This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Sept. 15, 2021

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Brazil President Bolsonaro’s popularity is sinking
  • New peace talks between Venezuela's president and opposition
  • Harvard University announces divestments in fossil fuels

• On Brazil’s Independence Day, right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro mobilized tens of thousands of supporters to demonstrate their support of the beleaguered regime in advance of the 2022 presidential election. Bolsonaro’s popularity is sinking amid 580,000 Covid deaths, new corruption investigations initiated by the Supreme Court — and the prospect of facing off against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of the left-wing Workers party.

(“Bolsonaro Supporters Take to the Streets,” Foreign Policy, Sept. 7, 2021; “Bolsonaro Die-hards Take to the Streets of Brazil,” The Guardian, Sept. 7, 2021)

• A new round of peace talks between Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro and the disorganized opposition began in Mexico City, with the goal of finding a resolution to the current political stalemate and economic freefall. The negotiations are backed by Scandinavian mediators and Russia, which is close to Venezuela’s powerful military. There’s renewed hope for progress since the defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 U.S. election, who imposed harsh sanctions against Venezuela and backed opposition leader Juan Guiado’s effort to be recognized by the international community as the nation’s legitimate head of state.

(“Machiavellian Maneuvers,” Economist, Sept. 4, 2021)

• After a decade of campaigning by climate activists, Harvard University, with a $42 billion dollar endowment, announced it was abandoning investments in fossil fuels. The announcement by Harvard President Lawrence Bacow was a sea change for the nation’s wealthiest Ivy League university, which had long resisted calls for divestment from fossil fuel companies. But the new reality of climate disasters across the globe, successful tactics by persistent climate activists on campus and the emergence of sustainable investments have changed the playing field.

(“Harvard Will Stop Investing in Fossil Fuels,” NPR, Sept. 10, 2021;  “Harvard Will Move to Divest Its Endowment of Fossil Fuels,” Sept. 9, 2021)

This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.

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