Nov 1, 2018

Bolton to praise Bolsonaro, declare "Troika of Tyranny" in Latin America speech

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

National Security Adviser John Bolton will declare the election of right-wing firebrand Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil as a "positive sign" for Latin America while denouncing Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as a "Troika of Tyranny," according to excerpts seen by Axios of a speech he will give at 1 p.m. ET in Miami.

Why it matters: Bolton’s speech is among the clearest statements of the administration’s views on Latin America that we’ve seen so far, and Bolton depicts it almost as a struggle of good versus evil. That he considers Bolsonaro, who has made numerous homophobic and sexist remarks and spoken fondly of military rule, an ally in the fight to "advance the rule of law and increase security and prosperity" is likely to garner attention. So too will his inclusion of Nicaragua, where President Daniel Ortega has brutally suppressed protests calling for his ouster, alongside Venezuela and Cuba in the "troika."

Jason Marczak of the Atlantic Council notes that "there is a high degree of alignment between the Trump administration's key priorities and those of the incoming Bolsonaro administration," most notably when it comes to Venezuela. Like Trump, Bolsonaro also campaigned in direct opposition to the establishment.

  • Bolton appears to be evoking communism with his use of the word "troika," and there are parallels between his "Troika of Tyranny" and George W. Bush’s "Axis of Evil."
  • Worth noting: Bolton's remarks come in the lead-up to two crucial elections in Florida — for governor and senator —where the Cuban vote could play a significant role.

What he'll say:

  • "The United States is thrilled to be partnering with nations such as Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and many others to advance the rule of law and increase security and prosperity for our people. The recent elections of likeminded leaders in key countries, including Ivan Duque in Colombia, and last weekend Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, are positive signs for the future of the region, and demonstrate a growing regional commitment to free-market principles, and open, transparent, and accountable governance."   
  • "Under this administration, we will no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores in this Hemisphere. We will not reward firing squads, torturers, and murderers. We will champion the independence and liberty of our neighbors. And this President, and his entire administration, will stand with the freedom fighters. The Troika of Tyranny in this Hemisphere — Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua — has finally met its match."
  • "In Cuba, we continue to stand firmly with the Cuban people, and we share their aspirations for real, democratic changes. … Our concern is with sanctions, not selfies."
  • "The crisis in Venezuela has led to a massive humanitarian disaster and the largest mass migration in the Hemisphere. More than 2 million desperate Venezuelans have fled Maduro’s oppressive rule since 2015. Sadly, this human tragedy was entirely preventable. Maduro and his cronies are the singular cause of all of this suffering."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Biden bets it all on South Carolina

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Most Joe Biden admirers Axios interviewed in South Carolina, where he's vowed to win today's primary, said they're unfazed by his embarrassing losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

Why it matters: Biden has bet it all on South Carolina to position himself as the best alternative to Bernie Sanders — his "good buddy," he tells voters before skewering Sanders' record and ideas.

Coronavirus updates: Market ends worst week since financial crisis

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The stock market ended its worst week since the financial crisis, prompting the Fed to release a statement. Meanwhile, the WHO warned that countries are losing their chance to contain the novel coronavirus and raised its global risk assessment to "very high" Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected more than 84,000 others in over 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 12 hours ago - Health

California coronavirus: Latest case has no recent history of international travel

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A new case of the novel coronavirus in California was announced on Friday after Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that 33 people had tested positive for the virus, noting the risk to the public remains low.

What's new: An adult woman with chronic health conditions in Santa Clara County who "did not recently travel overseas" or come into contact with anyone known to be ill was confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus on Friday by CDC and California Department of Public Health officials.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 12 hours ago - Health