Political Crisis Opens Up Space for Dialog With the United States – Crise Amplia Espaços de Diálogo com os EUA

Paulo Sotero –  Revista Interesse Nacional, 06/06/2016

The impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and the crisis that it generated was not a surprise to Washington. The interim government of Michel Temer and its foreign policy emphasis were well received and opens space for a renewal of bilateral dialogue and cooperation at a time when Latin America is changing and opening  up, as shown by the election of President Macri in Argentina, the normalization of US-Cuban relations and the breakdown of the Chavez regime in Venezuela. Washington does not underestimate the challenges the political crises for Brazilians, such as the exhaustion of state capitalism and the failure of its corrupt political class and of the system that produced it.  Add to the mix the uncertainties generated  by rise of populist candidates, from both the right and the left, in the presidential campaign in the Unite States. The desire of the Obama administration to invest in  a  deeper relations with Brazil remains, but won’t be acted on before  the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff is concluded, the  Temer administration consolidates its position and the outcome of the  November 8th elections in the United States is known. The good news is that the difficulties open time and political space for government officials and other interested parties to  prepare the way for productive initiatives.

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How the shutdown and possible default affect Latin America: trade and growth in the region would take major hit

Patricia Rey Mallén – International Business Times, 10/14/2013

As the United States holds its breath waiting for the resolution on the shutdown, so does Latin America. The fiscal crisis that began two weeks ago with the closing of the U.S. government and could culminate in a U.S. debt default in a few days could have disastrous consequences for the United States’ southern neighbors, hurting the currency exchange rates and weakening the region’s growth.

The U.S., still Latin America’s largest trade partner and investor, must decide whether it will raise the debt ceiling, currently at $16.7 trillion, or suspend payments to bondholders. If that were to happen, possibly as soon as October 17, the world economy would suffer another blow, starting in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The region is in a very complex situation due to the fiscal crisis and the shutdown,” Colombian financial analyst Juan Alberto Pineda told financial newspaper El Economista América. “The signals that are coming out [of Washington] do not look positive for Latin American exports, or an exchange rate that allows the region to compete in global trade.”

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Bad friend or good enemy: Snowden scandal shadows Kerry in Brazil

Adrian Salbuchi – RT, 08/14/2013

Brazil should be on guard as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Brazil attempting to achieve some measure of damage control and revive negotiations over military contracts which were disturbed after the Snowden leaks.

Brazil became part of the unfolding Snowden scandal when it was revealed that America’s electronic eavesdropping programs included huge amounts of Brazilian public and private communications involving sensitive military, energy and commercial secrets.

Needless to say, Kerry’s task in the country won’t be easy. The US must learn that its behavior of talking in friendly terms, but acting in a less than friendly manner is destroying its trustworthiness and credibility worldwide.

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Brazilian criticizes wealthy nation’s policies

Binyamin Appelbaum – The New York Times, 04/16/2011

Finance Minister Guido Mantega of Brazil on Saturday. Photo: Mike Theiler/European Pressphoto Agency.

Brazil’s finance minister said Saturday that developed nations like the United States were seeking to solve their own economic problems at the expense of the developing world.

The minister, Guido Mantega, said wealthy countries were attempting “to export their way out of difficult economic situations” by printing money and keeping interest rates low. Those policies are driving up the prices of food and oil, causing particular pain for the world’s poorest people, Mr. Mantega told the policy-making committee of the International Monetary Fund.

His strong remarks highlight the challenges the United States and Europe face as they try to change their economic relationship with the developing world. In place of unsustainable borrowing to fuel consumption of imported goods, they would like to sell more goods and services to those countries. The problem is that developing nations, losing business from their best customers, hope to replace sales by increasing domestic consumption — selling to the same customers developed nations are trying to reach.

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Obama wins high marks on Latin America tour

Jim Wyss, Mimi Whitefield, Tim Johnson – The Miami Herald, 03/22/2011

With Japan’s nuclear crisis, an escalating Libyan conflict and a bitter budget debate, the fact that President Barack Obama made it to Latin America at all was something of an achievement.

But as Air Force One leaves El Salvador on Wednesday — after a five-day, three-nation trip — some here wonder what will be left behind once the glow of the visit fades.

In his first extensive trip to Latin America since assuming office, Obama has won high marks for his conciliatory tone and acknowledgement of Latin America as a powerful economic and political force that deserves a partnership of equals.

