Chile Shows Better Way to Neighbors in Crisis

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Chilean president Michelle Bachelet attend a multilateral summit in Lima, Peru, November 20, 2016
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Chilean president Michelle Bachelet attend a multilateral summit in Lima, Peru, November 20, 2016 (Gobierno de Chile)

Whether change comes swiftly or slowly, a deafness to cries for change can discredit not just politicians or political parties but whole systems of government.

This has already happened in Venezuela. It’s in the process of happening in Brazil. Chile, however slowly, is showing a better way. Read more

Venezuela Lurches Toward Authoritarianism

President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela waves at crowds during an Independence Day parade, July 5, 2016
President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela waves at crowds during an Independence Day parade, July 5, 2016 (Prensa Presidencial/Yoset Montes)

Venezuela has plummeted to new depths. In an act of blatant disregard of the separation of powers, the Supreme Court has stripped the opposition-controlled National Assembly of its lawmaking power and revoked immunity from all assembly members after accusing parliamentarians of “contempt”.

This latest step toward authoritarianism was denounced as a “coup” and “a final blow to democracy” — not just by opposition parties, but by the international community and even some within the government (the state attorney general). Read more

Trump Could Bring Enemies in South America Closer Together

Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro chairs the General Assembly of the Organization of American States in Cochabamba, Bolivia, June 4, 2012
Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro chairs the General Assembly of the Organization of American States in Cochabamba, Bolivia, June 4, 2012 (OAS/Juan Manuel Herrera)

The alliance between Cuba and Venezuela has lost prominence in recent years as the former normalized its diplomatic relations with the United States while the latter doubled down on a self-described anti-imperialist policy.

Now Donald Trump’s presidency threatens to bring the two countries closer together again. Read more

Political Victory for Temer During Anxious Times for Brazil

President Michel Temer of Brazil gives a speech in Brasília, December 13
President Michel Temer of Brazil gives a speech in Brasília, December 13 (Palácio do Planalto/Marcos Corrêa)

Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, scored a major political victory last week when Congress passed a constitutional amendment that limits public spending for the next twenty years.

This was no small feat, given that 63 percent of Brazilians, according to one recent poll, want Temer out. Read more

Colombia’s Santos Seeks Revised Peace Deal with FARC

President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia observes a military exercise, November 12
President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia observes a military exercise, November 12 (Presidencia de la República de Colombia)

There was little hope left in October of bringing Colombia’s 52-year old conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to an end, when voters narrowly rejected a proposed peace plan in a referendum. Fears swelled that violence would break out again.

President Juan Manuel Santos, however, was undeterred and set about piecing together a revised peace deal.

Six weeks on, gloom and uncertainty have made way for cautious optimism. Read more

Colombia’s Referendum: Has the Best Chance for Peace Gone?

President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia gives a speech in Soacha, September 30
President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia gives a speech in Soacha, September 30 (SIG/Juan David Tena)

On Sunday, the people of Colombia unexpectedly rejected what had been dubbed an historic peace deal between their government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). 50.2 percent voted down the proposed accord in a referendum. The peace deal is off.

The 297-page agreement, signed last week after four years of negotiation, was meant to end a conflict that spans back to 1964 and has claimed an estimated 260,000 lives.

In speech after speech, President Juan Manuel Santos has extolled the peace accord’s historic nature. Confident of the referendum’s outcome, he staked his presidency on it. His future is now in doubt as well. Read more

Rousseff Leaves But Brazil’s Problems Remain

Brazilian Workers' Party leader Dilma Rousseff is interviewed in her office in Brasília, August 2
Brazilian Workers’ Party leader Dilma Rousseff is interviewed in her office in Brasília, August 2 (Roberto Stuckert Filho)

By the end of this month, not only will the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio have come and gone; it is also likely that the left-wing Dilma Rousseff will have finally been removed from the presidency.

Neither will occur without incident. Nor will they solve Brazil’s increasingly confused, complex and confrontational state of affairs, from a messy entanglement of impeachment proceedings to the possibility of fresh elections to the worst economic recession in Brazilian history. Read more