Is Fernández growing diplomatically isolated in the region?

14th November 2019

By Ignacio Portes

Is Fernández growing diplomatically isolated in the region?

With the ousting of Bolivia’s Evo Morales from power and the possibility of Uruguay’s center-left coalition losing in next week’s runoff, Alberto Fernández might encounter a shortage of strong allies in the region when he is sworn into office on December 10, as the graphic below shows.

</p> <img class="alignnone wp-image-5384" src="https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/alignments-270x300.jpg" alt="Diplomatic alignments in South America" width="525" height="583" srcset="https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/alignments-270x300.jpg 270w, https://gettheessential.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/alignments.jpg 601w" sizes="(max-width: 525px) 100vw, 525px" /> <p>Although relationships with other neighbors are more cordial than the tense affair with <a href="https://gettheessential.com/economy/2019/11/07/trump-praises-fernandez-but-clash-with-bolsonaro-intensifies">Brazil&#8217;s Jair Bolsonaro</a>, it is still undeniable that a majority in South America are closer to the Group of Lima and the United States than the incoming Peronist coalition. The other camp in regional diplomacy, the <a href="https://gettheessential.com/politics/2019/11/07/puebla-group-lima-group-latin-america-diplomacy-mexico-brazil-argentina-venezuela-bolivia">Group of Puebla</a>, is stronger on former presidents of the region than on current leaders, especially after Morales&#8217; <a href="https://www.a24.com/mundo-nws/evo-morales-vice-suman-grupo-puebla-13112019_SkuYlxqsH">joined this week</a> after his exile to Mexico.</p> <p>The positioning of the Puebla Group as a democratic, center-left coalition means Venezuela is excluded from it, although the country led by Nicolás Maduro is still closer to that coalition than to Lima&#8217;s, as Puebla favors a negotiated solution to that country&#8217;s conflict and does not recognize Juan Guaidó as the country&#8217;s legitimate president. This means that if the <em>Frente Amplio</em> loses in Uruguay on November 24, Fernández might just be left with the support of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico, although the country is too distant to Argentina&#8217;s reality when compared to Chile, Brazil or others in South America.</p> <p>Fernández, the former cabinet chief of center-left Néstor Kirchner during his 2003-2007 presidency, will face a very different regional scenario. Not only will all countries have to deal with more economic restrictions, most of them will also be quite distinct from the 2000s&#8217; <a href="https://www.economist.com/the-americas/2019/09/05/will-south-americas-pink-tide-return">pink tide</a> in terms of their ideological and diplomatic alignments.</p> <p>

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Ignacio Portes

Ignacio Portes is The Essential's General Editor. Former Economy editor at the Buenos Aires Herald, he has also written for publications such as Naked Capitalism, NSFWCorp and Revista Debate.