This really has put a lot of pressure on Temer. And I think Temer, who has always been a rather wily politician, very quickly tried to eliminate any consideration of the possibility of resignation. And by doing that, he only left two—excuse me—three or four options on the table. One is impeachment. The second possibility is direct elections. And this is something that many of the left would like to see happen. I doubt very seriously that that would happen, because congress would have to approve the constitutional amendment.
And they can slow-walk any constitutional amendment. And so that really leaves only two potential options for removing Temer unless—and this is sort of a key caveat—unless the streets turn out en masse. So the other two options are a court case, which is currently ongoing in the electoral court—the supreme electoral court. And this is a case that, ironically, was filed by a current ally of the Temer regime. And this is supposed to go to judgement beginning June 6 th , so next week. The court has seven members. Two of them are very political.
Another two are supreme court justices who are fairly political. And in any case, any decision there could be appealed to the supreme court. And then the final thing that could happen is perhaps Temer being investigated by the actual supreme court. That could turn into an indictment in the supreme court. And if that were to happen, the congress could approve his removal with a two-thirds vote. But again, here, this is a congress two-thirds of whom are, you know, pretty involved in—have been implicated in corruption scandals.
President Macri of Argentina was just here at the White House, met with President Trump, had a number of meetings around town. He, since taking office, has launched this very ambitious process of economic reform to undo the economic mismanagement and corruption of previous—of at least the decade or so of the—of the Kirchner years. How successful has he been in turning around the economy? And what do you think are the prospects for his holding on the minority, or even expanding the number of seats that he has in the congress in the October elections?
You know, I think that he has basically done the best that he could with not—without having a majority in the congress during his time in office to enact some fairly ambitious reforms and, as you say, make a good amount of progress. You know, I think that his visit her showed that that relationship is going to continue to flourish in a positive way under the Trump administration, which I very much view as a positive.
I would tend to agree with that. And the economic challenges will continue. I think, though, at least among the elites in the business class, there continues to be a great amount of confidence in him and his team, in the way that, you know, his kind of troika of city of Buenos Aires, province of Buenos Aires, federal government is operating.
And so, you know, all in all, you know, mildly optimistic going forward. But on the corruption point as well, I mean, I think—you know, listening to you speak, Matt—you know, just preparing for this today, I just checked out a number of the newspapers. So it does show that, you know, this is touching every country that we could talk about here today, including Argentina.
Vietnam to Venezuela: US Interventionism and the Failure of the Left | Common Dreams Views
In the s, under Lula especially, under the two terms of the Lula administration and continuing, to a certain extent, under Dilma, Brazil was the rising power. It was a rising power not only in South America, with the founding of UNASUR, but it was also increasingly projecting itself as a global power, a member of the BRICS, opting out of, you know, certain Western institutions and with other emerging markets, you know, going its own way. To what extent was that—or to what extent is that profile that Brazil has tried to have in the last decade completely undermined by the current political and economic crisis?
And if things should settle down, do you see this as a—as an aspect of Brazilian foreign policy and projection going forward? In other words, what has been launched and started can never be sort of put back in the bottle? And so you know, this is something that there was sort of a decline in the profile of Brazil on the international stage, even before all of these scandals began to emerge. You know, perhaps turning towards the U. Obviously, the scandal completely cuts the legs out under—from under that strategy.
I do see a silver lining here though, which is that in the Odebrecht case, the Brazilian prosecution has been really an important international player, and a player that has worked to cooperate with other Latin governments, and worked to, you know, teach, to counsel, to advise other prosecutors around the hemisphere. And then Mercosur, Brazil and Argentina, with those two economies being dragged down, and Uruguay and Paraguay trying to, you know, find some space within that.
But more and more you hear talk of convergence and acercamiento, you know, a closening of those two trade blocs. How realistic is that? And what do you see as the potential of a deeper Latin American and especially South American integration in the wake of the U.
HOCK: Well, I think, looking for silver linings, that one of the silver linings on this topic is that south-south trade discussions are in the spotlight. You do have the Mexicans, I think very intelligently, looking to hedge their bets by getting into real trade discussions with Argentina and Brazil, particularly with respect to agricultural products. You have the Chileans and their current leadership of the Pacific Alliance, I think really masterfully handling the situation by calling very quickly the meeting that they had in Vina back in March, I believe, between the TPP countries, the Pacific Alliance countries, and their FTA partners, which also brings Korea and China to the table, which, you know, was made a great, you know, deal of hubbub in the press about the fact that China was there, despite China not being terribly ambitious on the liberalization side.
But just having them at the table, and us as kind of an afterthought. I mean, we were represented in that meeting, but only by the U. So you know, it does create an opening for further integration, liberalization to take place, and for it to be, for once, their idea, not our idea, which I think is a positive.
That said, everything that Mat has said about the distraction in Brazil right now really does make a real integration between Pacific Alliance and Mercosur challenging. I mean, they did do a follow up meeting after the Vina meeting in Buenos Aires on the margins of the World Economic Forum.
They have set out a scope of collaboration. They do plan to meet again at the end of the year on the margins of the WTO ministerial, which will be held in Argentina. They pass, in just a matter of weeks, the leadership of the Pacific Alliance to the Colombians. And, you know, whether that move towards South America— audio break —come to this hopefully later, with the election upcoming in Chile, whether Chile will continue to play that role. Obviously seeking support for the implementation of the peace agreement, at the same time that the traditional issue that has shaped U. What do—how successful do you think Santos was in reaching out to the White House and to the Congress, and maintaining a sense of bipartisanship in U.
