Corn also gained on strong exports and worries about South American dryness, while wheat ended mixed. Yet if it seeks to use legal technicalities to avoid elections, it will lose its legitimacy, deepening the crisis. Latin America. Central America: In Central America, the migrant caravans highlight how gang violence, principally from Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio-18, have generated a wave of extortion and criminal violence that has pushed out families and legitimate businesses, particularly from the Northern Triangle states—Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. “China Becomes Second Largest Trading Partner of Latin America.” Xinhua, 29 November 2018.. 3. In economic affairs, AMLO’s attempt to return the national oil company PEMEX to a stronger role as an investor and operator (not just a manager) of oil contracts, will tempt him to welcome Chinese oil loans, such as the $5 billion from China agreed to by his predecessor. Nonetheless, during the coming year, previously noted initiatives by China (as well as Russia), will likely compound efforts by regional leaders on both the right and left to hold onto power, making the situation in the region much worse. Unilever posted strong full year 2018 results, with big gains in the Asia Pacific region, but in Latin America the picture was not so rosy, with Argentina and Brazil being singled out. Relief sweeps through Western capitals after Biden win, Maradona fans get tattoos to celebrate 'eternal love' for the soccer legend, Brazilian politician, in a coma due to Covid-19, has yet to find out is the elected mayor, Argentine officials search home of Maradona's doctor while investigating soccer star's death, After rare protest in Cuba, artists say the government agrees to future talks, From the streets to the heavens: Maradona's rise — and fall — ensure a legacy like no other, Hurricane Iota batters Nicaragua, especially its Caribbean coast, U.S. drops drug case against former Mexican defense minister, Tropical Storm Iota sweeps Central America with humanitarian crisis looming, In Peru, a hope that a new president, centrist Francisco Sagasti, can calm country in crisis, In growing crisis, Peru seeks a third president in a week. Besides the right to marry, Argentina’s 2012 Gender Identity Law is widely recognized as one of the world’s most comprehensive transgender rights laws, and was praised by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016 for the significa… Press groups urge Mexico to investigate journalists' killings, step up protections, Biden's key immigration policies face uphill battle, Latin America's children face most education setbacks from Covid, UNICEF says, Latino forgotten history: New book retells epic Mayan creation story most of us don't know, In Peru, turmoil over impeachment, ouster of its popular president. Illustrated portraits by Joel Kimmel. Yet while levels of criminality and insecurity are among the highest in the region, the Northern Triangle governments have actually made significant, if little appreciated, progress in bringing murder rates down. Mexico: In Mexico, the new administration of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has adopted a cordial tone and cooperated with the U.S. on Central American migrants. ... Brendan has been featured as an expert on Latin American issues in various outlets, ... Current Issue. The good news is that the region appears to finally be receiving sustained attention from U.S. policymakers, evidenced not only by Secretary of State Pompeo’s visit to Brazil and Colombia, but also by trips in the past year by National Security Advisor John Bolton, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as the confirmation of Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Kimberly Breier, and routine trips by senior U.S. Latin America-facing personnel, such as Deputy Secretary of Defense Sergio De la Peña (who recently traveled to Honduras) and National Security Council Western Hemisphere Director Mauricio Claver Carone. But although he stands out as Latin America’s most outspokenly hateful politician, others there have used fear of immigrants to win elections. Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. This could include Chinese participation in infrastructure projects, telecommunications, finance, and symbolic activities such as expanded senior level visits. ... Unilever results point to problems in Latin America. In Brazil, while the new conservative government of Jair Bolsonaro is viewed as a potential ally in Washington, there is a non-trivial risk that his controversial style could deepen already significant polarization in the country, fueling strikes and other actions that further undermine the Brazilian economy and Bolsonaro’s ability to effectively manage problems of the nation, even as challenges such as the competition between the PCC and Red Command prison gangs to dominate the drug trade expand. In each country, the change has opened the door to a flood of new agreements, political relationships, expanded commercial activities by PRC-based companies, and other forms of engagement that are transforming the political and economic dynamics of those countries. Mexico says it won't allow officials accused of corruption to be tried in the U.S. Peru's youth has taken down a president. The views expressed herein are strictly his own. Although established Mexican companies often see China as more of a competitor than a partner, the likely growing frustrations of the AMLO government with the U.S. on migrant flows, economic disruptions from USMCA non-ratification, or a U.S.