LatinNews Consulting

Brazil’s Temer's agenda complicated as Calheiros suspended

On 5 December Brazil’s supreme court (STF) suspended Renan Calheiros from his position as president of the federal senate pending the resolution of the corruption charges levelled against him.

Significance: The decision represents another significant political crisis for President Michel Temer. The senate is due to cast its final vote on the government’s ‘austerity bill’ on 13 December, but Calheiros’s suspension puts a question mark over whether that will now take place. Eurasia Group puts the chances of the vote going ahead at 50/50. Delays to the passage of the bill that seeks to place caps on federal government spending could allow public opposition to swell, complicating its approval at a later date. Calheiros’s temporary replacement is Jorge Vianna, a senator from the left-wing opposition Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) party, who has been vocal in his opposition to the government’s austerity measures.

Cuba confronts the death of a colossus

The passing of Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro was announced many times during his life, only to be refuted, often by a photo of him clutching a dated copy of the Communist party mouthpiece Granma. When his brother President Raúl Castro confirmed on 25 November that Fidel, 90, had succumbed to old age, the ledger of his political life could finally be opened and examined. Although he had become almost a recluse for the last decade, the news of Fidel’s death reverberated around the world. It has a huge symbolic resonance. Fidel was the heart of the Cuban Revolution; Raúl, the head. His death might remove some of the constraints on Raúl pertaining to economic reform, although with the advent of Donald Trump as the US president all bets are off.

What will Trumponomics mean for Latin America?

While the policies of the next government of the United States are not yet clear, a picture is beginning to emerge. President-elect Donald Trump will follow a more protectionist agenda, will introduce deep corporate tax cuts, and will spend heavily on infrastructure. This could boost US growth in the short term – a good thing for Latin America – but there is a lot more to worry about, with Mexico probably the main loser and other economies also facing serious threats.

The security implications of President Trump

What will Donald Trump do to Mexico? There may be a difference between what candidate Trump said he would do and what President Trump will actually do. If there is a gap between those two things – and it is not certain – it will begin to emerge as the president-elect names more members of his transition team and gets ready to take office on 20 January. The difference could be crucial for Mexico since the majority of the country has seen the policies of candidate Trump as unremittingly bad for relations between the two countries.

Preparing for President Trump

The outcome of the 8 November US general elections is widely considered to have been negative for Mexico. The unexpected election of US Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump is believed to represent the single biggest challenge to Mexico-US relations in decades. Trump adopted a clear anti-Mexico stance during his electoral campaign, promising to build a wall along the US-Mexico border to stop illegal migration; deport millions of undocumented migrants living in the US (most of whom are Mexican); and force a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) to make it more beneficial to the US at Mexico’s expense. It is no wonder that the Mexican government and Mexican politicians from across the political spectrum are now seeking a strategy to deal with this challenge.

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