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Mexican authorities are scrambling to quell the furor caused by the disappearance of 43 college students in late September from Iguala, a municipality in the southern state of Guerrero. Once again, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration has been caught off-guard by a scandal that shows that Mexico has not out-grown its history of insecurity and corruption.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff won a second term; Rousseff waged one of the most negative campaigns in memory, conjuring fears that Neves would cut government anti-poverty programs rather than explaining how she plans to pull the world’s seventh largest economy out of recession.
Maduro has been postponing budget cuts or other remedial measures for fear of upsetting his crumbling political base and roiling domestic opposition. Some analysts estimate that Venezuela could avoid collapse with oil prices as low as $60 — but only after serious structural adjustments and curtailing of profligate spending.
Tuesday night’s encounter was a tough and personal showdown—the first one-on-one debate between the candidates of Brazil’s two main political parties. Rousseff was aggressive and confrontational, but Neves (a former governor and congressman) counterpunched effectively—putting the president on the defensive over the failing economy, unpopular policies, and alleged corruption.
Good news this week for Aécio Neves, the Social Democrat who is challenging Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in the October 26th runoff election: Neves landed the endorsement of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) on Wednesday; and the first three polls published since the initial round of voting on October 5th show him leading Rousseff by two- to eight-point margins.
On Monday, Chile’s central bank announced that economic growth in August had fallen short of projections once again. According to official figures, the economy expanded by just .3%, compared to August 2013, marking Chile’s slowest monthly economic pace in over four years. (Chile’s sluggish economic performance is due, in part, to a decline in demand for copper.) Economy Minister Luis Felipe Céspedes responded to the growth figure saying, “It is not a good number, and we are not happy. That is why we are working on policies to regain the dynamism of our economy.”
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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff fell short of winning a majority in Sunday’s first round of voting and must face centrist, free-market candidate Aécio Neves in a run-off election on October 26. Rousseff won 41.6% of the votes cast, followed by Neves with 33.5% and environmentalist maverick Marina Silva with 21.3%.