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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: A Historical Take-Off in the Americas??

By Beatrice E. Rangel

Summer promises to be especially intense for the U.S. Secret Service and the local police departments everywhere in the country.

Campaign season seems to be evolving into a less amusing remake of Catch as Catch Can as Mr. Trump's adversaries and supporters set for a face off.

And as the most rancorous campaign ever run in the US unfolds to the bewilderment of the rest of the world that has not seen such U.S. domestic brawl since the days of the fights for civil rights, a new beginning seems to be in the makings South of the Rio Grande.

Wednesday, March the 9th 2016 will be remembered as the day impunity died in the Americas.

On that date, Brazilian prosecutors filed charges against the most popular Brazilian politician alive, former head of state Luiz Inacio Da Silva ( Lula).

Independently of whether President Da Silva is found guilty or acquitted, the fact that he has been subject to the rule of law makes a wave of difference in Brazil and Latin America where elite members are above the law.

The decision to prosecute follows a 19 year prison sentence dictated several days before to Marcelo Odebretch, the CEO of the leading Brazilian multinational corporation whose earnings easily surpassed those of Gerdau, Intercement; Stefanini and Metalfrio before the Petrobras scandal.

These events unveil a political transformation that began three years ago when the Brazilian Judiciary took aim at Petrobras following a deposition by Alberto Youssef, a convicted money launderer accused of perpetrating fraud against the state own oil giant.

As Mr Youssef warned his lawyers: "Should I speak, the country breaks down." Two and a half years later, there have been 117 indictments; 13 companies face criminal cases and five politicians are firmly in jail.

This outcome has not only shaken Brazil to its foundations, but Latin America as a whole, given the connectivity among networks of launderers, graft dispensers and fraud perpetrators.

Indeed, the Petrobras scandal has reached almost every shore on the region, as in virtually every nation there were financial institutions, shell companies and fraud operators efficiently working to hide the flows of cash ripped off from the oil giant.

And while the investigation has focused on Brazil only, discovery phase findings for most trials signal in the direction of other countries such as Venezuela, Panama, Caribbean islands, Argentina and Colombia.

It is needless to speculate on the repercussions of these events upon other nations once this information is used by foreign prosecutors to nail down external parts of the corruption network.

In Brazil, the Petrobras cleanup process will most probably soon trigger a change of head of state and the renewal of almost all the business community leadership.

As in the public sector where "Operation Lava Jato " (Operation Car Wash) would have never been possible without the dedication of young prosecutors mostly trained in the U.S., the ascent of a U.S. educated business leadership will certainly strengthen the moral resolve and competitive drive in up-to-date too crony business community.

In the end Brazil will emerge for the first time in its history as a regional power because it will be the nation giving rise to rule of law.

And as Brazil marches slowly and with difficulties into its new commanding heights, the region would need to engage in a deep examination of the requirements to succeed in the 21st century.

Once the U.S. presidential campaign is over and whoever wins is forced to face the crude reality of a divided country, a gasping economy, an unruly world and a distraught infrastructure, the domestic dimension will impose itself on the presidential agenda.

Latin America will thus be in the enviable position of being able to define the hemispheric agenda. Our nations will then find their greatest development obstacle to be the absence of rule of law.

Next would come infrastructure and next true integration.

All these dilemmas have been made easier to tackle after March 2016 when the end of impunity clears the path to a new public and private leadership, transparency in the development of public works, and closer cooperation among regulators to keep law compliance at investment grade levels thereby evaporating the euphemistic name for corruption as a "Latin American Cost."

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.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.

Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet series

Beatrice Rangel: The Demise of Civility in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Americas from Boutros Boutros-Ghali to Ban Ki Moon

Beatrice Rangel: The Pope's Difficult Stopover in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Farewell to The “Diplomacy of Reason”

Beatrice Rangel: 2 Diseases in Latin America -- Different Prescriptions, Very Different Outcomes

Beatrice Rangel: On Health Alerts and the Long Arm of Justice in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: When Crime Meets Glory

Beatrice Rangel: Playing Hansel and Gretel in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Good News/Bad News Starts The Monkey Leap Year

Beatrice Rangel: The Gifts of Christmas!!!!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Crying Wolf in Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: A 21st Century Tale of Two Cities

Beatrice Rangel: Are the Americas Ready for President Trump?

Beatrice Rangel: On Predictions of War & Global Confusion

Beatrice Rangel: Paris and the Return of Fear

Beatrice Rangel: Marijuana & Latin America's Next Trade Corridor

Beatrice Rangel: Of Burning Airplanes & Argentinean Tsunamis

Beatrice Rangel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: Buena Vista's Magic Covers the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Pride and Perjury in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Trompe L’oeils Proliferate in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: The Economic Consequences of Peace in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Colombia, the FARC & the Makings of Gangland in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: When Extreme Weather Meets Extreme Politics Calamities are Bound to Happen

Beatrice Rangel: When Ladies Hit 70

Beatrice Rangel: About Uninformed Elites and Gullible Leaders

Beatrice Rangel: On US-Engineered Soft Landings in Cuba and Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: On the Many Ways Cecil Matters

Beatrice Rangel: Blue Moons Lead to Extraordinary Happenings in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: On Why Embassy Openings Do Not Necessarily Herald Different Policies

Beatrice Rangel: When Jupiter meets Venus

Beatrice Rangel: When Markets and Manners Crash

Beatrice Rangel: From Grexit to Exit, Contagion is in the Air

Beatrice Rangel: An Infuriated God & An Environmental Crusader Mark the Summer Solstice

Beatrice Rangel: Between Ionesco & the Falklands Syndrome

Beatrice Rangel: The Ugly Americas

Beatrice Rangel: How FIFA Corrupted the Beautiful Game in the Americas and World

Beatrice Rangel: Could the US RICO Act Be Applied to Latin America?

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Commodities for Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The End of the Chinese Free Lunch in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Crooked Twig of Democracy in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Of a White Knight for Three Latin American Ladies in Distress

Beatrice Rangel: Withdrawal Symptoms?

Beatrice Rangel: The Un-Mannered Summit

Beatrice Rangel: Easter Miracles in Latin America and the World

Beatrice Rangel: Two Islands, Two Legacies & One Challenge - Modernity

Beatrice Rangel: Killing Me Softly -- the Obama Administration’s Legacy in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Upcoming Dynasties and Exhausted Ideas in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Thunderous Silences, Quiet Noises and Flash Backs in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox

Beatrice Rangel: Of Sweet Deals, Sugar Daddies, Direct Mail & Obama’s Care

Beatrice Rangel: Of Latin American Singing Birds, Femme Fatales & Empty Shelves

Beatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters

Beatrice Rangel: Holy Haberdashery!!! Is Fire Building Under the Surface in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???

Beatrice Rangel: Pope Francis Looks at the Americas In His Christmas Remarks

Beatrice Rangel: The Paint Brush Hanging from the Wall in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: An Eerily Familiar Week in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Tale of Two Walls

Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE

Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!

Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Communism from China to Cuba Finds Corruption!!!

Beatrice Rangel: From Rio to Hong Kong Discontent Taps the East to Find a New Way

Beatrice Rangel: Will Latin America Miss the Broadband Development Target?

Beatrice Rangel: Kissinger’s World Order and Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Third Attempt -- Will Modernity Prevail in Latin America?

Rangel: While US is Away, Latin America Rethinks Development Paths

Rangel: In the Midst of Riots, a Star is Born in Brazil

Rangel: In Mexico Cinderella Gets to the Ball while Colombia Gets a Chance at Peace


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