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Indifference to the political regime increases the risk of populism in Latin America, notes Latinobarómetro.

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The indifference to democracy that has grown over the past two years increases the risk of populist governments in Latin America, and Brazil is one of the countries where this threat is greatest. The conclusion is the annual report of the Chilean non-governmental organization Latinobarómetro, released Thursday. A poll in 18 Latin American countries shows that 13% of the population still prefer an authoritarian government 40 years after the start of the regional transition to democracy. In addition, 27% are indifferent to the government regime that runs the country – a number that has grown by 11 percentage points since 2019.

Only three countries in the region, Argentina, Costa Rica and Uruguay, achieved less than 20% political indifference (excluding Venezuela and Nicaragua, which are not considered democracies in the study). Honduras leads as the country with the greatest indifference – 42%; it is followed by Panama with 39%; Ecuador – 38%; and Brazil – 36%.

Brazil: After warning about the risk to democracy, the Brazilian ambassador said that US senators were “misinformed” about Bolsonaro.

The figures show how much Latin Americans have moved away from politics, the document says.

“While support for authoritarian regimes has not increased with the pandemic, we are seeing that in Central America and Brazil we are in a situation where a cultural soup for populist governments is beginning to form,” says the director of Latinobarometer. Martha Lagos. – The conclusion is that Latin Americans want to live in a democracy, with elections, even if they become populist or autocratic governments along the way.

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Overall, less than half of respondents, 49%, support democracy, which is in line with 2018, the worst year in the region since the launch of the Latin American Barometer in 1995. The countries with the highest level of support for democracy are Uruguay (74%). ), Costa Rica (67%), Chile (60%), Argentina (55%), Bolivia (54%) and the Dominican Republic (50%). The countries with the lowest levels are Brazil (40%), Guatemala (37%), Panama (35%), Ecuador (33%) and Honduras (30%).

In the case of Brazil, classified as a “fragile democracy,” the report highlights President Jair Bolsonaro’s call for his supporters to defend the government in the September 7 protests, which “sounded undemocratic slogans and coup warnings”. … A few days later, Bolsonaro guaranteed that he would respect the 2022 elections.

“Bolsonaro has already demonstrated the use of populism throughout the pandemic,” emphasizes Lagos.

Context: With Delta vaccinations and low exposure, South America is no longer the region in the world with a high number of Covid cases and deaths.

Moments of greater support for democracy in the country occurred during the Lula administration, from 2003 to 2010, as the document shows, when the index reached 55%, which contrasts with the current 40%. However, historically, the country has never exceeded the 60% mark, unlike other countries in South America. “Brazil is experiencing a complex institutional weakness under the Bolsonaro government,” warns the annual Latinobarómetro study.

Another important point is that most of the countries in the region reject military governments, on average 62% – 14 countries reject this type of government with rates above 50%. At the same time, the average number of those who do not object to undemocratic rule is growing from 44% to 51%.

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– If coups d’etat are discredited, the threat of populist governments is worrying.

Chile: “Social discontent is accumulating” in Chile, says the director of Latinobarómetro.

The situation in Brazil is almost comparable to that in Central America, where Guatemala and Honduras have the worst rates of democratic instability – nearly a decade with rates below 40%. In the case of El Salvador, since President Nayib Bukele came to power in 2019, the country has lived in limbo between democracy and dictatorship, “a possible trend in the region,” warns the director of Latinobarómetro. Last month, Bukele changed his Twitter biography and described himself as “the coolest dictator in the world.”

While the numbers are worrisome, the document emphasizes that the pandemic has not deteriorated, which is notable given the impact that the health crisis has had in Latin America. As of early 2021, more than 20% of those infected with coronavirus and 30% of deaths were registered in the region, where 8% of the world population lives. However, with the development of vaccination, Latin America has ceased to be one of the peaks of the disease in recent weeks.

Between October and December 2020, the study personally heard from citizens of 17 countries; in Argentina, surveys were conducted virtually due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. A total of 20,204 interviews were conducted.

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Former Bolsonaro ministers criticize alliance with Centrão

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Minister Facin mentions "authoritarian populism" that threatens democracy

Former Education Ministers Abraham Weintraub and Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo criticized President Jair Bolsonaro’s (PL) alliance with Centrao parliamentarians. Live this Monday, 17, former government aides noted that the head of the executive branch has moved away from the ideological premises for which he was elected. According to Weintraub, the president “replaced” the conservative wing of the federal executive with members of the political bloc.

Ernesto Araujo, who stepped down as minister in March 2021, said he lost power in government as the president began to move closer to Centrao. He said the bloc would begin to direct federal leadership in line with China’s interests, preventing it from pursuing what he called a “transformative” foreign policy project. “As Centrão began to dominate the government, I found myself increasingly isolated,” he said.

During his reign, Araujo was criticized for insulting and creating friction with the Asian country, one of Brazil’s main trading partners.

The former head of Itamaraty spoke about the culture of China, which he says Centrão is trying to perpetuate in Brazil. For him, the Asian country represents the opposite of the values ​​Bolsonaro advocates, such as religion. Araujo said he usually calls the Progressistas, which is an acronym for PP, “Peking Party”. Communications ministers Fabio Farias, Flavia Arruda of the Government Secretariat and Ciro Nogueira of the Civic Chamber will try to turn the country into a “Chinese colony,” he said.

