Return to Transcripts main page
Interview with International Crisis Group Africa Program Director Murithi Mutiga; Interview with International Relations Professor and "Post- Western World" Author Oliver Stuenkel; Interview with Austrian Minister for Climate Action Leonore Gewessler. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired August 16, 2022 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Hello everyone and welcome to "Amanpour". Here's what's coming up.
Kenyans elect a new leader by a razor-thin margin. And protests erupt. I get the latest on all the dramatic developments. Then --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It happened in the United States of America and it is happening in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: The Trump playbook in Brazil. President Bolsonaro sows doubt in elections as former leader Lula da Silva stages an incredible comeback. We
bring you our report from the ground and analysis from political scientists Oliver Stuenkel.
Plus, Biden's big climate moment. I speak to Austria's Minister for Climate Action, Leonore Gewessler about America's new green policies and why she's
suing the European Commission.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Sara Sidner in New York, sitting in for Christian Amanpour.
He calls himself the hustler-in-chief. William Ruto is the declared winner of Kenya's presidential election after edging out opposition leader Raila
Odinga by an extremely narrow margin. Ruto, who prompted a bottom-up economic approach, called the win a victory for all Kenyans. But, and you
can see them celebrating there, not everyone is happy. Odinga is now rejecting the result and we'll challenge them in court something he's done
in the past. This is his fifth time running.
Chaos erupted at the election center and in Odinga strongholds and four of seven electoral officials disavow the results. What happens in Kenya has a
ripple effect around the world. It's the economic powerhouse of Eastern Africa. An important regional player and home to many humanitarian
organizations and NGOs. Let's get more details now from Larry Madowo. He is in Kisumu.
Larry, thank you for joining us. Can you give me a sense of what is happening right now, because there have been a lot of twists and turns
throughout this day with his razor-thin win?
LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So essentially, Odinga laid the groundwork to challenge the election in court, as you rightly point it
out. He didn't want to reveal his entire strategy but he did say that the chair of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission violated the
law by declaring William Ruto the president-elect.
He thinks that was an error because the process was opaque and not transparent as required in the Kenyan law. And so, Raila Odinga, who's run
for president five times and lost five times, thinks that this election was his and it should not have gone to his opponent, the deputy president, who
reigned for the first-time. And he's laying the blame directly at the footsteps of the chair of the electoral commission, Wafula Chebukati.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAILA ODINGA, KENYAN OPPOSITION LEADER: But we totally and without reservations, reject the presidential results announced yesterday by Mr.
Chebukati. I want to commend our supporters for remaining calm and keeping the peace, and eye (ph) them continue to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: It is likely, therefore, that within the next week, Raila Odinga and his team will file a petition at the Kenyan Supreme Court. He did so in
2017 successfully. Got an election, a nod, a first time in Africa though he sat at the repeat election. But this would be a stunning turnaround if it
were to stand. William Ruto, a man once accused of crimes against humanity, after the dispute of the 2007 election, elected the president of Kenya in
his first attempt. He calls himself a hustler-in-chief and that message really had a lot of supporters among the young population in this country.
SIDNER: You know, when you look at what's happening, you, of course, have those who supported one candidate, and those who supported another are very
similar all over the world. But how is it being received as a whole in Kenya? And how are people reacting to, not only this razor-thin win, but
also to the fact that you're seeing this challenged again?
MADOWO: The reaction is very evenly displayed among those who support Ruto and those who support Raila.
Because the win is so thin, the actual difference in votes between William Ruto and Raila Odinga was only 233,000 out of 14.2 million votes. That is
why all the opinion polls leading to this election had Raila Odinga leading. However, when the final results were announced, William Ruto was
in the lead because he did slightly better than expected in some regions that have traditionally voted for Raila Odinga.
And so there are those who feel like here in Kisumu which has always voted for Raila Odinga, this is the bedrock of his support. That they were robbed
of another election and they will not legitimize a William Ruto presidency. But there are many people in this country who feel that William Ruto
rightly won this election and it should not be challenged. That Raila Odinga just lost this election the fifth time and this is what he does. He
loses an election, tries to contest it, and loses in court.
So, it's really difficult to try and bring these two sides together to agree on how to move forward. And it's likely going to be this drawn-out
process again as this legal challenge plays out and then see what happens after that.
SIDNER: Larry, you alluded to this earlier that in, I think it was 2007, at least 1,200 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of people fled
their homes following claims of a stolen election. Is there concern that because this process is a bit chaotic again and there is a challenge again
that there will be violence?
MADOWO: So far, there haven't been any signs of that. Kenyans have been very proud that in this 2022 election has been a boring election. They
voted and went home to wait for the results. Even though they had to endure the longest ever wait for a presidential result, it was very peaceful,
everybody went around their business.
