Three Ladies in Distress

Spring arrived on a dark note for three politically relevant ladies: Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel and Dilma Rousseff.

Spring arrived on a dark note for three politically relevant ladies: Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel and Dilma Rousseff.

All are strong, combative, prepared and energetic. All have earned the world respect through hard work and decisive action.

But after they infused so much hope in their countries and passion in their following that they seem to be battling the same and most difficult fight of their political lives. That fight is no other than a blunt encounter with globalization which seems to be rendering all their political tools ineffectual as they brace to maintain or expand power.

For Hillary the encounter wore the clothes of an outsider. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders jumped into stop the world bandwagon that was mobilizing around them significant segments of the U.S. population that would ordinarily follow Hillary.

Trump’s following fundamentally composed of low income, low educated Anglo men are staging a war on trade, immigration and international involvement that has rendered her foreign policy credentials useless for the presidential fight.

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has successfully organized the young and educated to question the former Secretary of State’s eligibility in light of her close association with Wall Street.

Both assailants are outsiders to the traditional party structures and both are riding globalization horses.

Trump rides the horse of despair as White America has seen its right to belong to the middle classes vanish as trade and technology wipes away incomes from lower tier jobs.

Sanders rides the horse of anger, as a society with puritanical roots is shaken by the conspicuous consumption of the newly rich sprouting from hedge funds and trade deals.

And for Sanders and his followers the absolutely unacceptable aspect of this development is that it coincides with the impoverishment of the American middle classes, the deterioration of the country’s infrastructure, and the rise in hostility against the U.S. everywhere in the world.

And while today it seems difficult for these two riders of despair to overcome Ms Clinton, they are making her run for the White House extremely exhausting and enervating.

Ms. Merkel, on her part, was planning to break the Thatcher record and continue to lead Germany well into midcentury when geopolitics and war intervened to debilitate her uncontested leadership.

Geopolitics had it that the Kremlin tenant is determined to rebuild whatever he can of the old Russian empire and has set as territorial targets on the Baltic states plus Ukraine. This shook her political floor, given that, in light of Europe’s dependence on Russian gas for its energy needs, Germany could not act as strongly as desirable when Russia took over the Crimea.

Then came the refugee crisis and more recently the economic slowdown.

All these minions of globalization have slowly but surely eroded Ms. Merkel’s popularity to the point that many believe she might not survive next year’s federal election.

And in the Southern half of the Americas, Dilma Rousseff battles not only for her survival but that of the party that brought her to power.

As the impeachment drama unfolds, Dilma’s supporters within the country’s powers are dwindling.

She still has some hardcore appeal, however, and her followers are ready to stage street battles. But this could only make her demise worse as it would be marked by bloodshed.

And while she will fight to the end , it is quite apparent that she is beginning to realize all avenues take her to the impeachment alley.

Consequently her closest advisors are now concentrating on the conditions for a potential resignation that could allow her to retire with dignity.

And while, so far, the President refuses to discuss this matter outside her three people inner circle, perhaps results of the recent lower house vote might induce her to consider such option.

Should she not, her removal from office is almost certain.

This outcome is the result of three decades of globalization that created a strong accountability bureaucracy, Costo Brazil and the end of the commodity boom.

A strong prosecuting arm was able to bring out into the public eye the worse spring of corruption seen in the Americas (after Venezuela, of course) with the ensuing civic reaction.

Costo Brazil has made it impossible for the country to develop the appropriate infrastructure to sustain development.

The end of the commodity boom coincided with the worst drought in decades to produce a downward turn on GDP that has infuriated the people of Brazil.

Separation of powers, the end of the commodity boom and the unveiling of rampant corruption have brought to an end President Rousseff’s mandate. All three are the children of globalization.

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O’Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.


Published by Latin American Herald Tribune on May 8th, 2016