“Centrão believes that foreign policy is to do whatever China wants,” he added.

Abraham Weintraub, in turn, said that the Progressive-led political bloc is an “obstacle” to Bolsonaro’s ideological agenda. The conservatives, he said, have come under constant attack since they were replaced by the Centrao Gang.

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Pastor Silas Malafaia of the Assembly of God of Vitoria em Cristo defended the president and said that Bolsonaro would not be ruled unless he succumbed to the bloc. The main interviewee of the live broadcast, Malafaya, quoted biblical passages to justify the actions of the president, who he said would face impeachment if he did not make alliances wisely.

as shown Stadao, Centrao’s support is not guaranteed to Bolsonaro in this year’s elections. The political bloc must oppose Bolsonaro’s candidates in at least five states. In São Paulo, Pernambuco, Piauí, Ceara and Maranhao, leaders and parliamentarians from parties such as the PL, Progressives and Republicans, the backbones of the federal government, are resisting the break with opponents of the Planalto Palace and are considering ways to keep seats in the PT or PT circles of the SDB.


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Right and left diverge on fiscal policy. Costa says he “got hit by everyone”

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Right and left diverge on fiscal policy.  Costa says he "got hit by everyone"

Sides right and left clashed over fiscal policy and the economic growth model in a nine-hour debate in which the PS general secretary and the prime minister complained that “everyone hit them.”

These were some of the topics of the debate broadcast live by RTP from the Cineeatro Capitólio in Lisbon on Monday evening with representatives of nine political forces that have elected deputies to previous legislatures: PS, PSD, BE, CDU (PCP/PEV). ), CDS-PP, PAN, Chega, Liberal and Free Initiative.

“After everyone beats me up, I have the right to defend myself,” said António Costa, after hearing criticism from right-wing parties that linked left-wing administration with an increase in the tax burden, as well as from BE and CDU. , who attributed the resistance to the policy of higher wages and pensions to the PS.

BE coordinator Katarina Martins stated that “PS itself wanted to cut pensions by 1,600 million euros” before the so-called “geringonça” was formed at the end of 2015.

In terms of fiscal policy, BE advocates lowering the VAT on electricity, lowering the IRS, and ending “wrongful tax credits and offshore transfers,” said Katarina Martins, challenging the idea of ​​a right that makes “the easier it is to live for those who have who has more income, the country will grow.”

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Bolsonaro Ignores Key Political Calculations in Soap Opera Server Reconfiguration – 01/17/2022 – Mercado

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Bolsonaro Ignores Key Political Calculations in Soap Opera Server Reconfiguration - 01/17/2022 - Mercado

Jair Bolsonaro was known for ignoring basic political calculations when making decisions. In opposing vaccination or organizing attacks on institutions, the President clung to the principles of loyalty and survival instincts, ignoring the damage he could inflict from the failure of these maneuvers.

The same logic leads to the mess that Bolsonaro got into when he promised to raise the salaries of only police officers in 2022. With little money in his pocket, the president has chosen to pander to an important (albeit limited) pillar of his political base at the cost of discontent that spills over into the wider federal civil service.

Several categories of civil servants have taken advantage of the government’s clumsy move to express dissatisfaction and demand a similar increase. With a shutdown forecast for Tuesday (18), these groups intend to wall up Bolsonaro and threaten to cause embarrassment in highly visible services such as the activities of the tax office in ports and airports.

It is too early to assess the possible damage that mobilization could cause to the government, which will depend on the cohesion of employees and the headache that the break could cause to the population. The actions, however, already show that Bolsonaro’s political impulses create more difficulties than direct benefits in an election year.

The president is running a deregulated balance sheet for this last leg of the term. With a modest portfolio of accomplishments and a tight budget, Bolsonaro prefers to invest his few financial and political resources into the loyalty of part of his base. The aim is to keep some chance in this year’s campaign, even if these moves are not enough to create a majority in the short term.

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There is deep symbolism in the promise made to the police. By prioritizing these categories, Bolsonaro intends to reiterate the idea that he values ​​law and order, an image he explored in the 2018 campaign. In addition, he is trying to lighten the weight of his apparent efforts to weaken the work of the federal police. .

Other possible motives are more obscure, though plausible. If Bolsonaro continues to insinuate that if he loses, he will challenge the election results, the goodwill of the security forces will be decisive.

The generosity of the federal government could also spur military police pressure on governors for such adjustments. Such a scenario could potentially create tensions within the states, which would strengthen the ties of these agents to the Bolsonaro.

The political choice of the president was obvious. Just two months ago, Bolsonaro announced that in 2022 he would increase the salary of “all federal employees without exception.” Everything changed in December. Due to the limited budget, the government realized that it could only give a residual increase for the entire civil service, or a more pronounced percentage for a certain segment.

The choice was up to the president, but there was a full operation to make the business viable. Minister Paulo Guedes (Economics) approved a reserve of 1.7 billion reais to increase the categories indicated by Bolsonaro, and the ruling base in Congress approved the proposal.

Now Bolsonaro could succumb to pressure and extend the exemption to other categories, but he would not have enough money for this. You can also go to increase the number of police officers by hiring opposition from other government employees. The red button would be to cancel the reorganization, but even then the president would not get rid of the awkwardness that he himself created. It will be difficult to come out of this episode unscathed.

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