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Dilma's Dismissal Divides Latin America

Walter Russell Mead

One of the most important consequence of Dilma’s removal from office could well be the intensification of the deepening split between countries like Venezuela that are still chasing various Bolivarian unicorns across the mountain paths, and the countries with reality based governments. Reuters:

The dismissal of Brazil’s president upset relations with leftist Latin American governments on Wednesday as Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia recalled their ambassadors to protest what they called a “coup” and Brasilia responded in kind. […]

Leftist leaders in Caracas, Quito, La Paz and San Salvador have been consistent allies of Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, including Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who said the United States was behind the impeachment push.

“This coup d’etat isn’t just against Dilma. It is against Latin America and the Caribbean. It is against us,” Maduro said in a televised speech. “This is an attack against the popular, progressive, leftist movement.”

Brazilian Foreign Minister Jose Serra defended the constitutionality of Rousseff’s impeachment and questioned the legitimacy of Maduro’s government.

“The Venezuelan government has no moral standing to talk about democracy, since they don’t have a democratic regime,” he said in comments posted to a government website, in which he accused Venezuela of holding political prisoners.

This is a big problem for a Latin Left, already reeling from the misery, polarization and poverty that their policies have wrought. Brazil is the largest, wealthiest and most powerful of the South American countries, and even with its own economic problems, it has a lot of weight to throw around. Under Lula and Dilma, the continent’s leftist populists could count on Brazil for diplomatic support.

No more. Brazil is more likely to take counsel with neighbors like Colombia to prevent an imploding Venezuela from exporting violence and anarchy across the region.

It’s a disheartening turn of events for a group of countries who thought they were the wave of the future just a few years ago.

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