Friday, February 02, 2018

The Latin America crisis for 2018

This what has been added to the brew:

- Venezuela's corrupt narco dictatorship is imploding. Only two things can support it: the increased murderous repression that we are seeing, and exiles which are estimated at already 10% of the population gone since Chavez was elected in 1998. The flow seems to be increasing and it cannot be otherwise as the humanitarian crisis from lack of food and heath care is getting worse by the day. We may be allowed to whisper "failed state".
A famous The Economist Chart to illustrate
how central Venezuela has become to drug traffic

- The regime refuses to negotiate seriously. Instead it has embarked in an election promising to be the mother of all electoral frauds.  Already many countries have announced that the result will not be recognized which begets the question as to what will happen when the president of a collapsed to failed state cannot even have an ambassador recognized for a relief negotiation?

- Mexico is facing the very real likelihood that Lopez Obrador will be elected. He is friendly to the regime in place just as Mexico was becoming one of its fiercest critics.

- Brazil has declared guilty in court ex president Lula da Silva who is running for office anyway and is leading in polls for the time being. His eventual election later this year would bring to the front a much more radical Lula, wanting to get back at his opponents just as Brazil shows it first tenuous signs of economic recovery. A Brazilia-Caracas-Mexico axis inspired on the Sao Paulo forum could spell havoc for all of Latin America. And not for good as we can watch how the offered polices have failed in Brazil and catastrophically in Venezuela.

- And yet Brazil is already chaffing with the burden of thousand of Venezuelan exiles that will continue to pour in, with or without Lula in office.

- Colombia has elections on its own and has already border refugee problems with Venezuela. As the situation worsens in Venezuela the folks that cannot afford air plane tickets to leave, those that have no family overseas that can support them, that have no valuable skills, but that have had it can only go to Colombia. And they can do that en masse.

- Minor issues are also present, from Chile electing a more anti  Maduro president, to a Cuban transition that may not be as smooth as one would expect, just as Ecuador is about to throw Correa to the trash and maybe turn against Venezuela. Never forgetting that Evo Morales in Bolivia has clearly violated the will of the people and Honduras will become a festering sore in Central America.

- Whatever the above, the main driving element in all of this is the Venezuelan crisis. Not only there is the refugee problem which may reach Syria levels, but the neighboring countries cannot accept an open narco dictatorship to consolidate itself in the Western Hemisphere, the more so if Russia and China back it upo, albeit reluctantly. This is the XXI century, the time of tinpot dictators was supposed to have gone away, and failed states were for Africa.

Thus reaction has started. If anything can be done it is now, in the next 2 to 3 months. After that the electoral dynamics of Mexico, Brazil and even the US will make it more difficult to organize a common front for action. Even though it is probably too late, the regime already too entrenched, the country probably damaged beyond repair, something must be attempted, if anything to make sure it does not get much worse.

OAS General Secretary Almagro had tried to warn folks. He has been working at it for about two years. But few supported him, not even the large chunk of the Venezuelan opposition considering it intolerable that Almagro would tell them that what they were doing was dead wrong.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Almagro is no Cassandra anymore and people resent him even more for being right.

That is why you are seeing the following in the last two weeks:

- European Union sanctions.

- French president daring to say that more sanctions should be applied soon and that it is not only up to Europe to apply sanctions.

- Trump bringing up the dictatorship of Venezuela and Cuba to his State of the Union. Gone is the guilty complaisance of Obama.

- Today US secretary Rex Tillerson starting a Latin American tour at last, one full year into a new presidential term. And he starts his tour stating that Latin America has to chose between Maduro or democracy, setting up what will be certainly half of his agenda in each and every country he visits.

The crisis has officially started in earnest. The chips are falling down. Let's see where they fall.

The central position of Venezuela in the drug traffic or its halfway position between
Mexico and Brazil are for all to worry.

1 comment:

  1. "A Brazilia-Caracas-Mexico axis inspired on the Sao Paulo forum could spell havoc for all of Latin America."

    Methinks a Macri-Macron-Trump axis, will be much stronger.

    Plus this:


Comments policy:

1) Comments are moderated after the sixth day of publication. It may take up to a day or two for your note to appear then.

2) Your post will appear if you follow the basic polite rules of discourse. I will be ruthless in erasing, as well as those who replied to any off rule comment.