Your Wednesday Briefing

In Italy, in opposition to the national budget to be approved on December 31st, the main trade unions have tried and failed to reach an agreement with the government to reduce the worst parts of it, including a pension law. The unions will therefore go on strike on December 15th.

The Bulgarian Socialist Party - which has 10% of the deputies in parliament - has announced that they will form a broad left-nationalist coalition with 16 pro-Russian, anti-EU parties. The leader, Ninova, has said: “The pendulum swings from extreme liberalism to the other extreme – fascism. We have to stop it in the middle,” and is reactionary on gender.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine are boycotting an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meeting if Lavrov attends.

Iran’s President Raisi was a no-show for a visit to Turkiye yesterday which was personally announced earlier this month by Erdogan, which some are interpreting as Iran being unhappy with Turkiye for their lack of action on the Israel-Palestine war. Despite Erdogan regularly insulting Israel and calling Hamas a liberation group, Turkiye continues to allow oil to be sent from Azerbaijan to Israel, which constitutes 40% of Israel’s crude.

120 people have been killed and 90,000 households displaced due to massive flooding in Kenya caused by El Nino, just after eastern Africa experienced its worst drought in four decades. Heavy rain will likely continue until January 2024.

Two colonels in the Madagascar army have been detained on suspicion of trying to contest the election and destabilise the government. as the opposition against President Rajoelina continues to oppose the election and do not recognize the results.

Mozambique has unveiled an energy transition plan that will take them to 2050, with the goal of securing investments totalling $80 billion. It will be formally presented at the COP28 climate summit on December 2nd. It will involve a substantial boost in hydropower and electric vehicles, and will use recent natural gas discoveries to fuel economic growth and uplift millions from poverty.

The Panama Supreme Court has declared that the Cobre Panama mine, the largest open-pit copper mine in Central America which mostly exports copper to China, is unconstitutional, opening the door to international arbitration by the concessionaire, Minera Panama, which is a subsidiary of the Canadian company FQM. The rejection of the contract has generated the largest peaceful protests in Panama in decades, as well as road blockades by environmentalists, labor unions, and indigenous groups, as well as strikes.

ExxonMobil is urging Guyana to provoke Venezuela into attacking it over the dispute over Esequibo, so that the United States has a pretext to invade Venezuela and finally destroy the socialist country, Venezuela, on the other hand, is seeking a peaceful outcome, and is holding a referendum on the issue. Votes over Esequibo have typically attracted even more votes than over elections, and unites most sections of the country.

Meanwhile, the US has found Guaido’s replacement in Machado, who calls herself the “Iron Lady of Venezuela” and went through the same Yale program as Nalvany. She won the primary opposition election with 93% and Maduro has declared the election illegitimate because… I mean, it probably fucking was, to be honest. Polls show that Maduro would handily win an election against Machado. With the US’s sanction regime deteriorating as it places everybody else on the planet except for them and their buddies onto the Naughty List and thus prompts them to just trade with each other instead - and as Maduro receives more support from the region as leaders realize he probably isn’t going to be ousted any time soon (kinda like Assad) - the pressure that the US can exert on Venezuela is gradually falling. Hence, ExxonMobil.