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Between former Peruvian president Pedro Castillo being removed from office and Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right supporters in Brazil storming the halls of government in a January 6-style coup attempt, the pitched battle for political power in Latin American states is intensifying more with each passing day. What is driving these insurgent rightwing movements across the continent? What international forces are connecting them, and how are they learning from and feeding each other? What must the response from the left, within and beyond government, be? This week on The Marc Steiner Show, as part of our ongoing collaboration with the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), we bring you a new installment of our special series on “The Rise of the Right.” With a special focus on the latest political upheaval in Brazil and Peru, Marc speaks with Latin America-based journalists Camila Escalante and Michael Fox.

Camila Escalante is the co-founder and editor of Kawsachun News. She co-hosts the English-language weekly podcast Latin America Review on Kawsachun News and is the Latin America correspondent for PressTV. Michael Fox is a freelance multimedia journalist, filmmaker, radio reporter, and former editor of NACLA. He is the host of the podcast Brazil on Fire, a joint production of NACLA and The Real News Network.

Studio/Post-Production: Cameron Granadino


Marc Steiner:  Welcome to The Marc Steiner Show here on The Real News. I’m Marc Steiner. It’s great to have you all with us.

Now, this episode, we’re taking an in-depth look at what’s happening in Brazil and across Latin America, where we see the right wing attempting to seize control of these nations. Now, we just saw the violence that ensued in Brasilia by the right wing attacking the halls of government, attempting to overthrow the elected government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who’s popularly known as Lula. It failed this time. What happens next? And President Lula is prosecuting those involved and those who supported them.

And then we just saw in Peru that the right wing and industrialists did oust the rightfully elected prime minister, Alberto Otarola. And dozens of people have been gunned down on the streets. And this is emblematic of what’s happening across the continent. The divide is deep in Latin America, as it is in the United States and across the globe. So today, we’ll explore in depth the struggle in Brazil and across Latin America. And also, as importantly, what it portends for the entire continent, what it says about the struggles to come in the United States and across the globe.

Now, this broadcast is part of both our series, my series, The Rise of The Right, and our collaboration with NACLA, the North American Congress on Latin America. We’re joined by Michael Fox, who’s a freelance journalist, former editor of NACLA, and host of the podcast Brazil on Fire, that’s a joint production of NACLA and The Real News. And Camila Escalante, who is co-founder and editor of Kawsachun News. She co-hosts the English-language weekly podcast at that news entitled Latin America Review, and is the Latin American correspondent for PressTV.

And Camila and Mike, welcome. Good to have you both with us here on The Marc Steiner Show at The Real News.

Michael Fox:  Thank you so much for having us.

Camila Escalante:  Thank you for having us.

Marc Steiner:  Let me add that Mike is joining us from Oaxaca, which means I don’t like him anymore since I’m not in Oaxaca [laughs]. And Camila joins from São Paulo, which I’d also like to be in, but I’m here in Baltimore, which is fine.

But Mike, let me just begin by looking at Brazil and talking about what happened and why in the attack on the government offices in Brasilia, which seemed pretty massive. So talk a bit of the background of why it happened and what that divide is like, and why the divide is so deep in Brazil. And then Camila, I want you to join in on that as we start this conversation. Mike?

Michael Fox:  Yeah. So I mean, Jan. 8 was a January 6 copycat attack, invasion on the Brazilian Congress, where you had thousands of Bolsonaro supporters that bused to Brasilia. They pushed their way onto the Esplanade, which is like the Capitol Mall in Brasilia. They invaded the government buildings, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, Presidential Palace. Security forces, by and large, allowed them to walk in. And it was only a couple of hours later that Lula responded, because he was actually in São Paulo visiting people who had been impacted by big rains out there. And he imposed a federal intervention into the military, into the security forces in Brasilia. So he brought them under control. And then within minutes, the police had already moved people out of those presidential buildings. But of course, the buildings were just wrecked. They were just ransacked. And the videos over social media are just shocking.