And even though we saw here in Kisumu the day after Ruto -- on the day Ruto's announced president yesterday, some limited protests, some people
barricading roads, it didn't really go any further than that. And Kenyans think they turned a corner that is a mature democracy that other African
countries should emulate because this is one of the few countries on the continent that will have, whether it's Ruto or Raila who eventually becomes
president, a third democratic transition that only a few other countries on the continent such as Ghana and Zambia. There are countries that had one
president for more than 30 years, Cameroon, Uganda, come to mind.
So, they hope, and even Raila Odinga hopes and appeals to his supporters to remain calm so that these democratic gains that have been achieved so --
over such a long time can stand.
SIDNER: Larry Madowo, thank you so much for giving us good insight into what's happening there in Kenya.
Now, let's get more insight from Murithi Mutiga, the African program director for the International Crisis Group. Welcome to the program from
MURITHI MUTIGA, AFRICA PROGRAM DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: Thank you.
SIDNER: Can you first tell us what your sense is of what might unfold after this razor-thin win that is already being rejected by Raila Odinga?
MUTIGA: Yes, so just picking up from Larry, I think it's something to be lauded that this was one actual action. Even hours before the vote, we
didn't know who was going to win. In the end, Ruto was declared to have won by a very narrow margin. But we have to drop contrast what happened 15
years ago. When Odinga rejected the results, there was an instant outbreak of violence across the country. There was a deep sense of injustice. And a
lot of people felt that they could not trust the institutions to challenge the outcome.
This time, it's different. There was a new constitution put in place in 2010. A fairly robust judiciary. Courts that have shown themselves to be
able to rule against the executive. And so, it's a credit to Odinga that is going to the court rather than to the streets. I think it's a credit to
Kenyans that they've likely remained very calm.
And it's important to note that the constitution gives very tight timeframes. And so, seven days to lodge a petition, 14 days to hear and
determine it. So, we hope that the courts will stick within those timelines and especially that both Odinga and Ruto will respect the outcome of that
SIDNER: And I just -- I want to mention what we were seeing just there was like a small scuffle. But for the most part, you have talked about it, and
so did our reporter, Larry, talked about just how peaceful this has been. Larry said it was a boring election if you will. But a lot of people will
hope for that because you want it to be a peaceful process. Can you give us a sense of why this election has been so closely watched? Not only by those
of us here in the west, but also by Kenya's neighbors like Uganda and Rwanda and Ethiopia, and Somalia.
MUTIGA: We have to note that there's been an authoritarian breath in much of the region. Kenya is seen as an important beacon of democracy. It is
one, as Larry said, where you have competitive politics. You have peaceful transitions. You have an important tradition of respect for term limits.
And so, it plays a very demonstrative effect to other countries. And so, you've had a lot of social media posts saying can we have some of the
Kenyans have in places like Uganda, even in Tanzania, and elsewhere.
So, it plays a very important demonstrative effect.
But a time most strife (ph) in the region, it's really important that Kenya remains stable, remains a place for so many humanitarian organizations, and
remains a positive at some point. I would say it's been a progression. We saw a terrible election in 2007. We've seen incremental progress.
And I'll give a little credit to the judges and the Supreme Court who annulled the last election. They saved the future and it turns out to be
simple, transparent, and verifiable. And so, the Electoral Commission had a very high bar to meet. And credit to them to a certain degree, they did.
They posted all the polling station tallies online. Anybody with a calculator can check who won and that was loadable (ph).
SIDNER: Can we talk about the importance of Kenya also when it comes to being a partner in Africa and western countries? For the American and
British forces, they operate from small bases along Kenya's northeast border. And they're doing things like trying to go after Al-Shabaab and one
of Al-Qaeda's deadliest factions. So, Kenya is particularly important to the west, correct?
MUTIGA: So -- yes. In Kenya, you have one of the biggest U.S. embassies on the continent. I believe it's the biggest now. I think the west sees in
Kenya, a relatively open society. And so, one in which they can operate in a place where they feel they have similar values. It's one with a very
young tech-savvy population. It has a -- this long-standing democratic record.
And so, it's a place that has traditionally been very open to the west. It still engages with the east, including the Chinese. But in terms of its
democratic model, it's seen as a place where countries like the U.S., the U.K., and others are comfortable engaging with. And partly because it
doesn't have a huge natural resource base. It has a very sophisticated private sector. A very important human resource-based which is driven by a
fairly good education system. And so, really, if the election unfolds peacefully, it may consolidate itself Kenya as a potential succession.
