Networked Notes - 15 Sept 2016

By Southern Pulse Staff & Network

Colombia

All polling shows the Colombia plebiscite is likely to pass by a significant margin. Still, the Santos government is not taking victory for granted. Sources close to the government suggest an ongoing press for votes to deliver a giant margin of victory if possible, giving the peace deal the largest possible mandate.

At the same time, local pollsters suggest Santos should not expect to receive a significant sustained bounce from his plebiscite victory. He may get a small short term gain in his approval rating, but voters are not backing the peace deal because they like Santos. In fact, many citizens who oppose the current administration are voting in favor.

While the plebiscite results won’t help Santos, they may hurt the opponents of the peace deal. In opposing peace, former President Uribe and his allies are declining in the polls. While many Colombians respect Uribe’s work while in office, his opposition to the peace deal makes them question what direction he would choose to take the country.

But Uribe, who opposes the peace deal largely due to personal animosity against the FARC, may be playing a longer game here. If there are signs that the peace deal’s implementation is not going as planned in two years, the deal’s opponents are hoping they can point fingers at the challenges to show themselves as having been correct all along.

 

Venezuela

With Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay growing increasingly angry at the Maduro administration, it falls to Uruguay to save Maduro from Mercosur embarrassment. In previous years, Venezuela would have found the money to help out Uruguay, pay the past-due dairy and meat bills that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the Uruguayan economy, and kept Uruguay in Venezuela’s corner to prevent expulsion from Mercosur. The fact Maduro and Venezuela cannot even find the resources to hold Uruguay’s support demonstrates the country’s current financial problems.