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Archive for South America

Newsline: EU ambassador says Mercosur trade deal unaffected by Amazon wildfires

A trade deal between Europe and the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) provides a clear commitment to the Paris Agreement in combatting climate change, the new EU ambassador in Brasilia, Ignácio Ybáñez, told EURACTIV’s partner EFE in an interview. However, he hinted that the deal was not at risk. “We have been negotiating the agreement for 20 years, which is a commitment to the future between the two regions, so it is not true to think that parliaments will react against specific things,” he said. In light of the worst wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, one of the world’s largest carbon sinks, Ybáñez said, “The Mercosur agreement contains some commitments of how we want our future relationship to be. For example, on the environmental issue, there is a clear commitment to compliance with the Paris agreement and international agreements by Brazil and Mercosur”. (https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/eu-ambassador-says-mercosur-trade-deal-unaffected-by-amazon-wildfires/) But the lack of action from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to tackle the critical situation in Amazon has triggered the strong reaction of some EU member states. France and Ireland threatened to block the Mercosur deal, while conservative Bolsonaro warned French President Emmanuel Macron not me meddle in his country and stop using the issue for domestic political reasons.


Newsline: Protesters besiege Brazilian embassies worldwide over Amazon fires

Protesters have laid siege to Brazilian embassies around the world as international outrage over Jair Bolsonaro’s failure to protect the Amazon intensified and supporters maligned critics of the Brazilian president as leftist conspirators. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside Brazil’s embassy in central London on Friday with placards reading: “The planet deserves better” and “Our house is on fire”. “Bolsonaro wants to destroy the forest … and we do not want this,” one indigenous leader from Brazil told the crowd. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/23/brazil-protests-amazon-bolsonaro-failure-protect) There were also rallies outside Brazil’s embassies in Mexico City and Paris, where demonstrators reportedly carried banners reading: “Fora Bolsonaro!” or “Bolsonaro, out!” Protesters also surrounded the Brazilian consulate in Geneva while further marches were planned in cities including Adelaide, Lisbon, Stockholm, Boston and Florida.

Newsline: Brazil’s Bolsonaro may drop plans to make son US ambassador amid backlash

Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has signalled he may abandon controversial plans to make his son ambassador to the United States, amid a fierce political backlash and growing signs Congress may block the move. “I’m not going to subject my son to failure,” Bolsonaro told reporters in what was the first public hint he may be reconsidering his nomination. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/20/brazil-bolsonaro-son-us-ambassador) Bolsonaro’s bid to hand control of Brazil’s Washington DC embassy to his 35-year-old son, Eduardo, has outraged Brazil’s foreign service and set off a domestic political firestorm. A report prepared for senators who need to approve Bolsonaro’s move concluded it amounted to nepotism and identified three distinctly undemocratic precedents where leaders had made their children ambassadors: in Saudi Arabia, Chad and Uzbekistan.

Newsline: Israel appoints ambassador to Paraguay after embassy dispute

Yoed Magen has been accredited as the new Israeli ambassador to Paraguay amid tensions between the two nations, the Paraguayan state news agency said. The announcement comes after Paraguay announced last September that it was moving its embassy in Israel out of Jerusalem and back to Tel Aviv, just months after a previous Paraguayan administration had opened the new mission. Israel responded by shutting its embassy in Paraguay and warning that ties between the countries would be “strained” by the decision. Its new ambassador to Paraguay will work from neighboring Argentina. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/israel-appoints-ambassador-to-paraguay-after-embassy-dispute/2019/08/21/0f4ad590-c459-11e9-8bf7-cde2d9e09055_story.html?noredirect=on) Israel had hoped to build on the momentum started by the U.S., Guatemala and Paraguay, which all moved their embassies to Jerusalem in May 2018.

Newsline: Venezuela opens first embassy in North Korea

Facing increasing diplomatic pressures from the West, Venezuela moved to open its first embassy in North Korean capital Pyongyang. The move was apparently designed as a message to Washington. New embassy serves as symbol of alliance in the face of U.S. “imperialism,” Venezuelan vice-FM said at the opening of the embassy.


Newsline: Son of Brazil’s President, on Track to Be Ambassador to U.S.

Prosecutors in Brazil have launched what looks like a last-ditch effort to block President Jair Bolsonaro from nominating his son Eduardo to be the country’s next ambassador to the United States. The public prosecutor’s office in Brasília, the capital, argued in court papers filed Monday that the younger Bolsonaro, a 35-year-old congressman and close aide to his father, is not qualified to fill the country’s most prestigious diplomatic post, having never served his country abroad. Before his election to Congress, the younger Bolsonaro had worked as a low-ranking federal police officer, and the only international experience listed on his resume is the year he spent on a work-exchange program in the U.S., which included a brief stint behind the cash register at a Popeyes, a fast food restaurant. (https://theintercept.com/2019/08/13/eduardo-bolsonaro-pro-trump-son-brazils-president-track-ambassador-u-s/) Despite the court challenge, momentum for the likely nomination of the president’s son — a climate change denier who also happens to be a huge fan of Donald Trump — has been building in recent weeks. As his son met with Brazilian senators to win their support for his nomination last week, Jair Bolsonaro revealed that the Trump administration had promised in writing that it would welcome Eduardo’s appointment. The week before, the idea was publicly endorsed by Trump himself, who called the younger Bolsonaro “outstanding.”

Newsline: London climate change protesters daub Brazilian embassy blood red

Climate-change protesters threw red paint at the Brazilian embassy in London on Tuesday to demonstrate against damage to the Amazon rainforest and what they described as violence against indigenous tribes living there. Police arrested six activists from the Extinction Rebellion group after they glued themselves to the embassy windows and climbed onto a glass awning above the entrance. The protesters had splattered red paint and sprayed red handprints over the facade, along with slogans such as “No More Indigenous Blood” and “For The Wild”. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-climatechange-protests/london-climate-change-protesters-daub-brazilian-embassy-blood-red-idUSKCN1V30LC) Extinction Rebellion, which disrupted traffic in central London for several weeks earlier this year, said Tuesday’s protest aimed to challenge the Brazilian government over “state-sanctioned human rights abuses and ecocide”. Brazil contains about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, a bulwark against global warming thanks to the vast amounts of carbon dioxide it soaks up and recycles into oxygen.