SIDNER: Can you talk about -- let's talk about the candidates now. And now you have a winner by a very slim margin, William Ruto. Who is he? I know
that he campaigned on this idea of being a hustler and that really energized the youth there who are striving and, if you will, hustling to
have a better future. Can you give us a sense of who he is, William Ruto?
MUTIGA: So, William Ruto is a long-time insider. He has been in and around Kenyan politics since the early '90s. But he's also this very talented,
very well-spoken, and very effective political salesman. And so, he spotted an opportunity five years ago when he perceived that the current president,
Uhuru Kenyatta, and the former prime minister, Raila Odinga, both sons of the past president and vice president of Kenya respectively were forming an
So, he went to Kenyans and said, listen, I am an outsider. And I am an outsider because my parents were peasants and I grew up selling chicken by
the roadside. It was a very ingenious platform. In fact, he's very much an insider. But he ran an effective anti-establishment campaign. Proposed
these bottom-up economics. It was very successful in two ways. One, it helped him out cross ethnic appeal. But it also, importantly, helped him in
very substantially into Kenyatta's traditional base.
And so, he has been able to sell a very effective pitch. But now the test will be in the pudding (ph) because he has made a lot of promises. He has
had a lot of hope. But the Kenyan economy is struggling amid all the global shocks, amid a very substantial debt pile. So, he will face the challenge
of meeting the very tall expectations of his supporters. But certainly, this election has established himself as one of Kenya's most talented
SIDNER: But he has had some really disturbing controversies. In 2011, the International Criminal Court brought charges against him. He was accused of
whipping up violence, thousands of people, hundreds of people were killed, and a whole bunch of people displaced. Where does that fit into all this?
Are people --do they remember this? And are they concerned about this?
MUTIGA: So, it's remarkable how low a degree to which the issue of the past indictments played. Maybe partially because he was inducted in tandem
with Kenyatta and they were, therefore, on opposite sides. But also, it could be partly because he's positioned himself as a conciliator.
Pulling that violence, he formed an alliance with the leader of Kikuyu who won the opposite side during the violence. And remarkably, he has ended up
with a majority, a Kikuyu support. But that is an issue that can't be whisked away. Both that and some accusations of graft. Of course, his
supporters will say these have not been proven in court.
And so, it's a mystery. He either could be terrible or he could be a very good president. He keeps tying (ph), he's displaced, he's very effective,
but at the same time, he has a troubling history. And one wonders which of those qualities will end up manifesting itself.
SIDNER: I think you said it best that the proof is always in the pudding. It's running for office and leading a country are two, you know, very
different things. Let's also talk about Raila Odinga who has challenged the result. What should we expect from him? As he has done this several times
before and is there any possibility that he gets his way?
MUTIGA: Yes, so we have to mention Odinga is a real titan of Kenyan politics and a man who has made considerable sacrifices for Kenya. He went
to detention for more than eight years in the past when Kenya was in a more authoritarian place. And he has also been a champion of the reforms and the
new constitution that has helped put in place this independent judiciary and a more open system of governance.
There is a chance of course that he could get his way in court. I have to say it's probably not as good a chance as last time because, you know, it
will be interesting to see whether the court can annul an election twice in a row. But he's doing the right thing by going to the court. He potentially
could and a rerun. But even if he doesn't, I think it's a credit to him that he's challenging these trough institutions rather than on the streets.
SIDNER: Do you feel like Kenya's democracy is safe? Considering what happened in this particular election and how it went forward.
MUTIGA: I think we are seeing incremental progress. And I would say this has been a better progress than the 2017 one and the 2018 election was a
bit -- than 2013. Democracy is hard work. I think the work of improving it obviously takes time. But I think that it's a credit to the candidates that
this was an issue-based campaign. It's a credit to society that it was very peaceful.
And even if we saw imaginary (ph) lower turnout -- actually, slightly significantly low turnout of law by global standard, it was very high at
about 65 percent. I think that spoke to the fact that the elections are no longer life and death matter. They're not a contest among communities. They
are getting to be contests among -- between ideas. And I think it also -- we have to know that at the subnational level, those record number of
women, seven, quite a small number, out of the total of 47, but still progress.
So, I would say that incremental progress is certainly taking place and in time. I think that Kenya could consolidate its democracy.
SIDNER: All right. Murithi Mutiga, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Mutiga: Thank you.
SIDNER: Coming up after the break, another contentious political battle is unfolding in Brazil. Fears of violence and chaos as the pivotal race for
the presidency gets underway there.
SIDNER: Welcome back to another election of global significance now. This time in Latin America. Brazil's presidential campaign kicks off today with
two very different candidates as the favorites. On the right of the political spectrum is current president, Jair Bolsonaro. And on the left,
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. But there is much more at stake in his vote than meets the eye. Even democracy itself as Isa Soares explains in this report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR (voiceover): The presidential campaign has only just started, but many are already afraid of
how it may end. With hundreds marching on the capitol in defense of Brazilian democracy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It happened in the United States of America and it is happening in this country. The constant attack against
our democratic institutions.