-Mexico border closure may lead his government to embrace a greater Chinese role in the Mexican economy. Latin America, as other regions around the world, is getting increasingly polarized. Elsewhere in the region, the regime in Venezuela seems on the point of economic collapse, Nicaragua’s citizens have rallied bravely against Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista regime, and in El Salvador, the leftist government of the former guerrilla movement FMLN seems on the verge of being voted out of office. Across Latin America, the fragmentation of criminal groups, the end to the 2008-2016 China-Taiwan diplomatic truce, and the dangerous lessons learned regarding how to interact with unfriendly regimes will have powerful destabilizing effects on the region’s political dynamics in 2019. Evan Ellis is Latin America research professor with the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. When it comes to illicit groups, more is worse. Peter Ruvalcaba, “China – Latin America Trade at a Moment of Uncertainty: What Lies Ahead in 2019? However, Mexico’s reinforcing problems of criminal violence and deepening economic difficulties may ultimately push its president toward a stance more hostile to its ally to the north, and more welcoming of Chinese (and possibly Russian) advances in Mexico and the region as a whole as a source of economic support or a symbol of Mexican independence, popular among AMLO’s followers. White House killed deal to pay for mental health care for migrant families separated at border, A 'last nod to Trump'? It is also one of the few Latin American countries where same-sex marriage in churches can be performed. Some countries still silent a week after Biden's win, A Covid bright spot: More Latin Americans join digital banking services, Hondurans devastated by Hurricane Eta, pandemic as families in U.S. lend a hand. Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to slow to 0.2% this year from an average 0.6% in the previous five years, according to IMF data. In both Honduras and Guatemala, while the underlying problem is the cycle of narcotrafficking, gang violence, insecurity and lack of opportunity, the aforementioned political struggles have the potential to explode and destabilize one or both fragile regimes. For all … Having just passed the midway point of 2019, now is an opportune moment to take stock of Latin America. They want to see more change. Venezuela itself is degenerating from a state whose populist leadership systematically looted the country, into a criminal free-for-all, with the ELN operating in an estimated 19 departments, as well as the FARC, prison gangs (the “pranes”), armed pro-regime neighborhood paramilitary (the “colectivos”), and profiteering portions of the National Guard, among others. 1. From Mexico, to Central America, to Colombia and beyond, advances in financial and other intelligence and the targeting of criminal elites have enabled authorities to advance in breaking up criminal enterprises without eliminating the underlying incentives and enablers of their illicit activity. In the last 12 months, Brazil, Cuba and Mexico elected new leaders. The defection of parliamentarian Charrandas Persaud to the opposition in a no-confidence vote against his own party plunges the ethnically divided nation into political uncertainty on the eve of the inflow of significant oil revenues. Add to that the new Mexican president’s plans for North American investment in development in Central America to curtail the emigration; 2019 is a key year for this region. They have left a mark in 2019 and, along with them, a series of hurdles for online free expression and privacy. Latin America Book Review - Recorded Interviews with Authors. From Bolivia to Ecuador, Haiti to Honduras, the closing months of 2019 have seen enormous, sometimes violent demonstrations prompted by a truly dizzying array of grievances, including electoral fraud, corruption, and rising fuel and public transportation prices. 'Welcome back America!' With U.S. help, authorities across the region have broken up major criminal bands including La Familia Michoacána in Mexico, the Cachiros and Valle Valle smuggling groups in Honduras and the Gulf Clan in Colombia. Comprehensive national accounts data from across the region confirmed that Latin America’s recovery lost steam at the start of the year. Today, Latin America has its fair share of dictators. Guyana will arguably be the greatest near-term challenge in the Caribbean basin. Mexico has yet to congratulate Joe Biden on his win. The end to the truce, and the example of these changes, also raises the possibilities for at least one additional Central American nation to switch relations from Taiwan to the PRC (possibly Honduras), as well as one or more Caribbean nations (possibly Haiti, St. Vincent, or St. Kitts), producing an even greater expansion of PRC activities in sensitive sectors such as ports and logistics, telecommunications, and political and security cooperation. What happens now? At the same time, the November 2018 arrest of the President’s brother, Juan Antonio Hernandez, on narcotrafficking charges, compounds a growing number of cases against Hernandez’s predecessor, Pepe Lobo, family members and business associates to worsen the president’s political (if not yet legal) position, despite his achievements against public insecurity. In Honduras, the leftist opposition continues to claim fraud in the election that returned Juan Orlando Hernandez to power, denying his legitimacy, with increasingly extremist former President Manuel Zelaya