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Latin America Politics

Colombia’s Democracy Under Threat? Legislative Elections End in Chaos

Colombia’s governing right was defeated in March’s legislative elections. However, significant discrepancies between the preliminary and the final vote count have led to  allegations of fraud and calls for a nation-wide recount. Ahead of crucial presidential elections this month, this crisis is likely to foster further distrust and popular disenchantment with Colombian politicians and the state more generally.

Latin America Politics

A Major Shift? The Significance of Colombia’s Upcoming Presidential Election

The results of Colombia’s 13th March presidential primary elections have shed light on who the leading candidates are for the country’s approaching presidential election on 29th May. Leader of the Historic Pact (Pacto Histórico) coalition and ex-guerrilla fighter Gustavo Petro stood out among his competitors by receiving 3 million votes, the largest number of votes received by any candidate during the primaries. Federico Gutiérrez, former mayor of Medellín, emerged as his closest competitor, netting around 1.4 million votes.

Insights Latin America Politics

Opinion: Colombia’s Violent Start to 2022: A Key Electoral Cycle

The New Year has not had a happy start for many Colombians: An already alarming security situation is currently escalating into new record levels of violence in several parts of the country. Although the perpetrators vary regionally, the main affected are the same: the civilian population in general, and social leaders and human rights defenders in particular. In addition to the weak response of the Colombian state so far, observers expect a further deterioration linked to the upcoming legislative and presidential elections. 

Environment Latin America Natural resources and energy

Can Climate Action Save Castillo’s Faltering Peruvian Presidency?

On 21 September, President Pedro Castillo announced that Peru would declare a climate emergency and fulfill its environmental commitments. Since then, Castillo has survived congressional efforts to impeach him but the implications of his diminished authority for delivering on climate change, are less clear.

Latin America Power Brokers

Colombia’s Gulf Clan: The Capture of a Kingpin and the Future of Colombia’s Cartels

In late October 2021, the Colombian military captured Dairo Antonio “Otoniel” Usuga, the head of the Gulf Clan and one of Colombia’s most wanted drug kingpins. Although Colombian president Duque compared Otoniel’s capture to Pablo Escobar’s killing, the two men were dissimilar in most ways. Furthermore, Otoniel’s downfall is unlikely to have a positive effect on Colombia’s drug war, and may actually cause the violence to increase.

Latin America Politics

Chilean Election Unlikely to Halt New Barriers to Immigration

On 21 November Chileans will go to the ballot box to decide on their next President. The decision will impact whether the status quo persists or a final rupture with the legacy of former dictator Augusto Pinochet follows. With a new Migration Law coming into effect in 2022 and leading candidates standing on starkly contrasting electoral platforms, there are far-reaching implications for migrants coming to the country.

Latin America Politics

Colombia’s Tax Reforms: An Overview and Forecast

On 15th April, Colombia’s government presented its latest proposal for fiscal reforms to Congress, the so-called Sustainable Solidarity Bill (Proyecto de ley Solidaridad Sostenible). If made law, the bill will have wide ranging effects on taxation and social spending in Colombia. The bill has proved controversial, prompting criticism from parties on both the political left and right in the context of upcoming elections in 2022.

Environment Latin America

Hope for Growth? The Potential and Pitfalls of Ecotourism in Colombia

Colombia is blessed with magnificent landscapes, various regional climates and one of the highest levels of biodiversity on Earth. Consequently, there is a lot of scope for Colombia to use its natural beauty to attract tourists and tourism-related investment from around the world. Ecotourism also has the potential to assist, and be assisted by, Colombia’s ongoing peace process.

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.