports Reuters.
Europe’s influence in Latin America is slipping, with the region instead turning to non-Western powers such as China and Russia, writes Brian Winter and Americas Quarterly. Meanwhile, he argues that regional integration is a tall order, and that Latin America should be moving closer to Europe, not further away.
Venezuela’s “Anti-Blockade Law, designed to lure in foreign investment and circumvent sanctions,” is key for Maduro’s strategy of providing more favorable business deals, but it does not lessen the involvement of state-run oil firm PDVSA, which is the reform the country’s foreign allies and interested businesses truly want, writes Raúl Stolk in Americas Quarterly.
“China has entrusted a defence-focussed state firm to ship millions of barrels of Venezuelan oil despite U.S. sanctions, part of a deal to offset Caracas' billions of dollars of debt to Beijing,” reports Reuters.
In the Foreign Policy Latin America Brief, Catherine Osborn explores the current outlook in Venezuela, noting that Colombia’s Petro and Brazil’s Lula have shifted from their support for the current government in years past.