Latin America watches U.S. transition with bated breath

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The U.S. presidential election garnered plenty of attention in Latin America and the Caribbean with news media of the region providing timely updates about what was happening during the campaign. Manuel Chavez, associate professor of journalism at Michigan State University, studies Latin American press and society. He said Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and Cuba probably had the most stake in the outcome of the election. Chavez said those countries have had some difficult times internally lately, the latest example being August’s impeachment of Brazil’s president, Dilma Roussef.

Some people in Brazil said they see Hillary Clinton as the American version of Rousseff. Blake Schmidt, a Bloomberg contributor covering Latin America, said some people are interested in parallels between their own country and what is happening in the United States. Chavez said many Brazilians see Trump as a threat to trade relationships. They also see him as a proponent of a more militarized policy for dealing with narcotics in the region. Schmidt said this view matches what many people in Mexico also think of President-elect Trump.

Brazilian university student Marina Bohrer said that by Election Day many people in Brazil were quite familiar with the personal stories of the major candidates for the U.S. presidency. She said Brazilians are bemused by the antics of the U.S. presidential candidates. She said it was the first time the United States was facing “what Brazil has faced many times, having to choose when none of the options seem like the right one.” She said such a scenario might leave people feeling the future was certain regardless of what choice was made.

Additional reporting by Folu Ogundimu.

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