Banrisul comes under fire forsaying a presidential impeachment could be a good thing; the so-called Panama Papersleak threatens to tarnish Latin America across the political spectrum; and Mexicohas some harsh words for Donald Trump and his latest plan to pay for a border wall.
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has come under fire for suggesting that the possible impeachment of President DilmaRousseff could be construed as a positive. As Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reports, the bank, which iscontrolled by the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, told clients in a monthlyemailed newsletter that the "increased chances of an interruption in a presidentialterm" is setting a "positive tone." Local politicians from Rousseff'sWorkers' Party, the PT, have lashed out in response, with one calling it a "crimeto use Banrisul to make an economic argument with political bias," and promisingto pursue appropriate legal action. Banrisul, meanwhile, has not officially commentedon the matter, but a third-party representative for the bank noted that the viewsin the newsletter do not reflect the bank's own opinions, but rather are regurgitationsof information provided by outside economic consultants.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's announcementthat he would block remittances from the U.S. to Mexico in order to force the lattercountry to pay for his multi-billion-dollar border wall has spurred a new roundof choice words from South of the border. ElPaís quotes one politician as calling Trump a "venom-spitting psychopath"whose campaign is based on "manure-slinging" in an effort to "bringout the worst in the most racist sector of society." The remarks, as El País' reporter Pablo de Llano notes, isthe latest round of criticism from Mexico against the billionaire presidential hopeful,who has "won himself a place in Mexican politics because of the sheer absurdityof his comments." Still, the report points to the impracticality of haltingsuch money transfers, which totaled nearly $24.8 billion in 2015 and are "themost stable source of income" in the country. "Our relationship will notbe blocked. No matter how many walls they try to build, nothing will stop our commercialand cultural relations," one Mexican congressman reportedly said.
The leak of the so-called Panama Papers, which contains informationon offshore accounts of some of the world's most prominent figures, is set to tarnishthe reputation of Latin America as a whole, according to the Council on HemisphericAffairs. However, the extent of the damage stemming from the leak has less to dowith the Panamanian law firm from which the files originated and more on the leadersimplicated in the papers themselves. No side of the political spectrum is safe,as the papers involve names of both free-market leaning politicians and membersof socialist parties. With corruption not "being a small issue" and "avicious cycle" across Latin America, "the exposure of the vastness ofthe network of those involved in the Panama Papers should alert [the region] asa whole," the report warns.
Jay Forte of The Rio Times reports on a renewed interest in Brazilas investors speculate over high interest rates and a weaker currency. A spike indirect foreign investments after years of decline signals that Brazil's "crisisis over" for speculators and now presents opportunities to "raid the henhouse"in the currency market and securities, the report claims. Investors in particularare engaging in "carry trade," wherein money borrowed from countries offeringlow interest rates are reinvested in Brazil to exploit the high interest rate onthe country's benchmark Selic. The gamble is not for the weak, however, as Brazil'svolatile exchange rate also presents risks: a nasty dip in the real is enough tonegate interest gains, the report notes.