The Chavistas are in trouble. Brazil is boiling, Argentina is an ongoing basketcase, and in relatively functional and prosperous Chile the voters are rethinking their move to the Left.
It should be noted that crony capitalism and general corruption factor prominently in the current unease in at least Brazil and Argentina. In Brazil a massive oil kickback scheme has been unearthed which may involve all levels of government. In Argentina the country is dealing with what appears to be the political killing of a prosecutor who was coming after the president for her ties to an Iranian terrorist attack in Buenos Aires which killed 85 people at a Jewish center.
So far, three dozen senior executives and 47 politicians either have been indicted or are under investigation for organized corruption on an epic scale.
According to investigators, some of Brazil’s biggest construction companies would overcharge Petrobras, then funnel the extra money into the coffers of these politicians and executives. Investigations have found one executive accepted bribes to the tune of $100 million. He has had to agree to give it back.
Among the main beneficiaries was President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers Party, the PT.The head of the senate and the lower house of congress are also under investigation, along with half of the congressional ethics committee.
Despite Iran and Argentina’s agreement, Nisman kept the bombing investigation alive. In June 2014, he finished a 289 page criminal complaint against Kirchner and Héctor Timerman, Minister of Foreign Relations, and requested their arrests. The document included secret government information and wiretaps that supposedly revealed the Argentine government’s complicity in accepting Iranian oil in exchange for halting the AMIA bombing investigation. It would be an understatement to say that the timing of Nisman’s death has raised the eyebrows of skeptics. The government is now an embarrassing papelón—a laughing stock—trying to explain Nisman’s death without incriminating itself.
Nisman, it seems, has become the 86th casualty of the AMIA bombing.
(From The Latin America News Dispatch)
Overall, 2015 has seen setbacks for left-leaning heads of state across South America as a general downward trend in global commodity prices has reverberated in the region’s economies. Violent protests have returned to Venezuela, where some protesters call for the resignation of President Nicolás Maduro. Even Evo Morales, freshly re-elected to a third term and a second decade as president, has recently found his party’s influence reduced in regional elections.