What led to this, I mean, there’s a lot of background here. But of course, Lula da Silva’s victory, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s victory on Oct. 30, he wins the elections, beats now former President Bolsonaro by roughly 2%. He comes into power. Bolsonaro was silent almost the entire time. But Bolsonaro supporters had been holding rallies outside of military barracks, calling for the military to intervene. And I’m hoping that maybe Camila can talk a little bit more about that, because I know that she was at some of those rallies firsthand.

So they held these rallies. And for them, this was a fraudulent election. It was like the Steve Bannon campaign, this is what Bolsonaro had been talking about, oh, the electronic voting machines, for years following off Trump. And Marc, it’s really important to understand the connection to the United States. Like it was basically, let’s just do whatever Trump did, and let’s just implant that on Brazil. And regardless if it’s not going to work, what we want to do is create chaos. But the goal was really, of course, Lula came. He was inaugurated on Jan. 1. He came to power, super exciting, brings people in like never before. 200,000 people in the streets cheering for his inauguration. And then, obviously, one week later, this is what we saw.

But these people are, A, convinced that Bolsonaro is still the president; And B, convinced that Lula should never have won and there was some sort of fraudulent election, even though the voting machines in Brazil have been certified for… Brazil has one of the best voting systems in the world. They’ve been using electronic voting machines for something like 20 years. And in fact, Bolsonaro, every other election he’s ever won has been on these same machines. So it’s just ridiculous to think there was actually some sort of a fraud thing.

But the people wanted the military to rise up. And this is what Bolsonaro had been telling them for a long time. Bolsonaro had been pushing, attacking the other democratic institutions of the government throughout his government. So he really instigated all this. And this is what we saw on Jan. 8, just a terrifying attack on Brazil’s institutions, and this really scary parallel with the United States, which I’m sure we’ll get into a little bit.

Marc Steiner:  We are getting into that. Camila?

Camila Escalante:  Well, one of the arguments the right in Brazil and even people outside of Brazil are trying to make to try to de-legitimize the claims or the actions of the government now is trying to suggest that perhaps some of what Mike has described is actually spontaneous. That it was spontaneous that a bunch of people who were kind of opposed to Lula and his government and who believe there might have been some sort of electoral fraud, stormed the Esplanade. But there is nothing spontaneous about it, and that’s what the investigations are showing. They’ve thus far picked up somebody in Rio de Janeiro in this investigation period who financed some of these acts. They’re also aware of the people who financed the buses that brought people in from around the country. This is very much a planned event, because they brought people from as far as the South of Brazil. Brasilia is nowhere near the South of Brazil. By bus, it actually takes days to arrive from the Southern states, south of where I am now.

Also, thousands of people around the country, including in Brasilia, as Mike mentioned, have been protesting outside of those military barracks demanding that intervention for months now, and saying that they were going to carry out such an attack. So a lot of different things have taken place that make it very clear that this is something that was going to unfold at one point or another. We just didn’t know when it was going to take place. So this is a completely ridiculous claim that’s being made that it was some sort of organic movement. And they’re trying to compare it to other countries where there is actually some sort of lack of democracy and people have to rise up against some sort of illegitimate electoral system. That’s not the case here.

Marc Steiner:  I’ve read some things about the involvement of Bolsonaro’s son and Steve Bannon here in the United States. What do we know about that? Is this just propaganda, or is it real? What’s the root of that? Who’d like to pick up on that first? Go ahead Mike.

Michael Fox:  I’ll go ahead and take it, Marc.

Marc Steiner:  Yeah, please.