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U.S. should support Brazil’s Security Council bid

Peter Hakim – The Miami Herald, 03/13/2011

President Obama will be warmly greeted by huge crowds in Brazil when he arrives March 19 for the beginning of a Latin American tour, but only modest progress can be expected on the agenda of foreign-policy problems confronting the two countries. There is only one thing that could dramatically elevate the significance of Obama’s visit — the U.S. president’s unambiguous endorsement of Brazil for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Obama’s support of India’s permanent membership highlighted his successful visit to New Delhi last year. That is the yardstick against which Brazilians will measure Obama’s visit to Rio and Brasilia. They want Obama also to appropriately recognize their country’s expanded global status. Nothing would do more to ease the palpable tensions that mark Brazil-U.S. relations. Building on newly installed Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff’s call for closer bilateral ties, it would set the stage for greater cooperation and could well change the dynamic of a currently unsatisfactory relationship.

Washington would simply be acknowledging Brazil’s new global prominence and getting out in front of the inevitable. Eventually, Brazil and other developing nations will secure permanent spots on the Security Council. International organizations are already accommodating the growing importance and assertiveness of developing nations. The Group of 20, whose members include major emerging economies, has displaced the Group of Seven, all highly industrialized countries, as the principal institution for addressing global economic challenges. Europe and United States will soon lose their monopoly-hold on IMF and World Bank leadership. Expanding the U.N. Security Council will take longer, but it will happen, and Brazil is a pretty sure bet to acquire one of the new seats.

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President Obama’s Latin American trip offers an opportunity for a new relationship with the region

Mimi Whitefield – The Miami Herald, 03/13/2011

As President Barack Obama prepares for his trip to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador this week, there is optimism in the region that his swing south will begin a new relationship — one that reflects the profound changes Latin America has undergone in the past decade.

But with a budget crisis looming in the United States and the possibility of a partial U.S. government shutdown by the end of the week if a stop-gap measure isn’t approved, the president’s trip, scheduled for Friday through Wednesday, could be delayed.

If the trip goes forward as planned, the Latin America that Obama will encounter is more confident, more politically diverse and healthier economically since adopting sometimes painful reforms.

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Obama to boost trade in first South America tour as China looms

Randy Woods, Helen Murphy – Bloomberg, 01/26/2011

President Barack Obama will seek to establish strong ties with Brazil’s fledgling government and reassert commercial leadership in South America after losing ground to China when he makes his first visit to the region.

Obama, in his State of the Union Address last night, announced he will visit Brazil, Chile and El Salvador in March “to forge new alliances for progress in the Americas.” During the visit he’ll seek to win support for closer economic ties, especially with Brazil in energy, as competitors like China increase investment and trade with the resource-rich region, said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue.

“There’s a very keen awareness in Washington that China is a major trading partner now of Brazil, Chile and Peru,” Shifter said in an interview from Washington. “There’s a sense the U.S. is missing that opportunity.”

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War on drugs: why the US and Latin America could be ready to end a fruitless 40-year struggle

Rory Carroll and Paul Harris – The Guardian, 08/08/2010

The birthday fiesta was in full swing at 1.30am when five SUVs pulled up outside the house. Figures spilled from the vehicles and ran towards the lights. They burst into the house and levelled AK-47s. “Kill them all!” A shouted instruction, only three words, and the slaughter began.

Gunfire and screams drowned the music. Some victims were cut down immediately, others were caught as they tried to escape. By the time the killers left there were 17 corpses, 18 wounded and 200 shell casings. Among the dead was the birthday guest of honour, a man local media named only as Mota, Mexican slang for marijuana.

The atrocity last month in Torreón, an industrial city in the northern state of Coahuila, came amid headlines shocking even by the standards ofMexico‘s drug war. A sophisticated car bomb of a type never before seen in the country; a popular gubernatorial candidate gunned down in the highest-level political murder; and then last week the release of official figures putting the number of drug war-related murders at 28,000.

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Will Washington treat Colombia’s Santos as an ally?

The Washington Post, 06/22/2010

Juan Manuel Santos has demonstrated that pro-American, pro-free-market politicians still have life in Latin America. Mr. Santos, who romped to victory in Colombia’s presidential runoff on Sunday, has no interest in courting Iran, unlike Brazil’s Luiz Ignácio Lula da Silva. He has rejected the authoritarian socialism of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. A former journalist with degrees from the University of Kansas and Harvard, he values free media and independent courts. His biggest priority may be ratifying and implementing a free-trade agreement between Colombia and the United States.

So the question raised by Mr. Santos’s election is whether the Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders will greet this strong and needed U.S. ally with open arms — or with the arms-length disdain and protectionist stonewalling to which they subjected his predecessor, Álvaro Uribe.

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