by Luis Fleischman
Three elections are due to take place in one-month period. One in Brazil (where the first round already took place), another one in Bolivia and finally one in Uruguay.
Interestingly enough, the only election whose result is certain is the one in Bolivia, which will take place on October 12, where the incumbent president Evo Morales leads with 38% of the vote while the rest are small parties that are well behind him. Morales is a highly authoritarian president, a follower of Hugo Chavez and dangerously repressive. Yet, The Morales government has benefitted, like other governments in South America, from high revenues from exports, which in a decade have increased from about $2 billion to around $10 billion. This is mostly due to high international prices of minerals and gas. Likewise, high public spending increased demand and also enabled to significantly increase employment by expanding the public bureaucracy. By the same token, the minimum wage also increased by almost 130%, benefitting the most vulnerable sectors of the population.
Thus, this explains Morales’s considerable electoral advantage, regardless of his undemocratic and antagonistic style.
However, elections in Brazil and Uruguay are not as certain. On October 5th, the general elections took place in Brazil. The incumbent, President Dilma Rousseff, received 41.6% of the votes, followed by the candidate of the center-right pro-business Aecio Neves who is the head of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). This has forced the race to a run-off, which will take place on October 26 between these two candidates.
The huge protests that the Brazilian president faced as well as the recession and corruption scandals within the Rousseff government did not affect the poor masses who still supported Rousseff. Rousseff is seen as a populist leader and protector of this sector. However, the upper class as well as important sectors of the growing middle classes seemed to have voted against her. Indeed, the result of the election brought about an immediate reaction as Brazil’s stock index climbed by 8 percent one day after the election and the national currency gained about 3 percent. This seems to be the result of new hopes in the business community raised by Neves’ electoral accomplishments.
This shows the discontent of the business community with the Workers Party government, despite the fact that this sector was included in the government of the WP from the beginning (an act that surprised many).
Now both candidates are trying to attract the 21% of the remaining votes that went to Marina Silva, an environmentalist and former member of the Workers party government. Silva, despite having some elements of populism naturally closer to Rousseff, some of his supporters already said they would vote for Neves. Still Neves has a long uphill battle in the next few weeks since it needs to win at least 75% of Silva’s votes to win the election.
Interestingly enough, foreign policy one of the issues that is of great concern to us is not widely debated in Brazil. However, several analysts in Brazil have pointed out that if Neves wins, we should expect a closer relation to the United States and Europe contrary to the coalition of emerging economies (BRICS) and the South-South relations (namely broader relations with third world and Arab countries) that the Workers Party avidly promoted.
This foreign policy of the Rousseff government is not just an economic policy. It is also an ideological alliance based on populism and anti-colonialism (or anti-imperialism) that has gone openly in support of a multipolar world and against what they view as U.S and European hegemony and dominance. Brazil is the regional leader of such policy and is well more effective than the vulgar style of the Venezuelan government. Still Brazil has turned into the main protector of the openly anti-American and repressive Venezuelan government and it has successfully helped to reintegrate Cuba- more than half century communist dictatorship- to the family of South American nations. Overall Brazil has implemented a foreign policy that goes against the United States under the slogan of an “independent foreign policy” up to the point of succeeding in taking the lead among South American nations in the Middle East conflict. Thus, under Brazil leadership, many countries in the region adopted a critical position of Israel and embraced the Palestinian side unconditionally.
It would be a very positive development if Brazil changes its international approach. Brazil is an emerging economy and an emergent democracy. Its natural place is among democracies. The world’s democratic block could be significantly strengthened if Brazil joined the West, particularly in a world where the alternatives are the authoritarian and semi-democratic China and Russia and where rogue states such as Iran and Venezuela as well as terrorist groups multiply.
Uruguay will hold its election also on October 26.