Michael Fox:  So they have a long history. Eduardo Bolsonaro, who’s a congressman, son of Bolsonaro, has known Steve Bannon since at least 2018. He tweeted out in the lead up to Bolsonaro’s presidential run in 2018 that Steve Bannon had agreed to help them pro bono on the campaign. He’s now actually the head of Steve Bannon’s The Movement, his international far-right group, for Latin America, Eduardo Bolsonaro is. And they’ve been in contact ever since. In fact, Eduardo Bolsonaro was in the United States on Jan. 6, 2021 with Trump allies, the day of the Capitol invasion in the United States. And of course, Steve Bannon has been continuing to push his whole fraud campaign even after Bolsonaro stopped talking about it earlier this year. Steve Bannon, on his podcast, continued to talk about how, oh, the voting machines are all rigged in Brazil. And if it’s a fair election, then Bolsonaro was going to win. He’s been saying that after every single one of these elections that we saw, the first two rounds this year. And continues to say… He calls the people freedom fighters.

So the connection between Steve Bannon and the Bolsonaros is fairly tight. In fact, I was speaking with a foreign relations professor just a few months ago in Southern Brazil in Santa Catarina, and she was talking about how the far right organizes, how they use tactics and strategies in one place, share those same tactics and strategies in order to help spread and foment the same thing. And that’s what we’re seeing in Brazil, the idea that this could have been anything other than an actual idea… We’re going to just copy what happened in the US, because that’s going to inspire people to turn out into the streets. It’s going to inspire and mobilize Bolsonaro supporters.

And Marc, the US connection is really key here. Because Brazilians, by and large, look to the United States, historically, look to the United States as the US, as like our… The great big brother, and particularly the far right and the right. And that’s how come Bolsonaro’s connection to Trump. I mean, he’s the Trump of the tropics. He’s tried to do everything that Trump said. And in fact, if you think about it, his first two years in office, when Trump was still in power, he visited the United States four times to meet with Trump. He’s now in Florida. He went to Florida two days before Lula’s inauguration. That’s where he is right now, he’s in Orlando. Many people said he was going to Mar-a-Lago. He’s actually in Orlando at the moment.

But the connections between Steve Bannon and the Bolsonaros was just key. And it’s important to understand that the connection between the far right in the United States and Brazil is key. Also, we need to look at the Evangelical movement. The growth of the Evangelical movement in the United States has been really important to help foment and push Trump, and it’s the exact same thing we’ve seen in Brazil.

Marc Steiner:  Let me pick up on that, I mean, you’re sure Bolsonaro isn’t just going to Disneyland? [Marc and Michael laugh]

Michael Fox:  We have not seen pictures of him in Disneyland yet –

Marc Steiner:  Just checking.

Michael Fox:  …But we’ve seen pictures of him –

Marc Steiner:  Because I mean –

Michael Fox:  …Playing virtual reality video games though. We have seen that in the last couple of days.

Marc Steiner:  I have heard that Mickey Mouse is on the right, so I just wanted to check to see. Anyway, so in all seriousness, Camila, I mean, I’d like to really explore here, pick up on what Mike said in terms of the root of what is happening in Brazil and beyond Brazil, even. I mean, if you look at the United States, we know here that a lot is based on race, the history of enslavement, the genocide of Indigenous people. But also, the roots of our democracy, while they can inspire the world, and many people, are also rooted in that kind of racist, elitist world. And so the United States battles that too, like the world does. So talk a bit about Brazil and what you’ve seen there, maybe even other places, but what the root of this divide is, why it’s so deep in places like Brazil.

Camila Escalante:  Well, I think that right-wing ideological alignment with the US right or far right, and Trump, and Bannon is very key to understanding things. But I don’t think it’s going to take us very far in terms of what the government’s trying to do right now to prosecute people. There were actual material authors who financed things from here, and those people might be elites, economic elites, from certain sectors. And so what the divide really is in this country is not necessarily that everyone is just running around being racist and anti-Indigenous just flat out for the sake of it. But it really is a divide between the rural peasantry, the Indigenous people who have traditionally been the caretakers of the land, and those who want to displace them and take their land. It’s about the productive means.

