23/06/16

NEW BRAZILIAN GOVERNMENT IN CRISIS – COLOMBIA CEASEFIRE – LAB AT CROUCH END FESTIVAL

Dear LAB Supporter and Friend,

This month we have more analysis of the crisis in Brazil, with President Michel Temer having had – to say the least – a shaky start to government. Also from Brazil, we have news on the case against Dilma’s tormentor-in-chief Eduardo Cunha and some analysis of the role of the media in the current crisis. There is also news on the Macri administration’s cultural war on the Kirchners’ legacy in Argentina, as well as analysis of the bilateral ceasefire in Colombia as seen through Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

BRAZIL: TEMER ADMINISTRATION ALREADY IN CRISIS

With the resignation of tourism minister Henrique Alves last Thursday following accusations of involvement in the corruption scheme under investigation in Operation Lava Jato, Michel Temer’s so-called ‘government of national salvation’ is already in serious trouble. Alves becomes the third minister to fall in little over a month, following the resignations of transparency minister Fabiano Silveira and planning minister Romero Jucá over leaked phone recordings linked to the Petrobras scandal. Jan Rocha’s latest blog piece, published during the fallout from the Jucá revelations, paints a clear picture of growing popular discontent with the new government. (Read more…)

CUNHA FIGHTING FOR POLITICAL SURVIVAL

There was more bad news for the Temer administration last week, with the congressional ethics committee narrowly voting in favour of removing Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha from his post. Cunha, one of the main architects of Dilma’s impeachment, is accused of lying to Congress regarding undeclared offshore accounts. If he is eventually prosecuted, he has vowed to bring down other politicians with him, which no doubt will be of great concern for his PMDB colleagues now in government. Pedro Izquierdo and Sophie-Anne Baril from COHA have the latest. (Read more…)

LAB PRESENT AT BRAZIL FORUM MEDIA DEBATE

LAB’s very own Sue Branford gave a paper entitled “Transcending the Dichotomy” in a debate on the Brazilian media, which was organised by the Brazil Forum and held at the London School of Economics. Sue’s criticism of the Brazilian media, and in particular its role in the current political crisis, provoked an angry response from Otávio Frias Filho, one of her fellow panel members and editor of Brazil’s bestselling daily newspaper Folha de S. Paulo. You can read Sue’s paper in its entirety on the LAB website; there is also a link to a recording of the debate on YouTube and we hope to publish an English translation of Frias’ intervention. (Read more…)

ARGENTINA: MACRI REWRITING CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

In keeping with her Peronist roots, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner attempted to promote a national-popular vision of Argentine culture during her presidency, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects ranging from statues to cultural centres to museums. For her critics, this was symbolic of the wastefulness, vanity and corruption of the Kirchners, and Fernandez’s successor, Mauricio Macri, has begun to demolish much of the cultural legacy she left behind, laying off staff from museums and cultural centres, dismantling exhibitions dedicated to Fernández’s late husband Néstor Kirchner and withdrawing funding from other initiatives. Nick Caistor has more. (Read more…)

COLOMBIA: WHAT THE BARD CAN TELL US ABOUT THE CEASEFIRE

The Colombian government and the FARC rebels have reached a bilateral ceasefire agreement, with President Juan Manuel Santos saying that a final peace deal could be signed by the 20th of July. This will bring an end to five decades of conflict which have killed an estimated 220,000 people and displaced millions. Gwen Burnyeat sees parallels between the ceasefire and the truce between Montague and Capulet following the deaths of Romeo and Juliet at the end of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, with the recognition that some claims to justice may have to be moderated or abandoned if the ultimate aim of peace is to be achieved. LAB will publish a further piece from Gwen in the coming days, analysing the significance of the agreement. (Read more…)

LAB AT THE CROUCH END FESTIVAL

Over 170 people attended a series of talks organised by LAB at the Crouch End festival in London on the 18th of June.  Speakers addressed: Argentina after the Kirchners; the current crisis in Brazil; the state, policing and repression in Brazil; Brazilian music and the politics of black identity; LAB’s new book, Rosa of the Wild Grass – The story of a Nicaraguan Family; Daniel Ortega’s sinking canal; the fight for indigenous rights in the Amazon; and Latinos in London. Thanks to all those who attended, as well as to our speakers and those involved with the organisation of the event. Recordings were made of several of the talks, so be sure to keep an eye on the LAB website for some podcasts in case you couldn’t make it on the day. Sue Branford and Jan Rocha also spoke at a discussion organised by LAB, Red Pepper and Practical Action Publishing on June 20. We hope to publish podcasts of the main speakers.

BRAZIL INSIDE OUT 2ND EDITION

LAB book Brazil Inside Out has been issued in a second edition, ready for the Rio Olympics. If you, or friends, are travelling to Rio, this is the essential companion. You can order your copy here.

With best wishes,

The LAB team

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