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A Shaky State Of Affairs In South America47:20
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South America in turmoil. Brazil. Argentina. Venezuela and more. Going volatile right now. We’ll ask why.

Demonstrators hold a Brazilian flag and a sign that reads in Portuguese "Military intervention now!" during a march demanding the impeachment of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, March 15, 2015. (AP)
Demonstrators hold a Brazilian flag and a sign that reads in Portuguese "Military intervention now!" during a march demanding the impeachment of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, March 15, 2015. (AP)

It’s been a rough patch lately for some of South America’s biggest countries.  Start with what they sell.  Oil is way down.  That punishes Venezuela. Brazil too. And traders are bearish on sugar and coffee and orange juice. Ouch. Then, politics. Bloody in Argentina, where scandal surrounds the death of a top prosecutor. And inflation is roaring.  Corruption in Brazil, right at the top, and huge crowds in the streets protesting. Water woes in Sao Paulo. Caracas tangling, again, with Washington. It’s a mess. This hour On Point: new turmoil in South America, and where it goes.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jonathan Watts, Latin America correspondent for the Guardian. Author of "When a Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind — Or Destroy It." (@jonathanwatts)

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, South American correspondent for NPR News. (@lourdesgnavarro)

Harold Trinkunas, senior fellow at the Brookings Instution, where he is the director of the Latin America Initiative. (@htrinkunas)

From Tom’s Reading List

NPR News: Brazilians Stage Massive Protests Against President Dilma Rousseff -- "The largest country in Latin America is at a moment of political crisis. In Brazil, hundreds of thousands of people were on the streets yesterday. They were protesting the leadership of President Dilma Rousseff. She was reelected, albeit, by a razor-thin margin just four months ago and already her presidency is in deep trouble."

The Guardian: Venezuela advert in US press demands Obama rescind 'national security threat' -- "Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, seized on the order to call for emergency powers, which the Venezuelan national assembly, controlled by Maduro’s United Socialist party, passed on Sunday. The 'Anti-Imperialist Law for Peace', passed after a debate lasting about two hours, allows Maduro to rule by decree. It remains unclear how the president plans to use the new powers."

Brookings Institution: Better than you think: Reframing inter-American relations — "We should not find it desirable for the United States to employ leverage to manipulate the outcomes of the democratic procedures of our allies and partners. Rather, in recognizing long-term shared interests, we should attempt to find areas to work together for mutual gain. This means building multilateral institutions and rules, asserting and defending common values and creating public goods."

This program aired on March 19, 2015.

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