Things That Matter

As The Votes Are Counted, Latin America Wonders What A Biden Administration Would Mean For The Region

Apart from his hateful and racist rhetoric, Donald Trump has paid very little attention to Latin America. Since taking office in 2017, he’s made only a single visit there, to the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires. A region so used to U.S. leadership and/or interventionism has tried to adapt to this new arrangement with so little U.S. engagement.

Unlike in the past, when Latin American presidents were often vocal in their support for particular U.S. candidates, leaders are remaining silent. The presidents of Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Colombia spoke out in favor of Hilary Clinton in the last election—but there’s been far less vocal support for Joe Biden this time from the leadership.

That can largely be attributed to the harsh lessons of 2016 thanks to the Electoral College – a system much less democratic than the electoral system in Latin America. On top of that, nobody wants to risk dealing with an enraged Trump—even if only for the lame duck period until January. So, while citizens demonstrate in the streets against Trump, governments are remaining quiet.

A Biden Administration would likely focus a lot more on Latin America than the current administration.

Credit: Johan Ordonez / Getty Images

It’s obvious that Biden would approach the region very differently than Trump. The former vice president made more trips just to Guatemala—hardly a behemoth such as Mexico or Brazil, or a strategic interest such as Colombia—in his two terms than Trump has made to all of Latin America as president. 

Biden, who knows the region well from his time as vice president, has promised to end many of Mr. Trump’s immigration policies. He would stop building a wall along the Mexican border and offer a US $4-billion aid plan to boost prosperity in Central America, the origin of much of the migration.

However, some things are not likely to change. Latin America isn’t likely to become a major priority as the U.S. continues to face a dire public health and economic emergency. Within the region, Mexico would remain the focus because of its long land border — a major source of immigration and smuggled drugs — and its status as a top trade and investment partner.

Biden could help lead a major shift in human rights protections for the region.

Credit: Gerardo Vieyra / Getty Images

With Venezuela, as with Cuba, a Biden administration is unlikely to turn the clock straight back to Obama-era detente; the clout of anti-communist Latino voters in the key state of Florida will see to that. Cautious steps to build confidence are more likely.

With leaders in the Andean nations of Chile, Peru and Ecuador all due to step down following elections in the first year of a new U.S. president, Mr. Fernández of Argentina, a pragmatic leftist, stands out as one of the Latin American leaders who may benefit from a President Biden.

Climate change, energy, and environmental rules in the region will likely grow in importance.

Credit: Ernesto Carriço / Getty Images

In a region so reliant on fossil fuels, climate change may prove to be an area of friction between Biden and local leaders. As president, Biden has outlined plans for a clean energy revolution and if he wins, he will face renewed pressure to confront Mexico’s AMLO, who has focused his entire economic vision on boosting oil and coal.

“Energy policy will be a key point on Biden’s domestic agenda and his domestic economic agenda as well as his foreign policy agenda. That will pose a challenge to the current Mexican government,” said Antonio Ortiz-Mena at Albright Stonebridge group, a consultancy.

Meanwhile, in the Amazon, Biden’s views on deforestation have already upset hard-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who is an ally to Trump. “Climate is a big one for Biden and … he will isolate Bolsonaro and his associates,” said a senior diplomat who follows Brazil closely. “For them, losing their big friend up north could be quite a problem. They have put all their eggs in that basket.”

Despite his racist attacks, there are pockets of support for Trump across Latin America.

Credit: Carlos Arias / Getty Images

Although Biden would bring stability to the region, it’s true that Trump does still have pockets of support across Latin America. In fact, Mexico’s AMLO has proven to know how to effectively work alongside Trump to get what he wants.

Just last year, after the election of a leftist leader in Argentina, AMLO told Alberto Fernández – Argentina’s new leader – how to deal with the U.S. president: “With Trump you can do anything you want, just don’t say anything, don’t get into a confrontation with him and you’ll be fine.”

The advice was sound. While Trump likes to issue ultimatums to Latin American presidents, his bark is often worse than his bite. Threats to close the Mexican border, impose punitive tariffs on Brazil or to invade Venezuela all proved empty.

However, a Biden presidency could bring much needed stability and consistency to a region that is currently undergoing a major flux in politics. Across Latin America, the region is suffering from acute crises (immigration, economic, health, environmental) and having a Biden Administration as a partner could help deliver much needed results to governments currently struggling.