It is a battle over taking over these large pieces of land. And that’s largely why, of course, social movements here have fought through the democratization of land, fought for access to land to be able to make that land productive so that people can have the right to have somewhere to live, somewhere to grow and produce. And obviously, to not be displaced and be homeless, and to be able to produce food, not only for the people of Brazil, but to be able to export and do other things to economically prosper. And that’s really what it is. In Latin America, what we’re largely seeing is not just a culture war that is Black people versus the wealthy whites just simply on the basis of race. It is a fight for land and resources. It’s either transnational interests that are seeking access to those areas in order to exploit the natural resources versus the people who want to have sovereignty over the natural resources, sovereignty over the land, and to be able to put those into use and make them productive for their own sake.

And that’s extremely relevant here in Brazil. In Brazil, there’s obviously a large land-owning class. There are agribusiness interests. There are those who seek to further their illegal logging, illegal mining. And of course, the deforestation of the Amazon. And it’s highly probable that some of the people in these different sectors are financing and participating in the financing and organizing of these acts of terror or this fascist activity, however you want to characterize it, and not solely these foreign interests. Because there are plenty of people of the financial elite here in this country who have a lot of reasons to attack the sitting government.

Marc Steiner:  I do want to come back to this part of our conversation, but I want to switch gears just for a minute, because I’m very curious about what I read in the last few days. And I’m curious what is actually happening on a larger scale in Latin America with this divide over what happened in Brazil. What I’ve read is that the leaders of Argentina, Bolivia, Columbia, Mexico, like Alberto Fernandez, Luis Arce, Gustavo Petro, and Obrador condemned the coup. But Gabriel Boric from Chile and Lula himself said it was unconstitutional. What is that about? I mean, why is that divide happening? What does that mean? Especially with Lula facing what he’s facing, I mean, what is that political dynamic? And how does that part…

Camila, you want to jump in first, and then Mike? However you like to go.

Camila Escalante:  Well, it might have been either strategic or an error on the part of Lula, because he came out and made that statement in which he actually recognized this de facto administration in Peru before he even took office as president here in Brazil. In the case of Gabriel Boric, although he might be recognizing this de facto administration in Peru, he has actually condemned some of the human rights violations that have taken place there. I would say, on a whole, we’re actually seeing more of the Latin American left and progressives actually denounce what’s taking place in Peru, denounce the human rights violations and the attacks on democracy, and remark on the fragility of the institutions there much more than we saw in 2019 during the coup in Bolivia where there was silence across the board, both from many of the so-called progressives in Latin America and throughout the larger community. The larger community being Europe and North America because they’re the ones who usually put out these statements when things take place in Latin America.

So I would actually say that, given the statements that were put out by this collection of countries, Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, Gustavo Petro, and Columbia, that they’re actually beginning to look at what’s going on and denounce what’s going on because they want to make sure that we don’t see another 2019 Bolivia. But unfortunately, it’s too late. There have already been massacres and grave violations to human rights for which this de facto government needs to be tried, charged, tried, sentenced for the crimes against humanity. That, again, it’s just a repeat of what we’ve already seen in recent years in Latin America.

Marc Steiner:  Mike?

Michael Fox:  I just think that, kind of what Camila’s also speaking to is this moment of, whatever you want to call it, the pink tide 2.0, the possibility of the Latin American left countries coming together. Because now most of the region is now kind of on the left. They’re not revolutionary. It’s not like what we saw under the 21st century socialism of Venezuela, and Bolivia, and Ecuador back 10 or 15 years ago. But it’s still exciting. And of course, that’s what Lula brings to the table is, across the board, the hope of creating these new regional integration groups which have completely fallen by the wayside or have been just gutted and destroyed by the right-wing governments that we’ve seen over the last decade.

And the possibility to be able to move and to organize, to be able to push back against things like what we’ve seen in Peru or what we saw in Bolivia back in 2019, the possibility to be able to use these regional organizations to defend each country’s own sovereignty in ways that we haven’t seen in a long time. So I think there’s a lot of possibility and a lot of hope for a lot of unity that we haven’t seen in a very long time.

Marc Steiner:  Let me just pick up what you just said, Mike, real fast before we move on to another subject here in our time that we have. I still don’t understand, and for the people listening and watching today to understand, why would Lula, who now just faced what his government faced in Brasilia with the attack from the right wing, why would he say what happened is constitutional in places like Peru? I mean, what is that political dynamic? What’s the root of that? What is that about? How could that be?