And how is that possibly going to change over these next years? And I think that the Colombians got the message, and President Santos tried to make the case that he has a plan in order to reduce that coca cultivation. The issue is not cocaine, necessarily, but heroin, opioid. The other problem is the polarization within Colombia itself, which makes any kind of sustainable sort of support more difficult, more complicated.
Human rights in Chile
And that polarization is reflected in how—the positions that different candidates are taking. And of course, the polarization means that at least one of the candidates, probably to get into the second round, will be a fierce critic and opponent of this peace deal with the FARC. But I think the concern that has been around for the last couple of years, but has become more acute, I think, is the profound political polarization in the country.
But I think the message was delivered by both Congress and the administration that the drug issue really has to be addressed a lot more effectively moving forward. All right. But I have one last question about Chile. Chile also has elections.
Is there anything more to say about how things are shaping up in Chile, and why the government has landed in the position that it has? And I think that if you look at the way that President Bachelet 2. And it was such a long list, including to try to keep the more left-leaning aspects, you know, of her coalition on board, that you end up kind of over-promising and underdelivering.
Nothing compared to Brazil, but you have had some corruption scandals that, you know, for Chilean standards have gotten folks pretty riled up. Time for your questions. Please raise your hand, identify yourself, and wait for the microphone. Thanks for a very good overview of the region and great issues. One of the first issues that, Michael, you addressed was Venezuela. Is it—is it to just keep doing the same, or is to add a little more pressure directly from us? Thank you. It should have been a long time ago. And even some of the Caribbean countries that had been aligned are now coming around.
And I think that the United States is now building on what happened under the Obama administration, Trump administration is applying individual sanctions at higher levels, including the Vice President El Aissami in February, and more recently to the eight members of the court that basically decided to dissolve the National Assembly.
I think these measures are symbolically important. And I think they delegitimize the government. The Venezuelan government is not accepting the aid, but people are finding ways to help their families and others who are really suffering and living in misery in Venezuela, which is just—you know, just heartbreaking. So I think, you know, what more forceful measures? And I think, frankly, however this turns out is going to be fundamentally a product of what happens within Venezuela. But as I said before, I think there are things that can be done to sort of create the—create some of the division within the government.
But my sense is that the U. I want to—considering some of the things that have been said here, and following all the news that I do—and I speak to all the government people in South America all the time—how far we are for a return of the populist governments? I feel like we are not very far. In Argentina, Cristina in this moment nationally has around 40 percent of approval. And in the province of Buenos Aires, I think that she would be the winner absolutely if she tomorrow to election.
In Brazil, if Temer goes tomorrow, Lula will be the president. His numbers are excellent.
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So how far we are? If I am Maduro in this moment, you know what I will do? I will wait.
Because I will have all my friends in one or two years back in government and we will be back. Will be Maduro, will be Lula, there will be Cristina. So something is going on here that all the idea, the message of change is not changing at all. All the change that they thought they will do is filing. I would know your views about this. TAYLOR: Because I was thinking about this this morning actually before coming here, and thinking—you know, there was a lot of talk about a turn to the left in the s and then now a return to the right.
And actually, when you look around Latin America, especially South America, what you see is a turn to stalemate. But you know, there is an enormous division and polarization in these societies. Could—taking the point about Lula—could Lula come back? His chances today are better than they were yesterday, but his chances of surviving are much worse. And so I think the left in Brazil has been very deeply wounded by the past three years, certainly. And you know, is it possible for the left to come back? It could, but it would be a much different left than the PT governments of the s when they had 70 percent support in congress, 80 percent support sometimes.
It would be a very limited support. What is a solution that we can brainstorm that gets all of these diverse parties out of the current stalemate and thinking about how to fix the system, fix the constitution, fix the electoral laws and so forth, so we deal with these problems?
So having the United States with that environment, due to our own polarized politics right now, layered on top of the polarized politics in Latin America, that dynamic is one that, candidly, worries me. Retrieved 6 April Retrieved 28 February Retrieved 20 February Retrieved 20 January Pan American Health Organization. Archived from the original PDF on 24 October Retrieved 31 December El Universal. Retrieved 29 December The Economist. Retrieved 21 April Financial Times World Desk Reference. Dorling Kindersley. Brookings Institution Press. Retrieved 26 February Archived from the original on 14 May Retrieved 25 February Jurist: Legal news and research.
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Retrieved 15 January Retrieved 31 January Economic Times. Kyiv Post. CBC News. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 4 February No independent government institutions remain today in Venezuela to act as a check on executive power. The government has been repressing dissent through often-violent crackdowns on street protests, jailing opponents, and prosecuting civilians in military courts. It has also stripped power from the opposition-led legislature. In , President Maduro convened a 'Constituent Assembly' by presidential decree, despite a constitutional requirement that a public referendum be held before any effort to rewrite the Constitution.
The assembly is made up exclusively of government supporters chosen through an election that Smartmatic, a British company hired by the government to verify the results, called fraudulent.
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The Venezuelan government has jailed political opponents and disqualified them from running for office. At time of writing, more than political prisoners were languishing in Venezuelan prisons or intelligence services headquarters, according to the Penal Forum, a Venezuelan network of pro-bono criminal defense lawyers. In mid, the Supreme Court sentenced five opposition mayors, after summary proceedings that violated international norms of due process, to 15 months in prison and disqualified them from running for office.
Amnesty International. The judicial system continued to be used to silence dissidents, including using military jurisdiction to prosecute civilians. The justice system continued to be subject to government interference, especially in cases involving people critical of the government or those who were considered to be acting against the interests of the authorities.
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