SOARES (voiceover): The man they say is stoking this fear is the incumbent president himself, who has been repeating baseless attacks on the electoral
system. Promising his opponents, a tough fight as he launched his bid for a second term.
JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are the majority, we are the good ones, and we are willing to fight for our freedom
and our homeland.
SOARES (voiceover): For over a year, Bolsonaro has been criticizing electronic voting. Saying without any evidence that it's open to fraud.
He's called for printed ballots to be used alongside electronic ones. And in doing so, has his eyes fully on the presidential prize.
BOLSONARO (through translator): I have three alternatives for my future, jail, death, or victory.
SOARES (voiceover): It's a rhetoric that both his staunch supporters and party fully back.
CAPTAIN AUGUSTO ROSA, LIBERAL PARTY VICE PRESIDENT (through translator): We believe President Bolsonaro's criticism to be valid. We have a portion
of society, around 15 to 20 percent, which also doubts electronic ballots.
SOARES (voiceover): But what his party says as a quest for transparency, many argue, is dangerous rhetoric. Even prompting civil society figures to
sign a letter for democracy. A manifesto in defensive democratic values. Judge Luis Barroso was the president of the Supreme Electoral Court until
the beginning of the year, helping organize elections at a national level. He tells me the need for a manifesto shows some are afraid for Brazilian
JUSTICE LUIS BARROS, BRAZILIAN SUPREME COURT: The number of times that people asked me if I fear a coup d'etat means that there is something
strange going on.
SOARES (voiceover): And for the man vying for Bolsonaro's job, the perceived threat on democracy has a clear origin.
LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA, FORMER BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Every day, he offends the Supreme Court. Every day, he offends an electoral
justice. And every day, he offends those who do not like him.
SOARES (voiceover): Returning to the ballot after more than a decade on the sidelines and after being convicted for corruption, the former
president and Bolsonaro's main opponent says he wants to focus on Brazil's post-pandemic recovery.
DA SILVA (through translator): I am older, but I am much better with much more strength and with much more courage to make this country succeed.
SOARES (voiceover): But Brazil's success is dependent on a smooth election. Despite the rhetoric from populist President Jair Bolsonaro,
judge Barroso tells me the electoral system is strong enough to handle the criticism. And says there's some good news.
BARROSO: Around 80 percent of the population trusts the system despite all of the attacks we've been suffering. And our role is to assure that whoever
wins in the October elections will be inaugurated on January the 1st. And the plane is going to land safely.
SOARES (voiceover): Still, as the campaign kicks off, and the rhetoric hardens, political turbulence cannot be ruled out. And the ride could still
be bumpy. Isa Soares, CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Joining us now to discuss what this election means for Brazil and the rest of the world is Oliver Stuenkel. A professor of international
relations in Sao Paulo and fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute.
Oliver Stuenkel, welcome to the program from Sao Paulo.
OLIVER STUENKEL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS PROFESSOR: Thank you very much.
SIDNER: Let's start with this, I just want to start with the words that we heard from Bolsonaro. And I know he's been saying some of these things
throughout his campaign. He said he has three options, jail, death, or victory.
With that kind of language, what is he telling people he's going to do if he loses?
STUENKEL: Well, Sara, the message is quite clear. He says that, you know, if he loses, it's the end of the republic. He says that the workers' party
represents a profound threat to Brazilian values, to Brazilian society. And in a way, I think, he's seeking to mobilize his followers. And some say
he's also preparing to question the result because he's been constantly attacking Brazil's electoral system.
And that, of course, has had some impact on his followers. Though, when you look at social media groups, Bolsonaro -- pro-Bolsonaro groups talk is rife
about supposed fraud that could take place around election day. So, in a way, he is, I think, seeking to radicalize the public opinion, polarize
even further and say there's really only two options between good and evil. And with the big difference that, you know, the armed forces have been very
ambiguous about whether they believe in what Bolsonaro says. They haven't really taken a pro-democracy stance. And I think that explains why
everybody is so tense about what will happen in October.
SIDNER: Brazil, this is a really nascent democracy. Their first elections were in 1989. You had a military coup in place between '64 and '85. So, for
the bulk of 20 years, how do you think -- how fragile is the democracy there in Brazil at this point in time?
STUENKEL: Well, Brazil's process of democratization, is very much still ongoing. I think it's a process that has, you know, taken -- initiated --
has begun in the early 1990s. And since then, you know, civil leaders have sought to exert influence over, you know, the military. Brazil has a
minister of defense since 1999 only.