There are eight candidates, however, the main contest is expected to take place between the leader of the current socialist ruling party, Tabare Vazquez and the leader of the National Party Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou. Surveys indicate that the ruling Broad Front will win the first round. Yet things are not clear with regard to the run-off. According to polls, currently the Broad Front leads with 42%; the National Party follows with 32%, and the Red Party with 15%. The Red Party, led by Pedro Bordaberry, is closer in its platform to the National Party than to the Broad Front.
For example while Vazquez supports regional alliances, particularly Mercosur (the South American common market), Lacalle and Bordaberry have talked about exploring new courses such as the Pacific Alliance and more trade with the United States. Mercosur mostly subscribes to Brazil’s foreign policy.
Vazquez focused his campaign on continuity, namely, expanding the welfare state and paying attention to the most disadvantaged sectors of society. Lacalle and Bordaberry have focused their campaigns on the problem of insecurity and crime, which is rampantly increasing in the country becoming a real issue of public concern.
This means that if the 15% of those Red Party projected votes go to Lacalle, the Broad Front could ether lose the election or win by a small margin since 3% of the votes belong to the Independent Party and 3% have not yet defined themselves. This six percent can vote either way. The Popular Unity that currently has 1% is likely to go to the Broad Front and the same applies to the Ecology Party that also has 1% in the polls. Therefore, the final result seems to be uncertain.
Uruguay’s foreign policy has been attached to Brazil, particularly since President Jose Mujica from the Broad Front came to power in 2009.
Vazquez did not take such a radical approach with regard to the United States or the Venezuelan and Cuban governments when he was president between 2005 and 2010. However, it is far from clear if he would change the course set by Mujica.
Undoubtedly a defeat for the left in Brazil and Uruguay but particularly in the former may have a serious negative effect on the regional hegemony of the left. Likewise, it may have a positive effect on the relation with the United States and the geo-political map of the area. The Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA) may weaken as well. Yet, this picture remains an option but still has the status of wishful thinking for the time being.
We only know that we don’t know what is going to happen after this round of elections.
THE AMERICAS REPORT
NANCY MENGES and
LUIS FLEISCHMAN, Editors
The Americas Report is the featured product of the Center for Security Policy‘s Menges Hemispheric Security Project. It features in-depth, original articles on subjects not regularly covered by the American press.
Search The Americas Report
Browse By Topic
- Central American Countries (12)
- Latin American Countries (287)
- Middle East (28)
- Podcast (1)
- #Argentina Salir de la locura – por Carlos Mira August 31, 2018De nada sirve decir “se los dije”. Cuando el agua le llega a uno al cuello, todo ese tipo de “reverberancias” ya no aportan ninguna solución. Pero lo que ocurre es que el gobierno, por sus principales figuras es el que está diciendo: “me lo dijiste”. Haber mentido en el instante de mayor poder de […]
- #Bolivia Socialismo Siglo XXI…OTRO MÁS que toma el camino de la DICTADURA August 24, 2018El 21 de Febrero de 2016 el pueblo de Bolivia dijo NO a la cuarta reelección de Evo Morales en un referendum del que participaron todos los bolivianos. Sin embargo, Morales ahora busca desconocer la voluntad de su gente, volviendo a presentarse como candidato. Una decisión que establece formalmente una dictadura en Bolivia. Para de […]
- #Argentina Queremos flan – por Fernando Iglesias August 22, 2018“Vamos a decir la verdad: a vos se te prendió fuego la casa, afuera hace frío y tenés 12 hijos. Entonces vienen los 12 y te dicen: ¡Queremos flan! ¡Queremos flan, papá! ¡Flaaaaaaannn! Y cuando vos intentás explicarles que unos HdP le prendieron fuego a la casa, ellos te contestan que no es cierto, que […]
