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This Week in Latin America: Venezuela's Opposition on the March

Venezuela rallies for a recall. Plus: Mexico's anti-corruption deadline, Dilma back in charge, and more.
Photo: AFP PHOTO / LUIS ROBAYO(flickr), February 24, 2014

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Venezuela Recall Rallies: Venezuela's political opposition will on Wednesday march to the offices of the National Electoral Council (CNE) to demand the paperwork necessary to hold a referendum to recall President Nicolás Maduro. The CNE has allegedly stalled on the request. Maduro is also battling an energy crisis that is forcing the government to cut electrical power by four hours a day for 40 days across the country, starting today. With inflation expected to reach 720 percent this year, a senior International Monetary Fund economist is now warning that Venezuela could face a "total collapse of the economic system" in12 to 18 months. 

Anti-Corruption in Mexico: Opposition legislators in Mexico's Senate are accusing their PRI and Green Party rivals of disrupting implementation of the National Anti-Corruption System (SNA) after the ruling party failed to show up to a meeting on the subject over the weekend. The Senate now looks unlikely to approve legislation to implement the SNA before April 30, the last day on the legislative calendar before a May 28 deadline to approve the laws. The PRI and its allies favor a minimalist approach to implementation and refuse to adopt the so-called Ley 3de3, a citizen's initiative calling for public employees to disclose extensive information about their assets. Opposition PAN and PRD legislators are split on how Ley 3de3 should be included in the laws.

Who's the Boss?: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff reassumed executive power over the weekend from her Vice President Michel Temer after returning from a two-day trip to New York to decry her impeachment as a "coup d'état without weapons." She suggested she may appeal to Mercosur for support in her effort to remain in office, but her days appear numbered. Temer is already assembling his own presidential cabinet in anticipation of Rousseff's suspension as impeachment deliberations proceed in Senate committee this week. Meanwhile, a three-month-old corruption investigation into Lower House President Eduardo Cunha - whom Rousseff has assailed as a "coup monger"along with Temer himself - may be set back to square one. 

Santos' Cabinet: Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos will today receive resignation letters from his cabinet ministers as he readies what may be the last reshuffle of his administration. Santos' cabinet shake-up had long been expected, but his request for resignation letters last week may have been precipitated by the sudden resignation of María Lorena Gutiérrez, the head of the executive office and Santos' erstwhile "right hand." Some analysts suggest that Gutiérrez resigned over Santos' politically complicated nomination of candidates to fill a vacancy for the country's attorney general, though Santos called Gutiérrez's departure part of a "natural cycle." Santos is now expected to name a more left-leaning cabinet than in previous years, in anticipation of the finalization of peace talks with FARC rebels.

Economy in Brief

Ecuador will raise income and value-added taxes for the next year, as the country recovers from a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit in mid-April. 

Argentina last week paid its debt to holdout creditors, ending a 15-year legal battle.

U.S. House leaders say there is little chance they will pass legislation onPuerto Rico's debt crisis before its next bond payment comes due on May 1.

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