Public teachers shout slogans against Peruvian President Pedro Castillo to demand better labor conditions in Lima, Peru, Nov. 23, 2021 (AP photo by Guadalupe Pardo).

LIMA, Peru—Peruvian President Pedro Castillo may or may not be a socialist, but there is no denying that his political branding is rooted almost exclusively in his identification with Peru’s most marginalized citizens. His campaign slogan for the June presidential election, “No more poor people in a rich country,” was the least of it. What carried real weight with voters was his personal background as a campesino—a rural inhabitant usually with Indigenous heritage and ties to the land. For many, that made Castillo the living antithesis to the largely white Lima elites who have overseen a booming economy in a […]

Peru's newly sworn-in president, Pedro Castillo, acknowledges the Peruvian flag held by soldiers outside Congress on his inauguration day in Lima, Peru, July 28, 2021 (AP photo by Francisco Rodriguez).

When leftist schoolteacher Pedro Castillo became president of Peru in July, having won the election by a hair’s breadth the previous month, it didn’t require uncommon insight to predict that, sooner or later, the right wing would seek to impeach him and remove him from office. After all, Peru has gone through a jaw-dropping succession of unfinished presidencies, impeachments and presidential prosecutions in the past 20 years. What was less expected was that he would hand the opposition so much ammunition in its efforts to oust him. It took less than four months in office for Castillo to face his first […]

A protester dressed as as “Lady Justice” poses during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Oct. 26, 2016 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

If you ask young people what they want, the word that comes up most often is justice. Across the world, at all levels of governance, young people are fighting for social, economic and environmental justice—not just in the abstract sense of achieving equity, but also in seeking justice as an everyday, essential government service. But too often, these advocates have been let down by the police, courts and other institutions whose roles in society are to ensure and promote this justice. In part, this is a story of neglect. In every country, justice systems are not equipped to deliver justice […]

Supporters hold up signs during an abortion rights rally outside Federal Plaza in Chicago, Dec. 1, 2021 (AP photo by Nam Y. Huh).

Just as the U.S. Supreme Court prepared last week to hear one of the most contentious abortion cases since Roe v. Wade, which legalized the procedure in 1973, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a scathing verdict on an abortion case in El Salvador. In its ruling, it held the Salvadoran government responsible for the death of a 33-year-old woman, identified only as “Manuela,” who died in prison in 2010 while serving a 30-year sentence for the “aggravated homicide” of a fetus through a miscarriage. El Salvador strictly enforces one of the world’s most draconian anti-abortion laws. At a […]

Muslim devotees shout slogans during a protest over an alleged insult to Islam, outside the country’s main Baitul Mukarram Mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Oct. 15, 2021 (AP photo by Mahmud Hossain Opu).

On Oct. 13, as Bangladesh’s Hindu community celebrated a five-day religious festival, an image circulated on Facebook that showed a Quran placed on the statue of the Hindu deity Hanuman. The photo, which was taken at a shrine in the southeastern city of Comilla, was seen by some social media users as evidence of an act of blasphemy against Islam, and it inspired a mob to attack the shrine and several Hindu temples nearby. The incident became the opening salvo of one the deadliest periods of religious violence Bangladesh has seen in recent memory. Since then, mobs have torched and […]

A Mozambican soldier rides on an armored vehicle at the airport in Mocimboa da Praia, Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique, Aug. 9, 2021 (AP photo by Marc Hoogsteyns).

Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi created a stir in early November, when he dismissed Defense Minister Jaime Neto and then Interior Minister Amade Miquidade within 24 hours of each other. This shake-up in the country’s security leadership, coming less than two years after both had taken up their posts, likely signals the start of a broader effort at managing Mozambique’s image abroad as it seeks to reassure would-be investors that the government has a handle on internal security.  The tenures of both Neto and Miquidade coincided with a period of rapid expansion of the Islamic State affiliate Ahlu-Sunnah Wa-Jama, or ASWJ, […]

President Joe Biden meets with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, Nov. 18, 2021 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

After five years and a nearly 20-month border shutdown, the heads of government of Mexico, Canada and the United States gave a sense of restored normalcy to trilateral relations last month, when they joined up in Washington for the first summit of its kind since a 2016 gathering—featuring a famously awkward handshake—in Ottawa. Then again, by the time Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or AMLO, met with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office on the sidelines of what has been dubbed the Three Amigos Summit, they were already capping off a period filled with renewed, high-level bilateral […]

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso speaks as he delivers a proposed bill with economic, tax and labor reforms, Quito, Ecuador, Sept. 24, 2021 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

There may never be a good time to cut social spending, especially in a Latin American country so wracked by inequality that an unpopular austerity package resulted in lethal riots even before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. That is the lesson Guillermo Lasso, Ecuador’s conservative new president, appears to be learning the hard way six months into his term in office.  After his surprise win in April’s presidential runoff election, Lasso, a former banker and one of his nation’s richest citizens, moved swiftly to establish his authority upon taking office the following month. He rapidly accelerated Ecuador’s vaccination drive […]

A watch tower stands empty inside Litoral Penitentiary, Guayaquil, Ecuador, July 22, 2021 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

BOGOTA, Colombia—Ecuador made international headlines on Sept. 28, when a brutal prison riot left at least 119 inmates dead and more than 80 injured. The details of the uprising at the Litoral penitentiary in Guayaquil, on the Ecuadorian coast, were particularly gruesome, with images emerging of dismembered bodies and reports of inmates armed with chainsaws. A second riot at the same penitentiary on Nov. 11 left another 60 dead. Nearly 300 prisoners have died in gang-related violence in Ecuadorian prisons this year, making it the deadliest on record.  But Ecuador is far from the only country in the region to have experienced […]