Brazil, Latin America: Week in Review, Southern Cone

Brazilian Presidential Candidates Are Now in a Dead Heat

September 15, 2014 By Staff

Top Story — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is now in a statistical tie with presidential hopeful Marina Silva, according to a poll released Friday by the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics (Ibope). Earlier Ibope polls showed Rousseff trailing by as many as nine points, but the incumbent has now narrowed that gap. The new numbers show that in a second-round runoff vote, Silva has 43 percent support compared with Rousseff’s 42 percent.

Following the death of her running mate Eduardo Campos, Silva’s popularity surged as she launched her campaign. However, many experts and members of Rousseff’s camp assumed that support for Silva was artificially inflated by sympathy after Campos’ tragic plane crash. It now appears that they were wrong.

It also appears that Rousseff’s candidacy has emerged unscathed from the fallout surrounding recent allegations of corruption by Paulo Roberto Costa, a former executive of Petrobras, Brazil’s state-run oil company. Costa has accused more than 40 politicians — including Campos himself as well as dozens from Rousseff’s Workers’ Party (PT) — of receiving kickbacks from the Brazilian energy corporation. While Silva was seen as insulated from the accusations against Campos, some feared that the backlash against Rousseff would damage her campaign.

Brazil’s first-round elections will take place on Oct. 5, which will likely be followed by a second-round runoff on Oct. 26.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Mexico’s education system faces a funding crisis of up to a $3.96 billion, according to a report released by think tank México Evalúa.
  • In an interview released on Friday by Mexican daily El Universal, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto criticized Texas Governor Rick Perry’s deployment of the National Guard at the Texas-Mexico border as “reprehensible.”


  • Cuba plans to send 160 health workers to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone.
  • A Haitian court has placed Ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti under house arrest amid allegations of corruption. Aristide’s supporters insist the decision was politically motivated.

Central America

  • Some 1.5 tons of marijuana were recovered from Costa Rica’s coast after smugglers threw them into the sea while being chased.
  • The World Bank released a sobering report on Guatemala’s economy, detailing the country’s slow growth in comparison with other countries in the region.
  • Today Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua celebrate independence from Spain.


  • A coalition of political figures, including ex-presidents from Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil to César Gaviria of Colombia, released a proposal to decriminalize drugs and end the war on drugs.
  • The Peruvian government is investigating the Aug. 31 killing of Edwin Chota, an indigenous leader in the Amazon.
  • According to the editorial board of The New York Times, Colombia’s Gay Adoption Ruling has brought gays and lesbians closer to full equality under the law.
  • Venezuela has threatened to take “action” against Harvard professor Ricardo Hausmann for suggesting that the country default on its debt.
  • Venezuela is one step closer to securing a rotating seat on the U.N. security council.

Southern Cone

  • The New York Times explores the history of Afro-Argentines, who are often forgotten in country generally thought of as the most Europeanized of South America.
  • New documents reveal how former President Ronald Reagan considered giving asylum to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
  • Prosecutors have filed criminal charges against Brazilian multimillionaire Eike Batista for market manipulation.

Image: Agência Brasil, CC BY 3.0 BR

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