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Mapping Faultlines: Jair Bolsonaro in Trouble; Winds of Change in Latin America

by smart

[Music] hello and welcome to newsclick’s show mapping fault lines where we look at major geopolitical issues across the world today we’re going to be looking at a large continent that is latin america where a lot has been happening in recent months we’ve seen elections we’ve seen scandals and we’re specifically going to start with one country which is a very important country in the continent that is brazil and it’s president jair bolsonaro who has been in the center of controversy ever since he assumed power now bolsonaro’s situation has drastically weakened over the past few months the kovit 19 pandemic really having an impact on the country for indians there’s another specific angle with the whole coaxing scandal in the country and his situation is right now quite weak so to talk about this we have with us prabhupada esther prabhir so bolsonaro right now looks a bit surrounded and besieged because there are scandals of all sorts it’s financial corruption the health issue his general the way he’s handled the kovic 19 pandemic as a whole so how exactly do we see the crisis he’s facing right now you know to put it very shortly in a very simple way jair bolsonaro is medically having hiccups right now and so his government so we see a really stuttering bolsonaro that the kind of support he had won initially that has waned considerably and he is increasingly getting isolated even from his allies those in the congress and the house of chamber of deputies who had supported him seemed to be slowly deserting him as you know he’s got rid of a number of his health ministers and whatever he has done has not gone down well because he initially claimed that kovit 19 was really something which was not worth bothering about he also talked about how great he was that he didn’t really have to worry about any of this he has followed what i would call a trumpian policy of complete disregard for the science of what was happening and then talking in a way that made the pandemic seem as if it didn’t really matter and when it hit the brazilian people and as we saw brazil is one of the hardest hit in fact the numbers of death the second highest in the world so given all of that his image has taken a beating so that is one and of course recently as you talked about the covax in issue buying 20 million doses from bharat biotech and giving 15 dollars per dose which was the highest of all the vaccines and the kind of corruption issue that has been raised people saying that there was a singapore farm which was supposed to get to a 45 million dollar which is not mentioned the contract it was or it seems to represent value of the biotech it’s not mentioned the contract is an independent firm otherwise and singapore as you know is a tax haven so was it some way to siphon of money and get it back to other people’s accounts in brazil we don’t know so those are the kind of issues that have come up and particularly because the peep the person concerned who was in the health ministry came and informed bolsonaro about this he said yes he’s going to take action nothing really happened now as you know the both the house is moving on it the congress has set up not congress the senate has set up a committee to look into this they have been having meetings and they have taken depositions from witnesses the supreme court has asked for the prosecutor general to start the proceedings so all of this shows that bolsonaro is quite on the back foot of course there is other issue how covaxian could have been exported from india given that varath biotech has failed to meet its own obligations a different issue and of course the contract seems to be under suspension probably it will be cancelled but this is only a small issue in a whole range of issues which is plagued bolsonaro and with lula having come out not only of prison but also been vindicated that the case against him was really something which was fostered by judge moro and that that case having collapsed lula’s popularity has gone up significantly he is he’s seen to be a much more credible candidate than bolsonaro so bolsonaro’s second term if he runs against lula seems to be at the moment a very long shot for him so brazil moving away from the bolsonaro path which was the most right wing of governments we have seen for a very long time in brazil who was openly extolling the military coup of the 60s all the things that you can think about that’s wrong with brazil’s uh right right-wing bolsonaro really represented that and his family’s corruption his son’s corruption all those things have been already there in the public eye so if brazil comes back to lula and lula is not taking a relatively more social democratic left position than he ever did earlier and it’s very clear that his views of in the united states has also sharpened much more because the us was clearly behind what happened in brazil both the dilma rousseff uh getting the congress to remove her the impeachment of bill malusef and then what happened to lula so given all of that you can also see the u.s concern the cia chief ran to brazil very recently to have a meeting looking at what is happening over there so brazil’s shift to the left would be a very very big change in latin america because brazil is let’s face it the most important country in that continent and if brazil takes a different position and it comes back not only to the dilma rousseff position which as you know was a vacillating one but to a more firm left position and that i think makes a huge difference to what’s going to happen in latin america because latin america from a particular position where we saw a marcosur kind of alliance we saw a bolivarian alliance also within that has had been sort of defanged in very different ways and had fallen prey to the u.s machinations both in terms of trade policies and in terms of foreign policy so if brazil comes back to this position then the the range of constitutional coups that the u.s has been launched launching over there starting even with brazil and then we had the one in bolivia then we have of course the ecuador is still successful from the u.s point of view but we have also seen that what they are now trying in peru for instance but these have been not isolated instances these have been the american pattern so i think brazil and if you remember it started with honduras that was quite some time back 2009 so if we take all of that together prison shift would be in some sense a very very major tectonic shift in latin american politics so i think that’s what is at the moment something to watch for absolutely and it’s interesting you mentioned cia director william burns trip to brazil because they seem he and bolsonaro seem to have discussed the region as a whole and it’s obvious why they’re discussing the region because we’ve seen a shift in power what you’ve talked about in recent times in the continent itself you’ve seen argentina where mauricio macri was defeated by uh say alberto fernandez we’ve seen peru and we have very interesting possibilities in chile as well so could you maybe take us through the region as well in that aspect for our generation chile has been very important was very important the coup against president diane day in which he was killed and the right wing took over military took over with pinochet massacred young people activists imprisoned them in a stadium you know large numbers being