And really, over the past years, it has been clear that if there is political instability, then the armed forces emerge as a potentially
powerful actor. And still today, the armed forces are seen as a tremendously trustworthy institution. And that has, in part, to do with the
fact that there hasn't really been a reckoning with the misdeeds and abuses that have taken place during the military dictatorship.
So, it's a fairly harmonious transition to democracy but it occurred on the terms of the armed forces. And that implied a broad amnesty which explains
today why so many Brazilians are unaware of what actually happened during the dictatorship. And Bolsonaro has certainly used that to align with the
armed forces. There's now around 7,000 soldiers who are part of the government. And has sought to project himself as, sort of, a representative
of the supposedly stable and calm times prior to democratization.
SIDNER: I want to talk about Bolsonaro's challenger, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. How incredible, I think the word is, is it that he has risen to
where he is. The latest polling, I think the first round was showing that Lula was that 44 percent of the vote and Bolsonaro at 32 percent of the
vote. We're looking at that now, that was in round one. And then in around two, you see the numbers even more starkly different with Lula in the lead.
When it comes to him coming back to office, this is a person who spent time in prison for wrongdoing while he was leading the country in times past.
What do you make of this resurgence from da Silva?
STUENKEL: Well, Brazil has, you know, had a commodity boom in the -- starting in the mid-2,000s. And Lula, in a way, was lucky because he was
able to dramatically increase public spending. But he also must be credited with using that extra money available at the time to reduce poverty and to
really transform society at the time which prospered quite significantly.
He then appointed his successor, Dilma Rousseff, who oversaw the economic collapse because Brazil hadn't prepared adequately for the downturn of
commodity prices. But he's still, by many Brazilians associated with, you know, better times. And then there was a massive reversal of expectations.
Brazil has basically not grown at all over the past 10 years. And particularly during the pandemic, the country was hit very badly and we've
seen great reversal, and a setback when it comes to public health, public education.
So, Lula has been able to basically say, if I come back, the good times will return, which of course, is also somewhat questionable because the
macroeconomic environment Brazil faces currently is much, much more challenging than it was during the commodity boom of the 2000s.
SIDNER: Yes. I mean, across the world, everyone is dealing with this sort of pending economic crisis, if we're not in one already. I want to talk
about these corruption charges. And he has talked about them. And he talked to our Christiane Amanpour about the accusation that he some kind of
radical. He calls himself the leader of the worker's party. He's a working man's leader. I want to let you hear what he told Christiane in March of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA, FORMER BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I'm not a new politician. I've been in the trade union movement since 1975.
I'm a person that I've ran since 1989 and I have lost three presidential elections. I've never been a radical. You can't call me a left-wing or a
The other day, they asked me if I'm a communist and I responded, I'm a lathe operator. I'm a worker that understood that politics was important,
that the working people should participate in politics. That's why I founded the party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Do you think his words match what kind of leader he would be, if indeed, he wins?
STUENKEL: Well, Lula has been, in fact, a far-right leader when he was an opposition in the 1990s, which in part explains why he was not elected
actually. Brazil doesn't really have a tradition of supporting radical leaders. And then, he really decidedly moved towards the center when he was
elected in 2002, has basically governed as a moderate over eight years until 2010.
And he has picked, actually, conservative as vice president, which is quite significant, because about half of Brazil's president get impeached, that
has been the case since the early 1990s. So, in a way, he's telling congress, if I'm too radical, you could kick me out and you have this, you
know, conservative centrist as backup. In a way, I think, that's a very powerful signal that he is willing to engage the center. He's been very
clear seeking to engage evangelicals, which traditionally vote for Bolsonaro. He is seeking to engage agri business. And even the economic
So, I think it's really quite likely that he will project himself and govern mostly as the centrist just like he has done during his first eight
years as president.
SIDNER: I want to talk -- go back to Bolsonaro, the current president. There are grave concerns that if he loses that the military will side with
him. Is there a possibility, as you heard from the Supreme Court, the leader this from court there, a possibility of a coup?
STUENKEL: Well, there have been lots of ambiguous signals sent by the generals, who again have benefited tremendously from Bolsonaro's time in
office. There is now an unprecedented number of military -- even also lots of generals and leading positions of government that involves a lot of
perks, financial perks also.
And some say that the military doesn't really want to reject outright Bolsonaro's claims about supposed vulnerabilities of the electoral system
because they want to negotiate, basically, with the new incoming government and say, we will accept the transition provided that we can retain the
numerous benefits that we have accumulated under Bolsonaro.
But there certainly is some antidemocratic currents among Brazil's armed forces, which still celebrate the military dictatorship. So, there hasn't
been, as I said, this sort of a clean break that we've seen in countries like Argentina, where the armed forces now are a very explicit and says, we
don't want to govern again, and that the dictatorship has been a terrible time.