- #Nicaragua OEA condena violaciones de DDHH y exige elecciones anticipadas July 19, 2018La OEA condenó este miércoles las violaciones a los derechos humanos cometidos por la policía y paramilitares del régimen, desde que comenzaron a mediados de abril, las protestas pacíficas contra el autócrata Daniel Ortega cuya represión ya lleva 350 muertos y 2.000 heridos, habiendo ausencia de libertad de expresión, y denegación de atención médica a heridos. […]
- #Ecuador ¿Se enfría la economía ecuatoriana? – por Jorge Calderón Salazar July 17, 2018Días atrás culminó la visita del Fondo Monetario Internacional y durante la cual se reunió con varios representantes tanto del sector público como privado, pero más allá de este proceso iniciado meses atrás por el gobierno en aras de tender puentes con este organismo multilateral y mejorar así de a poco su imagen en los […]
- #Nicaragua EL PODER… sin importar la sangre que se tenga que pagar July 2, 2018Daniel Ortega autoriza ingreso de tropas de Cuba y Venezuela a Nicaragua. La mayoría del Parlamento de Nicaragua autorizó este viernes el ingreso de tropas y medios extranjeros entre julio y diciembre de 2018 con fines humanitarios, a pesar de que la oposición lo consideró “imprudente” en medio de la represión contra las protestas antigubernamentales. […]
- #Mexico Elecciones: Inversores aterrorizados mientras izquierda celebra a López Obrador July 2, 2018Nicolás Maduro, Dilma Rousseff, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Gustavo Petro, Rafael Correa y Pablo Iglesias, dirigentes políticos de la izquierda de América Latina y España, han apoyado primero y luego felicitado a Andrés Manuel López Obrador, por su triunfo en las elecciones presidenciales en México con el 53% de los votos. Inversores aterrorizados por las perspectivas […]
- #Colombia Contundente triunfo del sentido común: Iván Duque es el nuevo presidente June 17, 2018Con tan sólo 41 años y excelentes propuestas para el futuro de Colombia, Iván Duque, el candidato del Centro Democrático, se impuso sobre el ex terrorista del M19 Gustavo Petro, en segunda vuelta electoral por 54% a 42%. Duque asumirá el poder hasta el año 2022. Colombia celebra un nuevo triunfo del uribismo sobre el […]
- #Bolivia Evo Morales llega a Rusia: ¿Cumbre con Putin o viaje gratis al mundial? June 14, 2018El canciller boliviano, Fernando Huanacuni Mamani anunció que Evo Morales, presidente del narcoestado boliviano, se ha reunido ayer con Vladimir Putin en Rusia para gestionar USD 1.000 millones en inversiones. Pero la oposición denuncia que este viaje, que costará USD 340.000 en fondos públicos, sirve de excusa para que el gran jefe cocalero no se pierda la […]
- #Venezuela Lech Walesa: “Venezuela está secuestrada por un grupo de neo traficantes y terroristas” June 13, 2018Lech Walesa, líder polaco de la revolución de terciopelo en Europa, sostuvo que Venezuela está secuestrada por “un grupo de neo traficantes y terroristas” y “que más temprano que tarde, deberá ser intervenida por fuerzas de coalición internacional para preservar la paz mundial”. Las declaraciones del expresidente de Polonia fueron reflejadas por Antonio Ledezma en […]
- #Argentina Salir de la locura – por Carlos Mira August 31, 2018
- Niños del Estado Islámico asesinan a 25 soldados siriosYihadistas publican video donde aparecen las víctimas de rodillas y en fila en el escenario del teatro romano de Palmira
- Fidel reaparece en reunión de maestros queserosSostuvo un amplio intercambio de más de cuatro horas con 19 maestros queseros en un instituto en el poblado del Guatao
- Enrique Iglesias complace a miles de fansCon I like it, el cantante finalizó su concierto de anoche
- Kutcher y Mila Kunis se casarían este fin de semanaSegún el portal estadounidense Page Six, la pareja dará el sí en una ceremonia privada en Los Angeles
- Niños del Estado Islámico asesinan a 25 soldados sirios