Violence and corruption in Central America, particularly in the Northern Triangle countries, is causing a wave of outward migration. Since taking office, the Biden administration has pledged to tackle the root causes of the problem, which the Trump administration’s restrictive measures and pressure on regional governments did nothing to address. Meanwhile, efforts at reform across the region face opposition from entrenched interests that benefit from the status quo.

Local moto-taxi drivers transport migrants near the Darien Gap.

There is no silver bullet for solving the humanitarian challenge on display in the Darien Gap, which thousands of migrants pass through daily. But any solution must involve creating sustainable economic opportunities for residents of border towns, so they are not drawn into the lucrative business of human smuggling.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele.

The past three decades of Latin American history are full of presidents who stretched the constitutional limits of power and extended their mandate. Most, but not all, left their country worse than they found it. El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele’s name can now be added to that list. His legacy depends on what happens in the coming five years.