Stories by Michael McCarthy

Expert Voices

Maduro faces mounting Western pressure as he enters second term

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro greets children upon arrival for the inauguration ceremony of his second mandate
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro at his inauguration ceremony on Jan. 10. Photo: Yuri Cortez/AFP via Getty Images

The worst may not be over for embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, who on Thursday was sworn into office by his rubber-stamp Supreme Court. His new term was secured through a sham electoral process and rejected by a large portion of the international community, his political opposition, and significant segments of the government’s chavista political movement.

The big picture: In a sign of Maduro’s further isolation from Western democratic powers, Latin American governments are rolling out financial-crime and diplomatic sanctions that target the regime hierarchy, joining Canada, the EU, and the U.S. But even this more multilateral pressure has not yet thrown Maduro completely off balance.

Expert Voices

Putin's bombers escalate global power struggle over Venezuela

Nicolas Maduro speaking at a lectern
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro. Photo: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images

By sending two nuclear-capable bombers to Caracas for a week of “joint operational flights” with the Venezuelan air force, Vladimir Putin awarded Nicolás Maduro a propaganda victory and irked the U.S. with a new incursion into the Western hemisphere.

Why it matters: Maduro is set to be sworn in for a new term on January 10, 2019. With Western democracies planning not to recognize his new mandate and to take further diplomatic actions, Maduro needs all the international support he can get to prop up his claim to legitimacy.

Expert Voices

Bolsonaro’s politics of nationalist redemption

Supporters of far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, celebrate in front of his house in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, after he won Brazil's presidential election, on October 28, 2018
Supporters of far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro celebrate his victory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Oct. 28. Photo: Buda Mendes via Getty Images

Capping off an electoral campaign marked by passionate anti-establishment sentiment, the jailing of a former president and rising political violence, Brazil took a collective leap of faith and elected right-wing nationalist strongman Jair Bolsonaro to a 4-year term. Promising to return Brazil to its former glory, Bolsonaro defeated by 10 points Workers' Party candidate Fernando Haddad.

The big picture: Throwing out the conciliatory political playbook that winning presidential candidates have used since the country’s 1985 transition from military rule, Bolsonaro won for a simple reason: He credibly promised to turn Brazilian politics upside down.

More stories loading.