Latin America is trending toward more militarized security strategies, a trend that could be consolidated by elections across the region in the coming 18 months. As one consequence of civilian governments and publics embracing hard-line security approaches, the region’s militaries could become more powerful and politically influential.
Upon taking office in January 2022, Honduran President Xiomara Castro promised to demilitarize public security. Instead, after a series of high-profile episodes of violence, she has mimicked the rhetoric and methods employed by Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, hoping to exploit its apparent efficacy, but especially its popular appeal.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s approach to the War on Drugs has proven far less radical than he promised—and less intelligible as well. But despite the obstacles to a total overhaul of Bogota’s strategy, a confluence of circumstances in both Colombia and the U.S. may offer a unique opportunity for drug policy reform.