calling for the recruitment of “10,000 commandos” to pressure the government. With just a few days left to welcome new year, here's a look at the key events that made headlines in South American countries rocked by political and social crisis in 2019. The violence and refugee outflows are a manifestation of the unhealthy state of the Central American political class and politics in general (along with corruption, the drug money that fuels it). Ortega’s ability to hold onto power, despite mounting sanctions from the U.S., strong criticism from the international community, and the threat to expel the country from the Organization of American States, serves as a worrisome lesson for others, from the Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela, to conservative regimes in Honduras and Guatemala facing serious accusations and popular protest: it is better to resist than to compromise. Over half of the region’s economies—including major players In a world aflame with protest, Latin America stands out as a raging ten-alarm fire. These first eight months confirm that it has been an economically mediocre, socially tense, electorally intense, politically polarized, and increasingly complex year in terms of governability. By John Price / February 21, 2019. 2019 Latin American political landscape: The good, the bad, and the ugly. If the U.S. approach, however inspired, cannot realistically hope to succeed, U.S. leadership must ask whether the wise choice is to continue with that approach, or to change course—perhaps to a posture oriented toward damage control until circumstances change. Latin America; Middle East ... opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself acting president on 23 January 2019. Disclaimer: Views expressed in this commentary are those of the staff member. The quiet neighbor? In Guatemala, President Jimmy Morales is engaged in an institutional struggle against his own constitutional court to disable the United Nations anti-corruption commission, CICIG, whose investigations led to the imprisonment of his predecessor, Otto Perez Molina, and Perez Molina’s vice-president, Roxana Baldetti. The outcome is uncertain, with Morales having terminated the mandate of CICIG, and crippled its functionality by expelling its head, Ivan Velasquez, and a number of its functionaries from the country. All issues that in different combinations have led to massive protests and political upheaval in recent months in Latin America. Yet the byproduct of that success has been a more fragmented, more violent, less predictable criminal economy in virtually every country of the region and along every step in the illicit chain, from source to transit zone to consumers of the goods. In this environment, the government may not cede power, so much as a precipitating event could touch off a violent struggle, exposing the degree to which the government lost control long ago. Meanwhile, Argentina is preparing for … Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a productive trip to the region, conferring with newly elected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro—who appears likely to adopt positions on issues such as China, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba that complement those of the Trump administration—at his inauguration. In the Caribbean basin, expanding Venezuelan refugee flows add to challenges for small states already buffeted by narcotrafficking-fueled corruption, with the fragility of the regime in Haiti and gang violence in Trinidad and Tobago of particular concern. Yet despite good plans and effective engagement, it may also be necessary to make cold assessments and difficult choices in the coming months. If the government holds elections, it will likely lose, with the Indo-Guyanese majority largely supporting the PPP opposition in an increasingly polarized context. Argentina police free 70 members of female-led Christian cult that kidnapped poor children across the country ... An area seven times the … Reprisals against austerity measures. South America’s Autumn of Anger Economic inequality, longstanding corruption and a view that elected leaders are out of touch are fueling public … Smart News & Research for Latin America's Changemakers, Working Group on Inter-American Relations, complement those of the Trump administration, end to the 2008-2016 China-Taiwan diplomatic truce, possibly Haiti, St. Vincent, or St. Kitts, pushed out families and legitimate businesses, briefly successful, widespread opposition, one million already living in the country, competition between the PCC and Red Command, Washington's New Friends in Latin America, Tillerson’s Attempt to Mend Ties in Latin America, Corruption, oil, and the role of external agencies in the Caribbean, Good governance and corruption in the Caribbean, Webinar: AMLO’s DC Visit: Trilateral Implications, The State of LGBT+ Rights in the Americas. A History of Modern Latin America 1800 to the Present; Ritual and Remembrance in the Ecuadorian Andes; The Guinea Pig - Healing, Food, And Ritual In The Andes; Begging As A Path To Progress - Indigenous Women And Children And The Struggle For Ecuador's Urban Spaces From investing in resilience, to leveraging digital technologies, here are six ways Latin America can create a green, resilient and inclusive economy. Mexico and Brazil have well-organized systems based on system designation and prehospital triage. In Colombia, the anticipated inflow of 1.2 million Venezuelan refugees in the next year, on top of the one million already living in the country, in combination with the injection of illicit money from expanding cocaine production, will fuel the expansion of criminal groups and violence between them. Regional GDP increased a moderate 1.6% year-on-year in the first quarter, matching last month’s preliminary reading and marking a slowdown from the fourth quarter’s 2.0% expansion. Thu 24 Oct 2019 12.06 EDT. If the beginning of the new 116th US Congress was any indication, the U.S. government is likely to be consumed by internal political issues in the coming two years that further detract from its ability to dedicate senior-level attention and resources toward Latin America. With the exception of Paraguay, each of the eight states still recognizing Taiwan is in close geographic proximity to the United States, either in Central America or the Caribbean. 