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

Things That Matter

An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

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For years, Mexicans have been taking to the streets to denounce violence against women and to demand accountability from their leaders. However, much of that messaging doesn’t seem to have reached the very top as President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) continues to support a candidate for governor facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.

A candidate for governor faces multiple sexual assault allegations and still enjoys widespread support.

Félix Salgado Macedonio, a federal senator (currently on leave) is accused of sexually assaulting five women and yet is still in the running for governor of Guerrero.

Despite the accusations he faces, 64-year-old Salgado, has maintained the support of President AMLO, who has claimed that the allegations are politically motivated, and other high-ranking party officials including national party president Mario Delgado. He was considered the frontrunner in the election for governor.

AMLO came to the candidates defense, calling on people to stop politicking and avoid “media lynchings” and asserting that people should trust the party process that was used to select Salgado as candidate.

“We have to have confidence in the people, it’s the people who decide. If polls are taken and and the people say ‘I agree with this colleague [being candidate],’ I think that must be respected. Politics is a matter for everyone, not just the elites,” López Obrador said.

The MORENA party has committed to reselecting its candidate for governor but Salgado is still in the running.

Officials from the MORENA party announced that they would conduct a new selection process to find a contender for the June 6 election. The party’s honesty and justice commission said its members had voted unanimously to order a repeat of the selection process.

While the honesty and justice commission has ordered a new candidate selection process, Salgado was not precluded from participating in it. He indicated in a social media post on Friday night that he planned to seek the party’s backing for a second time.

“Cheer up colleagues! There is [still fight in the] bull,” Salgado wrote on Facebook.

Activists continue to fight back against his candidacy and the president’s support for an alleged rapist.

Women have protested in Mexico City and Guerrero state capital Chilpancingo and the hashtag #NingúnVioladorSeráGobernador (No Rapist Will be Governor) has been used countless times on Twitter.

Yolitzin Jaimes, a member of the feminist collective Las Revueltas, said the withdrawal of Salgado’s candidacy is a positive first step but urged the authorities to continue investigating the rape allegations.

“… He has to go to jail, … he mustn’t return to the Senate and he mustn’t be nominated [for governor] by any political party because … it’s very probable that he’s seeking to go to the Labor Party [a Morena ally],” she said.

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A Ted Cruz Piñata Exists And People Want One So Bad

Culture

A Ted Cruz Piñata Exists And People Want One So Bad

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Sen. Ted Cruz has reached peak infamy with a piñata in his honor. People have been turned into piñatas over the years for both good and bad reasons. The Cruz piñata serves as a reminder of the senator’s attempt to flee the brutal Texas winter crisis.

A Texas party store is selling piñatas of Sen. Ted Cruz and people are into it.

Piñatas are always the centerpiece of a fun party and they are even more exciting when they are topical. One party shop in Texas is riding on the wave of local and national news criticizing Sen. Cruz to cash in.

Last week Sen. Cruz was caught boarding a United flight to Cancún, Mexico to escape the winter storm devastating Texas. As millions of Texans survived without water and power, the Cruz family booked a Mexican getaway to warmer weather and reliable electricity.

At first, Sen. Cruz tried to blame his daughters for fleeing Texas as his constituents suffered from the weather. He soon changed his story and claimed that he realized he had made a mistake as soon as he sat down on the plane waiting to depart from Houston.

Finally, after days of speculation, someone came forward and leaked text messages from Sen. Cruz’s wife, Heidi. Turns out, according to the texts, that the Cruz family was actively planning a vacation to avoid the snowstorm. According to the texts, the Cruz family was trying to convince neighbors and friends to join them so they can get out of their freezing house. The criticism amplified when it was reported that the Cruz family left the family dog behind as they fled to Mexico.

People are eager to get their hands on a Sen. Cruz piñata.

Families have been in quarantine for almost a year and they are hitting a wall. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, it is no surprise that people would want to have something to do together outdoors. Seems that a lot of people would like a piñata party to celebrate the bad weather slowly moving out.

There are even some people asking for different people made as piñatas.

You never know unless you ask, right? Never hurts to try to make your own request to better your birthday. It seems that the party store is able to make various different piñatas. The party store made a piñata after Sen. Bernie Sanders’ famous mitten moment at President Biden’s inauguration.

READ: Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

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