So, actually, it's a bit up in the air. Lots of people are concerned about what could happen if there is a very close result. And the armed forces, in
several cases, have actually shared some of Bolsonaro's bogus concerns and have pressured the electoral court to, you know, allow some kind of
parallel counting mechanism. And I think that, you know, there certainly is the potential for, you know, post or a pre or post-election chaos and what
the army says will certainly be important, and the military police also, which officially is part of Brazil's states.
So, the governors oversee the military police. But there are also certainly rife with anti-democratic sentiment.
SIDNER: I do want to read you just quickly, Supreme Court justice who has the Brazilian superior election court said, "We may experience an episode
even more severe than the January 6th attack on the capitol." He said that back in July of 2022. And here we are hearing from some of the voters in
the streets, that you have heard from Isa Soares there saying, he's taking a -- Bolsonaro is taking page out of Donald Trump's playbook questioning
the questioning the election, questioning the electronic voting machines, questioning how things are going.
What influence, do you think, Donald Trump has on these tactics being used by Bolsonaro?
STUENKEL: Well, Bolsonaro has certainly been an inspiration to Bolsonaro - - Trump has been an inspiration to Bolsonaro. But Bolsonaro is also very much a product of Brazilian history and a long-standing influence over the
armed forces in Brazilian politics. So, that's, in a way, not new. But several of Bolsonaro's allies, including one of his sons, has actually said
after January 6th that with better planning, the invaders, the Trump supporting invaders could have achieved their aims.
And Bolsonaro has been one of the last presidents to congratulate Biden. And he has, until recently, even during the Biden presidency, echoed fraud
claims voiced by Donald Trump.
Now, I do think that for Brazil's case, a January 6th scenario wouldn't actually be that bad because the transition did take place and the major
advantage that the United States -- U.S. democracy has over Brazil's democracy is that, you know, there's really never been any doubt the
prodemocracy credentials of the United States Armed Forces.
The advantage of Brazil is that the electoral system is much more sophisticated. And differently from the United States, the electoral court
is set to announce the final result on the date of the election. So, that makes questioning the result also somewhat more difficult, I would say. But
there is certainly a significant risk that Brazil will live through its own version of January 6th.
SIDNER: Oliver Stuenkel, thank you so much for coming on the show.
STUENKEL: Thank you very much.
SIDNER: Still to come tonight, historic heat waves, record droughts, and reading wildfires. We have all seen them. Why one climate minister is suing
the European Commission.
SIDNER: Welcome back, in just about two hours from now, President Biden will sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law, a bill that includes the
largest climate investment in American history. That is music to the ears of my next guest, Austria's minister for climate action, Leonore Gewessler.
However, this minister worries that the United States and Europe are not going far enough. And she is even suing the European Commission for
including natural gas and nuclear in the green energy category.
Minister, welcome to the program from Vienna.
LEONORE GEWESSLER, AUSTRIAN MINISTER FOR CLIMATE ACTION: Thanks for having me.
SIDNER: Let's start with the suit. Why are you suing over the use of natural gas, the use of nuclear? Many countries will say that is sort of
the stop gap in between going fully green.
GEWESSLER: So, what exactly are we doing and what exactly are we talking about? We are talking about the very specific regulations that the European
Commission proposed that has now been put into law after a vote in the European parliament. That's the so-called taxonomy of regulation, the
delegated act on the taxonomy regulation.
So, it's not about the energy it makes certain countries choose, it's about trust and transparency in the financial sector, because we need to be sure
that whatever financial product is labeled green is truly green so that customers, that investors alike can be sure that if they invest their money
into something that is labeled as sustainable and green, they trust the financial sector, there is no greenwashing behind it, it's truly green
And labeling fossil gas as green and sustainable, it's still a fossil gas and it's burning fossil gas that's causing -- and fossil fuels that's
causing the climate crisis. So, for us, it is very clear this delegated act is a step in the wrong direction. It contradicts the action that the
European Commission if the European Union as a whole is committed too and that is why we prepared a lawsuit and that is why we will also file a
lawsuit to make sure that Europe as a whole, also in the financial sector, also in our approach to sustainable finance, stays true and committed to
the climate goals.
SIDNER: I'm curious what you think of President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, which, a large component of it, is to deal with climate
change. There are tens of billions of dollars are going to be spent on clean energy investment. Is this law a game-changer, not only for America,
but does it have a big impact on Europe as well?
GEWESSLER: Whatever Europe and the U.S. do towards more climate ambition is necessary. It is needed. It is encouraging signs. And it's extremely
encouraging that the United States is back on the scene, back in action towards climate action and that major investment goes into renewable
energies because that's the future, that's our pathway to a safe, sustainable, stable energy system.