So Mike, just pick up on that, and Camila jump in. I just want to get both of your different analyses of why that could possibly be.

Michael Fox:  Well –

Marc Steiner:  Mike?

Michael Fox:  I’ll be completely honest, and I think that… Yeah. I’ll be honest, and I think this is what Camila was speaking to, I don’t know. And that’s one of the biggest questions, that Lula has always been very, very focused and very clear about defending each country’s sovereignty, defending the leaders in that country, backing, for instance, Venezuela and Cuba and all these other countries in moments when they’re being attacked. And so I don’t have an answer to that at this moment. His whole thing about diplomacy is being able to negotiate across the aisle, but also really, really defending everybody in their own political position and their own political place. So I don’t know where he’s coming from at that point.

Marc Steiner:  Camila, what does your analytical crystal ball say [laughs]?

Camila Escalante:  Well, if we look at the timeline of events, what happened in Peru with the removal of Pedro Castillo took place about three weeks before Lula’s administration. He steps in and said that. It’s perhaps because, as Mike suggests, Lula has a big focus on upholding democratic institutions, institutionality, not interfering in the internal affairs of other states. But that being said, I think there’s a very large chance that Lula will kind of scoot away from his position, what he had said, and that he might come out and someone from his government – Or perhaps not his government, but The Workers’ Party, might come out and condemn some of what’s taking place there and the anti-democratic nature of the crackdown and the repression we’re seeing, largely against Indigenous people in Peru.

There are, of course, about six political parties in Peru that are members of the São Paulo Forum. And those parties have penned a letter together to President Lula da Silva and to The Worker’s Party and the government of Brazil asking for solidarity and asking them to intervene in what’s going on right now. They’ve also asked for help from the different UN bodies to intervene in the situation. And they think it’s particularly important to appeal to Lula because of his influence in the region. So I think it’s possible that he might actually sympathize with what’s going on there, but he doesn’t want to speak too soon.

Marc Steiner:  Okay, let me move on to two quick subjects here before we conclude. I mean, one is, there’s a long history here with the United States’s involvement. I don’t know how they were involved either completely in Peru, or Brazil, or anywhere else. But I remember the days of Operation Condor, and backing the right-wing military dictators from Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, and Peru, and Ecuador, all over. I mean, in Ecuador, 60,000 leftists were killed. Tens of thousands were arrested and tortured. And there’s always been there. And I have been covering this, I’ve been involved in this on and off over a long time.

So where’s the connection here? Is there a thread that connects this? And what does that mean about how the struggle is evolving throughout Latin America? Because the US has been knee deep in overthrowing governments in part of that, and also fostering the Evangelical movements, which have come out of the United States for the most part into Latin America. So I mean, talk about those connections from that immediate past for the last 50 years and this moment. And Camila, can I start with you? And then Mike, jump in.

Camila Escalante:  Yeah. Evo Morales, who is the president of the movement towards socialism and really a leader among Indigenous peoples and movements and social movements generally now, has called it Plan Condor 2.0. And he’s said what is happening right now is that, as we described earlier, there’s obviously a new pink tide. But at the same time, we see a re-articulation and a strengthening of the right-wing movements and parties and the far right in the region in response to this resurgence of the left. But instead of seeing these outright coups and intervention that we saw in earlier decades, such as in 1989, the bombing of Panama City, we’re not seeing anything like that anymore. But what we are seeing is the financing and, quite frankly, the laundering of resources and funding to right-wing parties and to right-wing figures who have a strong presence in a country.

So you’re not really going to see the United States drop in a lot of troops into the different countries. Perhaps you might see an occupation in a country like Haiti. But when we’re talking about countries like South America, in Brazil, in Peru, the US has a very strong presence in terms of its embassies and its ambassadors. But largely what its operations are now is trying to strengthen the right-wing parties, which are the opposition parties in countries like Bolivia, like now in Brazil, in Venezuela, and try to get those parties active, and strengthening them so that they can carry out their own destabilization and potentially their own coup in a way that looks as if it’s something organic, something spontaneous, as what took place in 2019 in Bolivia.