put in prisons and of course the whole litany of abuse that took place over there that’s one part of it but the second part of it was it was the first really neoliberal experiment it was done directly by the chicago school of economists they the power sector reforms which later on was taken to uk and came to came in fact two world bank to india and various other countries started with the pinoche’s chile and it was enshrined in the constitution itself that what the state will not do and therefore the whole defanging of the state taking the state out of whole range of activities which would be considered at best welfare or social democratic not more than that all of this was all of that was made into martin milton friedman’s very right-wing economic policies the state will not have to will not do anything we’ll just protect the market etc etc etc and this also has its effect on education system for instance that what the state could or couldn’t do for supporting people’s education young people’s education and that was the actually the fuse that was lit the students coming into the streets fighting it out and the left emergence again among the students movement taking over small smaller municipalities even in santiago the the major town of chile where one third of its population is there and they the left emerged really out of the student movement and this kind of local politics if you will where the figures who now are important in chilean politics have emerged and the this may the decision earlier of course was that they will go for a constitutional congress to dismantle the pinochet regime’s structure but what was important in this vote which took place in may is that the right could not even muster one-third of seats they are running the still in the government so they are the ruling party ruling coalition at the moment but if you see that the not having not getting even one-third of the seats means simply there is no position to stop anything in regarding the constitution so the constitutional changes probably will dismantle a whole range of pinochet uh quote unquote reforms so that is a very very significant develop initially argentina you’ve already talked about that we have a left-of-center coalition that has come into place it also talked about it also pointed out this taking steps on the the argentine and supplying bullets arms to the coup in bolivia so that is that all that has already come out so already you see the shift that is taking place in argentina there is going to be elections in chile by the end of the year and if that shift also manifests itself in the presidential elections followed by a constitution which is much more social democratic if you will i think the fulcrum of politics in latin america would shift decisively in the direction which it was say when lula was a president of brazil you see at that point of time brazil led also the brics alliance at brics alliance and of course russia and china but the three countries which are the so-called non-aligned countries were india south africa and brazil and brazil was the international leader of that so if brazil also plays its role of course india also went to the right still with the right so that change probably will not take place here but nevertheless it does mean at least the latin american poll would shift decisively towards the left and with argentina already having a change chile in the throes of one and next year the brazilian elections are due and if we also see bolsonaro’s of the right wings defeat i think then you are likely to see a decisive shift in latin american politics and if you do so it has its implication for global politics as well and of course uh at the same time in the slightly towards the north we have venezuela and cuba which despite all u.s pressures have continued to remain firm and actually are able to provide a lot of both ideological support as well as inspiration for people in the continent in this context where we also finally wanted to quickly look at the position of the united states here because we saw the kind of policies trump undertook the kind of support he was giving to the right biden has not really what what really is seems to be biden’s line on these issues especially considering that on the one hand the you the u.s global say perspective is also looking at how to counter china you know lit first test of biden’s policy vis-a-vis trump’s is cuba and there you can see that the trump policies are continuing being continued there’s no change in that i think trump instituted a whole range of new sanctions on cuba biden has not withdrawn any of it and his response to the sporadic protests that have taken place in cuba mainly because there is an economic discontent there is a lot of problems that are there cuba had a major income coming in from from tourism which because of kobe 19 has not taken place and their their sanctions have only worsened the conditions that they have given that the the way biden has talked about the freedom-loving people of cuba without talking about the sanctions and also the fact that the united nations has again asked for sanctions being withdrawn so all of that makes clear that biden’s policy when it comes to comes to the crunch is not different from trump’s we do not see any significant difference with respect to either cuba or venezuela the two countries which really are the ones the us was is trying to force quite some time to destabilize cuba of course long range of sanctions but venezuela because they do feel that venezuela is a very important player because it is oil and therefore venezuela can be brought back with you know the in the ranks as colombia is then of course it makes a huge difference for for what in latin america that is not happening that and that is also it also shows that biden has not changed any of those policies with respect to either cuba or venezuela bolivia has come back to the left that is the good part of it whether the constitutional coups will the william burns the cia and president biden continue with the same policies or not that’s something to be watched at the moment there are no signs either with respect to venezuela and cuba if you take that as a weather vein so to say or what the biden policies could be in difference to what trump’s policies are or were i think the answer is at the moment we don’t see any clear difference between the two and effectively the policies are more in terms of continuity in rather than in terms of discontinuity so i’m not very sure that they while people thought of trump as crude and aggressive yes he was aggressive he also isolated himself from some of his allies which biden is trying to cover up in terms of the nato alliance and european union wooing the european past but in terms of actual policies or any of this counts i don’t think we see any any difference at all any difference at all and the fact that william burns rushed to consult with bolsonaro and suggest might be that what he needs to do also shows that they are deeply concerned that this continent now may be slipping back and the focus on china may have also taken the eye of latin america which they believe is something they should control the good old monroe doctrine hasn’t really gone away thank you so much for talking to us that’s all we have time for today keep watching newsclick


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Mapping Faultlines: Jair Bolsonaro in Trouble; Winds of Change in Latin America
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