The European Union has decided by law, so, we are the first continent who has put climate neutrality into law, actually. We are now following up with
all of the subsequent policies and the international process. The international climate negotiation process needs Europe, needs the United
States to lead the way. This will impact -- this will have a major impact. This will make others follow us. And that's why it's extremely encouraging
to see what is happening in the United States at the moment.
SIDNER: You know, I was in the U.K., in Britain, when they had the hottest day on record. We are talking about 104 degrees. The continent is reckoning
with wildfires that we see often here in California. It looked very similar. Extreme heat, drought, a major drought that is affecting
agriculture and as well as everybody else.
But when you think of climate change and the difficulties with it, rarely does one say, Austria is on the list. So, what is happening with Austria
and how is Austria dealing with intense weather changes?
GEWESSLER: I think what you have also very well depicted and what we see every day in the devastating pictures from around our continent is that the
climate crisis is real, it's bad and it's affecting us all in our health, in our societies, in our economic livelihoods. And we see it in so many
ways how a healthy climate, a healthy environment is the basis for our well-being, for our health, for our healthy economies. And that is why
climate action is so important.
And looking back, for decades, we have known about the problem. And for decades, we have not done enough. And so, it's really on us now. It's on
the next five to 10 years to make important steps, to make decisive steps towards climate action. And that is why, also, the Austrian government, as
a 2020, when we entered into this government, the greens entered into government, made climate action a top priority in our government action.
That's why -- to give you one example, we passed a law last year, our Renewables Act, that will make sure that by 2030, so, in eight years from
now, we can provide our country with by 100 percent renewable electricity. So, electricity domestically produced by solar PV, by wind, by biomass, by
And the good news is, we are on track. So, 2022 will be a record year for renewables investment in Austria. And that's good and it's needed because
that's not only good for climate action, because we know we need to move towards a renewable energy system to achieve our climate goals, but it also
is necessary and important if you look at the devastating geopolitical situation that we have now. Because the Russian war, the act of aggression
in Ukraine, shows us blatantly how dangerous and how difficult our dependency on fossil fuels and our dependency on Russian fossil fuels is
for Austria, for the continent.
So, also there, every windmill that we set up is not only a sign of climate action, it is a sign of independents in our energy system. Every solar PV
module that we install is a sign -- is a step towards more freedom. Every heating system that we kick out and that we replace by renewable heating
system is a step into a good future for so many different reasons. And the war in Ukraine has just added another one.
SIDNER: Minister Gewessler, I was going get to that and I think it's really important to talk about, because there's an economic component of
this. I think prior to the war, 80 percent of Austria's gas supplies came from Russia. And in the climate that we're in, with the economy, you know,
sort of tumbling and having trouble and people worrying about their daily lives and their daily payments or their monthly payments, is this the best
time to say, we have to rid ourselves of this? We have to move on. But it's going to take some time and it's going to take some money.
GEWESSLER: It's going to take time, yes. It will be a difficult path for Austria, you mentioned it. We've made mistakes in the past. We've got
ourselves into a huge dependency from Russian gas. And so, we need to get ourselves off this dependency, cubic meter per cubic meter, windmill per
windmill, PV installation per PV installation because we see that our dependency on fossil fuels is used as a weapon in a war.
And that's why, right now, yes, we need to do everything in our hands to make sure we fill our gas storage, that we have to diversify in terms of
natural gas suppliers. But the pathway to lower energy prices, the pathway to truly independent energy systems is a pathway that leads us also to more
climate action because it means renewable, renewable, renewable.
And if we look and the fact that solar PVs by now is the cheapest form of energy generation. It is really no regret option to move towards more
efficiency and more renewables and it helps us solve several problems at a time.
SIDNER: I want to ask you going back to what we started the program with, which is you suing the E.U. over the gas and nuclear provisions. Are any
other country's joining your lawsuit at this point?
GEWESSLER: Yes. As far as the lawsuit is concerned, Austria has been preparing this on the basis of the treaties, on -- with a view of annulling
this delegated act. Luxembourg has already, for quite a while, said it will join our lawsuit. And we've had several other countries that have been very
critical, either about the inclusion of gas or the inclusion of nuclear in a green and sustainable taxonomy. So, we're also seeing with our allies if
there is other countries who want to join.
For us, this is a question of just staying true to the mission of climate action and staying true to what's the basis for action, also, in this field
by the treaties.
SIDNER: Minister Gewessler, are you optimistic? Are you hopeful that we, as a country, not just Austria itself and as a world, are going to be able
to get this done, be able to create a better and sustainable climate?
