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Two New Blogs from Brazil and Colombia; Upcoming Elections in Venezuela



5 November 2015 Dear LAB Supporter and Friend, Firstly, apologies from the LAB team for the recent lack of contact; from now on, we will be in touch more regularly. This month we have two fascinating new blogs for you to follow, not to mention an excellent summary of the current political situation in Venezuela: THE CRISIS IN BRAZIL RUMBLES ON São Paulo-based journalist Jan Rocha provides a unique insight into the ongoing political and economic crisis in Brazil. With no end to the crisis in sight, the government virtually paralyzed in Congress and President Rousseff’s approval ratings at a historic low, the threat of her impeachment has begun in recent months to look less like a fantasy of the Brazilian right and more like a very real possibility. Jan suggests it may be a case of “when…” rather than “if…” (Read more…) In another post, Jan picks apart the complex machinations in Brazil’s Congress going on behind the current crisis, the outcome of which is likely to determine President Rousseff’s fate. She looks at the enormous influence of Brazil’s religious, arms and agricultural lobbies and, in particular, the role of Eduardo Cunha, president of the Chamber of Deputies. Despite being heavily implicated in the Lava Jato corruption scandal, Cunha has been using his considerable power to successfully manipulate both government and opposition. (Read more…) PEACE AND GRAFFITI IN COLOMBIA LAB contributor and anthropologist Gwen Burnyeat brings you grassroots news from Colombia, blogging from the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó. She talks to members of the community about the ongoing peace process between the Santos administration and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), many of whom are sceptical about the impact of the negotiations on their day-to-day reality and worry about potential exploitation of their land by multinationals acting with government endorsement. (Read more…) In another post, she writes of a visit to see the graffiti at the Nacional University in Bogotá with Bill Rolston, an international expert on political murals. Gwen and Bill were taken around the university by Uriel and Álvaro, two students who present opposing points of view on whether the university should allow graffiti on its walls or not. Gwen also discusses how the graffiti reflects Colombian history as well as current political developments such as the peace process between the government and the FARC. (Read more…) VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT VULNERABLE AHEAD OF ELECTIONS Elsewhere, Coromoto Power Febres provides a succinct analysis of the situation in Venezuela ahead of the parliamentary elections in December. With President Maduro lacking the personal charisma of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, the economy in freefall and crime rates soaring, many analysts believe the government to be at serious risk of losing an election for the first time since 1998. But has the opposition managed to provide a credible alternative? (Read more…) IN OTHER NEWS Brazil: Sue Branford discusses a proposed amendment to the country’s biosafety law, permitting the use of Genetic Use Restrictions Technologies (GURTs), popularly known as Terminator seeds. (Read more…) Colombia: Lucía Caistor-Arendar writes from Caño del Oro, a town on Tierra Bomba, an island just off the Colombian coast, where Afro-Colombian communities face a struggle to obtain collective land titles. (Read more…) Mexico: Elva Narcia reports from Chiapas, where thanks to gender parity legislation the state now has a record number of female representatives. 28.6% of the state’s municipalities are governed by women, while 58% of seats in the state legislature also went to women. (Read more…) With best wishes, The LAB team

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