6 ways Latin America and the Caribbean can create a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery. The latter type of violence is constantly made visible by the media and it has become a source of mano durapolicies with little respect for human rights, whereas it is the former, interpersonal violence that claims more victims ever… While the FARC has formally demobilized following the 2016 peace agreement, and the Colombian security forces have secured significant gains against the largest criminal band, the Gulf Clan, dissident FARC fronts who never demobilized are drawing on FARC militias (many safely on the more lawless Venezuelan side of the frontier) and the recruitment of demobilized FARC members who have been unable to adjust to civilian life, battling for control of drug production and criminal enterprises with the ELN and an array of other groups. ... 12-Feb-2019 - Last updated on 12-Feb-2019 at 17:28 GMT . Although AMLO’s pragmatism and  focus on domestic Mexican issues have restrained his embrace of China and Russia for an “anti-U.S.” alliance, the likely failure of a politically polarized U.S. Congress to ratify the revised U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement (USMCA) could severely damage the Mexican economy, just as AMLO struggles with the effects of expanded cocaine exports from Colombia through the country and the destabilizing effects of both opioids and fentanyl exports to the U.S. on the violent competition between Mexico-based criminal groups. NEW JERSEY – All over Latin America, public patience is wearing thin, with violence in Chile and the return to power of Peronists in Argentina. His proposed security reorganization, including the possible elimination of the civilian intelligence organization CISEN, the relocation of the federal police from under the interior ministry, and the replacement of the military with a new “national guard” for internal security are all difficult reforms, made particularly so in the context of the Supreme Court’s invalidation of the December 2017 National Security Law. Here, experts tell Diálogo Chino the main challenges for China, Latin America and the environment in 2019. Moreover, although AMLO has, to date, shown a preference for Mexican domestic affairs over international issues, growing friction at home and with the U.S. could tempt him to resurrect a traditional theme of his original party, the PRI, to assert Mexico’s traditional role as a leader in Central America and the Caribbean by welcoming recognition of the PRC by the region, encouraging the associated growth of Chinese infrastructure and other projects in the Caribbean involving a combination of Mexico and Central American and Caribbean states, leading by example in engaging more with the PRC in arenas such as defense and security, space and telecommunications, and possibly hosting sub-regional events to facilitate such advances by the PRC, magnifying associated discomfort in Washington. 2. In Nicaragua, after over 320 deaths, the imprisonment of hundreds more, and thousands of injuries, Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo have at least temporarily succeeded in using technology, intelligence, and brute force to decapitate and atomize the briefly successful, widespread opposition to their corrupt rule. Stay on top of Latin America latest developments on the ground with Al Jazeera’s fact-based news, exclusive video footage, photos and updated maps. Política, economía e ideas sobreel mundo en español. The first one is an increase in interpersonal violence throughout the region; and the second one is violence linked to organized crime, especially in areas that are relevant for drug related markets. When the Constitutional Court blocked Morales’ actions, Morales returned fire by threatening criminal charges against the members of the court. She has recently published Non-Policy Politics: Richer Voter, Poorer Voter and the Diversification of Parties Electoral Strategies (with Ernesto Calvo) and Understanding Institutional Weakness: Power and Design in Latin American Institutions (with Daniel Brinks and Steven Levitsky), both with Cambridge University Press in 2019. AMLO will also continue to struggle with internal security issues. Find the latest Latin American news stories, photos, and videos on NBCNews.com. Wordpress development by Robert Gourley. The Politics of Frustration in Latin America Oct 29, 2019 Jeremy Adelman , Pablo Pryluka The rapidly escalating protests across the region reflect people's dashed economic expectations, and thus differ from the demonstrations in Beirut and Hong Kong against undemocratic regimes. Both Mr. Maduro in Venezuela and the husband-and-wife duo of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo in Nicaragua … Colombia’s Medellin and Cali cartels, and the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico). T he election of Brazil’s far-right Jair Bolsonaro reflects the current international wave of nationalist populism and xenophobic hatred, and his own disdain for minorities and immigrants, whom he called ‘the scum of the earth’, are well known.. 