Mexico

Networked Notes - 19 October 2016

Eduardo's Cunha's preventive arrest represents a potential problem for the Temer Government and the Brazilian political system as a whole. In the past week, plea deals involving Temer's close confidants and cabinet members --Eliseu Padilha, Moreira Franco and Romero Jucá-- for receiving bribes from Odebretch were leaked. Cunha's arrest puts additional pressure on these key government members, who Cunha now views as political enemies responsible for his downfall. 

Networked Notes - 30 Aug 2016

Colombia

The FARC leadership expressed sincere gratitude to Venezuela’s government for the success of recent peace negotiations. In reality, it is Venezuela’s government which should be thanking the FARC. The extended peace negotiations are a critical reason why Colombia specifically, and Latin America in general, has been reluctant to more forcefully denounce abuses of human rights and democratic values in Venezuela.

Teacher Protests in Mexico

Shortly after his inauguration in 2012, President Enrique Peña Nieto presented a packet of education reforms, which was later approved by both houses of Congress and deemed constitutional in 2013. However, the government has faced growing resistance to the implementation of the education reforms, especially in areas where teacher unions are particularly strong, like Oaxaca.

Networked Notes - 28 June 2016

A slew of over-reaching analyses have been written about the impact of Brexit on Latin America specifically and on emerging markets in general. While the UK’s decision to leave the EU certainly impacts the region in a limited fashion, Latin American governments have taken note of the media attention and are prepared to make Brexit a great scapegoat for their ongoing economic problems for at least the next quarter. Mexico announced pre-planned budget cuts, including some controversial cuts in education, the day the UK voted to leave. Argentine officials are happy Brexit artificially weakened the peso. At least one official in Venezuela made the ridiculous suggestion that Brexit was part of the economic plot against the Maduro government. Expect to see additional Latin American governments in the coming weeks point their fingers at the UK and Europe.

Networked Notes - 21 June 2016

Venezuela’s MUD is stuck in a bind. The president and ruling party’s approval ratings are way down while the leading opposition leaders and parties to President Maduro are relatively popular. But popularity doesn’t mean there is a checkmate move in sight. While the MUD is not yet willing to admit defeat, Maduro appears to have successfully blocked the chances for a recall referendum this year. This removes a key path to a democratic transition prior to the scheduled 2019 elections. The hemisphere is debating the ongoing negotiations and Democratic Charter at the OAS this week, but whatever the outcome of that debate, it doesn’t change the fact that a peaceful and democratic transition is unlikely in the short term.

Networked Notes - 7 June 2016

After leaked tapes and now a potential arrest order, Brazil Senate leader Renan Calheiros might be forced out of his job before the impeachment vote on President Rousseff can occur. Calheiros was instrumental in directing the Senate’s impeachment proceedings in an apparently impartial way, without the theatrics of the Lower House. As such, Calheiros has pushed back against speeding up Senate proceedings and limited Senators arguments on impeachment to pertinent matters. It is questionable whether this is good for Dilma Rousseff. 

Networked Notes - 4 May 2016

Mexico’s Congress failed to act on proposed anti-corruption legislation and Mexico’s President Peña Nieto has largely ignored the issue. Delays in anti-corruption initiatives pushed civil society to collect over a half million signatures in favor of the Ley 3x3, which would have legally obligated Mexican politicians to publicly disclose assets, possible conflicts of interest, and tax payments. The fact Mexico’s Congress isn’t acting on anti-corruption legislation, with the PRI refusing to even attend debates on the issue, shows the basic challenges confronting these sorts of laws.

Networked Notes - 8 March 2016

There is a growing realization within the Venezuelan MUD that they are stuck. The government is losing ground in terms of public opinion and general ability to run the country, but Maduro’s opponents still do not have a clear path forward. The decision last week for an “all of the above” strategy to push for Maduro’s ouster came with the unspoken acknowledgement that all of the routes that the opposition controls have little chance of succeeding independently due to the government’s control of other institutions including the military and the courts. Ultimately, the goal of these routes is to convince the Chavistas that their best option is to push Maduro out. Meanwhile, the opposition is simply trying to use its ongoing National Assembly efforts to position itself as a legitimate alternative to voters.

Oaxaca’s Governor’s Race: Fractured Parties & Alliances

The Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) is fighting to return Oaxaca to its control after the PRD disrupted its 80 year streak in 2010. The PRI has allied with Nueva Alianza and Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM) under PRI candidate Alejandro Murat Hinojosa. Murat left the directorship of the Instituto del Fondo Nacional para la Vivienda de los Trabajadores (Infonavit) to follow in his father’s footsteps -- José Murat Casab was the former Oaxaca Governor -- and seek the state governorship. Murat has accused the current Cue administration of lying with its failed public policies, leaving Oaxacans without access to healthcare, sewage, and electricity. Murat promises to bring transparency and accountability to spending and focus on public policies that come from the public.