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  • Brazilian President Michel Temer and Argentine President Mauricio Macri

    Brazilian President Michel Temer and Argentine President Mauricio Macri | Photo: AFP

Published 1 September 2016

Reactions in South America to the removal of deposed President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil are sharply divided along political lines.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri has endorsed Brazil’s de facto President Michel Temer after the Senate ousted Dilma Rousseff in an impeachment bid, representing the latest in a wave of right-wing attempts to restore conservative politics in the region.

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In a statement Wednesday, Macri’s government expressed its “respect for the verified institutional process” in Brazil that ousted Rousseff and his willingness to continue working with the Temer government, with which Macri already held a friendly relationship during his “interim” months in office.

“Argentina renews its desire to continue working with the government of Brazil to resolve issues of mutual interests on bilateral, regional, and multilateral agendas as well as the strengthening of Mercosur,” reads the statement.

Under Macri and Temer, Argentina and Brazil have pivoted in their foreign relations, scrapping the regional integration focus of their left-wing predecessors in favor of strengthening ties with the United States and shunning neighboring governments of the socialist Pink Tide that first began to wash over the continent in the late 1990s. 

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The two countries, along with Paraguay, have also formed a bloc within the sub-regional South American economic alliance Mercosur in recent months to frustrate the passing of the pro-tempore presidency from Uruguay to Venezuela.

Paraguay, which saw a similar parliamentary coup oust democratically-elected left-wing President Fernando Lugo in 2012, also stated support for Brazil’s de facto government. Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga told AFP that the country “respects” the decision to impeach Rousseff, saying that it was “taken by democratic institutions.”

Chile similarly expressed “confidence  in Brazil to resolve its own challenges through its democratic institutions.”

Meanwhile, the left-wing governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela recalled their ambassadors or representatives in Brazil, condemning Rousseff’s ouster. Cuba, Nicaragua, and the regional Bolivian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America or ALBA also dubbed it a coup.

In South America, the governments of Uruguay, Colombia, and Peru have not issued responses. But other left-wing politicians and movements in the region have also condemned the decision.

Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, former Uruguayan President Jose “Pepe” Mujica, and Peru’s left-wing Broad Front party all condemned Rousseff’s removal as a coup with negative consequences for the region.

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The Paraguayan coalition Frente Guasu, the political movement of former deposed President Fernando Lugo, who was ousted in a parliamentary coup in 2012 that paved the way for the entrenchment of neoliberalism under a right-wing government, also condemned the process in Brazil by likening it to the right-wing maneuvering in Paraguay four years ago.

While South American countries’ positions on Rousseff’s ouster, are clearly divided along political lines, the United States was also quick to lend legitimacy to the installed Temer government by promising continuation of “strong bilateral relations.” The U.S. has garnered criticism in recent months for staying silent on the situation in Brazil.

Temer was installed in office Wednesday following a final vote in Brazil’s Senate to remove Rousseff as president for breaking budget rules, bringing an end to a lengthy and contentious impeachment process that has been widely characterized as a right-wing power grab and attempt to shield corrupt politicians from prosecution.

Temer will hold office for the remainder of Rousseff’s term until the 2018 election.

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