2019 has been a difficult year in Latin America — 2020 may only get worse ... economic and security issues specific to each country. ... Latin America has been called “the forgotten continent” – but in recent weeks it has hardly been out of the news. As the states of the Western Hemisphere move into 2019, unresolved reinforcing challenges of organized crime, weak governance and extra-hemispheric actors threaten to create instability and gravely erode the position of the U.S. in the region, even as its political pendulum oscillates temporarily toward the right. ... his predecessor Hugo Chávez who are the target of much of the current anger. Meanwhile, global commercial and informational connectivity increasingly permits a lucrative criminal economy that does not require large, easily targeted hierarchical organizations spanning multiple countries that characterized the international drug trade of the previous generation (e.g. Statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee by Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, 15 February 2018. Such loans, like the $10 billion the China Development Bank loaned to Brazil’s national oil company Petrobras in 2009 and 2016, would help AMLO with his political goal of increasing Mexican oil production without new auctions, while also setting the stage for an expansion of the Chinese presence in the sector begun in December 2016 with CNOOC’s successful bid for two blocks in Mexico’s Perdido basin. Beyond these general trends, risks in multiple countries and sub-regions in the hemisphere demand the attention of U.S. policymakers. Yet it would be a grave mistake to judge the health of Latin America and the Caribbean and the associated implications for U.S. interests using Cold War ideological metrics. Latin America is the only region where births among girls younger than 15 have been rising. ANKARA . Trauma is a common health problem and the major cause of death in the young populations in both countries. An inter-American community reluctant to take serious actions against one of their own continues to largely stand on the sidelines. ” Atlantic Council, 3 December 2018. Secretary Pompeo, accompanied by National Security Council Western Hemisphere Director Mauricio Claver Carone, also had a positive meeting with conservative Colombian President Ivan Duque, whose administration highlights the political shift to the right in South America over the past three years, which also includes the elections of Mauricio Macri in Argentina, Sebastian Piñera in Chile, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (replaced by Martin Vizcarra) in Peru, and Bolsonaro in Brazil. Read breaking headlines from Latin America covering news, politics, culture, and more. Professor Castañeda is a specialist in Latin American affairs. For the United States, especially conservatives, 2019 began on a hopeful note for Latin American politics. U.S. decision makers must ask whether, in the current situation, the U.S. has the resources and credibility at the present time to engage with the region on the topic of China, to meaningfully strengthen governance, and to otherwise act decisively to stave off the political instability that may ripple throughout the region. U.S. soybean futures rose for a sixth consecutive session on Friday and hit a four-year high on dry conditions in key South American crop areas and concerns about dwindling U.S. supplies. In this brief review, the authors describe the main characteristics of trauma systems in Latin America's 2 most populous countries, Mexico and Brazil. There are two main challenges that Latin America currently faces in regard to violence. As the states of the Western Hemisphere move into 2019, unresolved reinforcing challenges of organized crime, weak governance and extra-hemispheric actors threaten to create instability and gravely erode the position of the U.S. in the region, even as its political pendulum oscillates temporarily toward the right. Change is in the air in Latin America. Mexico will stop holding migrant children in detention, wins praise from U.N. Peru's ousted president had pushed for anti-corruption efforts. Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images file, Seth Sidney Berry / SOPA Images via Zuma Press, Jair Cabrera Torres / dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images file, Venezuela's Maduro claims sweep of boycotted election, J Balvin talks Beyonce, Bieber, and he would like to collaborate with next, 'No choice except to flee': After back-to-back hurricanes, Central Americans go north, After stonewalling, Trump admin finally releases data to reunite separated migrant families, lawyers say, Mexico's president acknowledges end to killings far away, Gunmen stage brazen bank heist, leaving Brazilian city locked down and covered in cash, After historic meeting, Cuba slams protesters, dashes hopes for dialogue, The Virgen de Guadalupe pilgrimage will be online, say Mexico's Catholic leaders, Because of Trump sanctions, Western Union remittances come to an end in Cuba, 28 migrant children and their parents face deportation after refusing to be separated, Mexico reports jump of over 9,000 new Covid-19 cases in one day, Mexico is fourth country to top over 100,000 Covid deaths. 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