Networked Notes - 12 July 2016

By Southern Pulse Staff & Network

Costa Rica’s late nomination of Christiana Figueres to be UN Secretary General reshuffled the deck both in Latin America and globally. Many UN insiders were watching the candidacy of Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra, a favorite due to her closeness to current UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Her candidacy was considered the strongest from outside of Eastern Europe, which is the most likely region to receive the position. Malcorra even moderated her country’s position on Venezuela at the OAS to prevent a veto at the UN Security Council from Russia or China, two allies of President Maduro.

However, the presence of another Latin American female leader in the UN race will likely divide the region’s votes and make it harder for Malcorra to win.

So why did Costa Rica do it? With a field of twelve candidates and a position that often goes to the least controversial person, the country has everything to gain and nothing to lose. Figueres is a strong candidate, in many ways stronger than Malcorra, with a successful Paris climate agreement and few opponents in the international realm.

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Venezuela’s MUD wants President Maduro to leave this year, while many Chavistas are quietly pushing for the transition to occur early next year so a vice president can take over. No significant faction, other than the Venezuelan president himself, appears to be pushing for Maduro to finish out his term.

Late Monday evening (11 July), President Maduro announced General Vladimir Padrino Lopez would oversee a new Mission meant to end shortages of goods and that other cabinet ministers would be subordinate to him. For those following the Kremlinology of who is up and down within the government, this is a strong sign that Padrino remains a key player.

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Southern Pulse’s sources inside Rio’s Olympic Committee disclosed Brazil’s Foreign Ministry has yet to reveal the list of over 40 foreign dignitaries who have confirmed their presence at Rio 2016. Similarly, sources inside the Brazilian Embassy in Washington D.C. confirmed there is no longer any dialogue between Brasília and the Embassy’s permanent staff. These coordination issues are the result of Michel Temer’s administration’s interim status. Brasília is hiding the list of dignitaries, scared a leak will provide fodder for criticism due to the possible absence of important world leaders.

Similarly, Embassy-Brasília communications suffer as an Ambassador linked to José Serra has not yet taken his place at the embassy in Washington. The Temer administration has started, but it is still setting up shop, and the Brazilian state is dragging its feet as a result. Expect this to continue for the next couple of months until after Dilma Rousseff’s final impeachment vote. If Dilma is miraculously returned to office--an improbable, yet not impossible occurrence--the same thing will take place as she restarts her government.