We saw waves of so-called protests, but a lot of these protests were through organizations that were receiving funding from Washington. And a lot of figures who were not organic, well-known figures within Bolivia, but who have attended international forums, which are English speakers, individuals who were leading sort of right-wing movements on social media, and who played a part in the coup against Evo Morales. But it’s not individuals who are popular enough or have enough strength within the country that they could actually win democratic elections. They have repeatedly, in the last two decades, failed to win elections. And for that reason, they had to take power through a coup.

Marc Steiner:  So the conclusion is, I mean… And let me go back to Mike Fox for a moment before we do. I mean, so what do you think this portends for the future struggles in Latin America, throughout Latin America, between right and left, and the strength of both?

Michael Fox:  Well, I guess, the first thing I wanted to say, and just kind of tagging off of Camila is –

Marc Steiner:  Oh, please. I’m sorry, go ahead.

Michael Fox:  No, no, no – Is the question of lawfare, which I think is really important and we need to understand, which is basically the tool of using law as a means of warfare. This is what we saw with Lula. Obviously, his jailing for 580 days, tanking him and putting him in jail so he could not run in the 2018 elections. If you remember, the US DOJ and the US FBI were very much involved in that campaign, very much involved in the whole Car Wash scandal. 17 or 18 different members of the FBI were working with prosecutors within the Car Wash scandal. And it wasn’t just Brazil, and that’s really key. We saw lawfare used to tank or to try and take out Rafael Correa, Jorge Glas, that was the president of Ecuador, obviously, and his vice president. We’ve seen lawfare being used just recently within the last month or so with Cristina Kirchner over in Argentina with just a scandalous lawsuit against her, which is just absolutely ridiculous.

And this is what members of Peru were trying to do to tank the Peruvian president as well. Remember we saw this in El Salvador. We’ve just seen this across the board. And it’s something… Look, at this point, we don’t have the US footprints over everything in every single different country. For instance, we can’t say that Cristina Kirchner and the lawsuit against her was absolutely tied to the United States. But in many of these countries, it absolutely was, and we know that. Ecuador is an example because it’s tied to Brazilian companies and the whole situation with Lula, of course.

And so this is, I think, really important to understand, because when we hear the question of corruption or lawsuits against a presidential figure, oftentimes it’s a left presidential figure, and oftentimes it is the right using the supposed legal means or law as a means to tank that person’s, A, ability to run, or jailing them and putting them jail for trumped up charges. So this is really concerning. It’s something we need to be aware of that’s happening, because it’s very easy for that person to get tainted in the media, and then nobody wants to touch them at all.

Regarding what this means for the future, again, I think it’s important to go back and talk about this question of regional integration. The reason why this is so important for Lula and so many other people on the left, UNASUR, or the Union of South American Nations, CELAC. That’s going to be Lula’s first visit, is going to be to Argentina in just about a week for the summit of CELAC, that’s the community of Latin American Caribbean nations. This is because it’s seen as a tool to push back on the United States. It’s seen as a tool to push back against cases like what we’re seeing in the insane violence and the coup that’s happened in Peru and, for instance, in Bolivia in 2019. These are means, and this is why these regional integration experiences and means were so important back under pink tide one back in the 2000s. Because the idea is, how do we push back as the United States continues to push its interests in the region?

It might be more lukewarm under Biden in the same way that it seemed more lukewarm under Obama. But remember it was under Obama the US was spying on Brazil and the NSA was spying on Brazil. The US has always seen the rest of Latin America as its backyard and its ability to do anything that it wants to do. In fact, López Obrador, Mexican president, said just a couple of weeks ago that he was going to ask Biden when he came to visit him to stop the whole Monroe Doctrine of seeing Latin America as its backyard, because it continues. Although, like Camila said so expertly, it’s now not full-on invasions by US troops or the Marines. Now it’s done more surreptitiously. Although, I will say this, the situation in Brazil at this point with the military and with Bolsonaro supporters would have been very, very different if Trump had been in power.

