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As the Ukraine war passes a hundred days on the mark, few regions have escaped the economic devastation of the conflict, and Latin America is no exception. The Russian invasion had a major impact on the lives of people in the region who suffered greatly during the epidemic of coronavirus, with a sharp rise in poverty rates and a reversal of progress made in areas such as public education. With the coronavirus lock in China once again disrupting global supply chains and rising U.S. interest rates which has forced investors to pull out of emerging markets, including those in Latin America, the war in Ukraine is in danger of becoming, countries in several regions, the grass breaks the camel’s back and produces political instability throughout the region. There are three issues in the state that are of concern.

Oliver Stuenkel

Oliver Stuenkel is an assistant professor at the Fundação Getulio Vargas School of International Relations (FGV) in São Paulo, Brazil. To see also : The US is urging countries to reach out if they have problems with Russian food, exporting fertilizer. He is also a non-profit scholar affiliated with the Carnegie Endowment for Peace International Peace, Conflict, and Management program.

First, rising food and energy prices have a long history of fueling public frustration and political protests in Latin America, and rising inflation on the continent is putting leaders at risk. Many governments have increased public spending during the disaster and now have limited financial resources to expand food and energy assistance, a worrying prospect in countries like Brazil, where more than a third a place where people currently do not have enough food to eat at least one meal. day. The war in Ukraine is likely to help assess the low endorsement of regional governments whose economies for many years have deteriorated in almost every other part of the world, which could push voters to candidates against the foundation. For example, in the second round of Colombia’s presidential election on Sunday, former left-wing Gustavo Petro defeated another candidate against the founding of Rodolfo Hernández, a little-known former businessman who surprised observers by finishing the role. second in the first round of voting. Both Petro and Hernández understand that the context of non-state activism exists in Latin America, allowing them to use the denial in depth for people of political culture of preference.

Second, the war will seriously slow down the region’s economic growth, exacerbating depression. The International Monetary Fund says growth rates are expected at 2.5 percent, compared to 4 to 5 percent or higher in other regions. Some segments of the Latin American economy may benefit from rising commodity prices, but these benefits are likely to be removed from the overall difficult situation.

For example, high oil prices have traditionally benefited Venezuela’s economy, but the collapse of the country’s energy infrastructure means it could take years to return to export levels it maintained in the early 2000s and recover from recession. Russian oil in western markets. Farm houses in South America can theoretically partially make up for the global wheat shortage, but many challenges make that hope unrealistic. Brazil, for example, plans to increase wheat production by 11 percent this year, yet to import wheat to meet domestic demand. In addition, the war has led to an increase in the price of expensive fertilizers, which — depending on Latin America’s dependence on Russian imports — could actually reduce the size of the next harvest in many Latin American countries. This reduction is possible even though countries like Brazil, importing large amounts of fertilizer, have continued to buy Russian products.

Third, the deterioration of relations between the West and Russia, is confusing the Latin American governments, most of whom wanted to avoid taking sides. One of the key factors behind this strategy is the economy: the region prefers to maintain trade relations with the West, China, and Russia, which explains why several governments have criticized Western sanctions on against Russia.

But regional concerns about the new geographical situation also involve broad strategic considerations: most Latin American leaders, regardless of their ideological dominance, have enthusiastically accepted China’s growing relationship – and geographically active Russia – which means increasing their independence and enhancing their bargaining power in the United States. Although a majority of Latin American governments voted in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both Mexico and Brazil abstained from another decision to suspend Moscow from the UN Human Rights Council. Similarly, a few Latin American leaders have been particularly critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although credible voting data is not available, surprising evidence suggests that many Latin American voters believe NATO is as responsible for the war as Russia. Fueled by Russia’s unscrupulous pro-Russian Venezuelan media and convinced even moderate sections of Latin American societies, the story that Western sanctions – rather than the invasion itself – are disrupting the world economy is deeply entrenched in Latin. America compared to many Western observers. believe it.

In Brazil, the two front-runners for the upcoming presidential election in October have cautiously avoided being labeled as Russia’s sole aggressor. In a recent interview, leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva insisted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was responsible for the war in the same way as Putin and accused Zelenskyy of appearing more on TV instead of negotiating. had a peace agreement. Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, meanwhile, traveled to Moscow days before the invasion and said he had “unity” with Russia. Both sections have raised Western eyebrows, but this position is not surprising. Past presidents have followed similar paths. Similarly in the aftermath of Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea, Brazil criticized Western attempts to stop Russia in the G20, and spoke openly about the negative impact of sanctions against Moscow on developing countries. This fact could strain relations between Latin America and the United States and Europe, especially if the United States would impose a second round of sanctions affecting Russian businesses.

For Western policymakers, two concrete political challenges have emerged from this situation. First, the United States must lead efforts to clarify the impact of Western sanctions on Russia in the developing world. Otherwise, Russia claims that sanctions are the main culprit and that the next crisis in the developing world will take place in a prosperous land. Second, the return of power to power should not lead Washington’s policymakers to allow short-term interests to undermine the goals of strengthening democracy and human rights. By the time the US government made the shocking decision to send senior officials to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and to lift some sanctions on the country was widely interpreted, in Latin America, as a diplomatic transaction. This has led some to argue that the development of democracy in Washington is only as long as it does not interfere with security and economic goals. While the rapprochement between the United States and Venezuela may be a welcome development, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden should ensure that this is designed for a long-term regional effort, rather than a surprise move to other oil sources now. US sanctions against. Russian energy seems to be here.

In this case, one thing seems certain: the changes resulting from the Ukraine war are likely to complicate Latin American efforts to overcome the difficult chapter of its recent history, shaped by catastrophic, high poverty rates. rising, rising population. foreigners, and the continuation of democracy throughout the state.

Carnegie does not hold institutional positions in public policy matters; The views expressed herein are those of the author (s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Carnegie, her staff, or her agents.

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