All Posts (10)

COVID-19

The virus continued to ravage the region through July and August. Infections by end August are estimated to have crossed 7 million. Brazil led the pack with around 3.8 million cases and around 120,000 deaths; Mexico followed with around 600,000 infections and over 62,000 deaths. Peru, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador also continued to see infections rise. Apart from tiny Uruguay, almost all the countries continued with lockdowns in greater or lesser degree. Brazil’s President Bolsonaro, who

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COVID-19

"Latin America is the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, and Brazil is the most troubling country," said Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization (WHO) executive director. By end June Latin America, with close to two and a half million cases, accounted for 25 percent of the total global infections, and 250,000 deaths. The World Food Program warned of a ‘hunger pandemic’ in the region and the UN indicated LAC could be staring at another ‘lost decade’- after a previous downtur

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Coronavirus in LAC

Despite a slow start, infection spread in most of the region through the summer in most parts of South America. COVID-19 panic soon overcame government apathy and denial. Most countries saw sudden spikes in cases and almost all countries shut down their borders temporarily. Central governments scrambled to announce measures to prop up economies already hit by collapsing prices of crude oil and other commodities on which most depend.
 
Brazil’s Congress declared a national e

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Brazil President Visits India

 

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro visited India 24-27 January as Chief Guest on Republic Day. This was the third time a Brazilian President had been India’s Chief Guest, after F H Cardoso in 1996 and Lula da Silva in 2004. This was also PM Modi’s third meeting with Bolsonaro in four months, after the G20 summit in Osaka in October and the BRICS summit in Brazil in November last year. It said much for a relationship that seemed to be languishing. Apart from the symbo

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Political Developments

On 10 November, following two tumultuous weeks of protests, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, Latin America’s longest serving leader, and the first indigenous president of Bolivia, resigned. The Attorney General alleged that irregularities found by the OAS audit - authorised by Morales - of the results of presidential elections held on 20 October, were crimes committed in the “tabulation of the official results”. The vote count was suspiciously delayed and when finalised,

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Political Developments

South America – Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia - was convulsed through October:
 

On 18 October Chile’s government was caught unawares by violent protests, looting of shops and vandalising of public property. The immediate spark was the government’s hiking of local metro fares by 3 percent, rolled back by Congress but too little too late. The death toll rose to 19, with hundreds injured in police firing and riots, with the army called out and emergency measures

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Political Developments

Venezuela’s government and opposition representatives met in early July on the Caribbean island of Barbados for a second round of meetings. This round was also mediated by the Norwegian government and was facilitated by Enrique Iglesias, the European Union’s mediator. Few details were revealed by either party, with the Maduro establishment maintaining its stand of willingness to talk, and the opposition continuing to demand Maduro step down and hold fresh elections.

On 5 A

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Political Developments

Venezuela’s
government and opposition met in informal talks in Oslo, Norway mid-May. Norwegian television network NRK, citing unnamed sources, reported that contacts between the Maduro and Guaidó camps began in Cuba before shifting to the Scandinavian country. The talks were held at a secret location in Oslo with the participation of Norway’s foreign ministry which said in a statement it had had “preliminary contacts with representatives of the main political actors of Ven

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Political Developments

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro made his first bilateral foreign trip, after assuming office in January, to the US 18-19 March accompanied by six Ministers. He met President Trump: the two have a lot in common. Both have emerged winners despite being marginal to their respective political establishments, appeal directly to their voting base and seem impervious to attacks on their personalities. Both have taken radical steps in pursuance of their campaign promises. Bolson

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Political Developments

2019
commenced with troublesome signs in some parts of LAC :-

- Venezuela saw a dangerous standoff between the sitting President Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaidó, the President of the opposition-dominated National Assembly, who declared himself Interim President on 23 January, and was recognized as such by the US and about 50 other countries in Europe, LAC, etc. (see below)

- Central America saw much turmoil, not least on account of growing drug trafficking and gang violence

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About the Author

Ambassador Deepak Bhojwani

Former Ambassador of India to Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba and Distinguished Fellow, Ananta Centre

Ambassador Deepak Bhojwani joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1978. He retired in February 2012. During his career, he was accredited as Ambassador in seven Latin American countries, resident in Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba, concurrent in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and was Consul General in Sao Paulo. He served abroad in three Continents – Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia), Europe (Spain and Czech Republic) and Latin America.

In the Ministry of External Affairs, he served in the Divisions dealing with Administration; West Asia and North Africa; US and Canada; and had a brief stint at the United Nations.

Ambassador Bhojwani also served as Private Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, Mr P.V.Narasimha Rao for two years from 1994 to 1996, and as Special Assistant to the Minister of State for External Affairs and for Science and Technology, Mr K.R.Narayanan, from 1985 till 1988.

He writes extensively on Latin America and its relations with India. He has written a book published in 2015 titled ‘Latin America, the Caribbean and India: Promise and Challenge’.

He is currently a Consultant for Latin America and the Caribbean through his firm LATINDIA (www.latindia.in)

Ambassador Bhojwani also serves as Independent Director on the Board of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., one of the largest state oil and gas companies of India.

Since January 2017 he has been Country Manager and Director, Magotteaux Industries Pvt. Ltd.

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