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Latin America Faces Perfect Storm for Nasty Politics | Moisés Naim | Global Stage | GZERO Media

Moisés Naim: With inflation & low trust in democracy, Latin America faces perfect storm for nasty politics

How much power does the World Economic Forum in Davos still have? For Moisés Naim. distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, not much, and this year's leitmotif is confusion. Why? "We are dealing with uncertain situations that have no precedent," he tells Ian Bremmer in a Global Stage interview. Naim believes that in the near future the locus of power will shift from geography to artificial intelligence, which will have immense consequences for how leaders wield power — and that's a double-edged sword. And what about Latin America's future? He sees a"very dangerous convergence of inflation and disappointment with democracy that could result in "a perfect storm to create nasty politics" in the region.

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Supporters of the Christian Lebanese Forces party react as votes are being counted in Lebanon's parliamentary election.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

What We're Watching: Lebanon's future, Russian dissent, Latin Americans ditch US summit

What Hezbollah’s loss means for Lebanon

Days after Lebanese voters went to the polls for the first time since the economy imploded three years ago, Hezbollah – Iran-backed militants dubbed a terrorist group by the US – has lost its parliamentary majority. Its coalition, which includes Amal, another Shia party, and the Free Patriotic Movement, a Christian bloc, won 61 seats, down from 71. Reformist parties that emerged amid mass protests over economic inequality and corruption in recent years reaped about 10% of seats. The Saudi-allied Lebanese Forces also gained new seats, suggesting that many Lebanese voters support warmer ties with Riyadh in hopes it can help ease their economic woes. Still, only 41% of eligible voters turned up, reflecting widespread apathy and disdain for the political elite, who have enriched themselves for decades while large swaths of the population descended into poverty. The election was notably plagued by allegations of voter fraud. Things will get thorny this fall when President Michael Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, finishes his term. The presidency is a powerful post in Lebanon, charged with appointing the PM and leading the military. Hezbollah will push hard for a replacement who will safeguard their – and Iran’s – regional interests, likely impeding progress on political and economic reforms needed to unlock foreign loans.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro attend a news conference following talks in Moscow.

Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

For Latin America, political risks overshadow economic gain from Ukraine crisis

Countries that rely heavily on imported food and energy face the greatest risk of social and economic crises from the disruption caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Yet even those that are themselves big producers of these essential commodities are suffering fallout from the war. Rising prices for basic goods in many parts of Latin America, for example, are testing governments already struggling to manage elevated public frustration caused by pandemic hardships. We asked Eurasia Group expert Yael Sternberg to explain how this is playing out.

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Why This COVID Surge Is Different Than 2020 | Behind Putin's Threats | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Why this COVID surge is different than 2020; behind Putin's threats

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on Omicron, Putin's antics, and Chile's millennial president.

With Omicron cases increasing, is December 2021 really any different than December 2020?

Of course, it's different. You know why it's different? Because so many more people are vaccinated and so many people have already gotten COVID, which means the likelihood that they're going to be severely hospitalized or die goes way, way down. So we should be worrying less individually about COVID even though the policy impact the shutdown impact for at least a few weeks is going to be very significant. And of course, if you haven't gotten your boosters, get those boosters. Of course if you're not vaccinated, I don't know what a booster's going to do for you. Why am I even telling you that?

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Latin America Faces Post-Pandemic Lost Decade," Says Economic Historian Adam Tooze | GZERO World

Latin America faces post-pandemic "lost decade," says economic historian Adam Tooze

As the US economy powers ahead to recover from COVID, many developing economies are getting further left behind — especially those in Latin America. Economic historian Adam Tooze says the region, which did relatively well during the global recession, is now "looking at a lost decade." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World.

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: How the COVID-damaged economy surprised Adam Tooze

What We're Watching: Latin America's vaccine shortage, Juneteenth a new national holiday, China cracks down on HK free press

Latin America needs vaccines: The World Health Organization has called on the G7 countries that pledged to donate a billion COVID vaccine doses to the developing world to prioritize Latin America, with WHO officials pointing to the fact that out of the top 10 countries with the highest COVID death tolls per capita over the past week, nine are in Latin America, where many health systems are overstretched and vaccines are scarce. This call comes as Latin America's COVID death toll has surpassed 1 million. Cases and deaths are soaring in Argentina and Colombia, for instance, while Brazil has fully vaccinated just 11 percent of its population despite recording the world's second highest death toll. Even Chile, which has carried out Latin America's most successful vaccination campaign to date, has been forced to delay reopening due to a recent surge in infections among unvaccinated younger people. The WHO says prioritizing the region for vaccine donations makes sense in order to stop large sustained outbreaks that may spur potentially more infectious COVID variants that'll cross borders and wreak havoc in populous states. Most of the donated shots will be distributed through the COVAX facility, which is a problem for countries like Venezuela, shut out from COVAX because of payment problems.

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Brazil’s uncertain role in the world | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Brazil’s uncertain role in the world: Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America and has been long considered an emerging global power. How does Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who served as Brazil's 34th president from 1995 to 2003, see Brazil's role in the world? On the topic of climate change, Cardoso observed, "The average people don't look after the Amazon, as an asset or a problem. And the Amazon represents both, an asset and a problem. We have to keep the Amazon going on." Cardoso, who is considered Brazil's elder statesman, also shared his perspective on his nation's relationship with China and attempts at global peace, in an interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Brazil on the brink

: Can Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, recover from a crippling year? | GZERO World

Can Brazil (and Bolsonaro) recover from a crippling year?

Jair Bolsonaro had a Trump-like rise to power to become the president of Brazil, but some of the same attributes that got him elected have contributed to the many economic, political and public health crises plaguing his country. In addition to the COVID pandemic, Brazil is still suffering from the impact of its worst ever recession which began in 2014. Bolsonaro promised to turn that around—but economic growth remains low and unemployment very high. As for the Amazon, its rapid deforestation accounted for one third of the destruction of the world's tropical forests in 2019 alone. Bolsonaro is up for reelection next year, and it's going to be an interesting campaign. The likely challenger is Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, who is as far left as Bolsonaro is right.

Watch the episode: Brazil on the brink

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