It’s important to understand that the role of the US in either encouraging or discouraging coups abroad is really, really key. And of course, the military wasn’t going to touch this at all, and that’s how come we saw that Jan. 8 did not work whatsoever, because the military and the elites in Brazil just aren’t interested in some sort of crazy coup. But if Trump had been in power and willing to throw his support behind Bolsonaro despite the fact that Bolsonaro lost, we may have seen a very different scenario.

Marc Steiner:  Yeah. That internationalizes the whole issue of the rise of the right, which I think is a critical piece of this.

And in closing, Camila, close this out for us and round it up about where you think this is all going. And I think that last thing you said, Mike, is really important about the internationalization of the right. Camila?

Camila Escalante:  Well, as Mike said, this first CELAC meeting that’s going to take place soon in Buenos Aires with the participation of Lula da Silva is going to be very key, because it’s from this union of Latin America and the Caribbean that discussions are being had about a range of things that Latin American leaders such as Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, are saying, let’s look at alternatives that work for us, that work for Latin American and Caribbean peoples. Let’s look at how we can have our own sustainable airlines that work to transport people from Latin America to Asia and to Africa without having to go through Miami. We’re looking at alternatives, possibly, in terms of currency, in terms of trade, in terms of looking for sustainable alternatives to the sorts of things that traditionally have always had to go through the United States, through Europe, and fortifying and strengthening the relations between the countries of these very regions.

We might see strengthened relations between Lula da Silva and Bolivia, the next door neighbor with President Luis Arce. And this is really important, because they share a massive border. In terms of transnational crime, they could be fighting crime together, and without the United States. The United States has always wanted to send a bunch of advisors, and troops, and military bases in order to fight so-called transnational criminal organizations and drug trafficking. But this is actually something that the countries of our region can be cooperating on together, working to solve together without the United States intervening, and really just making some of these issues worse.

Marc Steiner:  So will either of you be there?

Camila Escalante:  Unfortunately, no. I would love to be there. It’s going to be a very important event.

Marc Steiner:  [crosstalk]. Just checking, just checking, just checking.

Well, this has been a great conversation. I enjoyed this, and I think our viewers and listeners did as well.

So Mike Fox, it’s always good to have you with us as part of Real News. And Camila Escalante, it was a pleasure meeting you. And I look forward to many more conversations and having you both with us back again. This is great. Both of you are very impassioned, hardworking journalists, and it’s great to have your voices here on the air with us. Thank you both so much.

Camila Escalante:  Thank you so much, Marc.

Michael Fox:  Thank you, Marc.

Marc Steiner:  Thank you all for joining us today. And please let me know what you thought about what you heard, what you’ve seen, what you’d like me to cover. Just write to me at, and I will write you right back. And we always need your help to keep the voices of people like Camila Escalante and Mike Fox on the air, so please go to, become a monthly donor, and become part of the future with us. So for Cameron Grandino, and Kayla Rivara, and the crew here at The Real News, I’m Marc Steiner. Stay involved, keep listening, and take care.

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Host, The Marc Steiner Show
Marc Steiner is the host of "The Marc Steiner Show" on TRNN. He is a Peabody Award-winning journalist who has spent his life working on social justice issues. He walked his first picket line at age 13, and at age 16 became the youngest person in Maryland arrested at a civil rights protest during the Freedom Rides through Cambridge. As part of the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968, Marc helped organize poor white communities with the Young Patriots, the white Appalachian counterpart to the Black Panthers. Early in his career he counseled at-risk youth in therapeutic settings and founded a theater program in the Maryland State prison system. He also taught theater for 10 years at the Baltimore School for the Arts. From 1993-2018 Marc's signature “Marc Steiner Show” aired on Baltimore’s public radio airwaves, both WYPR—which Marc co-founded—and Morgan State University’s WEAA.