LatinNews Consulting

Regional heavyweights lean on Venezuela

On 23 March, 14 countries across the Americas released a joint statement urging the Venezuelan government to hold elections, restore the opposition-controlled national assembly to functions, and free all imprisoned politicians, leaving open the threat of the country’s suspension from the Organization of American States (OAS).

Backlash in Brazil over operation ‘weak meat’

A new corruption probe launched by Brazil’s federal police (Polícia Federal – PF) into the meat packing industry, code-named carne fraca (weak meat), has raised health concerns and caused a number of trading partners, including China and the European Union (EU), to ban imports from Brazil. It may also have triggered a domestic political backlash, with claims that the PF overreached and unnecessarily placed exports and employment in the meat-processing industry at risk.

Chinese lending – a lifejacket for Latin America

China continues to lend in excess of US$20bn a year to Latin America and The Caribbean. Since 2005, Beijing has invested over US$141bn in the region.

Criminals seize control of Espírito Santo during police strike

For little over a week, criminals ransacked the southern state of Espírito Santo after military police went on strike. From 4-12 February reports of arson, assaults, car-jackings, lootings and murders soared. Amid the chaos, public transport ground to a halt and businesses and schools closed.

Campaigns heat up in Chile ahead of November vote

Former president Sebastián Piñera (2010-2014) this month confirmed that he will seek the presidential nomination for the right-wing Chile Vamos opposition coalition (comprising the Unión Demócrata Independiente [UDI] and Renovación Nacional [RN]) ahead of Chile’s November general elections. Despite the threat of various legal cases against him, Piñera remains the frontrunner ahead of the vote – a reflection in large part of the unpopularity of the Nueva Mayoría coalition government led by President Michelle Bachelet. This unpopularity stems from a string of corruption scandals which have afflicted the political and business classes alike – such as the illegal electoral campaign financing scandals implicating local companies. It also stems from the continued domestic economic slowdown (attributed to the fall in international copper prices) as well as, most recently, the government’s perceived mishandling of last month’s forest fires – the worst in the country’s history [RBS-17-02].

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