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Latin America Politics

A New Left Turn in Latin America? COVID-19, Populism and Polarization

The apparent victory of socialist candidate Pedro Castillo in Peru’s general election this year hints at a leftward political trend in Latin America. COVID-19 has played a role in this, but the key driver of the shift is more fundamental. However, looking beyond the left-right paradigm, recent developments are indicative of worsening populism and political polarization in the region.

Latin America Politics

Honduras and Vaccine Diplomacy: Are Increased Relations with China Likely?

Honduras, one of the few countries that recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state, is making attempts to build diplomatic bridges with China in order to acquire the much needed Covid-19 vaccines. So far, only 1% of the Honduran population has been vaccinated. This situation constitutes another chapter in the so-called ‘vaccine diplomacy’, where geopolitics comes into play in vaccine acquisition.

Insights Latin America Politics

Ecuador’s constitutional court decriminalizes abortion in cases of rape

On April 28th 2021 Ecuador’s Constitutional Court voted to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape, marking a milestone for women’s reproductive rights in Latin America. However, the deeply divisive nature of the debate means that the complete decriminalization of abortion in the near future remains unlikely. 

Latin America Politics

Peru: Voters take to the polls amid a political and public-health crisis

On April 11th, Peru held the first round of its presidential elections, after which candidates Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Castillo emerged in the lead. The second and final round of Peru’s presidential election will take place this Sunday. Whoever is ultimately successful at becoming Peru’s new President will face institutional challenges exacerbated by a public-health crisis.

Latin America Security

Mexican Marijuana: The Effects of Legalization on the Economy and the War on Drugs

Following in the footsteps of countries including Canada and Uruguay, Mexico’s lower house passed a bill on 10th March for the purpose of legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, often referred to as AMLO, has cited undermining drug cartels as one of the key reasons behind his support for the proposal. Nevertheless, though legalization is likely to prove an economic boon, its impact on crime is likely to be less substantial.

Environment Latin America

An Ecosystem in Crisis: Environmental Degradation in Venezuela

Venezuela’s biodiverse environment, from its share of the Amazon rainforest to its lakes and coastline, has suffered increasing levels of pollution and degradation in recent years. Venezuela’s reliance on extractive practices including mining and its ageing oil industry is one of the main drivers of the degradation of its environment. Given the attitude of the Maduro regime, the situation is set to worsen.

Covid-19 Latin America

Brazil’s Attitude Towards the Pandemic Poses a Serious Threat to the Region

Since the start of the pandemic, Brazil has become an epicenter for the spread of coronavirus in the region. Jair Bolsonaro has opposed lockdowns, supported unreliable medical treatments, and downplayed the impact of COVID-19 in the country. The eruption of the new Brazilian variant (known as P1) is dominating the country. This scenario has alerted leaders, who have taken measures to prevent this new and highly contagious variant from proliferating freely. The situation is becoming a threat to the region. The lack of policies can lead to the outbreak of new coronavirus variants that can alter vaccination plans in the rest of the continent.

Economics Latin America

Mercosur’s Birthday Celebration Reveals a Path towards Irrelevancy

The risk of Mercosur becoming another failed attempt of regional integration in Latin America has been rising steadily in the last two decades and is likely to increase even more in the current scenario. The tension between leaders on Mercosur’s last summit demonstrates a lack of internal cohesion that will lead the bloc towards failure and irrelevancy.

Latin America The Energy Briefing

The Struggle over Mexico’s Energy Sector: What’s At Stake?

Recently, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stepped up his administration’s efforts to reform the country’s Electricity Industry Law. However, these attempts have received criticism from the private sector and lawmakers. The dispute has the potential to affect Mexico’s relations with regional partners like the USA and Canada and, depending on the outcome of legislative elections in June, may even cause constitutional changes.

Latin America Politics

Cuba: Will Political Change follow Economic Liberalisation?

In response to crippling economic stagnation, Cuba has passed regulations which hint at a turn towards a more market-driven economy. However, political control over key sectors including education and the media still lies heavily with the state. The most striking policy, which allows thousands of professions to run outside the remit of the state, will change the character of business within Cuba and may lead to increased innovation and interaction with international markets. Could Cuba’s economic liberalisation lead to further political freedoms?