South America has been a special part of my life for four decades. I have lived many years in Brasil and Peru. I am married to an incredible lady from Argentina. I want to share South America with you.
Is it all over for Brazil’s beloved former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva? Breaking down into tears repeatedly as he desperately defended his record in congress after being accused of acting as the “commander-in-chief” of the country’s vast corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras this week, Lula cut a very different figure from the jovial giant of Latin American politics he once was.
If Lula is not going down quietly – promising to “walk to prison myself” if he is proved to be corrupt – nor is Eduardo Cunha, the political mastermind behind the impeachment of Brazil’s former president Dilma Rousseff. After the former house speaker was expelled from congress in an act of what he called “political vengeance”, he threatened to get his own revenge by telling all he knows about his colleagues.
Thankfully, there were more edifying scenes this week in Argentina, where President Mauricio Macri hosted thousands of local and international business executives in a glitzy “mini-Davos” aimed at enticing investments to revitalise the stuttering economy. Sir Alan Duncan, the UK’s junior foreign office minister, joined in the chorus of praise from chief executives of some of the world’s biggest companies for the changes in Argentina since Macri came to power last year. A joint statement pledged that the UK and Argentina will seek closer co-operation, including the removal of restrictions on the Falkland Islands’ oil and gas industry.
Prospects for the oil industry in Venezuela were also looking up, after state oil company PDVSA announced a $7bn bond swap in a bid to alleviate mounting financial pressure as it stares down multibillion-dollar bond payments over the next 14 months. Chile is also attracting huge interest from investors everywhere, as the world’s free market laboratory considers reforming its pioneering pensions system copied by dozens of countries.
“They created a lie, constructed an untruth as if it were the plot of a soap opera… If they can prove that I was corrupt, I’ll walk to prison myself” - Brazil’s beloved former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva after facing corruption charges this week.