Nicolas Maduro is Failing to Act in the Interests of the Venezuelan People

By Jack Pannell

Nicolas Maduro, the President of Venezuela, has overseen a collapse of his country’s economy. It is undeniable that many in the country face a dire economic situation and that Maduro has wholly failed to remedy the crisis. Maduro has mismanaged the economy and his Constituent Assembly will serve more to consolidate his power than to solve the economic situation. It is essential to remain critical of the motives of the MUD opposition, but any criticism must also concede that the actions of Maduro, even if within a constitutional framework, are further polarising the country and risk the outbreak of armed conflict.

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Temer power plays attorney general to maintain control of government

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By Madeline Asta

On Tuesday August 8, Brazilian President Michel Temer asked the Supreme Court (STF) to remove the country’s Attorney General, Rodrigo Janot from power. The decision to remove Janot comes after an August 2 congressional vote to drop passive corruption charges filed by Janot against Temer in June. As Attorney General, Janot established a precedent of convicting high-level politicians for corruption throughout Operação Lava Jato, a set of investigations aimed to fight organized crime within Brazilian politics. Since Operação Lava Jato began in 2014, the investigations have uncovered sweeping political corruption across both political parties and neighboring countries in the Latin American region. However, Temer sees Janot’s charges against him to be attacks founded on personal motivation. Temer claims that Janot is acting “beyond his constitutional limits”, as the attorney general pursues obstruction of justice charges against Temer. Fearing that pending charges will unearth more concrete evidence of corruption, Temer moves to dismiss Janot from the investigations and ensure himself immunity. Riding a wave of confidence following the congressional vote, Temer hopes to solidify his political power by launching a counterattack against the nation’s top prosecutor to destroy his reputation.

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As United States Seeks to Decrease Migration Flow, Message of “Harvest of Empire” More Relevant Than Ever

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By Laura Schroeder

The 2012 film “Harvest of Empire,” based on the book of the same title by journalist Juan González of Democracy Now, demonstrates how U.S. policy toward Latin America has created political, social, and economic instability in the region. Directed by Peter Getzels and Eduardo López, it discusses the cases of Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. It also addresses the United States’ role in the military and corporate interventions that have triggered mass migration to the United States. Five years later, particularly given President Trump’s recent backing of the RAISE Act, the central theme of the documentary is relevant: anti-immigrant sentiments in the United States reflect a woeful ignorance of the structural forces that have caused millions in Latin America to flee their homes.

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Operação Lava Jato has created a new era for Brazil’s judicial system

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By Madeline Asta

During the week of July 17, Brazil’s Attorney General Rodrigo Janot visited Washington D.C. to discuss Brazil’s current fight against corruption. While in Washington D.C., Janot gave two presentations, one at the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute titled “The Role of Plea Bargains in the Fight Against Corruption,” and a second at the Atlantic Council titled “Lessons from Brazil: Crisis, Corruption, and Cooperation.” At these events, Janot highlighted the evolution of Brazil’s judicial system to where it is today – convicting high-level officials of corruption, both nationally and internationally with transnational cooperation. The following case study of Brazil’s judicial system takes information from these two events, as well as from past presentations of Brazilian judicial officials hosted by the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute.

The Evolution of Brazil’s Judicial System

Brazil’s judicial system has evolved from a system that only persecuted black people, poor people, and prostitutes to one determined to conquer the “white-collar” corruption that plagues Brazilian politics. Historically, high-society citizens were immune to the judiciary, but now the system has changed to include investigations into more influential people, specifically high-ranking government officials. The basic structure of Brazil’s judiciary was first established by the 1988 Constitution, which created a high court for federal legislation – the Superior Court of Justice, or TSJ. In addition, the constitution modified the Public Prosecutor’s Office to be an autonomous institution meant to preside over criminal proceedings.

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Legalizar el aborto en Chile

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Por Alexia Rauen

Asistencia en traducción por Laura Schroeder y Martina Guglielmone

Chile es – y ojalá que muy pronto erauno de los cuatro países (Chile, Nicaragua, República Dominicana, y El Salvador) en la región Latinoamericana que completamente prohíbe el aborto, y uno de seis en el mundo. La penalización por recibir un aborto en Chile puede incluir tiempo en la cárcel de hasta cinco años. También hay una posibilidad de tiempo en la cárcel para cualquier persona que administre un aborto. En Chile, las mujeres podrían sufrir medidas punitivas que solamente sirven para extender su dolor, y los médicos que ofrecen abortos lo hacen arriesgándose a ellos mismos.  

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Maduro’s Democracy is Hardly That

By Blake Burdge

Claiming victory over his opposition and perceived U.S.-backed imperialist efforts, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro celebrated the prevalence, last Sunday, of what he calls democratic efforts to bring peace to a country that has been struck with economic and political crises.

The Constituent Assembly election is not the beginning of Maduro’s unraveling of democracy in Venezuela; rather, it represents the beginning of the end. Since his thin victory in 2013, Maduro has chiseled away his country’s democratic institutions, postponing elections and delegitimizing the opposition’s constitutional effort to hold a presidential recall referendum. He has stacked the supreme court in his favor and recently has tried to strip the legislative power of the National Assembly, the only of the government’s three branches not controlled by his Chavista allies.

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Legalize Abortion in Chile

By Alexia Rauen

Chile is – and hopefully soon to be was one of four countries (Chile, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador) in the Latin American region that completely bans abortion, and one of six globally. The penalty for receiving an abortion in Chile can include jail time of up to five years. There is also a possibility of jail time for any individual who administers an abortion. In Chile, women may suffer punitive measures that only serve to further extend their pain, and medical professionals who offer abortions do so at significant risk to themselves.

But finally, it seems the women of Chile will have hope that they have not had since 1989, when the ban was implemented. As it stands, 70 percent of Chileans support this bill. In 2015, as seen in the graphic below, provided by the Chilean government, President Bachelet released a bill which will allow abortions in certain instances.

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