Lula remains ahead, small margin
Oct. 27, 2022
Brazilian polls continue to predict a likely win for former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Sunday’s runoff vote — but it will be by a small margin, which “creates greater risk for public distrust in the result of the elections and a tumultuous period between now and January as well as after the inauguration,” warns the Latin America Risk Report.
The latest Quaest poll attempts to gauge the possible impact of abstention rates on Sunday. Quaest’s “likely voter” scenario has Lula getting 52.1% of valid votes, down from 52.8% last week. Bolsonaro would get 47.9%, up from 47.2%. (Bloomberg)
Incumbent Jair Bolsonaro has increased his attacks on Brazil’s electoral court, which refused a request to investigate radio stations in the country’s north and northeast for allegedly giving airtime ad campaign preference to Lula, reports Bloomberg.
Polls over the campaign have consistently put Lula ahead, but failed to predict Bolsonaro’s support in the first-round. While the math is still in Lula’s favor, the economy and hard campaigning will help Bolsonaro’s reelection bid, reports the Economist.
Bolsonaro has sought to court Lula voters with government social aid: since the start of the runoff campaign this month, the administration has announced eight new initiatives granting or increasing social benefits, according to the Brazilian Report. One of the most controversial has allowed Auxilio Brasil cash-transfer recipients to take out payroll deduction loans.
Most of Bolsonaro’s re-election campaign funds come from agribusiness leaders, underscoring the incumbent’s links to farm interests. Lula’s campaign has relied almost exclusively on public party funding, reports Reuters.
Bolsonaro has handed out millions of dollars from a government slush fund — discretionary spending that is coming under increased scrutiny ahead of Sunday’s vote, reports the Guardian.
The presidential race “has been plagued by a rabid disinformation campaign over social media unlike anything the country has seen,” with likely negative consequences for Brazil’s democratic future, reports Nacla.
The ideological intensity on show in Brazil “is an echo of — but also a prologue to — battles to come in the United States,” according to the Washington Post’s WorldView column.
The fate of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest rests on the results of Sunday’s election, warn activists who point to soaring deforestation and environmental deregulation under Bolsonaro. (Reuters)
Brazilian Indigenous leader Txai Suruí argues that this election is the last chance to save the Amazon. “Because one candidate wants to save down the Amazon and the other wants to burn it down,” she says in a New York Times Opinion Video
Looking forward, “while a Lula administration’s security policy remains undefined, continued mano dura policies under Bolsonaro pose a threat to human rights and will likely harm Brazil’s overall security environment,” write James Bosworth and Jordi Amaral in the Latin America Risk Report.
Colombian lawmakers passed a bill yesterday that allows President Gustavo Petro to seek peace deals illegal armed groups — guerrillas, dissident FARC, and criminal organizations — via negotiations and processes of surrender. The new law will allow illegal armed groups to move to temporary locations where orders for their capture and potential extraditions will be suspended until talks are concluded, reports Reuters.
Colombia’s government plans to increase taxes on oil and coal companies in order to finance a socially ambitious agenda — a move that is furiously opposed by the extractive sector, reports the Financial Times.
The oil tax proposal, along with a plan to ban fracking, are spooking companies, according to Bloomberg, which says “no other other major oil country is constraining the industry this much.” The Colombian Petroleum Association estimates Petro’s plans will spark a 30% drop in investment in the industry.
The U.S. hopes to settle the details of a proposed multinational force to be deployed to Haiti early next month. The troops would be led by a third country, with support from the U.S., officials told the Miami Herald, pushing back against reports that a proposed rapid action force was imperiled because no country has stepped up to lead it. (See yesterday’s post.)
The U.S. is in close talks with Canada on the issue. Though U.S. officials hope for Security Council support, “they are also planning contingencies for a multilateral force that would enter Haiti without formal U.N. authorization,” reports the Miami Herald.
The top U.S. and Canadian generals discussed Haiti’s security situation during a call yesterday, reports Reuters.
A group of Democratic U.S. senators is urging the Biden administration to immediately expand and extend immigration protections for Haitians in the United States as Haiti’s ongoing crisis deepens, reports the Miami Herald.
Venezuelan politicians are discussing proposals for a fund that could release over $3 billion to provide humanitarian aid to Venezuela through the United Nations, reports Reuters. The proposals are aimed at reinvigorating stalled negotiations between Venezuela’s government and opposition parties.
Political infighting within Mexico’s ruling Morena party suggests a difficult future for the country’s dominant party after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador finishes his mandate in 2024, reports the Washington Post.
Gangs inside Ecuador’s penitentiary system are filling a power vacuum left by the state, and extort inmates for access to services and threaten their lives with violence, according to rights groups. (Reuters)
A Paraguayan congressional report connects former President Horacio Cartes to crimes ranging from cigarette smuggling to money laundering. It’s only the latest of a series of such accusations, notes InSight Crime.
Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves has a confrontational leadership style that has spurred clashes with the country’s legislature and press, but hasn’t hurt his popularity levels, reports Americas Quarterly.
Bolivia's government said it will temporarily suspend exports of food products including soy and beef. The move is aimed at safeguarding food security, amid protests in Santa Cruz, the country’s key farming region, reports Reuters.