GEWESSLER: If we look at the pictures, and it's not just news from Europe with heat waves, with droughts, with hail storms, with extreme flooding, if
you look at the pictures from also the U.S. or from other parts of this world, we see blatantly clear that the crisis is here. It's bad. It affects
us all. And science is very clear that -- and very convincingly clear that it's us who cause it. But that means, on the other hand, it's also in our
hands to work for the solutions and to implement the solutions.
And as I said before, the next five to 10 years are critical. And we have done too little. That's quite clear. Until now, we have done too little,
all over the globe. And right now, the currently -- the current climate action efforts that the countries are doing in this world are not enough.
But this is not just about Co2 concentration in the atmosphere, it's not just about random numbers that we see in statistics. This is about us. This
is about our livelihoods. This about the question whether our children, whether my two nieces, can still have a good life on this planet in our
continent in the future, when they are my age. And I see many, many encouraging steps. We discussed the U.S. We discussed that Europe leading
in climate action currently with the climate law, with a (INAUDIBLE) for 55 package. So, the huge legislative package that we discussed at the European
level to put our words into action and --
SIDNER: Yes. And you've got one here in the states too.
GEWESSLER: And I gave an example from Austria, what we are doing with the electricity.
SIDNER: Yes. Austrian Minister of Climate Action --
GEWESSLER: Sorry, I don't hear the question.
SIDNER: Oh, it was -- well, I was just sort of talking about the United States also has its bill. So, there are two things going on here at once.
Australis Minister for Climate Action Leonore Gewessler, thank you so much for coming on the show and discussing this important issues.
When we come back, the digital nomads making Mexico City their home. We take a look at what's driving Americans south of the border.
SIDNER: Welcome back. Now, we turn to Mexico where some Mexicans say they are being priced out of their own homes by an influx of American migrants
searching for a more affordable lifestyle. David Culver has that story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Look past the charming cafes, scenic parks, flashy apartments, and you will see this capital city
for what it's becoming, a refuge for migrants.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I grew up in New York.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: L. A.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Atlanta, Georgia.
CULVER (voiceover): Perhaps not the border crossing you expected. Americans leaving pricey U.S. cities, heading south to work from home in
ERIC RODRIGUEZ, AMERICAN CITIZEN IN MEXICO: It is starting to feel like home. I've been here for several months already.
CULVER (voiceover): Born and raised in the U.S., Eric Rodriguez hardly speak Spanish and admits he is not here to rediscover his Mexican roots, so
much to save money.
RODRIGUEZ: In San Diego, my apartment was probably $2,500.
CULVER (on camera): For one bedroom?
RODRIGUEZ: For a studio.
CULVER: For a studio.
RODRIGUEZ: Here, I have the one bedroom and I pay $800 a month.
CULVER (voiceover): The State Department says 1.6 million U.S. citizens live in Mexico. But they don't say how many are living and working there on
tourist visas. The Mexican government does not track that date either, but they recorded more than 5.3 million American tourists flying in during just
the first five months of this year, nearly a million more than that same period in 2019, pre-pandemic.
Rodriguez is among the unreported but undeniably present so-called digital nomads, here officially as tourist, most working remotely for U.S.
companies, still getting paid in U.S. dollars, allowing for a far more affordable life in Mexico.
RODRIGUEZ: I think there was a sense of we want people to come here to stimulate the economy, thank you for being here. But I know that recently,
there has been kind of complaints from locals about the effect that expats living here has had on their own lifestyles.
CULVER (voiceover): Sandra Ortiz is one of them.
CULVER (on camera): The prices are going up high. She said it's difficult because a lot of these foreigners come and have a bunch of money to be able
to spend on some of these apartments and rents.
CULVER (voiceover): For more than 50 years, Ortiz and her four siblings ran a restaurant popular with locals, on a prime corner in the increasingly
desirable Colonia Roma neighborhood. But as prices climbed, Ortiz says it became unaffordable for the family.
And in February, she says they were evicted. All of their belongings, piled onto the sidewalk.
CULVER (on camera): You had five minutes to get everything out and move it out of the business?
CULVER (voiceover): So, where do the locals go?
That is what we need to be asking ourselves, Fernando Bustos Gorospe (ph) tells me.
The pandemic, coupled with the global inflation have made matters worse. Leaving locals in fear of a culture clash.
This is part of the problem, he says. The expats move here because it is cheap, not because they want to truly immerse in the local culture.
Families like the Ortiz's feel they're getting pushed out. Sandra and two of her siblings now working at another restaurant, no longer the owners.
The thoughts of visiting their old restaurant, too painful. We went by, renovations already underway, high-end apartments coming soon.
David Culver, CNN, Mexico City.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: And that is it for now. Thank you so much for watching and goodbye from New York.